Live Life!

•December 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When I look back on the last year, I realize that I was actually sick months before I ended up in the emergency room.  My energy level had been practically nonexistent since about January or February.  I can remember coming home from work and being completely exhausted.  I’d take Rosco for short walks and they would do me in.  Things that normally spike my interest were no longer as interesting.

Now that I’ve recovered from surgery, my energy level is much higher.  I’ve begun doing cardio workouts again.  I’m living for January as that’s when my doctor-ordered restrictions are over.  I’m not supposed to lift over 20 pounds til then.  I may start a weight workout using light weights until I can actually go for it.  My goal is to get rid of the weight I’ve gained since I got sick.

I’m back to eating healthy again.  I actually have the energy to prepare all my meals for the week on Monday (my last day off) where I lacked the energy and stamina to do that before.  I’m already feeling the benefits of this and it feels great.

Life is good.  The one lesson this whole experience has taught me is not to listen to the doctor that blows you off or one who is quick to write prescriptions.  I’m not one to go to a doctor often.  In fact, I can think of a ton of horrid things I’d rather do before going to the doctor……or, heaven forbid, the hospital.  When I went to the doctor complaining of fatigue, she blamed it on my age and working long hours.  She prescribed me some type of medication that one would give to a narcoleptic.  I took it twice and wasn’t able to sleep at night so I tossed it.  When I complained of pain, she gave me antibiotics for what she thought it might be.  I tried to explain that it wasn’t that type of pain but resembled something else.  When the antibiotics didn’t work, the tests began.  She’d prescribe this drug or that drug.  None of them worked and the possible side effects were horrible!  I was supposed to go back for follow-up last week; but I cancelled that appointment.  I’ve already been cleared by the specialist so I don’t see the need to bother.

I’m glad to be alive again.  I didn’t realize how unalive I actually felt until recently.  Live it up and enjoy it while you can.  You only live once so don’t waste one precious moment of it!

 

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Ready, Set, Go!

•November 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Over the last year, I’ve been giving some serious thought to starting my own business.  Photography has always been a huge hobby; and I’ve managed to sell a few pictures here and there.  I began to contemplate the idea of turning it into a business.  At the beginning of the year, I had begun to research a few different options. Getting sick put everything on hold.  The drugs they had prescribed left me fuzzy-headed or dead asleep so I wasn’t very productive.

Now that I’m well, I resumed my research.  I’ve purchased a business license and have decided on what I’m going to do for sales.  Some people like pictures for their walls.  Some people like them on things like t-shirts, mugs, phone covers, etc.  I’m revamping my personal website and turning it into a business site.  I’ve signed up for a couple different sites that will sell product.  They handle shipping, returns, and collecting payment.  There are some things, though, that I will sell only on my website so that I can actually monitor those items for quality.  I’ve also spoken with a couple of businesses who have told me they would like to display my work.  They are willing to sell them onsite and, of course, I’d pay them a commission on anything they sell.

I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I should have everything up and running by the beginning of the new year.  My goal date is January 1; however, if I am ahead of schedule, I’ll be even happier.  Wish me luck!

Another Hiatus

•November 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m back after yet another short hiatus.  The last time I blogged, things were going pretty well.  Rosco and I had been walking every day and I was looking forward to hiking with him often.  We made it on a couple easy hikes when I began having pain bad enough that I didn’t think I was going to make it back to my truck.  I felt like someone was stabbing me in my abdomen; and it seemed to happen any time I did anything that got my blood pumping.  Then the pain began keeping me up all night.

At this point, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor.  After several tests, all of which came back normal, I felt like my doctor was playing a guessing game.  She put me on antibiotics, thinking there was an infection since my white blood cell count was elevated.  That seemed to work…for about a week.  Then the pain came back with a vengeance.  It kept me up constantly at night…almost every night.  I was exhausted all the time.  Doing anything at all made the pain kick in.  It was becoming more constant.  By the end of July, it was never-ending.

