Food for Me and Thee

Pray for Paris, for Beirut, for Baghdad, for countries absorbing the refugees from the Middle East. Pray for us all as we seek to rid the world of this evil….

Sometimes, I realize just how blessed I am. Last week, I ran out of food. I “eat” through a stomach tube and normally get a shipment of food every month. I was two months ahead, so we put it on hold to use up what I had….and then, because I was accustomed to the comfort and routine of my shipments being on time, I forgot it wasn’t….till I saw I only had two cans of food left (TwoCalHN, if anyone is interested). A computer glitch ditched a number of us who had “holds” on….and thus, we ran out. A local pharmacy could have a case in the next day…but didn’t. So, I used an off the counter substitute…and felt hungry. Now, some days, I only eat twice a day. This is not a pleasant way to eat….and some days, I can barely face it. Yet, when the convenience was removed, I was HUNGRY.  Interesting psychological reaction….am eating just fine now, thank you.

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My reaction to my food is not unlike the reaction to my delivered dog food. I buy the best food on the market for my dogs every two weeks. In the meantime, I cut it with a lesser grade food (though still a good food: believe me, there is no Ol’ Roy nor Beneful for my dogs). I ran out…hmm, seems to be a theme these past couple weeks. So, I bought two well-regarded foods (but not as good as my standard, IMHO) to use while we waited. The dogs did fine…except for Annie, who developed a bout of GI distress. I don’t think it was from the food. I don’t know from what it was. She spent a night on IVs at the vet’s, home with a soft food and meds, and is doing 100% better. Plus, our normal food was delivered. I always feel so much better, knowing I have their best food here….and need to remember to buy a support bag so we don’t run out…

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Our favorite dog food – we change types regularly plus add different food to give a change-up for better nutrition. I also add raw and soft food to help medicine go down as well as give a delicious punch to dry kibble.

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The Dogs’ Week

I’ve spent more time at the vet these past 4 days almost than at home. Love my vet and techs, but enough is enough. Today, my Annie Beagle, the “Energiz-Her,” is there for the day after a night of vomiting phlegm, and then blood. Saturday, I spent the morning with Remi, my pocket Beagle, after he sustained a shoulder wound most likely in the melee when neighbor dogs were visiting. Yesterday, I “only” needed better medicine for Ellie Mae, my Bloodhound, whose arthritis is really becoming a problem..oh, and more heart meds for Archie the Tyrant.

Annie is my only true
Annie is my only true “free” dog. Her finder/rescuer said and has followed through that she would pay for vetting throughout her life if I adopted her. She is a splendid, opinionated, affectionate Beagle.
Remi (short for Remington) or Bug, as I call him, is doing well with his stitched wound.
Remi (short for Remington) or Bug, as I call him, is doing well with his stitched wound.
Ellie Mae Bloodhound likes to supervise and keep the smaller, younger dogs in line. She thinks Remi is her
Ellie Mae Bloodhound likes to supervise and keep the smaller, younger dogs in line. She thinks Remi is her “boy toy.”
Archie is a senior Rat Terrier who almost died but was saved by his ACO and vet. He is all BOSS and sometimes, can be quite the hand-full for an 11# dog.
Archie is a senior Rat Terrier who almost died but was saved by his ACO and vet. He is all BOSS and sometimes, can be quite the hand-full for an 11# dog.

By the grace of God, we’ve had very good weather these 4 days I’ve been off work. Tomorrow, we get wind, rain, and possibly tornadoes, right when I go back for a long stint of 12 hr night shifts. Trying to get a lot done in this last day of calm, sunny weather.

P.S. Just heard from my vet. Annie is not doing well. Hopefully, bloody gastritis which can be handled, but she is much more sick than I thought this morning. By the time I arrived to see her, Annie was wagging her tail,  I stroked her neck which she loves, and she licked my nose, her “signature.” She’ll stay overnight, at least, with her IV.

Getting Out of Ruts – A Painful Process

Justus concerned? about new dog in room next door.
Justus concerned about new dog in room next door.

