Sunday, July 23, 2017

Day 2768

It's been three years since Dot suddenly became ill and I thought we were going to lose her. I learned a few days later that she had cancer and I'm still learning how her incredible determination to survive changed me in ways I don't fully understand. From the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2017 Dot defied the odds over and over again, forever becoming my hero in the process. I became so convinced that she could go on forever that it's still hard to believe that she's not with us today.

Caring for Dot became a way of life that made it easier for Janet and I to care for each other while we've been dealing with our own medical problems this summer. We're both getting better now and there is a little less fear of the unknown with each passing day. As long as Dash doesn't give us another scare with his ongoing vestibular disease problems, there will come a day pretty soon when I will no longer be either a patient or a nurse.

What comes next? When people tell me "you can do whatever you want," I am baffled. I'm not sure what I want. I need to focus on realistic choices, since going back in time isn't really an option. When I look backwards, I see so many fond memories. When I look forward, I only see the Zombie Apocalypse. This certainly isn't the world I envisioned when I was making big plans back in the 1970's.

I'm not going to change the world at this point, but I need to become more comfortable living in it. Like it or not, it's the only world we've got. I have a feeling that something pretty simple might do the trick for me. Maybe I should take piano lessons. Years ago I used to enjoy playing the piano, but I have forgotten everything. Maybe I should drive to Wyoming with a sleeping bag and a camera and wait for the eclipse. That's probably a little too bold, but you get the idea. I know there's a world beyond cleaning the house with a pressure washer. I just need to find it.

I went back to the store today and picked up the things I forgot yesterday. I got caught in a brief rain storm on the way home, but it was so hot outside that the rain turned to steam in a matter of minutes. By this afternoon, it was hard to imagine that it had rained at all. We've started walking Dash very early in the morning so he is able to enjoy at least one good walk before the heat becomes oppressive.  He seems to enjoy this new schedule. I'm watering the new grass religiously, but it's going to be an uphill battle to keep it looking good for the rest of the year. What can I say. It's hot. It's Texas. It's summer.

I decided to skip going to the gym today. The swelling in my leg has subsided, but it is still pretty sore. My wrist doesn't feel very strong either. I'm supposed to see the orthopedic specialist later this week. Maybe I'll just ask him when it is OK to exercise again. Until then, I'll try to amuse myself one day at a time.

Jewel is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Day 2767

I finally finished cleaning all four sides of the house with the pressure washer this morning. This is a somewhat futile effort, since spiders have already returned to the part of the house I cleaned first. I've finally learned to wear long pants and a hat when I do this job. It's pretty messy and the spiders aren't happy. I also learned that my wrist hasn't really healed yet. It wasn't very comfortable holding the pressure nozzle for any length of time.

In an attempt to beat the heat, we got up before sunrise to walk Dash. There was a light breeze and the temperature was only in the mid-80's, so the walk was actually enjoyable. Two hours later, it would have been an entirely different story. We got an unusual amount of rain in June. As soon as we put the new grass in, the rain stopped. I run the sprinkler for an hour or so every morning, but I still worry that the grass will dry out before it gets established.

I think we had a heat index of over 105 degrees today. When it gets this hot, it's hard to get motivated to do anything. I did go grocery shopping, but came right home afterwards because I didn't want the fresh fruit to spoil in the car. Several times today, I joined Dash on the bed for a nap. Hey, I had already battled spiders and won. I deserved a nap. Later in the day I did manage to finish one quick website update because I knew that the guy who sent me the job probably wasn't napping with his dog.

Janet and I are becoming so forgetful. We never used to forget things. When we finished our errands this afternoon, we had both forgotten essential  things that should have been on our lists. Oh, well. I guess we will have to go back to the store tomorrow. This is probably what happens when you get old. You spend your entire day trying to remember what you forgot.

We're still debating whether to take a car trip somewhere before Janet returns to work. It would be nice to get away, but the thought of being on the road in August with a dog who could have a seizure at any time in a car that could break down at any point just isn't very appealing. This is probably why we never take car trips. There was a time when we used to travel quite a bit. It was easier when the dogs were young and healthy and we didn't have to leave them in a boarding kennel. We had good friends who would look after Spot when we were away. Spot absolutely loved visiting Lynn and Bob and got along well with their dogs. That was a long time ago. Bob is dead and we haven't seen Lynn in years. I can't imagine leaving Dash. There are just too many health issues.

I was thinking about going to the gym again tomorrow, but after wrestling with the pressure washer this morning, I don't think I'm ready yet. I'd hate to screw up my wrist before it has had time to heal. I asked the doctors at the emergency room how long I needed to wear the splint on my wrist. They just said to ask the orthopedic specialist they referred me to. I don't think they realized that it would take a month to get an appointment though. I don't see any need to wear the splint now, but I probably shouldn't be lifting weights yet.

I just fell asleep at the computer while trying to think of what to write next. I assume that means it's time for bed.

Pongo os today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 2766

I must have been really tired this morning. When I woke up, Janet had already eaten breakfast and walked Dash. I've lost the urge to go out for breakfast on Friday mornings, so I fixed myself some pancakes and bacon instead. I really got off to a slow start today. By the time I'd cleaned up the breakfast dishes, the day was well underway.

It didn't seem like Friday at all. I had work to do and spent most of the day writing a new article. It's hard to believe that not that long ago I was writing three or four articles a day for weeks at a time. Times change. Now, it's the exception rather than the rule when I'm busy with work. I can't say I enjoyed all the deadlines, but I was certainly comfortable with them. Writing under pressure was something I'd done for most of my life. Now, as I find myself sliding toward retirement, I'm not certain what to do next.

