And end or a beginning; who knows exactly
Dachshund Love
Well, Hello!!

I know it's been a while since I've written anything of any substance; but well, I've been cheating you, LiveJournal. Realy... it's not you.. it's me. Completely. Yes, I admit it, there is another journal.. But it's not what you think; I didn't leave you for another online journal. I wouldn't do that to you.

I have left you for a computer program on the side. Yes, I have a "special friend". Her name is My Journal 2.0.

Please don't cry, and don't be bitter. We have had some good times, you and I, and we will again; but right now, I have a lot of things I want to talk about with my new friend. I hope you understand. We have been through a lot and I know you'll forgive me this one indiscretion for however long I need it.

We can still be friends, right? I can come here and visit with you occasion, it just won't be like it was... so.. frequent.

You really are awesome, and you were exactly what I needed when I needed it, but for right now, I need another place to call home.

With much love and affection, I am....

your journal writer

And So it Goes
Dachshund Love
This week has been another week of wishing my dog were a toddler instead of a 14.5 year old dog. On the 17th of every month she gets her heartworm pill, it upsets her stomach to the point she's got really bad diarrhea... yeah, this is a disgusting topic of conversation, but considering I haven't written here in over a month this is what I have.

So... We have been trying to get the apartment clean enough to have someone over for a visit (an old friend); but we've been spending more time trying to keep only barely ahead of a sick puppy. We bought a rug sucker and it's doing a fabulous job; but soon after we pronounce the carpets clean; they're not.

I've been keeping track of her issues for the past few months and I have determined that her heartworm pill is the culprit. It's been happening for the week starting on the 17th and goes for about a week after we start adding rice to her food.

Yesterday, I reached my breaking point. I was getting ready for work and cleaning up the night's issues on the carpet and in the bathroom (I had no idea a dog that small could make that much of a mess) and she was in the bed, looking at me with this "Mommy, please help me... I don't feel good" look. I thought about it all morning and I finally called the vet and asked some pointed questions. Will they refuse to allow her to board if she no longer has her heartworm pill "on board"? Nope, apparently as long as she has her bordatella, canine influenza and one other vaccine they will continue to board her. The technician I spoke to said she'd talk to the vet and give me a call back.

Apparently, there is a topical heartworm thing they can give her and it SHOULDN'T upset her stomach... or since she's not outside for all that long anymore.. less than 10 minutes three times a day; the chances of her getting bit by a mosquito carrying the larvae is so slim it's not funny.. and considering her age, if she did get heartworms the vet would probably recommend NOT to treat her anyway.

So after careful consideration; I've decided that she's not getting the heartworm preventative any more. She goes through this about every 4.5 weeks and to be honest, it's a quality of life issue. It's not much quality if she's feeling like, well dog crap for one of those weeks for what's really in her case a non-issue.

I just can't do this to her anymore. Period. For whatever time she has left; it's going to be a good time and not full of upset, unhappy tones and her just wanting to sleep and not wanting to eat as a means to control her tummy.

In my heart, I know that this is the first step towards her geriatric years and that possibly from this point on it's going to be a management issue... managing her needs and keeping her comfortable for how ever long she has; be it another month or another 5 years... She is at the end of the usual life expectancy (dachshunds live about 12-14 years.. she's now at 14.5).. I think the longest dachshund life on record is like 16 years.

The day is coming... I dread it, but it will come. When? I dunno, but until then I'm determined she will have a good life.

My Dad
Dachshund Love
I woke up this morning, thinking about two things.. taking the dog for a walk and my Dad. I guess it's only right, since today is Father's Day.

When I logged onto LJ, there was a question asking about your favorite memory of Dad; I'll get to that in a minute.

What I want to do first is share a picture and make an introduction. This is MY DADDY; James Verner Stoltz, Jr. But you can call him Jim. This picture came from a cousin about a month or so ago, and it's one of only three pictures I have of him (we won't go into the whys, let's just leave that alone). When I was born, he was 38 (remember, I'm the youngest of three kids and one stepdaughter); but the only steps we had were attached to the house, so as I tell people I shared him with two older sisters and a brother, but being a parent is unique in that you get to be someone's singular parent. I can claim him as MY Daddy but yet so can my brother. When we're together, he was OUR Daddy. See how cool that is?

