I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this much in the past, but I have sleep disorders. Two, to be exact. One is a variation of insomnia called ‘delayed onset’, which means I have trouble getting to sleep to begin with. The other is called ‘alpha wave intrusion into delta sleep’ or ‘alpha-delta sleep’, which means that my brainwaves switch from delta waves (deep sleep) to alpha waves (normally awake) periodically through the night.

Typically, my sleep disorders are mostly a nuisance. I really can’t do things before noon anymore, my body just isn’t capable of it. Even with sleeping pills, I typically can’t knock myself out until between midnight and 1AM, and I need a lot of sleep. Before the inflammatory stuff started, I needed 9-10 hours pretty consistently; once it started, I typically needed about 12 hours sleep.

Lately, and I don’t know why, my sleep disorders have gone downright haywire. I’ve been having more trouble getting to sleep – 4AM, 5AM, 6AM, sometimes even 7AM roll by and still I’m wide awake. My sleep doctor tells me it’s important to wake up at the same time every day, so I try. Really, I do. I try my normal noon wake up time, and I’m so tired it hurts, so tired that I feel like there’s a lead blanket on top of me weighing me down. I go back to sleep, and wake up a few hours later because of the pain. Once again, I try to get up. Sometimes I make it to the bathroom and back. Yes, back – back to bed. Still so tired that I feel like I’m wading through molasses. Everything is slowed down or sped up, nothing feels like it’s moving on normal time, and it’s so hard to understand sounds around me. I’m sure my fiance’s sounds are words, but what words I do not know. Even when I know what words I’m hearing, it’s hard to make sense of them, hard to figure out what the sentence means. So I go back to sleep again.

I know I’m not supposed to, but here’s the thing: if I try to stay up, if I get out of bed so that I’ll have less temptation to fall back asleep, I just fall asleep wherever I am. I’m more prone to having night terrors when I’m sitting up, and I’m also much more prone to jerking awake. When I have night terrors (which are not at all the same thing as nightmares), I flail in my sleep. I hit and kick hard enough that I’ve fractured a finger hitting the wall and given many a black eye to people sharing my bed (I may have broken a friend’s nose when we were kids, but we’re not really sure – her nose had been broken once by a baseball a few years before that). I’ve had them ever since I was 10 or so. I suppose that means I have three sleep disorders, really, but that one hasn’t been officially diagnosed. It kind of surprises me that I don’t remember my parents asking anyone about it when I was younger, as they were quite violent and frequent.

I digress. Anyhow, if I try to stay awake, it doesn’t work until I’ve had enough sleep. And right now, my body is requiring somewhere between 12 and 15 hours. I don’t feel refreshed, I feel exhausted. Worst of all, I’m out of my sleep medications. I saw my sleep doctor on Tuesday, and he said he’d write for Rozerem for me. Rozerem is not the best of the sleep meds I’ve tried, but the sleep doctor is now concerned that I may have developed sleep apnea in addition to everything else, and the other drug I have tried can make apnea worse – quite dangerous. Anyhow, he didn’t remember to send the prescription, so my fiance called Wednesday, and again on Thursday, and finally the doctor sent in the prescription. Unfortunately, my insurance company requires a prior authorization, so I won’t be able to get my medication until Monday at the earliest (it theoretically could have gone through on Friday, but it appears my sleep doctor is not exactly on top of things, and the part of the insurance company that does prior authorizations isn’t in on the weekends). Meanwhile, I’m a wreck, and exhausted all the time. My pain levels are worse, and I know that the two negative cycles are feeding off each other.

I have the exam for my summer course on July 15th, so I am hoping that things are straightened out ASAP so I won’t be trying to take an exam in this state. I’d be worried about me falling asleep; as a matter of fact, I think I will make sure I have alarms set on my phone every hour or so to make sure that I don’t doze too long if I do fall asleep. Because of my disabilities, I have accommodations for exams (time and a half, special chair, etc) so I take my exam in a little room all by myself instead of in a lecture hall like everyone else. It’s a weird set-up, but it really does help with exam taking.

