About JillinoisRN

A disabled RN who is still trying to find ways to help people. I've got a lot of interests, and a lot of things I'd like to convey to people.... whether they want to 'hear' them remains to be seen :)

After The Pandemic, Get Ready for Emergencies

So many folks were caught in situations where they didn’t have a supply of emergency food, medications, baby items, first aid supplies, etc.   Now, it’s very hard to get some items.   I’m not a homesteading, off-the-grid prepper, but I do have back-up supplies on hand.  These items are basic for storm prep, and general having back-up if the unexpected happens (illness, unemployment, etc).   Here are some basics for how to start to stock up without breaking the bank.

Make a list of common household products you use- cleaners, paper goods, laundry items, dishwashing soap, and a bin to store them in.   Try to spend %5-20 of your grocery/supply budget on stocking up (for all goods, including food). Prioritize water (including purifying), food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medications and first aid items.

Make a list of shelf-stable foods that you like. There’s no point in getting some chalky protein bar if eating it is like chewing on a coconut mat.  Canned fruits, veggies, tuna, soups, boxed milk, rice, pasta, beans, grains, baking goods, sauces, condiments, etc.  Keep the dates visible, and use the ones that have less than 3 months left on them- purchasing replacements ASAP.

WATER:  For folks with wells, or in the event of a flood that contaminates drinking water, you will need to stock up on water.  One to two gallons per person per day, and 1/2 gallon for dogs/cats/pets.  There are many water storage products out there, as well as purification products for water collected from outside sources, or water that has been stored for a while. There are also bathtub liners for water storage, but those should be filled at the last possible minute (being told to stay at home might be a good time).  If the water reclamation plant near you is compromised, your tap water won’t be good.  If you have a well, and the electricity goes out, you won’t have a working well pump.

Toiletries- baby wipes, dry shampoo, no-rinse products, towels, washcloths.  Also, if your toilet needs electricity to flush (well/septic system), you might consider a commode chair used by folks with limited mobility.  Get trash bags that fit the bucket, and put cat litter in the bag.  Use the bag for a few times, adding more cat litter.  You are just trying to mask the smell- so no need to dump a whole bag of litter in the bag- the bag will break.

For kids- make sure you have age/size appropriate items, being sure to rotate formula, and update diaper sizes.  Nothing will go to waste if you rotate and use products before they either don’t fit anymore, or are no longer used.

For longterm storage food, I like the freeze dried products- and Emergency Essentials is as good as any.  They have decent prices for survival food- and the food is tasty.  The fruits and veggies, and even some of the meats are tasty out of the can (conserve water).  They have a huge assortment of products.

https://beprepared.com

Also, a crank or solar power radio could be your only communication.  There are a lot of potential threats, but it’s easy to have a basic set up for an extended period of time without completely breaking the bank.  Get what you like, and store it properly (dry, cool, and not in garages or attics.

Be sure to have medications and first aid supplies, including things to stop bleeding (there are dressings that do that), strong bandages, a splint or two, antibiotic ointment, soap, and water for wound care.

Entertainment.  Be sure to have playing cards, board games, puzzle books, toys for kids, hobby supplies, BOOKS (including on survival),  etc.  You need distraction.  You might even keep a journal of how you experience drastic disruptions to normal life.

Don’t announce what you have. In a situation where civil unrest becomes an issue, your stash could jeopardize your life.  I also keep small bottles of booze to use for barter, and a modest amount of cash on hand.

Be ready, not left wondering where you will get food and supplies.

Message to Young Nurses Working With COVID-19 Patients

I saw the news of young nurses (those who graduated well after 2000)  impacted by the storm of COVID-19 patients. They never knew what it was like not to have Universal Precautions as part of daily ‘norms’ at work.  They’re scared and angry, and that is so very understandable.  In normal times, all of this would be absolutely unthinkable.  But these are not normal times.  This is a global situation that was not fully appreciated until it hit US. Many warnings had been issued over the last several decades.   Mistakes were made.   In the US, we tend to think that we’re immune to things that happen in other parts of the world.  While 9/11 erased a bit of that, it has never hit us in a medical battle like this, for the vast majority of people alive now.  Viruses don’t care about what country they’re in.  Every country on the planet is trying to get equipment, from PPE (gloves, gowns, masks, face shields, etc) to ventilators.  EVERY. COUNTRY.  There is little in the way of  inventory to purchase.  Add that the US government is outbidding states’ governors, and it’s a total cluster.  I’ve been an RN for 35 years, though have been disabled for many years now. I have the ‘luxury’ of watching this, but wish so much that I could be there helping. It goes against everything in me to not be of use during this time. So, I write. It’s all I have to offer.  My mom’s grandma died in the Spanish Flu of 1918. Pandemics influenced my family in how my mom’s mom did NOT cope with the death of her mom. Her father died a year later.  She stayed broken.  She raised kids as a broken mom. None of this is “just” the current situation… there will be collateral damage.  But we have to protect the caretakers AS BEST WE CAN with what PPE is available. Now. 