By mid-August, I was in the emergency room.  I have a high pain tolerance so by the time I hit the emergency room, I could barely walk.  They ran more tests.  They shot me up with Toradol, and the pain was gone.  I felt human again.  They sent me home with vicodin and told me to start taking it about the time the Toradol would wear off.  I was told to go back to my doctor for follow up and referred to a specialist.

In two days, when it was time for my follow-up appointment, the Toradol had worn off.  The vicodin wasn’t putting a dent in the pain that had returned.  She agreed with my seeing a specialist and called to make the appointment herself.  In the meantime, she had prescribed a different pain killer.  We went through a few different ones by the time I hit the specialist’s office, none of which were working.

A week later, I saw a specialist and was given the option of surgery.  She was going to give me a couple days to think about it; and I told her I didn’t need a couple days and that I wanted it done as soon as possible.  I had surgery the following week.  That was the first of September.  While I’m not 100% healed up, I feel a damn side better than I did a few months ago.

I lost my whole summer.  Poor Rosco was stuck at home with me while I recovered.  Now, I can lift him into his wheelchair and it’s time to start walking again.  I’m looking forward to that.  I’m looking forward to working out again and being healthy again.  When you’re stuck basically having to be still for 5 months, you end up gaining weight no matter what.  I feel “squishy” which I don’t like so working out will fix that too.  Things are finally looking up!

It’s Been a Year Already!

•May 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Today marks the one year anniversary of Rosco’s paralysis.  I remember the day it happened as though it were yesterday.  In a matter of seconds, our lives would change drastically.  We have both adapted well to such a dramatic turn of events.  We have also learned a lot along the way.

Rosco has learned that when I put his harness on, we are going for a ride in the truck.  He has learned that I have to move my truck closer to the door and then I’ll come back and load him up.  He also watches to see if his wheelchair goes in the back of the truck.  That means we’re going for a walk or hike somewhere.  He has learned that when he flips himself over in his wheelchair (which doesn’t happen often) I’ll be there to help him up.  He has learned to upright his front half while I upright his back half.  He has learned that when I say, “I’ve got ya”, that I’m supporting him in some way so that we can proceed with whatever it is we are doing.  He has learned that when I count to three that we go on three, whether it’s jumping into the truck or crossing the street.

Rosco 20170311 3026_

I have learned more about dog anatomy than I ever thought I’d need to know.  I have to assist him with his bodily functions since he has no muscle control in his lower back and back legs.  I’ve learned about bladder infections and bowel infections.  I’ve learned to notice the smell of blood when a bowel infection begins.  I’ve learned to better read his cues when he lets me know he’s hungry or distressed or simply wanting to go sleep on mama’s bed.  I have learned to have much more patience than I’ve ever needed.  I’ve also learned that my dog now trusts me and depends on me more than ever.

Hiking isn’t as simple as it used to be.  Now I have to make sure the trails are wide enough and not rough enough to turn his wheelchair over.  We can’t simply cross streams or rocky terrain any more.  Whenever I plan a hike, I basically have to make sure it’s wheelchair accessible so I know Rosco can make it.

rosco-walk

We’ve been walking every day again.  We’re now up to two miles a day.  He loves walking in the neighborhood and the kids always come up to pet him and ask questions.  When we walk on the shared access trails around town, people have mixed reactions.  Some people look at Rosco as if he’s some freak and have actually made comments about how he’s disgusting when they see he wears a doggie diaper.  Others come up to pet him, ask what happened and say how lucky he is.  They are the ones who take a moment to meet him and remark about what a good dog he is and how he seems very happy.  I often think the former group of people probably respond to disabled people in much the same way they respond to Rosco.  Some people have told me I’m crazy or overly attached to do the things I do for him.

It has been a little bit of a rough year, learning all the things we had to learn; but we have both learned quite a bit.  We are both very happy and that’s what matters most.

