My Life Has Become An Old Country Song…

I don’t even now where to begin anymore for it seems that every day something else goes wrong. Still waiting for my January 31, 2017 appointment for YAG procedure  (but only one eye) to remove the scar tissue. The office can’t even give me a general idea of how long before the second eye is done. Then I have to go back to be fitted for glasses and the way they book far in advance I’m thinking that won’t happen until March or April. Meanwhile I have to keep replacing the cheater glasses as my vision worsens. I’m currently at the next to the strongest strength and have to practically have to hold something directly in front of my face to be able to read it. Then of course there’s the green circles and arches that appear every time I look directly at a light. Visual disturbances have always been a primary trigger for migraines so it’s like a vicious circle. I don’t want to keep the lights dimmed because of Sasha’s impaired vision so I basically try to avoid looking at lights or lamp fixtures. I don’t go out unless it’s to the doctors so haven’t left the house since Dec. 6.

When I saw the new neurologist on December 2, I was told his staff would call me as soon as they got the preauthorization for the Botox  injects for migraines (it’s very expensive so needs a PA). They also said that once they had the PA they’d get me right in because I  haven’t had Botox since June 13 and it’s supposed to be given every 3 months. I’ve been getting Botox for several years and my insurance company approves in 48 hours max. Since my appointment was on a Friday I hoped to hear from them no later than the following Thursday, Dec. 8. Nothing. So I called their office on Monday Dec 12 and after speaking to two different people was transferred to “Chrissy”. Left a VM for her around 10 am but no callback. Long story short I called every day and always had to leave a VM. On Thursday Dec. 15 I called and instead of the elusive Chrissy’s line I chose the prompt for making an appointment. Told the woman my story and upon checking my file she didn’t see anything about the Botox PA. I called again on Friday Dec. 16 and used a line I haven’t used in several years. Once again I chose the prompt for making an appointment and when a woman answered I offered my condolences on Chrissy’s death then asked to be connected with whomever took her place. The woman was quite shocked and said “Chrissy’s not dead!!!”. I started my response in a sickening sweet voice I break out from time to time and said “Oh dear me, I must apologize then because I surely thought she was. Followed that with full bitch mode by saying “Why else would someone fail to return nearly a dozen phone calls? What other reason could there be for such egregious incompetence? And by the way, will you send me an application because I’ve always wanted a job where I did nothing yet collected a paycheck”. She was really rattled but assured me she would get a message to Chrissy. I laughed and said that may be but she wouldn’t call back. She said she’s send the message from her terminal to Chrissy’s. Then I told her to add that IF Chrissy called back she would be reaching an advanced practice nurse so don’t even try to give me any BS “because that won’t float”. I didn’t even bother waiting to see if Chrissy (whom I’d decided may not be real) to call; I called my insurance company who has always been wonderful to work with. Upon checking the file and phone log, she told me someone from the neurologist’s office called on Tuesday Dec. 6 but something must have come up as they said they would call back in a minute. The insurance company said there was no record of a callback. I really had to fight to hold back tears at this point as I was beyond frustrated. The insurance company said they would have their pharmacy department reach out to the office and that she personally would reach out. By the way, never did hear from Chrissy that day. Om Tuesday Dec. 20 the same woman from the insurance company called at 9am. She started off ny asking if the neuro’s office had contacted me and I said no. She said that both she and the pharmacy department left VM’s the previous week and they had not been returned either. She asked my permission to open up a case so they could track this providers office and of course I said yes. She also suggested I call the office to at least make the appointment for the injections as they had approved them. Lo and behold  before I had a chance to call the neuro’s office they called me. After I got up from the floor where I had collapsed in shock, Chrissy told me she had taken a few days off the previous week. I won’t bore you with the details of what I said but it wasn’t pretty. She countered with “I was waiting on your insurance”. I followed up with something that also wasn’t pretty. She told me she had good news for me though ~ she had my appointment date. January 2, 2017. I was like WHAT?????? So by the time I get the injects it will be 7 months since I last had them and I’ll be so far off schedule that they won’t be effective until the second set of injections in April. I’m going to get them in Jan. but have already started looking for a different neurologist. He might be great but his staff is hands down the worst I’ve ever encountered and since moving here I’ve met my share of rude and incompetent medical support staff. I’m just not putting up with this nonsense all the time. Before I bid a farewell to Facebook I met a woman in a GSD group from Maine. We struck up a casual conversation and then I didn’t see her for a few days. When she came back online she said she’d had a “breakthrough” migraine. Not knowing what type of medication she took I told her of the good results I’d had with Botox. She said that she gets the injects every 3 months in Worcester MA. I remember being shocked as from her location to Worcester is over 250 miles and a 4 hour drive ~ one way! I wondered why she would travel so far but after my “Maine Botox Experiences (yes plural) I think I can understand. I initially made an appointment with a neuro in Lewiston (same city the current one is located) in 2011. They booked me out over 7 months which put me into 2012. A week before my appointment the office called to say they had to cancel my appointment as the neuro was out. I said let’s book it NOW. Then they said they didn’t know when he’s be back. Very odd. I called a week later and they said he was still out. A few weeks later I received a letter saying he had left the practice but they would be contacting me within 10 days to schedule me with one of the other providers. Yes you guessed it ~ they never called. Then I made an appointment with a pain treatment center that  did Botox for Migraines. Also in Lewiston which is 55 miles one way.  Now Botox has to be refrigerated so you pick it up from the pharmacy on the way to the appointment and keep it in a small cooler bag. First visit went well. The second visit I picked up the Botox and we were about 15 miles from Lewiston when I received a call  from the office saying that Dr. XYZ “doesn’t feel comfortable doing Botox and would prefer you book with Dr ABC”. I said “Are you kidding me? My appointment is in less than 30 minutes, you KNOW I live over an hour away, and Dr. XYZ decides NOW that’s he not comfortable dong Botox???”. I had to go the following week to see Dr. ABC whom I actually liked better. Saw him 2 more times and bam! The pain center closed. At this point I gave up on Botox I really did. Then a few months later I was driving down a road in the town closest to me (16 miles away) when I saw something that made me slam on the brakes. Hanging outside a medical building was a shingle for the neuro I had to wait over 7 months for and then he poofed from the practice! I jotted down his phone number, made an appointment and got in within a few weeks. He’s the one who’s been giving me injections until he announced this past August that he was closing his practice in September and relocating to Kentucky. I swear to God this is so bizarre I couldn’t make this up as I’m not that creative. And as I said in a previous migraine post, the states are clamping down on doctors so to get a small prescription for pain medication is like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers ~ virtually impossible.