All this is to say, I feel terrible, and I haven’t been able to catch up with or do anything. I had hoped to work on writing this summer; I have novels that float at the back of my head, and I haven’t gotten to write them yet. I’ve only written two pages this summer. A pair of mages battling an evil defeated but not destroyed long ago await me in one piece that has twenty-some pages written; the avatar of the god of the sea is ready to set sail in another; contact with an alien race and a re-interpretation of a mainstream human religion (particularly as it pertains to love, gender, and sexuality) as understood by aliens lurks in another quiet place in my mind. There’s also a young adult novel that waits there, one about honor and duty, sword and king and country, and discovering oneself and love. I like all of the stories; I think they’re good enough to get the full length treatment. I just…I don’t have enough me to go around lately. I go to class, I read, and I watch TV, because just now, doing the reading and going to class is taking almost all of my ‘me’, and there isn’t enough left over to write. It’s frustrating, to have all these pieces just gathering dust. Hopefully, the 6 remaining weeks of the summer, after my exams are done, will be enough to get some serious writing done. And then, well, back to the grind for one fucking final goddamn semester (you can tell I’m frustrated, eh?) and I’ll be done with this damn degree. Then it’s just studying for the MPRE (multi-state professional responsibility exam) and the Bar exam, and…well, I guess that will be that. It looks like I have the option of taking the MPRE in August, which might be smarter, as I’m taking Professional Responsibility now and that’s all the MRPE tests on.

There’s another thing I want to talk about, regarding family, but I think that will have to be another night, as writing about THAT will wind me up and upset me, and it’s late enough that doing that might keep me up longer tonight. I can only hope I get to sleep before dawn comes.

We’re still settling in, but we’ve moved, and I very much like our new space. Why? Well, it’s fully accessible. For the first time, I can fairly easily do anything needed for myself. The whole apartment is on one level. One bathroom has a tub, while the other has a no-step shower with a fold down seat and handrails. I can get things to eat in the middle of the night (which I often need to do), because I don’t have to go up or down any stairs. We have more ‘usable’ space – no basement for storage like the old place, but instead we have more square footage of ‘living space’. We moved from a narrow turn of the century rowhouse into a big apartment (similar era, but more thoroughly rehabbed). These apartments were intended to be sold as condos, but the bottom dropped out of the market and they started renting them. We were very lucky to get this accessible apartment. It hadn’t even been advertised, we were here to look at other units, and he mentioned having the one accessible one. It shouldn’t surprise any of you that I pounced on the opportunity and asked to see it. We like it quite a bit.

The dogs are still not entirely sure what to make of the new space. They are also learning how to run on hardwood floors. It really is hilarious to see them when they’re too excited to think about how they’re moving. Bailey gives up on stopping and just collides with things (particularly the love seat). Both dogs almost run in place while they try to start moving, their paws not having enough grip on the floor to push them forward they way they want.

My fiance and I are both very happy with the new space. It’s a much more attractive space. It’s where a pair of young professionals live, not student digs. The sort of place you’d like to have friends over for dinner.

Instead of a dining room, we have a library. We have enough books to cover a whole wall with bookcases (well, to be honest, I have enough books for that – few of them are the fiance’s). We got an Ikea Poang chair, because my angry joints like them, and my old dish chair will be going there as soon as we can get the former roommate to pay for a new cushion (he’d left piles of clothing and whatnot on it, which attracted the mice to it, so they…well, mice are filthy creatures, they excreted on it). Our dining room table is in there, in a corner, but we don’t expect to use it often. When it’s just us, we tend to eat while watching T.V. (I know, a theoretically terrible habit, but it’s at least partially because dining chairs tend to be uncomfortable for me), so it only needs to be pulled out for friends.

We also have a lovely new addition to the house – I am now the owner of a big floor loom. I’ll be able to weave cloth out of my own handspun yarn, among other things. It was a very good deal because it requires a bit of work. Nothing major, it seems – a chain replaced, some straps adjusted, re-tying some bits, and a great deal of cleaning, that sort of things. I’m quite excited to get it going! Now I just need to acquire some weaving books…(yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve quite a thing for books).

