Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The hardest day- letting my best friend go

This was Godiva today.
This was Godiva about 7 or 8 years ago, when he was 5 or 6.

Today was the saddest day, maybe one of the saddest days of my life. It seems ridiculous, because I've experienced a lot of death in my life, more than most people. I've had people I cared about die, helped people die dignified death in hospice, sat with patients when they decided enough was enough, and had feeding tubes pulled, watched patients die and their families grieve, and helped young men try to redefine their lives after terrible injury in war. This was a dog. But he was my dog, and I loved him. He helped me through a really awful depression, weather a divorce, tried to protect me at times, and when Nate and my son, Marcus was born, he tried to watch over him, even as an old, tired dog, in some pain. I agonized over this decision- he was in some pain, which we had mostly controlled with pain medication. He had a spinal tumor, and had trouble walking, and sometimes he would fall down, and be incontinent- and then be deeply ashamed afterward. He was confused sometimes, and wandered around at night. But I still wonder- if I had been old and sick, would he have euthanized me? I worry that I made the wrong decision for my old friend. I have never really known what I believe in terms of religion, but hope he is somewhere better.

I got him from the pound in Woodland in May 1999. They told me he was an adult dog at 40 lbs, but I realized soon that he was only about 12 weeks old at most, and he grew to be 80 lbs. He had been abused, and someone had cut his tail off at a vertebrae with clippers, and he already had some scars, even as a puppy. But he quickly grew into the loving, affectionate, gentle dog that he was his whole life. He learned a lot of tricks, including, "get your butt out of my face" which  meant he would get up, and turn around with an enormous sigh, so his head was facing me, instead of his butt. He never begged at the table, and learned that folding your napkin meant that we were done eating and he could come solicit pets and scratches under the chin. He didn't climb on furniture, and mostly didn't bark (until this year, when we moved back to California and he got confused). He loved to hike with us, and wade in streams, but couldn't swim very well. He drove cross country with me twice.

Friday, we went to the Vet and talked to her about Godiva. She agreed that he seemed like he was suffering, and I made the difficult decision to let him go. We gave him special treats all week, and this morning, a special treat. At two o'clock Nate had to give him tramadol to sedate him so he wouldn't be scared. Unfortunately, he was not sedated, since his tolerance was so high after taking pain medication. I gave him more treats, groomed him for the last time, and spent a few hours petting him and telling him how much he had meant to me all his life. We took him to the vet, and they took us in a special room. He was scared and fell over, and then huddled next to my legs. I petted him while they gave him an injection of barbituates, and in seconds, before they were even done injecting the medication, he was gone. I sat with him and petted him for a while, and he seemed like he was sleeping. It was awful. The whole time, I wondered, did I do the right thing? I left him there, but kept his collar and tags. They're doing a special cremation for us, and we're planning to go for a hike and spread his ashes doing what he liked best in the whole world.

 I already really miss my buddy. I looked at all his toys, his bed, and his bowls, and feel overwhelmed by them. We love you Godiva.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Teething- every two months?! Put me out of my misery, now, please!

I had no idea teething was going to be so painful- for Nate and I, not the baby. We had THREE days of sleeping through the night (8 pm to 2 or 3 am, then back to sleep until it's time to wake up to get dressed for day care), and then this awful tooth poked through his bottom gumline. I can't see it because he won't let me, but I can feel a sharp little nub there, and he's chewing on me when I feed him. The only thing that makes him happy is walking with him (mostly through Target or dangling nearly upside down while Nate walks through the house), driving in the car with the sunroof open, or about the first 30 seconds of playing. Then, baby break-down. We drove today, despite the weather consisting of frank rain and some sprinkling, and as long as it wasn't pouring, we had the sunroof down. I swear, this baby rules the house.

And then tomorrow, back to work. I'm working on developing that thick skin, and making a lasting contribution while I'm here- but at the same time, I wonder, isn't it ok to do a good job for the patients and do my best at the admin stuff, and then just go home for the day? I keep hearing the last guy had to be told to eat lunch, to go home at the end of the day (late) and came in on weekends. What could he possibly be doing on weekends? I'm done with all my notes, and caught up with email, and working on projects in the down time. What else should I be doing?

