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Life Update

Things have been a hectic blur for me lately, a lot of transitions. Most of it has been very good, but now I’m exhausted and I have two papers to write and two skill demonstrations to prepare for.

I’m mostly recovered from my periodontal surgery: the periodontist said everything seems to be healing nicely and my oral hygiene is good. It will be … I think she said six (6) months before we’ll know if the bone is growing back. The area only bothers me when I think about it; I’m inclined to attribute most of my discomfort to jaw tension and sinus pressure. Definitely a huge improvement!

I was assertive in my last appointment with the nurse practitioner (APN) who is managing my medication. She agreed to increase my dose of Lamictal/lamotrigine to 75 mg. It’s helping – a lot.

The APN knows about MTHFR mutations and seemed to take my thoughts about them seriously, but said insurance companies rarely cover folate supplements, even when the diagnosis is supported by genetic testing. She suggested seeing how the Lamictal helps me before pursuing this possibility.

Wakana and I collaborated on my disability documentation, which was good practice for collaboration and negotiation outside of therapy.

I met with the head of the disability resource center on Tuesday. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! I now have official forms to request accommodations from my instructors.

More importantly, she secured the extension I need to complete my degree! That is a huge weight off my shoulders.

We had to put Mom’s dog to sleep in the middle of the night between Wednesday and Thursday. He’d had worsening health issues for quite a while, but then suddenly he became listless and lost interest in food. (He used to eat practically everything.) The vet said there wasn’t much they could do for him, and he was about 13 or 14 years old. We knelt around him and pet him during the procedure, then said our goodbyes and all but fled from the room. I felt horrible about leaving his body lying on the floor.

It hit me much harder than I expected and brought up a lot of guilt, mostly about how I’d treated him when he was alive. I could have been more compassionate and interactive on his terms and advocated for the training he needed to be a better companion animal. But I guess it was a learning experience.

I keep reminding myself that he was Mom’s dog, and therefore her responsibility. She’s the one who raised him, who unintentionally reinforced some of his most disruptive behaviors. It kind of puts a bandaid on the wound.

I was an emotional wreck on Thursday. I spent most of the day sewing to keep myself from falling apart. I missed my fifth piano class this semester. I need to talk to the instructor and work with her to make the class more accessible to me, but I’ve always been a bit intimidated and put off by her. So far I’ve preferred to ignore the situation.

Yesterday Fox and I adopted a pair of young rats. Not the best timing, but we’d been planning and preparing for a long time. It was so much fun meeting them, their foster humans, their brothers, and their biological father. We got to have them running all over us and the couch – so much fun. At one point I had six rats squirming around on my shoulders, arms, and chest. It was the most relaxed and content I’ve felt in months.

I picked two brothers the foster parents said were “inseparable” that seemed to spend the most time voluntarily on Fox and me. One of them had sat on my shoulder bruxing; I took that to be a good sign. Getting them in the carrier was a nightmare, but they seemed to settle pretty quickly. They even seemed to want our attention soon after their first explorations of their new cage! I’m taking it slowly, offering them the opportunity to climb on me and go home as soon as they choose. It takes a lot of willpower, but I’m resisting the urge to scoop them up and take them to the couch. They get to interact with me on their terms. So far, so good… I think…

I’m concerned because they sneeze occasionally. I noticed some other symptoms yesterday, but they were under a lot of stress. I need some time and guidance to figure how concerned I should be.

I experienced a jumbled mess of emotions yesterday that made adopting rats less joyful than I felt it should be. At first I felt guilty for choosing them over their brothers, then I felt horrible for separating them from everything and everyone they’ve ever known! Then I was angry because I was aware of some symptoms while we were meeting them; their foster humans told us that they’d been kept in cedar chips as babies (by the “humane” society from which they’d been rescued) and their dad had “ongoing respiratory issues.” They assured us that the young rats had a clean bill of health, though.

It wasn’t until we got them home and their foster human sent us the initial vet report that it all clicked. One of the rats I chose – the one who spends most of his time sleeping or getting picked on by his brother – was treated for “mild” respiratory problems at 6 weeks old. His lungs were clear but still…

My past experience with rats having respiratory issues has been heartbreaking. In my first pair the more laid back, cuddly rat with respiratory issues died only a month after I adopted him. My roommate at the time said the rats had been fighting a lot more than usual in the hours before he died.

I want to take my current rats to the vet asap, but I also don’t want to traumatize them by doing so too soon. And I have schoolwork to do. Fox thinks we should wait a week (until his next day off work). He also seems a lot less concerned than I am. I don’t know if he’s not taking our new pets’ health seriously, I’m overreacting, or something in between.

The depression goggles have been very strong with me lately. I feel like everything I do is wrong.

But we have two adorable fuzzy critters, both of whom seem eager to interact with us and to love their new cage. I’ll take them to the vet as soon as I can. In the meantime I want to give them the love and attention they deserve – and cherish every moment of joy they give me.


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