Sunday, June 30, 2013

Peaceful Sunday

Today was beautiful and serene.  I went to a lovely service at church that just filled me with peace.  One thing that I love about going to church is that it centers me and revives me to face the week ahead.  For a brief moment I am reminded to try not to get caught up in the drama of human beings and to see God's hand in all things, particularly really beautiful things.

I was really happy to come home after church.  I had done all of that work yesterday (Oh, my aching legs from all of that gardening.  I was walking like Frankenstein.) so I had earned a day of rest.  I was really looking forward to coming home, changing into my sweats and stitching the afternoon away.  

I only had a little bit of excitement today.  Liesl can not seem to learn the lesson of messing with bees and tends to end up on the business end of them.  I have lavender in my back yard, which the bees love. Unfortunately, I have to spend a lot of time telling her not to snap at the bees.  Being a strong headed schnauzer, she does it anyway.  She can not help herself.  One thing led to another, and bada-bing, bada-boom, she got stung on her puppy lip.  sigh.  It is so pitiful as she tries to lick at it to sooth it.  So out came the Benadryl and the pill pockets.  And yet, she was out there again this afternoon snapping at bees.  Usually Liesl is pretty good about understanding cause and effect, however, the bees are her siren song.

Other than that, it was a beautiful afternoon.  I put on an afternoon of documentaries on the world's pyramids, got a diet Dr. Pepper out of the fridge, set up my stitching light and stitched the afternoon away.  It was like a little vacation.  At one point I put my stitching aside, got the blanket throw and took a nap to the peaceful sounds of a documentary being narrated.  I had a lovely sleep until someone decided that it was impossible for me to sleep and rub her head and ears.   Therefore, she needed to remedy the situation to her benefit.  She did let me lay there and knows just where to stand so that my hand can rub her sweet head.  

I am looking forward to having the extra day off this week.  I have invitations to do something, but I feel that it is kind of a dangerous day to be on the roads.  Too many people drinking and getting behind the wheel.  So if I can keep the house orderly in the madness that it closing out the quarter at work, I may just take another lazy day on Thursday with my furry girl and take our walks close to home.  I am pretty excited this week because our company has declared Wednesday and Friday as jeans day at work.  This is something that never happens because we have a very professional environment and have a pretty strict dress code for business attire.  So jeans are a super special treat.  We still have to look professional in them and they have to look nice but it is something to look forward to.

I wish you many blessings in the week ahead.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Full Day!

I was so tired from a really busy week at work.  (I am an accountant, and Friday was the last day of the quarter.)  As I was leaving work last night I was almost tempted to spend today in bed.  Luckily, after a full night of sleep and waking up at 7:30 I had a renewed sense of energy.  After a cup of coffee, I decided to go outside and water the plants before it got too hot.  We are in the middle of that heat wave.  Liesl and I headed outside.  Of course, one thing led to another and before I knew it I had out the hedge trimmer and trimmed all the shrubs on the front of the house, then weeded.  It looks super good.  It was way overdue!

I was really energetic by this point and cleaned the kitchen, the living room, scrubbed the bathroom, finished the laundry, including sheets, polished the bedroom furniture, took a nap, took Liesl to the park and even got some stitching in.  It was actually pretty relaxing.

It really was hot today.  My favorite part of the day was right after sunset.  The air was starting to cool with the fog coming in.  So Liesl and I went out on the porch.  Liesl even sat on my lap.  She is not a lap dog, in general, but will sit on my lap when we sit on park benches, or in certain outdoor places.  However, tonight we just got to sit and look at the sky streaked with orange and feel the breeze.  We were both pretty relaxed.  I was so grateful for those really peaceful moments.

I was really grateful for some time to stitch tonight, too.  I put some stand up comedy on Netflix, and worked on Lady of the Thread.  Liesl did her happy victory laps with her bone, then laid down in front of the open window to take full advantage of the breeze and smell the night smells.  Usually it is too cold to have the window open at night so she was intrigued and was sniffing the air a lot.  

I am so grateful for today.  It felt so good to get so much accomplished around the house and spend some special time with my special furry girl.  While I love spending time with friends, or being out and about on the Monterey Peninsula,  my favorite place to be is home.  It is my sanctuary and the place where I best charge my batteries.  There really is no place like home.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Baby It's Hot Outside

Holy Smokes!  It is hot!  It was funny because all of the ladies in my company who normally wear suits and business attire were all in dresses today, including me.  Thank goodness pantyhose is out of fashion.  It was so nice to wear a dress that I came home and put on a cute skirt before taking Liesl out for a walk.  I was thinking to myself, "Why do I not wear skirts more often?"  They are certainly more comfortable than pants.

When it gets hot like this we have what is called "Earthquake Weather." It was muggy a couple of days ago and then just hot the past couple of days.  When it gets like this and the air gets really still, generally we have an earthquake that we can actually feel.  Actually little earthquakes are always happening all over the world, as the earth's tectonic plates constantly shift around.  But I digress.  So tonight was had a small earthquake, a 3.9 on the Richter Scale.  Generally, we can barely feel them at that point.  Most Californians do not even get off the sofa for anything less than a 5.  In general we just look at each other and say, "Did we just have an earthquake?"  Having lived through Loma Prieta I still wait though breathlessly through it though.

