One-eighty

Talk about an emotional roller coaster.
The vet called this morning to say that the original neurological disorder was tested for and results were negative.
He thinks Alvy ate something, got sick, and kept getting sick which lowered potassium levels and electrolytes to the point that he was almost dying. However, with an IV and fluids containing a lot of potassium, Alvy has completely turned around in a matter of less than 24 hours.
This time yesterday he was as good as dead. Today the vet is saying Alvy might come home Monday.

This is one expensive little dog with a lot of puking problems. I don't know how we're going to afford the vet bill, but if it means Alvy can come home and I don't have to start shopping around for cremation services, I'm okay with that.

Whew.

Alvy

The vet says, most likely, Alvy has an extremely rare neurological disorder affecting and shutting down his entire digestive system. It looks like it was brought on by a strong electrical shock but we can't find any exposed or chewed-on wires of any kind in the house; cable, electrical, speaker, nothing. The vet had us come back home after delivering the bad news and check everything, even stuff that looks out-of-reach for Alvy. We couldn't find a thing.

He said this could also be the result of a microscopic crystal-something-or-other that may have been in one of his toys. It's not at all related to his having parvo when he was 8 months old – just a bizarre coincidence that it's affecting the same part of his body.

He said it's life-threatening and if he were to survive he would be barely mobile, would have to have a sack of fluids and a feeding tube, and would be in a lot of pain. If, miraculously, he managed to get better, the symptoms would most undoubtedly come back again unexpectedly and affect him more severely.

He said we need to start making preparations for the worst case scenario. In other words, if we don't want Alvy to live on a feeding tube and not be able to move around on his own, or if we don't want him to die in pain on his own, we'll have to let the vet put him to sleep.

I cried for hours before we all put on a movie just to try and get our minds off of it for a little while. But I keep going back to the thought that Alvy is barely two years old. He's such a good dog. Everyone loves him. He's sweet and playful and loves everyone. It's just not fair. Poor, poor Alvy.

Be careful what you let your pet chew on.

Doggie News

I don't like writing about it, for some reason. It's one of those things that's easier to talk about 'cause you can act like you're blowing it off. But when it's written down it seems so much more serious. And I tend to go back and read entries for spelling mistakes (that I don't always change, I know, I'm lazy), so then I think about it even more . . .

I guess my biggest concern is making sure Alvy (the two year-old black lab/pit bull mix) is okay. Second biggest concern is the bill.

Alvy started throwing up Saturday night and we finally took him to the vet Tuesday because we were really worried. They sent him back home with some medicine to keep him from vomiting — which, by the way, he vomited right back up. Yesterday Charlie took him back to the vet and he spent the night. Tomorrow we have to take him to a new vet on the far north side. Apparently, he's eaten something or swallowed something that may be lodged in his stomach or lower intestines. There was blood in his vomit yesterday so things aren't going any better. They're going to run a lot of expensive tests, which, if those come back inconclusive, they're going to do some sort of endoscopic procedure. If they find anything in there, they're going to have to perform surgery to take it out.

So, while his well-being is the most important, the $60 we shelled out for the medicine and initial vet appointment, combined with the couple hundred from the last couple of days, added to the $600 we're going to owe for the procedure, all of which does not include surgery . . . he's a very expensive little mutt.

I'm a wreck. Charlie's a wreck. I think Kate and Cavan are both a mess about it too. So much worrying. I wish I could put it out of my mind and just say “He'll be okay. We'll get through this.” But I can't. I'm a worrier. Is that how you spell that word?

Barfly, lush, swinger.

It's officially warmer now than it was this afternoon, and warmer than it's been in about a week . . . except for that day when it was 70. Is this February? Just checking.

I went out with Kate last night for a little hair of the dog but we ended up just going to Perkins to have breakfast-for-dinner after two drinks. In fact, I didn't even finish my second beer. I'd gotten so shit-faced Friday night that the idea of having any alcohol made my stomach turn.
We'd gone to the Cat, as we always do, and wound up staying until about 15 minutes before they closed. It's been a long time since I've done that. I had a really good time, despite my reservations. The last few times I'd gone out on a Friday the crowd was generally belligerent, regular, about 15 years my senior, and a little on the skanky side.

