Friday, August 31, 2007
Dori will not be going to camp but will board at the vet while we're away. We thought this was wisest b/c she is simply not well enough to go to camp to run & play & get hot. So she'll be boarding in the emergency portion of the clinic this weekend (no room in the inn with it being a holiday weekend...she does not need critical care, though the extra attention she'll get in this portion of the clinic will be much to her liking). She should move to the kennel portion of the office after the holiday. We'll be calling home each day to check her condition and make further decisions about treatment and care, assuming any is needed.
I'm just thankful all of this cropped up before we left. I would much rather make these decisions now than have to leave them to someone else and/or make them while I'm supposed to be relaxing. I'll still worry about her while we're gone. But I know that we're doing the best thing we can do for her while we're away. Everyone in the vet's office loves Dori and she loves them. She'll be very well cared for.
So she spent last night at the emergency clinic on IV fluids b/c she's a bad doggy & won't leave IVs alone and must be supervised when she has one. Called this morning and she did just fine & is up whoo-whooing at them this morning as if to say, "hey, why am I still in this cotton-pickin' cage with an IV in my arm and where's my momma?! somebody get over here and pet me!" She'll be transferred back to our vet this morning, where they'll run a few more tests to see if we can at least get a diagnosis before we leave for vacation. Dori's supposed to go to camp tomorrow, but she may be disappointed to find that she gets to spend a week at the vet's office instead of a week at Camp David.
The funniest thing about this whole saga is that Dori hasn't really acted like she felt bad. She's been a little lazier than usual, but it's been really hot & lazy tends to be her MO in the summer anyway. She's chased the cats, floor/counter surfed for yummy nibbles, run around & played, barked/sung, and just generally been herself. It's all very puzzling--to us and to the vet. And even the vet said that an overnight of fluids may be all she needs to be up & at 'em, leaving us to wonder what on earth could have caused all this. For my own piece of mind, I hope that's not the case--I want to know something concrete.
Dori's been a bit of a puzzle this last year anyway. She's had more than one bout with these symptoms--no eating, getting sick, etc. One time, we decided it was likely a rancid bag of food. Another time, it was a "good" bacteria that had gotten catterwompass and ultimately become a "bad" bacteria b/c its numbers in the digestive tract were out of whack. The last time, we decided that it might be a food allergy, so we switched her to an ultra hypoallergenic food and she's done great ever since that switch.
Two weeks ago, she went for a pre-camp check-up & we got some new meds. Since that time, these symptoms have cropped up, and she's lost 6 lbs. Derek and I are thinking that, since that's the only thing that's changed in the last several weeks since all this has started, perhaps those med changes are partially responsible for whatever's going on. But it's just a guess. Hopefully, today's round of testing will yield more concrete results leading to a firm diagnosis. I'll keep ya posted.
Meanwhile, please say some prayers for Dori.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
So, while we're away on vacation, assuming I want to or have the time, I may post trip highlights. I thought it might be a good idea to try this mobile blogging thing before I actually waste my precious internet minutes on the ship--they're pricey, after all.
I'm attaching a comic that I keep meaning to post b/c I also want to see how attached photos will appear. So there ya go.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This weekend was pretty productive. The house is clean, for one thing. So I can just hit the high spots on Friday or Saturday before we leave. I also have the trip stuff gathered, labeled, and ready for packing, which means that I've made the packing list, the instructions for the cat sitter, the vet release in case of a feline emergency, the packet of travel info (doggie camp info, car rental info, flight stuff, cruise stuff), and the lovely banner I'll post on the blog to remind y'all that we'll be off soaking up the rays in the Aloha State.
I've also finished rereading all of the previous Harry Potter books and have officially begun book 7. I can already tell that this is going to be a hard one to put down. I may be mostly finished before we ever leave on Sunday! But there's still a lot to do, so we'll see how much reading time I actually put in before then. (And whatever you do, do NOT tell me a solitary thing about this book or I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN & KILL YOU. Okay, well, maybe not kill you, but I'll be really peeved & probably never speak to you again! I've managed to go all summer without hearing a single spoiler. Pretty impresive, and I'd like to keep it that way.)