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I am most definitely not in the holiday spirit. It was with great reluctance that  I put a tabletop fiber-optic tree out today and called it good. It’s hard to be “ho ho ho” when you can’t see the floor, you’re terrified to walk outside lest you fall because you can’t see the ground and lights cause visual disturbances which in turn triggers a migraine. Extremely stressful and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to see anybody. In the past when I was stressed or feeling pressured I turned to books or knitting but haven’t done either in over  year. I was dreading Christmas anyway because my mind has been drifting back to last Christmas. Our dear friend spent the day with us and following dinner we sat in the great room with the fire crackling and watched movies. I was still very upset over the death of my dog on November 5 and it was his sarcastic humor that got me through both Thanksgiving and Christmas . Yet for some unknown reason I never took a single picture either holiday and after he committed suicide in April 2016  I’ll never have that opportunity again. He was our adopted family member; we spent every holiday together. It’s more difficult than I’d imagined.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

So I spend my days just piddling around, use the dictating app on my laptop to write a blog entry or Siri on my iPhone to make a call for me. The dictating app hasn’t mastered my NY accent so I have to try and manually correct the apps interpretation of some of my words (don’t even ask). And Siri the brat. Took me 2 years with my previous phone to train her and now I have to start all over again. Just today I told her to call “Mt. Blue Pharmacy” to which she replied “I don’t see a listing for your mother”.

Since this has been such a whiney post I’ll end with something funny. I have the new iPhone 7 but have only set up the most basic features until I can see better. There’s a new feature that, when enabled, lets you say “Hey Siri” and she’ll answer. The other night for the heck of it I said “Hey Siri”. The response was definitely a Depends moment. Siri said “I can’t talk right now as I’m having a staring contest with iPhone 7 Plus and I think I’m winning”.

