challenges, health, Teddie Bear Adventures

Ruff Week

This week was ruff in many ways but I chose the spelling of ruff not rough to symbolize the main trauma of the week as it has to do with my dog and the roller coaster ride we have been on.

Let’s start with last Friday. She spent the day at the groomer getting all spiffy. Check out the picture below of the fitness of health dog edition. A fabulous Labradoodle weighing in at 49 pounds and 11 months old. My baby.

Then Monday rolled around for a routine spay surgery. Complications hit quick. Delays in the operating room. Challenges in recovery. More tests. X-rays. More observation. A few hours with my baby and then labored breathing hit. Luckily I’m minutes to the veterinarian. She stopped breathing en route. Had to be on oxygen and have an immediate blood transfusion. So much chaos in the blink of an eye.

Another operation was required. Internal bleeding was the cause of her rapid decline. Long days. Sleepless nights. This poor baby was at the vet for five days. 24/7 observation. Poked and poked again. On IV fluids and pain meds. We all felt her void. We all felt her suffering. Even her sister was depressed. She was missing her best friend as the rest of us were too. Can you see the sadness below?

Once this one was an only child and it took some adjusting when we added #2. But now she is lost without her partner in crime. Days were long but the reuniting part was amazing. The kisses and sniffs by both pups. The snuggles from the patient. Just the presence of everyone at home was peaceful. Or seemed so, but the positive moments could easily be short lived.

Now the hard part continues. The recovery after 2 surgeries and a blood transfusion, all before turning one year old.  We were lucky this time. We dodged a few close calls. Timing was everything. The moral of this story is trust your gut. I felt things were not right and reacted. Had I brushed off my thoughts and not trusted my gut things could have ended differently. 

Not sure how I feel about my over share of photos but the blood above is just one of the post surgery bleeds. Some from the incision point. Some from stool area. More bodily fluid in the form of vomit. Thank goodness my first floor isn’t carpeted as it might look like a murder scene. 

My ruff week will spill into next week but that is okay. My perspective on routine surgery vs the reality has me ready to take on anything that is thrown at me. Mental toughness. I got it down pat. Years 2020-2022 have given me lots of practice for sure. A pandemic. Loss of loved ones. Isolation. Trauma of many kinds. 

The good news I am here. Blogging away. My creative projects may have delayed deadlines but my life is moving on and I’m living through the ups and down and everything in between. I choose happy despite the shit show around me. 

author moments, awareness, family

Taken

Sometimes things get taken away from kids, teenagers, and sometimes adults. Maybe for punishment. Maybe for a break of sorts. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to hit pause on items or things or maybe people.

In the past seven days I lost communication with somebody very close to me. The first thing taken was the Snapchat streak. It might not seem important to some but the duration signifies a time period of connectedness. Random to some but important to us.

The next thing that seemed to slip away was the sight of a smile. The connection of where our eyes met each day. The partnership. The little nuances only we know. The physical connection whether in person or virtual.

The backup plan was taken. We watched each other’s pets when each other had conflicts. We covered car pools. We shared burdens. We backed each other up. When one of our dogs would run off the other’s phone number was on the pet tag. Only I lost my ability to call. I lost my backup.

Breakfast visits. Laundry pit stops. What’s in the fridge visits. I just stopped by to say hi.  I just decided to drop by with coffee. Want to meet at the game? All taken. Gone. Vanished. Obsolete. A new lonely sets in your heart. 

Sometimes we take advantage or complain about what’s in front of us and don’t really appreciate it until it is no longer there.

Take note today. Breathe deeply. See what’s around you. Be aware of your good friends. Support those who support you. Be present.

You never want to feel the empty I felt this week as I adjusted to my new normal.

The military can be a great option for some and it can be lonely road for others. Today my family falls into the lonely road category. Timeframe is unknown but the missing time has already begun. Of all things taken I miss time the most.

Time together

Time to chat 

Time to laugh 

Time for us 

Time to be free

Time creates memories. Time is captured in pictures. Time is so very valuable. Time really can’t be replaced. Time away triggers feelings for many around us. Time belongs to the military when you enlist until your time commitment has ended. And for some time can be extended if certain instances such as a time of war or other conflict. As a civilian I never really understood military time as it didn’t apply to me directly.