I try to stay busy and am happy with the occasional assignments I get, but there is no clear purpose anymore. I've become adverse to risk, I don't welcome change, and nothing could convince me to sit through a status meeting. Basically, all the qualities that helped me create and sustain a successful company are gone. Some of my friends have reinvented themselves and gone on to second or third careers, but I'm uncertain what I want to do next.

Luckily, when I've got a writing assignment I don't have to worry about all that. I wrote for most of the day, took a shower, paid my July Mastercard bill, and picked up some burgers for dinner at Chili's. I was going to  use the pressure washer to clean the Eastern side of the house, but it was way too hot for that. The temperature was well over 100 degrees this afternoon.

Dash seemed back to normal today. The frightening thing about idiopathic vestibular disease is that there is no known cure. There are lots of tests you can do to rule out certain things, but if the tests are inconclusive, you just have to try to keep your dog calm when there is an incident and hope for the best. Dash's symptoms are often severe and they make us wonder whether he has some rare disease that hasn't been diagnosed yet. I'm always happy when he recovers, but I'm always worried about what might happen next.

I probably should just quit worrying. My life is still calm and serene compared to what I see on the television news. Janet, Dash and I are all getting older, but I think we are still aging with a certain amount of dignity. I'm smart and I still have a sense of curiosity. It shouldn't be that hard to turn the next twenty years into a meaningful experience. The world might not even be here in twenty years, but I'm going to remain hopeful. I just need to find a purpose.

Katie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 2765

We had to take Dash to an emergency vet last night. He had thrown up earlier in the evening and we'd hoped that giving him a Cerenia pill would settle his stomach so he could sleep. Unfortunately, things got worse. About 1 AM he woke up up drooling heavily while walking anxiously around the house. It seemed like he wanted to throw up again, but when we took him outside, he just froze in the back yard and couldn't seem to move. Something seemed very wrong. We thought he might be having another vestibular seizure, even though there were no rapid eye movements or head tilting. After about twenty minutes, he calmed down and tried to sleep on the bedroom floor. We were relieved that the episode seemed to be over, but then about an hour later it started all over again. This time the heavy drooling was even worse. We began to worry that he might have been poisoned and rushed him to the nearest emergency vet. His vital signs were good and the veterinarian who treated him said that there weren't any obvious signs of poisoning. We were at the vet for about an hour and around 4 AM, Dash began to stabilize. The vet agreed that this looked a lot like vestibular disease, but said the symptoms could also be caused by a half a dozen other things.

We took Dash home and tried to get a little sleep before Janet had to get up and go to the eye doctor. Poor Dash. We've been hoping that his vestibular seizures were over, but apparently not. There isn't a lot you can do about idiopathic vestibular disease. If you can determine the cause, you can sometimes eliminate the problem, but not always. We've already done an MRI of his brain and eliminated the possibility of a brain tumor. He doesn't seem to have an inner ear infection either. I'll have to check his thyroid levels again. Sometimes low thyroid levels can cause symptoms of vertigo and nausea very similar to vestibular disease. There really isn't a cure, so we may be dealing with these periodic episodes for the rest of his life.

Dash seemed fine today. We didn't walk him and fed him a very bland diet. So far, so good. I've started taking Niacin before bedtime again. My doctor say it helps with cholesterol problems, but the flushing it causes is uncomfortable, so I try to be asleep when all the little capillaries start to dilate. Last night when Dash woke us up, the Niacin flushing had begun and my skin was bright red. When we went to the emergency vet, I looked like I had a severe sunburn all over my body. The vet probably though I'd gotten confused and gone to the wrong hospital. I certainly looked worse than Dash.

By the time Dash's heavy drooling stopped, my skin had returned to it's normal color. The only good thing about the worrisome night was that on the way home from the vet, I got a chance to see a beautiful thin crescent moon in conjunction with Venus in the early morning sky. Today, we were all pretty tired and Dash and I spent a considerable amount of time napping.

I got a few things done today, but not much. I picked up some meds for Dash, bought a new sprinkler for the yard at Home Depot, and filled the car with gas. I received a new writing job this afternoon, so I'll probably be busy tomorrow. For some reason, I thought it was Wednesday for most of the day. Janet had to remind me to take out the trash this evening. I was going to wait until tomorrow evening. I hope that Dash sleeps well tonight. I hope we all sleep well.

Lady Jane is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 2764

I walked Dash by myself today and everything seemed fine. My wrist didn't give me any problems and the swelling on my leg didn't get any worse. My left leg still looks larger than my right leg, but the difference isn't alarming anymore. The cuts have even scabbed over enough so I can take normal showers again without bandages or bleeding worries. If I'm patient, even the ugly black and blue marks will eventually disappear. Now, I just need to make sure that I stay far, far away from the aggressive dogs in the neighborhood.

Janet got good news from her oncologist. She won't need chemotherapy or radiation treatments. The oncologist will want to monitor things for quite a while and there are some pills she'll need to take, but this was definitely the outcome everyone was hoping for. There will be one more minor surgery before the reconstruction process is complete, but everything is going according to plan. It looks like Dash and I will be alone in the house again soon. Janet is eager to go back to work.

The one thing we forgot to ask Dash's oncologist yesterday was why he still throws up occasionally for no reason at all. He has been normal for well over a month, so it just slipped our minds. Sure enough, he threw up again today, one day after his exam. He seemed fine all day, took a normal walk, ate a normal dinners, and then threw up about two hours later after taking a nap. I'm pretty sure he didn't eat bugs, or anything nasty today. He didn't seem to have an upset stomach either. It's a mystery. We gave him a Cerenia pill and hopefully he won't throw up his phenobarbital later this evening.

