Friday, July 22, 2011

"it smells like trash in here."*

it's been nearly two full days since dess's abscess surgery and she is, for the most part, back to normal (or as normal as she can be with a drain stitched into her head and a plastic cone around her neck).  she's learned how to jump onto the bed and the couch (which took a lot of coaxing because the cone impairs her peripheral vision and balance).  also, she's eating normally, is fever-free and is generally in a decent mood.

i, however, spent the entire day yesterday alternating between rolling around in bed moaning like bertha rochester and taking several baths, all in hopes of breaking my intense fever.  between tuesday evening at 6 pm and wednesday morning at 1 am, the sniffles and tickly throat i laughed about in my last post exploded into a horrible cold.  i seem to always be stunned by how quickly sickness creeps up on me (and my animals), so maybe i should just come to expect going from zero to hero when i'm getting sick.  instead, every time i feel diseased, i can't believe it.  "i just had a little sore throat.  how did this happen to me???"  as it is, the fever did break last night and today i am in full drying out mode (occasional deep, "working" chest cough, and sinuses clearing up).  we are a motley crew over here right now.

*according to luke, the only creature in this house who can currently both use his nose and also vocalize his thoughts in english, the house smells disgusting.  luckily, i can't smell anything at the moment, so i'm spared the awful task of trying to figure out whether it's the dog's weeping head wound or my trash bags of used kleenex that are stinking up the joint.  yum.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

one sick puppy

quick life updates:

1) my computer is still broken.  i don't see anything forcing me to address that issue until school starts in september.  i'm happy to loll around in my laziness at the moment.

2) i spent monday and tuesday subbing at the preschool where i once taught.  i didn't even consider the possibility of getting a cold until i got there and remembered there is no escape.  i have worked a total of ten hours there thus far this week and it is only wednesday and KABAM, i already have a sore throat and sniffles.  seriously, the military should check out the bioweapons lurking in preschools.  i'm sure it would save zillions in medical research.

3) i applied to a production company to be cast on a paranormal activity investigation reality show over the weekend and scored an on-camera interview yesterday.  as hilarious as it was and as pleased as i am to have yet another crazy thing to tell a story about, i absolutely will not be chosen for the position, perhaps mostly because (as my mother told me after i discussed my interview outfit) i fall more into the "scientist" category than the "sexy" category, and sex sells, darling.

ok, quick updates are finished.  here we are at the grand finale: we may have found the source of our adorable dog's nearly year-long battle with terrible health.  on sunday, we visited my grandparents, and in the car on the way there, dess looked like this,

which is to say: normal.  on the way out of the car, she hopped from the back seat into the front of the car and smacked her head into the center console.  she takes after me in that she's an epic klutz and is used to minor injurious encounters with inanimate objects, so she was totally unfazed by this and we all spent the beautiful day in/by the pool.

at the end of the day, my brother clay noticed that her head was swollen just above her right eye, but it was relatively minor and we all attributed it to her small accident in the car.  imagine our surprise then, when by last night (tuesday), the bump was even bigger and she seemed to be running a fever.  i woke up around 4 am to find her curled up in what i can only assume is the canine fetal position on the couch, with a scorching fever and zero energy.  by 8:30 this morning, we were at the vet, where i guess i assumed he would tell us she had a bee sting or an allergic reaction, hand us medication and let us take her home.  instead, he immediately diagnosed her with a massive abscess and told us to pick her up in the afternoon after her surgery.  i can proudly say i waited until we got to the car until i dissolved into hysterics.

luke went to work, promising to come home early to help me bring her home, and i spent the day cleaning, sweeping and folding laundry to try to distract myself from feeling like a horrible mother. 

i don't have a photo of her head lump pre-surgery mostly because i was content to think it was just a knot resulting from her bumping her noggin.  however, you can pretty much assume that whatever she looked like when we dropped her off, it was overwhelmingly horrific to pick her up looking like this:

her abscess lanced, draining tube in place, with blood and pus running down the right side of her face.  it is horrific in every sense of the word.  the vet pulled us aside before he gave her back to us and told us it was one of the worst infections he'd ever seen.  apparently, it had been festering long enough to dissolve some of the bone of her skull, so much so that he even found pus in her sinuses.  a closer look:


the first thing we did when we got home, after feeding her several treats and making sure she could still drink out of her bowl with that cone around her neck, was to sit next to her with paper towels and a bowl of warm water and wash the dried fluid off her fur.  as unbelievably terrible as it looks, the swelling is enormously improved and her fever is gone, so i guess she's on the road to recovery.  still, the idea that this shy, adorable, cuddly mutt, who is our first child in many ways, has an open, draining, odorous* wound on her face is heartbreaking.

the worst part of all of this is that this dog has had a raging infection in her skull for probably the entire time she's been with us (since we picked her up from the rescue last november) and we had no idea.  luke and i are trying to be positive and focus on the fact that we have maybe at last hit upon the root cause of all her other, less traumatic medical problems.  this centralized condition could have been the source of all her previous ear infections and recent eye problems.  by addressing this larger issue, we're hoping we'll remedy her problematic health.

i'm still completely blown away that a) she had such an ugly infection and no one knew and b) that the abscess went from nothing to full-blown baseball size in three days.  i'm crossing my fingers and my toes that once she heals up from this, she can enjoy many, many years of health.  right now, though, i'm just hoping for rest and a speedy recovery.

