Slowly Getting Back To Normal

As you may have guessed from the previous post, things didn’t go quite as J and I (or anybody, for that matter) expected when we got the dog. I knew things were bothering J but I didn’t realize how much she’d been hiding and how wrung-out and miserable she was. I’m very grateful that she said what was going on so we could try to figure things out and fix them.

It turned out we didn’t have much time – J’s distress had well exceeded her limits and she was on her way to a big crash. And frankly, I probably wasn’t the most effective help for her at that point. Fortunately, a few texts and calls later and family and friends were at the door wanting to help. I won’t reiterate what J said in her post but there are some people who really came through for us – THANK YOU VERY MUCH. My sweetie means more to me than anything in the world and seeing her slowly get better over the past week has been wonderful.

Other things are slowly returning to normal, too. In addition to taking care of herself, J has been pounding the virtual pavement and submitted some more job applications, and has gone to visit and help out her aunt a couple of times. As for me, I’m back to puttering around with some projects I may or may not finish, working with the personal trainer (which is going surprisingly well), and trying to keep getting out more while the weather is still pleasant.

Speaking of which, J and I got out to see DM and FA the other day. We had a delightful burrito supper and just sat around and shot the breeze. I took advantage of the time to play with their dog and also lay down on the floor so she comes over, floomps down, and lets me pet her for… I won’t know – I lose track of time. And today, I met FA at a dog park and we walked for an hour and a half and watched her dog sniff around, say hello to other dogs, and (my favourite) chase thrown balls and frolic in the river. It was a good time with a good friend and a good dog and I enjoyed the conversation. And today was some of the best driving I’ve had since I got sick. There was construction, but traffic was pretty light, most of it was highway, the truck ran like a champ and I could feel the miles melting away as I drove with interesting and weird music blasting away. It was one of those days where you feel almost like you could just skip the turnoff you’re supposed to make and keep driving and driving and driving. It was a good feeling.

This coming week… Well, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I have an appointment on Tuesday evening which I’m not particularly looking forward to. J and I are also considering taking a day trip on Wednesday, and I have another session with my trainer on Thursday. No plans for Friday yet but something in the back of my head is saying “are you sure”? So no, I’m not sure.

I hope you all have a good week and may you not have any nasty surprises!

Stay safe.

GUEST POST – Just When You Think You Prepared For Everything: The SampleSizeZero Dog Update

Guest post by J (Mark’s wife).

We got a dog!
We have a dog!
We had to return the dog.

The human brain is really weird. Almost as soon as we had the dog home on Sunday, I began to get anxious and more anxious and more anxious. I began to panic, and I spent 3 days either panicking or on the edge of panic until I had a panic attack that lasted an hour on Wednesday night.

Note: None of this is the dog’s fault. He was a perfect good dog and did nothing to warrant this reaction.

Of all the things we’d prepared for…me have panic attacks triggered specifically by the dog was not anything we’d ever thought of. Where the #$@@ did that come from?!?

Fun Fact about J: Prior to this week I hadn’t had a panic attack for 15 years – thanks to coping techniques, therapy and medication.

Through everything, Mark was calm, as helpful as he could be and tried to do everything to make this easier for me. We have complimentary anxiety disorders, so we seldom panic at the same time about the same things.

Wednesday night I said I couldn’t do it anymore. Such a hard decision so we were both a mess. We called FA and she rushed over to support us (thank you FA – thank you DM) and as we told others in our support system everyone offered help. I forget that we have people who care for us that much, and I often forget to ask for help.

Mark was/is heartbroken that we couldn’t keep the dog (and I feel really bad about that). But he and FA worked together on Thursday so that I could go away without worrying about Mark and come back to the house later after the dog had left for his new home. FA talked to the rescue organization on our behalf (thank you thank you thank you) and arranged everything.

On Thursday morning I saw a therapist and together we located at least 5 separate things that were being triggered and causing me to panic. (I’ll be investigating those more in the coming weeks and months). I spent the rest of Thursday with my aunt seeing my doctor and then relaxing at her house.