I told the Land Rover people that there wasn't much point in their marketing department doing elaborate service promotions if the dealership was just going to pretend they didn't exist. They still wouldn't take anything off my bill, but finally agreed to issue me a hundred dollar credit that I could use on my next repair. I felt pretty good until I looked at a pile of mail on my desk later in the day and discovered another different coupon that could have been used to reduce my bill even further. I'm going to call them back tomorrow. Land Rover repairs are too expensive to let this slide.

I lost the ability to run Unix software when I upgraded my system recently. Things were so slow today that I thought it might be a good time to reinstall the software tools I needed. Unfortunately, I needed to install everything using the command line in the Terminal window. I've forgotten just about everything I've ever learned about Unix commands, so the install process took a while. I don't know why I wasted hours doing this, because I've never used these Unix applications anyway.

Other than cleaning up dog vomit, it was a peaceful, uneventful day. Things are slowly but surely getting done. About the only major thing left on my Summer do-do list is getting my passport renewed. I think I'll wait another week to do that. Even though my leg is much better, I still don't think I'm up to standing in a long line for hours.

Jade is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day 2763

Things are looking up. Dash got a good report at his semi-annual cancer review. He is still cancer free and his doctor saw no reason to worry about his enlarged heart or vestibular disease. We learned what to look for in case his heart condition becomes worse and we pretty much already knew what to look for with his ongoing vestibular disease. For an old dog who has had many problems, Dash is looking pretty good.

The yard looks pretty good too. The landscapers arrived early this morning and spent the day removing a year's worth of dead leaves and small sticks before installing a brand St. Augustine turf. Janet and I realize by now that because of our soil and the four large trees in our back yard, that the grass won't last forever. It never does. The yard sure looks pretty now though. It should be a lot easier to keep the house clean too, since Dash won't be tracking mud inside every time there is a rainy day.

The landscapers probably think we are nuts to keep replacing our back yard every year, but there really isn't an alternative. A lot of large trees in the park don't have much grass under them either. The tree roots cover the yard like a canopy and suck up all the water. There is almost no way to provide the grass with an adequate amount of water during a hot Summer. We'll do the best we can. One thing is certain. Our water bill is going to go up next month.

I took my first walk since the dog bite this morning. My leg didn't swell appreciably afterwards and there was very little pain, so I think it will be OK to return to a more active life. The July heat will prevent me from over doing things. Early mornings are really the only time when it is cool enough outside to safely walk a dog. I'm going to continue sleeping with my feet elevated for a while. That seems to be the key to keeping my ankles from swelling.

The combination of good news at the vet and a pretty yard spurred me on to tackle some other ongoing problems. I contacted the roofers and asked them to come out again and make a few more patches. I have't received a response yet, but I seldom do. I also contacted the Land Rover dealer and asked them to apply my discount coupon to yesterday's bill. They gave me some sort of weird answer, saying that it was difficult to apply a credit to a job that was already closed. Come on guys. I'm a good customer. If you keep treating me this way, I might buy an Audi next time.

Dot was really loved within the veterinary community. When we had Dash up at the cancer center today, her medical team came out and gave Janet and I a hug, telling us what a special girl she was to them. Her oncologist said she would never forget her. This meant a lot to me, since I will never forget her either. I will remember when Dot and Dash were young and healthy as the best of times. I like having dogs around, but we're not thinking of getting a companion for Dash. He's adjusting well to being an only dog and he's getting older too. I'm a realist. Taking care of Dot was exhausting and taking care of Dash will be equally exhausting when he starts to fall apart. Dash will always get the love and care he deserves, but I don't have the energy to start over with a puppy again.

Janet has started talking about going back to work. Her recovery is really going well and if she gets a good report from her oncologist later this week, Dash and I might be on our own again sooner than we expected. It's been a really tough Summer, but I think we have weathered the storm. Although I'm a glass is half empty kind of guy, today the glass actually seemed half full.

Beemer is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, July 17, 2017

Day 2762

The landscapers didn't show up today, but I did get my car back. I knew the bill was pretty high, so I was planning to use a gift card I'd gotten for my birthday to help with the payment. I couldn't remember the exact amount on the card, so I called the activation number to get a balance. They told me that the card had already been used and that there was a zero balance available. How was this even possible? The card was brand new and I hadn't even taken it out of it's sealed packaging yet. This was a whole new kind of fraud that I wasn't even aware of. The purchase that drained the card was made on my birthday when the card was in my possession. The transaction was made at a Wall-Mart Supercenter in Houston. Again, how is this even possible? The only thing that I can think of is that the cashier who activated the card when Janet purchased it knew how to use the bar code information in the packaging to redeem the card after it was activated. The Visa people said they would send us a new card, but that it would take 90 days. This has destroyed my faith in gift cards. I don't think I'll ever buy one again.

When I was leaving to pick up my car at the dealership, I saw two loose dogs running around the neighborhood in my rear view mirror. I was going to call Janet and warn her about the dogs, because I knew she'd be walking Dash soon. The light was already green where I needed to turn left though, and I didn't have time to get my phone out. As soon as I turned the corner, I saw that the two dogs had run out into a busy street and gotten run over by a car. I don't know how the dogs had gotten from a neighbors front yard to this busy street in the time it took me to drive around the block, but they did. The whole thing made me sick to my stomach. The dogs were transported to a nearby vet, but I still don't know if they survived. Please people. keep your dogs on a leash and don't let them run loose in a busy city. Things like this happen way too often in Dallas.

This was not a good day. Two dogs got run over as a result of someone's carelessness. Some scammer managed to suck all the money out of my birthday gift card before I even opened the cardboard packaging. To add insult to injury, my car repair bill was twice as much as I expected. Brembo brakes are great until it's time to get new rotors and pads. Yikes. I forgot my discount coupon too. I could have knocked 10% off my entire bill. I was so flustered about the gift card fraud that I totally forgot to bring the coupon with me.