After work, I thought it was just too hot to take Liesl walking in the park.  So I figured I would take her into Petco to get her nails trimmed.  She got lucky tonight because they did not have a groomer available.  Usually they just let me drop in.  However, the groomer was on a meal break.  So Liesl was a happy girl.  I figured it would be cooler to walk Liesl at the mall while I was there.

Now I have to tell you, Liesl LOVES the mall.  It is an outdoor mall in Monterey.  There is so much for her to look at, so many smells, so many people.  She loves being there and trots around so happily.  Generally at some point someone tells her how pretty she is.  She seems to understand and trots with her ears back after that.  She is a bit of a diva.  LOL

So I am so happy tomorrow is Friday.  It is supposed to be scorching all weekend, so we may just contain our activities to the cooler part of the days.  Then I am all about a nap during the hottest part of the day.  All in all, it will be nice to be off.  I am really looking forward to the extra day off next week.  I shall have to think of something special to do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Oh, my gosh, it is so hot.  Last night was so muggy that it was hard to get to sleep.  Of course I had the windows open, which meant that every knucklehead in the neighborhood had to make noise.  Last night someone was running what sounded like a table saw and hammering.  While I had trouble falling asleep with the ruckus, I figured that they would probably stop around 10 pm or so.  Boy, was I wrong.  I woke up at 12:30 am to the sounds of a table saw and hammering.  What is wrong with people?!  The I was awakened again at around 2 am to the sound of a car door slamming.  I think it was my neighbor across the street, who I think works for a hotel.  This person suddenly realized that the trash cans needed to be put out for pick up this morning,  So they proceeded to drag their big cans on wheels loudly out to the curb.  Rumble, rumble, slam against the curb.  Grrrrr.

I did not get back to sleep until around 3:30 am.  I was so tired.  I figure I will be be asleep before I finish this post.  So if I stop in the middle of a sentence, please forgive me.

So I have a couple of book recommendations.  I am currently re-reading "Heaven is For Real."  It is such a cool little book.  I keep it on my Kindle, so that I can re-read it from time to time.  The other book is a book called, "Jesus Calling" which is a little daily devotional.  If you have the opportunity and are a person of faith, I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.  Each day is a small passage, but is so well written that I am just flooded with peace every time I pick it up.  I would recommend getting the little hardcover book so that you can just flip around in it.  My experience with this book is similar to my experience with my Bible.  Generally, I will just ask that God show the message that I need that day and let it fall open.  Pretty much 100% of the time, the exact message that I need will be right there.  So I do not necessarily read the passage of the day on the date listed.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon.  Jesus Calling

So it is sweltering, but I am going to attempt sleep.  I am so tired.  The neighbors better keep the din down tonight.  Hopefully they got it all out of their system last night.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Murky Monday

It was a cold, gray, rainy day today.  I was thinking of how nice it would be to be home, stitching on my sofa, drinking a cup of tea, while watching a movie on Netflix.  Instead, I had to play boring old accountant (versus my night job as a ninja!)  We are prepping for the end of the quarter, which is always exciting.  Well, as exciting as you can get in accounting.  But it pays the mortgage and keeps us in dog toys and biscuits.

I thought about stitching tonight, but I am so sleepy and despite my thinking I would make it, I will be turning out the light here at about 8:30.  I know, I am livin' La Vida Loca.  I am trying to keep my eyes open as I write this.  Please pardon any typos henceforth.

So I thought I would share a couple of funny Liesl stories.  I have mentioned in the past that she has a pretty good sense of humor and knows that she is funny.  Schnauzers in general are like this. So yesterday we were at the park, Liesl was sniffing along the ground.  I have not wanted to traumatize her lately with a haircut, particularly on her beard.  So she was dragging that beard along.  We had only just started our walk, and she kept stopping every few steps.  I would encourage her to take few steps and she would stop.  My heart sank and I thought she was not feeling well.  I walked around to the front of her to look at her face.  She was giving me the look that my cousin, Tara, calls "the Whale Eye."  LOL  Then all of the sudden I saw her kind of grin and I noticed a lump on her beard.  It is common for her to pick up sticks, bark, bugs, leaves, etc. in her beard. So I looked a little more closely to pull whatever it was out.  She had a chicken leg bone in her mouth!

People tend to picnic and this park a lot and we find chicken bones a lot.  Usually I see her before she picks one up (but with the long beard, it was harder to see) and I tell her to leave it.  She knows she is not allowed to have them. Sometimes, I have to pry her little jaws open to retrieve it.  This time, it appears that the look she was giving me was, "Seriously.  Do you not see this bone in my mouth?"  When I saw the bone and the look on her face, I started to laugh.  She spit the bone out, gave me a huge grin, then trotted off with a happy trot that said she was quite proud of the joke she had played on me.  

