Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Potluck on my Porch

Ever since I found a dead rabbit on my front porch during the heatwave, I've been keeping a bowl of water out there for the bunnies.  They like to sleep under the hedge near the water bowl.  This is what I see when I peer through the opaque glass on the door...

Imagine several of them laying around in spots where the drip system keeps the soil wet.  The quail and other birds discovered the water too, so I hear them clucking and chirping out there.

Whenever I hear a ruckus, I know something is up.  Yesterday this quail was running circles around a couple of rabbits, and one of the rabbits jumped up to bite it, annoyed that the pesky quail woke it from its nap.

It turned out that the quail was in a tizzy because a Cactus Wren was stealing all the water.  However, on most days when the birds are making a racket, there is something more sinister like a snake or coyote.

The female coyote who was living under our hedge last summer is back.  If I step silently out the front door and up the walkway, I'll take her by surprise and she'll leap out of the hedge and run across the street.  I've learned to listen for cars before stepping out front, because my presence can cause dozens of rabbits, quail families, and that coyote to run out into the road.  Sometimes the snakes and coyotes come around because they are looking for food or water, but most of the time, they just want shade.

This week was supposed to be my last week of physical therapy, but they are working with my insurance to try to keep me in the program longer.  I've been waiting for PT to end so that I can see a couple of specialists and get my dogs in to see the vet.  Each person thinks he is the only one in the world providing services to me, and they all demand a lot of my time so that they can get more money.  I decided to go ahead and just set up appointments with the specialists and the vet instead of waiting for the PT to end.

I have been a bit underwhelmed with my PT experience as of late.  A big corporation bought out the nice, personalized little company, and immediately started laying off employees after closing one branch and moving all of their patients to my branch.  I lost my therapist, and now I can't get any help.  It's like going to the gym.  You just do your workout and hope you are doing it right instead of having a physical therapist working with you every step of the way.  Also, I have to wait in line for lockers, for warm up rooms, for pillows, for heat packs and ice packs, for exercise equipment, etc.  It's a completely different clinic from what it was like a few weeks ago when I first started.  I get stressed having to work my way around all the other patients.  I have patients cutting me off or bumping me off equipment.  Every time I have to turn my body to avoid bumping into someone, it hurts my knee and hip, so the current climate is very counterproductive to my recovery.  I see no point in continuing to give them my business.

I was annoyed to find out that the orthopedist can't see me until a month from now, even though I'm in pain and can barely walk most days.  But I was even more annoyed that the other specialist couldn't get me in for two months even though I'm in pain and have horrific symptoms right now.  I agreed to see the PA in a month rather than waiting until September to see a doctor.  I wondered why the receptionist asked if I'm in pain now only to schedule me in September.

We are having a serious medical crisis here in Arizona because the majority of residents are elderly or infirmed.  I thought I'd have better luck getting in over the summer when the snowbirds leave the state, but that's not the case.  There are entirely way too many people and not enough doctors here.  So, I guess I'm on my own with my pain.

I've been calling my general practitioner repeatedly over the past week because he asked me to call and leave him a message with specific information.  However, every time I leave a message asking for someone to call me back (because I have a question), they never do, and when I wait on hold, no one ever picks up.  I'm thinking about writing him a letter.  Next time I'll ask for his email address.  I've also been considering just setting up an appointment to see him in person to give him the information, but that will cost my insurance another $120.  It's truly getting to be ridiculous.  My husband occasionally peruses houses for sale in cooler parts of Arizona to get us out of the heat, but I think I'd rather just move to a state where I can get prompt medical care.  I'm tired of always being put on waiting lists.  It seems I'm never the priority.

I was really hoping that I could see the two specialists, get the PT done, and possibly have knee surgery all before fall, but now I can see that my goals either may never get met or I'm going to have to forfeit my horseback riding season next year while I recover from surgery.  This is totally annoying, because I had a different surgery last November, and I backed out of doing a second surgery because I didn't want to lose horseback riding days.  I said I would do the second surgery over the summer, but now I've got much bigger problems like not being able to sleep or walk or eat, and that takes priority.

I called the vet's office to set up an appointment to get Scrappy's thyroid levels tested so that I can get a refill of his medication, and they were ready to receive him today in a couple of hours.  However, I'll have to wait until tomorrow, because he can't eat breakfast on the day of the appointment.  Arizona takes better care of their pets than their people.

This morning I couldn't sleep because of the knee pain, so I was sitting up playing a video game when Scrappy walked up and proceeded to retch on the carpet.  I jumped up to grab him and carry him over to the tile where it's much easier to clean up vomit, but my knee twisted and then locked up.  I was stuck in this bent over position and couldn't move.  I let out a howl and that got Stewie barking, which got Midge barking, which woke up my husband, and he tried to help me back to the couch.  That's when he informed me that he nearly died in his sleep.  He woke up and was unable to breathe.  He finally got his breath back after a minute of gurgling and thrashing around.  He was trying to get my help, but I couldn't hear anything from the other room.  A doctor tried to treat him for sleep apnea years ago, but he wasn't interested in getting help for that.

