In which the earth moves…

 

20150205_161632Well, Connie is doing better. Her fur is growing back. Her enthusiasm for going to the park is even stronger.
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She’s jumping on to the bed by herself most times now, something she had lost recently.  There’s still danger with this medicine, it can cause harm on its own, but so far it’s been positive…

Meanwhile, after spending $$$$ getting the car serviced last fortnight, today Mr Beloved got locked inside the car when the driver’s side door lock actuator failed! Luckily he was able to drive to our mechanic and turn himself into a contortionist to to get out. (the mechanic later explained the real trick of doing it which would have been much kinder to his poor old much abused back, but we’ll know if it ever happens again…) Anyway, the part is ordered, and for a mere! $500 we’ll be all fixed up tomorrow. With bugger all public transport here, not having a car isn’t an option, and we try to keep the mileage down – in fact, when we got it serviced, the workshop manager asked “does your car sit a lot?” We asked why and he said ” because there were a lot of spiders under there. A LOT.”

Our other excitement today was being woken up at just before 2 am by an earthquake! The actual quake was way up the coast from us, near Eidsvold and it was a 5.2, but what happened here was that the cockatiels went into a bird panic (not that unusual) so Mr Beloved and Connie got up to look after them; then I got up to go to the loo and WHOOOAAAA the whole house moved east to west then east to west again like the washing machine spin cycle was really out of kilter and realllllllllly strong and I said to Mr B ” the whole house just moved!” But he just wanted to get back to bed and sleep and said “I didn’t feel anything” so I thought I was imagining it, I was very upset! First thing when I woke up this morning I asked him “did anyone else in Toowoomba feel an earthquake?” And YES, even down to Brisbane! So I wasn’t crazy after all. At least, not about the earthquake. I don’t  remember ever feeling one before, it was really freaky.

My university course has finally gone live on the site, just as well since the first day is March 3! Yes, I’m doing my usual panic about it, even though in my session today with the Very Helpful Psychologist we talked about being kinder to myself. *sigh* its a work in progress .

She’s doing well

At the park

 

Connie’s test came back positive for Cushings disease, and she’s started on trilostaine – a medicine that comes with the warning to wear gloves when we give it to her. Her energy seems better, though, and she’s on a greatly reduced dose of insulin. We won’t really know how things are until the next lot of blood tests, but she’s happier, wants to go for walks in the park, and is back to being Little Miss Independent trying (and often managing) to jump up onto the bed by herself, which would seem to indicate that the treatment is helping with strength in her back legs.

A number of people have commented on our walks in the park that “you’d never know she was blind” and apart from the occasional overshoot when she jumps (!) onto her ottoman at home, or nose crashes into the gate in her over eagerness to get to the car, they’d be right. We don’t take her to the off leash area where there are lots of other dogs, but the occasional small dog owner or child she greets is surprised when I say “she’s blind”.

Early days yet, but hopeful.

 

Connie update

connie

 

(Photo taken before Connie lost her sight… Her eyes are like little mirrors now.)

So Connie had her blood glucose curve again yesterday… Still no improvement. But the vet thinks she knows why. It could be that Connie also has Cushings disease (a slow growing tumour of the gland which controls cortisols, managable with the right medicine). Apparently this is common in older smaller white fluffies (poodles, maltese, westies, shihtzus), and does co-occur with diabetes. We’ll know more after the very expensive blood test on Tuesday.

They grow up so fast…

Bub is the one with more yellow and pearl; Bib is in foreground with more grey
Bub is the one with more yellow and pearl; Bib is in foreground with more grey

As you can see, the big two are already quite feathered…

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The little two

And the little two are well on their way – those feathers are breaking out of the sheaths already.  It’s almost impossible to tell the little two apart, I think they’re going to be pearl greys like Allie.

2014-01-29-connie-little-two
Connie is ever curious about anything little – she wants to kiss the babies!

Connie gets very excited whenever the babies come out of the cage.  Puppies, smaller dogs, baby birds – Connie just loves anything little.

Best Dog Toy EVER!

A-Retriever-Pose
Reminding us that poodles were, after all, bred to be water retrievers

Since it’s HOT again this week we decided we’d get Miss Connie a paddling pool.  After an initial wariness, she remembered that poodles are water retrievers and was straight in after her ball (or as she prefers to call it when she has her mouth full, her “bloggroggrogg”).  She has special toy poodle size ‘tennis’ balls from the pet shop, and when they’re wet, they’re Even BETTER.

entry-by-steps
She worked out how to use the step…
getting-mud-from-yard-to-pool-via-poodle
It’s not really for CLEANING the dog, though…
You can make the ball roll around for ages...
You can make the ball roll around for ages…

When the bloggroggroggs can be rolled around in the water for ages, they get even better still.

drippygotcha
Soggy bloggrogg ahhaa!

