Thursday, August 28, 2008

ouch, ouch, ouch

A friend is in training to be some sort of massage therapist. He needs people upon whom to practice and my back was a bit sore, so I volunteered.

The technique was a new one to me, but not unpleasant - it has something to so with muscle layers and activating muscles which aren't doing their job. Most of it was fine and actually quite interesting - until we got to my ribs. Something about moving the muscles in the ribs made my knees feel terrific and I could feel my lower back relaxing... and then he got to rib #9. OUCH!

I often go months without thinking about my ribs - but two days later, rib #9 aches and aches and aches. If ever I volunteer again, rib #9 is strictly off limits. On the other hand, my back and knees still feel terrific.

I did finally knuckle under and make the phone call to the vet. The technician with whom I spoke asked all sorts of questions about why I thought Sam might have arthritis (good) and about his daily activities. I've been keeping a casual log of his activities and limitations, which helped. At the end, the tech warned me that X-Rays and blood-work would be required, and was I prepared for the additional expense? Damn straight I am; this is Sam we're talking about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Sam update

It's been a long, hot summer, so Sam hasn't taken many trips in the car. Like most dogs, he loves the movement and scenery. Sam has never been one to hang his head out the window, but he does love to watch the world go by. Add to that Sam's obligation to supervise the mistress at all times, and my car's interior is generally covered with a protective layer of fur.

He was excited about taking a short ride to the bank - but I had to boost him in and out of the car; he simply couldn't handle the leap. I think the time has come to talk to the vet about an appointment and some pain management. His quality of life is still high; I am safe from the backyard squirrels and Sam is still more than capable of casting a disdainful glance at the terrier next door.

Friday, August 15, 2008

wise words

In the spirit of "what I wish I'd written" - Harriet has written a terrific post about why college and encouraging a "life of the mind" matters. The whole post is terrific, but I've stolen (sorry, H!) the bit that I thought most wonderful.

This morning, I came across an editorial Charles Murray wrote a couple of days ago in the Wall Street Journal about how college is a waste of most people’s time. In terms of quickly moving people into the work force, Murray is probably right. But it seems to me that he has missed the point of college altogether. Maybe the humanities do not train you for specific job skills, but the study of arts and culture and history have other effects on both the way we think and problem-solve and also on the way we view the world and others in it. And then there are the intangibles of the experience of being a college student, being away from home and finding your way in the world in a sort of halfway-house for adulthood. I had a sheaf of report cards with stellar grades and loads of A papers that I could have saved. But those are nowhere to be found. Instead there are pictures of the people and activities that meant most to me, the detritus of my existence then, all serving to conjure up the parts of me that stem from that time and place. A poet friend of mine used the phrase “this carrying life” to describe the way our lives are encoded in the smallest fiber of our being. These are the paper remains of my carrying life, reminders of that which I carry with me everywhere. And sometimes it takes an old friend to remind you of how you came to be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

more on Sam

Sam is still moving stiffly, but now that the weather has (thankfully!) cooled off, he's a bit more spry. A couple of friends have recommended some pain killers, so I'll need to start looking for them. The challenge will be getting pain killers into Sam.

The heartworm pill is easy, as it looks and (apparently, I haven't tried this personally) tastes like kibble. Getting other meds into Sam has always been a challenge. He's never been one for having pills coaxed down his throat, and when mixed with peanut butter, he simply licks up the peanut butter. (NO fool, my dog.) The only approach that seems to work is to grind up the pill and mix it with applesauce. Given that I am generally only about 25% awake when I give Sam his breakfast, this could pose certain difficulties for me.

Meanwhile - I'm cynical about Edwards and his affair, addicted to late-night Olympics and highly amused by the student who complained to the dean about me. I'm "unreasonable" because I deducted points from her essay because she didn't proof-read. The dean was much amused too, and told her so.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

beloved dog

Alison once observed that some people blog about specific topics, while others of us simply blog about whatever is on our minds. I'm afraid that I fall very much into the second category; blogging gives me a chance to write down whatever is most on my mind.

However, that having been said, I strongly suspect that a certain topic is going to come to dominate my posts over the next chunk of time.

I live with a dog. I don't know, and probably never will, if Sam picked me out at the animal shelter or if I picked him. There are times when he drives me bonkers. There are times when he finds me frustrating. I am probably closer to him than most of the human beings I know - he is my friend, my pal, my hot water bottle, my alarm clock, the source of most of what needs to be vacuumed up each week...

In the last few months I've been confronted with the reality that Sam is not only no longer young (maybe 12?) but that his arthritis is starting to slow him down and to restrict his activities. He still feels entitles to his spot on the sofa, but I need to help him up and down. He still protects me from the squirrels in the yard, but he needs to go outside late at night or else we both regret it...

Sam may yet have years of defending me from wildlife - but it's hard to accept that my companion is slowing down. Anyway, I'll probably be blogging more about this as time goes by.