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Archive for May, 2014

God

This is why people believe in God. I want so badly to believe that there’s something on the other side of this life. That I’ll get another chance to see him loping towards me with a tennis ball in his mouth. Another chance to be the owner he really deserved. A chance to get answers about all of it.

My heart is broken right now. It feels like someone reached into my chest, grabbed a piece and won’t give it back. It went exactly as I’d imagined. I threw him some tennis balls and his frisbee for a few minutes when we got to the farm. My mom anesthetized him first. The anesthesia she used typically causes hallucinations and often they look terrifying but even Zef’s hallucinations were happy. First he rolled around on the floor like he was doing the happy dance he did when I gave him a bone, then he lay on his side and was running somewhere. For the actual euthanasia I cradled his head on the table and held his leg so my mom could find the vein like I had done for so many dogs so many times before. He took his last breath in my arms. That was the only time I was silent and without tears. And then I broke down again. And so did M. I don’t think he expected it to be as hard as it was.

I cried all day. I cried all evening. I woke up now in the middle of the night crying again. I’m sitting in the living room because M finally fell asleep and I don’t want to wake him up with my sobs. But even this feels wrong. Zef is supposed to come out from under the bed, give me that What-the-hell-are-you-doing-up-at-this-time-of-night look, and flop on the living room floor to sleep near me.

He showed me how to truly love every moment of life. He was my buddy when I lived in lonely apartments by myself. When I was depressed he would drop a tennis ball in my lap and give me that goofy grin of his and I would be motivated to finally move. He did so much for me and I just gave up on him.

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Home

I’ve been home for a week now and have hit every emotion from ecstasy to despair in that week.

I was so excited to be coming home and yet sad to be leaving everyone in Denver behind. And then so happy to be back in Iowa and see everyone there. Being home was more challenging than I expected. Life here isn’t structured and regimented like it was in treatment. I’m responsible for choosing and making my own meals. Our lives are hectic and chaotic and dinner might happen at 6 pm one day and 9:30 pm the next and who knows when lunch might be, if it happens at all.

And then today I made the hardest decision of my entire life. Zephyr (my dog) is the love of my life. I have loved him more than I ever thought possible to love any living thing. Up to about the age of 3 1/2 or 4 he was happy and loved all people and all dogs even if he was a spastic ball of energy. But then his personality started changing. He started becoming more aggressive to other dogs. I took him to classes and then had a trainer come work with us 1:1 at home, but it didn’t seem to help and his behavior has only gotten worse. He still goes up to people wanting to be petted and then will turn and out of the blue try to bite them. 6 months ago he bit M’s little sister. At that time I had my mom do a full medical evaluation and we started him on Prozac for aggression. She couldn’t find any medical issues. The only possible explanation is that about the time his personality changed I witnessed his first (rather long) seizure and he had another fairly long one again this spring. But his behavior has continued to get worse. He has bitten/tried to bite several friends who came to the house. He’s become a liability, I’m out of ideas for what to do for him, I’m afraid to walk him because I worry some person (or kid) will come up and try to pet him, and I don’t know that it’s much of a life not being able to be petted. So I decided to have him euthanized.

I’m so sad I can barely function right now. I feel terrible. He’s in the prime of his life and still seemingly healthy and I feel like a terrible person doing this. I feel so guilty. I feel like I failed him in some way. And I feel like I don’t deserve to own another dog.

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Last week I felt like I had really hit a turning point in this whole recovery thing. I was feeling great and things were getting easier and life was amazing. This week has been almost the exact opposite. I have had so many eating disorder thoughts and urges. I had an all-day pass on Sunday during which I missed some exchanges and had more exercise than my team had wanted me to. Coming back I was honest with my team about it (a new thing for me compared to previous treatments). When my psychiatrist even grazed the idea of pushing back my discharge date because of my struggles Sunday I made a goal of getting through the next 2 weeks with no behaviors. Easier said than done. Especially as the eating disorder thoughts are coming back with a vengeance (extinction burst?).

Today we had a lunch outing to a pizza/pasta restaurant plus we had challenge snack in the afternoon. At the beginning of community meeting I was thinking that there was no way I could keep pushing through this until my discharge date. Community is a twice weekly meeting where everyone in my treatment group (18 patients) plus all the staff (milieu coordinators, therapists, dietitians) get together and discuss things. The primary activity is where we go around the room and all the patients have to say (1) something they are accountable for, e.g. an eating disorder behavior, restriction, exercise; (2) a committed action for how they will do things differently to change that behavior; (3) gratitude for someone; and (4) a success. This was the first community meeting in a while where I was able to say that I had no accountabilities. Saying it aloud to a room full of people along with my success that I did it despite raging eating disorder thoughts/urges made me realize that even though this week has been really hard, I have been doing it. I have been succeeding. And that has made the rest of the day easier. I don’t know that it will last through tomorrow but after being disheartened by my difficult weekĀ it has given me hope.

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