At least my leg continues to get better. It will probably take forever for the swelling to completely go away, but I'm starting to be able to walk normally again. My wrist feels better too. I think I might start taking short walks again tomorrow. I hope Dash is cooperative, because I'm not really ready for long walks yet. This better be the last time I'm bitten by a dog for a long, long time. I've been bitten before, but this is the most painful bite I can remember.

We need to make a list of questions to take to the vet tomorrow. Dash has so many weird little quirks that it's hard to remember them all. Strange behavior has always worried me, because it is often the first sign of a larger underlying problem. We need to do a chest x-ray and make sure that the cancer hasn't returned. Since Dash has an enlarged heart, we need to determine if this is going to become a problem in the future. He's still a little wobbly from the vestibular disease, but I'm not sure if there's anything we can do about that. Dash has good doctors. We just want to give him the best chance possible to live a healthy and happy life.

The landscapers just told me that they will be here tomorrow. We'll see. I'm going to call Land Rover and see if they'll still honor their discount coupon. They should, but that doesn't mean they will. I can't bring back the two dogs that ran into the street, but I can make sure that Dash is always safely on a leash. I'll do my part to ensure it's a good day, but a little good luck wouldn't hurt either.

Riley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 2761

It's weird to feel bored and tired at the same time. I want to get out and do something, and yet I don't feel like doing anything at all. Resting with my feet elevated is completely mindless, but it sure beats walking around for any length of time.  My legs still hurt. The swelling in my right leg is almost gone and the swelling in my left leg continues to subside. Even though the inactivity is driving me nuts, I'd better not tempt fate at this point. Judging by the way things are progressing, I have a feeling that I'll be good to go after one more week of rest and limited activity.

The neighbors mowed my grass this morning. This was a nice gesture and I really appreciate it. I'm glad they were able to quarantine their dog at a veterinarian's office instead of being forced to take it to the city pound. Although it was painful being bitten, I'm not mad about the whole incident. It was just one of those things. If the neighbors were home at the time instead of an inexperienced house sitter, I doubt that anything would have happened. If you have a dog, you need to remember that any dog can bite, given the right circumstances. This is why I'm nervous whenever I see loose dogs in the park. You never know what might happen. Years ago, I was responsible for a foster dog who bit somebody. I had the dog well controlled on a short leash while I was talking to a friend about fifteen feet away. For some unknown reason, the dog suddenly ripped the leash out of my hand, lunged and bit my friend. It was all over in less than a second. To this day, I am super cautious around dogs. I wish everybody was.

I really hope I can get my car back tomorrow. Dash has an appointment at the cancer center on Tuesday and the dealership frowns on having dogs in their loaner cars. If I'm forced to take a dog to the vet while I've got a loaner car, it takes forever to carefully remove all the dog hairs so you can say there was never a dog inside. Dash rides better in my car anyway. Truthfully, Dash doesn't ride well in any car, but he is familiar with my car and we've learned to make things work.

With any luck, the landscapers should arrive tomorrow morning. Dash will have to stay inside, because even though I tell the landscapers a million times to keep the gates closed, they always tend to leave them open. We'll just put Dash on a leash and take him down to the park when he needs to pee. We should be able to handle this, even though we are becoming forgetful. The landscapers are very noisy and hard to ignore, and since Janet and I are both home, we can remind each other not to let Dash outside unsupervised.

I worry too much. Worrying isn't very productive, but it is hard to avoid. I don't worry about nuclear war and global warming much because I think the human race is doomed anyway. The planet will survive. We won't. On a good day I think we've got maybe 30,000 years before we become extinct. On a bad day, I think 300 years is optimistic. We have become an invasive species, just like Kudzu Vines. In just a few years, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Think about that for a minute. Unless we can all agree to quit having babies for a couple of generations, I think the planet is doomed. If I can't get you to change your mind about something so basic, I think I'll limit my worries to things much closer to home. Will Janet and Dash stay cancer free? Will I stay healthy? Did I save enough money to survive whatever lies ahead? Why knows? Life is such a mystery, but I do feel blessed to have the opportunity to think about what it all means while I'm drinking my fruit smoothie tomorrow morning.

Laura is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day 2760

I continue to be amazed at the human body's ability to repair itself. Medical advances have made a huge impact on our lives, but the body is still there in the background, doing the lion's share of the work itself. Cuts heal. Bones fuse back together. White cells surround bacteria and viruses. And our liver and kidneys work tirelessly to filter out all the bad stuff we ingest. Wouldn't it be amazing if everything else worked the same way? We would have cars that repair themselves and computers that get smarter as you use them and never crash. As my own body continues to heal, I am reminded how important it is to take care of it.

I've always been reasonably healthy, but I could do a lot better. If I had eliminated sugar from my diet years ago, I would probably never have to worry about diabetes. If I hadn't been so fond of cheeseburgers and bacon, I probably wouldn't have to be taking statins to manage my cholesterol. It's not that it is terribly hard to do the right thing, it's that we receive very little encouragement for making the effort.

Hey, why have a plate of beans and rice when you can go to the Cheesecake Factory and eat enough to feed a family of four in a single sitting. I spent a lifetime in advertising encouraging people to drink Pepsi and eat cheeseburgers. It was my job to glorify all the wrong things. Now, I wonder if it is even possible to reverse all this. When you go to the supermarket, most of the things on the shelves aren't even real food. When you go to a hospital, you still see nurses and technicians standing outside smoking cigarettes. I don't even understand why substance abuse is a problem. Why would you want to punish your body like that?

