Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All moved in

OMG what a week!

We are now moved in to our new place, and I just have to say - I am NEVER moving again! Aaarrrggghh!!! What a pain in the butt!

We thought we were doing great on Friday morning, (remember, we hired trucks and moved ourselves) - and by 11am we had one truck loaded with all the outside stuff. Hubby is a carpenter/builder, so he has a large amount of building materials that needed to me moved (and they say that I'M the hoarder!!). Then it was on to the inside stuff - which quickly filled the second truck WAY before the house was empty.

Why on earth do TWO people need to live in a four bedroom house, with enough furniture and crap for 6 people??

Anyway, then the boys had to take the loaded trucks down to the new place (15 mins away) and unload them in the new yard, then bring the empty trucks back for more loading. Ugh. There was no way in hell we were going to be out of there by settlement time (3pm) - so I had to ring the real estate and apologise. We didn't get out of there until almost 6pm!!

So that meant that we didn't get to the new place until after dark - unloading in the dark has got to be a movers worst nightmare. Thank goodness for friends and family for all their help, and if we EVER move again - can we please get removalists in????

Everybody did too much - everybody was wrecked by Saturday. Even hubby admitted he underestimated the job and was wrecked (and thats a big thing for him to admit!). I was a mess. I found the day to be extremely frustrating. Everyone kept saying "dont you lift that" or "put that down - you're meant to be taking it easy" - but seriously, you cant sit down and relax while everyone else is working their arse off. So I worked all day and ended up with swollen ankles, a WICKED varicose vein in my left leg and lower back pain that wont go away.

Its so frustrating when you know what you are normally capable of, but because of pregnancy you just cant do it anymore. I felt quite weak and useless, and I'm not used to feeling like that.

Nevermind, we're in now... I've got this week off work, so I've been slowly unpacking and doing what I can. I got hit with heartburn/indigestion from hell on Monday - which turned into a mild version of those stomach pains I used to get a few years ago. I was up all night doubled over, my whole digestion felt like it was on fire. Thats what you get when you eat crap for a few days, or get so busy that you forget to eat and then overeat as a consequence. Lesson learned. Heartburn is still there (one of those lovely side effects of pregnancy) but I'm feeling better. The stress of everything hasn't helped, I feel very overwhelmed by it all at the moment.

Elke has become an indoor dog, which we love. She is following me around like a lost sheep, I cant move from one room to the next without her following me everywhere. She is loving the acreage, but is still a little apprehensive about it. Its not fully fenced yet, so she gets to explore it under supervision at the moment, and gets locked inside an enclosed patio area to sleep, or when we go out. She is such a good indoor dog, but I wonder how long it will last - once she's used to this place she'll probably want to be outside again!

Ooh yeah - I'm going for a pregnancy massage today - cant wait! I'm also going to get an iphone tomorrow, because pretty soon I'm going to have to give back my work mobile (and laptop - boohoo!) so I thought I'd treat myself to a new toy :) Only 8 weeks of work left - yahoo! 12 weeks til we meet tic tac, eeek!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Random Stuff

Our houses (selling and buying) are scheduled to settle simultaneously on Friday… so we are madly packing, cleaning and throwing-away. I don’t think I've been exerting myself too much, although my back begs to differ at the end of the day and just aches and aches. I'm so front heavy now, that even just sitting for an extended period makes my back hurt. I packed up some of the kitchen on the weekend for about an hour, and then had to sit down for an hour to rest - just so tired!

I'm excited about moving, but also a bit sad because Shavez's presence is still so real here. At the new house, although it will be easier for us to look to the future, our memories of him wont be there at that house. Elke seems to be coping ok - she doesn't want to be inside anymore, I bring her in every night for dinner, and afterwards she stands at the door and waits patiently to be let outside again.

I have started in an Acting Branch Manager role at my work - Its sort of a "caretaker" position until I go on maternity leave in about 10 weeks, so its all good experience for me, and was nice to be asked! But it has been quite challenging, trying to learn new stuff whilst suffering from baby brain! As of this Thursday, I have a week and a half off to move house, and then unpack at leisure. Although, I have so many appointments organised for next week that I'm still going to be super busy.

Tic tac is going fine, lots of kicking - usually in the bladder, usually once I've laid down to go to bed, or at 3.30am. I think tic tac takes after its dad and is going to be a Muay Thai kickboxer! I have to go for my gestational diabetes blood tests next Tuesday - fingers crossed! The latest thing we have discovered is that you can now actually SEE my belly move when it kicks - its like I've got this alien being inside me wriggling about - kinda freaky being able to actually watch the skin move. Hubby reckons we're not far off from being able to try the Malteasers thing (like on the TV ad).

Training in the last few weeks has been a bit dismal since we lost Shavez - making it to the gym about one day a week, and taking Elke for 3-4 walks a week. I guess I'm still fairly active though, especially with all the packing going on. I still have a little bit of muscle definition left in my arms. Have gained 7kgs to date, which hopefully at 27 weeks pregnant isn't too bad. Although everyone keeps telling me that the last trimester is when you stack it on, especially fluid! I'm also told that my belly will probably double in size - I don’t know how the skin could possibly stretch any further though!

