You Think I Wouldn’t Love To Do That?!

When you first become sick they will show you sympathy. They’ll send you cards and hope that you get well soon. The call or text to check in on you and see how you’re doing. They’ll cut you some slack because of your situation. They’ll be understanding when you have trouble keeping up with them.

But once your illness becomes a chronic condition they wonder why you can’t get better. They show impatience and frustration. They stop trying to include you in their plans. They ask why you aren’t trying harder. They just don’t get it. They just want you to be able bodied again so that you are not inconveniencing them.

People get tired of you being sick but they don’t stop to think that you’re probably tired of being sick too. They don’t take the time to think about how you would love to just get over it. They don’t care enough to realize that you did not choose this.

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Before You Judge Me About Not Working

I desperately want to be able to work, but I can’t. Here’s why:

1. My illness is unpredictable.

Some days, I can function reasonably well. Other days, not so much and some days, not at all.

2. I am unable to maintain stability for long enough to work.

I have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

3. Stress and tiredness make my illness worse. I might be able to work two or three shifts. However, this would impact my health and I would spend days or even weeks recovering.

4. I am unreliable due to my illness.

I cannot maintain consistency as my moods fluctuate so much.

5. I have anxiety and panic attacks.

Some days, I can’t even leave my house because of this. I’m worse in public, especially if I don’t have someone with me.

6. I often need to be somewhere familiar and with someone I trust.

I need this to manage my anxiety and to help keep myself safe.

7. I have problems eating.

If I’m not at home to eat, I need to be with someone who I trust. Otherwise, I panic and am often unable to eat at all.

8. My medication has bad side effects, including a tremor and extreme tiredness.

I have to sleep a lot more than normal, including during the day to function. My medication and my illness often prevent me from driving too, which is very restrictive.

9. I must keep regular appointments with my mental health professionals.

This helps to help to maintain my mental health and/or to prevent further deterioration if I am unwell. This is vital. A missed appointment can at worst lead to a hospital admission.

Which brings me on to one of the main reasons I can’t hold a job down:

10. I have to sometimes be admitted to hospital and crisis units.

These inpatient admissions have been and are sometimes necessary when I become unwell either with mania, depression, or eating issues (whether I like it or not and sometimes whether I cooperate or not.)

So despite very much wanting to work, I hope I have been able to explain some of the reasons why I can’t. Oh and before anyone judges me for not trying, can I just mention I have tried being in employment many, many times. I have worked on and off since the age of 16 in various jobs.

I also managed to do half of my psychology degree before having to drop out due to my illness. Clearly, I’m not totally unqualified and obviously, I’m always trying. I do what I can when I can.

So next time please, don’t be so quick to judge someone who isn’t working. There may be many good reasons. It certainly doesn’t mean they don’t want to.

Forgotten

You know what really sucks? When you have all sorts of hopes and dreams for your life but all it amounts to is ink on paper. I just want to be a part of society, ya know? But instead I feel like I’m the only one in this world. I feel … forgotten.

#RawEmotion #LetsBeReal #heartache

My Dishes Are Killing Me

I wish someone would come clean my House because quite frankly, I’m sick of it. And I’m too depressed. I’m tired and have no energy whatsoever. I have lost all desire to do anything that requires me to move. Things need to be picked up and put away and wiped off and folded and organized and freshened.

Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t overly dirty. It’s just … untidy. I’d like to have it dusted right through and then the floors mopped. You could also clean the windows in my porch door because it’s full of my dogs’ nose prints and slobber. Oh and my toilet needs to be cleaned and the dishwasher unloaded. I think my plants need to be watered as well.

Being an amputee has never stopped me from doing my house work. Every day I do a bit. Some days more than others. But the past couple of days I’ve had to sit, cry, then lecture myself, cry some more and then encourage myself the whole way through. It takes me a long time to get simple tasks done because every five minutes I end up sitting down just so I can breathe through the anxiety.