When my body has finally finished repairing the dog bite damage, I need to resolve to take better care of it. Fewer prepared foods and restaurant meals would be a good place to start. Even the best restaurant chefs are in love with sugar and salt. Admittedly, salt does make food taste better, but there's got to be a better way. It wouldn't kill me to give up red meat entirely. Some of my favorite dishes don't have any meat in them at all. I think I eat a lot of meat just out of habit.

I need to be careful about falling and I should quit climbing up on the roof entirely. One fall off the roof would probably do a lot more damage than a dog bite. I shouldn't become fearful of living though. Too many people my age have become fearful of the world around them. They probably should just turn off the television.

I'm full of good intentions, but we'll see how much of this turns into reality. I still had bacon with my breakfast this morning and spent way too much time looking at Facebook. I'll start walking again as soon as I can because I love to walk. It will take a little longer to give up cheeseburgers and go to the gym three times a week.

I take my last antibiotic pill tonight. Hopefully, that will be enough to eliminate the risk of infection. The hematoma has subsided enough on my swollen leg that I can start to see veins again. I even wrote tonight's blog post without using the splint on my wrist. These are all good signs.

Lizzy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 2759

Janet and I both thought it was Saturday this morning. It was an easy mistake to make, since all the days are blurring together. Luckily, I did remember that it was Thursday yesterday and took the trash out. I didn't feel like going out for breakfast this morning. Somehow, the ritual of going to a restaurant for breakfast every Friday morning seems buried in a distant past. Maybe I'll look forward to doing this again sometime, but other things seem more important now.

My legs continue to improve. When I look at them together, it's easy to see that the left leg is still swollen, but it is so much better than it was a week ago. The pain has subsided to a dull ache and my wrist is slowly becoming more flexible. I don't even wear the splint all the time anymore. The one thing I'm still careful to do is elevate my legs every time I sleep or take a nap. I wish I'd done this the very first night after getting bitten. If I had elevated my legs and rested more in the beginning, maybe the swelling wouldn't have become so bad.

I was promised that my car would be finished today, but when I called to check, they hadn't even started working on it. I guess I wasn't surprised. Ever since the Land Rover and Jaguar dealerships merged, service has slowed down to a crawl. They just don't have enough mechanics anymore. When people complain that there aren't any jobs, I wonder if they've considered becoming an auto mechanic. Large dealerships always seems to be short on mechanics. Luckily, there was someone who could help me today. A warning light came on in the loaner car and I didn't want to get stuck without a car this weekend. Everything is fine now, but waiting at the dealership made my errands take a lot longer than expected .

Dash was much better behaved today. Maybe he's finally getting used to this amorphous new schedule that Janet and I have adopted. We don't plan ahead very well anymore. We just buy food one day at a time and one of us is always running to the store to pick up something for dinner. We are bored and tired at the same time and still spend a lot of time resting. No wonder Dash becomes frustrated at times.

When I was running errands today, I got caught in a brief thunderstorm. It's weird to have so much rain in the middle of July. I guess it's a good thing, especially since the landscaper is coming on Monday. Usually we put in new grass in March, so it is well established by mid-Summer. It will be nice to have grass again, but one way or another, I bet my water bill is going to go way up next month.

I'm just about finished taking my antibiotics. Hopefully there is no risk of infection anymore. The strong antibiotics have given me an upset stomach, so maybe my appetite will improve once I'm finished with these pills. Antibiotics have been known to cause dental problems and I've noticed that my teeth are more difficult to get clean this week. I'm tempted to blame a recurrence of hemorrhoid problems on the antibiotics too. I'll be glad when I don't have to sleep with my feet elevated anymore. I usually sleep on my side and it has taken a while to get used to sleeping on my back. The best thing about a return to health is that I won't be wasting time Googling medical problems anymore. I'm sure Google has me listed in its hypochondriac file by now.

Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 2758

My doctor thinks I'm making good progress. There are no signs of infection. The swelling in my left leg is starting to subside. I'm even starting to be able to move my wrist again. My problem now is patience, or more accurately, a lack of patience. The healing process is so slow that it's driving me nuts. I'm still supposed to sleep with my feet elevated for another week and my doctor says it's too early to start walking again. I wish someone had told me to keep weight off my legs in the very beginning. I probably didn't help myself by walking as much as I did right after the injury.

Janet got a good report after her own doctor visit today as well. We are both doing everything we should and are on a trajectory to return to normal one of these days. You don't really realize how critical staying healthy is to a normal life until you're not healthy. So many little day-to-day necessities get thrown off track when all you can do is rest. I certainly couldn't have cared for Dot the way I did unless I was very healthy. I wonder sometimes if Dot might have known what was in the future for Janet and I. They say that dogs can smell cancer sometimes. Dot was very old and very tired at the end, but it was almost as if she made her final exit at the perfect time just to avoid being an extra burden for Janet and I now.

I just hope that Dash will stay healthy until we both get well. We've always known that Dash's vestibular disease could return at any time. He has seemed very agitated for the past two days and occasionally that is a precursor to further seizures. Dash has always been a moody dog and is used to an active lifestyle, so hopefully he is just irritated at Janet and I for spending all our time sleeping. It's ironic that this would bother him at all, since that's what he does most of the time. I do know that dogs like a fixed and regular routine and our routine has been temporarily broken. "Be patient, little buddy," I try to tell him. We'll be back to normal soon.

The doctor talked me into doing a bone density scan while I was visiting about the dog bite today. My bone density is declining, although it is still pretty average for my sex and age. I asked if I should start taking more calcium and he gave me an ambiguous answer. "Too little calcium is bad, and too much calcium is bad," he said. He asked whether I used dairy products and I told him that I loved cheese. Basically, it is hard to tell if you are getting the right amount of calcium to keep your bones strong as you age. Walking is good though. I'll be glad when I can get back to taking long walks.

