Monday, March 31, 2008

Goodbye March (and my Gravy-Gravy)

March started out with the whole Girl Scout cookie mess on 3/1. Then during the night between 3/1 - 3/2, Bub had a seizure. My cat Ashley died. And my dog Gravy-Gravy died. My Dh got laid off due to lack of work and my sister was hospitalized due to exhaustion. An EEG showed that Bub may have some developmental delays and Krissy got a new teacher and she's struggling a bit with the change.

Other than Bub's spina bifida appointment being the best ever (they think he may be ready for arm crutches and he doesn't need to see orthopedics or neurosurgery for a year!), March was NOT a good month for me.

But April arrives tomorrow and hopefully April will bring warm weather, lower gas prices, and happier days in my house.

Of all the bad things, losing Gravy-Gravy was one of the worst. When I was a kid, I read Anne of Green Gables books and Anne often spoke of "kindred spirits". I felt that Gravy-Gravy was my kindred spirit. I'm not a dog person. But Gravy-Gravy was my kind of dog. He was mellow and just cool. He howled the most beautiful music and we even taught him to say "I love you" (he sounded a bit like Scooby Doo when he said "I love you"). He gave the nicest kisses and had the softest fur.

His mom had strayed in and my sister Tissy had always wanted a black lab and my Mummy couldn't send a stray away, so we kept her. Tissy named her Raven. Not too much later, my Gravy-Gravy (and a few other dogs) were born. I'd never felt about a dog like I did this one and so Mummy and Daddy said I could keep him. I'd named him Gravy-Gravy because he was brown, ya know, like gravy.

When he was just a puppy, he was afraid of steps. So I'd carry him up and down the steps and could frequently be heard saying "If you lift a cow everyday he doesn't get any heavier". I'd read somewhere that if you picked up a cow everyday that the cow wouldn't feel any heavier because you'd get stronger as the cow got bigger. I quickly learned that if you lift a Gravy-Gravy everyday, that he will get heavier. Much heavier.

One of the highlights of moving into our house was that I could bring Gravy-Gravy to live with us. But his mom still lived with my mom and dad and Gravy-Gravy was lonely without another dog. So we had to take him to back to live with my mom and dad. I remember that day. I made Jimmy take him back to my mom's by himself because I was so sad. But since mom and dad only live about two minutes away, I could still see and play with Gravy-Gravy. He loved his soccer ball and was so talented. He could throw it up in the air and then catch it!

Eventually he went to live with my sisters Pam and Pat. They had a little beagle named Mandy. Gravy-Gravy and Mandy got along great. Pam and Pat took such good care of him and he was very happy there. He had arthritis and didn't move as quick as he used to, but he was still a sweetheart. Last summer he escaped out of Pam and Pat's house and came down to visit at my mom's. He was tired when he got there and wasn't moving too quickly but we had fun visiting with him. We fed him dog bones and then Pam and Pat brought the truck and drove him back home.

Tissy called last Tuesday and told me that Gravy-Gravy was sick and that she was going to have to put him down (she's a Veterinarian). I went over to Pam and Pat's and told Gravy-Gravy goodbye. I took some pictures. He was still so handsome, he just looked older. His fur was turning white around his face. We laid him down on his dog bed and my sister's and I gathered around him. With one of his last breaths, he licked my face and then he closed his eyes and then he was gone. I was a bit disturbed because his eyes kept opening, but Tissy said that was normal.

Saying goodbye to that sweet dog was one of the harder things in my life. Rest in peace, my Gravy-Gravy.

And goodbye March. Bring on April!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dreading Monday

Tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the ultrasound that told us that we were expecting a little boy who would have spina bifida. I count that as the worst day of my life. It changed everything.

