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Oops, missed yesterday’s 300 words. Not because I was doing anything particularly exciting, just a marathon of In Treatment episodes and playing phone tag with the vet. I dropped her off this morning with the head vet, he is doing an ultrasound, he has ideas of the cause (and therefore the solution), I appreciated his confidence, it brought me some relief.

I brought back a giant plastic tub from my parents’ house back in March, a few choice items from my childhood, including an old book “The Trouble with Tuck” which was a favorite of mine, partly because the girl on the cover kinda looked like me, except she had a dog and I didn’t (but wanted one). Rereading it as an adult (I haven’t revisited many of personal YA classics) it is a little painful in the awkward writing. However, I recall thinking the same thing when reading it at age 8 – a great story, I liked the action, but the tone was obviously an adult trying to sound like a girl, I could see through the narrator even then, and this memory made me laugh, slightly proud, also made me seriously wish that books were allowed to be remade in the same way that movies are, because I could do this book much better justice. I guess maybe they are. I read the author’s note and apparently most of the book is based on a real-life situation anyway, so I think I’m having envy that this dude wrote it first back in 1981, I could do a much better job of the same story now. Anyway, the story is about a girl and her dog, and the dog is of course perfect in being both a dog and in being well-behaved, it loves its freedom and it loves people, it wanders through the neighborhood and always comes home and sleeps in her bed, it is a perfectly shaped yellow lab, it saved the young girls life, both from drowning in the pool and from some attempted molestor in the park (in other words, all things statistically unlikely and therefore setting up unreasonable expectations for children everywhere about dog ownership), but the dog goes blind and so the precocious young girl finds a retired companion dog for the blind and trains it to lead her dog Tuck. The end. It’s a short book, I read 70 pages in one brief sitting, I’m going to read the last 30 now after typing this, but I’m pretty sure I remember how it ends – with a successfully march through the neighborhood, the two dogs, the helper dog leading the blind dog, and her behind them, whistling “The Bridge over River Kwai”.

Also, sidenote to limenal who maybe hardly reads lj anymore, but the book refers to puppies as sausages and it made me so happy, this is perhaps even the origin for me.

I’m going out for lunch today, which is a good thing, to be out of the house and distract myself. Also, I will be eating at Edna’s with mintwaster, unscrambled, and IRX, and that’s pretty much a dream-team combo on all fronts.

Jun. 8th, 2009

Its after midnight, but you know the rules, I’m not asleep yet so its still Sunday night, its still Sunday. I noticed the clock at 11:40 pm and thought I could squeeze something out ,but then I got distracted as usual and now its clearly after midnight, no skirting in. I went to temple this morning and felt for the first time how it actually feels like being there on a Sunday morning is my default. I’m not always there, but nowadays I am more often than I’m not, and funny how that happens more often on accident than intentionally. Or rather, the intention sneaks around the side and doesn’t have that direct look we think.

Sophie isn’t much better, but isn’t worse. This morning she drank the tuna water from a can that I drained, I rejoice and opened another, and another. She drank only a few licks more, but it was something. And at least all the tuna I could throw into a plastic container and throw in the fridge and eat for lunch this week, its not wasted food like the gross dried up bits of boiled hamburger and noodles that went untouched. Tonight she ate about 5 bites of chicken before giving up. Jet and Jyl came over and it was good to have company, also to eat delicious snacks and build magic rock aquariums. Now it is bedtime but I want to stay up late and I suppose I can, there isn’t a hard and fast rule , maybe I will write my movie review tonight (rather than my usual 7 am Monday slot) and sleep in, maybe it will thunderstorm through the night and I will sleep under blankets with the windows open.