Our air conditioner quit working for a while this afternoon and Janet and I immediately went into a panic. The last thing we need right now is a hot and humid house while we are both still wearing bandages. Luckily, the air is back on now, so we dodged a bullet. Sometimes in weather like this, the coil can freeze and it will shut the system down until the coil thaws out and the system stabilizes. I'm not sure if this is what happened, but it's happened before. I just shut the AC off for ten minutes and then turned it back on again. This seems to be the universal solution for everything these days. I turn the network router off and on again several times a week when the U-verse TV freezes or goes out.

I don't know whether I'll go out for breakfast tomorrow morning or not. I can drive again, but I'm just not very hungry. All I really want to do right now is get back on my feet again.

Watson is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 2757

When I woke up this morning, the swelling in my leg had subsided a bit. This was good news. I've been sleeping with my legs elevated for a while, but this was the first time I've seen any positive results. Of course, after I'd gotten up and walked around for a while, some of the swelling returned, but that was to be expected. I've already discovered that this recovery is going to be a three steps forward, two steps back kind of deal.

After I got dressed, I took my car up to the dealership for a required service appointment. This time, my loaner car was a sedan that sat pretty close to the ground. I've gotten so used to driving a big SUV that this car seemed strange and a bit uncomfortable. I like to be sitting up above the traffic, not down in it. I made it home safely and gradually got used to this new driving position, but I don't think I'll be buying a sedan or sports car any time soon. It's difficult to tell where the front wheels actually are when you turn a corner and more importantly, where do you put the dogs?

I spent the rest of the morning fixing breakfast and cleaning up the kitchen when I returned home. Why hurry? There certainly wasn't a lot on my calendar today. I'll be glad when I finish taking these antibiotics, since they're giving me an upset stomach. I'm hungry, but I don't really feel like eating anything.

I got my July invoices out this afternoon. This was the first time I'd used my upgraded accounting software for invoicing. I quickly discovered that my custom invoice template was gone. The software had reverted to a generic invoice template without the company logo and custom fonts. I guess I could have just used the generic template and saved a lot of time. I never do things the easy way though. I found another copy of my logo and recreated all my forms from scratch. Everything is fine now, but I still can't figure out why odd and unpredictable things have changed on my supposedly identical cloned hard drive.

Dash is becoming impatient with how long it is taking Janet and I to get back to normal. Our doctors have told both of us that we need lots of bed rest to heal properly, so we spend quite a bit of time just sitting in bed.  Janet watches movies on her iPad and I just sleep with my feet elevated on a stack of pillows. You'd think Dash would be fine with this, since he spends most of the day sleeping anyway. I try to tell him that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, but he's convinced that when we're home we should be either feeding or walking him. He'll usually settle down after a while, but I think he's bored.

If I have another night like I did last night, I might be back to normal relatively quickly. Even after a busy day, the swelling in my leg is still less than yesterday. I still have to change my bandages every day, but only the two deepest cuts haven't scabbed over yet. We are definitely making progress. My bandages are much smaller and easier to manage than they were last week and I don't have to wear the splint on my wrist all the time now. I don't think there is an infection, but I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow morning just to make sure. Maybe one more week and I can put this unfortunate episode behind me.

I haven't even thought about the eclipse for a while. Somehow, watching a solar eclipse seems unimportant compared to getting your arms and legs back in working order.

Winston is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day 2756

I finished writing both my new articles today and spent the rest of the time lying on the bed with my feet elevated. It was nice to have some work to do again, but I don't think it is a good idea to sit at the computer all day. I can literally feel the fluid pooling around my ankles when I sit for long periods of time. Another bad thing about sitting at the computer is that I spend too much time Googling information about swollen legs and ankles. I'm finding lots of similarities between my condition and people who have had minor motorcycle accidents. Basically, if you are a hypochondriac, you should never Google your own ailments.

Elevating my legs really seems to help control the swelling in my legs, but unfortunately the benefits seem temporary. It kind of feels like I've got a quart of water floating around inside me. When I lie on the bed with my legs elevated, the liquid flows back into my body. When I stand up and start walking, gravity causes it to flow down around my ankles again. It's frustrating, but there's not much I can do at this point. It's going to take a long time to completely reabsorb the blood and fluids resulting from a trauma injury like this.

Maybe I need to start watching Netflix like Janet. She needs to rest for long periods of time too, but luckily she enjoys watching movies. Often I find her asleep with a movie still running on the iPad on her lap. I'm growing bored staring at the ceiling, so maybe I'll give Netflix a try tomorrow. Lying on your back with your feet in the air probably isn't the best position to watch a movie, but I'll have to improvise.

Dash threw up again this afternoon. I was hoping that he wouldn't have any problems until Janet and I were both well again. Maybe that was too much to ask for. Dash has thrown up periodically for years. Usually he seems normal again within a few hours. When I take him to the vet they can never find anything wrong and usually just suggest changing his diet. Dash will eat bugs and dead things when he can find them, and eating something bad is often the cause of his stomach problems. Janet and I have been so preoccupied that we probably haven't been watching him closely enough when we take him outside to pee. At any rate, we gave him a Pepsid tonight and hoped for the best.

Dash's upset stomach reminded me to make an appointment for him at the cancer center. His oncologist likes to do a recheck every six months and we are a little behind schedule. Dash has been in remission for so long now that his doctors aren't really worried about the cancer returning. They are more worried about an enlarged heart as he grows older.