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The Staring Contest
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Reason I chose iPhone 7 over iPhone 7 Plus

To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

There IS a way out of that mindset and I’m going to tell you about it but first you must place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.

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Which one do YOU choose?  Because I won’t lie, suicide is probably easier. Find a method, implement it, go to sleep ~ and die. No more battles, no more bullshit from therapists that overbook and overcharge. No more being a guinea pig for every new treatment modality Big Pharma cranks out. No more failed attempts to make your family understand that you’re in pain, your head is fucked up and you could use some support. No more angst because an employer denied your right under the ADA of 1990 and dumped you from a 17 year job. No more frustration from trying to get an idiotic bimbo at a government office to listen to you, do her fucking job and help you obtain justice for having your rights violated instead of taking the easy way out by convincing you it would be a long hard fight blah blah. Yep been there, done that. Collect your paycheck worthless clerk and get out of my face.

Because that’s what it often is ~ a lonely battle where no one seems to “get” it. Family doesn’t have time or energy for you when you’re in distress but oh boy! Don’t answer the phone when they call one day and they act as if you’ve drained their bank account and crashed their car. They just ooze the love. But ~ I don’t think it’s that they don’t love us but rather, they don’t understand. They expect us to be like them which we can’t do. The irony is, if they lived inside our head for a few days, they’d run and never look back.

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Yes killing ones self is probably akin to taking life’s low road. Do you know the road I speak of? The one that winds through dark tunnels and dense forests,  deprived of  light and warmth? It’s cold because of the lack of sun so you miss dew on a blade of grass, springs’ first crocus, a rabbit scampering away as he hears you approach. You miss all the moments both good and not so good of watching your child become their own person. One day your frustration at their attitude or laziness gives way and you see them almost as if for the first time; a productive adult that YOU molded. And though at times their apathy is annoying, they truly do love you. If you kill yourself you create a ripple effect that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. 

Because if you kill yourself, you’re also going to kill the people who love you. You’re going to kill the passion which drives you to do what you do so damn well. You’re going to allow the darkness to win and you’re stronger and braver than that.  If you kill yourself you’ll be giving in to the monsters of the dark who live to drag us into their world of darkness. We’ve both been there yet clawed our way out, sometimes by just a ragged nail or two. That says something ~ it says fuck you! I’m better and I’m more powerful than you. You might knock me down but I WILL get back up. Because I have a life and today is NOT your day to claim it.

In Sylvia Plath’s Unabridged Journal she wrote “I act and react, and suddenly I wonder, ‘Where is the girl that I was last year? Two years ago? What would she think of me now?”

We aren’t the same as we were last year or the year before. We’ve changed, taken steps both forward and backward. Some of the changes were society driven while others were by-products of mental health. Then there is the change because our employers tossed us aside like an old worn out sweater, to be replaced with a newer albeit less expensive one. And that my friend becomes you’re defining moment….do I let these steps, these changes, drag me to a place from which I can never return? Never open my eyes after a nights sleep? Never finish a project I’ve put my very essence into? Never see my child marry? Hold my first grandchild? Never make the difference and be the change I wanted to see happen?  

You are braver than you believe and you are stronger than you realize;  never, ever forget that. And know that although it may seem it now, you are NOT alone. Many of us have been sucked into the abyss, many have attempted suicide but thankfully were saved. Then many like my dear friend last April weren’t as fortunate and those of us who loved them will never fully  recover from their tragic deaths.

Yes there are choices but you must choose the right one. For to do otherwise would deny not only your loved ones (who like all families are  often a PIA) of sharing your life but it would deprive the world of the contributions you have to offer and the continuance of the good work you’ve started.

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3 Day Quote… Challenge #3

3 Day Quote… Challenge #3

For my third and final quote ~ Gene Krantz

“Let’s work the problem, people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing.” ~ Gene Kranz, Mission Control Director ~ Apollo 13

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 Although he has many wonderful quotes, this particular one has always resonated with me.

