Feeling My Feelings

30 Aug

Hurricane Isabel, as seen from the International Space Station – Or my swirling feelings

I know things have been quiet on my blog so far this week.  One of the reasons is that I have been trying to process all of my feelings.  Monday I was virtually useless all day.  I couldn’t get my mind off of my dog’s vet appointment the next day.  I don’t even remember one single detail from Monday.  Nothing.  I know I got up and went to work.  I can’t remember if I ate or, if I did, what I ate.  I have no idea what clothes I wore.  I can’t remember what I did that evening.  Mr. Mess was at school all day from 7 am to about 10:30 pm, so I didn’t even get to talk to him beyond a few quick check-ins.  I went through the entire day on autopilot, zoned out.

When Tuesday morning finally rolled along, I was glad to get the ophthalmologist visit taken care of.  I had to lead a conference call for work that morning on the way to the vet.  As I was getting Buddy together, loading the car, juggling my phone on speaker, a leash and my purse, driving to the vet, and trying to facilitate the call, I realized it was too much.  I was going to go back to work after the appointment, even if he had to get surgery, then come pick him up later.  Somewhere during that call I decided that was not going to happen.  I could not handle it emotionally, in the least.

The appointment was depressingly short.  The actual ophthalmologist (the other person I saw was just filling in for him during vacation), was very personable, knowledgeable, and gentle with Buddy.  Unfortunately, when he took the pressure in his eye it was still quite elevated.  A quick look inside at the optical nerve verified what he suspected – there really was no hope for Buddy’s left eye.  I had a sinking feeling all week that would be the case, so I should have been prepared.  I didn’t cry or get upset or even react much at all; I was just numb.  He said that they were ready to do the procedure immediately to stop fluid production in that eye, which would also lead to permanent vision loss.  While they had him under, the vet said he would confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma and check the other eye for a malformation.  With that, he walked out, one of the ladies from the front desk walked in, and I watched them take Buddy away to the back.

My Mom and I had already decided to have lunch together, so I gave her a call as I was walking out, even though it was only 9:30 am.  I told her what was going on, and she suggested that I come by her house right then.  Grateful for something to distract myself with, I headed her way.  Our original plan was to go shoe shopping, check out some clearance sales, and have lunch together – a few hours of mindless fun.  When I got there we started comparing recent purchases, and I talked her into keeping some really cute, cheap shoes that she had purchased the week before.  We talked about what kind of outfits would go with them, how sexy my step-Dad thought the red pair was, and other completely shallow stuff that was as far away from the anxiety-producing thoughts of my dog going under the knife as possible.

My Mom is great.  She can read me.  She understands all of the emotions I have bubbling just under the surface.  She offered her support and some calm reassurance.  She played to my rational side, and treated this like what it was – a minor procedure necessary to help Buddy be comfortable and more healthy.  She gave me a few minutes to call work and let them know I wasn’t coming in, then we moved right along with the business of going shopping in each other’s closets.

A few days before we were on the phone talking about random things, which my Mom is an expert at (we can literally have a conversation that lasts hours and isn’t really about anything in particular).  She told me that she has been looking for a pair of flat boots to wear to college football games.  Coincidentally, I had a pair that I purchased 2 years ago or so when I sprained my ankle.  They were cute, but I found that I really never wore them.  Those boots, along with light brown leather cowboy boots that were slightly too narrow for me and a few other adorable shoes that always seemed to be sitting in the back of my closet unworn went into a bag for my Mom.  Tuesday I unloaded that bag, and she tried on the various shoes.  She loved them all.  That meant I didn’t have to worry about donating them or listing them on eBay.  It’s great to have the same foot size as your Mom!