Wednesday is going to be awful. That's when our appointment to put Godiva to sleep is scheduled. I always dreaded this day, and now it's come. I wonder if I'll have the courage to have a dog again. I know that all life is change, and he is JUST a dog. But he's a great dog, and one I've loved for almost 14 years...Better go, so I can make him some bacon to put in his dog bowl tonight. We're giving him something special every day until then.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Being a new mom

It sure has been a long time since I posted. I've been posting on Facebook, and a Shutterfly page where I've been keeping the baby's photos for family and friends, but not much about what I've been thinking and feeling. Being a mom the first few months was a lot harder than I thought, partly because our baby had four or five hours of colic a night, that never seemed to end. I felt guilty when I would be SO glad when I heard Nate getting home from school, so I could have a few minutes to myself. But everything seemed to get a lot easier when the baby started to smile. He became a little person then to me, not just a pooping/eating/screaming machine. Now he laughs at everything, including, "LOOK who has a POOPY diaper!" said in a falsetto,  or above, during his favorite game with Nate, Superbaby, where he gets launched in the air (still being held onto, of course). He had a little trouble today because his first tooth came in (early!) but even then, much more manageable than he used to be. It's exciting to be able to see the future in more positive terms- looking forward to getting to visit Disneyland for the first time, visiting San Francisco with the baby for the first time...

Going back to work was hard, and initially, I was really upset to leave the baby. But I really like my job, and I don't mind being the supervisor, which I didn't expect. The only thing that makes me feel sort of bad is that I feel like I get a fair amount of "well, that's not what Dr. So and So did" which is hard, and then I feel defensive. I need to work on that, because I know there are things that Dr. So and So did better than me, and things that I'm better at, like psychopharmacology, and dealing diplomatically with people I need to get a long with (no really, me! I'm actually sort of good at this, even though it seems like I wouldn't be.)...

I think the thing I'm working on now is getting ME back. I gave up a lot of things I used to do, like doing a lot of reading, doing some crafting, doing the girly hair/make up thing, running, yoga...I need to introduce some of those things back as I can now that the baby is sleeping mostly through the night, so I have a few hours in the evening after he goes to bed. Of course, some of that needs to be for board study, since I didn't take the boards this year- they couldn't accommodate breast pumping, if you can believe that, so I had to reschedule.

Anyway, here's to being a mom, learning to be thick skinned and being me (clink Sidecar glass with yours)...


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

changing and letting go...

The photo above is from Virginia Beach, VA. We went there to stay at a spa, and have a "babymoon," one of the many changes in life going on. I think it was fun for Nate to see the town he lived in for seven years from my point of view, and I wanted to see what part of Nate's life was like in the time between when we were in high school together to when we met again. How different our lives are now!

Even when I think about what was happening in my life four years ago, I can hardly recognize that life. I had just left one life behind, started residency, had some heartbreak, learned what depression can do to you...And this year, officially started a new life, contemplated graduating, started a family with Nate, and now, thinking about a move across the country again. Really, these are all exciting, but scary changes.

Yet, the hardest lesson for me to learn I've found is when to give up, and how to "divorce" people in my life when I've realized I've made a mistake in allowing them in my life in some capacity. Each time I've had to do this (and really it's been less than five times in my whole life), it's led to some aspect of depression for me, and a sense of failure- even when I can see that they were not particularly good people that I would want in my life. I'm going through this now, and have found it a wrenching experience. Yet, now, there's more at stake -allowing these toxic people in my life affects Nate, too, since our lives are intertwined. This time, the stress and sleeplessness associated with the experience made me ill- having to take medication for a lung infection- and on some level risked our unborn child's life as well.

I gave it some thought, and walked away from the situation as much as possible. I did some purging of my social networks, and with it, a sense of lightness, of freedom. I'm starting to think that a lesson I can teach our future son or daughter- one I'm still learning- is that sometimes walking away is as important as sticking with it.