Our former roommate left us in an awkward position. He never retrieved his things, and he didn’t pay rent for several months leading up to when we moved out. He left his room an utter and complete disaster that took the fiance about a day to clean up, he got paint on my antique mahogany four-poster bed, and a large spill of it on the carpet. He burned a hole in my duvet cover and got paint on the duvet itself. He hasn’t answered any messages of any variety since January. I don’t know what’s going on; I was concerned for him when he disappeared. Most of what I am left with at this point is that this is not how you treat friends. You just don’t.

So that’s where things stand now.

I’ve finished physical therapy for my back and ribs, and my pain levels are down somewhat. I’m still having trouble with waking up very painful, due to the whatever-it-is inflammatory condition. We still haven’t figured that out yet; it’s been almost a year and a half. For the last say 8 months or so, I’ve had psoriasis on my scalp, though it was only just diagnosed recently. I’m supposed to try a medicated shampoo, but my insurance is giving me the run-around on that. My GP is sending me to a dermatologist, because of the psoriasis and constant irritation on my arms, which could be auto-immune, and could be related to the hand, wrist, foot, ankle, and knee swelling plus the muscle stiffness and pain that gets much worse after stillness or motions repeated too often.

The fiance and I will be heading out to a gym this weekend, to see if we can find something suitable both distance and price wise. The best candidate so far is up a flight or two of stairs, so I’ll have to decide if that’s worth it. The physical therapy place I went to is part of a gym; if this one doesn’t work out for me, I’ll be going to that one and the fiance will probably be going to the closer one. Frankly, the only drawback for me on the PT gym is distance (about 30 minutes driving) – it has all of the machines I need, including some somewhat unusual ones like a rotational torso machine and a upper body ergometry (UBE, aka an arm bike) that would be really good for me. We’d probably both go there, so we could exercise at the same time, except that they don’t have a squat cage and that’s something the fiance is really set on having.

Hudson and Bailey have been continuing about the same with each other. She wants to be close to him, but he doesn’t reciprocate (though he doesn’t try to run her off, and he rarely moves away). She pushes him out of the way to get to things, especially people, but she yields easily to him with anything BUT people. The dogs are mostly settling in. Bailey is more prone to whining in her crate here, because she can hear and see more of us moving around in the apartment, I think. We’ve had a couple episodes of Hudson growling at sounds; it was particularly bad before I trimmed his eyebrows (they had gotten longer than I usually let them, and may have been bothering him). He was behaving much better, but then today he started growling again. If it happens one more time, we’ll be off to the vet to see if there is something wrong with him that I’m not seeing, as a dog who isn’t feeling well is more likely to growl at sounds. The other awkward thing is that there is no longer a yard we can just toss the dogs out into when they need to do their business. We have to put leashes on and walk down the long ramp (but yay, the apartment has a ramp, so I can get out on my scooter by myself!) to let them go on the lawn. Bailey had some accidents in the house, we think mostly due to the stress of moving. On the whole, I suppose they’re dealing with it as well as can be expected, but it’s been a long time since I last moved with a dog in tow, so it’s all new to me.

Neither of the dogs like the bare hardwood floors, nor do my feet, so we ordered some pretty but cheap oriental patterned rugs. They’re thin, but we can always get a good rug pad to back them and make them feel more plush underfoot. That’s another errand for this weekend.

My summer class has started. I have class 3 days a week for 2 hours, so many many contact hours per week, but it’s not too bad. I’m taking Professional Responsibility, which is a required to get my degree. This is the second time I’ve taken this class – the first time, I had to withdraw halfway through due to the back injury. I like this professor VERY much more than the last one. The last professor liked dwelling on all of the hard questions, the gray areas where there aren’t any neat answers. When we’re talking about the rules of professional conduct that I’m required to live by for the rest of my career, I’d like to have answers! I’d like to know what my responsibilities look like! I don’t want to have piles of questions I have to answer ‘maybe’. ‘Maybe’ is a terrible answer.