*i've smelled a lot of unpleasant things in the last year, but i can solemnly swear that nothing has smelled as bad as the weeping wound above dess's eye.  it smells like sickness and i think that makes it worse.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


i'm going to get a hepatitis shot in an hour and i'm about one hundred percent sure i'm going to cry like a baby.  a) i have a pretty intense hatred of needles and b) hepatitis shots are given in your non-dominant arm for a reason (namely, that they hurt like a biatch and prevent you from doing any real work with your arm for a few days).  side note: i love that i'm discussing these vaccinations as if i'm the only person in the universe who has ever had to suffer through one and as though not every college student in the country has had to get the shots.

anyway, i'm not pleased.  however, doing the work that i'm doing (which may or may not include handling many strange dead things from unknown locations) has prompted me to try to overcome my fear of long, sharp metal objects entering my skin and just get the damn vaccination already (well, if we're being honest, i should say "again," as i had to have it to start my undergrad career seven years ago).  also, i scratched myself through a glove yesterday (meaning the glove did not tear, but i still got a small, hopefully protected, poke) and now i'm freaking out.  regardless of whether or not the glove broke (and it didn't, which to my mind bears repeating) and regardless of whether or not i bled (i didn't, as the scratch was perhaps as superficial as one can be while still be considering a scratch), the fact that i was messy with foulness and got a small scrape is really upsetting.  sometimes, as i macerate things and get disgusting and smelly, i take a step back and think to myself, "how did the vegetarian child of an enormous hypochondriac find herself working elbow-deep in forensics?"  it is an interesting life path for anyone, but for me, as i still carry around my mom's extreme health mania and tendency for exaggeration and hysteria, it's even more surprising.  i love it in practice for all the reasons i always thought i'd love it in theory, because we really are helping to build back identities and i think that's fascinating and noble.  however, i can love it and appreciate my opportunities and still not jump for joy about exposing myself to disease by slicing myself.

thus, doctor's office, here i come!  yay.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

whirlwind of craze

i've been blogless for a literal age and that upsets me.  it's not intentional and is certainly not due to our lives being stable and boring lately.  sadly, on or around the last day i posted, my computer stopped recognizing the internet.  this should probably concern me more than it does, but surprisingly, i don't really care.  or, rather, i don't care enough to take the laptop to an apple store or call time warner.  it's been over a month now and i've cracked my laptop open a grand total of two times, each time hoping that it had miraculously healed itself as spontaneously as it broke.  nope.  however, i'm kinda enjoying it.  i'm using my phone for the basics, like email and facebook, and am stealing luke's computer for bigger projects (such as watching "extreme makeover: weight loss edition" while stuffing my face full of cupcakes).  reasons for my lack of interest in computer problems: in addition to my being hugely lazy now that the school year is over, i also kinda love not staring at my computer screen all the time.  gone are the days of checking facebook and watching tv and talking to luke at the same time.  honestly, no one needs that much stimulation.  i'll probably need to figure out the computer situation by the time school rolls around again, but in the meantime, i'll survive.

recent happenings:

1) i finished my first year of grad school with a 4.0.  yipee!  this last quarter was one for the record books, in terms of all-consuming stress and anxiety.  i have never in my life felt anything like it before and i have never been so grateful to leave a quarter behind (especially because it might as well have been  ten years long, rather than ten weeks.  so.  horribly.  long.).  apparently, the first year is the worst.  here's hoping!

2) i had planned to have a low key summer of odor patrolling and reading cool books i'd ignored throughout the school year.  this was going pretty well until about a week ago and a half ago, when i bounced back into the landfill's office on a friday morning after work and was casually told that my full-time job was essentially deleted.  cue a tailspin into crazytown that took me through the weekend and halfway through the following week.  i cannot believe how difficult it has been for me to just hold down an effing job for two seconds while in school.  however, there was a major silver lining to my four days of abject panic, because while scouring craigslist for some leads for myself, i came upon a fantastic librarian opportunity for luke and forwarded the link to him, thinking we could both just through caution to the internet job application wind.  as it turns out,

3) luke applied last tuesday, immediately heard back about the resume he'd submitted and swiftly climbed the interview ladder (totally three or four interviews in all).  by friday, we'd had a hugely nerve wrecking week, staying up most of thursday night due to nervous anticipation, the likes of which don't come around unless it's christmas morning.  this position was pretty much a dream come true for luke, and waiting to find out if he got the job was. so. hard.  it was all insanely worth it though, because HE DID!  he got the job and i am so proud of him and so excited for him.  it's definitely a career-making move and i'm thrilled that he finally has the security he deserves.

4) luke getting this fantastic position helped to chill me out, so i've stopped sending out mass responses to internet postings for administrative assistant jobs.  tomorrow, i'm going to head over to the local school district classified employment office to hand in a resume and perhaps charm some people in person, because i've decided that it's damn near impossible to stand out and be selected, even just for an interview, when you're competing on the interwebs with ten bazillion other faceless people who also swear that it's been their lifelong dream to file papers at some undisclosed corporate office.

5) i spent today cleaning up after our impromptu mini fourth of july barbeque, catching up on crappy tv and reading a book.  after having what may have been some of the most emotional weeks in recent memory, things are looking up.