The second story took place last evening.  I was making her chicken soup to encourage more liquid into her system.  After I felt it was done, I left it to cool on the stove (before transferring it to the fridge.)  I turned out the light in the kitchen and went into another room to read.  About 10-15 minutes later, I realized that she was not in the room with me and I had not heard her for a while.  I went back into the kitchen and she was sitting there in the dark, with a fixed stare (trying to use the Force) on the pot of chicken soup.  Somehow she knew that it was her soup, I guess.  So I cooled a little bowl for her.  She was a happy girl and decided to party for a while after that.  She was chewing bones, then doing her victory laps trotting around the house (she does this when she is happy, particularly with a bone.)  It is like she can not contain herself and has to trot around the house because she is so happy about it.  It is pretty gosh darn cute.

So those are my happy stories.  She cracks me up.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doing A Bit Better

Big thanks to the lovely readers who wrote some comments lately.  I am really grateful.  Based on the comments the other day, I was motivated to action.  I have been thinking in general about the things that I can do for my furgirl right now to take the best possible care of her.  So I had a list of questions, and phoned the doctor to make the appointment for the test.  He was with a patient so I left a voicemail.

He called me back today with an additional test result that was encouraging.  He then asked me if I would like to proceed with the other test.  I said that I would, however, I was very concerned because Liesl became very stressed this week with all of the doctor visits, blood tests, scary machines, etc.  I explained my concern about having her go through that again so soon and that on top of it I felt that my stress and hyper-vigilance was further stressing her out, so the more stressed she got, the more stress I felt, until it was just feeding each other.  I said that I have absolute trust in him that if he felt she needed the test immediately, I would put her in the car today or at his earliest appointment.  He was so gracious and compassionate in his response.  He said that it is obvious that Liesl and I have a very close relationship, and it would be natural for Liesl to be intuitive to my stress.  He said that he would like to do the test to further confirm his suspected diagnosis, however, he felt that we should wait the four weeks until she comes back to look at her bladder stones.  He said that by then we can see the effect of the low fat diet on her liver numbers, too.

I told him that I have been trying think of how to take the best possible care of her, and in the meantime, to help her pass the stones, I asked him if I could give her cranberry juice.  He said that cranberry juice has been proven to be effective in humans and dogs in urinary tracts, so I could try it.  He said that it may not have an effect on the stones but would possibly be good for the rest of the urinary system.  While she is not feeling it for the juice, I may blend it with banana and put it in an ice cube tray for her to have pupsicles.  I suspect she will have pink beard as result.

I also asked if it would be okay if I made her homemade chicken soup, with some veggies, so that she would have more liquid moving through her system.  He said that I could, just make sure that I did not use salt or any veggies with oxalate.  I asked him if she would have to stay on the prescription diet after 30 days because I was concerned about the ingredients in the food, like pork by products, which I would never give her otherwise.  He then asked me if I would like to cook for her.  I said that I would love to and that I would much rather have control of the quality of ingredients that go into her food.  He said there is a movement now for more whole foods in dogs diets, and so for a fee of about $200, a nutritionist can put together a whole diet of whole foods based on Liesl's specific dietary needs.  I think I will try to do this no matter what diet she ends up on.

What impressed me was how thorough he was in his responses and how compassionate he is about Liesl.  I feel blessed that she has a good doctor. 

I feel that in addition to the cranberry juice and soup, I can give her lots of love, exercise and play with her so that she is happy.  I think these things will increase her endorphin levels, which have a healing effect on the body.  I found tonight that while I was laughing, joyful and playing with her, she was happier.  She has a little bed in the living room that I will jokingly tell her that I am going to sleep on and then I rest my head on it.  Usually she just stands over me, like "What the heck." Tonight she head butted the bed from the opposite side, lifting it from underneath, in an effort to dump my head off her bed.  She is sassy, I tell you.

The final thing that I can do is pretty important.  Tonight I was invited out to dinner with one of my dearest long term friends.This is a friend who has a way of giving advice and telling me the truth in a way that I absolutely get it.  She asked how I was taking care of myself right now.  I told her that all of my focus is on Liesl and I will take care of myself after I get through this period.  She looked straight at me and said, "Who will take care of Liesl if you get sick again?"  She then said that it would seem that if I really want to take the best possible care of Liesl that I need to make sure that I am eating correctly and taking good care of myself so that I can be fully able to do what is necessary.   It was a wake up call.

So overall today instead of stressed, I feel blessed.  I feel blessed by all of you who pray, send good thoughts, read about this journey, and post comments.  I feel blessed that Liesl has the best possible medical care, by someone who is genuinely kind and concerned.  I feel blessed by my friends.  I feel blessed to have God in my life, walking through all parts of my life journey with me.    

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You know how when you get so overly stressed, you can't think clearly.  My brain feels overloaded with adrenalin.  I feel like I am one big nerve.

