So Much For Medical Cannabis… I’m Done With THC

I gave it a go for a little over 2 years.  I had to try it to know I’d done what I could to avoid staying on opiates, but I can’t take the increasing pain of the progressive sensory neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease, fibromyalgia, and now gout, with THC.  I’ll still take the CBD as a supplement, as it helped me to get off of one anticonvulsant completely (I’ve got a seizure disorder), and %40 of another- along with the meds to deal with the side effects.  This week, I went back to the pain management doc that I’ve seen on and off for over a decade, and got pain meds (patch), as well as an injection in my neck. I kind of feel like I failed right now, even though intellectually I know that’s not accurate.  I have to be practical, and safe.  My quality of life and ability to get anything done around the house isn’t possible with the pain. My legs shake, and I become unsteady.  There are no brownie points for needless suffering. I don’t use the word ‘suffer’ lightly, as it feels like another way to play the victim. But it’s been bad.

Something else that made trying THC something to consider is the emphasis on those who use opiates as inevitable future junkies. It’s actually far from inevitable. Studies have shown for decades that those who use prescription pain meds as ordered are very unlikely to become addicted to them. The terms tolerance and dependence aren’t explained, and everybody gets lumped together.  People who use medications AS PRESCRIBED will likely develop dependence and tolerance if they take them for a while (ever had a caffeine-withdrawl headache? Same concept.)  Those terms are not the same as addiction. Addiction is driven by emotional issues, and the individual trying to relieve emotional pain with medication for physical pain. No amount of the wrong medication for any problem will ever relieve the real issue. This explains that addiction is a combination of behaviors and substances (that can be drugs, alcohol, food, the ‘high’ from gambling, and other things that trigger positive responses in the pleasure center in the brain).

https://www.mentalhelp.net/addiction/

There are now so many restrictions on who can prescribe what meds in medical groups, that the writing was on the wall- pain medication was the new ‘evil’.  Never ask a doctor for something for pain, no matter how many documented diagnoses there are.  I felt I needed an option if the restrictions got worse. I’d like to see the statistics for the increase in heroin users after hydrocodone was made a Schedule II drug (in the class with morphine, hydromorphone, and other very strong opiates). The ‘rules’ are always made because of the behavior of rule breakers. That ‘logic’ escapes me… it’s not like the rule breakers will suddenly jump on the straight and narrow. They’ll find a new way to break rules.   The rules don’t take into account those who do what they’ve been instructed to do. Should there be good follow-up with those on prescription pain medications ?  Absolutely.  But there is no reason to make anybody “live” with pain that limits their life to the point of decreased mobility to avoid more pain even within their own home.   This article has some good explanations about the differences between tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Distinguishing Between Pain-Related Dependence and Addiction

Some of the issues I’ve had with the THC include the following  (I realize some folks have had good results with THC- this is MY experience):

–  I can’t know if the same strain is in each bottle of the stuff I got, as  no strain of cannabis is listed on the tablets/capsules/edibles containers that I’ve used (I don’t smoke the stuff- the stench is not welcome in my house. Dry herb vaping- no solvents at all- just the dry cannabis that vaporizes, not combusts- was also not going to work because of the coughing). There are literally hundreds of strains of cannabis.  Third-party testing is on the container (required by law), but not the strain, aside from a general sativa, indica, or hybrid.   I don’t know if it’s strain-consistent from batch to batch– just the number of milligrams of ‘whatever’.  Different strains are good for different things. And some have more likelihood to cause specific side effects- can’t know what might be causing what if no strain is listed.

I live alone. Some of the effects of THC are not safe on a mobility level.  My balance goes wonky if a strain is stronger than what I’m used to, and I’m already one fall away from needing help with more than just the lawn, snow removal, and grocery delivery.  I can’t risk that. My joints are already trash. It wouldn’t take much to finish off  my shoulders, hips, or knees. Or end up with compression fractures in my spine. That means my independence is at risk, and that is something I won’t even consider. If I can’t be at home with my dog, it’s over.