Living with bipolar disorder is hard. Especially when I find myself on the low end like I am right now. When I go through periods of stability I don’t have a problem with being bipolar. If I am stable and not experiencing any symptoms then sure, I’m OK with being bipolar. Why wouldn’t I be? But put me in a place like this and I have to change my mind.

It’s almost impossible to live a productive life like this. I mean, I can’t even unload the dishwasher without having to plan for it. When I wake up in the morning I have to figure out what needs to be done that day and right now if I tell myself that I have to unload the dishwasher then all of a sudden everything just becomes too much.

It’s a five minute job for gods sake. Why on earth is it so hard for me to take a few plates and put them up in the cupboard??? And why do I have to cry over it??

I cry because that’s how badly I don’t want to do it. And this goes for

every

single

thing

that I have to do in the run of a day.

Even breathing is too much …

Zoey Is Shufflin’ Along

February 15th, 2018 Day 11 – Morning Its so nice to see the sun shining today. It’s an instant mood booster. It was also really nice to be able to take Zoey outside to do her pee and not be standing next to her, shivering in my boots. The cold temperatures these past few days have actually been painful. I think Zoey is finding this nice switch in weather encouraging as well because she ate a decent sized breakfast and drank a half a cup of water without me having to push her. I couldn’t help but sigh with relief. It’s not easy trying to force a dog to eat! We walked all around the garden and I’m pretty sure she had to stop and sniff after every couple of steps. When we got back inside she just collapsed on the porch mat. Her strength comes in bursts and doesn’t last long so sometimes she isn’t able to got any further than the porch so I let her rest for a while before walking her back to her bed in the living room where she’s now sound asleep. And since Buddy is also curled up napping I think I just might take advantage of this and take a nap myself.

February 15th, 2018 Day 11 – Afternoon Zoey had 30 minutes of ‘freedom’ today. I clipped her leash on and let her sit outside since it was so beautiful out. But I’m really regretting it because she got chilled. I guess with her fur being shaved and the fact she was lying on the bridge without a blanket, she got cold. I really didn’t think it was cold enough to be concerned but I was obviously very wrong. After she came in and was back on her bed her entire body began to shiver. I wrapped her up in a big fleece blanket and she immediately started to pant. I got down on the floor with her and held her as her entire body was having spasms. Of course I panicked and started crying because I felt so guilty. I had caused this to happen. I should never have let her spend that half hour lying on the patio. She’s not up to that yet. I should have known the difference!! I let a bit of sunshine go to my head. The shivering caused full body muscle spasms and it was painful, which caused the panting. Dogs pant for many different reasons and anxiety and pain are among the top ones. Which is why Zoey was shivering and panting at the same time. It was actually painful for me to watch it and knowing that it could have easily been avoided has made me feel like the worst dog mom out there. After being wrapped in the blanket and me rocking her in my arms for a while she relaxed and fell asleep. *sigh*

February 16th, 2018 Day 12 Not the best of days by any means. Zoey decided to go into full blown starvation mode and refused any and every ounce of both solid food and liquids. I had calls with an on call emergency vet from the VSCNL hospital as well as with the Gander veterinarian. If her intake doesn’t improve over the weekend she may be admitted to be hooked up to an IV. She has had 2 episodes in the last 2 days that has scared me so much that I’ve got myself convinced that she’s dying. She starts shivering so I cover her up and then she starts panting, as her entire body continues to spasm. I’m so scared at this point that I’m afraid to fall asleep because I don’t want her to die alone. I hope im overreacting …. ? Her sugars may be dropping from the lack of steady nutrition. Panting is also a sign of pain so the shivering may be painful for her which is why she pants at the same time. We also discovered a couple of reddened areas which are of concern so that’s something else we have to keep a close eye on now. Thankfully I did manage to get some food into her by supper time. Chicken broth and water (half and half) poured over some shredded chicken. All together she’s had 2 cups of fluid. Not as much as I want her to have but it’s better than nothing. I’m concerned that she’s getting depressed now too. She reminds me of eyeore. Even the way she walks is similar. She’s bored. You would be too if you were lying down all day long for 12 days straight! I’ve tried to get her to chew on bones but she turns her head. Buddy brought her a toy this evening and laid down in front of her and it broke my heart. He looked back at me as if to say “Mommy why won’t sissy play with me?” Seriously. I don’t know how much more my heart can take.

