Maturing Husky

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Since I’ve had to return to my wheelchair, with my foot and shoulder injuries, I’ve had time to work on obedience training with my Siberian Husky.

She will be 2 and a half this July. She’s good with following commands while on her leash (as per her training), but off leash, in the yard or in the house she’s been headstrong and defiant.

We’ve been working on “pick it up” and “bring it.” She’s pretty consistent with “give it to momma.” She’s been terribly defiant about recall out in the yard, especially with my husband, but we’ve been working on it and she’s probably 75% consistent with me now.

We’ve completely eliminated the biting and scratching when I get on the floor with her or sit in the grass with her. She snuggles, lies down against me instead.

I see a lot of maturity in her. They typically say with a husky, you see a lot of calming between 2 and 3 years old. She’s certainly proving that to be true. Our bond has increased over the last couple of months. She surprised me when I got my manual wheelchair out, as she was not the least bit frightened of it or uncomfortable around it. When we took her to Lowe’s with us I used a mart cart and she walked along beside me comfortably, not the least bit frightened by it, as if she’d been doing it her whole life.

I’m so proud of her. Proud of the mature dog she’s becoming. She’s even beginning to sleep with us, rather than spending the whole night in her kennel. In the morning she gets on the bed with me while my husband is getting ready for work, he puts her back in when he leaves, then about an hour later I let her out to spend the last hour or so with me in bed. This morning she cried when it got light out to get out of her crate and get in bed with us.

She has really become a comfort. I miss walking her, that was my zen time, to be out walking in the neighborhood. I sometimes feel like I’m letting her down. So glad I have her.

Changes

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A lot has happened since my last posts.

January 31 my mother-in-law succumbed to cancer. He helped his sister clean out the apartment so they wouldn’t get charged another month’s rent and after picking up his share of her ashes and the division of the money she’d left for them, he’s not had any further contact with his sister. He’d told her that once his mother was gone there would be no further relationship, he was done.

The fall I’d taken in December affected me for more than a month and a half, affecting one hip, then both, then the other. The pain in my left hip lasted the longest and made continuing to walk my dog almost impossible. I pushed through. I spent most of my time with a heating pad on my hip.

The pain in my shoulders has fluctuated. The shot I was given a year ago in August really helped my right shoulder. The pain I’d reported to the Orthopedist at that time in my left shoulder has steadily increased. My doctor and a Physician’s Assistant in her office have injected the left shoulder twice since then, and administered a round of steroids (having to stop one of my pain meds to avoid a reaction) to no avail. The pain is so bad I can’t sleep, can hardly use my arm. I’m having dexterity issues with my left hand, pain in my elbow and down the back of my bicep.

In March, after the snow melted, I stepped in a hole in our backyard and twisted the front half of my right foot. I started having pain under my pinky toe, on the ball of my foot, accompanied by a lump. Over a couple of weeks as the pain increased and moved down the outside of my right foot, the lump went away and it became horribly painful to wear a shoe. I walked on it for 3 weeks before it was so bad I could hardly stand to wear a sock. I went to the convenient care facility and had x-rays. The doctor didn’t even touch me, looked at the x-ray and said there was no evidence of a broken bone, but he suspected a fifth metatarsal break, apparently hard to identify on x-rays. He prescribed rest, ice, a compression brace and elevation (R.I.C.E). He said if it weren’t better in a week I should see an orthopedic doctor.

After a week with no improvement I asked for a referral and my doctor refused saying I could see a physician’s assistant in her office with ortho experience. He prescribed a “boot” and told me to only take it off to shower and sleep, to elevate, rest it as much as possible for 3 weeks and return for a follow up. The boot made it hurt even worse, putting pressure on the outside of my foot where the pain was, not to mention causing a lot of pain in my lumbar spine and knees because it made me walk uneven. When I went back, I was finally referred to orthopedics. Orthopedics took me out of the boot, put me in a hard-soled shoe. It causes pain and pressure in the same spot the boot did. I’m to continue resting it, elevating it and try walking short distances to help my mental health state, as I’m battling deep depression as a result of not being able to walk, putting weight on, feeling useless.

The recent orthopedist suggested talking to my insurance company to see if since I’m now his patient for my foot, if I can see him for my shoulder without a referral. Making that call Tuesday.

I have an appointment with my personal care physician this coming Friday. I’m hoping to update her and impress upon her the need to get this intolerable pain under control.