So the rest of this week will be spent doing all of the last-minute laundry for the trip, not to mention the last-minute shopping. Derek needs some new clothes lest he go naked. And there are always the things you forgot to buy on the shopping trip. So we have to go back for those things.
Skipping to a totally unrelated subject, I had my first voice lesson of the new year--assuming you're on a fiscal year rather than calendar year. And since my voice teacher likes to spend her summers in the mountains, we're on a fiscal year. Anyway. I was a very bad voice student. You may remember that I was supposed to be cross-coaching while my voice teacher was away. But I ultimately decided I needed a hiatus. I had been going non-stop since last October--I needed a rest! And while I should have done a little bit of practicing on this lovely break, I didn't. But I don't think I suffered vocally. At least she didn't mention it last night at my lesson. So this fall, I hit the ground running but not so much with activity as with coaching. I'm in a place where I can look forward to that. And that's a good thing! So we go on vacation & I return for two weeks of cramming before a big audition. One song I know pretty well. It still needs polishing, but it's mostly memorized & stylized. The other is new but shouldn't be too difficult. And I'm taking a third piece--it's one from the show, which I'm thinking they will want to hear. Definitely want to be prepared if they ask for it. Like I said, I'll be hitting the ground running.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
My ear is no better today, but I've only taken two doses of meds thus far. My allergist said to expect some changes by the first of the week--some crackling and popping as the pressure begins to lessen. And let's hope he's right. It could otherwise possibly mean surgery and/or trip cancellation. And I'm not interested in going under the knife again & I really don't want to miss this Hawaii trip. Thanks.
So mom & I decided that there's no more yard work for me for a while. Given the fact that my allergies are absolutely going berserk right now, it certainly won't help the ear situation. Then you factor in the fact that I do sing for a living and that opens up a whole new can of worms. A singer's ears are just as important as the voice! Anyway, since my number one sensitivity is fungus & mold and working in the yard certainly exposes me to those things, especially since we've had such a wet year, yard work is out until spring and perhaps not even then. Kinda sad, I like working outside. Granted, I loathe weed-pulling, but overall, I love planting/having flowers & herbs and keeping the shrubs & trees nice and neat. We'll see.
So today I've cleaned house instead. But how can you clean house if your allergies are all whacked? Well, I have a really nice vacuum that sucks everything out of the air and off surfaces and traps it in water. Plus, it has a HEPA filter that filters the air that goes out as exhaust, thus trapping any little critter than might think of taking flight back into the air. This vacuum is actually recommended for people with allergies. So now the floors & surfaces are all clean. Derek gets to clean the bathrooms since I'm sensitive to the bathroom cleaners. Then the house will be sparkling before we leave. I can just give it the quick once-over late this week.
Now I'm making the packing checklist. I'm a freak about lists. Funny thing is, I lose half the lists I make. And then about a quarter are just me thinking I'm going to accomplish a lot of things that simply won't happen. About the last quarter are actually helpful. Packing lists definitely fall in that category. I love checking off everything as I pack it in the suitcase. And assuming I've remembered to put everything I'll need on the list, then nothing gets left behind. I also have to make the checklist for the neighbor taking care of the cats. She always makes fun of me for leaving her this long list, but in the end, I know it's helpful. I don't always store things in the most obvious places to someone else. Just ask Derek. He thinks it's weird to keep SpotShot underneath the bathroom sink. So in the event Kelli needs something like that, b/c I'm sure someone will leave her a "present" or two while we're gone, she'll know where to find the clean-up supplies. And I always leave vet info and a treatment release letter to give the vet. Dori's going to camp, so I don't have to worry about her. They have all the info they need in case of emergency. Plus, they have an onsite vet.
