Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quality of Life...

I haven't really been in the mood for writing lately. I've been surprisingly together since Iris is gone, but I do miss her. I realize every day that there is some habit that I've acquired just because of her, that I no longer need to continue. It's really strange as I keep discovering all the ways she affected our lives and how many things we did for her.

I haven't been overly motivated but I am slowly getting things done, chipping away at a long list of tasks that I need to stay on...I have a new student working with me, which helps to keep me on my toes.

Since we skipped our vacation and stuck around I got a few things organized. I got some bookshelves for the woman cave that I've been needing: I had piles of stuff everywhere.

Running-wise, nothing, but I have been getting out for lots of miles on my feet, did over 60 this past week. This is the view I see now. I've been pushing Isabelle around in the cart. Her arthritis in her right hip is really bothering her. We give her Rimadyl but it just doesn't seem to be enough these days, so what I want to do is try giving her some marijuana-laced dog treats. I ordered some and we should have them by early this coming week. They have the active compound that might help her without much THC, so it shouldn't be psychoactive. I'm hoping that that helps her enough to make her more comfortable.

We've been trying to keep her busy, trips to Dairy Queen for pup cones, Starbucks for pup cups, and so on.

If that doesn't work I will call the pet palliative care service because they might be able to help us figure out ways to make the house and her everyday activities more comfortable for her.
We're talking about a 14 year old dog who still enjoys some things, like eating, watching squirrels, howling at us when we come home, and sitting in the grass in the yard letting the breeze blow in her hair, I just want her to be as comfortable as possible and not be bored or depressed, especially after losing her lifetime companion a few weeks ago.

Last night I walked to the bookstore just to get some miles on my feet while Dennis went to watch a Broncos game with his friend Mark. I got some bedtime reading for Isabelle: I needed some Selp-Helf. The new book by Miranda Sings. I can TOTALLY relate to her doing her character. I am a loyal Mirfanda.

Last week we were going a little stir crazy and we decided to have a garage sale. That was an interesting study in human nature. No need to go to Walmart, you can just bring it to your house. I think next year on my birthday maybe I need to run from garage sale to garage sale instead of going to Walmart.

Grief is so unpredictable. You don't know how you're going to respond. I have been amazingly tear-free. I keep thinking that maybe one of these days it's going to hit me, but maybe it won't hit me until Isabelle's gone. I don't know.

I feel like Iris's time was done, she was such a great dog. Nobody had a personality like that. As I walk through the neighborhood, it amazes me how many people knew Iris around here. Not just on our block, but for a good mile radius from the house, so many people knew us from walking and running her. The entire Starbucks staff. And many of the customers too. She lit up the room and commanded all the attention. She was like a bright light that you couldn't look away from. A true soulmate.

I was thinking about maybe taking Isabelle to a 5K in pushing her in the cart and see how I feel about being around runners. Local short road races don't get me motivated because I have so little interest in them. If anything I can just do the miles on my feet and just so that I'll be able to tolerate it when I get back to doing some ultras.

I do have my work cut out for me as far as work goes because I need to finish the content for this online service. One thing I can say is that work still brings me an incredible amount of joy. I don't know how many people get to have that feeling where they do their work and feel so good about it. How do I describe it other than this warm feeling that spreads and takes over your entire being. It feels so satisfying, purpose-driven and right.

I can't even describe it any other way, I know never felt that way as an oncology nurse in the hospital because of all the little mindless tasks that had nothing to do with taking care of patients and helping them make their lives better. I knew that I was helping people and I felt good about that but it was nothing like this.

Which reminds me, I keep seeing all these articles in medical newsletters talking about how cancer survivorship care plans are not really helping people and they're causing more anxiety. Well, DUH!!! I could've told you that because all you're doing is telling people all the things they need to watch out for, in terms of cancer recurrence, and the thing that people are most anxious about is a cancer recurrence.

The follow-up screenings are important, but you have to show people what they can actually do, in terms of actions you can take to help yourself feel better, live better, and enjoy life more. But that's the stuff that the medical profession doesn't help with or know how to do or convey. They're not trained to do that.

It's okay if doctors don't know everything, but they need to acknowledge that their patients need something that they can't provide, so they need to stop being fuddy-duddies and start admitting that they don't know it all, because there are things that exist outside of their scope. They need to open their eyes, learn about other options for their patients, and start referring people to those services.

Basically what the medical establishment doesn't get, is that after you clearcut, burn, and salt the earth, you have to restore it somehow to bring it back to life. You can bring out all the chainsaws you want, but if you don't plant the seeds afterward and nurture the seedlings, you'll never have a forest again.

They're starting to catch on, but they don't have a way to act fast enough. They're tripped up by their own rigidity, dogma, and bureaucracy. And need I mention, profit interests? Not only that, but doctors are pathetically overworked, overstressed, and undersupported. And it's only getting worse as they've become employees of the big corporate health systems.

That's been one of the biggest frustrations for me, I pretty much have to ignore people in the medical profession, which is unfortunate because I'd love to work with them if they could just acknowledge that what I could bring to their patients would actually be very helpful. But, of course, when healthcare is really just about money, anything that helps their patients spend less money on healthcare is actually in competition with them. It's unfortunate that healthcare is the misnomer that it is.

People just don't trust science or medicine the way they used to, because there is so much corruption and greed on all levels. Just like our political and legal systems.

I didn't mean for this to launch into a rant. I'm thinking about the cancer stuff and how it takes years for the medical establishment to change anything they do. There's a lot of talk now about the inadequacy of cancer survivorship effforts but by the time they change anything from the current practice, I'm going to be retired or close to it. Meanwhile, there are people suffering and the medical people have little to offer them.
And on my way to the bookstore last night I was walking past the A & W and there was a sign that said, "Now hiring talented individuals starting at nine dollars an hour". They also had the same sign over by the dumpsters in back so it makes me wonder. Sad.

Bedtime reading for Isabelle.


Jean McAdams said...

I understand how you feel. Those furry companions leave such a void when they move on from our lives. Our Dakota passed suddenly and unexpectedly in March of 2014 and Bleu succumbed to diabetes in June 2014. I still occasionally expect to see them in their usual spots around the house. What I miss the most is the excited greeting I would get from both every single time I came home. Truly unconditional love.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Jean. I am sorry for your losses too... and I hear you on the welcoming committee. No one else gives you that kind of greeting, ever!!!

Sue said...

Alene I'm so sorry to hear of Iris's passing. As a dog lover and having lost my dog Boober this summer after 15 years I totally understand how you feel. I'm not sure if my other dog is sad, depressed or what...maybe it's me. I bought another house in my grieving period...go figure that one. Too much time on my hands now with just one dog. Lost the motivation to train for upcoming races as they just didn't seem that important right now. Hugs to you and Isabelle.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thank you Sue. I'm sorry for your loss too... It's so quiet around the house without Iris, I know Isabelle is adjusting, and doesn't know what to do with all the extra attention. It's the staggering amount of space you find in your life when they are gone...nothing can fill that.