When I look at my calendar, it's nothing but doctor's appointments for Janet, myself, and Dash. Hopefully, this is just a temporary thing. Janet is starting to feel a lot better. I'm on the mend too, but dog bites are painful injuries that tend to heal slowly. I'll just need to stay patient. It would be nice if Dash would stay healthy too. We don't need a three ring circus at this point.

Tomorrow, I take my car in for a long postponed service appointment. It will be nice to get that expensive necessity out of the way. Pretty soon, we should have grass in the back yard again too. One step at a time, we're slowly getting back to normal. Just for the record, I didn't see this Great Egret today. I didn't even leave the house. I did see the bird pretty recently though and didn't feel like showing you a picture of my feet in the air.

Sophia is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Day 2755

I was disappointed this morning that I wasn't improving faster. I seem to be getting a little better every day, but my wrist still feels shaky when I'm not wearing the splint and my legs still hurt. I thought the swelling in my left leg had subsided, but on further inspection, I've realized that gravity has just caused the fluid to sink down around my ankles. Both ankles are swollen and black and blue now. You're supposed to keep your legs elevated above your heart, but how long can you spend lying down staring at the ceiling?

I need to remember similar injuries I've had in the past and how long they took to heal. I think I was better off before the Internet. Now, whenever you research injuries online, you are presented with dozens of horrendous first-person stories detailing things that might go wrong. Today, I found myself reading about hematomas that had become infected and required surgery. It was not very reassuring. I think everything is going fine, but to keep from fretting all the time, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician when he returns later this week. I also made an appointment to see the orthopedic specialist the emergency room referred me to. Hopefully, I will feel better when they, just like the emergency room doctors, tell me that this is just going to take time.

When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to see that Janet had already walked Dash. She said that she didn't want to wake me up and that Dash was very good and didn't pull or tug at all. I was a little worried that Janet was using her arms too soon, but later in the day when she went to see her doctor, they gave her arm exercises to do, so I guess she's ready.

I was surprised to receive some new writing jobs today. It's been a while. I was even more surprised when I tried to open Microsoft Word and was presented with a screen saying that I needed to enter my 25 digit activation code first. Jeez, this software has been registered for years. What could have gone wrong? I had installed the software in 2011 and had no idea where the activation code was. After a Google search and a call to Microsoft, I received the bad news. Microsoft software activation involves linking the software to the serial number of the physical hard drive or network card on your computer. When I cloned my hard drive, it was physically a different disc, so Microsoft Office didn't recognize me. Even worse, Microsoft keeps no records of these activation codes when you register your software. The only place you find them is printed on the install discs themselves. This was all very frustrating, since I'm dead in the water without Microsoft Word.

I never throw anything away, but that didn't make it any easier to find the illusive install disc. It took hours of searching, which only made my leg hurt worse. Eventually I found the stupid disc. It's a good thing I did, because my only other alternative would have been to purchase Microsoft Office all over again. Actually, I would have had to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. The company doesn't even sell or support the stand-alone product anymore.

I guess everything is OK. My leg isn't red and doesn't look infected. It's just swollen more than I'd like. I'm back in business with Microsoft Word and can start my new writing jobs tomorrow. I've been so preoccupied with the dog bite that I didn't even tell you that the landscaper is scheduled to put in new grass early next week. I've even made an appointment to get my car serviced.

I"m going to sleep with my leg elevated tonight. Hopefully, it will look a little smaller in the morning.

Keller is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day 2754

Showers aren't a high priority when your legs are bleeding and your wrist is in a splint. It doesn't take long to start missing them though. Since the last time I was able to take a shower was Wednesday morning, I thought it was time to give it a try. I carefully removed the splint, covered the wounds that were still oozing, and turned the water on. Other than holding the soap with one hand and trying to avoid twisting my wrist at an awkward angle, everything went well. It felt good to be clean again.

Since taking a shower was a success, Janet and I thought we might be able to take Dash on a short walk together. He's been getting cabin fever by being cooped up all day and we could tell he needed a walk. I held the leash with my good hand and Janet walked alongside Dash to keep him from running or tugging. Dash seemed delighted that he was outside again, accompanied by both of his people. He took a longer walk than I anticipated, but I seemed to be holding up well. I felt good to be outside again too. It was only after we got home that I realized that we may have walked too far. My left leg was swollen again and I felt very tired.

After breakfast, I took a nap with my legs elevated and resting on ice packs. This seemed to help quite a bit. I'd heard that elevating an injured area above the level of your heart can help minimize bleeding problems, but I wasn't sure how effective this would be. I still don't know how long it is going to take for the hemotoma to be reabsorbed by my body. The sooner the better, as far as I'm concerned. Right now my ankles look like I weigh 300 pounds.

The most ambitious thing we did today was take Dash to the vet to get his anal glands expressed. We were going to take Janet's car, but the rear seat was up and it was too much trouble to reconfigure things. I practiced driving in the driveway with my splint on and discovered that it didn't hinder driving much at all. We took my car. The drive was easy. Getting Dash in and out of the car, not so much. Dash is getting older and he can't hop up through the tailgate anymore. I have to give him a boost by lifting him by his harness as he tries to jump. To do this correctly takes a certain amount of coordination and arm strength. I was glad that the hospital gave me an industrial strength splint. Even though lifting Dash hurt, the splint kept everything secure and in place.

Even though this was probably way too much activity for one day, most of it was necessary. I was feeling filthy and really needed a shower. Dash has been licking his butt all day. And I think we all needed a walk. After resting with my legs elevated for a few hours, I don't think I did any real damage.

When we were walking Dash this morning, we passed a field full of Passionflowers in full bloom. This was a sign to me that we took a walk on the right day. I usually only see these flowers once or twice a year if I'm lucky. They usually bloom in the Summer right after a heavy rain. It rained yesterday.