I can't believe we'll be leaving in a week and a day. I have lots to do!
Friday, August 24, 2007
I know I talked about my headaches of last week & how horrible they were. Friday I was finally able to (mostly) kick it and by Saturday I was 100% headache-free. So I got up early, feeling great, took Dori for a walk & hit my long-neglected chores outside. I worked several hours outside until I was without shade & then retreated inside to work on inside things. Anyway, I rewarded myself with an afternoon of Harry Potter. I noticed after a few hours of reading that I had another dull headache. It wasn't at all bad so I opted not to take anything for it. It was tolerable, ya know? Anyway, I decided to run to Wal-Mart to do the grocery shopping before going to the neighbor's for a birthday party. As I'm shopping, my headache is worsening. And I'm having that sinking feeling that it's only going to get worse. Thankfully, the list was pretty short & I knew I could get done pretty quickly. I'm tellin' ya, by the time I got in line to check out at Wally World, it was all I could do to stand upright, get things checked out, get to the car, get home, get unloaded, & get in bed. In fact, by the time I got in bed, I was in tears--that's how bad my head hurt. This was a full-blown, haven't-had-one-of-these-in-at-least-nine-years kind of migraines. Needless to say, I didn't go to the birthday party. I didn't even eat. I took a bunch of drugs and just laid in bed hoping either my head would explode or I would just die in my sleep--either way, my head wouldn't hurt anymore. Anyway, I finally fell asleep. Got up the next morning, surprisingly no worse for wear & with just the remnants of a headache--more like, an I-had-a-migraine-yesterday kind of dull headache.
However, I couldn't hear very well out of my left ear. Sounded like someone had shoved a bunch of cotton balls down it. I thought it was weird but figured it was probably from working in the yard. You know, allergy drainage and all. Figured it would clear up in a day or two. By Tuesday, I was going crazy so I called the allergist & we got a game plan. By Thursday, no better & now my balance was kinda off & I was a little loopy feeling all the time & everything sounded loud but muffled. So I called the allergist back and scheduled an appointment for this morning. I mean, I have to get on an airplane in 8 days. My ear HAS to be better!
So...ultimately, the allergist comes to these conclusions (after exam & all): I do not have an ear infection, there is no fluid in the ear drum or behind the ear drum, there is not an excess build-up of wax, I do not have any kind of infection that could be contributing to the ear issues, there is a vacuum in my ear that is not allowing the ear drum to function properly, the vacuum is likely being caused by inflammation in the Eustachian tube. So our defense is thus: I'll be taking cortisone to reduce the inflammation, decongestant in case the inflammation is being caused by fluid behind the Eustachian tube (which he can't see), and Afrin for short-term nasal symptoms & in hopes of speeding the entire process so everything's kosher by the time we board the plane next weekend. I'll keep you posted on how the hearing progresses. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my sanity. I mean, imagine hearing everything out of your left ear like Charlie Brown hears his teacher?! Annoying!
POSTSCRIPT: My doctor was so kind to say that, had we been flying this Sunday instead of next Sunday, he would have insisted that I cancel my flight b/c of the likelihood of an eardrum rupture in flight. How 'bout them apples?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Each one of us comes complete with a unique set of talents. Happiness lies in identifying those talents and putting them to good use throughout life.
-from Simple Wisdom
To answer the question I get asked most often: so, are you going to sing again tonight? Yes, yes, I am. Why? Because it's my God-given gift, and it makes me happy. And I believe it brings joy to others, as well.
So as long as I am able, I will sing every day--whether it's for myself or for someone else, but it's always to the glory of God, the giver of my favorite gift!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Podcast update: for those of you who didn't get to hear the WRR spot last weekend, I will be posting it soon. Apparently WRR is way far behind on uploading RSS feeds or podcasts thru iTunes, but I will be getting a real, live copy on CD & put it up for you guys to listen to at your leisure. No date yet on the arrival of the hard copy, but it should be in the coming weeks.