And then you can take them out and demand that they be THROWN while they’re all soggy, which means the humans get sprayed with water too, oh yes.

A ball, in a pool!
A ball, in a pool!
high-dive
The empty side is just as much fun – you can climb from that!

She spent about 2 hours hopping in and out this arvo, having a lovely time, before eventually deciding she’d had enough and consenting to come inside to have the mud washed off.  There is absolutely NO POINT in washing the floors while she is playing with the pool!

(We have a lot of dirt and not a lot of lawn: the 2011 flood (and then the 2013 Australia Day “rain event”) washed a lot of our topsoil away and Mr Beloved is working hard to sheet mulch and re-vegetate areas, but for now: heat + dirt + running dog = dirt gets dragged into her pool.  We’ll let it settle overnight and see how it goes, but I think we’ll be bucketing it off to the garden and refilling it tomorrow.  Small price to pay for keeping the poor old dog cool.)

I also expect the magpies and butcher birds will use it when Connie doesn’t.

Allie and Connie

I like a chin scratch already!
I like a chin scratch already!
My crest feathers are nearly here!
My crest feathers are nearly here!
My ear is getting better, really Mum... still the Cone of Shame... Really?
My ear is getting better, really Mum… still the Cone of Shame… Really?

She’s a very smart poodle.  I think she wanted me to look up ‘otalgia’ in the dictionary for her – despite the ear drops from Jules the Vet, poor Connie is still shaking her head about in the night.  The swelling has settled down a lot, though.

Allie, Day 25 (and a visit from the vet)

I haz more feathers now!
I haz more feathers now!
2013-11-25-allie-front
Look at my pretty grey tummy!
I is still very tiny, but...
I is still very tiny, but…

Yes, Allie is a Very Pretty Bird, and was much admired by Jules the Vet.

Jules the Vet was here because poor Connie has an ear infection.  Her left ear canal  is all swollen and red and yeasty smelling, and she had to have a muzzle on while Jules the Vet massaged cleaning solution in there and got some special ear drops down inside the swelling.  It could have started with an underlying allergy or something as simple as some dirt or a scratch but it has to get cleared up, because poor Connie is miserable.  She is being very patient though, wearing the Cone of Shame.

not Connie - from the movie "Up"
not Connie – from the movie “Up”

Meanwhile, Caity had a skype video conference with the Very Helpful Psychiatrist this morning.  I explained how I’d discovered that if I leave one earbud of my phone radio in all night, it stops the voices in my head (replacing them with the lovely Radio National voices, without disturbing Mr Beloved) and switches off my brain enough so I can SLEEP!  And if I wake up during the night I listen to the radio for a little while but then go back to sleep.  My Dad has been leaving a radio on low to get to get sleep for years, I should have tried it before this.

The VHP says it works because it’s like white noise. I’ve tried those recordings of white noise or the surf? and THEY DON’T WORK for me. Has to be voices. Music makes me visualise the notes of the music (seriously, I try to write out the entire orchestral parts, like I was writing the conductor’s score in my head in black ink); “ambient” music just drives me nuts.  Can’t be talkback radio, either – has to be the long form doco or interview sort of stuff that RN does.

And Mr Beloved was up watching the last F1 Grand Prix for the year (mostly because it was Mark Webber’s last F1 drive) and it confirmed (yet again) that I simply CANNOT sleep while there is bright blue TV light leaking into my eyes.  UGH!  Doesn’t help that I still can’t use my CPAP machine because of this wretched cough, which is STILL hanging around. 1

I am rather zombified today.

Off to the mental health nurse tomorrow and then the Dreaded Dentist. When the Dental Practice 2 called to remind me of my appointment tomorrow I suggested I come in early because I know the anesthesia takes a while to work on me. (Something to do with my bad circulation?)

Notes:

  1. The blood test results for Whooping Cough came back negative… but I am still doing a rather good impersonation of someone with Whooping Cough.  Please Explain.  Latest Theory, proposed by the VHP (who had a similar case in another patient): thyroid issues/goitre, pressing on trachea. Off for ultrasound scan on Monday.
  2. Why is it called a Practice, BTW? You reckon they’d be good at it by the time they get to open their own place?