Time speeds up as you get older, so this may sound like ages ago, but it’s really not.  In the mid-80s, AIDS was still relatively new, not well understood, and another cause of fear and much discrimination. It was different, as there were higher risk groups. COVID-19 just needs a breathing body.  We didn’t have Universal Precautions until 1987. There was typically one box of gloves at the nurses’ station, and those were only for “Code Browns” (a poop situation beyond the ability of one person to deal with) or massive bleeding- and that was at the discretion of the nurse.  This is when I started nursing.  It’s just how things were.  We did have isolation carts for AIDS patients, with gowns and gloves.  Masks were only used for suctioning, and face shields weren’t even imagined. I don’t remember ever having protective eyewear.   We gave IM and IV meds with syringes that had needles. Not everybody had an IV pump… and Dial-a-Flows were rationed.   We were expected to be careful.  We also had up to 14 patients on an acute neurological/neurosurgical floor on the night shift PER NURSE.   It wasn’t until 1996 that Universal Precautions became “standard precautions”, and were considered part of basic care.  I taught infection control at a nursing home in the mid-90s.  Back then menstrual blood wasn’t considered a risk, and the guidelines were “if it has not saturated the pad to the point of dripping, it can be disposed of in regular trash cans”, which stunned me back then. Now, I can’t imagine putting any sort of blood in the regular trash.  Things change.

Governors are doing all they can to get enough PPE, but when it will arrive isn’t set in stone, especially with the “eBay” manner in which they are having to purchase supplies.  The feds aren’t  looking out for anybody on the frontlines. So it’s time for ingenuity and remembering that these are not normal situations.  Normal rules are out the window in a crisis.  This is more like M*A*S*H than 2020 hospitals.  Mentality has to adjust. Some conservation now may mean even more critical availability later.

It troubles me a lot that so many people who are dealing with this crisis are going to develop (if they haven’t already)  PTSD.  The repeated stress and life-altering/life-threatening situations does something to a person.  Please reach out to someone when (not if) you are overwhelmed.  Remember that this will not last forever.  The overall percentage  of people in the US who have this now is still statistically insignificant (a bit over 331,000 positive cases right now… with a population of 330M in the US, that is %0.001).  The folks who have this are not in any way insignificant, nor is their suffering or the loss felt by the family, friends, and coworkers of those who die from COVID-19… but from a pure numbers standpoint many, many more people are OK.  With that same 331,000, 9441 have died- that’s %0.03 of those who are positive. That’s 33 times less than %1.  Just of those who are positive.  The death rate is %0.0000000003 of the total population. I know you’re still swamped and getting slammed. But feeling like ‘everybody’ is sick can be another stressor.  For those in hotspots right now, I realize that how it feels is what is hard, because it seems so non-stop.  It will get better. Not today and not this week, or maybe not even this month… but it will get better.  We will know a time when this isn’t all over the news anymore.  And hopefully, we’re better for it.  This can’t happen in vain.

So, nurses who haven’t known a time without standard precautions, hang in there.  Bring your ideas to your managers about how to conserve PPE.  When all of the patients are positive for COVID-19, how many times do you need to change gowns?  I know reusing some things sounds absolutely counter-intuitive. I’ve seen some creative things on the news from the nurses in the thick of things.  You can change how this goes with your ideas.  Hoping for more PPE is fine- just don’t expect it on a timetable that is “normal”.  Nothing about this is normal.  Including what you have to do as a nurse or other caretaker.

Would I want to work with less PPE?  Absolutely not. But there IS no bounty of  PPE now- it’s all rationed, when it’s available.  And it’s because every corner of the country is going to see this virus hit close to home.  The hotspots need things now.  Until it gets there, what else can you use? How can you change the policies for a catastrophic influx of patients?  How do you stay safe?

#30MoreDays…. Buck Up and Be Creative

Trending on Twitter today is a reaction to the continued restrictions designed to keep people alive during a historic pandemic where a conservative estimate is that 100,000 Americans will die.  Some folks are seeing the big picture. Many are getting creative with their activities (dong on a Roomba for some mobile ring toss, anyone?). And then there is the group who acts like this is some sort of primitive torture.  Complaining about a month longer (which would be a miracle if it’s only another month), as if they’d been told that someone is going to come along and remove their lip filler and Botox with a toothpick.  Really?  This is the roughest thing you’ve ever dealt with? If so, you have led a charmed friggin’ life.  If you are seriously struggling with your mental health because of this, please call/text a crisis hotline.  You can get through this.  For some, this will be very difficult to get through. But it’s not impossible. It’s not life-threatening (going out is life-threatening).

Text CONNECT to 741741‎

Think about the folks who have fought in wars… THAT is sacrifice.  Think about the folks who are struggling with the basics (rent, food).  Watching TV or playing video games isn’t a hardship. Think about the families of those who are dying- and those folks who must die alone because family can’t go in to see them, for their own safety.   This is a huge, crazy period of time- and we’re fortunate here in the States to not have been through this type of hardship… I think of the Blitz (London, WWII)… every night for  11 weeks they were bombed.  Many bodies were never found. That is terrifying.  For those who have lost jobs because of this, hang in there. This isn’t forever, and a huge part of the country is going through the same thing. You are not alone.  And you have friends.  People care.

Yeah, it’s hard to have your life upended.  Sure- it’s hard not to see people when you want to. It’s VERY hard to not know when you’ll get a paycheck again… Of course it’s a bummer that so much has been cancelled.  Funerals are even less convenient- and  you can’t watch your own.   The vast majority of the country is going to be OK, but nobody knows who will get sick. There is no group of people who are immune to this. There was a  baby under a year old who died of COVID-19 this last week, in the Chicago area.  Other teens and young adults have died from COVID-19… because they were exposed. You can only get exposed if you are around someone who has it (who may not have symptoms), or don’t wash your hands after touching contaminated surfaces or handling packages/ deliveries you get at home- and those are uncommon, but the virus lives on surfaces for hours to days.  NOT staying home is the reason that we blew past China’s numbers of infected in a couple of weeks.  WE DID THIS TO OURSELVES by being selfish and short-sighted. We blew past Italy- and we SAW what was happening there. The apathy from the head of the US government doesn’t help.  But we can be as mad as we want later- right now we have to get through this.