–  the dryness of my eyes was horrible. I was either dripping with tears (that burned) as my body tried to protect my eyes, or using artificial tears to not feel like I’d had cotton shoved into my eyeballs. That also caused blurred vision to the point of not being able to read anything without a 10x – 30x lighted magnifying glass (some print is tiny on a good day anyway… I couldn’t see individual words. Watching TV was lousy, and the computer (my lifeline) was nearly useless. A blue light filter helped a little- but not enough.

the ‘thought stealing’ sensation was too weird.  I could be thinking about something, then it would just be gone, and it was going too fast to get back.  That is unsettling, especially because the awareness of it was acute. Even harder to carry on a conversation with another actual human being.

there isn’t a consistent time when it takes effect.  I used it mostly to help ease the pain so I could sleep. If I waited too long to turn the lights out and drift off, I got a literal body ‘buzzing’ sensation (hence the term buzzed), or floating, or like I couldn’t move.  There was a sensation in my head that something wasn’t right – not necessarily bad- but not OK.  There’s a term called ‘couch lock’- and that’s what it feels like- being locked to the furniture, almost being part of it.  There was nothing about those sensations that will ever be desirable to me.

it’s useless for acute pain.  I broke my ankle a few months after getting my medical cannabis card.  I iced it, and had it wrapped (before getting an x-ray a week later- thought it might be a sprain similar to what I’d seen with adolescent patients who landed wrong while playing basketball).  I felt guilty using some Norco from 2014.  I used 3 full doses and 3 1/2 doses in 6 weeks.  And I hurt a lot more than was necessary.  I was diagnosed with gout a couple of weeks ago after a nasty flare that was a kind of pain I hadn’t felt before- tiny crystals in the joint felt like someone was sitting on a chair into the bone on top of my foot.  One urgent care a couple of months earlier, with milder but definitely ‘not right’ pain, thought it could be a blood clot (minus warmth, redness, swelling, or any other symptoms of a clot). The second urgent care a few weeks ago had a very astute nurse practitioner who knew to check my uric acid level, which came back very high.  I was on prednisone for 5 days, which jacked my blood sugars badly, but the prednisone did the trick to help that first flare. I’d already decided not to use the THC over a month ago, so was using my trusty ice packs, and the vintage Norco in 1/2 doses x 4 over a week.

Part of another disorder I have (dysautonomia) causes some similar symptoms to the side effects of THC, and I pay good money for the meds needed to help NOT to feel those symptoms. Why would I make it worse on purpose?   That is so bizarre and counter-intuitive. I don’t want to feel even a tiny bit stoned. I took microdoses after getting the CBD dose figured out (more on that in a minute), and still had side effects that are not acceptable to me.

I can see where it could be useful for severe PTSD, where escape is the only way to get any sort of relief from memories and flashbacks. I guess it could help with anxiety IF someone finds a strain that is consistent (those who smoke cannabis can get strains consistently, or those who want to make their own edibles and don’t care about consistent dosing). But for folks who are using that type of quantity, I’d hope they were housebound, and had access to someone to drive them anywhere they needed to go.  I never took a dose if I had to drive to an appointment.  I’d just have to hurt, and take a dose after getting home.  Once I did take a dose, there was never any desire to leave home.

There are people who have had positive experiences– and initially, my psoriasis was completely cleared up. Then came the hyperemesis cannabinoid syndrome, with months of nausea and eventual vomiting. I’m not a puker- that’s what put it together for me.  During 20 months of daily chemo for leukemia, I barfed once on day 8.   Because I didn’t have accurate info from a very well known CBD producer about the specific amount of CBD (not the total cannabinoid dose), I didn’t have the THC dose right- CBD helps counteract side-effects of THC. I also had a gallstone that was acting up, and that blended into the symptoms of the build up of THC because of using it daily, and I was SICK.  (The half-life of THC is very long, with some still showing up in drug tests more than 4 weeks after the last use, and with dietary changes that alter body fat percentages, more can be released months after the last dose- used to freak out the detox patients I took care of years ago).  I went through ultrasounds, CT scans, lab work, surgical consults, a bitch of a GI nurse practitioner, etc because it was thought that there was something going on besides the gallstone. I had THC continuing to build up, and  I didn’t know the accurate dose on that one brand’s product (if you use CBD, you want to see the exact amount of CBD per specific quantity of product- and third party testing). Everybody and their wombat is on the hemp bandwagon, and  saying how wonderful hemp oil  is, but non-CBD hemp oil (like on Amazon)  has no CBD, and is good for salad dressing- and you can get plain hemp oil for about $20 for a quart; the “therapeutic” hemp oil can be $50 an OUNCE- for essentially nothing). Hemp oil does have Omega 3 fatty acids, and hemp hearts (I like the ones without the little shells) taste a lot like pine nuts, but much smaller. Those are just flat out food- nothing specifically “magical” about it. Just another healthy fat source.

