Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Grief Arrives

Last night we had some hope for Dora, the fluids and Cerenia had lifted her up so much that she was wagging her tail, eating, and drinking. It felt like we made the right decision bringing her home without the excessively priced blood work and x-ray.

This morning she once again refused food and really didn't drink water all day either. CK started giving her water from a dropper and Dora then decided she'd drink about 1/2 cup of water. Thankfully we did get through to our vet and they're seeing her tomorrow.

I carried her outside to pee tonight and upstairs to the bed afterward. She walked around outside and went pee alright. We're still kind of hoping she's got some kind of infection, since she had a mild fever, and will rebound back.

We're also painfully aware that we have a 15 year old dog and there's a good chance she might just be at the end of her life. CK and I have talked through our belief in not pursuing treatment for things like cancer requiring surgery, particularly in our older companions. As painful as it is, we both realize that often intensive care for companion animals is much more about the "parent" than it is about the happiness of the animal.

Being in this state of urgency around a companion's health for the third time in less than 10 months feels pretty wretched.

Grief Train

Grief arrives
Like a train.

Sometimes expected.
We're sad, but
Life was long,
An illness made
Life a wretched thing.
The expected train arrives
Bearing the grief we
Were already grieving.

Other times, grief is a
Monster of steel that
Jumps the tracks
Right into your
You are lucky
If you avoided
All the flying
Lucky to have
Survived yourself
Even if
Your life is
Forever changed.

Gentle, on time, expected
A cataclysm.
Grief arrives, and
For us all.


Bumpy April Start

We'd like to go a month without something terrible happening, but April will not be the month.

Today I spent a bunch of time sitting in the parking lot of the emergency vet waiting to hear what was wrong with Dora. She didn't want to eat and was very lethargic, this after throwing up yesterday. We still don't know, she had a low fever, mild dehydration, and nausea. She doesn't seem to have pain in the abdomen nor did the vet feel anything.

We're going to follow-up with our regular vet, which won't be as expensive as the emergency vet. She also was released to me more quickly quickly.

They have her subcutaneous fluid and a shot of the great antinausea medication that was so helpful to Obie. She was interested in eating the bland diet the vet prescribed for a few days (boiled chicken breast and rice mashed together).

I'd had a plan to start doing these journal entries during the day; a daily habit goal. It didn't even occur to me to do it while sitting in the parking lot, despite that being a perfect time.

This is a poem about trying to write poetry after a long break and a difficult day.

My words feel sticky.
Each syllable piling up.
Drawing from the depths.



I felt low energy, sad, and a little angry all day. It isn't helped that I'm going through a period again where food isn't appealing. Making it feels harder than usual, smells ate hitting me harder, often leaving me faintly nauseous.

It also occurs to me to wonder how long it would take for me to notice if iron is low. I accidentally got the wrong multivitamins, without iron. I've been taking them so I get my B vitamins, but I tend to run a little low on iron normally, with supplements. Without, perhaps that could be it?

I also could be integrating the latest therapy session. It's been a hard month too. Today Dora threw up and was slow all day, extra pokey. It's been hard not to catastrophize given everything else this month.

Next month I'm going to try and train myself to write these updates during the day! Should help with the poetry too


Insomnia (Poem)

Hey, I'm up way late because CK had neuropathy pain in her feet making it hard to sleep after I'd already stayed up a little too late wanting to just comfort read with a hood up after eating ice cream.

It was a Trauma Therapy Tuesday and I did something new; I took my friend's online MELT class instead of having a float after the session. I relearned the hand treatment and my hands do feel better, but there's always some intensely painful moments in even the most restorative version of MELT. That kind of intensity post therapy, when I'm already tightened up, well, a float is really the best trauma therapy follow up.

The more you know, etc.

Anyway, I also ended making dinner at home today instead of takeout on my way home. Takeout on Trauma Therapy Tuesday serves a dual purpose; no cooking, but also NO major cleanup. Tonight we both wanted comfort food, mac & cheese. This is more complicated given that we both get our own version so there's a few pans involved.

Then I really needed a hot shower, usually I've had one after the float after therapy. Which is fine, I feel better, but also really still wide awake.

It's because my brain cannot decide what to catastrophize first! Honestly, I think my brain is focusing on getting us moved to Canada because it's the least horrible of the pile of things. I'm juggling bids from contractors AND I made an appointment for CK to be seen by a neurologist in late April. That's the worst one.

I'm keeping focused on the fact that all the blood and urine samples thus far have ruled out a good handful of really scary things, some of which were potentially deadly right away. She got a good referral and she's being seen in less than a month's wait. We're scheduled to get our first COVID vaccine in less than a week (given how late it is).

And on that note, it's officially April and National Poetry Month. I'm going to attempt another Month-o-Poems, writing something each day. Here's a poem about the fact that I'm up at nearly 2am writing poetry and blog posts.


Sleep beckons me in the
Bright and busy, middle day
And I
Stop for a moment
When it calls.

Late though, deep in the
When sleep is

Then Sleep offers
A game
Where I tally
All I have done

And, like
Sleep weighs

My eyes follow the
Swinging scales,
No longer

Have I done
To deserve
My rest?


Waiting for Bids

Monday I plan to get in touch with our home insurance agent. It was a thing that could have done Friday, but I was exhausted from working with contractors, 4 different people, in person, across two days.

I have another landscaping company to talk to on Wednesday. I expect the report on the sewer work early in the week, which I'll share, sans dollar amount, to get more bids.

I'm realizing that wearing the respirator, with cloth mask over the exhaust, is tiring. Especially when I'm talking so much. It isn't as bad shopping, I barely speak. My lungs just don't like working this hard.

Today we rested, played games, and read. I dozed under my weighted blanket again. I spent some time on the deck with Ursa and the dogs.