People want to “do something” to be entertained.  Entertain your own self.   Get creative. That dong on the Roomba is hilarious.  Do a gratitude journal- it really does give perspective on things. Organize your cabinets. Weed through your clothes for a bag to donate to a thrift store or shelter.  Find the lids to your food storage containers.  Make dog toys out of socks that got divorced in the clothes dryer.  Post videos or photos of your ideas- and cheer someone else up.  It’s still safe to walk outside and get a bit of fresh air in many areas- just avoid crowds, and stay at least 6 feet apart from other people. We aren’t in jail.  We’re in protective custody… with privileges. And better food. And the shower is safe.

Consider the folks in countries without TV, internet, access to cell phones, etc.  Are the people in the Spoiled States of America really suffering that much? Try being sick on a woven grass mat in a hut with no real help around. Being in your climate controlled home is hardly suffering.

Come up with some fun ways to pass time. Call your grandma. Put up encouraging signs in your window.  Make a dartboard out of a photo (or drawing, if so inclined) of the virus cell.  Keep a journal about what it’s like, and how you feel about all of this.  DONATE BLOOD- the blood drives have been cancelled, so accident and emergency surgery patients are going to be dying from no available blood transfusions.  If you know someone who died, let the rest of us know how amazing they were.  Remember the REAL victims.

And consider this. There are millions of people in the US alone who are housebound because of disability- only leaving home (if they’re lucky enough to still get in a car) to see a doctor.  I’ve been disabled (an RN) since 2004, and the last 3 1/2 years I have been stuck inside except to take out the trash or get the mail. If I am in temperatures over 63 degrees, I run the risk of losing consciousness.  And I’m fortunate– I can still live alone. It’s hard, and it hurts (no pain free days since the mid-90s), but I see my home as my bubble, and make it my own.  My dog keeps me company.  My phone doesn’t ring very often. I see delivery folks briefly.  There are a few folks who stop by when they can, but it can be months between times I see people I have known for any length of time. Otherwise, I’ve been on lockdown since 2016, and from 2004-2016 could only leave at night (cooler) and/or with an ice vest, for brief periods of time a couple of times a month. For all of us who find these ‘restrictions’ just another month, this is our normal.  We get through it. We find ways to stay engaged in life even without seeing anybody for weeks.  It was hard initially, but there are a LOT of worse scenarios. I was complaining about being physically limited, and then got acute promyelocytic leukemia…. home sounded really good after that. I nearly died. Had about a week left, tops.  Fifty doses of arsenic trioxide, and other chemo, and I’m considered cured- not just in remission.  Don’t take things for granted.  Bottom line- if I can do this for years, you can do it for as long as YOU need to.  I want to be working so much during this- it’s a nurse thing. People are suffering. They need the rest of us to keep the infected numbers down, so they can get the care they need.

How about planning a “Turned Loose” party when this is over?  Think of the things and people you’ve missed having lunch or dinner with, and figure out how to celebrate when this is over.  Think about the good times ahead- alive!  Make some short term goals, and some long term goals.  Figure out how to achieve them.  Write a book?  Read a book? Take up a new hobby (even drawing can be relaxing).  You can find a lot of stuff online to have shipped.  If you’re concerned about exposure from delivered items, let them sit in the garage or in another larger empty box for a few days, and you can use zip bags for protecting your hands while opening the box.  Wash your hands consistently and often.

If you really want to do something, save the lives of first responders (fire, police, EMTs, paramedics, ambulance drivers), doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, hospital housekeepers, and the rest of the folks who are literally in the faces of the folks who will die, putting their lives on the line every single day.

Stay home for them. Stay home for your family. For your friend who had cancer. For your healthy friends. For your kids. For your neighbors. For yourself… 

Time Buffers… It Does Not Heal All Wounds

Four years ago this morning, my dad called me at around 8:00 a.m.  He knew I generally slept until noon (up all night), so I knew it was something different and serious before I answered the phone.  He told me he couldn’t walk right, and asked if I could come to the house and see what I thought (have been an RN since 1985, though disabled for the last 15 years- I keep up with medical stuff by keeping myself alive).  I asked him if I had time for a shower, anticipating we’d be going to the ER, and he said yes, but don’t take too long. Dad had been having back issues and some weird symptoms on and off since the November prior to March 3, 2016.  He needed a better work-up, and at this point, the ER was our best bet.

I took my shower and packed my meds/insulin figuring that I’d be away from home for hours.  Then I drove to the house.  I wasn’t really prepared for what I saw.  Dad stood up when I came down the hallway after letting myself in with the garage door opener I kept for checking his house when he was on vacations.  Dad was standing next to the bed, with ‘balance’ that looked like someone trying to stand on an inner tube in a pool.   He had no clue where his body was in space (proprioception problem).  I told him to sit down, and I’d get what he needed.  First order of business was breakfast, even though I suggested he wait because of any lab tests  that might be done, but if I didn’t feed him, he wasn’t going to the hospital.  OK… food first.  I don’t even remember what I got for him. I do know it was in a bowl, and doubt I made oatmeal, so likely cold cereal.

His lady friend (not going into detail about her, as she was a self-serving “care taker” who was handy on occasion) came over and got some of his belongings together to take in case he was admitted.  I wasn’t going to take him home in his condition, so started getting my speech ready for that conversation with the ER doc.   I got his electric shaver and warm washcloth, as well as his toothbrush- he wasn’t going anywhere ungroomed.  Then I told him I was calling 911, since I knew there was no way to get him in and out of the car safely with what I saw of his balance issues.   He didn’t argue.  I knew he was scared.