I did get a phone call yesterday from the specialist.  He said that Liesl's triglyceride levels are mildly elevated, which I took as good news.  This supports the fatty liver theory.  He said that since I am uncomfortable with doing the biopsy, (I do not want to put her through it at this point for something that is leaning more in the direction of being benign.) He would prefer to do one more test that he feels would give us both a better level of comfort and more strongly confirms what he strongly suspects is the fatty liver.  It would be another blood screening. I asked if we could do it in thirty days when we recheck the bladder stones.  He said that he would rather do it sooner rather than later just to see if the liver is doing its job and to make sure she is not in liver failure.  This had not come up the day before so I felt like I was going to pass out.  In the same conversation he said that we need to make sure she is not in kidney failure.  In the meantime, he is putting her on a low fat diet.  Overall, I get the sense he is just trying to be thorough.

While we were on the phone he did reiterate that he hoped that I was feeling more peaceful.  He said, "We are not going to be writing a eulogy any time soon."  I think that he meant to ease my mind, but I am freaking out.  I am a mess and very confused.

I talked the situation out with my friend last night and said that I think I need to step back from the situation for a week or two.  I do not have a clear enough head right now.  I do not want to take Liesl in for more testing right now because she is stressed.  I am stressed, which is probably making it worse for her.  I think we need to enjoy the weekend and not think about medicine.  I am so afraid of making the wrong decision or waiting too long.  But I also think I need a clearer head in order to make a better decision.  I am thinking I may call him next week when I have calmed down a bit and ask for more clarification.

My friend thinks the doctor may have just been thinking out loud, which is common.  However, it is scary for me. My friend feels that I should wait, preferably the thirty days, let Liesl do the lower fat diet and continue to exercise.  She said that in 30 days, the liver might actually show improvement and could reduce the need for a lot of additional testing.  Again, I am just so scared of making the wrong decision.

I think the most important thing for me to do at this point is to turn myself for focusing on Liesl's wellness instead of sickness.  I need to change my mind set and trust that God is taking care of her.  I keep looking for anything out of the ordinary and I think I am making us both nervous wrecks.  So if anyone can provide words of advice for how to change my focus, I would so appreciate them.

I am so sorry that this blog has not been very uplifting lately, but I appreciate your kindness, words of support and prayers.  Thank you for your patience.  I know that sunny skies are ahead.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Liesl Update

Well, here is Miss Liesl, chillin' in her queendom of toys, chewing on a new chewie.  She is happy to be home after a very long day.  By the way, she does wear a collar, but takes it off in the evenings so she can run around in the altogether.  She is in a very happy state right now, glad to be home.  She is exhausted though.  We both had a terrible night last night.  I cried myself to sleep, and woke up multiple times from nightmares.  I am sure she was picking up my anxiety.

Praise and thanks be to God the Father Almighty.  The internal specialist we saw today was so kind and so amazing.  (He works with the cardiologist.)  He sat on the floor the whole time so that Liesl would be comfortable.  He said that he could see how scared I was and said that he remembers how special his first dog was too.  Both he and his nurse said that they could see that Liesl is very well taken care of.  The whole staff kept saying how sweet she is.  I was super impressed because he had already read her medical history and knew about all of her recent issues before he walked into the room.

First of all, the protein in the urine-He showed me the ultrasound and there were two little bladder stones.  He said that it will be possible for her to pass one, if not both stones.  If not, she will have to have them removed.  So we are doing a lot of water.  He wants her only on wet food, which is A-okay with her.  He said to add water to it to increase her water intake.  He said that bladder and kidney stones are common with schnauzers.  I am to watch her to make sure that she is going potty okay.  He is also running a check to see if she has an infection, in which case we will take antibiotics.  

He did not see any masses in the liver or anything thus far to indicate cancer.  He also said that the adrenal glands were not expanded so he did not suspect Cushing's.  He is waiting for the results of the blood test for triglycerides today, but he strongly suspects that she has what is called a fatty liver, due to only one test out of several having elevated levels.  He said that it is sometimes its cause is glandular, but generally, particularly in schnauzers, it has no cause and is usually benign.  He said that we could do a biopsy to confirm there is no cancer and the fatty liver.  At this point, though he feels that it is the fatty liver.  He said that it is very common in schnauzers and that schnauzers are used for the case studies for the condition.  He said that Liesl's liver is so enlarged that he can feel it from outside her body, but that he thinks that she is okay.

So we are waiting for test results and he will call me tomorrow.  He said that she can continue with all of her happy activities but just to keep an eye on her.  He said that he was going to be right back with a copy of his notes after he finished them up and left us in the exam room.  Poor Liesl had to fast for her tests today.  She had not eaten since 8pm last night and was starting to beg for the cookies they kept in a jar on the counter (this is not like her at all).  I did not want to assume to give her one in case they still needed to do any more tests.  So I checked with the attendant to see if it was okay to give one to Liesl.  I mentioned that she had not eaten in 20 hours and was really hungry.  Her little tummy was rumbling.  I had never heard that sound from her before.  The attendant went and checked with the doctor and said that she would give Liesl a nice bowl of chicken breast instead.  (Liesl's all time favorite!)  

