8.16.2009

update on flood, cody and everything else (now with more update!)

This is one of those personal-life updates that either makes or bogs down this blog, depending on your point of view.

There's far too much going on around here. The trick to staying sane is for me to leave as much blank space on the calendar as I can, so I get enough rest (a must for my health) and stay focused. The flood temporarily wrecked those plans, but things are quietly moving again.

  • Flood update. A few days ago, a work crew ripped out the basement carpet, along with the lower panelling, drywall and insulation. They left behind six industrial dehumidifiers, which are left on continuously for many days.

    We've seen the same company's trucks and dumpsters at all our neighbours homes, along with piles of ruined carpet and old furniture at the curb.

    So right now we're in a lull between the craziness of the flood itself, rescuing and moving all our stuff, and either moving things back - or moving, altogether. Next week our landlord will be back from Europe, a contractor will assess why the flood occurred, and we'll be able to think about the next steps.

  • Cody update. At the moment we're having a few days without thunderstorms, so she can finally relax. But this summer, especially the last few weeks, has been really hard on our poor girl. While we were reeling from the flood damage and the ensuing work, Cody was either in a state of terror, or drugged. It wasn't easy.

    We have some medication for her, and it works to a limited extent, but her fears are increasing and we need other solutions. Thanks to Dharma Seeker, we are going to try DAP, or Dog Appeasing Pheromone. Like everything else, both natural and pharmaceutical, it works on some dogs and not others. But there's no downside, so we'll give it a go. Best case, we can wean Cody off the other drugs. Worst case, we move on. Unfortunately, it will be three or four weeks before we know.

    Our vet also suggested a consultation with a behaviourist, which I think is a great idea. Once you've tried the standard treatments without success, you're in for a long process of trial and error, which is very hard on everyone - Cody, us, and our bank account. The behaviourist has experience with all the outliers and hard cases, so he'll have a lot more ideas, he'll be up on the latest studies, and he'll know what's safe for an older dog.

  • Tala and me. Strangely, summers are usually the time of year I get the least amount of exercise. The Y where I swim all year has a popular summer day camp, so from Canada Day to Labour Day the pool is packed with screaming children. Two lanes are left open for lap swimming, but they're very crowded. Noise plus crowds are not my idea of de-stressing. Instead, I've been waking up very early and going for long walks with Tala.

    Allan did this over the winter, when the dog parks were frozen over and Tala wasn't getting enough exercise. The entire time they were gone, Cody would stand at the window and cry and howl! I tried to distract her with treats or play, but she would have none of it.

    So now I take both dogs for a short walk around the block, drop Cody off at home, then continue on with Tala. Cody enjoys her gentle walk fix, Tala and I have warmed up a little, and everyone is happy.

    In addition to exercise for both of us, this is a great training opportunity for Tala. She still has issues walking on the leash - she'll freak out at passing cars if she's not reminded to do otherwise. If we don't keep up with her training, the whole thing will unravel.

    And this routine has another hidden value: we're broke, and freezing my gym membership for a few months has been a way to cut back. When it gets too cold to walk, I'll go back to the pool.

  • Just me. I've started physiotherapy (that's Canadian for physical therapy) for some repetitive stress pain.

    As is always the case with these things, I waited until I was in dire pain for a long time before I went to the doctor. My family doctor did X-rays and various tests, but missed the crucial connection between overuse - thanks to layoffs and increased workload on my weekend job - and this strange pain. My massage therapist, who has been keeping me functioning, called it right away.

    It's not a typical repetitive-stress injury, so to my mind, the doctor's omission was not a big deal. When I went back to the doctor with the massage therapist's idea, she completely accepted it, and recommended physio.

    Once I had the doctor's diagnosis in writing, I spoke to my employer about being excused from one particular aspect of my job - the first time I've ever done that for a health issue. They were fine with it. (They're a law firm, they have to be.)

    For now it's not a problem. Whether or not it will become a problem in the future, I don't know. I have the top experience and skills in the department, and I'm hoping that balances things out.