On a brighter note… my husband and I took down our raised bed gardens (I did what I could while using my manual wheelchair so as not to further aggravate my shoulder, foot, back), planted grass seed. We took down the pine trees that had overgrown the front stairs and a dead tree. We put some flowers and a bird bath in their place. We replaced the broken lattice around our deck with white plastic lattice which really made the outside of the house look a lot cleaner. We ordered a new backdoor to replace the current one that’s rusted and deteriorating.

I’m trying really hard to keep moving, regardless of/despite the pain. I’m trying to look forward to the holiday season quickly approaching, as the year will soon be half over. Now that my front porch is more visible from the street I’m thinking about how I’ll decorate for Autumn, Halloween and Christmas. I’m looking for anything to think about, to focus on, that can help stave off the depression I feel overtaking me.

It might seem silly to describe all these physical issues, the pain, the depression, then to talk about holiday decorating, but any thing that can distract my mind from what I’m dealing with, is a good thing.

Chronic Pain – My Truth

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I’ve seen some friends with chronic illnesses sharing how isolating it can be, how even family and friends don’t understand, get angry because they aren’t able to participate like others think they should, think they are too negative or looking for attention.

I wanted to share my truth, hopefully clear up some misconceptions.

If I tell you I’m just not up for doing something, I’m not snubbing you, I didn’t sleep the night before because I was up and down all night changing positions, trying to get comfortable, struggling to find sleep through the pain.

If I tell you I can’t meet you early in the morning, I’m not trying to get you to change your plans, or get things my way, it’s because getting out of bed, getting dressed and toileting are painful and difficult. These tasks require adaptations and a little more time. I’m tired from not sleeping and the pain is often worse first thing in the morning.

If you plan something or want me to meet you someplace and I tell you I can’t it’s not because I don’t want to spend time with you, it’s likely because of the distance I would have to walk, steps I would have to climb, lack of easy access to a restroom (on ground level), length of car ride to get there, etc.

If I’m in a sour mood, emotional, quick to anger, it likely has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with my pain level, the frustration my pain causes me when I can’t do the things I would like to. Chronic pain takes a lot of energy, mentally and physically, to cope with. It makes everything more difficult and draining.

If I’m forgetful, can’t remember something we just talked about, interrupt you when you’re talking, or repeat the same things over and over, it’s not because I don’t think you or what you are saying is important or that what I’m thinking or saying is more important, it’s because I have brain fog from the pain, the medications, depression. It’s hard to focus because I’m thinking steps ahead of myself, preparing for how I’ll do something, or I simply can’t remember.

If I talk about the pain, how I’m feeling, it’s not because I’m looking for attention, it’s because I want you to understand why I’m not able to do something, or not reacting as you’d expect. I’m worried about how my situation will inconvenience other people.

If I have a relatively good day and I try to accomplish as much as I can, it’s not because I have no pain or am faking otherwise, it’s because I don’t know when I’ll feel up to it again and try to take advantage of the opportunity. I know I’ll pay for it for days afterwards, but I’m trying desperately to hold on to some sense of purpose, contribution, accomplishment.

I push myself because I’m terrified of losing what mobility and ability I currently have. I’m afraid of the pain keeping me from “living,” only existing, being a burden on those I love. Please don’t tell me if I were only more positive, if I didn’t think or talk about the pain or diagnoses, if I’d get up and move more, I’d feel better, be able to do more. That’s not true, it’s dismissive. That’s more about your discomfort hearing about what I’m dealing with than it is about what would or wouldn’t help me.

We never know what others are dealing with, we don’t know what they might be struggling with, or going through. Be kind, keep your opinions to yourself. Instead of making diagnoses or suggesting treatment for something you don’t understand, instead of making it about you and how my illness inconveniences you, try to be patient, empathetic, show a little compassion. I don’t want your pity, that’s worse than being dismissive, I just want your understanding.

I hope this helps someone understand a person in their life who may be suffering with a chronic illness.

Who the Hell Are You?

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I’ve tried hard to avoid politics on my blog, but I really need to work through some feelings that have to do with politics.

My husband and I supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the last two election cycles. We donated to his campaign, a first for both of us. We never felt a politician, before his candidacy, represented us, our values. We hadn’t really ever discussed politics with anyone other than our closest of friends.

My family never talked politics. I have no idea whether or not any of them even voted. My husband’s family seemed to be Republican, from what little they had to say, but again, it was never really discussed. Occasionally his mother would comment on a particular issue, usually something concerning seniors, but otherwise the subject wasn’t really brought up.