I mean to work on some writing this summer. So far, though, I keep giving in to the temptation to flick on the TV and veg out with my fiance. I’ll have to change that if I mean to get anything written this summer! I have a couple stories bubbling in the back of my brain, where the loose outline is there, but the details all need to be drawn in.

Summer team training is starting soon for my service dog school. I’m considering going for a day or two, depending on schedules and the weather and my health. I haven’t been in too long, and besides that, someone I know via disability related things online is getting a dog from my school this summer. I’d like to meet her in person! She also has EDS, which would bring me up to 3 fellow EDSers that I’ve met in person. Besides that, it’s good to be with service dog people now and again. They get disability, and they get being kind of forced to be program ambassadors, in a way that people who aren’t just can’t, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Hi out there. I’m still alive. My heart still beats, my lungs still breathe, my body still keeps running along, and my mind struggles to handle the situation.

We know now that my back injury is almost 100% definitely all muscular. The only shadow of doubt is that with EDS, imaging studies can be a bit…less than accurate. What our spines and brains look like when we’re laid out prone and what they look like when we’re upright don’t really match up. I’m hoping to get a set of imaging done on an upright MRI later this spring or possibly this summer. I’m afraid of the results, as I have so damn many symptoms of a condition called Chiari, where parts of the brain (the cerebellar tonsils) lie too low and cause pressure on the brain. It would explain so much – the random waves of vertigo, the fainting and borderline low blood pressure, the tingling and pain in my hands, arms, feet, and legs, the memory issues, etc etc etc. It’s one of those situations where neither answer is good, and I probably should be pushing for the answer faster but to be honest I’m a bit tired just now.

I have a new injury to add to the pile – I managed to dislocate two of my ribs just shy of a month ago. It has been exceedingly uncomfortable, and it flared up the back problems again. Things are settling down, and I’ve been fitted for a brace that may make long-term improvements to the condition of my back. The drawback is that it’s a rather bulky thing, and not terribly attractive. In the short term, I intend to wear it over my clothes; in the long term, I am not sure whether I will buy larger clothes that it can be hidden under or continue to wear it outside or perhaps only wear it when I am in pain. I just don’t know. It isn’t the first time that I’ve had to wear a visible brace – my knee braces are visible when I wear shorts or skirts, and my finger braces are visible any time I wear them. It’s just that when more formal dress is called for, I can easily hide the knee braces with a long skirt, and my finger braces are made of silver and relatively attractive (not to mention I generally only wear them for things like typing and crafting). This brace will be harder to hide. If I buy larger clothes, they will not be flattering at all to my body, and you’ll be able to see the outline of the brace under my clothing quite easily. So at least for now, while I am wearing mostly t-shirts and jeans, I’m not going to cover up the brace.

Anyhow, moving along. I’ve had to drop one of my three classes because of my damn injuries, which is terribly frustrating. I’ll end this semester with 78 units, and I need a total of 88 to graduate. Because of the damn dropped class this semester, I’ll need to add a summer course to make sure I have enough units to graduate. It’s a frustrating situation, where I can look back and say (at this point) that I have paid for and worked on 28 more units than I will have credit for, because I wasn’t able to finish them due to injury or illness. It works out to about a year and a half of my life just thrown away, or at least it feels like ‘just thrown away’. Ugh. And having taken so long to get through law school, the finer points of your basic classes are a bit…fuzzy. I’ll need to re-learn the material in order to take the bar exam. It’s terribly frustrating, all of this, and I don’t have words to explain just how angry the whole thing makes me. I just…I just want to be done, I just want to be practicing and helping people. I don’t WANT to be in any more classes – at this point, I’ve been taking classes for 13 of the last 14 years (one of those at half-time while in high school, but I was taking college classes all the same). I’m more than ready to be done with school.

I’ve got to let go of that now, or I’ll spend the whole night awake, frustrated and angry and spinning my wheels thinking about how unfair it has all been.