I’m on vacation this week. I actually left town with Justus, my American dog who looks like a Doberman until you put him next to a Doberman; then he looks like a really funny Greyhound/Coonhound mix. I meant to go to Eureka Springs, AR but was delightfully delayed by two situations, so I ended up stopping in Branson, MO. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been in what I consider a tourist trap town – and I got trapped. On my way in, I ended up signing up to listen to a timeshare presentation for “only 2 hours.”

Being a people pleasing person, I listened, toured, applied to see about credit, was made a very good final offer but left in tears after over 3 hours. My dog was at my motel. I only had TWO nights away from home; the plan was to not cause any more stress, and yet I did – and so did they.  I find Branson itself stressful – full of tourist signs and neon. Seems this city girl became a country girl in the last 20 years or so.

However, after leaving and being in such distress that several people asked me if I was all right on my way out, I thought to myself, WHY was I so distressed? The last offer, a 2 year trial at a reasonable rate (for them), would have gotten me to Alaska, my Bucket LIst vacation destination. The young closer pissed me off when I tried to discuss how important pet friendly accommodations are to me: “No Alaskan cruise will allow pets….” I know he was just doing his job and I knew later I should have walked away from the beginning. Then the second closer came in and made the best offer. I refused it because I was so stressed by that time (I thought) but really, thinking later, I wonder….am I afraid of committing myself to a vacation, a real vacation, each year? I don’t even have to use a whole week at a time – 2-3 days OR a week. I’m also upset for people pleasing again and upsetting myself as well as the presenters and workers. I’m not sorry I walked away. I’m thinking, though, of checking this place out again next year…waiting for that last offer….and committing to a vacation.

When I stopped at the Branson Information Station, I had no clue it was a front for a timeshare or vacation ownership situation. Naive. Long not traveled. Hopefully, by next summer, I’ll be down more dogs (I’ve stopped rescuing but will cont. fostering) which will give me more leeway. I’m working hard at paying off my credit cards by snowballing them which is another reason I turned down the final offer today. My financial officer and I have a plan and I want to finish working that plan. So what did I do? Took my dog with me for some retail therapy. He did GREAT in the stores :).

Who knows? Perhaps in two years, I’ll have been to Alaska.

Addendum Sept. 27, 2014 – After more consideration, I’ve decided to SAVE the maintenance fees plus most likely others not disclosed for a very good vacation with Justus next year.

WORDDeut. 8:1…

WORD

Deut. 8:1-3

1 This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

John 1:1-3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.…

The Word of G-d, Jesus Christ, the Bread of the World

Snow and Cold Days

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The winter temperatures and wind chills, not seen in “20 years” are upon us. The dogs and I are bundled up in the house with access to the yard for those who don’t get out; the escapees are let out carefully except for Sophie Tucker, who is crazy enough to hunt rabbits till she is frostbite and hypothermic. She will only go on leash with me twice a day (she is VERY house-trained and becomes distressed when she’s unable to relieve herself outside).

In this part of MO, people are not accustomed to cold or snow. Ice they deal with, but real winter weather is a different ballgame. Most drivers don’t know how to execute proper left hand turns in good weather, much less this nasty, very bad weather changing outside my window by the hour.

My garages are full (and I used to keep two vehicles in them) so every so many hours, I go out, start my car, move it back and forth in the drive to be ready to go to work tonight at 11:00 PM. I’ll leave about 10:00 PM to be safe and give myself time. 

Health Care in Flux – Again

English: Electronic Health Records flow chart.jpg
English: Electronic Health Records flow chart.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Healthcare is in flux again.

I work as a night shift float RN; I qualify to work ICU as well as all the “zones” in my hospital. The only place i’m not comfortable is babies. And I don’t need to work there unless they are in a real bind and then, I will be a helper, not take patients.

Sunday night I was on surgical. Sure, it was Sunday, a day traditionally without many surgeries, but still, the census was half what it was the last time I was there. Tonight, I’m on “ETO standby.” This means I stay available to come into work till 11;30 PM. Since I’m writing this at home, I didn’t get called in.

The census dropped dramatically. This is not a normal low census time and yet, over the early to mid summer, we saw a drop and now, with ACCRA struggling out of the gate, we again are seeing more fluctuations than normal. I read of nurses being laid off. NURSES! Those of us who are baby-boomers are coming on strong and yet, we are being laid off.