We ran into quite a few people one or both of us knew, and several people I hadn't seen in quite some time. One was Stuart, our local comic book guru, a published artist who did the work for another friend's DVD. I noticed it the last time I went to the bookstore because the film guy still works there, and I immediately recognized Stuart's work on the cover. He was distant, though. He seemed really talkative at first, but at one point told me he's never dated a woman under 5'7″ and a half. Being somewhere around 5'6″, himself, and saying this to me seemed odd. Why? Was I coming off as interested?
I also got so drunk that I gave someone Kate's phone number. I wasn't trashed enough to give out my own, and I didn't want to give him a fake number. We'd been joking around about something for a while when he asked if I wanted to get something eat. I said I wasn't hungry. He said no, like, get something to eat later on during the week. I said I wasn't sure, he asked for my number, I said “Why don't you just give me yours?”
He said “Because you'll never call.”
Good point.
He claimed he couldn't remember his number anyway, and kept saying “All I'm talking about is something to eat,” which, in my drunken stupor, eventually made perfect sense. Oh, well, dinner? Okay, then.
Kate told me he just called her number a bit ago and left a message. He's the kind of guy who calls girls “man” and “dude,” so he would strictly be Friend Material. How in the world am I going to work around that one? Considering how little free time I have, and the fact that I'd probably never recognize this person in the daylight . . . well, I don't know that I'll be returning his call.
I told Charlie about that and he thought it was funny. I get myself in to situations like that a lot and I don't know how to ask the person if they'll Just Be Friends.

I swear, in the past four years I've probably broken down and given a dozen guys or girls my number or email address strictly out of pity (okay, the girls weren't out of pity, but none of them ever called or wrote). I just don't have the balls to be upfront with them. I go out intending to have a good time, saying I don't need to drink to do so. I never intend to “meet someone” or hook up. That would be ridiculous. But it seems I have the best time when I'm having a lot of attention paid to me. Anyone who says otherwise in a crowded bar is fibbing. Isn't that why we doll ourselves up? And, I must say, I was looking might sassy Friday evening.
Besides, telling people I'm involved makes them immediately stop speaking to me. Unless you're a certain blonde, way-too-tan someone who just can't seem to get it in to his thick head that I'm not interested.

We went through a little phase about 3 years ago where I had to beg Kate to stop volunteering my relationship status to every guy who passed by — it's sort of difficult to have a good time when you're being shunned/ignored/brushed off by everyone in a bar.

Maybe I'm not explaining all that in a way that doesn't make me sound like a complete flooze. I'm not doing anything untoward or acting in a nasty way that I would be ashamed to tell someone else about; I just don't see the point in going out with your single friend and sitting quietly at the end of the bar, picking the label off a beer and gazing at the basketball game on TV. I'm going out to dance, have a couple of drinks, and see if someone will buy any for me. That's about it. Sometimes you meet interesting people who make the time go faster, and stopping a fun conversation to announce that there is no chance in hell you'll ever date them . . . well, that tends to kill the conversation. One – because they may wonder why the flip you're saying it since we're all just having a chat; Two – because perhaps they are interested and, whether you're interested or not, at least everyone's having a fun chat.
Does that make any sense?

I do, however, need to learn my limits. I didn't pay for a single drink Friday night and I hate to say no, so by the end of the evening the earth was spinning. I thought Kate was intoxicated so we headed over to the Vogue to see if Charlie or Cavan might give us a ride home. I got some water and every time I closed my eyes, everything began spinning faster. It was really unpleasant.
I was fine when we got home but woke up Saturday morning with a literally splitting headache and uncontrollable nausea. I finally forced myself to throw up. At one point I thought this was really unflattering for a woman my age, but what the hell. I'd had a good time and now I was paying for it a bit. By late afternoon I felt fine.
And don't worry: Charlie knows how I get when I drink and trusts me. I can't even imagine how many women throw themselves at him at the club.