Being on Facebook, we reconnected with some distant family members, classmates, met some new people who were like-minded and shared our interests.

I have to say, the worst thing about social media and reconnecting is that you find out things about people you’d rather not know. I liked it much better when I didn’t know the political leanings of old friends, family members. I’ve really been stunned by the things some folks have revealed about themselves and their thought processes.

Throughout my childhood, growing up, I spent a great deal of time watching adults, family members, representing themselves in one way, but behaving in a way completely contrary to the facade they put forth.

As an adult, I’ve tried to be consistent in my values, behavior, I don’t always succeed, but I try hard. The environment I grew up in definitely shaped my values, though not to follow those of my family, but to strive to be more genuine, even if it’s not popular.

I would describe myself as a pacifist, not comfortable with conflict, violence. I try to be the mediator, to be diplomatic. I try to avoid name calling, personal attacks. I prefer to talk about things, listen to one another, rather than fighting and hurting feelings. I really do try to hear other people, learn from them. I’m anti-gun, anti-hunting, pro-life (as a personal choice but not to impose on others). I have strong opinions, as one might imagine. Never being allowed to have an opinion, or to express it, while growing up, made that a priority in figuring out who I am, who I want to be.

I’m not a religious person, having had bad experiences with religion and religious people. Too many contradictions, too much hypocrisy in the experiences I had.

This bring us to politics… I have family members, friends, former classmates, who feel the need to profess their religiosity on a regular basis. They claim their faith shapes who they are, their beliefs, the choices they make, their political stances.

I have a lot of friends and family who are Republicans, conservative, evangelical Christians. I don’t have a problem with that, people can believe what they want, everyone has their own reasons for their political leanings. Recently I learned that a lot of those friends and family members were/are Trump supporters. They believe all the misinformation that’s been promoted by the former President and other Republican politicians. They honestly believe that Democrats, liberals are all hateful people with one goal, to strip them of their rights, to gain power at any cost, to take their guns, to prevent them from practicing their religion, etc. Even though there is no actual evidence of any of those things. Even in the face of what the former President and his most vocal and ardent followers just did in trying to alter the election results, storming the capitol building to prevent the electoral college votes from being certified by congress, they refuse to see those things, to acknowledge the truth.

When Joe Biden, whom I’d not supported, signed an executive order ceasing the Keystone XL pipeline, (a decision I whole heartedly support) my cousins began posting that Christians should “pray for the pipeline.” They started to complain that it meant jobs would be lost, jobs we need, we as in Pennsylvanians. They didn’t even understand that the Keystone pipeline didn’t reference the “Keystone state”, they didn’t know where it was even located, just that if a Democrat wanted to end it it was an attack on working people. They didn’t relent even when people told them it runs through Montana and the Dakotas, on sacred Sioux lands, that it has leaked 21 times in 9 years, the most recent a 383,000 gallon leak in wetlands. There was justification for halting the project. To them, the jobs outweighed the environmental damage.

To these folks, Covid-19 is a hoax, a plot by Democrats to take over control of everything, to manipulate and control the populous, to make us dependent on the government. Anyone who is scared by the virus, who follows mitigation protocols is stupid, being a sheep, willingly being controlled. Those of us who’ve followed social distancing guidelines, wear masks, refuse to gather in groups, we’re destroying everything for everyone else. We destroyed thanksgiving, christmas, are preventing others from going out to eat, going to a bar, enjoying their lives. Even those of us they know have had Covid-19 are looked upon as just being scared by everything, living in fear, making a bigger deal of it than necessary. We are somehow complicit with the Democratic plot to destroy the country.

These same people profess to be pro-life, but don’t seem to value the lives of even their family members when it comes to Covid. I had one family member actually say they were not required to sacrifice anything for anyone else, not for me, for a friend, no one.

All the Christian posts, the memes about prayer, about God and country, but they can’t be asked to unite for their fellow human beings, for their family members, friends in a time of crisis?

One of my cousins has all but stopped talking to myself and our Aunt. They can’t be bothered to interact online, even when called, it’s like pulling teeth to have a conversation.

I don’t understand how one reconciles Christian beliefs with a lot of the things they’re supporting, positions they are taking. They don’t see the hypocrisy. They don’t see the contradictions. They don’t seem to feel any remorse at the loss of relationships with family members, friends, over political views.