I’m a disabled RN; I’ve been an RN for 35 years, disabled for 15 years, where I’ve been my own full-time job.  Anything used to relieve symptoms MUST be consistent.  And I can’t get that with commercial medical cannabis products.  Some of the CBD companies out there are isolating other cannabinoids (CBG and CBN are two I’ve tried, and CBN has been good for sleep, though I only take it if I’ve been having trouble sleeping for a few days. Some brands of full-spectrum are out there- just don’t generally get the amount of each cannabinoid, so I’m not a fan of those). I don’t need a state-issued card for CBD. I get it online. Just like any herbal supplement.

And that’s what they are.  THC and CBD are not medication- which left me confused when talking to my pain doc during my visit. When I got home, I realized he hadn’t seen the way I’d printed out my list of medications and supplements, putting the CBD in the same area with vitamins and Co-Q 10, under a line of *****, separating the medications from the supplements.  The person who filled out their form with the list I’d typed up didn’t need to keep the typed one- so I agree with my doc, but I was scratching my head for a few minutes, as it seemed like he felt I considered THC and CBD to be actual medications. I agree with him on the characterizing THC and CBD as supplements. They are not medications. People use them like medications, but there are no studies proving efficacy, side effects, contraindcations, doses, longterm impact,  etc- and that’s what those of us who have used medical cannabis signed up for.  We knew it was an experiment, but desperation will lead people to anything that could be a source of hope.

I needed to try it. I wanted the hope of something different. And now I know.  For me, THC is unpleasant, and ineffective for what I needed it for.

Dealing with Isolation That Isn’t By Choice

For some folks, this is the first time they’ve had their lives altered by forces outside of their control.  For others, nobody has ever been kind enough to tell them ‘no’ before. While it’s not physically painful, and having to be in one’s own home is the biggest loss of mobility, it can be a source of anxiety and depression.  It seems like it will never end.  For some of us, this is our normal. Medical disability has had me housebound except for MD appointments  (and earlier monthly grocery store trips, and maybe lunch with my dad once or twice a year) since 2004. I’m an RN. I’d like nothing better to be working.  But my body broke.  That’s just backstory stuff.  Here’s my point- you can get through this.  The ambiguity of when “normal” returns is unsettling, but there are things you can do to cope.  I won’t say ‘adapt’, because most of you will go back to being able to freely come and go as you wish.  ‘Adapt’ implies permanent.  ‘Cope’ deals with a temporary situation, whether it’s for a few weeks, or months.

Here are some ideas. 

Read “The Diary of Anne Frank” (again, if you’ve already read it).  It offers perspective, and also has simple things to do to cope with having to “hide away”.  It’s also a testament to resilience- and that nobody now will go to the gas chamber. Just read it.

Do your own journaling. It doesn’t have to be fancy or structured. Just write- words, sentences, phrases, doodle, or cohesive entries. It’s all good. And it will be your own history of what is going on in YOUR life. Let the despair have a voice. Let the funny things be memorialized. There is no right or wrong way to do it- just do what works for you.

Make a Coronavirus dart board. If you don’t have darts, do the old “pin the tail on the donkey” thing with push pins, safety pins, tiny nails, or whatever.  Draw your weapon of choice, put the pin in it, and go after that ugly virus. Ideas for ‘waapons’- soap, hand sanitizer, mask, vaccine, testing, sense of humor (viruses are so serious), or whatever you want to use to kill the virus.

Plan your “exit party”.  Make a list of the folks you’ve missed seeing the most, and plan a lunch, snacks and a movie, or whatever you like to do.  Get detailed. Know your budget- and aim for things that won’t break an already stressed ‘bank’.

Research online (use good sources- nothing with the credit cards they accept at the bottom of the article, or researchers you can’t find if you Google them).  Learn about the immune system (the skin is the first line of defense). Learn about medical testing procedures. Learn about anything that will help you feel less vulnerable to the unknown.  There IS a lot we don’t know with COVID-19- but you can get info on other types of disorders/diseases. Keep your brain active.

Consider the big picture. There are approx 330 million people in the US.  For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use 1,350,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in the US for today.  That’s an overall infection rate (that we know of) of %0.004.  That’s LOW.  It will rise, and each person who gets sick is not insignificant, but statistically speaking, the rate is miniscule.  Of those who get it, %0.05 die, Yes- EVERY death is a horrible loss. But you are SO much more likely to recover. 