Bailey continues to be a lovely pet, though she’s a bit of trouble. She’s been getting into fights at our dog park; what seems to happen is that other dogs get somewhat aggressive with her, and then…well, she may not start the fight, but she’s quite willing to finish it. 3 of the last 4 times have resulted in a minor fight. There have never been any serious injuries, just scratches once or twice, but it’s not good all the same.

We’re moving next month, ugh ugh ugh. I like the new apartment, though it is a little farther from school than the current place. It’s on the ground floor, and it’s accessible (!!), so it’ll be easy for me to get my scooter in and out, and one of the bathrooms has a fold-down seat in it. Wonderful! It’s a 2-bedroom place, and very recently re-done. They had intended to make them condos, but then the market tanked and they became apartments. I’m not sure how the size of our current place relates to the size of our new place – the figures I’m finding online for the square footage of our current place just can’t be accurate! I know that the new place isn’t 50% bigger than the old place, but that’s the lie the internet is telling me right now. I think they may be very similar in size and just very different in shape. Everything is squarer, instead of the long narrow rooms you get in row houses. We’ll have a sitting room and a library, and the second bedroom will mostly be storage for my craft stuff, along with things like my drafting table so that I can paint. I hope that being in the apartment won’t make our dog-related allergies worse, but it’s a definite possibility. Perhaps the hardwood floors will make up for it.

I don’t know if my aide will follow me to the new apartment. It’s not convenient for her, but oh will I ever miss her if she doesn’t come with me. I just discovered that there’s a way to get to the new place that will take her the same amount of time as getting to here, so she just might come with us. That would make me very happy. Having a totally trustworthy personal care assistant/aide is not something you can take for granted. I know that Nikki will do what I ask when I ask it, and do it my way even if she’s got a different way she prefers to do it. I also know she won’t steal, as she’s worked for me 4 years and had plenty of opportunity and never taken anything, even money (accidentally) left in plain sight. She’s also very good at her job and hard working. I’ll be all kinds of torn up if she doesn’t continue working for me! To top that off, there’s no longer a good system for me to get a new aide. It used to be that there were agencies that employed the aides, so if you didn’t like yours, you could request another. They made a big shift in my state on how the aides are organized now, and to be blunt there really isn’t an organization of aides anymore. No one I can turn to and say ‘excuse me, I need an aide!’ All of us who employ aides now have to find them for ourselves. It’s not a great situation in my humble opinion. I don’t want to be putting ads in Craigslist or whatever, and hope that the new person is anywhere near as good and honest as Nikki. Besides all the doing her job well stuff, I like Nikki. She’s good people. And if I’m too far away, it works out bad for both of us, because of that lack of organization. There isn’t anyone SHE can go to and say ‘I need another person to work for.’ It’s just a yucky situation all around. Apparently it’s costing the state less (my aide is paid by my state, because I am disabled and broke).

Ugh, enough of that.

As you can see, things have been a bit more interesting around here than I’d really prefer them to be. All this time, and I owe a company a product review for some stuff that I’m very fond of and would like to tell you about! Not to mention how little I’ve written about my life, and being a service dog partner, and being a law student, and being disabled, and so on. I’ve written near nothing that wasn’t school related in ages. I have piles of notes for my various classes, but nothing personal and nothing literary. Blah. I suppose it’s a pretty good reflection on my life lately.

In the to-do box are things like visits to a neurologist, seeing an ophthalmologist and getting new glasses, packing up and moving into the new place (we take possession on the 15th, and have to be completely out of the current place by the end of next month, so we’ve got a bit of time for ferrying things back and forth). I have a knitted project that I really must get finished, as it was sold to someone in exchange for a large donation to helping orphanages in Haiti. I’ve also got to alter my mother’s Christmas present (I knitted a sweater and it just didn’t fit) and finish my nephew’s Christmas presents (a pair of crochetted lions, which just need to have their faces embroidered on at this point, but I’ve little love for embroidery).