February 17th, 2018 Day 13 Today was a good day. Zoey still needed a lot of encouragement but finally managed to eat a bowl of chicken broth, water and pedialyte with shredded chicken and a spoonful of rice added to it. And we discovered that in the midst of the excitement of playing in the snow she was willing to eat a pocket full of dry kibble with no hesitation. If I have to take her outside to feed her then so be it! She was also the most relaxed I’ve seen her yet. While lying on her bed this afternoon she turned on her side and actually stretched her legs out. Big step towards her recovery!

February 18th 2018 Day 14 David was off today so it was really nice to have him home all day. Zoey loved having her daddy home. They even had a nice nap together on the living room floor. One of my favorite sounds ever is of Zoey snoring. It warms my heart because I know she’s resting and she’s content. She ate dog food for her dinner. Her regular kibble that she hasn’t eaten in a long time. And she actually seemed to enjoy it! Except she threw up afterwards. I’m guessing that it’s because she hasn’t been eating much solid food and it may have been too heavy on her stomach. She took her Tramadol (pain medication) wrapped in a piece of cheese without any hesitation. She has always loved cheese and thankfully she still does because it’s great for wrapping her pills in. Zoey has been doing really well on her legs. She can stand up from a lying position without having to be lifted by the harness. At first she had to be lifted up and then held in order to walk but now she can walk alongside of me with having to be supported. I take her for walks out around the yard and she’s doing fantastic. She walks very carefully because she’s still really unsteady but her tail wags like crazy with every step she makes. She often looks up at me looking for that bit of reassurance and when I smile at her and say “good girl” she looks so proud of herself. And so she should! She has so much to be proud of! She has suffered and survived so much pain in the past 2 weeks. She is doing amazing despite how awful she feels. And I am beyond proud of her. She’s mom’s girl!

February 19th, 2018 Day 15 Zoey continues to amaze me every single day. She continues to get stronger with each passing day. There is no doubt in my mind that this surgery was a success because she is already walking better than what she did before having this done. Her limp is completely gone. She is still very weak and her legs shake when squatting down to do her pee but thanks to her harness we are able to hold on to her so that she has that security in knowing we won’t let her fall. I’m glad Zoey feels safe with me. I’m glad that she feels secure and trusts that I won’t let her fall. I want my dogs to know that I will always protect them and that they can always lean on me whenever they are scared. Buddy has been very confused about everything that’s going on. He doesn’t understand why we are doting on Zoey so much. Why we often have to push him away when he tries to get Zoey to get up and play with him. How do you explain something like this to a dog?? God knows I’ve tried. If you only knew how much I have talked to both of my dogs during these past few weeks. I’ve sat with Buddy on my lap and as I scratch his ears and he stares at me I tell him things. I tell him how incredibly proud of how well he has behaved lately. I tell him that sissy is sick but she’s going to get better really soon and they are going to have so much fun this summer. And I swear, as Buddy listens, he is understanding. Intelligent would be an understatement in describing Buddy. Same with Zoey. She wants so bad to get up and go. She wants to jump up on the couch. And having to say no to her is so hard because she wears her emotions on her face. She is the saddest looking dog I’ve ever seen. Her eyes tell it all. But I talk to her. I tell her everything that happened in the hospital and what Dr. Bailey did to her legs. I tell her that all the pain she is in now is going to go away. And when it does she’s going to feel better than she has in a very long time. And that I am going to fill the backyard with more balls than she has ever seen before for her and Buddy to run around and play with. Then I smother her with kisses. Yes. This has been one hard road. But to be able to get to a place where my girl can walk and run and play again … that is our ultimate goal for Zoey’s Journey.