I went along to the QLD INBA's on Sunday to cheer on Kristin in her first figure comp. Kristin looked so graceful on stage, and so confident too! It was lovely to be there as part of her cheersquad, you were awesome and did yourself proud Kristin! I also met one of our IBO clients Geraldine, and briefly met Tiarna and said hi to Shannon.

Anyway, thats whats happening in my world. Feeling a bit flat and overwhelmed with everything at the moment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting through the days

Its been a week today since we said goodbye to our dog Shavez. It feels like I'm marking time, I guess I am. I know that time will make it feel more bearable.

Thank you all so much for your beautiful comments on my last couple of posts, each and every one was special - thank you all for your wonderful support. I find blogging to be theraputic in some ways, so it helps me to write my thoughts down. I suppose its a tool I use to cope. Being pregnant probably makes it all seem much more emotional too.

I can now think about Shavez without becoming a blubbering mess. I can even talk about him to other people. I thought I was doing ok this week - I got through Tuesday and Wednesday without any tears, then on Wednesday night hubby said 4 words to me that set me (and him) off crying again "Shavez comes home tomorrow".

So he is home now in his memorial box. There is room in the box for his collar, and a small ball and photos. I got home last night to find hubby crying his heart out again - looking at photos on the computer... he said he felt stupid doing it, but he hugged the box... At least he will always be with us.

Our house is now sold - and if all goes well we'll be moving to our new place in 2 weeks. We threw ourselves into packing last Saturday as a way of distracting ourselves. While we're looking forward to the new place, its bitter sweet. All the memories are here. But then again, it might be good for us to have a fresh start, and make new memories without seeing him everywhere each time we go outside.

I have been playing the "what if" game this week. I suppose its a natural part of losing someone you love. What if I had taken him to the vet sooner? What if I hadn't taken him on that last walk where he fell over again - maybe thats what did his back in? What if I'd called the doggie chiropracter?

I've also been playing the "I wish" game. I know its pointless. I wish I'd brought them both inside more often, I wish I'd stopped to give him more cuddles instead of rushing off to work in the mornings. I wish I'd taken them on more walks... I wish he was going to be here to meet tic tac...

I'm throwing myself into taking care of Elke and helping her cope. She comes in every night now (much to Connor the cat's disgust), hubby is playing frisbee with her every day, and I'm taking her for walks as many times as I can. I dont think she understands why she's inside so much now (she loves it though). I wonder if she knows whats happened. She is probably just waiting for us to bring him home, like we've always done in the past.

I've been setting my alarm for gym every morning - only to wake up feeling exhausted every day and not going. So I decided to have the rest of this week off. Next week I will get back into it. I have completely forgotten about being pregnant too - tic tac is still kicking away, but has been a bit quieter than normal, or maybe I just haven't been noticing. Last weekend was hard because I didn't feel like eating. I tried to force myself, but only because I know I've got to look after this little human being inside me. Maybe thats why I've been so ravenous these last few days!

Anyway, I will endeavour to be a bit more cheery in my next post.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The hardest goodbye

R.I.P. our beautiful boy Shavez...
Thank you for all your kind comments. We have had the most heart breaking week.
Poor Shavez's X-rays weren't good. Apart from the problems with his spine and discs, the results showed that his lungs were riddled with tumours. The vet said that it was surprising that he was still breathing as well as he was, and that it wouldn't be long before he was coughing blood and bleeding from the lungs. Everything was inoperable. The vet also said he would never walk again, so any time that we had left with him - we'd really only be delaying the inevitable.
At 5pm on Thursday, we went to pick him up from the vet. He could no longer walk or move much, so we went out the back to see him in the cage. He was wrapped in a doona because they'd shaved him (to try to find the tick that didn't exist) and had been cold. He was distressed, but SO happy to see us. His eyes lit up when he saw hubby - those two had such a special bond, I never had a hope of winning the same level of affection that Shavez had for my husband - they both adored each other.
So we talked to the vet, talked about the Xrays, and then took Shavez home for one last time. It was a mission getting him into the car, we had to use a stretcher, and the poor boy cried because it obviouly hurt to be moved.
Once we got him home, we settled him on his big foam mattress - right in the lounge room. This was his favourite place to be. He loved being close to us, as coming inside was always a bit of a treat for them, both dogs spent most of their time outside.
He was ravenous, so we gave him lots of treats. He has cleaned us out of Schmackoes, doggie chocs, and liver treats. He was also extremely thirsty, I think we filled his water bowl up 4 or 5 times during the night. Miss Elke came in and spent some time with him too.
Hubby's family came to say their goodbyes. It was so very very sad. We all sat around him on the floor, patting him, cuddling and kissing him - the whole family got to tell him how much they loved him and would miss him. Poor Shavez probably didn't understand what was going on, but I guess all he knew was that all his favourite people had come to say hello.
After the family left, he seemed to be in a lot more pain. I think the anesthetic had started to wear off by then, because he started crying... pretty much non-stop for the rest of the night. We tried everything to ease his pain - heat packs, moving him to different positions, I rubbed arnica all down his spine and gave him massages... the arnica seemed to help for a little bit, and we all were able to doze lightly for 30 minutes or so.
But there was no sleep for anyone. Hubby and I stayed up all night with him, patting him, cuddling him, crying for him, crying for us... we got to tell him many many times over how much he meant to us, and how much we'd miss him. We tried to make his final few hours as comfortable as possible.
To be honest, I felt so horrible for putting him through another night of pain. I felt like we should have made the decision on Thursday. But I do know that he loved being home... and I know that he loved the attention, and everyone coming to see him. It also made our decision to do what was best for him, and have him put to sleep, so much easier. There was no way in the world we would have put him through any more pain. But at least we got to see that for ourselves. And we got to pamper him one last time.
The frustrating thing was that Shavez was STILL a playful pup til the end. We gave him a tennis ball to chomp, and he popped that so easily, and with such gusto! He loved it. Then we gave him a squeaky ball that I'd had in the cupboard - he just LOVES squeaky balls! He squeaked that like crazy, he went nuts for it. We captured that on video - but its distressing to watch too, not only because you can hear me and hubby sobbing in the background, but because it showed that it was still "Shavez" - his beautiful personality was still there. We keep saying - "The mind was willing, but the body just wasn't able".
When the sun finally came up, our decision was made. As soon as the vet was open we were going to say goodbye. One of our good mates came around - he has always loved Shavez, so he asked if he could come to say goodbye too. He stayed with us until it was time to take him to the vets.
Hubbys parents came up to the vets office. Shavez had the four of us gathered around him at the end. He didn't understand what was going on (he was actually excited to be going in the car again) and we were all overcome with grief. I have never stayed with a pet when they have been put to sleep before. I was looking into his eyes, and I saw the light go out once it was over. He was at peace.

