Watchful Weekend

Well, we’ve had another (mostly) peaceful week. Hubby seems to have completely forgotten the two weeks of pure hell. That’s more than just “good”. He’s had a few minor “tantrums”, but at least they weren’t directed at the dogs or me.

Shadow’s UTI appears to be cleared up. I gave her the last antibiotic dose yesterday afternoon. She’s eating better again. And she’s playing more. Still, after all that’s been going on around here this past month, the vet agreed with me that we should do a follow-up urinalysis next week.

Ducky’s still a bit reactive when hubby comes out of the bedroom in the morning but is generally settling down faster. And she’s still being sweet toward Shadow for the most part.

As I’ve said before, being a caregiver for/to a dementia patient is not for wimps. Especially when you’re also “Mom” to pets who depend on you for everything, from meals and vet care to playtime and lovies, not to mention keeping things as calm and peaceful as possible. That’s a ton of responsibility to heap on one person day in and day out. It can wreak havoc with one’s internal balance.

So, this weekend I’m watching both dogs for reactions to people food that hubby sneaks to them. And watching hubby for signs of oncoming temper tantrums. And watching myself for signs of stress and that overwhelmed feeling.

A Peaceful Week

Thankfully it has been a fairly peaceful week around here. My gratitude goes out to my caregiver coach and the nurse practitioner who’s been seeing hubby at the aging center. They have been wonderful! And of course to family members.

After those two weeks of pure hell – the week I wrote about here and the one immediately after it – I couldn’t stand another minute of the stress on any of us. So, I used a little “trick” the NP told me about and it worked. I spent a few days praying it wouldn’t come back to bite me in the butt, but I’ve let go of that fear.

Shadow’s white blood cell count shot up as a result of her stress, causing a UTI. Thankfully I caught it early. I got a urine sample to the vet the morning it first presented symptoms; and by that afternoon, I was able to give Shadow her first antibiotic. Within 24 hours, it was already starting to clear up.

Poor Ducky started reacting again to every noise, every movement that hubby makes. Thankfully, I had half a bottle of her doggy Xanax left from last year. She is still a bit anxious/reactive now, but seems to be settling down a bit faster. That reminds me – I need to get a refill next week.

And, I have finally been able to get some better sleep. Ducky’s barking still drives me nuts at times, but at least I can #getoverit faster. And I’m better able to let go of hubby’s dementia-induced moments.

As much as I hate to admit it, I haven’t been working with Ducky much since I got home from Florida at the end of May. When she needed a break from the insanity, I took the easy way out and let her spend time at daycare. Well, that’s changing. She will still spend at least one day a week at daycare, but in between we will get back to “work” on her anxieties and reactivity. I’ll write more about that at a later date.

So, as we enter a second (hopefully) peaceful week, I wish all of you peace and love as well. ☮️❤️

Living in the Moment

If you are one of our “regular” readers, you know that my hubby is a dementia patient (in the early-middle stages). If not, you can read about it here, if you want to.

The past week (since a week-ago yesterday) has literally been hell on earth here at our house – and in the truck or car. For the last eight days, I’ve felt like I’m walking on egg shells. And the poor dogs have been stressed-out way more than I can deal with emotionally. Yesterday, I asked our vet – via text – if Xanax was safe enough for Shadow. That’s how bad it was on Friday night. He responded affirmatively and with the suggested dosage. Bless that man!!!

So far – since late yesterday afternoon – things have been fairly calm and peaceful. I’m praying they stay that way. And I’m trying hard to live in the moment. Last night – just before bedtime – I gave both girls a dose of the Xanax in case things went downhill again. They slept through the night. And, so did I once I turned the tv off.

Living with a dementia patient is NOT for wimps, I can tell you for sure! Especially if you also live with animals who are as sensitive and tuned into your own moods as mine are. And they react to it in different ways. (Shadow runs away to hide; Ducky barks almost incessantly.)

The dogs and I are in the back yard, getting away from the tv news and getting some fresh air. I’m praying that when we go back inside, peace and calm will still prevail. And I will try to keep living in the moment.

Have a great week! And please send us energy and light for a peaceful week; or say a prayer, light a candle, whatever. Thank you for being there for us as we travel this road. Peace and Love!! 💓

Senior Eye Exam Scheduled

Some days Shadow will eat her full meal first time around the bowl. Sometimes she’ll sniff at it and walk away.  And other times she goes through this weird ritual of eating some food, walking away, wandering around the kitchen like she’s lost, going back to the bowl and just picking at the food. And sometimes she walks around the kitchen oddly. It’s like an exaggerated alternating movement of her front paws.

(I wish I could take a video of this ritual to show the vet. BUT Shadow will walk away from the food bowl altogether if she knows or even senses that she’s being watched. That in itself is an odd behavior that started after Callie passed away.)

The wandering around the kitchen thing makes me wonder if maybe she has a hard time seeing well at times. Last week I decided to switch back to her old, stainless steel bowl from the large, black, plastic bowl. It helped a little bit but not enough to make a noticeable difference.

Being concerned that Shadow wasn’t eating enough to stay healthy, I would (more than) occasionally put some of her canned food on a spoon and hold it up for her at a level where I  believed she could see it better. And, usually, she ate it. When she didn’t want it, then I knew she just didn’t want to eat, period. And I would pick up the bowl and put it aside before feeding Ducky. I know. Spoon-feeding isn’t a good idea. But sometimes it was the only way to get her to eat her whole meal. She is so picky about her food to begin with that I can’t give her the same food two days in a row. Or even every other day. I was running out of food to try with her that I can afford and/or trust. And I have to be very careful about how much variety I give her at any one mealtime.

On Saturday morning, the new elevated food bowl I ordered from Chewy arrived. Supposedly, elevated food bowls help dogs with arthritis because they don’t have to bend as much to get to the food.  But I was thinking more along the lines that maybe it would also help her see the food better. 

Well, my own emotions have gotten off their roller coaster over the last few days, so Shadow isn’t being finicky about what she eats. Her ritual, however, continues and it’s baffling me…

While it’s not quite as exaggerated as it had been, it’s still evident. Some of it may be the aging process. After all, she celebrated her half-year birthday on Saturday  when she turned 11-1/2. She will eat some of her food out of the elevated bowl but then wander around the kitchen. The other day I emptied her food out of her bowl and onto a regular plate. As soon as I placed the plate on the floor, she started eating again. But she would back away and then move around the plate as though she was having trouble seeing after a moment or two. 

The last few days I’ve been putting her food first in the elevated bowl. When she starts to back away or wander, I transfer it to the plate. And when she backs away again, I turn the plate around. And she ends up eating her full meals, minus maybe 3 or 4 pieces of kibble. Maybe her peripheral vision is beginning to suffer from old age. Next week I’m taking her to the vet to find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to get a video of her ritual to show the vet during her appointment.