And now it's a degree warmer than it was when I began this entry.

Courtney, who sounds racist to her black professor.

I was supposed to write a page on Congress's Web site and I ended up writing 3 pages on how much it pissed me off. The format was totally open, she said we could write about anything – what we learned, how we felt about the sites, etc… She's an African American, so I hope it doesn't offend her, but I thought it was interesting to point out how many bills are on the table in the House of Rep's about African American stuff, this being February. Like, they're doing it more for show. I mean, how many bills are passed recognizing leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and the Tuskegee Airmen in June or September?
Oh, yeah, and the Senate pisses me way off. Bills proposed right now are: one requiring that women who are seeking abortions are informed of “pain to the unborn child.” Just calling it an unborn child is harmful to pro-choice fighters. One bill that sets up programs for hydrogen-powered passenger cars has zero (0) co-sponsors. The Tuskegee Airmen get 70. Both are important, but both should get attention. Does that sound racist? I certainly hope not . . .

Moving again

The search is on for another rental for at least another year in Indianapolis. It's not as difficult this time around (except for the fact that I really, really, really don't want to move all this crap) because our options aren't as limited as usual. It used to be that we had to live on a certain side of town. Now I don't really care. As long as there's a reasonable driving distance for everyone involved, I don't really mind where we live. I know we'll have at least one less housemate since Kate will be moving back in with her parents, and Cavan will leave at some point because he's transferring to UW in Seattle. Whether that's this August or the following semester, only time will tell. I was hoping he would at least wait until summer of next year, but he's already filled out the transfer application. I guess they have this thing set up, though, where 30% of their transfer students have to come from a local community college – so if 1000 people apply and only 30 of them are from community college, then they'll only accept 70 of the other people, forgoing an entire 900 people. Or something like that – my math is terrible.

Anyway. So, I'm not too sure right now if we're headed to Seattle in June of 2006, or if we'll stay here till I graduate. In a way, the Psych program here is really good; they have concentrations in clinical rehab, drug rehab, I/O (blech!), and neuroscience – something almost no other undergrad programs in America have. On the con side, though, the PhD who runs the program is a micromanager to the extreme. He's got it all down to a science that makes it incredibly off-putting. I guess it's good for those 18 year-olds who aren't ready to make a serious commitment to their education, but it's also frustrating as an adult to be told 25 times in one 100-page textbook that if you don't learn to master these such-and-such skills, you'll be fired from any job you ever try to get. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's why the 10-year veteran at my previous publishing company was the worst employee ever, who everyone hated working with, who never met a single deadline on the 30 books I coordinated with him, who never turned in anything correctly, and who made like 60 grand a year. Our department head has obviously never dealt with someone like that, because the man couldn't get fired from that publishing company if he'd shot someone in the face. Ugh.

So, the moving thing . . . We're half thinking about going back to an apartment. It's going to be royal pain to find a place that allows both large dogs, and we'll have to keep quiet about the cats. I can't imagine giving up any of the animals — I mean, it's just not an option. It's such a huge commitment to have all of them, but I just couldn't even think of giving them to someone else . . . well, maybe the cats. They don't seem to care whether I'm around or not. They love anyone.
The biggest pain is finding a place that has a fenced-in yard. If Charlie stays working on the northeast side, then moving downtown won't be a very viable option. I don't want him to drive all that way. But it makes more sense since, with me being in school, I'd be closer to home and the dogs would be alone less if we had no more housemates.
I'm tired of thinking about moving. It just makes me sleepy.

It's such a beautiful day that it seems a shame to coop myself up inside doing laundry, updating my journal, and cleaning. But I've got the windows open, the stereo up, and am enjoying it. That batch of antibiotics the doctor put me on did wonders for me. I feel about a thousand times better than I did even before I got sick. Tomorrow I'm supposed to quit smoking for good. I may have at least one setback, maybe more, but I hope to be done for good by August – when I turn 30 (augh!). Of course, I'm hoping to quit now, but I want to allow myself plenty of time to do it right, so that I'm not “trying to quit” right on my birthday.