So many things to do, and just the two hands to do it, with one of them twitching randomly in a most annoying fashion. I’ve had a very mild intention tremor since I was 13 or so, but now I have this major shaking both at rest and when I try to do some actions, like holding something still (rather ironic, that, isn’t it? I try to hold something still and instead I shake it). One more thing in the pile. I’ve been having my nails break, my skin dry and breaking out, and my scalp hurting and flaking and scabbing over, and we’re not real sure of why just yet either – it could be my thyroid, but it’s rather unlikely, and I don’t know what the next possibility after that is.

Anyhow, I am rather tired now, and when I get sleepy, I must away to bed. My insomnia is a pain if I do something stupid and work through being sleepy. Good night, everyone, and I hope that things have been treating you better lately than they have me!

Hi Guys,

Sorry I haven’t been updating. See, here’s what’s been going on. The Lyme infection that started last spring but only got diagnosed last December finally gave up the ghost after 4 courses of antibiotics. I was starting to feel a lot better. Hudson rebounded quickly from his fear of the vet’s office, and thinks it’s fun and interesting again. We adopted a second dog, Bailey, who we think is an American Staffordshire Terrier, which is one of the breeds that gets lumped into ‘Pits’ – about 50 lbs, black and white tuxedo markings including a dusting of white on her snout that makes her look like she poked her snout into a snow bank, and the most people-oriented dog I’ve ever met. She’s a dog who loves her people so much that she dances and wags her whole body when you’ve been gone for 30 seconds (no exaggeration). Unfortunately, she’s a rather oily dog, so we can’t let her in the bedroom, because it makes both of our allergies worse, so she sleeps in her crate downstairs. She adores my fiance, who feels pretty similarly about her, and they take each other out on walk/runs every morning and some afternoons. She’s a rescue, and has had at least two litters of puppies before she was removed from her former owner by the SPCA. She’s somewhat fearful of women and children, but she seems to be improving quite quickly now that she’s in a happy home. The SPCA estimated her age at 3-5, but I think she’s even younger than that. She acts rather puppy-ish in the most endearing ways – the playfulness and desire for cuddling and belly-rubs. We’d hoped that Hudson would take to her; in practice, they mostly tolerate each other and only very occasionally play together, while the closest they come to cuddling is both of them trying to get the spot at my feet.

About 3 weeks after we adopted her, Bailey very suddenly got very, very sick. She couldn’t keep down even water. It turned out that at some point before we got her, she had swallowed a corn cob. The vet told us that’s not uncommon for dogs; apparently, they love corn cobs. Anyhow, it was blocking the opening from stomach to her intestines, which is why she was so sick. She needed surgery, and quickly became our $5,000 mutt. Fortunately, the shelter provided us with a health insurance plan that lasted for 30 days after the adoption, so $750 of her care was covered (the maximum benefit of the plan). Anyhow, while that make for a really eventful week, that’s not really where all the trouble started.

In October, less than a week after we adopted Bailey, the dogs knocked me over. Hudson was frisking because I’d just gotten up for the day and Bailey was frisking because I’d just let her out of her crate. They were running in and out of the kitchen doorway, and one of them (I think Bailey) jumped sideways to avoid colliding with the other and instead knocked my leg out from under me. I fell sideways into the wall. It felt like a minor thing, and I already had a prescription for physical therapy on my back because I’d twisted wrong in my sleep and tweaked something. So I started seeing my physical therapist, who is really, really good. Usually, when I’ve done something to the muscles in my back, I start feeling better VERY quickly – like, within 2-3 visits. But this time, it was getting more and more painful, and I couldn’t get to his office because my fiance’s hours kept him from driving me and the taxis were only making things worse. I saw my doctor and got referred to the rehabilitative medicine specialists attached to the good inpatient rehab center in my city. They put the fear of god in me, because they pointed out that by the time I saw them, it was sounding more and more like a spinal injury. Now, there’s a chance that all that’s going on is that the paraspinal muscles – the ones that run right along the spine, which in older medical lexicon are known as the erectors spinae – are spasming and pressing on the nerves as they exit the spine. But there’s also a solid chance that I’ve injured my spine, either in the neck or in the low back/lumbar region. I finally have the MRI scheduled for this Saturday, and they’ll be doing a whole bunch of views of my neck because there’s a chance that what’s going on is that I have cranio-cervical instability, which is a Known Thing in people with EDS (in fact, one of my closest friends just had surgery to stabilize hers this summer). Basically, your head is attached to your spine by connective tissue, and as we people with EDS have lousy connective tissue, sometimes the head isn’t attached well enough, which can lead to what’s called internal decapitation – pretty much what it sounds like, the head and spine moving apart and severing the spinal cord. It’s a scary possibility, and unfortunately this recent injury ups the likelihood that I’ve got that going on somewhat.