 

Third Date

•May 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

He made it to the third date.  Surely this must be a good sign.  Most men don’t make it past the second date, if you can even call it a date.  Dates, for some reason, seem to consist of  a guy trying to get you to sleep with him nowadays.  Getting to know you isn’t high on the list of priorities any more….at least not with what I keep running into here.  But this time, the third date was coming up after work.

The last two weren’t very interesting so here’s to hoping things will improve.  The last two dates consisted of playing Yahtzee at his kitchen table and listening to him talk about himself–his accomplishments in his hometown, how he was a basketball star in high school, how he recently lost his mother and listening to him read the eulogy he wrote at her funeral, how much money he’s made, his higher-than-average IQ, etc.  I hoped for a more two-way conversation and attributed his chattiness as a bit of nervousness combined with feeling as though he had to impress me immeasurably.

We had a crazy snowstorm that day while I was at work.  The roads were a mess and there were accidents everywhere.  I called him to let him know that I was almost home as I had to tend to my dog before I came over.  I explained to him that the roads were horrible and it was pretty slow-going.  He said that was fine and to drive safely.  I told him I’d give him a ring when I was on my way so he’d know to watch for me.  I made it home and took care of the dog, tending to him and making his dinner.  I then called to say I was on my way.  He said he was patiently waiting for his “beautiful queen bee”.  I chuckled and said I’d see him soon.

When I arrived, the door was unlocked so I walked in as I normally did.  I had taken off my coat and set my purse down and began untying my shoes.  As I slipped off my shoes, he looked in my direction with a sneer and angrily spit the words, “You’re late.”  I was caught off guard with his reaction and calmly stated that he knew I was going to be late.  “I’ve never started a date this late EVER!!!”, he spat at me.  I then explained that I didn’t consider this a real date since we weren’t going anywhere and that the road conditions were out of my control.  I then calmly but simply said, “I can go home if you prefer” and picked up my coat while slipping back into my shoes.

His demeanor suddenly changed and he asked me to stay.  He apologized for being so short with me and then stated he had been waiting for me since 3:30 that afternoon.  I reminded him that I was at work and that he knew I didn’t get off work until 5:30.  He said he didn’t like being made to wait for hours.  I again, calmly, stated that I’d just go home and we could discuss this tomorrow.  He took my coat and set it on the chair and began to hug me, telling me he didn’t want me to leave and that we are going to start fresh.  Once again, we sat and played a couple games of Yahtzee and I was subjected to the occasional lecture on the importance of not keeping someone like him waiting because he could have made other plans with any number of women who would give anything to be in my place right now.

By now, I’ve had about all I can take.  I had originally planned to stay a little later; but at this point, I decided it was time to go home.  (He had also taken the time to explain to me that I’m not as pretty as the women he typically dates and that he typically dates women with “model” figures. )  After the second game ended, I announced that it was time I get home as I had to work in the morning and it was going to take longer than normal to get home due to the road conditions.  He seemed a little disappointed, but said he understood.  He kissed me good night and went to watch TV on the couch.  I detected a bit of anger, but wasn’t going to feed it.  I put on my shoes and coat and went home.

By the time I got to my house, he had tried calling several times and then began texting.  I didn’t bother reading his text until I got home where I could safely read them.  He accused me of treating him worse than he’d ever been treated and that he doesn’t put up with that.  He wished me good luck and said I wasn’t a nice person, accused me of having better offers and have a nice life.

His text infuriated me.  How dare he accuse me of treating him so poorly?  How dare he take the tone of voice he took with me earlier in the evening?  How DARE he!!!  I texted him back and told him that I have explained to him before that I have little to no time during the week because I work 10-hour days, have to tend to my dog (he’s paralyzed), prepare lunch for the next work day, lay out my clothes, try to grab dinner (if I have time), shower and get to bed by 9pm so I can get up at 4:30am to start all over again.  I told him I made an effort to make time for him and that the road conditions were beyond my control and that if THAT made me a bad person in his eyes, then I’m sorry for him.  I wished him luck and said that I know he has far better choices than me, since he has made it a point to remind me of that “fact”.  I told him I’m sorry that he feels the way he does but I accept it and wished him well.  He texted me back to re-iterate what he had said and I refused to answer.  I shut the ringer off and went to bed.