So I feel somewhat optimistic now.  I think the doctor saw that Liesl was not the only patient in the room and asked me if I felt more peaceful with the news.  He said that he does want to follow up on the stones next month to see if they are gone or if they are bigger.  Then he had his nurse go back over the notes with me that he had written.  At the end, the nurse, who was a very nice young gentleman said, "I do not know if you had a chance to read all the way to the end, but I want to make sure that you hear this part."  He went on to read, " Thank you for bringing Liesl into our office today.  She is a lovely sweet dog.  We are glad that her problems seem minor thusfar, and she is a happy dog with lots of living to do!"  (I am weepy now as I read it.)

I know it is a long post tonight.  However, I know many of you were praying and sending good thoughts.  I so appreciate the kind, loving, and supportive comments you sent me today.  I wanted to make sure that I passed along the news to those of you who were waiting.  I am so grateful for your kindness.  I am truly grateful for God's grace and mercy with my furgirl.  We are still waiting for test results, but I feel much better and may actually sleep tonight.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Just Can't Take Much More...

You know how sometimes you get into a cycle in life where you just keep getting bad news and you wonder just how much more you can take?  That is where I am right now.  

Today the vet called me with the results of Liesl's lab work from Saturday.  She said that there is something going on with Liesl's liver levels and it is slightly enlarged.  She said that the edges are sharp instead of round which is a good sign.  She also said it is the proper density.  She also said that there was protein in her urine, indicating something is going on with the kidneys.  She said that it could be an infection, or Cushing's Disease, or cancer.   She did say that Liesl is a little young for that so I am taking that as a sign of hope.  I am praying that it is an infection and can be treated with antibiotics, starting tomorrow.  Liesl does not appear to be sick, eats normally, and is playful.  She is a little sleepier than usual from the Benadryl she is on.  

The vet was able to get Liesl an appointment tomorrow with a specialist for an ultrasound of her liver, kidneys and gallbladder.  I am scared to death and will probably not sleep a wink tonight.  My heart hurts.  I just want her to be okay, feel good and live a long, happy life.  

I did ask the vet on a scale of 1 to 10 how serious this is and how concerned she is.  She said that she is at a 4.  She said that she feels that I should get it checked out as soon as possible to give myself some peace of mind.  

We are now going on seven weeks, since the first diagnosis of the heart condition.  Then she was just so miserable and uncomfortable with the flea allergy and her system being overwhelmed by histamine.  The poor girl has been poked, prodded, x-rayed and has just had to be in the scary vet's office so much.  I pray with my entire being that Liesl will be okay, that she will be healthy and live a very long time with me.  She is only six years old and each day with her is full of joy.  I just pray that I get to feel that joy for many years to come.  

Any prayers and good thoughts would be so greatly appreciated.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Where Did The Weekend Go?!

Wow!  This weekend just zoomed by.  I got a few things done today, which was nice.  The race was kind of boring today, and it was absolutely beautiful out so off we went to Carmel Beach.  There were a lot of families there today celebrating Father's Day.  We just took a little walk and then sat up on a bench above the beach enjoying the sunshine.  The water was so clear and the sun felt so good.  One of us was soaking wet from a dip in the ocean, so it was good for her to get warmed up in the sun and get some of the wet sand to dry and fall off.

On the way home, I stop at Home Depot.  I think everyone else on the Monterey Peninsula had the same idea as me.  It was packed.  Anyway, the plants on my porch were looking a little less than perky so it was time to replant.  I got some beautiful blackish purple verbena for my main pots.  Then I picked up some plants for my color bowl and walkway edging, just to pretty it up.  I came right home and started planting.  I sat on the porch and let Liesl sit with me.  She decided the best way for me to work on my color bowl was for me to have one arm around her while I worked.  LOL.  I did not mind, and it was nice to have her companionship, until she decided to bark at the kids across the street...

I totally planned on having photos for you tonight of my updated stitching.  Unfortunately, a few minutes ago the lens would not pop out of the camera.  The battery is totally dead and is now recharging.  So I will try again tomorrow.  In the meantime, I am sort of proud of myself because I changed all of the batteries in all of my smoke detectors today.  For once I am ahead of the chirping in the middle of the night of the smoke detector with the dying batteries.  Why do they usually start at 3 am?

Tonight I stitched my heart out.  It was episode 3 of the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  You know I love me some RHONJ.  They are actually from the same area of NJ that I am originally from.  I grew up in Paterson, NJ, the last of six generations that lived there.  If nothing else it gives me comfort to hear the accent of my youth.  So I stitched, put my feet up and just can not believe that the weekend is over already.  