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The blood tests, bile tests, x-rays, all came back normal. This is good. A little weird, as there's still no concrete explanation, but it does support my theory, which is that this is just her sensitive digestion getting wrecked by one thing (a bad can of dog food) and then another getting heaped onto it back to back, like the antibiotics causing the nausea/vomiting, etc. They force fed her a little, gave her an antiemetic, and she's kept it all down so far. I will boil her up some hamburger meat in a few hours and hopefully she will be excited to eat a little. They also gave her an IV of some fluids and so she came home with a strange liquidy hump on her back that leaks. It is disturbing. Luckily it is just leaking saline, nothing bloody or gross. I will keep giving her the tablets pepcid and one of the antibiotics (but not the other that is nausea-inducing) and now also an anti-nausea pill, and keep feeding her bland people food and hopefully with some patience, all with be okay in a few days. I am still worried, but significantly less so, all the talk of x-rays and liver masses and blockages was upsetting, obviously, not just emotionally but also, um, I'm unemployed. Its bad enough to feel sad for your sick pet and scared they will die, it doesn't help to calm down from that only to worry how they hell will you pay for anything. I am lucky though, Sophie has another parent to help with expenses, I have room on a credit card, there is no talk of doggie chemotherapy, it will be fine, it just makes me aware and grateful. Also, thank you for people who left comments and send good thoughts, I know I have sent up many prayers on behalf of my friends' animals and I'm grateful to receive the same.

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day four

The house is empty, I took Sophie to the 9 am appointment and had to leave her behind for further tests and x-rays and now I'm waiting for a phone call to go back. I tell myself I am not one of those people, that I love my animals, but not like that, maybe I was just being judgmental, to hide behind that a little, because during the walk home, it was impossible not to cry, luckily I had sunglasses, luckily few people walk anymore, the sidewalks were mine to publicly weep, and even just now I hear a noise in the next room and assumed it was her snorting while dozing, but then I realize, no, she's not here, the house is empty. Wow, this is maudlin, she's NOT DEAD YET, she is at the doctors, they will figure something out and fix her. The vet is not opposed to my various theories either, he is being reasonable but also slightly aggressive in wanting to diagnose, the timeline is starting to look a bit more critical, I suppose, given the lack of eating and now the vomiting. I have spent so much time in the past few days cleaning up bodily fluids from rugs and cooking homemade bland foods to try to coax her into eating and staying home so I can take her out every 4 hours "just in case" and I do this because that's what you do for your dog, you show up, everyday, and they show up too, and the reason I cried on the way home is because that is the only relationship that has proven so steadfast and committed in my life for the past 7 years (it was around Memorial Day in 2002), she has shown up for me everyday, and I have been emotionally taxed these few months, that is exacerbating it, I know, I recognize that, but still this is worrying me enough to consider the possibility of something I knew would happen eventually could show up sooner rather than later and I don't want that at all.

Also, its totally silly, but I feel like I'm cheating at 300 words challenge because I actually have immediate trauma in my face to detail out.

day three

I am hermiting, it started yesterday, continuing today, maybe tomorrow. I mean, I am leaving the house I suppose, it is just mostly to interact with the strangers at the post office, library, a bar where I order a late lunch. Today I decided to bring flowers to Bopkyong because it is her birthday and halfway there I got concerned about the type of flowers that would not convey the wrong message, and found pink gerber daisies, and I know some people are not fans, but I am, and I thought she would be too, and those are a festive, friendly flower with little possibility of romantic misconstruance. That is not a word, at least it wasn’t until just now. I felt confident in my purchase, but then nervous upon presentation, and there was a certain awkwardness to it because she was so taken aback by the gesture, not in anyway that was insulting. Funny how in the moment I passed it off as I was in the neighborhood running errands anyway, but the reality is I put on shoes and got on my bike specifically to buy this small pot of flowers and deliver them, and then I rode home. That seemed too intimate to confess in the vestibule as I put my sunglasses back on and said my goodbyes.

While riding my bike in roscoe village, I passed a march of elementary school students, carrying handmade signs and chanting, walking in protest formation down the sidewalk. They appeared to be going to an anti-bullying rally, two blocks down at the playground, as their signs and songs and direction would indicate. It was amazing to see.

On the way home, the first chink in summer’s armor: stranded behind the garbage truck while on your bike.