I cant believe he's gone. I see him everywhere. The whole yard is him. I cant go to the veggie patch, because I see him follow me in and dig up the soil. I hung washing out today and thought "last Saturday when I hung washing out, he came up and we had a cuddle". I hear him whinging at the screen door because he wants his dinner. Only its not him. He's not here anymore. Its so hard to believe that last week he was here, and seemed fine - and now he's gone.

I keep thinking "he's just a dog - get over it!". But he wasn't just a dog, he really was a HUGE part of our family. He was like the dignified old man, the heartbeat of the family. He has left an enormous hole in our hearts, and our lives.

I hope you are resting well, my beautiful Shavez. I will miss you always. I will see you again one day..... always in our hearts.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My heart is breaking

My heart is breaking as I write this post. Our beautiful Alaskan Malamute - Shavez, is unwell and I dont know how much longer he's got left with us.
Lately when I walk the dogs, he’s been a little unsteady on his feet, sometimes slipping over etc. The vet has had him on treatment for arthritis, because he's 13 years old, which they say is REALLY old for such a big dog.
On Tuesday night I noticed that he didn’t get up to eat his dinner, so I put the bowl down in front of him – he ate it all so we just thought he was a bit sore. Then yesterday morning when I got home from gym I noticed that he hadn’t moved (and he was a bit whiney), and when I tried to get him to get up, despite his valiant efforts, he just couldn’t seem to get his legs to work properly. I even tried standing over him and hoisting his upper body up, but he was a dead weight and his front paws just curled over when they touched the ground. I did get him to take a couple of drunken steps but he fell straight over again. I was a wreck over this, actually, I was hysterical, but convinced myself that once the day warmed up a bit he would improve. When I left for work, Elke was just sitting beside him, looking down at him as if to say “Come on, why aren't you getting up??"

When I got home yesterday afternoon, hubby said he was worried about Shavez, so I told him what had happened in the morning and he burst into tears, which set me off again too. So we went out to him and he tried to get him to stand up, and the same thing happened. We rang the vet, who said we should look for a paralysis tick, and bring him straight up there. We flew up there in a panic, and virtually had to carry Shavez (all 45kgs of him) into the consult room, and laid him down there. Vet thought the symptoms were strange, but a tick was his number one suspect. We had to leave him there and they had to shave him down last night to see if they could find one (he’s too hairy to find it normally).

So at about 8pm last night they rang us to say that they couldn’t find a tick, so he next suspected a slipped/herniated disc in his back – but wont know until xrays today. They also think it could be a tumour in his spine, which might stem from his tail removal episode last year. Either way, they've told us he’s too old to have surgery, as they don’t think he’d make it. Either way, it feels like the end.

We have both spent the night and morning sobbing our hearts out. Our pets are like our children, they mean so much to us. It doesn’t feel like theres much hope. I guess we just have to wait and see what the xrays show, and maybe, just maybe its treatable with anti-inflammatories or steroids or something (as long as theres no tumour). I’m also going to ring my chiropractor and see what he thinks.

It breaks my heart. It makes us feel so bad that poor Shavez had to spend the night at the vets, shaved naked and not knowing whats going on, or why we’ve abandoned him. And poor Elke is confused too, we cant explain to her why he's not here, or whats happening. She has never known life without him.

Please keep him in your thoughts...