Sunday, 28 September 2008

in my 30 years of practice, i've never seen this...


this week has not been the most fun week i have ever had. in fact, it pretty much sucked.

actually, the first part of the week was ok, but wednesday night everything went downhill. i got to bed at 10:40, which is much later than when i usually go to bed (gotta get up at 5...need my sleep) and jack (my dog) wakes me up right around 12:40. he was kinda pacing and whimpering, so i figured he had to pee. i took him outside, but after he peed, he kept running around kinda hunched over all funny looking. i brought him back inside and things only seemed to get worse. he cried harder, he got all panicky, he was restless, running around like crazy, and hiding under my bed (which he has never done). he would jump in my arms and then cry and leap out and continue actind strange. i woke my mom up around 1:15 and she and i just watched jack and tried to comfort him. i looked on the internet to see what might possibly be wrong with him, but to no avail. i called the 2 emergency clinics that i could find in sa, picked the closest one (which was also cheaper), and took him over there around 2:15. the doctor saw him and thought he had pancreatitis, which is complicated to explain, so i won't. he recommended running some tests on jack, but when they ran the estimate, it was almost $500. now, since i don't have a job (read: student teaching consumes all your time and pays nothing) money is a bit tight. we explained to him that i was on a limited budget and he suggested waiting until the morning and taking him to his regular vet to have the tests run, because they will be cheaper in a non-emergency clinic at not 3:30 in the morning. he gave jack some sub-q fluids (they injected some fluids right under his skin) and sent us on our way. in the sub-q fluids was a pain reliever, but it was not strong enough to totally take away jack's pain. every 20 minutes he would get up and freak out like he did before we went to the vet, then he would calm down. needless to say, i didn't sleep. because i am student teaching and am responsible for teaching all periods but 2 (we have 6 teaching periods and 2 team conferencing/planning periods) i couldn't just not be there. my dad graciously agreed to take the day off and take jack to the vet, which was supposed to open at 7 - i checked online during the night (or morning, technically, since it was 4). i drove to school and cried more than i have cried in years...i didn't even put makeup on before leaving the house - i took it with me in case i calmed down enough to put some on. on my way to school i got a call from my dad who said the clinic OPENS at 7, but the doctor doesn't get there until 9!!!! this made me even more upset because that is dumb. so dumb. i felt like the website was misleading. grr. i made it to school and jean (mentor teacher) saw me and knew i looked all kinds of a mess, and i started crying again. she told me after i tutored the kiddos that morning (i tutor kids thursday mornings before school starts) that i should go home. i said "no, i don't want to go home unless i get some bad news." honestly, if i went home, i would just be doing nothing and thinking of how my dog is dying from something and i can't do anything to help him. so i stayed at school and for the first half of the day, gave the appearance of being a zombie. i started to cry twice when i was tutoring in the morning and had to turn away and compose myself. jean was then insistant that i go home at the beginning of 6th period, to which i also said no (read: if i miss a day i have to make it up by adding another day at the end of my semester....no thanks!).

i finally got a call from my parents saying that the vet was keeping jack all day and that they were running all the tests. later, we learned that jack has an extra vertebra in his lower back and something had caused it to become compressed and inflamed, hence the extreme pain. i went to the vet directly from school at 3:30 and picked him up, and they gave me the canine equivalent of advil to give him. i took him home and fought with him for at least 10 minutes trying to get him to swallow his pill, but jack HATES medicine and is very smart - he is so on to the whole hiding the pill in the cheese thing. i eventually hid it in a piece of chicken, which he didn't even chew - he inhaled it. i won! the meds seemed to kinda work but not a whole lot, and by friday evening the meds were wearing off a full 2 hours before it was time to give him the next dosage. it was horrible because he was running around miserable, and looking at us like "can you DO SOMETHING?!?!" until i finally gave him his meds.

saturday morning jack woke me up at 4:15 because he was in pain, so i iced his lower back for an hour and then my dad woke up, which distracted jack for about 10 minutes. after dad left, i took jack back up to my room and he slept for 2 hours...and so did i! hooray!!!! unfortunately, he was due for his pain pill at 6:30, and we got up at 7:30. meaning....ouch. i gave him medicine right away, and when the vet clinic opened at 9 that morning, we were outside waiting. my mom and i just weren't convinced that what i was doing (watching him closely, icing his back, and giving him pain pills) was quite enough. just wasn't cutting it. thankfully, the vet saw us first thing free of charge even though he had a packed schedule that day, and gave us some muscle relaxers to give jack. we also received more instructions on how to take care of him.