Who are these people? I honestly don’t recognize them.

Life Is Throwing Curve Balls

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My husband is finally recovered from Covid related pneumonia, my son is feeling only the fatigue of Covid-19 as his other symptoms have subsided. My symptoms are still coming in waves, but much less intense each time.

Unfortunately, right after my husband came home from the hospital we had a huge snow storm. 24 inches of snow in about 12 hours. He was too weak and still dealing with pneumonia, so I had to take care of shoveling, making sure the deck and ramp were cleared, the front sidewalk was passable and dig out around the car in case we had an emergency. I fell in the snow, in our yard, on my butt, hard. Trying to get up I fell on my face. I ended up crawling to the swing where I’d cleared the snow so I could get up. Ever since then I’ve been having intense pain, first in my right hip, then both, now the left only. It’s nerve pain, like my sciatic is pinched, radiating pain through my butt cheek, in my hip, down my thigh and knee. I’ve been using a heating pad since the fall, so I could loosen it up enough to walk my dog a couple times a day, get around in my house.

My husband had an EMG test on his right arm, as he’d been having wrist pain and elbow pain for a while. Turns out he has a pinched nerve in his elbow and carpel tunnel in his wrist, both of which need operated on.

The hospital bills are just starting to come in from his 2 Emergency Room visits and his 5.5 days in the hospital. Who knows how much that will end up being.

He just found out, about a week ago, that his mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer, a cancerous spot on her liver and bone cancer in her coccyx bone. The cancer is why she’s had pain in her hip for months now. Her cancer is inoperable. She also was diagnosed with pneumonia, but tested negative for Covid-19.

His sister contacted him and caused us both an anxiety attack, as she broke the news about the cancer. She contacted him a few days later (his mother wanted to be home) asking him to call her and see if he could talk some sense into his mom as she wasn’t eating or taking her insulin. He tried to do so, but she was in so much pain, she could do little more than moan into the phone. He told his sister they needed to get her back to the hospital, she growled into the phone and handed it off to his mother’s friend “S”. S told him they were trying to get her up to see if she could walk to the car and he demanded they get an ambulance. If she’s in that much pain, don’t try to make her walk, for crying out loud. S used this opportunity to scold him about his lack of a relationship with his sister, told him it was “killing” his mom knowing they weren’t talking and he should put hurt feelings aside for her. Really?! Using his mother’s situation to try to manipulate and guilt him into letting his sister back into his life to abuse him some more?

She went to the hospital and her pain medication was regulated. She was doing much better and wanted to come home. He couldn’t see her while in the hospital because of Covid policies and his sister was designated her “support person” and each patient can only have one support person.

Hospice said they had to have a hospital bed, side table and bedside toilet in place before she could be released. Hospice nurses will visit 2 times a week. His sister is on leave of absense from work, having taken their mother to her doctor appointments and looking after her at home. S had also tried to play on his sympathy telling him his sister had been doing all this alone, was doing everything and was doing her best. Whose fault is that? Once again, they didn’t bring him into the loop, didn’t tell him how bad things were, didn’t reach out to him to ask for help. Even when he asked his mom if she had rides to appointments, she said yeah, she had it covered. His sister was “doing it all on her own” because she didn’t reach out to him, let him know what was going on, give him an opportunity to help.

The other day she texted him asking if he could come do some overnights with their mom, as since coming home she required around the clock supervision/care and his sister can have a break. She asked if they could do 3, 3 and 1. Meaning she would do 3 nights, my husband would do 3 nights and her youngest daughter would do 1 night. He agreed to that. He asked her what hours she was talking about, they agreed on 7pm – 7am. She was also interviewing a lady to come take some day time hours with their mom, someone who was a retired nurse.

She contacted him again asking if he could help pay this nurse. She was to make $10 an hour. He explained to her that was impossible, as he’s been on unemployment compensation for nearly 6 months, having had his hours cut to 20 per week, then been off work on medical with covid-19 and then pneumonia. He explained he has bills for 2 Emergency room visist and 5 days in the hospital with numerous tests and specialists starting to come in that we don’t know how we’re going to pay.

We asked if she was getting things underway with Medicaid and the Area Office of Aging, to get attendant care in place, she said that hospice was taking care of all of that.

Tonight was to be his first night at his mom’s. This morning his sister texted him asking if he could come a couple hours earlier as she really needed a break. He told her he would this time, but only because he wants to see his mom.