I'm now looking forward to a cool(er) weekend to get some much-neglected tasks accomplished ... all of which involve me being outside in the heat. Oh joy. I won't bore you with the details, since I'm ashamed of how long I've been talking about these stupid chores.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
So we've slept on the new Sleep Number bed two nights now. As with any new mattress, it's an adjustment. It's not squishy soft like my old inner spring mattress. That's what I really like, but I know it was horrible as far as support. My back has not been achy the last two mornings and my favorite hip on which I sleep hasn't been bothering me either. The support is definitely better. I'm still tossing and turning, which is probably part adjustment to the better support and then the allergies-not-letting-me-sleep-well thing. Derek doesn't toss and turn as much as he used to, and he says his back feels fine. Can't say that it's any better than sleeping on the floor, but it's also not worse (like it would get when he tried the other mattresses). So, as of day two, we're still happy with the purchase, though definitely in the adjustment phase. In another few days, we may play with our sleep numbers and see what that's like.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) -- Hurricane Flossie roared toward Hawaii on Monday with its sustained wind increased to 140 mph, and was expected to retain much of its strength by the time it passes by the islands.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Think you'll miss it? Click here for a podcast.
Anyway, I get home to two messages: one on my cell and one on the home phone. It's from my "boss" at LHUMC where I'm the paid soloist. "Where are you?" Wha? Where am I? Am I supposed to be somewhere? And then that sinking feeling sneaks in. Have I missed something? I am a faithful (almost neurotic) email checker. Hadn't gotten anything recently from her (well, other than checking on some things from last weekend). So I call her. Apparently, a mass group email went out welcoming everyone back to chancel choir last night. Whoops! I didn't get that message, so I had no idea that I was supposed to be somewhere. (I'm also a faithful checker of the junk mail folder b/c of the settings I've chosen for mail sorting--unless you're in my address book, you go to junk.) Anyway, no harm, no foul--just a good laugh. She thought I'd fallen off the planet or perhaps been lured elsewhere. No way! I'm perfectly happy with my job there. And then she tells me that they've elected to give me a raise, effective immediately, b/c they just can't bare the thought of losing me. I had no plans to look elsewhere for a paid church job, but it's nice to be appreciated in that way. So whoohoo, my side job pays more!
All in all, that was certainly a nice end to what started out as a crappy day. Dinner with friends & a raise. Couldn't have asked for anything more.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Three years ago, we adopted a hopeless case from the SPCA. Sweet Pea was a ridgeless Rhodesian Ridgeback who had obviously come from an abusive situation. She was utterly terrified in the shelter. Two times we visited her she was in the special glassed-in rooms the SPCA uses for showcasing animals & she was shuddering behind furniture both visits. She absolutely freaked when we took her outside on leash. But we ultimately decided to adopt her and see if enough love and attention would turn this girl around. She spent the first two weeks at our house huddling in her crate and remained terrified of every man she met. Women, on the other hand, she did well with and kind-of came out of her scaredy-cat shell. Outside, she was happy-go-lucky with a plastered-on goofy grin, flagging tail, and perky ears and would play until she collapsed. Inside, she went back to her neurotic freaked-out self. We got her a friend, which is how Dori came to live with us, thinking this would help Sweet Pea adjust to life as an indoor, spoiled rotten housedog. But ultimately, even this attempt failed. But an opportunity arose that we thought might make her the always happy-go-lucky girl that she was when she was outside: one of my brother's dogs, who was living with my parents, dropped dead one day leaving his Rhodie Kuzya behind to mourn...and mourn she did. She went into a right blue funk. We all saw this as an opportunity to give Sweet Pea the outside life that she obviously loved and Kuzya a new buddy that she so obviously craved. And so we shipped Sweet Pea off to the country. Some people might argue that we were dumping her--my neighbor certainly thought so. But if you could have seen this dog's face when she was outside versus inside. She was clearly a dog who wanted to live outside. It's the only place she ever wore the happy face.