It was taken during a family reunion long about 1980 or so (it might be earlier). The woman in the picture is my Grandmother (my father's mother, Susie Sabra Cunningham Stoltz.. I always thought Sabra was an interesting name). The reunion was in Red Hill in Illinois, (or maybe Indiana); and I was probably around 14 at the OLDEST. My Dad was the third boy, and one of 12 children. They called him Junior; and he was named after my grandfather. (He was the third boy but named after my grandfather because my grandfather didn't know his own legal name; it took him three tries to figure out what his name was...but I digress)....

Friends, meet my father....

So, now that you've been introduced, let me tell you about my favorite memories. He was 6'4" and about 270 pounds although he told the world he was a perfect "200". He was a 20 year veteran of the navy and was enlisted from 1945 through 1969. With a small stint in here of public sector employment. He left the family farm when he was 18 to join the navy and "see the world". The only parts he really saw were Illinois, Connecticut and Virginia and he's got kids from all three states to prove it :-)

Anyways, back to the memories....

The first one is dancing with my dad. As a seven or eight year old, I remember my parents had a record/8-track tape player. They would listen to country music (my dad's favorite) and he would lead me around the room "dancing" as my feet stood on his worn work shoes (they were steel toed); we would dance around the room that way and it always ended with a big hug.

Now we fast forward about 18 years or so and my mom and I are going to visit the wife of one of my dad's workers at the power plant. She just had a baby the week before. We go and bring our customary gift (a hand-crocheted baby blanket). They're really very nice and they're invited over to dinner. The husband, wife and new little girl show up for dinner and we let them in... the first thing out of the husband's mouth is "So YOU'RE the GENIUS that Jim keeps telling us about!" My dad turns beet red and says nothing. Throughout the whole dinner the husband keeps telling us how my dad goes on and on about his youngest little girl and how smart she is; and that one day she's going to do something big. He goes on and on about how my dad tells them I'm talented and a really good kid.

I sat there dumbfounded. I had no idea he ever talked about his family at work. None at all. I really had no clue he was telling people about ME!

When the family left, he looked at me and said "Well, why wouldn't I tell people the truth?!" and left it at that.

Fast forward another few years. I had just gotten laid off from my job and was really uncertain what I was going to do. I was in the upstairs living room and he came and sat down in his favorite chair. He had a serious look on his face. He leaned forward with concern in his eyes.

"I want to tell you something." Ut oh. A conversation that serious meant I was in trouble about SOMETHING. "Okay." "Out of all four of my children, you are the one that I most proud of. You are the smartest of all of you kids, you are strong, and you can do anything you set your mind to. This is YOUR time and your chance to make something of yourself. You should set your mind to college." "I don't know... what if I fail?" "You won't. You have never failed at anything you set your mind to." "Of everyone, you are the least likely to need someone to take care of you. I'm very proud of you. Your sister had her chance at college and she chose not to use it.. now it's your turn."

My father never said those to words to me as a kid growing up. He really rarely said much of anything. That conversation was monumental to me. It was proof that my father really loved me and he wanted the best for me. It was proof that he thought I was smart, special and loveable. That one conversation has kept me going for about twenty years. It's amazing how one affirmation from a parent can last almost a lifetime.

My father died a few years after that conversation and to this day, the missing him still hurts. Father's Day is hard. The fourth of July is hard (it is the day the Nation celebrates his birthday). It's not as hard as it used to be when I hear people talk about their fathers who are still living (it's the curse of being older than most of my friends and the fact that my parents were a lot older than most of my friend's parents.. they were really almost old enough to be my grandparents). I get jealous at times, and I get really frustrated when things happen that I KNOW my dad would be able to fix in no time with his blue toolbox of doom.

All of the house stuff would have been taken care of in no time; the car repairs would have been no sweat for my Dad. So yes, I still miss him; and I guess I always will. There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him at least for a second. As I said in Facebook, he might be gone from this earth, but he's not gone from my heart.

I miss you Daddy. I hope you and Mom are dancing together in heaven! You are missed and loved more than I can say.

The long and short of it...
So when we last left me, I had been to the ER for a female infection. They gave me four meds and sent me home. All was progressing and the meds helped with the pain and etc. I did notice though that I was feeling anxious and my chest was tight. I thought that maybe the chest pain I was having was related to "pumping" which is rapid breathing in an attempt to get rid of excess blood sugar... so I didn't really pay much thought. As the days progressed, the pain got worse, I was short of breath and if I laid back, I could feel the pulse in my neck pounding. Nothing I did made it any better.

Night time was worse. The only way I could breathe was to sit bolt straight upright and literally pass out from exhaustion. My chest hurt and I was so short of breath, I literally wondered if I was dying. I had visions in the back of my head that I would go to sleep and just not wake up. On top of this, I was completely and totally nauseated. I couldn't keep ANYTHING down. I had a lump in my throat that just would not go away and when I laid down, it felt like I was suffocating.