He’s been hesitant about getting involved, since his sister is power of attorney and had not included him in any of what was going on. He didn’t want her to think if he did this that they were going to have a relationship again, that everything was okay between them. He didn’t want there to be any arguing in front of their mother, didn’t want to be pressured about their relationship because the people who’ve criticized him for it have only had one side of the story and shut him down if he tried to explain why he didn’t want to allow her in his life anymore.

I understand his mom needs help right now, but not to sound petty or selfish, I’m in a very painful, debilitating situation with my back right now. I depend on him to take care of night walks with our dog, taking her out before bed. I feel safe with him being home with us at night, we’ll be stranded without a car should anything happen while he’s there, as we only have one vehicle. His sister didn’t bother to ask if I and our son were okay. She didn’t consider, at all, that he might be needed at home.

Had they been practical about the situation, his mother would have gone into hospice care through the hospital until attendant care was set up at home, then brought her home. The family can’t afford to pay this nurse to come in, as 10 hours a week would cost $100. None of us have that. 10 hours a week would hardly be worth the effort, as her friends in her building are looking in on her throughout the day.

He let me know he got there tonight and just texted me to tell me his sister already apologized for being late tomorrow morning. We knew she’d take advantage and do that when she grumbled about him only wanting to cover a 12 hour shift overnight.

It’s all such a shame, that things are like they are. His sister has lied and taken advantage of him so many times, only to play the victim with his mother, interfere in our relationships with his mother and our nieces. Obviously even her mother’s neighbor and friend has been told one side of the story and feels entitled to condemn him for the relationship.

He’s made the decision that he just wants to walk away once he loses his mother. He doesn’t want to be subject to his sister’s lies and nonsense any longer. The other night he was sitting here watching TV when he suddenly said, “you know, when my sister isn’t part of our lives things are so much more relaxed, we have so much less stress, drama and anxiety, but whenever she’s involved it’s nonstop problems, misunderstandings, accusations and nonsense.”

I’m really concerned about his emotional and mental well-being, having to be exposed to his sister like this. She’s got people around her mother convinced she’s been victimized by us, that we’ve been the bad guys, because we don’t allow her to be abusive to us or our son. He has a habit of going along with pressure from them, just to keep from rocking the boat. He is always all about just letting them treat him however they want just so he doesn’t get blamed for things, even though he always does anyway.

House Full of Covid

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Our household is recovering from Covid-19.

We followed all the protocols, wore masks when outside our home, hand washed/sanitized, social distanced in public places. We didn’t visit friends or family, were so very careful.

I initially had symptoms almost 2 weeks after an eye appointment, one where the doctor made me take my mask off because it was fogging up the lenses in his equipment. He fogged them up from his side so he also took his mask off. (I’ve since learned that a number of people became infected who’d visited that office.)

At first I had light headedness, some dizziness and initially thought it was a reaction to my new eye prescription. Sometimes when I get a new prescription I have trouble adjusting to the trifocals. One evening I had a light cough and I’d noticed when I was out walking I had trouble catching my breath. In bed, I couldn’t lie on my back because I couldn’t get a full lung full of air.

Within 3 days of the initial symptoms I was having chills, sweats, a scratchy throat, a severe headache and nausea. I never recorded a temperature. I began to have diarrhea and was so tired I could hardly do anything without lying down, closing my eyes. I never lost smell or taste, but did experience phantom smells. A Covid test was ordered, but my doctor told my husband she could almost guarantee I didn’t have Covid.

A couple days later, my husband started to have a cough. He was having more and more trouble catching his breath, and within 3 days he couldn’t speak 2 consecutive words without gasping for air, coughing violently. I sent him to the ER. He was given a rapid test and it was determined he was positive for Covid and had pneumonia. His blood oxygen saturation level was 71%. They admitted him and put him on oxygen.

At about the same time my husband was admitted to the hospital our son began to have a terrible sounding cough, a runny nose, scratchy throat and fatigue.

My husband had been in the hospital for 3 days when I got the call that my Covid test was positive. We asked to have our son tested and they denied that request, telling us tests are finite, it’s almost guaranteed he’s positive, living with two positive parents.

Once I’d had my test we’d quarantined me from the family, all wore masks in the house, my husband slept in a different bedroom and used a different bathroom, but those efforts were obviously too late.