The Lowest Bid

The water is flowing!

We also have rocks in the sewer line and STILL have Orangeburg pipe. I'm going looking for all three paperwork when we bought the house as I had thought the company that did work was to have replaced all of this no longer code plumbing.

I might be wrong, but it is still a mess that will be very expensive to have resolved.

There was a moment today when I was discussing how not to have a portapotty in our driveway!

"I'm a nearly 52 year old woman and I'm not going outside to pee at 3am."

What we're doing in the meantime is not flushing any toilet paper. Something that is standard in other parts of the world, Mexico being one place. I was making a couple signs to help us remember.


I spent some time being angry at the way we couldn't stop the prior owners from going with an excavation company with a lower bid. I'm mad because we didn't take the time and expense to have the line rescoped after the work to be sure it was all correct; this might have been caught especially if they were to have replaced all the Orangeburg pipe.

Onto bids.

I'm also tired of airing our house for 2 hours, getting cold.

Yesterday we got emails to get vaccines, Pfizer one. Today we got emails saying it was a mistake, but they we're trying to make it work. I'm not certain our doctor wants us to get this one, especially CK with the neuropathy we don't know more about yet.


The Best Plan

I made the perfect plan for chores last week. I carefully made notes rainbow colors to help me remember! I started using the habit tracking pages in the calendar!

I thought I'd made progress getting the drain running again. I was feeling hopeful even as I was getting referrals to have the sewer work since.

Then CK took a quick shower and water came up through the overflow drain.

My two days of laundry aren't happening. CK suggested all the stuff I've been trying with the drain counts as the daily chore.

She's torture and I'm also irrationally irritated I can't enjoy 2 else without a failure of process somewhere.



We have a plumbing issue in our basement. The same one that's come up a couple of times because work wasn't done correctly when we purchased the house. Water and debris from inside the pipe running from the utility room out to the sewer backs up into the floor drain.

It's pretty gross and has derailed my weekly chore plan! I've been shifting chores off the weekend so we have more time to rest, play games, and work on things together. Monday and Tuesday I've been trying to use for changing the bed linens, laundering them, and doing the same with all the towels.

I like to run laundry on the timer so the load finishes just before I wake up. It dries in the morning and I'm able to more easily fold and put stuff away.

Until I trust the drain not to back up when a bunch of water is drained from the washer, no laundry.

I've asked our realtor for a referral for this work. It needs doing and we'd just as soon not have to keep babying the drains until such time as we leave. I also went to get landscapers getting the yard presentable and maintained. It will be a huge relief to have someone taking on the blackberry that wants to eat the shed.

I got an email about more vaccine availability and rechecked; I'm still not eligible.


No Title, No Problem

I marvel sometimes at the way I get stuck at a title for a post. If I don't will myself to just start writing and sort it later, I'll just stare at the field for the title for many long minutes, painfully aware of the time ticking on by. I'm getting better, speedier at noticing my stuckness and moving to just writing.

Today we survived expanding our bubble! More tests being run on CK's fluids. I got to go to a special bakery and get treats for CK and our friend J, who didn't get treats on Monday and have PT for my neck.

It was a really busy day, but I allowed myself to lie on the bed with Bertie, under the weighted blanket, dozily listening to an audio performance of The A.B.C. Murders with an ice pack on my neck after my appointment.

I've succeeded in doing some chores each weekday this week, giving me more weekend time with CK! I'm hoping I can keep this up, maybe making a little chore time on the weekend for sorting and getting rid of stuff.

I'm working hard to just be glad I'm figuring out how to coordinate all the chores and the work I'm still doing. Sometimes I get down thinking how I feel like, at 51, I should have already learned all of this stuff a long time ago.

I morbidly joked this week, mostly in reference to CK possibly having some kind of autoimmune disorder, that childhood trauma is the "gift" that keeps on giving. It leaves us prone to all kinds of physical and mental illness and it may have hampered our access to life skills. There's so much assumption in the world about what people are taught at home when so many of us didn't have functioning adults parenting us.

Our parents didn't model home ownership or making a budget. There's so much we're learning.


Laziness Lie at Work

I was trying to figure out what I did today. Again. I was thinking to myself, "Did I only do 2 loads of laundry all day? I was sitting with my laptop, what did I DO?!"

I also take care of two meals, fed all the creatures multiple meals, cleaned the kitchen up before getting ready for bed, and took out the compost. I wrote emails that were important, including one to what I'm going to call my Yoga Family about my oversharing shame, and I shared good news.

I thought a lot about what types of "community" mean and I realize I'm making peace with the word "family"; recognizing it as something I have, not something I'm excluded from.

In a study this year I'll be one of the people teaching online yoga therapy interventions for fall prevention in older adults. The study is looking at how to use online tools to expand the reach to rural folks who don't have community centers and senior centers. It's funded, so I'll get a little money for my work. Most importantly, I'll be a part of the study! I'm enormously excited about it and really like the colleague I'll be working with.

At lunchtime I helped coordinate a visit to the doctor's office for CK. Her lab results came in and we need more labs to pinpoint the findings. Our doctor wants her to come in tomorrow, a day when she usually is just writing reports. There is something showing up that indicates something autoimmune related.

It all happens to be at the time I have physical therapy, which I'm really needing between therapy and re-injuring my neck falling asleep in the chair in the living room (which makes me feel all my 51.5ish years). This means we need to finally expand our two-person bubble where I occasionally see a small handful of responsible friends, while masked, to have one of those friends take CK.

Oh, and I finished the book about the Laziness Lie.

Reflecting on this tonight is really helpful. Yes, I'm up late, but walking through the mental work I did today helped me balance the feeling like I didn't do much physical work.