Gene Kranz was the NASA Flight Director for the Apollo and Gemini programs. He wore flat-top haircuts and vests made by his wife Marta  but his steely nerves, ingenuity and perseverance are what he will always be remembered for. 

On April 11, 1970 at 2:13pm ET, the spaceship Apollo 13 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ~ destination Moon.

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The crew was James A. Lovell, Jr. Commander, John L. Swigert, Jr., Command Module Pilot and Fred W. Haise, Jr. Lunar Module Pilot.

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But on April 13, the mission suffered a crippling explosion that would nearly doom the spaceflight and its crew.The near-disaster of Apollo 13 was a stunning reminder of the perils of human spaceflight and how NASA managed to overcome the incident and save the mission’s three-man crew. 

It began with these now famous words five scrambled words spoken by Capt.James A. Lovell Jr.:

An oxygen tank had exploded  in the spacecraft. 

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From that moment on, Mission Control. led by Kranz, worked round the clock over the next four days to bring the crew of the Apollo 13 home.  His leadership and faith in his team both united and filled them with a sense of intense drive and great purpose. They all knew that under his watch, failure was not an option. And home they came because Gene Kranz “listened to his gut.” 

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With the explosion and the “hacks” devised to fix the problem, the duration of the mission was 142 hours 54 minutes and 41 seconds. Apollo 13 returned to Earth on April 17, 1970, landing in the Pacific Ocean. The retrieval ship was the U.S.S. Iwo Jima.

 

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Celebrating With A Cigar

After his retirement, Gene Kranz became a much sought after speaker as well as an accomplished author.

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**Cover photo is view of the Earth from Apollo 13

*Use this link  ” Mission Control. led by Kranz, worked round ” to watch some fascinating videos like Poison Pills and Apollo 13 ~ wow!

You’ll Always Be With Me..

You’ll Always Be With Me..

I dreaded today with a passion for its the first anniversary of my beloved dog’s ~ strike that, my best friends death. One year ago today  I gave Callie my final gift,  the freedom that took her beyond the reach of illness and discomfort. I owed her that and tenfold for her never wavering love and devotion. Some people say ” It’s just a dog”; they obviously have never known the unconditional love of a canine companion. They’ve never had what seemed like the weight of the world on their shoulders suddenly ease after a loving companion laid their head on a lap as if to say ” I’m here for you”. They’ve never come home after a day when life beat them down only to be greeted by a furiously wagging tail and warm brown eyes. They’ve never had their spirit eroded by the cruelty of man only to have it restored by a long walk with their 4-legged BFF. Callie Ann was my “heart” dog. For some inexplicable reason we shared an uncanny bond. From the time I adopted her at 8 weeks she had the ability to hone in on my emotions which amazed me to the end. If I raised my voice or even shed a tear in silence she immediately came to my side and refused to leave until convinced I was fine. She loved the sound of classical music (ok ok and other genres like electronic, techno and the blues) . When she was going through her wild puppy, alligator teeth stage I used to turn on Liszt’s ” Sonata in B Minor”, Pachelbel’s “Canon and Gigue in D” or what was to become our favorite – Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. It miraculously calmed her and music remained a huge portion of her life till the end.

Callie was so much more than a dog who ate, pooped, made trips to the veterinarian, barked at a knock on the door and occasionally passed gas that had the power to knock out an elephant.I was closer to her than I’ve ever been with anyone or anything in my life. When my grown children didn’t have time to talk to me on the phone or respond to my emails/texts ~ she filled my lonely cup. I could never have a simple conversation with my husband because he’s afflicted with what I refer to as “elective mutism”; he chooses not to talk. Once again Callie was there to fill my loneliness. Looking back I wonder if she ever thought “Mom sure talks a lot”.

