Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Manic Joys of Stressful Seasons

So we are now into our fourth week of watching Forrest 24 hours a day. He was hit by a car on Halloween morning, had to have a leg amputated, and had surgery on his other back leg. For the first week, his liver almost failed, and he was on his deathbed, then on the second week, he snapped out of it, and became his same old silly self.

After he came home, with the price tag of a new car, I have watched him for most of the 24 hours each day. He had to have a second surgery on his one back leg because the sutures didn't stay after the first day of recovery. So now he has a bigger cast, and it has a rounded bottom, which makes him shakey on it. Every time he goes out, we need to keep him on a sling to keep him from bouncing too hard on his back leg. So each time he stirs in the night, I am up to see how he is doing. Since Forrest has always stirred a lot at night - so do I.

Tonight April came to visit. April was the first person to help Forrest when he was hit by a car. Somehow he got up with his seriously mangled leg, and hopped to her. She was two cars behind the car which hit Forrest. She drives a trash truck, and stopped to help him. She held him, and used her hand to stop the bleeding until I arrived on the scene. She probably saved his life. In all the furious action to get Forrest to the Vet Hospital, we never actually met April, nor did we hear the story until tonight. Somehow she tracked him down at the Vet, and then found us, and wanted to come visit him.

In the midst of a series of stresses, and tragedies over the last year, meeting April seemed to bring joy to the house.

Of course, I question myself and wonder: Will the joy last for an evening, and dissipate quickly to the bland feeling which comes with discouragement? or will it prove to be one of those steps up toward normality?" (Perhaps I should have used the word normalcy, because normalcy wasn't a word until a President used it in a speech, and as we know normal doesn't exist.) Is this just the manic up of a bi-polar swing?

Over the last three weeks I have slept few hours each night working my doggy-nursing position. I am sure sleep deprivation, added to stress helps create a sense of having bi-polar disorder. Dog accidents, sickness in the family, financial stress, and naughty Christian leaders can help create stress which leads to sleep deprivation - we know here at 7 Upham Street.

I saw Elijah go from slow to happy yesterday as well. He was feeling terrible - which is common as his kidneys are failing, but he found out that it was primarily because his blood pressure was so low. That means that he had to stop taking one of his meds which is supposed to bring his blood pressure down. That was something like mildly good news, so he was happier when he came home from his Nephrologist visit. Up, down, up, down we go in this house lately.

I've never been bi-polar, although I've experienced the swings from mania to depression which mark its presence over this season of stress. I am hoping that mania, and depression are fading away into the stability of simple joy. April's visit may be a simple return to joy, but perhaps it is a mild manic swing. I'll let you know. But right now, we're smiling here at 7 Upham Street, and we are not even taking any happy meds.

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