My husband was in the hospital for five and a half days, on oxygen until the night of the fifth day, as they tried to see what his blood oxygen saturation level was on room air, without oxygen. He had 5 doses of Remdesivir, was on antibiotics, steroids and pearls. When he came home he had an emergency inhaler, steroids and was eventually given pearls for use at home.

My son and I were directed to take tylenol, drink lots of water, and if necessary use over the counter cough medicine for coughing. We were told if we started having trouble breathing to get to the ER, but otherwise, let it run it’s course.

Our family physician did a tele-visit and did the math with us recently, letting us know we are no longer contagious, but should continue to mask, wash our hands, and social distance when outside the home.

All 3 of us had different symptoms, different combinations of symptoms. Our son’s symptoms are nearly gone, my husband is doing breathing exercises at home to increase his lung capacity and prevent the pneumonia from settling in the back of his lungs, walking more to build up stamina so he can return to work in 2 weeks. My symptoms have come in waves, they are intense for 2-3 days, then subside for a few days, then return again. As time goes by they are less intense with each new wave, but I’m still dealing with dizziness, nausea, diarrhea. I’ve not escaped the fatigue yet, I’m hopeful that will come soon.

While I was sick, as my husband was in the hospital, I had to continue to keep the house running, cook the meals, figure out how to get groceries, pay bills, etc., while quarantined. I was pleased to discover that a lot of our neighbors and friends volunteered to help us out, deliver groceries, help us out.

When my husband came home, we had a huge snow storm. I couldn’t find anyone to shovel sidewalks or our parking area, so I did that over the course of two days. I seriously hurt my back. I’m suffering terribly still. I needed us to be able to get out, should my husband need to go back to the ER, should I need an ambulance to pick him up, etc. I really had no choice, but to push through the pain and do what I could to dig us out from under 24″ of snow.

We’ve got family, both my husband and I, who refuse to wear masks, who complain that their rights are being taken away, their freedoms stripped, who post things on Facebook about how if you think people who won’t wear masks don’t care about anyone but themselves, YOU are the one who doesn’t care about workers out of work, people struggling to pay bills and buy groceries, people who are at risk to lose their homes, etc.

My cousin had planned a family Christmas party and had a major melt down when family members expressed fear about gathering for a party. Two of her family members work in health care as nurses. She cancelled the party saying “I guess we’re cancelling Christmas this year, everyone is so scared of this Covid bullsh*t, I’m not scared.” Her CNA sister has since been diagnosed positive with Covid-19.

We know so many people who don’t believe Covid-19 is real, that it’s nothing but the flu, that it’s political, just to take our freedoms, it’s a democratic power grab. People say they don’t care if they get it.

I hope none of those people have to know their spouse or loved one is in the hospital, can’t breathe, and they can’t visit them. I hope they don’t ever know the fear that they could lose their loved one, while people they know are proclaiming the positivity numbers, the death numbers are inflated to manipulate people, that it’s nothing but a flu and the government is labeling every death, regardless of what it is, as Covid.

The city I live in is rated 19 out of top 20 highest positive test results in the country. Our doctor told us our county is at 48% positivity.

This has been a terribly frightening and draining time for my family. I sincerely hope that no one reading this, who has not been touched by Covid-19 has to experience this awful virus.

“Kids Will Be Kids”

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I’m sure people have been saying “kids will be kids” for decades. Somehow in recent years it’s become a way of dismissing some of the most disrespectful and dangerous behavior. It’s also become a way for adults to abdicate responsibility for parenting and disciplining their kids.

Recently, in a local online neighborhood watch group, a number of people posted about a group of teen boys going door to door asking people for hot dogs. One older lady was scared by them knocking on her door. When she answered they were holding her storm door open. She called the police because she didn’t understand what they wanted and felt scared. People in the watch group posted some of the most obnoxious comments. “Everyone did stuff like this;” “kids play pranks on people, lighten up;” “if someone is that afraid, then they shouldn’t open the door;” “why call the police and get these kids in trouble?;” “overreacting much?”

Kids were going through this community ringing doorbells and running away. Apparently doing so is called “ding dong ditch?” When I explained that this isn’t a game when you’re disabled or elderly and you hurry to get to your door, if you fall or get hurt, I got responses like “then don’t go to the door if you’re not expecting someone;” “no one is making you hurry to get to the door.”

There were reports of kids dumping people’s trash cans, rummaging through unlocked cars.

People really took offense to anyone calling the police on kids misbehaving in the neighborhood. “Why get these kids in trouble with the police?;” “Why blow it out of proportion?;” “The police have better things to do with their time than harassing kids.”