We then went upstairs where it was my turn to shop.  My Mom has been on the South Beach diet for the past 3 years or so (usually on phase 3, but sometimes going back to the earlier ones for a weight-loss boost).  She is about 2 sizes smaller than I am now, but there was a time she was in the same transition phase as me.  After losing approximately 25 pounds in the past 2 months, I also lost about 2 pants sizes.  That meant I could fit into some of the nice clothes that are too big for her and have been just taking up space.  I played dress-up there in my Mom’s big walk-in closet and found that her old clothes look amazing on me.  My ass is killer!  I ended up going home with 4 new-to-me pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, 2 cardigans, a fly-away jacket, a necklace, and an amazing pair of khaki colored boots.  Score!

We also went to lunch at an amazing little restaurant run by a well-known chef.  Right as we were completing our lunch order I got a call from the vet.  Buddy had come our of surgery well, was just now coming around from the anesthesia, and would be ready for pick-up in about an hour.  I fought my natural urge to jump out of the booth and go speeding over to get him.  Instead, we had a nice lunch followed by a trip to Sally’s next door where I picked up two new hair accessories and admired pretty-colored nail polish.

I had ridden with my Mom to lunch, so we returned to her house where I gathered up my bags of clothing.  After a quick pit-stop, I found a special treat for Buddy waiting next to my purse on the table.  If I weren’t so numb I probably would have cried.  I gave my Mom a hug, and thanked her for lunch and the great, free shopping trip, then headed out.

When I arrived to pick up Buddy they gave me some medicine to give him over the next few days and a piece of paper that said (in part):

Diagnoses Left Eye: Primary Glaucoma, chronic

Diagnoses Right Eye:  Narrow angle

Gonioscopic examination of the right eye indicated a significant risk of glaucoma

There it was in black and white.  I knew it, in my head.  I thought I had accepted it.  Buddy wasn’t making it a big deal.  So why did that hurt so bad?  The vet explained there was really nothing I could have done.  He said that usually by the time the damage is noticeable it is usually too late to do anything.  He said that it was a good thing that he is 9 years old when it first presented, not 2.  He also said that we now are ahead of it in the other eye.  We have medication to delay its progress.  We have an emergency plan and medicine in case his other eye acts up.  We are really in a much better place with Buddy’s health this week than last week or even the week before.

I guess it just made me have to recognize the fact that Buddy will not live forever.  I knew that, too.  I’m not a moron.  I am just very connected to him.  My husband has made fun of his sister for saying she would sleep in a tent before she got rid of her dogs, but I get it.  He is my family.  His whole body wiggles with joy when he sees me.  He snuggles up to me in the most adorable way.  He has been there for me through lots of tears, and he always makes me feel better.  When I got him home he was still groggy from the anesthesia, and he fell asleep on my lap.  He is so sweet and soft and wonderful.  I know he isn’t mourning the loss of his left eye, but I am.  I am mourning the fact that he is getting old and may die sometime sooner than I am willing to admit to myself.  He may have 5 years left, maybe more.  It doesn’t seem like enough.  Once again, I am faced with something I cannot control, and I do NOT like it.  Not one little bit.

Yesterday I had a long day.  I left my house at 5:30 am and didn’t get back until after 8:30 pm.  I had a training/ roadshow for work yesterday that was held 3 hours away, then had to play IT person when I got back because internet had been down most of the day and no one knew how to fix it.  I didn’t have a chance to think much at all.  The last week I have also been pushing my feelings down with shopping.  That worked for a little while, and I am definitely more stylish and confident today because of it, but that high finally ended.  Today I am crashing.  I am finally feeling my feelings.  It feels crappy.

I know, I know…  It’s necessary.  We have to sit with bad feelings, give ourselves a chance to mourn for things that are lost, even if they are intangible.  I have to get better about that.  I need to stop avoiding my feelings.  Today they caught up with me, and I’m feeling down.  That’s okay, though.  Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter.  In the meantime, I haven’t forgotten about doing at least one thing for myself.  Today I took the time to write this blog.  I also wore a cute new pair of pants, one of the flirty cardigans from my Mom, a teal, ruffled, lace shirt that I haven’t worn in ages, and these fantastic new shoes.