The ambulance took some time to get to the house, as his address was in the county (by one block), and the station responsible for sending emergency help was several miles away.  They came in and got him loaded up, and I told them in no uncertain terms that we were to go to a specific hospital that wasn’t the closest.  His vital signs were fine, and he was not in respiratory, cardiac, or any other distress physically.  They agreed.  I followed in my car (and lady friend took her car).

I told the folks at the ER that I needed to be back with dad, since he tended to downplay things to strangers.  They needed to know about the months of erratic symptoms.  They also needed to know that dad would not do anything medically unless he could ask ME if it was legit.  He used to say he was getting a return on his investment in sending me to nursing school.  They let me back as soon as they had him gowned up.  He was terrified.

As with any ER, it takes time to sort through everything and get testing done.  We were there for at least 9 hours, in which time he had several tests done, including an MRI that almost didn’t happen because of dad’s claustrophobia.  He almost changed his wishes for a traditional casket burial because of claustrophobia.  They sedated him (a Benadryl made him loopy for a couple of days, so the stuff they gave him IV really made him blotto, which is what he needed so the MRI could happen).  They found some strange lesions on his spine- not what we were expecting.  There was talk of sending him home (alone), and I pitched a semi-dignified fit.  They said that the ER was for finding problems – and not necessarily to admit people. I told them of his living situation, my disability in not being able to care for him adequately when he couldn’t transfer safely, and the other safety issues in sending him home.  They did admit him, and he never saw his home of 40 years again.

I’ll never forget that day, or the 19 hours on April 3-4, 2016, just a month after he was admitted, and going a rehab facility that repeatedly blew off his complaints of abdominal pain.  On April 4, 2016,  he died after a diverticula that hadn’t been diagnosed ruptured and caused catastrophic infections in his abdomen, extending into his bladder and  filling it with gas.  He was a great dad- and I’m so fortunate to have ‘landed’ with him when I was adopted at 10 days old.  He is still missed daily, though it’s easier to remember the good and goofy stuff.  My mom died in 2003, and I couldn’t anticipate the devastation of losing my last parent, and the one who was constantly looking out for me and my best interests starting from that first day in 1963. I didn’t grow  up with siblings.  My mom did things in her own way to show her love, but dad was more open about it. We had a great relationship when I became an adult, and I could tell him anything.  When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate his work stress, or the ways he made sure that all vacations included things just for me along with general sight-seeing.  He’d go out of his way to make sure I got something special out of each trip.

I now live in his house (was also my home for 9 years as a teenager through nursing school), and I’m so thankful.  I have him, and my mom, in every room of this house, whether it’s some trinket or photo, or memories of things that we did here.  I couldn’t live anywhere else.  It’s home.  It’s my family in a house.  It’s what I have left.

When Death Steals Justice From a Murdered Baby’s Mom

This week, the mother of murdered 4-month old Paul Villareal died after a very brief, and unexpected illness.  She was waiting for the trials to start in early 2020 in five murders, including that of little Paul.  She’d been waiting since 1981 for justice to be within grasp.  She won’t see that day.  Her son Paul’s killer will finally be held to account for what she did to Paul, his mother, and entire family.

Her family is now trying to find the way to pay for the burial their mom wanted, and Paul’s youngest sister is doing her best to make sure that happens, but she needs help. While she didn’t want to ask for help, doing a GoFundMe was the most likely way to get the funding as soon as possible, so she can bury her mom, who did not want to be cremated.  I’m now asking for help as well for this family.  They’ve been through so much.

No matter how much or little folks can help, it all matters, and I know personally that the family is extremely grateful and humbled for any help.  I’m in regular online contact with Paul’s sister. This is legit.

 Whether or not you can donate, please pass the link along : 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/mom039s-cemetery-expenses

For those who are unfamiliar with the hell Jones put dozens of families through in the early 1980s, I’m including an article by the author of a book by the same name, “The Death Shift”, which is considered by the families to be the most accurate book on the hell they went through. They were interviewed for the book.

https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/the-death-shift-2/

Jones had been due to be released in March of 2018 because of the “mandatory release” law, that was amended in late 1987, and later excluded violent offenders.

By Elizabeth Zavala of MySA— after the death of Chelsea McClellan’s mom, who was fighting so hard for the additional indictments, and a huge support to the families.

https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Moms-keep-up-fight-despite-loss-of-ally-14423719.php

More background on Jones and the alleged murders of 46 babies/toddlers:
https://abcnews.go.com/US/nurse-suspected-killing-46-kids-prison/story?id=19852141

https://www.tpr.org/post/evidence-destroyed-hospital-cover-needed-genene-jones-prosecution

Articles of Impeachment

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I just watched the news about the specific articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. I’m not reacting the way I anticipated. It is sad, and nothing to be gleeful about, no matter how much this president has abused his office, and obstructed the truth.  But I cried.  This is something that had to be done. I think most folks realize he will not be removed from office, because of the partisan tone to DC and all things political.  But for only the 3rd time in our country’s history, a sitting president has had articles of impeachment issued against him.  It was inevitable if he acted AS president like he did as a campaigner or candidate.

I have been a lifelong GOP voter for the most part (never party over principles), but changed my affiliation to “Independent” before the 2016 election when Trump was named the candidate.  From the relative little I knew then, I couldn’t support a candidate who fits the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder- with some intense Borderline ‘episodes’ in his use of chaos for personal amusement. He also loves someone until  they disagree with him- that’s the sign of a very insecure person.  His ‘pussy grabbing’ comments will never be defensible to me. Sexual assault is very serious, and he treats women like a vending machine for his ego- without their consent. (and there have been some who consented, and got a big payday to buy their silence).