It felt like every breath I took was going to be my last. I was scared out of my mind. By the time things came to a head, I had finished the Flagyl, the naproxyn and stopped taking the vicodin. The only thing left was the Doxycycline Monohydrate. I had taken Doxycycline before with no issues; so it couldn't be that, right? On a fluke we looked up Doxycycline Monohydrate and realized that those two meds are NOT the same. Serious side effects of DM are nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain, and lots of other serious issues.

So... off we go to the ER again. We get there, and I tell them I'm having a reaction to the DM and I get whisked back into triage pretty quickly. They ask me my symptoms and I try to very nonchalantly say shortness of breath and chest pain. If you've ever been in an ER those are two VERY magic words. Basically, you go to the top of the list with a bullet.

Instead of following the "reaction" idea, they went straight to "possible cardiac issues" and that's when the world went sideways. I had an EKG, several blood tests, oxygen, an Echocardiogram, cardiac enzymes, a CT scan of my chest and throat, as well as a chest x-ray and so much other other bloodwork that I think I'm a quart low. This all started in the ER at 8:30; it ended up with me sending Alan home at around 1AM; and I got to have my first inpatient hospital stay in the "short term care unit".

Throughout the night, they woke me up for vitals (every four hours); and I had nothing I could do but sit in the bed, fret and gasp for air. I felt comforted by the thought that if something did happen and I did stop breathing, I was in the right place. They came to take me for the CT scans and they expected me to lay down. I gutted through it, but it was by far an awful experience.

They gave me an IV, oxygen and a cardiac monitor. They gave me an antinausea medicing in the iv, and then later some ativan, so I was finally able to fall asleep. When they decided that I was staying overnight, they literally kicked Alan out of the hospital. (He was asking why they weren't trying to decide if it was a reaction to the DH and skipped right to cardiac issues; the ER doctor didn't like his questions). So I said good night to my love, gave him my wedding ring and watched him leave. Once the xray was over, I had a quiet cry. I was in the hospital. Alone and scared out of my mind. At that moment, all I could think of was "I want my Mommy". He couldn't stay and I didn't want him to go.

I got woke up four hours later for another round of blood and vitals. They decided I wasn't a candidate for surgery so I could eat breakfast. Two bites and UGH. The hurse had told me that when I got back from my echocardiogram she'd give me the iv phenergan the doctor had prescribed. They wheeled me down to the heart wing for the echo and as soon as I realized they wanted me to lay down flat, I started to cry. I explained that I was so nauseated I wanted to vomit and laying down wasn't likely to make that feel any better. They called my nurse and told her that they wouldn't do the test until she brought the phenergan. She came down and administered the phenergan, and not only was I not nauseated, it has a lovely side effect of making me relaxed and very sleepy.

They did the echo and brought me back to my room where I promptly fell into a drug induced sleep. When I woke up, I started pestering about my labs and test results and wanting to see the doctor. I wanted answers. Period. I wanted to know where I stood and what was up. I thoroughly started my case and the aid had my labs printed for me and she brought me the sheets. I had the presence of mind to call my love and we parsed the results over the phone.

In short, all cardiac enzymes were normal; so it's not my heart. I do have a case of fatty liver thanks to diabetes and being overweight. I have a very small benign mass that occurs in about 1-3% of the population and it's nothing to be concerned about.

What they did discover was that I needed to be back on my cholesterol, high blood pressure and thyroid meds. It has all been restarted now, and I am working through those tiny side effects (the high blood pressure meds make me "go" a lot, yes, I know oversharing).

So... the outcome was one very expensive overnight hospital stay, but my heart and lungs have a clean bill of health. They want me to have a stress test and a sleep study at some point, but it's not anything that needs to be done in the hospital. I explained to the cardiologist and to his fellow about the Doxycycline Monohydrate; and he said that he thought I was having a reaction to the meds and to stop taking them. In the mist of all that blood work, they checked my white blood count and found that I have zero infection in my body at this point, so stopping this vile med is perfectly okay.

I have to be honest. I was really worried, and scared. I had no doubt in my mind that I was slowly suffocating to death. My sister read about my hospital stay on facebook and called me. We had a good call and she came to see me. She hugged me and I cried on her shoulder. I told her how scared I was and that I was convinced I was about to see our parents at just about any minute (they are both deceased). For the two nights prior to the hospital stay, when I went to sleep, I prayed to God. I was THAT scared.