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I took Sophie to the vet today, she hasn’t been feeling well for almost 2 weeks, though its been mild enough to not seem critical until now. Yesterday I could see she’s visibly lost weigh, I can see ribs poking through and I thought back and couldn’t remember the last time she’d ate more than a biscuit or a few bites of canned food from her dish. Two days, maybe more. This morning I was woken up at 3 am by her yacking up bile, which has happened before when she’s been on hunger strike (usually stress induced) and in the past, I will feed her and she will eat immediately and then all is well. Today I made food that was 2/3 canned, 1/3 dry, which is a dog’s dream generally, and she ignored it. After getting off the phone with the vet, I poured myself a bowl of cereal and apiece fell on the floor and she sniffed it and ignored it. I was so glad to be getting a professional opinion and prescription drugs.

The exam didn’t yield any immediate answer, her energy has only been dampered, but she’s not lethargic or obviously hurting in anyway. They ran tests, I sat in the waiting room for 20 minutes waiting for them to get done, which means Sophie finally relaxed a little (“I guess this is how we live now”) and settled down onto the ground, in hunting dog repose (upright, but full belly pressed on the floor, head on the ground between the paws) while the vet sat on the couch next to me and talked about the abnormal blood test results that might indicate a problem with the liver. He was reasonable and not inflammatory, but still concerned. He laid out a couple options, let me pick one and supported me in it (treat the symptoms with antibiotics and antacids right away to get her eating again, come back in a week and draw blood again and perform a “bile test”). He said words like x-ray and ultrasound and “mass” on liver and I looked down at her by my feet and thought, no, not this year, not 2009, the year of Raymond’s grief, this is not the time, Sophie, for these such shenanigans. I blinked back the beginning of panic and misty-eyes and finished listening to him.

I came home and had to force feed the three tablets, even with peanut butter, but she was fairly amenable to being compelled to swallow. She rested for awhile, the vet stresses her out because its also where she gets boarded occasionally, I could tell she was relieved to be back home, stretched out on the futon. I worked on the computer for awhile, then boiled some chicken. She ate half of it, quickly, easily, so I fed her the other half and now I feel ok. She’s eaten. She will be ok.
anjiyama wrote this:

"In honor of summer, and writing and saving lj, I am reintroducing 300 words. You don't have to do it everyday but it is great if you do, just sit down and write 300 words, at least, daily. I'm hoping it will bring up something different than my usual this is this and that is that post. To help me make it different I'm going to write it in word then cut and paste. We'll see."