So tonight I am so grateful for so much.  I am grateful for being able to see the beauty of the Pacific Ocean today.  I am grateful that my porch is looking cute again with all of the new flowers. I am grateful for food, shelter and love in my life.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Vet Visit

First of all, thank you very much for your good thoughts and prayers.  Liesl had her appointment today at the vet.  I did not sleep well last night, but I was eager to get the appointment behind us.  My best friend met us at the vet, which was a big help.  Liesl was so happy to see her (she thinks of my BFF as her second puppy momma.) Having my BFF there really helped both of us in alleviating our stress levels.  While we waited, my friend asked to read the cardiologist's report.  She explained to me in regular speak what is going on and kind of de-mystified the situation for me, which dropped my fear level a bit.  She said that she agrees that I should just keep doing what I am doing with the fish oil and getting Liesl exercise and above all, keeping her blood pressure down.  She explained to me that the valve in question is on the part of the heart that pumps blood out of the heart.

The vet was super late to the appointment, like an hour.  Everything seemed a bit urgent around there, too.  At one point, an assistant came into the examination room and apologized profusely.  She said that the vet had done emergency surgery that morning on a poor little cocker spaniel who had a huge abscess on its neck from a foxtail (they are EVIL!) and was having a few problems.  I told them to not worry about us and that we totally understand that it was someone's furbaby, that they were probably worried sick, and that I would hope that someone else would be patient if my girl needed the vet's full attention.

So my BFF and I got to sit and catch up.  Liesl took turns snuggling with each of us.  She was a little bit stressed but liked being with her people.  Finally the vet came in.  We asked about the cocker spaniel and she said that she was doing much better.  Poor little thing.  She reported that Liesl's blood pressure was normal, which was really good news.  Then they went and took her for her x-rays and blood tests.  The assistant came back and said that Liesl is her new favorite patient.  She said that she could not believe how agreeable and helpful Liesl was while they did what they had to do.

The x-rays look okay with that one chamber just a bit enlarged, but they will be communicating with the cardiologist and keeping an eye on it.  They said that they would call me on Monday with the results of her blood tests.  In addition, they gave me special shampoo to help with her itchiness.  The vet also gave me a topical steroid/antibiotic for the places she is super itchy.  She said that she thinks Liesl has a small staph infection and thinks the topical agent should help. My BFF said that she was glad that they did not give her a steroid shot, that she would have been concerned about that shock to Liesl's system.  Liesl was just happy to get the heck out of there.  (As a side note, I gave Liesl a bath with the shampoo which is high in Omega-3.  It smells a little like fish, which is making her happy.  She thinks she smells awesome.  I am concerned that it is the Chanel #5 of dogs, and that we are gonna have boy dogs at the beach asking her if she goes there often.  ;) )

I took my BFF to lunch afterward at a dog friendly restaurant.  Liesl was not having any of it and would not get out of the car.  Luckily, it was kind of cold today, so I left the windows down and had lunch with my friend.  Between the nice lunch and coming down off the stress, I was so sleepy.  Liesl was tired from her stressful morning, too.   I came home, changed into sweats, and crawled into bed with my book.  Liesl and I ended up sleeping very, very deeply.  Now we are just having a quiet evening.  I will put on a movie and stitch.  Liesl is working on a new chewie.  It is pretty nice.

So tonight I am so grateful to you for saying prayers for my sweet little fur-girl.  I am grateful for a best friend who would spend her Saturday morning off at the vet with me.  I am grateful for veterinary professionals who work so hard to take care of furbabies, and for those who work to develop medications and new procedures to care for the little ones that we love.  I am especially grateful for my sweet little dog, who is so smiley, sassy, smart, funny, opinionated and just a total character.  She makes me so happy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grocery Shopping

Confession time.  I hate grocery shopping.  I hate it with a white hot passion.  There are so many other things that I could be doing with my time besides hunting and foraging in Safeway.  What makes the overall shopping experience even worse is the number of people who have to have loud personal phone calls on their cell phones and are oblivious to others trying to reach items on the shelf.  I am not a big shopper in general, but grocery shopping just sets me free.  

I will do anything to avoid going to the grocery store until absolutely necessary.  I will use up everything, or start improvising meals or having a sandwich for dinner.  Then I might even pick up take out on the way home.  Today, however, the jig was up.  I had no more improvising to do, I was out of the staples, and it was time.  I had to do that really ugly Costco trip.  Ugh.  

Now if you hit Costco just right when there is no one else there, it can be somewhat fun.  Costco has wonderful things besides food, so it distracts me from my misery.  So along with my garbage pail sized box of Cheezits, I can also get a coffee maker, garden shears, and a spiffy new blouse for work.  

What I truly like about Costco is that everything comes in that big size, making it unnecessary for me to go to the grocery store for two to three weeks.  If I feel like it I can run by Trader Joes for a couple of delicacies, but I have the basics to build on over the next month.  

So I am basically ready for the weekend.  Yay.  It is almost here.  T minus 8 and counting. 