In other news, I flunked my first test ever. The worst I ever got on any test was a B and that was a shock. To get my political science exam handed back to me and see that I only got a 61 out of 100 . . . well, let's just say I had to leave the classroom right then so I wouldn't cry in front of everyone. I know I was incredibly sick and hadn't prepared at all, but it's not going to be easy to pull up my grade. The instructor is really awful at her job. She encourages us to talk in class about politics, but does nothing to ensure we're learning the important (to her) material. She also never seems to follow any sort of outline when she's lecturing; she babbles and jumps from topic to topic. Why she even bothers taking attendance is beyond me – there's no reason to show up for the class.
This leads me to the idea that I would be a bad teacher, myself. Today the other mentor for the psych class was almost an hour late and she was in charge of the session for this week. The class was totally unmotivated and I had a really difficult time getting them motivated about reapplying the concepts. It sucked.

This image has nothing to do with what I've been talking about. I just thought it was amusing:

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I finally broke down on Wednesday and went to the doctor. He said I was the first person he'd seen all day who didn't have a fever. I got all defensive and said, “Well, I had one for three days!” As if he'd think I was faking being sick or something. It turns out I had an upper respiratory infection and some bronchitis coupled with some sort of flu bug that was going around, hence the dizziness, aching, and weakness. He gave me (I think it's called) the “z-pack”? It's hardcore antibiotics that you take for seven days, plus something to make me cough stuff up instead of the nasty, dry cough I'd been having.
Now that I'm actually feeling better, I feel bad — mostly because I missed so much school last week. If I'd just gone to the doctor on Saturday night when I almost passed out, maybe I'd have been feeling better by Tuesday rather than today.
Oh, well. It's definitely time to make a change, though; in diet, lifestyle, everything. I've barely touched any coffee for a week and I didn't smoke much at all. I know I should have just stopped, but I'm a bad, bad person. To top it all off, I've also had cramps for three days, so that's been a real blast. Fun!

I went shopping for myself today. I got my scholarship disbursement so I went out and bought two pairs of pants, a top, earrings, perfume, and a sweater. It didn't cost much because a.) I'm really cheap and can't buy anything unless it's on clearance and b.) I went to Dots where nothing is more than $15. I looked at some more expensive things in a store I never go to, but I could never allow myself to dump $130 on a jacket or $60 for shoes.
One of the main reasons I left the house at all was because Cavan – the newest roommate – his folks came over. He told me they'd be here around 2pm so I left at 1:30. Just because it would feel weird to try and make conversation with this guy's parents who, once he moves out, I'll never see again. And because I wanted to stay away for a while, I ended up on the far west side of town where Dots is. They had a lot of cute, cheap stuff that I wanted but I tried to contain myself. Given the opportunity and the means I would have no problem dumping $500 for clothes, shoes, purses, and stuff like office supplies. I love buying crap I don't need, I just can't remember the last time I did. That said, however ….

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I don't know what, officially, a “fever” is, but considering my temp is usually around 1 degree cooler than normal, running 99+ degrees for the past few days has made me feel really crappy.
This morning was the first time I woke up with at least two straight hours of sleep, despite going to be at 11pm or earlier for three nights in a row.
I ended up scooting out of the bridal shower on Saturday as fast as I could – there were two small children there that I was trying not to cough all over, then we missed both functions on Sunday which I'd really wanted to attend. Sigh. But not going was better than making someone else sick.
I think I need to take better care of myself. Being this sick just a month after getting over something that required antibiotics is totally ridiculous.
All right, time to buck up. Stop being sick, stop smoking, stop drinking so much coffee, and start working out. At least a little bit!

Sick, sick, sick

Didn't I just get finished being really ill? Wasn't that just about a month ago? It feels like I have the exact same thing only this time my insides are aching from all the coughing. I think we're going to have to bow out of some of the activities planned for this weekend. Either that or make everyone, including an 8-month-pregnant woman, sick.