Anyway, last week she began to refuse her food, though still drinking large amounts of water. My mom was concerned that she might have developed diabetes. Late in the week and after no improvement, they took Sweet Pea to the vet, who determined it definitely wasn't diabetes but thought it was some kind of bacterial infection given the temp SP was running, though no specific diagnostic testing was undertaken at the time. So the pumped her full of good drugs and sent her home with more, which my parents faithfully gave her as directed. Her condition continued to deteriorate through the weekend. She continued to refuse food despite everything my mom cooked for her. Yesterday afternoon, she was unable to get up under her own power, and my mom rushed her to the vet. This time they ran a full screen plus x-rays. The blood panels and x-rays were clear: Sweet Pea had a very aggressive form of lymphoma and it was very advanced. Our options were limited: go to a specialist or end her suffering. My mom and I discussed the options last night. My mom's a nurse so she was able to cut to the chase. Given the aggressive and fast-acting nature of the cancer, we didn't feel that treatment was really an option, particularly given the advanced stage. It didn't seem right to put Sweet Pea through the paces of chemotherapy and radiation only to lose the battle in the end when it was ultimately for our own "we tried everything" that we did it in the first place. And she was already so sick, the treatment itself likely would have killed her and not in a nice way. It didn't seem fair to prolong her suffering simply b/c we wanted to hang on to her a little longer.
This morning when my mom went out to get her ready to go, she was sicker than yesterday, vomiting everywhere, skin hanging, giving that "why don't you help me" face with the big, brown puppy dog eyes that just make you cry to even think of them. We knew that our decision was the right one. Mom and dad loaded her up and took her back to the vet, where she immediately collapsed upon entry into the office. The vet and his team sat with my parents as Sweet Pea quietly slipped away, giving words of comfort and encouragement and shedding a few tears themselves. My parents loaded her back up and took her home for a proper country burial under the big oak tree, where she can forever rest in the shade and watch the squirrels and birds play.
I write all of this as my own way of dealing with the grief of pet loss. I mean, this is the dog that I didn't think I cared that much about. She just didn't endear herself to you like my Dori does. And then it reminds me that my little four-legged friends won't be around forever. Their lives are fleeting, just like ours. Yet we mourn them just the same. They are our friends. They are our family. They are loved.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Derek's cadaver lab went splendidly. There were about 15 doctors in attendance, along with many residents and other Stryker employees. Everyone came away happy and ready to use the product in the OR. This is good news, of course, particularly since this piece of big, complicated equipment comes with quite a hefty price tag. After a long, taxing day, Derek enjoyed lounging around the rest of the weekend.
I finally picked up some digital layouts from the printer. They look fabulous. For those of you into digital scrapbooking, I highly recommend PolkaDotPotato's printing services. And from my recent research, she's by far the best pricing in town or even on the web. You can pick up or have your stuff shipped to you. And she's just about the nicest gal you could ever meet.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I spent the day running around. Picked up some digital scrapbook layouts that I sent to the printer weeks ago. She & I just haven't been able to jive our schedules, but finally it worked out. They look great. I'm anxious to send more now. Then I dashed to a rehearsal for a gig I'm singing tomorrow. That went really well. Grabbed a bite to eat with a friend and then went to my favorite hairdresser (whadda ya think? It's not that different really, just covered up the grey & trimmed it). I was supposed to go to a GNO (Girls' Night Out), but after running all day, I'm just ready to stay home, sit in a chair, read Goblet of Fire, and turn in.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Kate - the mother, early 40s
Blanche - the aunt, late 30s
Laurie - 11 yr old cousin
Naturally, allowances can be made in the age department. If you are interested in participating in this show, whether in the above-listed roles or any of the others in the show, please contact Marty Scott to schedule an audition. Rehearsals begin August 27th.