Anyhow, for the last half of October, November, and the first half of December, I was basically stuck in bed totally horizontal more than 20 hours a day. Some days, I only got out of bed long enough to go do the very minimum to survive – eating and using the bathroom. I hope you’ll all forgive me for being somewhat incommunicando under those circumstances. Out of the blue, I woke up one day in December feeling much better. Like a sensible person, I decided to travel across the country and spend the holidays with my family. Okay, I’ll admit it wasn’t sensible, but I only get out there on alternating years for Christmas, and I have a very much loved nephew who is growing up so fast…well, I couldn’t bear to miss the holidays. Fortunately, things have stayed much the same physically for me for the last month or so. I have bad days now and then, but for the most part I can at least socialize for most of the day.

The new semester started this Monday, and I have already missed two classes (though only one was entirely my fault – the other is because I had to switch classes after finding out that a class aimed at people who ‘speak Spanish’ really demanded fluency, when my Spanish is more or less broken). The one that was my fault, well, I have 2 classes back to back Tuesday and Thursday, and the one that goes first on Tuesday is in the room with the chairs that are uncomfortable at best. With my back behaving the way it is, ‘best’ is not a common state.

So that’s where things stand now. I find out next week or so what my back looks like and how we’re going to have to treat it. It’s been quite, quite rough, and frustrating, and I lost a full semester of work, which means I have to petition to get an extra semester beyond what my school normally allows as the absolute maximum for people to graduate. The dean says it’s likely I’ll get it, but I’m anxious. And I’m anxious about my back. It’s just been more stress than anyone should have to deal with, but it sometimes feels like that’s just a day in the life of Kali.

A few months ago, we had a bit of a struggle with our landlord. You see, the landlord decided they wanted to sell the house we are living in. We were past the renewal date on our lease, and as such, I insisted that we get to stay – totally within our contract rights, but not something the landlord wanted.

The last two months, our rent checks have mysteriously ‘not arrived’ at the landlord’s office. Hmm. Bit suspicious, given the timing, eh? It means we owe an extra $50 each time, for being late on the rent.

Anyhow, we’re going to start sending the rent checks via Certified Mail so that we have proof of mailing, but I’d really like to pull the landlord out into the open, you know? I want proof that we were cheated, in the hopes that we can do something about it. Anyone have any ideas?

A friend of mine who has been going through some real hard times (she’s disabled and hasn’t gotten approved for disability yet) has a piece of her work up for auction on ebay. She’s an awesome artist and about 1/2 of the money I raised a few years ago to get Hudson came because she publicized my fundraising. It’s only fair to turn around and help her when she needs it!

Anyhow, this lovely piece shows what an artist can do with an item from her childhood. This is her first publicly available piece of this particular variety, and I think it’s really lovely.

Please, have a look, and if you know anyone who might be interested in this piece, forward the link to them!



Hi guys,

Sorry I haven’t been around much. It’s been a rough several months. I’m still having my Lyme disease treated (and that’s mostly going well), I had a minor back injury (a small fan fell and hit me in the back) which is just now being treated because I had bigger issues, I had a flare-up of POTS that literally had me stuck in bed, and the end of the semester was even more hectic than usual because I was dealing with all of THAT. Ugh.