    This week I had the physio consult, I learned that the problem is more extensive than I thought. It makes sense: various recurrent issues through my shoulder, neck, clavicle and upper back are all connected. The therapist said it's fairly extensive, although not as bad as it could be. I have a lot of work to do.

  • Pre-trip and pre-school. I'm simultaneously getting ready for a trip and for the start of graduate school. Classes start while we're gone, so I need to have everything sorted out before we leave.

    This is the last of this year's four mini-vacations: I visited friends and family in California, then Allan and I had Stratford and Boston, and now we're attending a nephew's wedding in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trip is eight days, but that includes a full day of travel in each direction, and three days of wedding and family functions. That leaves three days to explore a bit of New Mexico.

    When I first learned we were going to Santa Fe for the wedding, I thought we'd make a Big Trip out of it, spend two or three weeks in New Mexico and Arizona. But it's really not possible this year, or in the foreseeable future. (That realization figured into my decision to make the career change.) This trip is a compromise between going only for the wedding and what I really wanted to do.

    I've been to Arizona and Utah a few times, but a long time ago, on family vacations as a child. Allan's never been to the Southwest US at all. So I'm sure the three days will be a great experience. Plus I am really looking forward to spending time with my family. Did I really say that? Life is different now, thanks to permanent deletion of a few toxic family members. Family gatherings can be anxiety-free. Imagine that!

  • The Red Sox. I guess this isn't really personal, but it sure feels that way. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the Red Sox not winning the American League East, but winning the Wild Card.

    In 2007, winning the division was actually more important to me than winning the World Series. We did both! This year my priorities are more sane: I know the most important thing is being in the post-season. But still. Although it's looking highly unlikely that the division is possible, I'll be the last citizen of Red Sox Nation to officially give up on that goal.

  • And now we've lost our dogsitter! Our weekend guy has disappeared, and the trip is less than three weeks away! I don't need this!!!
  • 16 comments:

    redsock said...

    So now I take both dogs for a short walk around the block, drop Cody off at home, then continue on with Tala. Cody enjoys her gentle walk fix, Tala and I have warmed up a little, and everyone is happy.

    Indeed, as Allan is still in bed during all of this.

    Amy said...

    OMG, talk about stress. I cannot imagine trying to balance all of those things at once. Maybe there is a Human Appeasing Pheromone for you and Allan also?

    Is the repetitive stress from typing? I hope not because I would hate to see you type less, both here and at JOS.

    At any rate, I hope you are coping as well as can be. The walks are probably not just good physical exercise, but also mind-clearing. I find a long walk with Cassie or alone can be extremely relaxing.

    As for the Sox, I have not yet give up hope for the ALEast, but on the other hand, I am nervous about getting the wild card. Time will tell.

    L-girl said...

    Amy, thank you for that, truly.

    I didn't even include much of what we're juggling, because we do that all the time - blogging, other writing, weekend job, activism - and school is coming.

    Is the repetitive stress from typing? I hope not because I would hate to see you type less, both here and at JOS.

    I'm ok for typing, using wrist support and such. I sometimes type for 10-12 hours a day - with breaks, but still all day. That's why when I say I need a break from gamethreads, I mean it!

    But there are other boring repetitive tasks I do on my weekend job which have started to stress my shoulder/clavicle/neck.

    The walks are probably not just good physical exercise, but also mind-clearing. I find a long walk with Cassie or alone can be extremely relaxing.

    Yes, absolutely. Swimming is the same for me. I find it more mentally and physically relaxing, but OTOH it's not outside. So each has its merits.

    Thanks for your support, Amy.

    Amy said...

    I have never been able to enjoy swimming laps. Although I love the ocean and lakes and ponds, I only go swimming when I am hot (like today). I once tried swimming at a pool for exercise and did not enjoy the wet, the cold, or the chlorine!

    But swimming is better overall exercise than just about anything else with the least stress on your joints (although my shoulder hurts today from swimming in the pond).

    As they say, to each his/her own.

    I hope you are able to relax enough to get a good night's sleep.

    L-girl said...

    But swimming is better overall exercise than just about anything else with the least stress on your joints (although my shoulder hurts today from swimming in the pond).

    That's why I took it up.