Janet has another doctors appointment tomorrow, but I may not need to accompany her, since she can drive now. It appears that I can drive too in a pinch. Slowly but surely we are becoming mobile again.

Great is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 2753

Janet and I have to do all our errands together now. She can drive, but her doctors don't want her to lift things. I've got one good hand for lifting things, but I can't drive. Together, we make a pretty decent team, although I still don't understand why we are doing our shopping on busy weekends. When we were out today, I saw a couple of old people who had personal assistants. "We need one of those," I said.

I'll be glad when I don't have to wear the splint on my wrist anymore. I wish I had the forethought to fall on my right wrist instead of my left. I am so totally left handed that it's hard to even write my name or hold a fork these days. I am getting better though. The swelling is starting to subside on my left leg and I find it easier to sleep now. I'm going to have to revise my position on pain pills a bit. They do have their uses. When I took a Tylenol-Codeine pill before I went to sleep last night, it really helped dull the pain in my wrist. I may not even need a pill tonight. The pain is not as bad today.

Dash is a lazy dog and loves to nap, but I think even he is becoming bored with us. Janet and I both get tired so easily now. After we finished our shopping today, we both went back to bed and went to sleep for two hours. Although it is becoming easier to walk, I still can't be on my feet for too long. Moving around a bit is good for circulation, but moving around too much is bad. You really have to stay focused on healing. You can't pretend that everything is fine when it isn't.

This whole incident has made me realize that you have to start taking falls seriously as you get older. I've fallen many times before. I've even landed on my wrists before. It's kind of natural to try to break a fall with your hands. Although I've fallen hundreds of times for dozens of reasons, I've never put myself out of commission like this before. I'm going to have to be real careful when I go up on the roof. Old, brittle bones aren't very forgiving.

The animal control people were back in the neighborhood today. They were still looking for the owners of the dog who bit me. Janet and I have told them several times that the owners are out of town, but that doesn't seem to make any difference. When the guy knocked on my door again this morning, I gave him the owners cell phone numbers and asked him to please call them directly. Just knocking randomly on neighbor's doors and asking people if they'd seen the owners isn't going to prove anything. It's weird that animal control is ruthlessly efficient, but I can't get the sanitation people to empty my trash. When I look at how city government functions, it's no surprise that our national government doesn't work very well either.

My newly upgraded computer seems to be working well. Even though the cloned hard drive was supposed to be absolutely identical to the old drive, I'm noticing all sorts of little differences. The computer seems to know that there's been an organ transplant. Some icons look different now and the computer seems to want to go into hibernation and disconnect from WiFi when it has been sitting idle for more than thirty minutes. Maybe this is a good thing. The computer is idle quite a bit. Lord knows how much electricity I've wasted over the years.

I'll be glad when I can get back to walking Dash again. I miss our early morning walks. One of the best signs that I've been totally out of it lately is that the battery on my fitness tracker has been dead for three days and I only noticed this morning. I'll try to keep the battery charged, but it's going to take a while to get back to taking 10,000 steps a day.

Trevor is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Friday, July 7, 2017

Day 2752

I spent most of the morning at the emergency room. I've had painful wrists for years, but yesterday I noticed that the pain was getting worse. It was excruciating last night and I couldn't even sleep. When I fell after the dog bit me, I must have either sprained or broken my wrist. Even though I rarely take pain pills, I took one of Janet's powerful after surgery pills in hopes that it might help me get some sleep. This morning, I still felt miserable, so I decided to go to the emergency room and get some x-rays.

Yesterday, I was driving Janet to the doctor. Today, she was driving me. Luckily, she got the OK to drive again just this morning. Amazingly, the emergency room wasn't very full. I got admitted within fifteen minutes and my whole exam from start to finish was less than three hours. All things considered, I felt like I was treated very well. I didn't have any broken bones, but I did have a severe sprain along with clear signs that I have osteoarthritis in my hands. I was fitted for a splint, given a few ice packs, a pain killer prescription and sent on my way. The doctor who examined me referred me to an orthopedic specialist to confirm the arthritis diagnosis.

Basically I'm a mess right now. My left hand is in splint, I can't raise my right hand very high because of my dislocated shoulder, and both legs are still very swollen and painful from the dog bites. Poor Dash isn't going to get a walk for a while. He doesn't seem very upset though. Actually, I think he likes hanging around the house with us. It's been a long time since Janet and I both spent all day in the house for weeks at a time. We may be going stir crazy, but Dash approves of this arrangement. He likes having the whole family together.

Despite all my problems, I still managed to get my computer upgraded. the employees at the repair place loaded the computer in and out of the car for me. Somehow, I managed to carry it from the driveway to the house with one hand. Amazingly, everything still works. The technicians told me that I prepared the clone drive correctly and I now have a working 4 terabyte internal drive. Probably my computer will be obsolete before I run out of space again.

Animal control didn't waste any time investigating the dog bite. They interviewed Janet while I was in the emergency room and I think they tried to interview the dog sitter as well. I told the owners to expect this when I talked with them yesterday. Physicians are required by law to report all dog bites. The dog will have to be quarantined while he is evaluated. If the owners are lucky, they will be allowed to quarantine him at home. Even though this dog bit me, I'd still hate to see him have to go to the pound.

The doctor sent me home with an ice pack and a splint. Unfortunately, I can't use the ice pack while I'm wearing the splint. You'd think somebody would have designed these things a little better. I've got to decide whether to use the ice pack or take a pain pill tonight. I think I'll opt for the Codeine. The ice I used last night didn't really do much.

Just so you know, it wasn't very easy to type this. I'm not going to let a bum wrist slow me down though. This is Day 2752 and it needs to be documented.

Delaney is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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