The people I grew up with are/were conservative evangelicals.  When growing up, hate was not something that was preached, encouraged, or sanctioned.  Now, I don’t go to that church, because my beliefs in treating everyone with compassion, helping those in need, and a non-judgmental view on those who fit into the right wing rhetoric- LGBTQ and abortion- don’t mesh with their beliefs.  I don’t understand what makes LGBTQ folks ‘tick’- but I’ve known and worked with enough, as well as having LGBTQ family members, that I can only respond in love and kindness as I found every last one of them to be great co-workers, friends, and family.  After being raped and ending up pregnant, I did think about abortion. I couldn’t go through with it, but I understand why someone would.  I miscarried, which was about all my wrecked brain could handle during that time between the 6 hour rape and the trial of the rapist. I don’t understand how Trump has any supporters who aren’t neo-Nazis.  I know they exist- I just don’t understand them at all.

Things I can’t support- 
– pathological lying
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/14/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/

– hiding behind a lack of understanding of the Constitution (“I can do anything I want”)
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/08/donald-trump-government-215691

– basing ALL decisions about staff/other people on how they back his fragile ego (too many links to share- you can Google)

– mocking the disabled

– xenophobia and slandering entire groups of people based on race or religion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_views_of_Donald_Trump

– separating children from their families
https://time.com/5678313/trump-administration-family-separation-lawsuits/

– associating AND DEFENDING dictators and communist leaders
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/trump-xi-jinping-dictators/554810/

– upending trade around the world
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imf-worldbank-trade/fallout-from-trumps-trade-wars-felt-by-economies-around-the-world-idUSKBN1WY0PZ

– using the office for personal gain
https://www.opensecrets.org/trump/inauguration-donors

– withholding aid from a vulnerable young democracy- and by virtue of being the president of the United States (a much higher rank) to manipulate a newly elected president, making demands before Congressional Bi-Partisan funding would be released…until he got caught.
https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-10-04/officials-zelenskiy-feared-trump-was-manipulating-ukraine-before-phone-call

– the erosion of any integrity of the office of the POTUS and the USA
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/01/under-trump-americas-global-standing-record-low

– alienating other world leaders with nasty Tweets (Google to pick your favorite in the list of millions)

– the golf trips…
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2019/07/10/trumps-golf-trips-could-cost-taxpayers-over-340-million/#35191a3f28aa

– his treatment and views on women
https://theweek.com/articles/655770/61-things-donald-trump-said-about-women

How did we get here?  How did so many people (3 million less than those who voted for his opponent) fall for his BS?  How is it not glaringly obvious that this is the political equivalent of a mob boss?

How do we recover?

 

 

To: Shiloh the Miniature Schnauzer

Oh, sweet girl… it’s been over 2 months since I said goodbye to you, and the pain of making that decision has been so hard.  I know it was the best for you, me, and your ‘sister’ Shelby.   But I do miss you. I’m always going to care about you.  And, I’m glad you got a forever family so quickly.  I know it was the best decision, but that doesn’t mean it was (or is) easy, by a long shot.  I. Miss. You.  But, you need more than I have to give, and that hurts to know that my body will get worse, and you got stuck in the middle of it all.

Imagine my surprise when I was looking through Facebook for any entries about someone getting a new miniature schnauzer, hoping to see a photo of you.  And then I find your ‘mug shot’ for being missing during the hottest days of the year, and being missing for 3 nights.  That could have easily happened when you lived here, as you’d find any excuse to go for an unauthorized field trip.  I’ve fished you out of bushes, twice retrieved you from the kennel of neighbors whose back yard backs up to the house two doors away, and the time the nice grocery delivery lady got you headed back towards the house.   With degenerative hips, knees, shoulders, and spine, it was so hard for me to get you before you got yourself in trouble.  You were found miles from your new home, and were running scared at night when you were spotted.  I’m just so thankful that you were found safe, and unharmed.  And that your new family knew where to post your info so you’d be found.

I still cry when I think of you being gone, but I know the family you went to was needing a fur-baby.   Maybe it was just supposed to be this way- that I kept you safe until they needed you.  I know it’s safer for me- no constant fear of falling with you darting under my feet and legs, no totaled bed to change to recover from  (takes me 2 days to plan for changing the sheets on a good day), no worrying about you getting loose here, Shelby is calmer (though she did seem to wonder where you went for about 30 seconds- I think you might both need to be the only dog in a home), and you have someone who can be more active and do more with you.   But love doesn’t get shut off on my end just because you’re gone from here.

I’ll never regret getting you– just putting you through the confusion of leaving the home you knew, another month at the kennel where they observed you (and evidently cured your poop eating- wish I’d been let in on that little trick before I had to hand you over- I asked anybody I could for help with that), and then being with your new family for a week before you took off.  I’m sure they were terrified.  It was over a month ago, and I cry thinking about you being alone and scared in the dark.  The heat was terrible, and I’m guessing that’s why you moved around at night.  You were used to 66 degrees year round.