So.... here we are. I'm home, doing better than I have in weeks. I'm tired, but it's the tired you have from not doing anything for the past two weeks. I'm breathing normally, no chest pain and no nausea.

The doctor did give me a RX for phenergan at home, since I seem to be one of those people who gets nauseated easily in case this continued at home. So far, I've been a LITTLE nauseated, but able to keep it under check without meds so that's a win.

I am still here, and my heart is okay. I hve no had every test practically known to man kind (including a Hep test for a tat I've had for 15 years)... in short; I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low thyroid, PCOS and a fatty liver. So. I am on meds, and I'm taking them. ALL of THEM. WIthout fail.

And I'm never, ever taking Doxycycline Monohydrate ever again. Period.

Now I just need to manage my anxiety. Apparently, I've been more than a little anxious during the whole move and etc. and now I need to figure out how to let that all go and relax. I've been anxious for six months now, and it's become a reactive way of life.

Thank you to all my friends and family for their concern and prayers. I am sorry if I worried you all. I honestly didn't mean to scare anyone; but I was scared out of my mind.

Umm... wow...
Dachshund Love
as you may or may not know, I've been sick for the past week. It was diagnosed as another bout of PID thanks to me and my crappy management of my blood sugar. Add in that I think there was a distinct possibility that I was working towards a good case of diabetic ketoacidosis with blood sugars in the 330s.

Once I got a grip (and it wasn't easy); we set about to get the sugars under MUCH better control. We figured out what was driving me so far into the realm of I feel so sick it would be easier to just kill me..... it's been quite a while since I've taken my Byetta and every time I've tried to take it, things just got WORSE, not better. I stopped taking it and dropped back to my metformin, glimiperide and my antibiotics. Over the last 24 hours, I have paid RIGID attention to my blood sugars and have managed to get them down to 145 just before dinner. That's not perfect control, but it's LOADS better than it was. Of course, at this point, I'm eating MINIMAL carbs (like NONE for dinner); but it was either that, or not eat dinner and that can't happen, either.

I haven't really been taking care of my diabetes at ALL. Not one iota. I got the crap scared outta me these last few days and I have a clear understanding of what can happen with numbers that high, and let me tell you, it's nothing GOOD. There's lots of side effects and symptoms that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (if I had one). So, in effect, I've learned my lesson. I am paying attention, now.

Why am I telling you all this.. because; well... you're my friends and I want you all to know what's going on with me; and secondly, it's more for me. I need to put this on paper so I know how horrible it really was and add in the fact that I probably should have gone to the ER for insulin. Apparently, my kidneys have been working very hard for me and they deserve a medal. I haven't been very nice to them.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be working back into the rest of my meds and keeping on track; so please forgive me if you invite me/us out and I can't because I'm feeling under the weather. It's really not you, it's me. These meds make me feel rather icky until they build up in my system.

I don't ever want to go here again. I can't begin to describe how exactly horrible I felt. I can't say I'm completely "cured" but I'm at least paying attention.

Where was I
Dachshund Love
when we stopped calling male humans over the age of about 10 boys? I don't get referring to a grown man as a boy?

If girls over the age of consent are considered to be women, then why aren't males over the age of 18 men? Do we generally send MEN to war, or boys?

I think I'm watching too much daytime television...

I wish I had a button
Dachshund Love
I wish I had a button I could wear on Mother's Day that says something to the effect of "I don't have a mother, and I'm not a Mother, so please leave me be." That's a lot to put on a button, maybe I'll make a T-shirt some year.

I was within two freaking hours of the day being over before it hit me. I managed to keep it together when the Target guy wished me a Happy Mother's Day on behalf of the store. Thankfully my husband was with me and gave a very nice Thank you. I, on the other hand, can't get the words. After all these years, I still just stand there dumbfounded, the words won't come.

I do miss my Mom; I won't lie; but I miss the other part of what was supposed to be my life. I can't get past it. I had high hopes that this time this year we'd have a foster child; but that wasn't meant to be. I'm not meant to be a Mother; it's not part of the infinite plan, I guess, but it doesn't stop me from wanting it.

I guess we all want what we can't have, to some degree.

It seems silly to mourn for something you never had; for all I know I'd be a terrible mom.

All I know is I almost got through the day.. I had two hours to go and it would all be over...fill in the expletive of your choice here.

Week Two
Dachshund Love
I'm updating less, because well.. there just isn't a lot to say. The apartment is basically together; we still have a few boxes, but they are getting weeded through and things are tossed on a daily basis.