It’s been quiet here for a few weeks now, mostly. It’s nice. I go to physical therapy, which HURTS (probably the most painful series I’ve had that was doing good – my ribs have to be mobilized every time, because the muscles between them are knotted up, so the mobilization hurts).

The only thing going wrong is poor Hudson. We noticed a few weeks ago that he was getting an ear infection. Up until now, he’s always gotten yeast-type ear infections (which is typical for floppy eared dogs who don’t swim), so we treated him for a few days with the leftover drops from his last infection, and it didn’t get any better. Okay, we thought, so we need something else. Took him to the vet, and the vet confirmed that we didn’t have the right medication. He gave us a twice-a-day antibiotic for 10 days. At first, it seemed to be going well: the infection started clearing up pretty quickly. But a week into the treatment, Hudson started crying when we touched his ear, and his ear started getting really gunky again. We called the vet, and rather than have us come in, the vet suggested that it he had a secondary, yeast-based infection, and had us switch back to the yeast meds. Poor puppy. We had him on that for all of two days, and things were continuing to get worse. He wouldn’t come when I called him if my fiance was near me, because that’s how we tend to position things for daily grooming, which had included ear cleaning for the past week.

After 2 days on the anti-yeast medication, with things continuing to worsen, I told my fiance to call the vet. They squeezed us in the same day, so poor Hudson got his ear looked at again today. Poor puppy. The infection had mostly been cleared by the time we stopped the antibiotic, but it had had a few days to rebound. There was no yeast secondary infection. He’d just had a reaction to the antibiotic drops – his ear was inflamed and angry, and anything we put on top of that was just making it angrier. Poor puppy!

I try not to be separated from Hudson, but sometimes the vet only has appointments that are too early for me to make. When that happens, my fiance takes Hudson to the vet alone. Apparently, Hudson has learned the route to the vet, because when my fiance made the turn that we always take going to the vet, Hudson started crying. He cried a LOT on this visit. He cried almost the entire time they were in the exam room. Another dog yelping made him start shaking and crying. When he wasn’t crying, he was displaying stress – shaking and panting hard. It was immensely pitiful.

Anyhow, he’s now on prednisone to bring the inflammation down and antibiotic pills. He’s definitely still got an infection, and it takes longer to clear it with pills because it’s basically a skin infection, but with the reaction, what else can we do? He makes himself cry when he plays, he cries when his ears get cleaned, and he doesn’t want to come to me when my fiance is not in his usual seat.

We hope that Hudson will both heal from his infection quickly and recover from the emotional stress of it. His trips to the vet alone with my fiance tend to be when he’s the sickest, and they’re definitely affecting how he perceives the vet. The last trip I made in with him, he acted stressed and unhappy to be there, when he used to think the vet’s office was a great adventure,partly because it’s the only place I let strangers pet him (I do take him out of harness first, so he knows he’s not working and can enjoy it). Maybe I’ll just have to start feeding him lots and lots of treats at the vet’s office. And hopefully, he’ll also recover from his dislike of coming over to me when my fiance is in a position to do something to him.

It’s frustrating sometimes, dealing with a fearful dog. Hudson is, well, just barely brave enough to make it as a service dog. It worries me any time I see him start losing confidence. I worry both about it being hard on Hudson and because it could have very bad repercussions on our partnership. It’s also frustrating that I can’t really work on desensitizing him, because the vet’s office is down a series of roads that are surfaced in a way that makes them very painful for me to drive over. I can, at least, work on his reluctance in the house, but the vet’s office response is another thing altogether.

There are definitely moments when the weight of being a service dog partner is a heavy one. You are so very responsible for this other creature, and service dogs are usually very sensitive creatures. Your relationship is fragile and deeply necessary for you, so sometimes you are weighing the good of your dog against your need for assistance. And sometimes…sometimes you have a situation like this, that has obviously been very hard on your dog, and there’s very little you can do to help. It hurts. Hudson is…the other part of me.


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