Shiloh, it’s OK to be happy at your new house !  I want you to be happy- they love you and want you so much (as I did).  They didn’t care that you weren’t a baby.  I’m not sure they got all of the info on why you were sent back (and it was mostly about my body falling apart, which wouldn’t have been an issue if the regurgitation of poop you ate hadn’t made frequent bed changes, different poop eating deterrents, many types of foods, behavioralist help, not much help from the vet who you saw here, etc. necessary).   I really did all I could to keep you.  I knew it would be hard to give you away- you were one of three who lived in this house…and your absence is felt.   I wasn’t sure I expected to still be crying almost daily. I’d been doing fairly well until I saw the mugshot.   I’m just so glad you’re safe.    They love you, Shiloh- let them.  Don’t run off.  Go to them when they call you.  Learn what they want to teach you.  Be your usual goofy, happy self.   Throw your toys in the air and wonder where they went.  Run around and slide on the floor.  Snuggle with your new family.  You look good !  Your eyes are bright, ears up- be the sweet, funny girl you always have been.  You don’t need to be afraid.

I’m gutted, as I knew I would be.  But it was the only logical thing I could do for all of us.  It wasn’t lack of love, but the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, and I’ve had a life of lousy situations to survive. You needed more. I needed less. But it was never lack of love. I’m the only one who had  a choice in this, and that is so unfair to you, even if you are a dog.  I’m so sorry.  But please, let your new people love you.

  • * * * * * * * * *
    Letter I wrote for your new family, though I’m not sure the kennel gave it to them (from what I’ve heard, you’re not like this as much anymore ):To Whoever Becomes Shiloh’s new family,                      June 12, 2019

Shiloh has been with me since she was 8 weeks old- and was VERY wanted. She will always be loved by me (and her big “sister”, another schnauzer).  This has been an agonizing decision.  The ONLY reason I’m sending her back is because of a change in my health, and inability to manage a particular behavior (more detail later).  Ideally, she’ll be with someone who is home most of the time (I’m rarely away from home). She does “scream” if she’s feeling alone.  But she’s also full of kisses and tail wags when I came back in the door- even if I was only gone long enough to take the trash to the street on pick-up day.   She’s my 5th miniature schnauzer.  Shiloh will be 2 years old on July 8, 2019.

Shiloh has always been very friendly (that’s how she landed with me- she wouldn’t let any other puppies get near me when I was choosing !!), curious, and wants to please, though there are times when she needs extra patience to catch on to some things.  There isn’t a mean bone in her, and she is very eager to check out new people.  She’s never been around kids, but I haven’t seen anything about her that would give me pause to introduce her to children.  She loves to snuggle, and will spend as much time as you allow being on your foot, lap, or lying next to you in bed.  She plays well with my older dog.

She also loves to fetch her toys- but don’t let her have any type of edible toy (rawhides, antlers, chew sticks, rope toys, or stuffed animals) without supervision.  (Her sister broke a tooth on an elk antler, requiring surgical removal).   Shiloh has jaws of steel and can go through half of a foot long compressed rawhide in an hour- eating it as she goes. She has decimated a lot of toys- but never hurt my stuff after a right foot slipper when she was very little. She will sneak off with things without hurting them (socks and slippers are favorites).  If you simply ask “Is this yours?”, she’ll slick her ears back, and look pitiful.

It breaks my heart to not know where she’s going to end up.  If I had known that my body was going to break down like this, I never would have gotten Shiloh, and put HER in this position.  We are bonded. She is bonded to my older dog.  She loves the groomer and vet- but she wants me when all is said and done- and I’m sure that she’ll adapt to a new person, but for me it’s like ditching a kid, when fur-kids are all I have.  But I know that one more full bed change could take out one of my shoulders for good.  I have to plan linen and laundry. I can’t lose my shoulders when I’m told I’m going to need a wheelchair. 

Shiloh is paper-trained (I put a crate tray on the floor and put pads on that, so there’s a ‘buffer’  to avoid leaks).   She’s  been very good about going on the pads for a long time.  She will need to learn to go outside if you expect her to do that.  But it sure is nice to know she has a place to go 24/7, in any weather- or for any MD appointment I might have.  I get the human underpads 30 x 36”  by the case from Walmart or Amazon- much cheaper than dog pads or individual bags- and hold more than one pee.  I do NOT recommend small metal crate training with Shiloh because of the coprophagia (see below) and vomiting. Everything would be a mess.  A contained area that is easily cleaned would be ideal if she can’t be within site at all times.  She’s had a plastic baby ‘pen’ that configures into a hexagon or rectangle around the pee pad tray for training purposes.  It’s bigger than a regular crate, but much easier to clean, and less likely for her to jump around and get messy. 

Shiloh is a poop eater (coprophagia).  She’s done it since she was little, and it’s actually VERY common with dogs (goes back to hiding their scent from predators).  I’ve tried various products to make her poo taste bad to her, but none have been all that great.  The only thing that works the best (and isn’t %100 foolproof- but probably %95) is to supervise her pooping, and clean up immediately (even if you take her to the yard).  She will eat poop and throw it up (that’s where my degenerative shoulders and hips make it extremely painful  to manage linen and laundry, causing pain for days).  It’s not her fault.   She’s not doing it on purpose.   She wants to please, and she doesn’t understand the connection between eating the poo and getting sick. She also doesn’t have the ‘dog gag’ sound to warn you- she just spews.  I’ve done what the vet, kennel owners, and dog trainers have suggested, and she still eats poop at times when she can sneak it.  This is her “special needs” situation.  She needs someone who is able to be there a lot.  There are times when she’s fine, and poops without eating it- but then there are the times when she barfs up the poop.  I’m sending some remedies that have been marginally effective for short periods of time- the behavior modification has been the most useful.  I can’t stand as long as she sometimes needs. 

With my physical limitations, I’m impacted for 2-4 days after a full linen change and laundry when she does eat enough poo to throw up (and it’s a lot sometimes- not just a spot here or there).  For someone with a working body, it might not be any big deal.  I also keep a waterproof pad and some blankets on her side of the bed.  But she ‘misses’ sometimes.  Again- NOT HER FAULT.  If I lose my shoulders, I lose independence. 