Not much…

Another week trying to just get on while coping with the depression and anxiety, so not much has been happening.  I’ve had a couple of days in a row now where I can eat without having to immediately dash off to the loo, so that’s a big win… but I’m still not able to eat very much.

I saw my helpful psychologist on Thursday and had two anxiety attacks (complete with ‘oh no, here come the tummy wobbles’) while I was in here office – which was actually incredibly useful, because we were able to work on tools to cope with them right there and then.  Labeling what was going on so the mind gets back in control instead of panicky emotions running riot helps; remembering to breathe (sounds simple but the first thing I tend to do when I panic is hold my breath!); and reminding myself that this isn’t going to last forever – all these are useful things when I’m feeling really rotten and anxious.  I’ve been feeling a lot better since practicing those things.

The weather has been nice but today has turned cooler. Connie took me for a walk in Queen’s Park the other day to see some of the flowers planted for the Carnival of Flowers but she wasn’t stopping to let me photograph them!

Come ON, Mum!
Ornamental Kale

(Photos taken on the run with my phone as Connie CHARGED around the park!)

I’ve managed to pick up a sore throat and a bit of a snuffle.  So I’m off to have some hot water with lemon and ginger.  Uni starts again this week, but we haven’t heard back yet about our marks for the 2000 word story – we should know by the middle of the week, the lecturer says. Then it’s a race to the finish when all work has to be handed in by October 26.  I think I’m as up-to-date as I can be with the other work for the subject, and I’m not going to stress myself out about it, not when I’m already trying to recover from this bout of anxiety and depression! I am better than I was even this time last week, though.

So. Tired.

Ugh. So I just LOVE having rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder.  Yep.  Love it.  Because now I have moved into what the psychiatrist calls a ‘mixed state’ which translates as ‘don’t know if I’m going to be ok or burst into weepy tears’, and it’s very NOT fun. It’s the worst part of Bipolar, the mixed state, because it’s both mania and depression at once. It’s the most dangerous state.  But I’m okay. Sort of. Just really tired and scattered.

And I’m so damn sick of my brain waking me up with useless chatter at 2:30 in the morning.  I just want to sleep through the night so I can get up and concentrate on my school work like NORMAL people, you know? And get to classes and appointments without looking like a zombie and wanting to come home and collapse across the bed without even taking time to take my clothes or makeup off afterwards (it’s not pretty waking up crushed and with the remnants of mascara ground into the pillow.)

So I get to try some new med1cation tonight, yippee. The Very Helpful Psychiatrist reckons it will make me sleep.  It’s a short term fix only. I said I don’t care I JUST WANT TO SLEEP AND BE NORMAL.  The doctor asked if I wanted to go to hospital ‘just for a little while’ but I don’t want to.  It’s such a hassle.  I want my own stuff around me and my own ice packs and my own uncomfortable bed, not to mention Mr Beloved and Connie… I worry that if this med1cation doesn’t work that I might have to go but I’ll fight it all the damn way.

*sigh*

The lovely vet came over to see Connie today -we have to buy a rug for the bedroom floor and build some stairs for the bed, because at 8 years old poor Connie’s knees and back are starting to wear out from her constant exuberant jumping from the bed to the slippery floorboards and back up again.  She also gets to have a yummy fishy powder supplement to help ease her joints – and if that’s not helping fast enough she goes back onto some meloxicam, poor little mite.

Tomorrow Mr Beloved gets his eyes tested and new spectacles organised; I did that last week and so should be picking up my new specs this week.

The black-ish pair is actually much darker in real life, if I remember rightly. Not so tortoiseshell-y. The red pair are that red. (Turned out my vision problems are mostly because I’m tired and stressed.  What a surprise, right? At least it’s not the start of a brain tumor or anything horrible. Except for the persistent floater in my left eye which is just a damn floater and there is nothing to be done about it.)

And here’s a compare and contrast for you:

On the left: at the end of February;  on the right (in winter plumage, but having lost some weight) at the end of July. Is university good for me? Perhaps.

I finally got an official result from last semester: I got an HD. High Distinction.

Wooohoo.

And my first piece of assessable work for this unit is due on the 13th and I already feel like I’m falling behind so if you’ll excuse me… I have some writing to do. And I have to read the first Harry Potter book again before Friday as homework and look at the way it is structured (yep, really.)