I hope everyone else is having a good Thursday.  If you have some good news, a funny story, or are having an especially great week so far, I would love to hear about it.  I need a little sunshine today.

13 Responses to “Feeling My Feelings”

  1. Ben at 6:38 pm #

    I hope things are looking better today! And congrats on the killer ass 😉

  2. Ariella at 8:00 am #

    I do not own any animals beside a beta fish my son named “Sushi” lol! I refuse to get a dog. My kids swear up and down I hate dogs, but truthfully, I can’t handle it. When I was little and after my parents separated, my dad bought me a cocker spaniel. I named him Rainbow. (major rainbow brite phase) I loved this dog beyond belief. My mother would ship me off to Key Biscaine FL in the summer (my aunt, her sister was an attorney there) and on the plane I would cry my eyes out. Although I loved my aunt and had a great time wtih her, I couldn’t wait to get back to NY to see Rainbow.

    I moved to MD at the age of 27 and a few months after my move, my mother called me and told me he died. Rainbow lived to be 21 years old which is almost unheard of. I remember being at 7-11 and just breaking down. I actually have tears in my eyes right now typing this. Of course, as I got older it was easier to move away and although I thought about him all the time, it wasn’t the same as when I was a child. However, I loved him dearly. But I will tell you I remember being afraid when my father brought him to me because even at that young age, I remember thinking about when he will die. I do not do well with death at all. I loved all the time I spent with Rainbow and would not trade it for the world, but I don’t know if I would be able to handle that again.

    Your lucky to have your mom so close to you! My relationship with my mother is ok, I wouldn’t say great. I believe there is a part of her that resents me for loving my father, I don’t know. However, it doesn’t matter how old I am, as soon as something goes wrong (besides John cheating she doesn’t know about that) or my kids are sick she is the first person I call! A girl always needs her mother!

    Im happy that your dog is ok, and im sure he will adapt to losing the vision in the one eye! The thought of death is scary especailly when you love someone or something so much! But tomorrow is never promised right? We have to enjoy every day and soak in the things that do make us happy!


    • beautifulmess7 at 8:50 am #

      That is so true… tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us. I know in my head that fear of death doesn’t accomplish anything. I am more afraid of my loved ones dying than I am of dying myself. That might be seem backwards, but I love so deeply and so completely that it is devastating to think of losing any of them from my life, even my dog.

      I loved hearing your stories about Rainbow. He sounds like a wonderful dog, and I’m so sorry for the pain you went through when you lost him. I hope that you won’t let that pain hold you back from having another pet one day and giving your children the same great experience of loving and being loved so completely by a special animal. 21 years is a great run. I hope my cocker lives that long!

      I know that I’m very lucky to have my Mom close by and to have such a great relationship with her. She is truly my best friend. She is the woman I strive to be. She is kind, thoughtful, both level-headed and emotional, reasonable, incredibly intelligent, always poised, and so, so beautiful. She always gives me perspective, and I feel instantly calm and more together when I talk to her.

      She knows about what has happened with me and Mr. Mess. I didn’t tell her at first when all the issues came up while we were dating. I wish now I had because she would definitely have guided me on a better path back then. I can’t change the past, though. When I made the latest discovery 6 months after we were married I had to talk to her about it. She has been with me through every step, including his diagnosis as a sex addict. She understands addiction because her mother (my grandma, obviously) is an alcoholic. Surprisingly, she has been one of the biggest advocates of my marriage and of supporting Mr. Mess through all of this.

      • Ariella at 10:17 am #

        I know, just reading your post made me want to run and get a dog for our family! 😦

        Its great that you have a support system behind you! I was speaking to an attorney who is newly divorced and because of her career and the fact that she was stable financially, she rushed to divorce her husband who had cheated. They have 2 boys. She confided in me and told me how she wished there was someone in her ear telling her forgive and try to work things out, not just for the boys, but for them too. Sadly, I believe she regrets the decision to not at least try. At least if you try and it doesn’t work you will never say, “what if”. Thats why a positive support system is so important at times. If it wasn’t for my best friend and the support from you guys? Who knows!