I take her to her pads before bed and tell her to ‘go potty’ (pee), and then she sleeps in her “house” (carrier) on my bed.  If she needs to pee at night, she’ll whimper or scratch the carrier to wake me up, and I take her to her pads, wait until she’s done- then back to the carrier until it’s time to get up.  If she whines again, she likely needs to poop.  She can be sneaky, and go get a turd- where you’ll see a ‘poo track’ on the pads with no poo to go with it.  If that happens later at night, I do NOT have her sleep in her carrier, in case she throws up; she’d be covered in it- and that’s not fair to her, besides being a mess.  She is content to sleep in another room particularly if there’s a baby gate so she can see her person.  I have a dog bed for her by the baby gate.  Her “house” will also do. I’m sending some pads for peeing, some for covering furniture, and lightweight waterproof massage table covers that are good for chairs. 

After meals (twice a day), I put her in the  “house” for 30-40 minutes – or until she indicates that she’s antsy, and take her to the pads and tell her to “hurry poop”.  When doing this at a new place, she’ll likely need her leash on to make it easier to keep her focused.  She is a bit ADHD when it comes to maintaining her attention- she sees 100 things she’s interested in, all at the same time.  But she’s not quite 2 yet.  My others did the same thing at that age, and chilled over time.

Shiloh is a ‘greedy eater’.  She inhales food, and has ‘puzzle bowls’ to slow her down, or she throws up (I’m sending several bowls, as she figures them out).  She also loves ice cubes.  I tried freeze dried green beans for a low cal treat, and she eats them whole, then barfs them up intact but rehydrated.   She’s been eating Blue Buffalo Basics, Turkey and Potato Grain Free DRY dog food (per the kennel recommendations).  I gave her something with corn in it and she treated it like movie snacks- after she’d pooped it. She’s been on other dog foods, and this one does give her turds a more formed texture.  I’m sending a container of the Blue Buffalo- there’s more than enough to transition to another food if you prefer- but watch out for any stuff with corn.   She also loves frozen pumpkin puree.  Either drops on some parchment, or a very small ice cube tray work great.  A teaspoon per meal is sufficient if you choose to give it to her.  Pineapple was suggested, and it does seem to help a bit- but she doesn’t chew well (if at all) if she really likes something (and then barfs up the whole pieces) , so I puree the pineapple and freeze it in a candy bar mold that has segments that I cut and put in a zip bag in the freezer- she loves anything frozen. Greek yogurt ‘cubes’ are also a hit.  The Turkey Blue Buffalo, pineapple, and Greek yogurt were the info from the kennel when I asked them about possible solutions- I did NOT want to let her go. I asked her vet about doing some health checks for reasons she  might be eating poop and she basically dismissed me. 

I’m sending her pajamas- in the winter, she gets cold, especially after being groomed- she acts like she’s being tortured, but the shivering stops. (She can be  quite the drama diva).  They are also a bit like a loose Thunder Shirt in calming her down if she’s on a wild-woman energy burst that goes on for a considerable time.  The PJs relax her.  I’m also sending toys, a blanket, her carrier, and a couple of pairs of socks with my scent on them.  Her nickname is “Lo-lo”.   She knows “kitchen”, “cookie”, “go potty”, “hurry poop”, “good  girl”,  “sit” (though that kind of depends on how much she wants what she wants at the time), “check the door”, “I’m coming back” (won’t follow me to the bathroom), and a few more I’m blanking on (I’m crying my eyes out writing this). “Stay” is ADHD dependent- don’t count on it.   She thrives on “good girl”, and eagerly soaks up the ear scratches and verbal praise.  She’s very sensitive to tone of voice.

She rides well in the car, and I’ve included her seatbelt adapter that attaches to a HARNESS (never just  her collar). She’s not perfect on a leash, but has been doing better.  She’s practiced in the house and trips to the groomer or vet. I’m keeping her collar- I want something of hers to keep.  She’s used to the Puppia brand.

If she’s freaked out by something (fireworks, thunder, etc), she finds comfort snuggling on my shoulder, sucking my earlobe.  It’s a little slobbery, but she calms down.  Usually, she just looks to see how I react to something, and then chills out if I’m not bothered.  She’s done that since I got her.   If she feels ‘alone’ she screams… not howls, not barking, not crying.  Once she sees her person, she’s fine. Until then, it sounds like  someone is trying to kill her.  There have been some Academy Award worthy performances.  Scared the snot out of me first time she did it.   

She will run if she gets outside- and doesn’t stop until she finds something in the neighborhood to investigate.  I can’t chase her (it’s more of a hobbling walk) – so that is another reason (for her safety) that she needs someone more mobile.  I haven’t given her time to come home on her own, as she is SO friendly that she’d let Jack the Ripper in the house, and ask what kind of knife he prefers.  She could be dog-napped very easily.  Or run over, as she’d never stop for traffic.

Shiloh has some skin allergies that didn’t get any better with Benadryl or a prescription antihistamine from the vet.  I use chlorohexidine wipes (available for dogs) if she starts licking a lot.  She has a couple of ‘lick’ areas on each side where the hair has fallen out- but it’s already grown back a lot.  That’s not unheard of in schnauzers.  She loves butt scratches right above her tail on her lower spine, and any ear and neck scratching as well.  Most of the time, the allergy doesn’t seem to bother her.  They’ve cleared up quite a bit with some dog CBD treats- sending a bag of those as well.  One a day is fine. They are low dose, and have NO psychoactive effects. 