I have my first interview on Monday. I have to report to the Department of State in deep D.C. and I'm a little nervous about it; but I think I'll be okay. I went out today in search of an interview outfit and usually shopping in Petersburg would leave me discouraged and upset. I hate clothes shopping and will do just about anything to get out of it. Today though, I gathered a list of four places and set out in Zippy. At the second store I went to, I found a dress I wanted but they didn't have my size. The clerk gave me a dress in the size I needed and the same designer as the dress I wanted in the hopes of finding the right size for me (I wasn't sure which size I needed). The dress looked pretty awful on the hanger. I put it on and Lo and Behold, once the dress was ON an actual person (me) it looked tons better and I actually ended up buying THAT dress instead of the one I thought I wanted.

It's black, light blue, dark blue with just a tiny bit of lavender (it's hard to describe). I already have a pair of cute black shoes and some silver jewelry on a black cord (or I can wear my blue topaz and it should be just fine).

So really, all I need to do is print out a resume and references list and add in a copy of the Metro map and I should be fine. I've decided that I'm going to take a cab from the Metro station to make sure I'm there on time and in one piece. After the interview, I'll walk back to the Metro and back home.

Other than that, there's really not much else going on. We are getting acclimated to life up here pretty quickly. I am finding my way around pretty quickly and I'm quickly falling into a routine which is pretty cool.

Other than the fact that we are so close to many of our friends, it's almost scary (for them, not exactly for us) :-)

Hooray! So far, so good!

The First Week - Update
Dachshund Love
I am happy. I am excited. I am figuring out where everything is and I have an adventure-attitude. I am out driving all over town to get the items we need to put things together and it's been a lot of fun. The GPS keeps trying to take me through Old Town Fairfax for everything, but then again, it's not a bad trip and fairly close.

I am getting the directionality of the world down in that I know to turn right at AAL-Transmission and a left onto Monument Drive. Our apartment is the second right. I found out last night that if I turn RIGHT out of our apartment take a left and then go straight for about 8 miles I am two turns away from really special people. That's just awesome!

I went out last night (yes, even in the dark); and I lived to tell about it. I'm learning about the aggressiveness needed to drive (it's not THAT bad); and we managed to find a relatively safe apartment complex and they seem to be very interested in keeping things clean, neat and repaired. That's 100 times better than the last apartment I lived in.

The only weirdness I've run across is the fact that if you have outgoing mail, you have to take it to the clubhouse or the rental office (or the post office); they don't have a mail drop anywhere in the complex. Apparently, it was a post office decision. I guess there's not enough mail or population for a corner mailbox, etc.

The neighbors seem nice. They are mostly quiet (except for about an hour this morning around 10, but it's only about an hour, so it's not anything I'm going to complain about). They have dogs of all sizes and shapes in our building so folks get the whole "barking thing" as far as I know. It's only been a week, and as far as I know, no one's complained about Honey, so that's good.

This week I have been working on putting the apartment together as well as a schedule for keeping things tidy. Tomorrow, we go to babysit the contractor fixing the back door, picking up anything else we want to keep; and letting GotJunk take the rest. Sunday is our day of rest; next week is the start of real job hunting.

I've been really busy this week, and it's a good kind of busy, but I'm ready for a real job. It will happen, I know, it just takes time.

Dachshund Love
The tiredness of the past four and a half months is catching up with me, I think. Today, I am a little grumpy, a lot leg sore and just plain tired. The seams are showing and with good reason. i can FINALLY completely and totally relax and sleep the sleep I've been missing.

Last night was a sleep adventure. The cats have come out of hiding, but what they WANT is human people time. They'll get it, the only issue is right now *I* need sleep time. We will peacefully co-exist. Since I'm not gainfully employed right now, I can nap if I need to so I can keep moving forward.

My kitchen is still a thing of awesome beauty that is organization. My living room is full of old furniture, but it is comfyish. The bedroom is downright comfy but needs a bit of work hanging up clothes and that sort of thing. Our bathroom is more put together than I've ever had a bathroom be.

The work of my friends is still an amazing gift and I'm speechless. Because of them, the newest chapter in our life can get started that much sooner.

I now need to start the job hunt; and once I actually find MY shoes, I can go on interviews and the like. They are here, just in a box.

If it tells you anything, I am seriously considering going on a specific box hunt to find knitting needles and yarn.... not for anything specific, just to DO something creative. So.. that's how I know this is HOME.