jack had not been eating or drinking, so he told us to get some canned food and add some water, heat it up, and serve it to him like soup. jack is a BIG fan. so is penny, our cat. i have to stand by the food bowl while he is eating and fight her off. annoying cat, but so determined. he told us to give jack 2 pain pills at once instead of one twice a day, and give him a muscle relaxer every 8 hours. he told us jack's activities must be completely monitored, as jumping at all will further agitate his condition (which we don't want, because that means surgery). he is, for all practical purposes, on bed rest. we had to buy him a kennel....i leave the house at 6:50 every morning and don't get back until 5 in the afternoon. i am usually the 2nd person out the door every day and the first person home. i am gone for a good 10 hours, which is a lot of time for jack to be completely unsupervised. therefore, starting tomorrow, we have to put jack in the kennel when i leave, and i can take him out when i get home. we have been trying to get him accustomed to it by letting him sleep in it while we are still here. we put his favorite toy in with him (a pink teddy bear almost as big as he is...and filthy to boot) and his favorite blanket to try to make him more comfortable. i hate putting him in the kennel. i hate not being able to cuddle him or run with him or play. i have to pick him up and put him on things (like the couch or the bed) so he won't jump, and always be alert so when he wants to get down he doesn't jump - i have to gently set him down on the floor. he is such an active dog, and it's so depressing to keep him from doing anything.

however, this must continue for 2 weeks. i have no idea how it will all work out. 10 hours in a kennel is a long time. hopefully someone can come home and let him out during their lunch break so he can stretch and go to the bathroom, but that someone can't be me because it's a 25 minute drive to my house from school, and my lunch break is 30 minutes long (theoretically...it usually ends up being more like 20). i have to keep constant watch on him for 2 weeks. sit with him and ice his lower back for 2 weeks. trick him into eating pills for 2 more weeks. not get enough sleep for 2 weeks. try to make him understand that these hellish next 2 weeks are for his own good and because i love him. this is an excellent opportunity for God to shine through and make everything ok. and i have to trust that He will, or...i don't know what.

i am thankful that at this point, his condition is not life threatening. however, it's not very reassuring when a vet assistant says to you, "in the 30 years i have worked with dogs, i have never seen one with an extra vertebra." thank you lady for your wonderfully encouraging and motivating speech. however, she did give us the name of the best surgeon in town in case we do end up needing the surgery.

i could use some prayer. while my parents are supportive (and they have helped me tremendously with the expenses....no job, remember?), he is my responsibility and his care and recovery is primarily up to me. i am struggling with seeing him like this, not himself. it's almost like a different dog. and when the medicine is working, it's hard for me to really believe that something serious is wrong with him. i need prayer for my rest and for my resolve, that the Lord gives me the strength to do my best to heal him and to do what's best for him, even if he and i both hate it.

on that note, jack could use a lot of prayer. his little body needs healing and he doesn't understand what's going on. pray that somehow he will stop jumping on and off of things and that he will be okay in his kennel. and in general.

i know this all may sound so trivial to some, but he really is like a member of my family. i got him when i was dealing with a lot of depression issues in highschool, and he has been a constant comfort and companion these past 5 years. i can't stand seeing him in pain.

"when the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul." Ps. 94:19

Sunday, 21 September 2008

WAHOO!!!!

i am so excited - i have finally figured out how to beautify my blog! is this revolutionary or what?

this evening my mom and i went to JAZZsaLIVE...and got to see Dave Brubeck (but now he is 88...and still incredible!!!)! it was pretty neat (and free!). unfortunately, the park that hosted the festival was small and there were a LOT of people there! there was a lot of smoking going on, and people talked so loud it was hard to hear the music at times. however, mom and i munched on some muy delicioso fried pickles (one of our favorite snacks) and shared a margarita which was more like a cup of sugary syrup, ice, and no alcohol. scariest moment of the evening - when mom was off to get our fried pickles, a woman suddenly appeared next to me...and she had a beard. omg i almost peed.

many people got their aggie rings yesterday - hooray for them! my dear friend heather was one of those people, and i am so excited for her! i am sad that i could not be there on her special day, but i am currently unemployed (rather, i have a full-time job...i just don't get paid for it) and just don't have the money to travel (or really do anything).