Even with her quirks, she is such a sweet girl.  She loves everybody.  That makes her a lousy guard dog (though she is good about alerting to vague things, and has been growling a bit more at the door, and not just people on TV), but an amazing companion. She does things that are just funny (usually with her toys- flinging them all over, and then wondering where they went, etc).  She has very little discrimination with edible things- and will snarf something up without chewing or ‘testing’ it.  If you have any type of things that are toxic to dogs (cigarettes, medications, foods dogs can’t have, etc), I’ve found it much easier to put up a baby gate while I handle anything that could hurt her, until I’m done. When she’s pooped after meals, she is loose in the house, so she can run around.  She loves stairs, and sliding across hard floors.  She’s been OK for a couple of hours home alone (loose) if the other dog had a vet appointment.

It’s impossible to convey how gutted I am about having to have Shiloh rehomed.  My intent was, as it’s been with the other four dogs I’ve owned over the years, to be a forever home.   I want the best for her, and I don’t think it’s me, no matter how much I love her.  A piece of my heart goes with her.  IF my shoulder goes out completely, my independence is shot- and then she’d need someone else anyway.  I’ll remember her every July 8th.  And likely a lot more often than that.  She’s one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met- and it’s been a  privilege to have such a joyful little being in my home.  

I will deeply miss Shiloh.  
Tearfully,
Shiloh’s First 21 month person  
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
This was her life before I had to hand her over to the kennel.  I know there have been changes, and if that’s for the best, then I hope she’s doing well adjusting to the changes. 

And Shiloh, you will always have a piece of my heart.  Let your new family have yours.

 

 

When Multiple Local Doctors Finally Beat You Down…

This has been a year I hope to forget.  I’ve had endless appointments and testing done for GI issues (starting with a large gallstone that nobody would remove without repeating tests that had been done two years prior with no change in those symptoms), kidney function abnormalities, etc.   I’m done. They win.   Even though the new primary care doc (different health system) is a far cry (in a good way) from the “healthcare providers” (use term very, very loosely)  I’ve seen this year, I am no longer interested in testing, treatment, or being BOTHERED by sitting in waiting rooms and arranging my limited life around waiting rooms.  My newish primary doc is a decent sort.  But he wanted me to see a GI doc before referring me to a surgeon.  Well, I don’t want a surgeon now.  I don’t want ANYTHING from medical people in this town.  I can use Urgent Care for simple stuff.  That (and any trip away from home) requires getting in and out of the car twice for one appointment/stop.  THAT causes a lot of pain that generally results in at least a day or two in bed to help the muscle and joint/disc pain.

Sent to current doc after messaging about still seeing GI doc AGAIN, when symptoms have improved “enough”:

“I’m SO, so sorry to be a pain in the ass. Really, I am. I just don’t want to be bothered with medical anything other than the bare minimum to stay alive within the ‘cage’ of my house. Appointments are not worth it to me. I’m buying my own Blood Sugar strips/CPAP junk. My labs were better. That should buy time. Plus, appointments are painful with the DJD and DDD. A single there/back = 1-2 days in bed.

I’m just DONE with folks meaning well, but not hearing that I DON’T CARE anymore about finding out about any new problems. I won’t go to the ER. I don’t care about the gallstone. I don’t care about anything but basic maintenance. I’m trying to wean off of all meds I can. I’d like to spend time not thinking about appts, tests, etc. The nausea is better. I’ve had mild nausea intermittently for years, and that is livable. Belching yesterday’s lunch at breakfast the next day tells me that my gastric motility is dull- don’t need a test for that, and don’t want meds for it. The stomach pain is much better since NOT having to deal with the other health care systems.

If I’m not interested, why should anybody else put more energy into something that doesn’t effect them?

My goals: 1) not wasting what little is left of quality of life in one waiting room after another. Nobody will fix the things that effect mobility (clot history)-and my shoulders are not strong enough for rehab anyway, and the rest of it is just not fixable. After the hell with the other healthcare systems in town not giving a damn about what I want out of things, I’m just done looking for anything else that would need anything done about it.  If that means palliative now, so be it. I can’t leave the house in the late spring/summer/early fall during the daylight (heat) anymore. If I have to have anything done, it means hiring “help” and I don’t “do” babysitters. And 2), not contacting your office unless there’s something that can be treated VERY, VERY simply (UTI, URI).

Had I seen you first this year, I doubt I’d be where I am now, but my PCP of 11 years was still here- and she was the ONLY reason I stayed with freaky OSF for so long. I don’t trust much right now (nothing related to you). I hope that changes. I’ve had 2 GB ultrasounds, the endoscopy, and abd/pelvic CT. If there’s something going on that isn’t on any of those, I won’t want treatment anyway. SO why waste anybody’s time?   I’m done on the patient rodent wheel. I’m fully aware of the risks.
I’m sorry. “

We’ll see if this is clear enough with the new guy.  He’s been reasonable in the past (saw him many, many years ago when I was still able to work, and only left when I switched jobs and had different insurance).

DO NOT MOVE TO Northern ILLINOIS if you have a lot of medical issues and expect decent care from  “local” “healthcare professionals” unless you get the one that implies “merciful”  (all sold out to other companies and they’re no longer advocates for patient well-being, but profits, but I’m hoping the one I’m with now is at least not terrifying).   Smaller communities are being paid bonuses to deny care to seniors and the disabled…so they send folks for tests that are cheaper than the fix… and/or hope that folks give up, since that population is limited in transportation options many times.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/02/21/aca-savings-paying-doctors-and-hospitals-bonuses-to-deny-care-to-patients/#6a9ec5aa6c46

Well, mission accomplished.  I’m done.