The big thing on the agenda this weekend is Liesl's follow up vet visit with her regular vet.  When she saw the cardiologist, the cardiologist did an EKG and an ultrasound.  The vet has to do some x-rays and a blood screening.  I am trying not to stress about it, since the news was mostly positive from the cardiologist.  I am trying to see this as just another step in establishing a baseline.  But you know how much I love this sweet little dog.  I have the bestest best friend ever.  She is coming with me to the vet visit.  She is a nurse practioner and can help to ask questions and help to refine some of the broader information.  Since the heart function of a dog shares a lot of similarity with the human heart, she can also help explain some of the medical terminology to me.  I think it will also be good to have her hear what I hear with some of the emotion taken out.  This way, if I start worrying she can help to go back and separate fact from my worrying.

If you could please keep Liesl in your prayers this weekend, I would be so grateful.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Peaceful Weekend

This weekend was so peaceful and relaxing.  I really wanted my sweet girl to get some rest and get the remainder of the histamine out of her system.  She is doing better but still needs to be on the Benadryl for a while longer since she is still a bit itchy.  Otherwise, she is her sweet, sassy self and got lots of rest this weekend.  This meant that I got to rest, too.  I am happy to say that we are back to sleeping during the night.    Generally she just wakes up once, takes her next dose of Benadryl and then goes right back to sleep.  She probably just thinks she is getting up for a midnight cheese snack.  

I totally got to stitch this weekend.  It was so nice to get back to relaxing and watching the needle go back and forth.  After Leisl went to bed last night (she puts herself to bed) I put on Netflix and watched a short marathon of the British comedy, The IT Crowd.  This show cracks me up and I find myself just laughing out loud.  The cast is just perfect.  I truly love British comedies, in general. So I found myself laughing and stitching.  

Liesl and I took our usual walks this weekend.  I am now thinking that I need to bring a book with me.  Liesl has her very favorite bench on edge of the lake.  She is now trying to stay on my lap longer and longer.  I think she is just comfy with the sun on her back, resting on her momma's lap, watching the ducks and the boats go by.  It is hard to get her to leave.  So I think I will just start bringing a bag with a book, a thermos of coffee and some water for Liesl.  We can set up a little camp on the bench and just relax.  It is very peaceful there.  It is just that we are not getting very much walking done, which was kind of the point of the whole thing.  

My best friend has been out of town and we were able to catch up on the phone tonight.  She asked me how everything was going and I was so happy to say that things are boring right now, thank goodness.  I appreciate the ordinary and love it when things are peaceful.  That does not mean that I do not enjoy special times and celebrations, but I love when life is a little boring.  Tonight is just so peaceful.  The television is off. There is a slight summer breeze coming through the window.  The only sound is of my typing and soft puppy snores.  I love it when it is like this.

Well, I think I will go put a kiss on Liesl's sweet little head.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

We Slept!

Oh, thank goodness.  I went right to sleep right after I signed off last night.  I was so tired, it was not funny.  Liesl also got some sleep and slept until midnight.  She got up, took her next Benadryl, then went right back to sleep.  She woke up at 5:20, as usual, then lounged in her puppy bed until I was done with my shower.  I got deep enough sleep to dream.  I seem to recall a dream where I was in a carpool with Tony Stewart and a few other Nascar drivers. 

It was a joy to go to work totally rested and to not be worried sick while I was there.  Liesl seems to be much better today.  I am going to continue the Benadryl for the weekend just to make sure we get rid of the histamine in her body.  Plus her Comfortis has not arrived in the mail yet.  She is still a little itchy.  To keep her occupied on something other than chewing on herself, I bought her favorite chewies tonight.  Hopefully, we will be all better by the end of the weekend.  

Tonight we started the weekend off at the park.  We sat for a long time on a park bench watching the water.  It was a beautiful evening and a great way to decompress after a long week.  Afterward, we ran errands.  I had to go to Costco where I bought a gorgeous skirt and some great fruit.  They had the best cherries.  I love cherries. These were perfectly sweet and so delicious.  It has been hard to stop eating them.  

I am really hoping to get a lot of stitching done this weekend.  I have missed stitching.  I am still trying to get that whole life balance thing down.  Hopefully, there will be time for creativity this weekend.  

Well, Liesl has now put herself to bed.  I think I will go tuck her in and put kissies on her sweet little head.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Week From Absolute Heck

Oh, my goodness.  When it rains, it pours.  Poor Liesl has had a terrible week.  It actually started a few weeks ago, but got worse this past week.  Due to a warm winter and lack of rain, the fleas have been terrible this year.  They are impervious to Liesl's Frontline Plus.  It got bad enough this past weekend that I actually took all of the rugs out of the house and put them in the garage.  Then I washed everything that could possibly come into contact with Liesl and vacuumed everything.  She was not sleeping well from the itching last weekend.  At that point, I determined that she was having an allergic reaction.  I could not get a hold of the vet on the weekend, and the cardiologist was not in the office until Tuesday.  I did not know if I could give her anything due to the heart murmur.

Sunday night was just awful and Liesl and I ended up getting only  3 1/2 hours of sleep before I went to work on Monday.  My new supervisor started last week, so I really needed to be on my toes.  I was not at my best. :(  After waiting all day for my vet to call me back, I finally decided that no matter what, I was taking her to the emergency vet after work.  I figured the lack of sleep was bad for her heart and she desperately needed rest.