Just a week ago, in this same group, kids were reportedly throwing rocks off an overpass at cars passing below. People reminded their neighbors that people have died because of kids doing things like this, that it can cause injuries to vehicle occupants, can cause drivers to lose control, damage vehicles. Again, the comments were flooded with comments about all kids having done things like this, kids are just being kids, they’re just having fun, etc.

Whenever issues like this are discussed someone immediately says “cue all the perfect people, the perfect parents to comment how bad this is.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but as a kid I DID NOT do things like this. Damaging other people’s property, scaring people, was not considered “having fun” or “kids being kids.” I was taught to respect other people and their property. My parents knew where my sister and I were at all times, they knew who we were with and what we were doing. We had restrictions as to where we could go and who we could be with. We weren’t allowed to go into anyone else’s yard without permission, let alone going onto their porch.

When I was growing up, our neighborhoods and communities were different. Everyone in the neighborhood knew all the kids, knew their parents and kept an eye on everyone. Often our parents knew what we’d been doing before we got home because neighbors would have called them to let them know. Adults in the neighborhood felt a sense of responsibility for the children who lived there. Today people close their doors and windows, pull their blinds and don’t seem to want to know what’s going on around them, don’t want to get to know their neighbors, they simply don’t want to be bothered.

The idea that parents dismiss bad behavior, want to pretend that everyone is doing these things so why hold their kids to a different standard, that they “normalize” disrespectful and dangerous behavior, to my thinking, is the problem.

If you don’t want your child to be confronted by the police, perhaps you should teach them respect, responsibility and hold them accountable. They need to understand that in life there are consequences when you participate in activities that jeopardize the well-being of others.

It’s pretty clear that the parents who defend and normalize this behavior have little respect for others, or for the law, themselves. Kids will be the kids we raise them to be.

I Guess I Just Need to Stop Talking

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Over the years, I’ve recognized that whenever I’m dealing with increased depression, with increased chronic pain, with severe migraines, etc., people I love seem to take advantage of my weakness and make a point to criticize and highlight every mistake I make.

I’m struggling with pain, with feeling physically compromised, with depression and the emotional insecurities that come with that, it’s at times like these that people I love feel the need to point out every mistake I make, be it forgetting something we talked about, forgetting where I put something, correcting me in front of other people, arguing with everything I say.

I’m really starting to think I’ve lost it. I feel confused ALL THE TIME. Everything I say evokes a correction, a rush to defensiveness, the suggestion that I should know different or should remember I’ve already been told or known something many times over. Sometimes what I say inspires an argumentative response, even though the argument being made is in agreement with what I said.

Every time I try to relate a story about something that’s happened in my life, in front of a person I love, they feel the need to jump in and correct what I’m saying in front of the person I’m talking to.

When I had a heart attack a year ago, when people asked me about it and someone I love was with me, they contradicted whatever I tried to say. For instance, I didn’t think it was acquaintance’s business to know about my medication, or why I had the heart attack, so if they asked me about those things, I’d say I don’t know, but my loved one would jump in and say, “yes you do, you know why it happened…” then they would tell people.

People seem to get some sort of pleasure from making me look and feel foolish. I and my loved ones know that I have short term memory loss and the older I get, with menopause, it’s getting worse. I would think folks could cut me a break, maybe not feel the need to jump on every single thing I say.

I’m really to the point to where I just feel I should stop talking. I shouldn’t share my opinion, shouldn’t comment on anything happening around me, shouldn’t ask any questions, just keep my thoughts to myself.

I spend a lot of time crying because I get reminded constantly of how much I’m forgetting, how much of an inconvenience my memory loss is to my loved ones. I also cry because it feels as if loved ones enjoy being able to flex their muscles, so to speak, and feel superior, suggest that I’m inferior.

I would hope that loved ones would lift up someone close to them who is struggling, not see it as an opportunity to emphasize short comings, to remind them they are struggling.

Autumn has finally arrived!!!

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This Summer has been absolutely brutal. We’ve had hardly any rain, sustained temperatures in the 90’s for days, week after week with high humidity.

It’s been so hot and dry that the dirt in our yard has cracked, our grass is burnt off brown and crunches when you walk on it. We ran the AC non-stop since early June.

It was too hot in the afternoons to walk my dog, so we spent most of the Summer sitting in the backyard in the afternoons and evenings, braving the morning humidity just to get a single walk in daily.