We wanted a boy so badly. DH was quite an athlete in high school. He wanted a little boy to follow in his footsteps. And I wanted that for him. Upon that ultrasound, that all changed. We hoped that he wouldn't end up with hydrocephalus while he was in the womb because that would cause brain damage. We hoped that someday he'd walk. We hoped that the nerves wouldn't be too badly damaged during the c-section that I'd have to have.

We lived for 4-1/2 months on that hope and went for weekly or bi-weekly ultrasounds. I'd get sick before each one.

I wouldn't give my boy up for anything in the world, but I'd sure heal him if I could. I hate that I watch him struggle with everything. Walking is a struggle. Talking was a struggle. He has difficulties with the right side of his body. He wants to draw a heart and can't. He's currently unable to write letters, although he can recognize them. He has a seizure disorder. I hate that when we get together with other kids, many times he sits with us because we're afraid that he'll get run over since he primarily gets around by scooting.

And tomorrow, on the five year anniversary of "the" ultrasound, I take him to spina bifida clinic. He'll have an eeg to make sure things are ok, since he's had four seizures since January 15. I had to keep him up until 10 pm and I have to get him up at 5 am and keep him awake until they start the eeg at 11 am. The last time they did an eeg was February of 2004. I remember this distinctly because the leads for the eeg somehow gave him an infection in his scalp and he ended up back in the hospital to have surgery to drain the infection. I don't even think this is necessary. They finally listened to me and increased the dose of his anti-seizure medication. Since they increased the medication...not a single seizure. The last time the med was increased was in September of 2006! He's grown a lot since then!

I always hate these appointments because there's always something that they want changed or improved, but this one I'm truly dreading. I don't want him to have an eeg. I don't want them to tell me how his right side is weak (Yeah, I know it is. And if Dr. Leland Albright hadn't nicked that blood vessel, I'm betting Bub wouldn't have the trouble he does).

Thankfully we only go to spina bifida clinic twice a year. The rest of the year, we deal with his disabilities the best we can. Twice a year, the focus is on his disabilites. The focus is on seizures, right-side weakness, his bladder, his hips, and his shunts. The rest of the year the focus is on Bub. Twice a year, the focus is on Bub, the boy with spina bifida.

Compounding my dread is the fact that the route that we've taken to Children's Hospital for what feels like 7000 times, is under construction. I'll be taking a detour. AND the fact that he needs to stay awake for the 1 hr travel time. Thankfully my sister Pat is going with me. She'll help Bub stay awake and help me stay sane.

The only good points about the trip in to Childrens...I get a whole day to spend with my Bubby and they have awesome chocolate milkshakes.

Prayers for a good appointment would be much appreciated.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Today I'm watching Rachael Ray while burning DVD's. I just finished a movie that I'd started using muvee autoProducer back when my Uncle Keith died in September. We'd run it on my laptop at the funeral home and I'd promised copies to my aunt and my cousins. My uncle's sister had loaned me some other pics and I scanned them in when I got them, but still had to add them to the movie and then last night I found a few more pics to add. So this morning I finally got it finished and I'm in the process of burning the second DVD (although I'm out of DVD's so I'm only going to be able to do a couple today).

DH is at a "Step Up to Foreman" class today and I have no idea how long he'll be gone today. We have to go to the funeral home tonight. My mom's cousin's husband died on Wednesday and we need to pay our respects tonight. They'd been married 57 years and he was a very devoted husband, father and grandfather and an all-around nice guy. He'll be missed. We've also been invited to a birthday party for my cousin's son. He'll be 8! That's the reason I wanted to get the DVD's made today, so that I can give them out if we make it to the party.

And we're hoping to squeeze in a viewing of Horton Hears a Who sometime today. Not sure if that will happen or not.

My mom has started a blog and has inspired to "pretty-up" mine some and post a little more regularly to it. So I've been working on the layout while I burn the DVD's.

I have a spreadsheet to get done today and it is pretty involved, so it is taking me longer than I'd hoped. So I'd better get on to that or I'll never get it done.

Days 'til Disney Ticker