I took her to the emergency vet on Monday night.  The people there were so nice and they took Liesl into the room immediately.  I had her heart information from the cardiologist with me, and the super nice vet read it carefully before suggesting our plan.  He was so gentle with Liesl.  Bedside manner is pretty important to me and I was grateful to see how caring he was with her. He said that her little system was overwhelmed with histamine. He suggested that she take Benadryl every six hours for the next week to 14 days.  Then he said that the Frontline is not working.  He said that he is sure my house is clean, but he said that if I have ferals or wild animals going through my yard, (they do) then they are brushing up against the plants and Liesl picks them up when she goes by.  She is now switching to the pill, Comfortis, as a flea repellent.  As a last resort, we can do a one time dose of a very mild steroid.  Steroids are a big no no, for puppies with heart conditions.  The cardiologist approved the plan though and agreed that no sleep is pretty bad for the heart, too.

So Monday night we both slept six hours and I was grateful for it.  Tuesday night we slept eight hours, which was heavenly.  Last night, Wednesday, was awful and I think I got less sleep than Sunday night.  It started 20 minutes after I fell asleep and went on and off all night.  I was a wreck today and was beyond worried about what condition poor Liesl would be in when I got home.  She had been scratching and chewing so much she was giving herself bruises.  I planned on just taking her back to the emergency vet after work if she was not doing well.  

I was kind of scared to open my front door tonight.  However, I was greeted by a sparkly eyed, happy little dog who seems to be on the upswing.  She was not nearly as itchy.  We went for our walk and she even wanted to walk further than usual.  She came home and ate all of her dinner, then chased her ball, insisted on her belly rubs, had me hide her toy squirrel over and over again so that she could find it, and was just running  up the hall squeaking her ball.  I am so grateful.  I am just praying that she (and I) gets a good restful night of sleep.  I am overcome with joy, seeing her being her sassy schnauzer self.  

So hopefully we are on the mend.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013


All in all, this was a pretty good weekend.  It is one of those weekends where I wish I could have just one more day.  It has been so very cold today.  Our walk at the park had us moving a bit briskly today.  I took the long route today, which means carrying Liesl past the cemetery.  Right after we pass the entrance she is okay to walk, but she will always stop in the same place.  She trotted around the rest of the lake, then wanted to sit on our usual bench.  All was peaceful and tranquil, until Public Enemy Numero Uno showed up.  That's right, a squirrel interrupted our quiet.  Suddenly, Liesl was all squirmy and barky.  Oy vey.  Dogs and squirrels, never to be friends.  I swear the squirrels tease dogs, too.

Luckily, the squirrel went along its merry way and Liesl nestled back in so that we could watch the lake.  It was cold, but we snuggled.  I love that time with her so much.  

I was able to stitch for a short time tonight.  I had forgotten how hard it is to stitch on black fabric.  It is so beautiful and a design will just pop against it.  However, one truly needs ample light and rest periods.  

It is hard  to believe it is June already.  I still get really excited about summer.  I am looking forward to barbecues, time with friends, walks with Liesl, and some beach reading.  I love summer and the nice long days.  I have lots of cool walks planned for after work.  I may have to get an ice cream maker, too.

Well, I have to tuck in the small, furry one and give her big kissies.  I hope you have a very happy Monday.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Such A Peaceful Day

I woke up tired today.  Totally exhausted.  I felt that I just needed to rest.  May was one of the craziest, most stressful months that I have had in a long time.  I got up today, showered, gave Liesl a bath and hair cut, and realized that I was just too tired to do anything else.  I went back to bed with a book and read the whole thing, taking a nap in between.  I finally got up around 4 and took Liesl for a gorgeous walk at he park.

It was so warm and beautiful at the park.  Liesl loves her walks at the park, but today she was mad at me.  A couple of weeks ago I had to start putting her back into a harness.  When she sees ducks, she takes off running.  Being a terrier, no matter how much I am calling her to stop running, she will tune it out because she is focused.  Her retractable leash is not that long, and she runs out of line quickly, jerking her back.  So in order for her not to hurt herself and cause permanent damage, I have her in a harness.  When I put her in it, she hunches over to look pitiful and like she is the most abused dog ever.  It is sincerely worthy of an Oscar. (Schnauzers are known for being VERY dramatic.)  

She got over the harness issue quickly and we were able to sit and watch the water for a long time.  I am finding that she wants to sit on the bench longer and longer to watch the boats and water fowl go by.  I start getting anxious and asking her if she want to walk.  She will hunker down into my lap.  I figure she is teaching me patience and to truly stop and smell the roses.  I remembered that we were not on a tight schedule and leaned back, gave her a couple of kissies on her sweet head.  I learn a lot from her.

So I am hoping to wake up more rested tomorrow.  It has been a quiet evening.  Liesl has been working on  a chewie and put herself to bed.  I am right behind her.  I hope that June is a bit quieter.