  3. Scabs at 12:27 am #

    Is there something in the air? Seems like we’re all feeling a little blue around here.

    I’m sorry about Buddy. I have to say, the most fantastic thing about having a dog in your life is that they are always happy. No matter what is going on, they are EXCITED to see you. I’ll never forget Beans. He was a poor sick dog, he had had some seizures that made him very ill and ended up having a brain tumor. We loved him. But I will never forget his waggly tail and happy eyes when I’d walk in the room and lay with him. They love unconditionally. Without reserve. Without fear of pain. without resentment.

    I need to learn some of those lessons.

  4. emotionaltornado at 10:48 pm #

    Life has a beginning and an end. It is hard to accept the end part. It makes us fear taking on a pet for fear of the pain of losing a member of the family. But we cannot let that fear stop us from feeling the joy of a dog that wiggles with every cell this their body for the joy of seeing their human come home each day.

    I love animals and have lost a few in my life. I’ve held a few when I had to have them put to sleep. It was hard to do, but as their human it was my responsibility. Rehabilitating one after a back injury was difficult but my responsibility as his human. Cleaning the bite marks on one that was attacked by a larger dog and finally getting him to the vet, hard but had to be done. You are doing what you must do as Buddy’s human. I am sure that he trusts you and loves you completely. Buddy has little or no fear as long as you are there.

    I got to snuggle some 4 week old, very fuzzy kittens today. I’m not a huge cat person, but kittens are so snugly. These were so cute. Another 3month old kitten at the same house has stolen my heart. I already have three cats that trip me when I got in/out of house. This one however creeps into my heart a little more each time I hold her. I’m tempted to get her and have her fixed so I only have one momma cat.

    Have strength for Buddy and patience for yourself. Soak up all the joy your puppy gives you and ignore the painful parts of life when you need it.

    • beautifulmess7 at 7:47 am #

      This is really quite profound. I read it a few times. I know that you are a fellow pet lover, and this perspective is really beautiful. Thank you.

  5. Christy at 10:46 pm #

    I read your blog on a regular basis, but I have never posted a comment. Today I needed to respond to your blog. I don’t really have any sunshine for you unless you count totally understanding your love for your best friend. I love my dog more than I can express. Unfortunately I have had 2 dogs that died when they were almost 14 years old. Their loss was the same as losing a family member because to me they are family. Recently we were told by the vet that our dog has cataracts and will go blind. Her name is Allie. She is about 13 years old (we don’t know for sure because she was a stray that someone left behind when they moved). We’ve had her for almost 10 years. It is strange but until the vet told us about Allie’s condition we had not thought about her getting older. Now I look at her and wonder how much time we have left to enjoy her. I totally understand your feelings. My best advice for what it is worth is enjoy and love your Buddy as much as you possibly can and make wonderful memories. My dog died 10 years ago and I often remember the happy times I shared with him. I don’t know if this helps, but I wanted you to know I have empathy for what you are going through.

    • beautifulmess7 at 7:44 am #

      Thank you for your kind words. That is really good advice, and I’ve been trying to follow it. It is good to know someone has gone through the same range of emotions. I really appreciate the comment.

  6. Well, I was in tears for most of this post. I am sorry about Buddy. He will adapt and come out stronger than you think.

    I have no sunshine for you. 😦

    • beautifulmess7 at 4:07 pm #

      I’m sorry you don’t have any sunshine right now, either. He will adapt, and he is already. Just today at lunch he was bouncing around wanting me to throw the tennis ball for him. When he walked right over it without seeing it, I got so sad. He is loving life right now, though. I have to try to have more of a positive attitude like he does. Nothing slows him down!

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