As I wrap up my day, I still feel lonely. A week of time has passed, but I’m not better. I may even be bitter. I want what was taken but I can’t have what I want. Not now. Not in the near future. Patience is what I am practicing today, tomorrow and beyond. Shifting from civilian to soldier is taxing for not only the soldier but also their loved ones.

Gas prices might be soaring. There may even be conflict overseas. The price of groceries are high. Supply and demand issues  lurk as well. For me my conflict is here with me. Front and center. A daily battle. Just a mom missing what was taken; her son.

anonymous letters, friendship

Gone But Not Forgotten

I miss my best buddy. Every last little detail of our relationship.

The days at the gym seem lonely and just empty knowing you are not near. Our Wordle battle of the minds is now a checklist instead of a morning challenge.  The work days bring another level of hollow to my soul. I miss your goofy snaps. Losing that human connection is just as devastating.

Life is full of craziness. Life can keep you busy. Life can let you miss the fine details of how much your value the presence of an individual. When suddenly they are gone it hits you like a ton of bricks. Maybe even it feels like a Mack truck ran you over a couple of times. An unexplained weakness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Take the pictures. Capture the smiles. Make the memories and do crazy shit while you can. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Treasure today. It’s that simple. Luckily I have a photo reel but what about those who don’t?

I’m in a fog while I adjust to my new normal. It’s not much fun. It could be far worse I know. For now I breathe deeply as I give myself grace. I close my eyes and hope for peace around my valued circle. Then I cling to hope that one day I’ll be back to funny snaps, silly photos and adventures. It may look different when that time comes but I’ll hold on to the hope of it all.

One day.

Some day.

Not today.

That day is not today. That day is someday. Hope tells me it’s one day.

As I reflect on my loss I reflect at the same time on what I still have. How to show appreciation for what is in front of me. What I can control. The rest of my energy will seek hope for that day on the horizon.

As an Irish girl on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll try to find luck today to offset the sadness. Not sure a scratch card will do the trick so maybe toast or shot will be a better honor for my buddy that I miss.

awareness, challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
The first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website, which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under COVID protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t  need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee-based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address? Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call? Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs. starving them of hope and friendly faces.

in summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place I’d recommend at all.

challenges, perspective

A Life Cut Short

Recently, someone in my daughter’s close friend group experienced a great loss. A tragic accident. A death, completely unexpected. Not his fault. A shock out of the blue.

I had met this young man a couple of times. I have photos of him, since he was in the group for my daughter’s high school dances. I had been introduced to him once. Still, such a sudden loss makes every parent in the community shudder.

My kids laugh at them when I tell them to be safe. Don’t drink (and if you do, don’t drive). Don’t do drugs. Stay alert. Make good choices. Check in when you get there. Leave early. Slow down. Assume everyone else is drunk or not paying attention. This young man probably followed every single one of these rules and still, he is gone.

In most cases, you may not know the last words you’ll say to a person. A loved one. A friend. Every time they leave you, every time you hang up, every time you text it could be the last time. Stop and think of the people who mean the most to you. How have you left it with them? Yes, right now. Today. Sure, saying “I love you” to a friend all the time may seem foolish. Maybe you just aren’t that way. But how can you leave things so that you’d be content with those being your last words with them? Think about it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know what they mean to you?

Memento Mori. One of the tenets of stoicism. Remember your death. To some this might seem morbid. Too heavy. Honestly, it is useful for me. It means pay attention to what matters. Keep your shit in order. Don’t drown in the trifling details. Don’t waste time on petty arguments or people who are just not meant for you. Invest in what is meaningful. All you have is now. Don’t waste it.

I watched the beautiful slide show for this 20 year old young man. I saw his smiles. His family vacations. Trips to the university his family loved. The dinners with friends. The light in his eyes when he looked at my daughter’s friend. I wept for him and what everyone who loved him lost. All the dreams that would go unfulfilled. The awful anniversaries that would come over and over and over again. I wept for the life cut short.

Do the important things now. Make a list. Start checking it off. Do them with the people who matter to you. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Not fun to think about. But let that motivate you to embrace life NOW. Not next year. Not when you have more time. NOW. Live big. Love well. Embrace life.

Now.