God knows I love a group challenge! So here goes. Its 300ish.

~~~~~~~~
When I was 10 or 11ish (I have a hard time placing many vivid memories on the timeline and have to rely on context clues, which is frequently difficult given my precociousness as a child), I told my father I needed to go to radio shack to get a transistor radio. A small handheld one, with a speaker, battery-powered. He expressed disbelief that I really wanted something so small and simple and cheap. I had saved up allowance money, oh wait, that’s it! I asked him how much it would be, because I had started to save and wanted to know how much further to go, and he asked what I was saving for and that’s how the conversation happened. He told me about ten dollars, I nodded thoughtfully, that wasn’t too far off. He bought it for me, practically the next day, if I recall, unexpectedly and waving off my attempt at reimbursement. It was nine dollars, the price-tag was still on it. I wanted that radio in the bathroom, to listen to in the bathtub, to listen to in the morning while preparing for the day after my shower, the face washing and hair styling and outfit applying. I also liked the idea of being able to walk around, listening to the radio, it had a survivalist feel to it, I had this image of what a person looks like who walks around with a radio and I wanted to be it. I even liked the lovely tin echo of the bitty mono speaker, that radio used a nine-volt battery and stayed in that bathroom for years and years, in high school upgraded to a cassette player, but the transistor radio remained and got used occasionally. Come home from college, listened then too. One day maybe it finally broke, I think, over ten years later.

My favorite use of my iphone is putting on Pandora or public radio stations or the ipod function and listening to music through the speaker and I am carrying around that transistor radio again, I am finally that vision from childhood.,

May. 30th, 2009

Yesterday I had to make a phone call to vent and the person I called very nicely reassured me that I had already resolved the situation and its done, which is totally true, but sometimes I need someone to balk with me. Balk at this bad behavior! BALK!!

I am home after a long full day of people and events (pet parade, suburban history tours, going-away potluck), and I was going to watch a movie, but suddenly the intimacy of taking a book to bed seems more appealing. I am enjoying the companionship of simply myself, except for when I'm not. But isn't that most things? Right now is one of those "nots".

I remember a time when things weren't real until I had written about them on livejournal, whether a public declaration, or a filtered one to a select group before going public, or usually some combination of both. Now I hardly ever think to write here, I condense it all into facebook statuses or twitter, though also I have been having lots of face to face conversations with people, funny how that makes the internet's role change in the social functions. I find myself here now, and I don't mean to make a "livejournal is dead" post, it is just hard to ignore the observation when I actually decided to click that post an entry link.

It has been an intense year of grief, or maybe an intense year for grief, as if grief is one part of me that exists in its own capacity, as if that part of my heart could have a string of bad luck over the course of a few months. Which is not to say, I don't feel unlucky about any recent chains of events, if anything my primary reaction in many of them is "it was bound to happen to you soon, so just time to step up and get through it" and mostly this works, but sometimes it doesn't, it bears down on me and I lose all the confidence in my words I had just said aloud hours earlier, things I've been saying for day, weeks, and they seem perfectly true and fine until they aren't and then I falter and think they must not be true at all, ever, I am wrong. Calm down. It is one day, one night, not even -- it is one hour. See me again in an hour and tell me what you know and we will figure it out.

Which is not to say things are all bad, that is not true at all, they are just operating at a different level and place, and that is probably just part and parcel with this period of underemployment and career change and everything else change, that every routine gets pitched or at the very least reconfigured. Still, it is hard to be unravelled sometimes, strands separate on the floor, not touching.

And now to go to my bookshelf and select my lover for the night.......ok, I almost pulled off saying 'lover' in earnest, but I couldn't quite do it.
I just had one of those academic moments where you discover a new source that potentially changes the whole thesis you've written in a paper. It got critical for a second, so much so that I wanted to call up my old grad school advisors who read the original piece I wrote a couple years ago (and still hope to tweak and get published somewhere) and yell at them "why didn't you mention this well-known Faulkner story to me that so obviously relates?!?!" but then I calmed down and read a bit of it and realized it wasn't as big of a deal as I initially thought, and adding this new info won't detract from the larger message in my paper.

Then I weirdly felt pleased to have such a crisis. Not because it really is so important, but because its nice to feel like maybe there's a career destiny for yourself after all.

I need more boosts like this now, my months of unemployment are starting to have a creeping, unpleasant effect on my psyche. The repetition and rigidity of schedule and obligation can certainly be a burden, but it is also a framework to live under that can help absorb some of the rocky moments of life. This year has brought me giant waves of grief and losses, many of them just the natural result of big changes, others of the traditional brokenhearted variety, and today I was wishing so badly for a mindless office job to punch in and escape from myself.

But in the end, it was still far superior to instead take a long heavy nap for two hours, then wake up and shower to go have a coffee with a friend. I guess it is worth it to endure those moments of unbearable boredom and despair that come with too much time in the same rooms, it might even be a more direct path to sit through it, rather than indirect prolonging of the emotions I'm precisely trying to relinquish. I'm not entirely ready to commit to cheerful platitudes, as my language certainly indicates, but that doesn't necessarily remove the truth part either.

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One scene from my day, but from two perspectives.

SIDE A

I went to the YMCA to workout this morning, I went from irregular once-a-week to missing a week, so I pushed and pushed and pushed myself out the door and got myself even there at a reasonable mid-morning hour. I wasn't sure what workout I would do, but once I got on the treadmill and started, I was up for my usual supersets. So I did a running interval, a set of chest press, and was back on the treadmill, starting to be a little misty and heavy-breathing as my heart rate goes up, headphones blaring and I'm into the music when I look out the window and see my friend foxycoxy out the window, having just left the gym. Because the windows are open, I yell out her name quickly to see if I can get her attention to wave. She keeps walking and doesn't hear me. I almost yell again, then decide I'll just text her later and say hi.

SIDE B

"Why'd that guy in the yellow t-shirt just yell out "COCKS!" really loudly and out of nowhere?"

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