So, now it looks like I'm going to be on nurse duty not just for my dogs and myself, but for my husband too.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all our health problems go away, because things are totally out of control.  Every time I think they can't get worse, they do.  We also have relatives who have serious health problems and need our help.  We're scared that they may have to either move in with us or move close to us.  Worse yet, we're scared that we're going to have to sell one of our homes and give up our retirement savings to pay for it.  We've been avoiding getting involved because we're trying to take care of ourselves, and we can't do anyone else any good in our current conditions.

The dogs have been going nuts because of all the fireworks and people coming to our doors constantly.  I'm at a point where I just stick my fingers in my ears and wait ten minutes for the barking to stop.  I can't train dogs if I can't stand up and walk without twisting and locking my knee.  At this point, I'd be happy if I could just get some sedatives prescribed.  My doctor has made it abundantly clear that he's not going to give me pain medication.  The thing is that every time something stresses me out, my leg pain gets worse.

While I was typing this someone came to the door.  The dogs saw him through the window and barked, and he ran off without knocking.  I'm sure it was someone who was up to no good, probably looking for houses that show signs of people being away on vacation..  I used to be the biggest deterrent in our neighborhood to burglars, because I was always outside working with the horses, but now I'm always inside lying on the couch, and the bad guys are taking full advantage of my absence.  I limped a few feet out the front door last night to watch several fireworks displays in the distance, and I could hear that ass on the ATV out on the bridle trails racing around.  I figured the police were too busy monitoring the 4th of July crowds to deal with him.  It's frustrating not being mobile.  Things come up that require physical effort, but I just can't get involved.

Yesterday my husband wanted to get out of the house, and I reminded him that I can't walk like I used to.  I agreed to go to a restaurant where I could sit, though.  We ended up going to a buffet-style restaurant.  I had to move slowly because of my leg pain, and people just kept cutting me off and stepping in front of me every time I tried to get a look at the selection of food.  The stress of having to fight for some space to reach out and put something on my plate resulted in me having an upset stomach.  It didn't help that the only food items I was able access were scrambled eggs and Mexican food.  Then there was this lady who kept pacing back and forth next to our table, and she was making me a nervous wreck.  Then the family at the table next to us had to tell their server all about their camping trip in great detail, and the server kept sticking her butt in my face while she stood there chatting with them.  All of it was too much for me, and I thought I was going to hurl right there at the table.  Fortunately, we had a very attentive server named Michael who kept the glasses of water coming.  His pleasant demeanor calmed me down a bit and I was able to focus on keeping my food in my stomach.  I don't think I'll be attending any buffet restaurants in the future, though.

I'm working out the details in my new barn chore routine using the Mule.  There's an indentation on the tailgate that acts like a trap and catches manure when I dump it.  I've been keeping gloves in the glove compartment and wiping the manure off, but it's too time consuming.  I have to do everything fast in this heat.  So, I'm going to look for a whisk broom to keep in the glove compartment instead.  Another hassle is that we've got all these large rocks around the hose spigot, so I can't drive right up to it.  I have to park a ways back and walk.  I'm going to have to find the energy to relocate all those rocks using the Mule.  The third thing is that it's a pain for me to have to go get the key to the tack room every time I need to get in there.  I'll have to figure out some shortcut that won't cause me more work in the long run, but will also keep the tack room locked so that our local burglars can't get their grubby hands on my saddles.  Otherwise, manure clean up and feeding times are moving much faster thanks to the Mule.


lytha said...

I just found a product, an artificial dog device that barks when someone approaches your door. I want it! I've read that burglars are most deterred by 1. dogs and 2. TVs that are on. The same company makes an artificial TV that looks like a TV is on in your house. I want it! But that would only work at night, when we're always here....

I have to admit reading your blog does not make me want a dog. I hope they are very affectionate with you to make up for all the barking!: ) They must be or you wouldn't have them.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - The dogs can be a total pain in the butt, but mainly because I'm in pain and can't deal with them. Of course, they have their redeeming values. I will never own another dog again because of my situation, but if someone is young and patient and they have the means, I don't see why they shouldn't get a dog. My case is really very special. Two of my dogs are deaf and blind with serious diseases that require a lot of medical attention, and I moved to a property that is not set up for little dogs with too much wildlife for me to keep the dogs outside. I figured I'd be taking care of them for two more years tops after we moved here based on their ages and illnesses, but it's been five years, and all that time I've been developing my own handicaps and illnesses, making it harder and harder for me to take care of them. Most people are not in that identical situation.

I was floored by the number of people at the PT clinic who said that their dogs either ran away from home or got diarrhea and pooped all over their house during the fireworks. One guy was saying that he just trained his dog to like fireworks by taking him to a show and tossing the dog a treat every time there was an explosion.

I think that the people who keep coming to my door uninvited are the problem -- not the dogs barking. I want them to bark and protect the house. I think visiting people's private homes without an invitation is no longer appropriate in today's society. It's a behavior left over from the mid-1900s. Considering that the majority of people who do knock on my door just want to scam me out of money or convert me to their religion, why bother answering? I want the dogs to chase them off.