LISTEN to the officials who are recommending specific measures to lessen the number of additional infections. If you are too special to wear a mask or follow the guidelines, then you could kill someone just by being stubborn and selfish. Don’t let that be what you’re known for.  Nobody is asking for a kidney, or the child you like the most. Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet between other people.  Don’t be stupid.  Everybody wants the country to go back to normal.  CLUE: that won’t happen overnight. The more people who get this virus, the longer there are restrictions on  restaurants, theaters, malls, salons, stores, sports games, etc.

You are not too young to get this.  Babies and very young kids have gotten the virus and died. Do you want to live, or try to convince people how you can’t get the virus?  At your funeral, they’ll just think you were a fool who wasted your life.

Be smart, and you’re going to get through this, and resume your life. Nobody knows exactly how long all of the ‘going back to normal’ could take- could be years for some businesses. But be thankful for what you have- not what you don’t.   Learn about how the US has come through nationwide crises in the past… we were fortunate.  And the folks who navigated WWII are considered “The Greatest Generation” for very good reason.
They bucked up and did what needed doing.

-This is from The History Channel
https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/us-home-front-during-world-war-ii

And, get help if you are feeling so overwhelmed that you’re often in a very dark place.
-The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

Free 24/7 support at your fingertips  US and Canada: text 741741.   UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 086 1800 280

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline    1-800-273-8255

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”
― Gregory S. Williams

What You Do IS Enough- COVID-19 Has Tied Your Hands

To all of the essential workers- 

You can only do what  you can do.

You are making a huge difference .

You are helping keep things from getting worse.

You were not given any choice in how this virus works.

You can’t control how it impacts a specific person.

Even what feels like a small kindness might be the last kindness someone knows- and THAT is huge.  

This will not last forever, but your work will. Every time you hold a hand, or wipe a tear, every time you give someone news – good or bad- the way you do that will be what someone remembers about such a horrific time.  You make the ultimate difference in the healing of a family who wasn’t able to be with their loved one.  For those who are working in non-medical areas, your work keeps those at home safe. You keep more people from getting sick.

That is one incredible legacy.    This one ratty, disabled RN would be proud to stand with you any day of the week. YOU are redefining the industry where you work.  And you are not forgotten.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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?

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. I tried to get help, and was blown off.

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.  There are no totaled bed to changes for me 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.  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 regurgitation -not puking- but spewing with no warning)- 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 only 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 those 3 days you were missing, 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 (some of  it was about my body falling apart, which wouldn’t have been an issue if the regurgitation of poop hadn’t made frequent bed changes necessary, different poop eating deterrents, many types of foods, behavioralist help, no help from the vet who you saw here, etc.).   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. Half of my family is now gone without you; losing dad in 2016 was hard enough.  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 love you.  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 wrote to your new family on Facebook, and they adore you.

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.  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 details 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, and always supervised. 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 the new 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. I have so much guilt, but didn’t have any help in figuring out how to help her.  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. I tried to get help with her regurgitation issue, and it seems nobody wanted to help me find out if there was a physical reason for what was going on. She was stunned when it happened – no typical dog wrenching noise, just a huge pool of fecal contents. Then she’d look like she was bad- and it was never her fault.

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 always has access to her pee pads, but I do take her to them at various times to be sure the ‘tank is empty’ after meals and before bed.   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 regurgitation. 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. She does climb, so needs supervision in the pen. 

Shiloh is a poop eater, but also regurgitates food- not just vomits. There is no warning.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 spew it back up- at least a foot away from her (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 spewing it. She also doesn’t have the ‘dog gag’ sound to warn you- she just spews. I’ve done what the 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 or spewing- but then there are the times when she is like a poopy garden hose.

With my physical limitations, I’m in severe pain all of the time, and  for the 2-4 days after a full linen change and laundry when she does eat enough poo to regurgitate, I’m in hell.  Her vet refused to look for any physical causes, but the kennel owners were able to help her- which makes it all the more heartbreaking. They cared enough to help me help her…but at the cost of having to sign her back over to them..  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 after meals and 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 regurgitates; 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 sends them back whole, 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, pumpkin, 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 regurgitating and I was essentially dismissed for even suggesting it. I no longer take either dog there.

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).  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  THC, so 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’m struggling with feeling like I’m failing her, and treating her as if she’s disposable. My dogs are my family. They get things they need before I do.  I want the best for her, and without help figuring out how to help her, I don’t think it’s me, no matter how much I love her.  A huge 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 to manage the mess of the regurgitation.  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 owned- 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
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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.