Sunday, February 26, 2012

Please, ENOUGH!

Arayo poses with Oswego Buffalo and February Daffodils

She seems to be healing nicely, this sweet Arayo of mine.  A month and a half after surgery, 70 staples are removed from her belly and the docs at Missouri University have taken her off the pills she has depended on for years to keep her from leaking.  Now we see if the occluder attached to the base of her bladder free us from the drugs which have always worried me for their long term effects.

We make the 5 hour journey to Columbia and Arayo spends the day in the hospital as they test various amounts of fluids in the urethral occluder to try to find just the right amount of pressure to give her control of her urine without creating a blockage.  At my cousin's that evening, Arayo shakes her head and urine splatters everywhere.  We obviously have some bugs to work out.

Daily we visit the hospital.  They put in a bit more saline and we watch to see if the dam will hold.  When I'm comfortable we've hit the perfect balance, I plan to drive back to southern Kansas, only to awake to find Arayo will not get up.  She can't get up.  Her head seems frozen to the floor and it hurts to move.  When she finally gets to her feet, she walks as though she has aged 50 years in the night.  Her step is slow and I get the sense she doesn't want to let her feet touch the ground.

Have we overfilled the occluder and her entire belly is inflamed or something?  We head back to the university for another appointment.  

Arayo is a people slut  We walk in the door and a handsome man sits between us and the reception desk.  She suddenly doesn't feel so bad.  She rushes to him, wiggles her tail and lays her big head in his lap. (Yes, this is the same dog who couldn't bend down to drink water 30 minutes ago.)   She rushes to the reception desk where she jumps up on the counter and stands on her rear feet, supporting herself with one front paw.  

Arayo had refused to pick a treat off the floor if one is dropped because it hurt too much to bend that far down.  I demonstrate this to the vet by dropping a cookie at her feet.  She immediately grabs it and looks at me for more.  (Damn dog!)  The vet palpates her belly and it is pronounced fine.

Five days ago I had mentioned to the vet that Arayo flinched when I grabbed the rear leg that the occluder port is attached to and asked them to check it.  Perhaps the port has caused an infection or something.  The news was not good.  She has apparently torn the ligament in her knee and they suggest another major surgery and 8 weeks total confinement to put the knee back together.

But the front leg is the concern today.  The vet pushes and pulls and pokes and prods.  Arayo may have a bit of arthritis in the joints but nothing major.  She hits the top of the shoulder and Arayo flinches.  Given Arayo's age and breed, the vet wants to rule out bone cancer - which, if not spread, would require amputation of the leg.

2012 isn't stacking up to be our best year - my poor sweet Arayo.

Saturday I load the Subaru and prepare to make the long drive home.  As I head Arayo to the car, she stops for a final pee.   One can never be sure about her - she's a low squatter.  The dripping seems to have totally stopped - but have we created a damn and when she's trying to go, she really isn't?

She takes position for her final pee and I swoop in, run a hand under her tail and am rewarded by the feel of a hearty stream of warm urine falling on my hand.  Only a mother would stoop to such lows, but it does my heart good to know that at least THAT is functioning properly.

In the meantime we ask for prayers and good thoughts sent this way.  I've had Arayo 7 1/2 wonderful years but I'm not ready for this ride to end.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Dreaded Diet

You exercise, girl!

I started a diet this week.  I'm notorious for doing this.  360 days a year I plan to begin.  "I'm starting a diet tomorrow," I'll proclaim, only to realize there is a perfectly good cheesecake in the fridge that I can't possibly toss, a frozen pizza that will call my name if I don't consume it, a fairly new half-gallon of milk that I don't want to waste….  So, when tomorrow comes, I have lots of reasons for putting it off a day or two.  And, with the diet looming a few days ahead, I'll buy more cereal to use up the milk, and when the milk is gone I still have this cereal that isn't on the diet……..  You get the picture.

"Since I'm beginning a diet tomorrow and I'll not eat the foods I love again for at least a year, tonight I shall splurge and have a hamburger, eat at a buffet, drink a REAL Coke and not a crummy diet one,"  I reason.    My waistline increases when I'm gearing up for a diet.

Sometimes I have to shame myself into doing what is best for me, so this week I decided I needed to become accountable to more than the dog in this venture.  (Hey, she loves me no matter what.)  So I REALLY stuck myself out there and began the community's "One Ton Weight-Loss Challenge".  The local hospital agreed to sponsor it by giving us use of a meeting room and their scales once a week, and this past Wednesday 25 people showed up, weighed in, set goals and joined me on this venture.

Thursday, day one, went well - until about 4 pm when the hardware on the doors began to look appetizing. Its not that I was starving - I just LIKE TO EAT!  

I'm determined to do this, though, and part of the plan is to drink lots of water and get into an exercise program.  Now, it has long been speculated within my family that my plumbing is more a straight shot through my body, missing those parts that filter, absorb and eventually store fluids until a convenient time for depositing them elsewhere.   Drinking 3 liters of water a day  - -  - well, lets say I AM getting lots of exercise and I'm certainly glad the house plumbing system is functioning.

Then, Thursday evening, when the couch cushions began looking like giant marshmallows which could be pretty tasty with a dousing of chocolate sauce, I headed off for a Zumba class.  With 20 sets of shoulders shaking, wastes throbbing, and keesters gyrating in impossible combinations, I took solace in the back corner of the room.  I'm not big into praying, but I did send out a heavenly memo or two that the next move wouldn't turn the entire group towards the back wall where I was standing looking like Pocahontas dropped down into central Manhattan.  This boodie isn't working like that any more, I'm afraid - but the energy level was high and people were sweet so I will return.

Weigh-in will come again this week and I AM going to succeed this time.  (I'd find a really fitting way to finish this - but the water is doing its thing to me again, and I've REALLY gotta run.......)