And then Thursday night I came home, Mark had rearranged the house into its pre-dog state and BAKED A CAKE. My sweet husband knows me so well. And he really doesn’t give himself enough credit for all the ways he looks after me.

Thank you isn’t enough, but THANK YOU Mark, FA, my wonderful aunt for all coming to our rescue Wednesday & Thursday. THANK YOU to everyone else in our support system (parents, DM) who have helped us this week too.

Writing this out was hard, so time for me to relax again.

Anxiety And Excitement At The Same Time

We are getting a dog! The shelter called yesterday and all of our references checked out (thank you all so much!) so we officially got approval and the pup we really wanted (and went to meet) is ours!

We were supposed to pick him up in a week or so but we got a phone call last night and were stunned when we found out we could pick him up on Sunday. That cut a week of preparation out of our schedule but we were fortunately mostly prepared anyway.

So we spent the morning and early afternoon getting ready and shopping for dog stuff, and then met FA, DM, and two more people (one of whom is that trainer I’ve been working with) at a dog park with DM & FA’s dog, and we spent the next two hours just walking and talking around the park while the dog had a grand old time. I had a grand time too – it was interesting and informative and fun to talk with everyone, and we had quite possibly the best dog park weather that one could ask for.

This evening, J and I were rushing to get stuff figured out, put together, and washed as necessary, and we are both pretty confident that we are ready. There are parts of the house that are disaster areas but they’ll be behind gates and/or closed doors.

FA and their dog came by on Friday to hang out, have lunch, and shoot the breeze whilst checking out our dogproofing. Things went very well and FA gave us some really good hints (thank you both!!!).

So yeah, I’m really excited for tomorrow but also pretty nervous. My stomach’s been all knotted up this last week or so, and I haven’t slept well at all. I still can’t figure out how the excitement and nerves can both show up at the same time like that.

Stay safe.

Kind Of A Whirlwind Summer

Well, it’s September the 2nd and I have no idea where the summer went. I’ve been keeping busy and there have been some ups and downs over the last while.

One of the big things I’ve started doing is working with a trainer. Since I’ve got a few things left over from surgeries and stuff that I need to be careful (and since I appear to have been built out of used and/or cheap parts), I didn’t really know how to get moving and exercising again. I was pretty sure that if I’d just picked up weights and went for runs like I did in my 20s, I’d probably end up back at the doctor, needing to get yet another part fixed.

It’s only been a week but the trainer has worked out even better than I’d hoped. Completely different from the guys I used to work with who said they were trainers – I haven’t been asked to buy supplements or fancy weights, which is great. I still don’t enjoy the idea of exercising and sweating just to exercise and sweat, but my trainer is very good and I have found the exercise she has me doing to be doable and actually kind of rewarding. I think parts of me (particularly in my back) that haven’t moved in years are actually creaking around a bit again. So that makes it easier to motivate myself to spend the time doing it.

The other big news is that J and I have decided to look at getting a dog. We’ve been talking about it for years but we weren’t in a good place to do it. Now that J and I are home most of the time, we have the resources, and I’m at a point where I can drive myself to most of my appointments, we want to go for it. We’ve found a couple that look nice but there’s one that we went to meet last weekend and he just felt like a perfect fit. Relaxed, likes people and treats, and somehow managed to lean against J and me at the same time. He really took a liking to J, and she really took a liking to him too. So we’ve sent our forms in and now it’s just a matter of time to find out what’s going to happen. So we’ve been working on dog-proofing parts of our house a lot lately.

I’m still doing the appointments with Dr C and Dr W. Dr C wants me to go to her office for her appointment next week. That’ll be the first time in around two years I’ve been there. I don’t really want to go – I really prefer the video chats – but she wants to make sure that I don’t turn inward and stop going out, which makes good sense.

As for Dr W, I was having a lot more nightmares again for a while so we increased my prazosin a bit. That helped a lot (and helped J because I’m talking and moving around in my sleep less now), so we’ve reduced my venlafaxine a tiny bit again.

Otherwise, things have mostly been going pretty well. Like I said, ups and downs, but that’s kind of how life goes I guess.

Anyway, I should end this here – the trainer will be over in a bit and I need to do some tidying before she gets here.

Stay safe.