February 20th, 2018 Day 16 It was 2 weeks ago today that Zoey had Bilateral TPLO surgery and we had her in to the vet for a check up today. Dr. Goucie was very impressed with her current state. She said that many patients that come in for their two week check up and end up going home with her antibiotics and have to get some extra tests done because they aren’t healing properly. She said that many dogs that have this surgery, especially when it’s done on both legs at the same time, usually have some sort of complication along the way. She said that she has seen very few incidents where a dog gets this surgery and are able to make it through eight weeks of recovery without having some sort of bumps along the way. She was very pleased with how Zoey was able to stand in one spot for a minute without her legs giving out on her. Zoey’s ability to go from a sitting position to standing position without having to be lifted is an amazing accomplishment for the two week mark. Her fur is growing at a healthy right and all of the itching that she is currently experiencing is quite normal because as the hair grows it’s irritating her. Her ears look great. Her eyes are slightly bloodshot, which is due to her crying. Her teeth look fine and the colour of her gums is nice and pink, showing that she is not overly dehydrated. Her nose is also a healthy color.Dr. Goucie was sitting on the floor with Zoey while we were chatting and Zoey sat in an upright position almost the entire time. That is huge because it’s a position that puts more strain on her legs but yet that’s the position she chose. After about 5 minutes she laid down and the dr. looked at us and smiled because she lasted five minutes sitting up on her own. Then as we kept talking the doctor was massaging Zoey’s legs and she was pushing and pulling and examining her incisions and Zoey just laid there, letting her do it all, without showing any signs of frustration. Before getting the surgery, Zoey had to be sedated in order to be examined because she would not let anyone go near her legs. But now here she is two weeks after a major surgery, with big incisions running down each leg, yet she just lay there and let the doctor poke at her. Nothing in the world could ever made me feel any prouder than I did this morning sitting in that veterinarians office. She asked us how we were coping with it all and she shook her head and said that it looks like we are taking it harder than Zoe is. And she said that many times this is what happens. The owners suffer more than the pets do. She told us that we had to take care of ourselves and she told us that we are doing a fantastic job. She said that the proof that you are doing a great job is lying right there at your feet. She said that despite the struggles that we still have with her eating and drinking, being up all night crying, the episodes of panting and anxiety during the day, etc. We are at a place that is perfect for two weeks post op. So we left with an increase in pain medication, and 20 day supply of a probiotic to help her with some stomach issues, and another appointment to go back to get X-rays (which requires sedation). So needless to say we are really pleased here tonight.

Just Keep Swimming

My life has been so crazy this past week. I’m too busy and worn out to function now. I’m trying to take care of myself. I’ve actually forgotten to eat a couple of times because I’ve been so focused on getting my dog to eat. I did make a pot of homemade soup though and it turned out great. I could eat soup every day of the week if necessary. It’s my go-to food for everything.

My dog is healing well from her surgery but we’ve got a long road ahead of us yet. In saying that, week one has been a success. I haven’t killed anyone and I’ve only had a few fairly minor meltdowns.

To be quite honest I think I’ve done pretty good.

Zoey’s Journey Continues

February 10th, 2018 Day 6

She pooped!! After 6 days she finally pooped!! I’ve never been so happy to see dog poop before!!