I’m beginning to appreciate a decade of precious moments Callie Ann shared with me, of  hours she spent by my side as I told her my goals, setbacks and concerns. I’m starting to remember the happy shared memories as opposed to the tear-stained, heart wrenching grief of her final days. I’m opening the “Memory Book” permanently imprinted in my mind;  the one we created during our wonderful years together; her puppy months when she dug so many holes I considered renting her out as a grave-digger. Of her puppy teeth that I compared to those of an alligator. I remember her quirky “Callie-isms” like not walking past the basement door if it was open but rather backing up and taking a different route. The day I replaced the old floor heater vent with a new one, Callie would no longer walk by it instead opting for her backwards trot. Her fear of thunder and gunshots (thank heaven for the ThunderShirt). Greeting the UPS man faithfully. Going into the woods and proudly bringing me home bones (don’t ask). Then there’s Pinky. Callie loved her Pinky (actually she had two ). One day when she was about 7 months old I washed both  and hung them on the line to dry. As you can see, Callie patiently staked out the clothesline watching them. She continued to love them gently her entire life; I can’t recall ever sewing a rip. She would gently groom Pinky. The adult pictures are of Callie and Pinky when she was 9 in the spring of 2015. Pinky went with her for chemo as well as her final visit to the vet. I had it cremated with her and I have the other one. I miss that sweet girl!

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I’ve also derived happiness at knowing that the summer of 2015 was one of Callie’s best summers ever. She ventured further into the water during “River Days” than ever before. I hold dear the images of her standing there as the waters flowed over her legs; she was truly in a state of bliss. As the dogs exited the vehicle on River Days and raced down to the river I’d always play a guessing game with myself ~ “Who will enter the water first today?”. That summer it was usually Callie! My land loving labby had finally channeled her inner water-loving self! In retrospect it was her last hurrah.

I miss you Angel and always will till the day we meet again. Until then, thank you for ten years of complete devotion, for listening to me talk when no one else had time, for always making me feel special, for patiently sitting still while I photographed you wearing holiday hats and costumes. Thank you for the companionship on road trips and for being so gentle with the grands when they became rambunctious. For allowing me to brush your incredibly hairy bumpkas even though you didn’t like it, sitting still while I swabbed your mouth for a doggy DNA test. Most of all, thank you for being “you” and for loving me unconditionally. It worked both ways my beautiful black angel.

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Our favorite song ~Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”

Beautiful visuals in the video

It’s been a difficult week for me but writing about Callie has helped me tremendously. I haven’t even been on Twitter to promote my K9 petitions. No emails or phone calls. I don’t  know if anyone has read my Callie posts because when I’m this sad I tend to withdraw. I’m going to do one more post that will focus on Maddie and Callie, our #SistersFromAnotherMother. For some inexplicable reason the thought of these ♥︎♥︎two black angels♥︎♥︎ being together has brought me solace this past year. I hope Maddie’s mom feels the same.

In closing, I’d like to share that  November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. 

Every time you use post a picture of your pet on social media (the sites are listed in the link) along with #CurePetCancer, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation.

A Poem For Callie…

A Poem For Callie…

MAY I GO

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days
and endless lonely nights?

I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.

I want to go. I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you, too.
That’s why it’s hard to say goodbye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.

“Dedicated to everyone who has ever had to have  a beloved dog laid to rest.”

Author: Susan A. Jackson

 

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I cannot take credit for this poem as it was written by Susan A. Jackson, a gifted author and poet who penned it after she had to make the heart wrenching decision to have her beloved dog laid to rest. Although our paths never crossed, Susan lived in my native New Jersey. She wrote this over fifteen years ago and it remains a well-loved poem for the loss of a pet as well as a human family member, often for a hospice patient.

I Am Your Dog…

I Am Your Dog…

Dear Human,

I am your dog, and I have a little something I’d like to whisper in your ear; I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The grey hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?

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Callie Ann ~ 10 years March 2015 (8 months before she passed)

That is all I ask; To slow down, if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing.Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land.

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She had a way of getting me outside in the sun like no one else could ! July 2015

I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just “One more day” with me.

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Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as “trainer” or even “Mom or Dad,” come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another’s eyes, and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am.

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Callie Ann April 14, 2005

I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet” ~ I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper to my ears.

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Callie Ann aka Callie Angel

Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.

So please… come sit with me now and let us share the precious moments we have together.

Love,
Your Dog

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My Seasons Of Loving You…

My Seasons Of Loving You…

Will Never End…

My favorite Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 3:1–8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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