    True confessions. I am (was? am? you decide) a very poor swimmer, basically unable to coordinate the breathing.

    About 10-12 years ago, I desperately needed a way to get more exericse without joint stress. I joined a pool with a gym, and bought a snorkel.

    When I first started, I couldn't do 2 lengths without stopping to gasp for breath. I slowly, slowly, slowly built up my stamina, and before long I was doing 40, 50 lengths or more.

    This was a long process, and not easy - and the pool was not in my neighbourhood, it was a subway trip away!

    I really like to swim now, I find it very relaxing. But that's the only swimming I do. We don't go to the beach, except the occasional wintry beach walk.

    And incidentally, at any pool, I always see a few other people who use snorkels. It's probably the best piece of exercise equipment I ever bought.

    Amy said...

    That's a great idea---using a snorkel to do laps! Lifting/turning my head to breathe is what always tires me when I swim, regardless of stroke (except backstroke).

    I also love snorkeling otherwise. It is one of the most relaxing things I have ever done---just hearing my own breathing and watching sea life. Harvey, OTOH, cannot stand to have the snorkel in his mouth. Like I said, to each his/her own!

    L-girl said...

    We've only been snorkeling once, and we both loved it. Not being beach people, as I said, and almost never taking beach-type vacations, we haven't had much opportunity. But in Tulum, Mexico - which at the time was very undeveloped - we went snorkeling in a national park. It was a great experience.

    L-girl said...

    Lifting/turning my head to breathe is what always tires me when I swim

    It's definitely the toughest thing about swimming. I just can't deal with it well enough to get a good workout. I decided to avoid it completely. :)

    Amy said...

    As you know, I am a beach person. For me, there is just nothing as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the ocean. But I know lots of people who are not beach people, and we manage to get along just fine!

    L-girl said...

    I love being near the ocean. I love beaches of all types, especially rocky, wild beaches. I just hate the heat!

    One of my favourite things is to walk on a beach on a windy, gray day. I find that so beautiful and relaxing.

    David Cho said...

    Oh man, too much going on! So sorry.

    I know what it's like to have a terrified dog who is otherwise sweet and loving. Poor Cody :(

    L-girl said...

    Thanks David. :)

    I know you are back in the blogosphere. I keep meaning to stop by. Eventually I will get back in the habit!

    johngoldfine said...

    Of course, in the USA, l-girl, with those physical issues?, we'd just have to turn you over to the death panels in lieu of cost-ineffective 'physio.'

    ;)

    In other words, hope you get what you need and feel better soon.

    johngoldfine said...

    I wish I had advice for the thunder. Four of my five dogs are upset--shaking, clustering around the nearest person, hiding under the desk, the bed, or the bedcovers. The fifth one sees thunder as her opportunity to play Lady of the Manor without competition.

    I read about 'Thunderwear' recently, a cute and probably completely useless fix having something to do with static electricity build-up in the dog's fur and/or the soothingness of a full-wrap unitard. The rest of the article had really dumb stuff about desensitization.

    L-girl said...

    Thanks John. I wasn't looking for advice, just venting.

    If Cody was only shaking and hiding, we'd just live with it. Her phobia is very severe, to the point where she will hurt herself, wear herself out, running up and down stairs. She has arthritis and hip dysplasia - running up and down stairs is ill-advised!

    The wrapping and static electricity thing is very real. I don't know that particular product, but some insecure dogs do much better when they wear a very tight t-shirt - or are even wrapped up in a big cotton bandage, like a mummy!

    We learned about this when dealing with our emotionally disturbed pit bull, the infamous Buster.

    Unfortunately we can't try clothing or wraps with Cody.

    L-girl said...

    Of course, in the USA, l-girl, with those physical issues?, we'd just have to turn you over to the death panels in lieu of cost-ineffective 'physio.'

    Heh. Wish I could tell you my Ontario Health covers this, but it doesn't. Our "supplemental health" through Allan's employer covers it in part.

    If I were recovering from surgery or an accident, OHIP would then pay for physio.

    In other words, hope you get what you need and feel better soon.

    Thank you much. :)