When I awoke, he had texted during the night saying he wanted to talk tomorrow because he didn’t want things to end the way they did and that he missed me.  I didn’t answer.  He continued to text and call every day for at least two weeks.  The last text I received from him stated that “once again” I wasn’t answering his calls.  It made me laugh because I hadn’t answered a phone call since the night he went Sybil on me.  I texted him back to inform him that he drinks too much which makes him volatile and that I don’t need volatile people in my life nor do I wish to have a relationship with that type of person.  I told him I didn’t appreciate that he expected me to date him exclusively while he did what/whoever he wanted.  I told him that he was a classic example an abuser and I wasn’t interested in that type of relationship either.  I ended it with, “I deserve MUCH better than that.”  He asked me to call him.  I didn’t respond.

He has tried to call a few times since only to find that I will not ever answer.  I thought I might have to change my number; but the calls have stopped.  I’m sure he’s found himself a new victim to terrorize.  That’s what he needs: a victim.  I’m a survivor and survivors have a whole different mindset.

 

Friday Night Adventure

•April 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My biggest hobby is photography.  I love to shoot the northern lights but also shoot landscapes and wildlife.  Last Friday, the northern lights were going to be very active.  The predicted light show was going to be amazing, and I wasn’t about to miss out!  I had taken the week off work since it was my birthday so I was rested and ready.

I loaded up my camera bag, made sure my batteries were charged, fueled up my truck, gathered my many layers of clothing in case the weather got colder (or windier) than expected, and off I went for a night full of excitement.  I get pretty excited when the lights are very active.  One might say I’m like a child because I’m always in awe when watching the lights and taking pictures.

I decided that this would be a good night to go out to the nature center to take my photos.  I like to find different spots so I can have a variety of foregrounds.  It’s also quite dark there – something that’s a basic necessity to avoid light pollution from the city lights.  As I drove the road leading to the nature center, I realized it had been a number of years since I had been there.  The road was now wider and there were nice large turnouts to park in.  I found one near the river and decided to park there.

I surveyed the area and chose the perfect spot in my turnout.  The river was about 30 feet away from me.  Beyond the river were the mountains reached toward the sky.  This would be a beautiful foreground for a picture.  The northern lights would cut across the night sky just over the mountains and reflect off the river.  “Perfect,” I thought to myself as I backed my truck up.  I like to park my truck in such a way that headlights from oncoming traffic won’t interfere with my picture-taking process.  It also helps hide that I’m a small woman out in the dark alone.  Even though I am armed, I prefer not to invite possible trouble.

I set up my camera and tripod and took a couple of test shots to make sure my exposure and settings were just right.  It was now time to wait for the show.  As I was waiting, I leaned up against my truck to watch the sky and listen to the sounds of the night.  The stars were bright and beautiful.  Without the city lights, you could see millions of them.  I could hear the river gurgling away even though it was still partly covered by ice.  The owls were hooting in the distance.  I remember thinking how peaceful and beautiful the night is.  I decided to light a cigarette and relaxed against the truck again, taking it all in.

I heard a “kerploop” in the river.  “What the heck is that?” I thought to myself.  I decided it must have been a chunk of ice falling into the water and went back to losing myself in the beauty and stillness…….and then I heard it again, and again, again, and realized it was moving past the back of my truck.  Listening to it, I could tell it wasn’t a moose moving through the water.  There wasn’t enough splash to the “kerploop” noise I was hearing.