Finally, about a week to a week and a half before the official start of Autumn, the temperatures began to drop, the humidity with it. It’s been so much more comfortable, we’ve had windows open almost constantly.

I finally got to decorate for Autumn and today will begin to decorate for Halloween.

Another Dog Attack

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When I had my last husky, Kodiak, he was attacked or charged at no less than 20 times by dogs in our neighborhood, loose dogs, dogs off leash with their owners.

Since getting Noni in March 2019 we’ve encountered a number of loose dogs, little dogs that have gotten right in her face with their owners with them.

Last Friday, September 25 we came home from grocery shopping and I got Noni ready to go for a walk. We only got 3 houses from our home when our neighbor’s visitors started oohing and awing over Noni and came out to the sidewalk to visit with her. We had a nice visit, talked about the breed, etc. Our neighbor’s bulldog, who always goes ballistic when we walk by, thankfully always tied to their side steps, was barking and growling. The visitors tried to put the bulldog in the house, as we turned to walk away. The screen door bounced when it shut and the bulldog charged out of the door and attacked Noni.

Noni was fierce, defending herself, defending me, as she maintained a face to face posture with the attacking dog. Noni had saliva all over her body where the bulldog had tried to bite her and at one point in the flurry of snapping jaws I saw that the bulldog was about to lunge at Noni’s neck.

I put my hand out, hoping to push the bulldog’s head back, but instead she clamped down on my had. I got my hand out of her mouth and the visitor came out to get the dog. Noni didn’t appear to be hurt, but quickly it was obvious I was, as blood ran down my hand, dripping off my fingers.

I hurried back home, calling out to my husband as we neared the front of the house. He came out and I told him what happened, asking him to get Noni inside and go over her body to be sure she wasn’t hurt.

I cleaned up my hand and discovered 6 wounds, one very deep between my knuckle and base of my ring finger. The side of the same finger had a big puncture wound and there were smaller once on the palm side of that finger and on my pinky finger.

The visitor that had accidentally let the dog out came to my house to check on me. He indicated he was a paramedic and brought super glue down to seal the wound to try to stop the bleeding. He told me if I needed medication, to see my doctor, anything, I should call him and let him know.

After he left, the super glue pulled up as I used my hand and I noticed part of my finger turning black and blue. A friend suggested checking with my doctor as to what I should do to keep it clean, prevent infection and that I might need antibiotics. I called my doctor’s office and they told me to go to the Urgent Care center to be looked at.

I did go. They cleaned the wounds out, wrapped them up, gave me a tetanus shot and a prescription for an antibiotic. They told me sealing the wound is the worst thing to do as infection from dog bites are common and I should be concerned about a joint infection. They gave me a series of symptoms to look for, that if any of them appear, I should get back to the center for further treatment.

Yesterday I noticed the second largest wound on the side of my finger was infected. I cleaned the pus out, used peroxide, anti-bacterial soap and triple antibiotic ointment. The finger is swollen, continues to bruise and a red line has appeared where my wedding rings were, which I can’t get back on my finger.

It’s gotten so we can’t safely walk in our own neighborhood. Recently we were confronted by two stray dogs wandering around together, 2 blocks from our house. I watched a rottweiler jump his fence and lunge at a man passing by on the sidewalk a half block from where we were. A neighbor’s little dog has charged at Noni barking in her face and lunging at her several times.

Two weeks ago, a man and his son walking their rottweiler behind us kept increasing their speed, closing the distance between us, even as I hurried her to keep moving. I turned off onto the bike path and didn’t he follow me, less than 6 feet from us. I pulled her off into the grass, trying to put space between us as his dog lunged at us multiple times.

I’m constantly looking for new routes to walk without threats to our safety. Walking with my dog has always been a sort of relaxing, zen time for me to quiet my mind, enjoy nature, but recently I’ve had to become hyper vigilant of our surroundings. I feel like I can’t let my guard down, not for a second.

I’m so tired of irresponsible pet owners. When we’re out walking and someone approaches us I shorten up her leash, put her in heel at my side and ask her to sit/stay until the person or people walk by. I don’t let her visit other dogs on leashes because we never know how they will react, if they’ll feel threatened and trapped by being on leash unable to get away if necessary.

So, once again I’m scoping out a safer way to walk, to avoid potential issues in the future. Don’t know yet if I’ll need more treatment for my bite, hoping not, but will do what I need to do.