February 11th, 2018 Day 7 – Morning

I’m worried. Zoey has developed a bit of a cough now. I know that sometimes there is some throat irritation from the tubes and the anesthetic and it’s not uncommon for them to have a sore throat and a slight cough for the first couple of days after surgery. But it doesn’t seem to be going away and this morning when she coughed it sounded like it was coming straight from her lungs. You know how a person sounds when they have pneumonia and the cough is kind of loose and sort of raspy? That’s what it sounded like. So today that will be the main thing to be monitored because the last thing we want is for her to have some sort of chest infection now. Last Night was the first night that she has slept straight through without waking up crying. She slept right up until it was time for 7 AM medications. It’s ironic because the more she slept the less comfortable David and I were. I don’t know how many times last night that David whispered to me ‘is she ok?’ or how many times I leaned over the bed to check on her, to see if she was comfortable, even to just make sure she was breathing. I honestly think I am more tired today than ever. This whole experience is extremely emotional for us and it’s amazing how emotions can drain you so much physically. I am also missing buddy to the point where I cried to my mom for an hour on the phone. The house is so quiet without him and I know Zoey misses her brother too. I think it would feel a bit more normal around here if he was here. But we are so hesitant to bring him home just yet because he is very hyper and he loves her so much and they are always so close, like licking each other and sleeping in the same bed with each other and so on. Trying to protect her has meant that buddy has had to stay on vacation for a few extra days. It’s causing me a lot of guilt because I feel that I’m home now and I should be able to take care of them both. We are going to give it a try this afternoon and bring buddy home for a few hours. If they get along really good and he doesn’t pick at her or give us any reason to be worried that he’ll accidentally hurt her then he is home to stay! But if we are worried then we are going to have him spend another night at mom’s. My biggest update though is that Zoey had a perfect round of exercises with her Daddy this morning!! Lots of icing before and after and she did exactly 15 perfect reps of her range of motion stretches!! On #15 she growled. Enough of that she said! It was such an amazing achievement. Proud parents here now!

February 11th, 2018 Day 7 – Night

We are so tired and worn out. My reminder alarm is going off all day long. Food time. Medication time. Icing time. Exercise time. Time to walk her. Take her to Pee. Cooking chicken. Forcing her to eat the chicken. And she doesn’t want me to leave her side. I go to the bathroom and she’s out in her bed crying because she can’t see me. David is home from work now and while he does her exercises I’m going to hide out in the shower until the water runs cold. And then I’m going to bed so I can get off and do it all over again tomorrow.

February 12, 2018 Day 8 – Morning

Zoey had a terrible night. Upset tummy. Coughing. Gagging. And hours of crying. Her pills are hurting her stomach because we can’t get enough food into her to prevent it. She’s tolerating small random bites of whatever we can get her to eat. Can food. Kibble. Peanut butter. Cheese. Chicken. A couple bites at a time is all she will take. I think the stretch of time from her 10pm pain medication until her 7am dose is too long because it seems that she’s waking at the same time every night. 4 AM. And from 4 AM till she gets her morning dose she is in constant agony and then after her 7 AM pills she just collapses and falls asleep. It’s draining the life out of us all. David is having sleepless nights, getting up and driving to work, gone 10 hours a day. Then he’s getting home and dives right in to do rehab exercises with Zoey which takes about an hour with the icing and all. Then it’s force feeding so we can get meds in her for 10pm. I’m worried that he’s going to crash and burn. I’m trying to keep him strong, keep Zoey on track, give attention to Buddy, keep the house clean and just prevent everything from crashing down around me but I’m scared that I might end up failing. I actually forgot to eat supper yesterday and I woke at 2am with hunger pains so I made myself a sandwich and ate it in the dark. I need to take better care of myself today. Maybe we can all get a nice nap in this afternoon.

February 12, 2018 Day 8 – Night

Zoey had a very relaxing afternoon. She slept for 3 hours straight and she was the most relaxed that I have seen her its entire week. For a while I sat on the couch and just watched her breathing.

February 12th, 2018 Day 8 – Night

Thank you Ashley!! She’s got a full belly and after lots of snuggles she’s out cold, happy and content. Ashley came to visit and brought yummy dog food that she ate out of her hand and some pedialyte which she’s taking by syringe. Zoey adores Ashley and we are all so excited she came by!!