A disconcerting end to a lovely holiday

The boys and I spent Thanksgiving weekend with my parents. It was a great trip, in spite of the ridiculously long drive (thank goodness for free satellite radio previews and marshmallow crispy treats). The food was fantastic, as always, and Betsy and I were able to get out for three heart-pumping hikes up the hill.

The only caveat is that I’m a bit worried about my Barley. He’s been pooping four to fives times a day and sleeping and drinking more than usual (so far as I can tell). A few nights, he was lying down and panting very hard, but he was always fine by morning. Also, last night, when we got home, he had a major accident in the kitchen. He peed all over the floor while he was just standing there. He’s always good about letting me know he has to go outside, but, this time, he didn’t even acknowledge he was peeing. He had been out only a couple hours before, so it was very unusual for him to have to go again that soon.

Now, in retrospect, I’m wondering if Barley isn’t responsible for a few more accidents I’d previously blamed on Dougal. That poor kid was convicted based on past history, not real evidence. I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t my scrappy senior instead.

So, the short end to this story is that my Barley is on my official watch list. He’ll probably be heading to the vet this week, too. With his liver condition, I don’t want to wait too long to get a professional opinion. He’s not going to be happy, but a few blood tests might put my worried mind at ease.

If dogs lived forever…

Over the weekend, a friend’s 17-year-old dog, Dusty, passed away. For some reason (perhaps the little gray-haired old man on my lap), this loss hit me pretty hard.

Seventeen is an amazing accomplishment. Dusty lived a long, full life, longer and fuller than most. He was loved and cared for. He had a scoop of pumpkin on his food every day (good for the old bowels) and his mom sang him funny songs. I do the same for my old guy, only substitute yogurt and fish oil for the pumpkin.

Still, no matter how much we love them, care for them, threaten them with treat restriction if they even think of dying, they will die and that’s a really crappy thing. If only Barley could live with me my whole life. If he could be attached to me, so that when I die, he could come along so that neither of us ever had to be without the other. If only, if only.

I type this tonight as my old man snores on my lap, cutting off the circulation to my legs and forcing me to contort over the keyboard, careful not to disturb the rhythm of his snores. There’s no better place in the world at this moment. My sweet boogieman, the love of my life, let there be more moments just like this.

The wrong and right of it (in three bullets or less)

A few things that felt wrong this week:

• What’s with the girls who carry their purses in the crook of their elbows? Do they have arthritic hands? Did they just peel an orange? Are they waiting for a pop fly?

• There are yard signs around my work advertising Antie Jo’s daycare. Please tell me she’s a giant ant.

• At Walmart on Saturday, a father was feeding a very tiny baby powdered Donettes in the pharmacy line. I don’t know much about infants, but I suspect this is how Honey Boo Boo happened.

A few things that felt right:

He likes his sweaters tight.

• Dougal’s back in his sweaters. That pup knows he looks good.

• My old heating pad passed away last week. I got a new heating pad Saturday (hence the Walmart trip) and this is an upgrade. I’ve never been so excited to have back spasms.

• Pumpkin pie shakes are back at Jack in the Box. Thanks to the miracle of science, there’s no actual pie in these things, so they’re gluten free and delicious. They really taste like pie. It’s kinda creepy how that works out.

A case for muddling through

I saw these clouds hiking on Monday. Love this.

The Depression Monster is eating my face right now. I don’t know how to fight it, so I’m just trying to ride it out as long as I can, and hope I have some face left by the end.

I know these things tend to get better with time, so it’s a waiting game. I’m getting done what I need to get done (except the vacuuming), but I haven’t been too pleasant about any of it. Mostly I daydream about disappearing and spend my non-daydreaming time watching reality tv with Dougal. He’s quite snuggly.

Beyond that, I’m very tired, my memory is worse than usual, and I can’t seem to write anymore. My brain is mashed potatoes. With the skins on.

I read an article once that said depression changes the chemical pathways in the brain, making it easier to become depressed again and again, and harder to recover every time. The depressed brain remembers the depression and will go there quicker and easier, with stronger symptoms. That’s not the sort of article someone with depression should read, but I suspect it might be true.

But, if there’s anything good about my advancing age, it’s knowing these low points don’t last forever. The trick is muddling through it for as long as it happens to take.