i am 1/3 of the way done with my student teaching! WHOOP!!! my university supervisor came by to observe me on thursday, said i was doing a great job, then told me she would be back on october 1 for my MIDTERM EVALUATION! what the heck?! so soon?! but really, i am so ready. so ready. i love the students - they are the best...but i just don't think being in a classroom all the time is for me. just doesn't work. and i am just not passionate about it. still. but you know, God knows what He is doing, and i just have to remember this! i do have a funny story from thursday, though. jean (my cooperating teacher...also the volleyball coach) left at the beginning of 8th period for her vb game, so i pretty much had the class to myself (kristin, the inclusion teacher, was in there too). i really had to sneeze, but i couldn't, so i was talking all funny with my face scrunched up, and then proceeded to tell the class that i had a sneeze stuck in my face....it didn't occur to me how...unintelligent it sounded until after i said it. but the kids thought it was hilarious!

i am also quite proud of myself - i am less than 100 pages from finishing The Silmarillion! seriously, this book is so hard to read! i tried to read it while i was in highschool and i think i gave up after about 20 pages (if even that). this time around, i am reading much slower and using the handy-dandy index of names in the back! it is actually a really awesome book, just so hard to follow! once i finish this, it's on to C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet! so excited!

on another note, i still have no idea what God has planned for my future - where i will work, where i will live, etc. i'm not that bummed about it right now, though. God is good, i MUST remember this!

last, but most certainly not least - the first day of fall is monday! and it will be october in exactly 10 days! october is my favorite month, and i think halloween is tied with Christmas for my favorite holiday! YAY OCTOBER!!! :) :)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

oh my goodness

it has been so long since i last posted! forgive me for being so inconsistent! i read peoples' blogs all the time, but seldom update my own!

a large part of the reason i have not posted in so long is that i have been so busy! i was in colorado for 2 weeks for my best friend's wedding (which was probably the most fun wedding and reception EVER) and came back to begin student teaching. i am student teaching at a wonderful school here in sa, and i have a great mentor teacher. i am teaching regular and pre-ap math (6th grade). i will be honest, i am only 2 weeks in and it is quite a challenge for me. the teaching isn't the hard part - i am not bad at what i do. the problem is that i am not passionate about it. i hear all my friends from A&M who are also student teaching or doing the internship talking about how much they love what they do - they are reminded of why they chose education as their major, they have found their life's purpose, they love teaching, etc, etc.....and i just don't feel that way. i feel bad for not feeling that way. you would think (and probably hope) that if i was going to be an educator that i should be passionate and excited about it...and i'm just not. i don't hate it. i don't necessarily dislike it. i just don't LOVE it. honestly, it's just kinda...there. this really disturbs me.

another confession - i have not posted in a while because i am scared. i moved back to sa to do my student teaching. i am living at home and it's great. while i loved growing up here, i don't want to stay in sa after i graduate. anyway, i have been literally terrified of putting out the news that i was back in town. before i moved to college station, i had a friend (whom i later learned was no friend at all) with which things went horribly wrong...and this person still lives in sa. a lot of strange things have happened since things went wrong with this person, and i know what they are capable of and the lengths they might go to if they found out i was back. i was....am...afraid that this person might have found my blog and will locate me. i am scared to leave my house and go to certain areas of town for fear that someone i used to know will see me and notify this other person that i am in town (which has happened before). i know i shouldn't be living in fear. God says so. my parents say so. my pastor says so. but i am scared. however, i am determined not to let that fear govern my life anymore. the truth is, if i want to blog and let my friends know what is going on in my life, then i will do so, without leaving out details for fear that those details might connect me to san antonio. God will watch out for me. i will be honest though - i am still fearful. i just refuse to let it determine whether i go to the grocery store or write in my blog.

i think right now i am in a searching and seeking phase of life. i don't know what God has planned for my future. what job will i have? where will i live? will i get married? when will i know anything? why am i graduating college as an education major if it's not what i love? if it's not what i am passionate about? how the heck am i going to use my degree if i don't want to teach after i graduate? why am i not excited about teaching? why don't i love it?

i ask too many questions.

friends, i am struggling a bit at the moment with these things. gonna be honest. i'm feeling discouraged. i mean, it's not a suffocating or overwhelming struggle by any means (except possibly the fear issue), but i could use some prayer!
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