I always carry a small flashlight on me so I can see the back of my camera to adjust settings if need be.  I decided to flash it toward the river.  The light was too weak and the darkness too thick for it to do me any good.  About that time, I heard the river traveler leave the river and go into the brush and trees to my left, still about only 40 feet away from me.  Quiet……whatever I heard was now just in the brush and trees, no longer moving.  I opened the door of my truck and picked up my large flashlight and shined it in the direction of the brush.  Still, I couldn’t see anything but brush and trees.  Then I heard a stirring over there.  Whatever it was wasn’t walking.  It seemed like maybe it was looking at my light.  I strained to see but nothing still.

Then I heard it.  That wuffing sound.  It’s a warning sound.  From a bear.  Knowing that a bear can clear 40 feet faster than I could get into my truck, I heeded the warning.  I grabbed my camera, tripod and all, shoved it in the front seat of my truck, and climbed in right over it.  I wasn’t going to chance shutting the door and walking around to the driver’s side.  I pulled the door shut behind me and stood in a contortionist position so I was able to shorten the legs on the tripod and climb over to the driver’s seat.

Good thing I have a healthy heart because I could feel it pounding so hard that I was sure it was going to jump right out of my chest.  I decided now would be a good time to vacate the area and find a new spot, hoping the lights wouldn’t come out before I settled again.  I ended up driving an hour north and found a turnout near another river.  There are bears in this area as well, but they tend to be on the wooded side of the road and are normally up higher.  This river was below me and is much wider so the chances of a bear coming up the bank would be slim to none.  Knik River Lights 20170419 3338_

It ended up being a good thing, that bear running me out of the first spot.  The lights were low on the horizon that night and the mountains would have most likely blocked most of my view.  I still got a few good shots and was much more relaxed there!

Knik River Lights 20170419 3254_

Cheers to living in Alaska and all the excitement that goes with it!

Hiatus is Over

•April 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It seems like the older I get, the faster time seems to fly.  I kept meaning to sit down and write something and kept saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”  Problem is, you keep saying that and “tomorrow” never comes.

I’m turning 50 this year.  Part of me dreads that I’m going to be that old.  Part of me says I should be thankful I’ve made it this far.  Part of me says there’s no way I can be 50 because I don’t feel like it.  People tell me I don’t look 50 so I’d like to believe I don’t look my age; however, I look in the mirror and think I look old or have days where I feel much older.  Everyone wants to make a big deal about it being the big five-O; but I’d rather just let it slide by without notice.  I took the week off work so I could sort of “vanish” around my birthday.  I’ll probably spend it alone with my dog out in the middle of nowhere taking pictures of whatever I can find.

Now that I’m basically halfway through life, I can’t help but wonder just how much time I have left.  I’ve had thoughts where I wonder just what my purpose in life is, aside from taking care of my paralyzed dog and working all the time.  I can’t seem to find a decent man who is worth putting forth the effort for a relationship so I’ve given up on that all together.  I’ve been on my own from the age of 17 and figure if I haven’t found anyone in that amount of time, then I probably never will.  So I choose to enjoy my life by myself even if it means little bouts of slight depression here and there.  Being alone all the time does tend to get to a person.

One thing I have learned about myself is I am now at that age where I have no problem deciding who I don’t want around me or in my life.  At one time, I would be more concerned about someone thinking I was mean if I didn’t remain friends, keep in touch, or put up with drama that they were dropping on my doorstep.  Now, if I don’t want to be friends with someone, I just don’t remain friends with that person.  I choose to keep in touch with those whom I consider close friends or family.  And, as for the drama, I have no problem sending someone packing now–bring me drama, watch me walk away and not look back.

Over all, I’m basically happy with my life as it is.  I still think it would be nice to have someone with whom to share things; however, I’m not going to wait around for him.  I’m going to enjoy my life to the best of my ability and do the things I want to do.  I’m concentrating a lot on my photography and the photography classes for which I’ve signed up.  I spend a lot of time with my dog as he’s older now, and I suspect the paralysis will probably shorten his lifespan.  I decided we’re going to make the best of what time we have left.

I’m going to make more of an effort to blog more consistently.  I’ve set a goal to try to write something at least once a week – no matter the subject.  So look out world……..here I come!