A thousand unrelated thoughts

I became suddenly and unexpectedly sick yesterday. I woke up aching and ended up coughing all day and night. I actually thought at one point that I might die in my sleep. I felt so woozy and sick and had taken so many pills yesterday that I was afraid if I went to sleep, I might not wake up. I took a total of 4 or 5 Aleve for aches and fever, then took an antihistamine that was non-drowsy around 6, then took a nighttime cold medicine around 10pm. But if I didn't overdose on pills when I was 17, I certainly couldn't have done it now.
I fell asleep at a decent enough hour, apparently, because I woke up this morning at 8am – something I haven't done without the help of the alarm in a long time.

It probably didn't hurt that my next door neighbors were still up and partying this morning too. That woke me up several times during the night, and the shrieking laughter helped drag my ass out of bed.
I honestly don't know how they do it. They all meet up next door around 8 at night, start drinking at home, then head out to the bars. When the clubs close at 3am, they're back home, drinking some more and usually until at least 5 or 6. I hadn't noticed it so much lately because it was so cold out that I figure they were inside partying. But it was nearly 60 degrees yesterday afternoon, so they were out on the porch all night. The weirdest part about it is that I, Charlie, and Cavan have all gone out there and said something to them before. At first you try to be nice, explaining that bedroom windows are directly next to their porch and pointing out that there are no storm windows or extra insulation or whatever. Each time one of us has gone out there, it's gotten exponentially more heated.
One night I listened to Charlie come home from work around 4 in the morning and I'd been up all night listening to the neighbors yell and cackle. I didn't even say anything, just heard the car pull up, heard him get out, then heard him shouting at the neighbors to keep it down. They must not have heard him at first, because he said it again, and I could tell he was right next to the gate. Then someone said something using the “f” word and my feet were already out of the bedroom before the rest of me — I knew it wasn't going to go over well with Charlie to have the strangers next door telling him to mind his own business.

This was probably the third or fourth time someone in our house had been kept up as a result of the people next door.
They've apologized for it many times, but they still continue to do it. On the weekends, I'll expect it, yes, and possibly even tolerate it until at least the bars close, so like 3 or 4am. But during the week or any later than that and I think it's extremely rude. Don't these people have jobs? Don't they need sleep? Don't they realize their neighbors on this street are either young couples with kids or older people? We're probably the only unconventional set of housemates in this neighborhood, which is fine, because we wanted to live somewhere relatively quiet for a change . . . Sigh.

At some point today I need to go back out and make a Target run. I forgot to get wrapping paper or a bag for the bridal shower gifts. They're actually very funny. I got everything at Turandot, this fun little knick-knack type shop down the street. I got a magnet there for Cavan that reads “I've found Jesus. He ws behind the couch the whole time.” The stuff I got for Shannon was all very silly. I figured we'd get something for them off their registry right before the wedding, not for the shower. The girl holding it, Nancee, swears it's not a regular “shower” and we shouldn't bring anything, but who wants to seem cheap?

I wish I could go back in time and change everything about my own wedding. I would have shit-tons more money because I would have just eloped. No one was satisfied or happy with everything – seems like all the people on my side were like, “Hey, cool, whatever.” And his side was like, “Couldn't you have done this, or done that, or tried it this way?”
I would have enjoyed an ultra-modern swanky shindig, or nothing at all.

Has any one noticed the commericals for the Westminster dog show? I think it's funny that they realize there's a certain kitsch factor and don't take themselves too seriously with the Rocky-esque music and the shots of the dogs, but there's a part of me that doesn't like it all. I enjoy the commercials when they're on, but once they go off, I start thinking about whose idea it was to make these dogs look the way they do. I mean, who decided that Corgis should have their tails cut off, or that Dobermans need their ears clipped? It's ridiculous. To enter your dog in a show, he or she has to look a certain way, and it's rarely ever the way the dog came into this world. They're cut, trimmed, blow-dried, docked, shaved, and clipped into a completely different looking animal.
It also irritates me that most people's response to that frustration is “Those dogs probably live better than I do!” Except you never had someone tie a rubberband around your tail tighter and tighter until your tail finally just rotted off.