The last really huge fluctuation I remember in census and my hours being affected was DRGs. DRG is Diagnostic Related Groups. As a speaker I recently heard said, “it was the end of health care as we know it.” Sure, things changed but for that first summer, I took lots of vacation days because my hospital and others didn’t know what to expect.

I presume a similar thrill is threading through providers today – insurances are cancelling on people, maybe some are covered but until the end of March 2014, we won’t know squat. CMS, the Medicare/Medicaid part of the Fed. Govt., is no longer paying fee for service, but pay for performance – and we need to perform and prove through out care but even more so (sadly but necessarily) through our documentation.

And don’t get me started about electronic records. Sure, I like charting on a computer but reading paper records spit out by someone else’s system is crazy, plus, systems don’t talk to one another. I heard hope by the same speaker above from Apple, working with two very large medical records firms. I hope so.

Too bad they weren’t brought in for ACCRA.

BTW, I don’t mind being home tonight and the heat cycles, noted in previous entries, is ending. TBTG.

Juggling Dogs

I looked up the definition of sequestration. I’ve been separating dogs for a week and wanted to be sure my context was correct. I was wrong – it’s all about debt or withholding of funds, etc. It sounded so good.

Part One – Intact Male named Crimson:

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Crimson, now also known as the Red Baron, is a very nice, male dog with Beagle, Lab, and various other breeds in his background. He came to us with a hunting collar on, in good flesh, and won’t leave. Oh, he leaves, but over the porch and then quickly back. He is in the final week of heart worm treatment. He is intact, He can make puppies, which,  until last week, was not a problem….

Part Two – Peanut, Intact Female in heat:

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Peanut is a senior Weim/Lab mix. She is the short hair dog with golden Weimaraner fur of the previous poem. Peanut is heart worm negative; however, she has multiple mammary tumors from being frequently bred. I don’t want puppies…..

Part Three – Lucy, Intact Female Beagle in heat:

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Lucy is very heart worm positive with a massive, pendulous mammary tumor. She came with Ricky Beagle, and I had Ethel, a Beagle puppy who since is adopted. Ricky was also heavily heat worm positive. He was neutered; he did not tolerate the surgery, the anesthesia, or the heart worm med given; he declined and went to Heaven in my arms. I elected to not spay Lucy even though she could be pregnant. She was not – and she, too, is again in a heat along with Peanut…..

Part Four – Sophie Tucker, Spayed Female Beagle:

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Sophie arrived two weeks ago. She is charming…she is an escape artist. Her first few days here were fine since, when I was home, she stayed home. Then she followed? found her way? up and over the chain link fence, and down the highway. She is now kept up when I’m not home in a crate or, preferably, the Front Room.

Jugglers have nothing, NOTHING, over a Beagle Sanctuary with intact dogs, two of whom are in heat, one of whom could effectively make puppies, and one who doesn’t quite get the concept of “home.” The girls are in a hallway most of the day; Crimson is outside or in a crate; Sophie is in the Front Room or on a leash with me.

I’m trying to attend to all 20 dogs and juggle those who need separation (see, “sequestration” sounds so much better and is in the news) without losing one.

I’ll let you know in another week if I’m successful. Crimson already hooked up with Peanut once. I’m praying hard for no pregnancy…and furiously juggling.

Two Yellow Dogs

Russian Yellow Retriever from 1915
Russian Yellow Retriever from 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two yellow dogs sleep on a painted floor.

One fluffy, tufts of fur ripe for brushing or plucking,

Fur not long but dense,

thick, a cozy coat craving cooler weather.

She quivers in her sleep,

gently puffing her cheeks, flipping her paws,

traversing a landscape unknown,

perhaps dreaming of a puppyhood long, long ago.

The other with short fur sleeps full-out flat,

sporadically stretching her limbs straight.

This dog’s fur glistens in the light,

a brilliant gold startling in its reminder of her Weimaraner heritage

gently blended with other breeds,

a sweet yellow gold gleaming girl

in her twilight years, whose days ebb and flow with energy and ennui.

Two yellow dogs sleep on a painted floor.

~ Roberta Beach