• Ben R

Running around in circles

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Do you ever have a love/hate relationship with something or someone?


I'm sure we all have at some point.


Our 13 year old dog, Fiona, started having breathing issues on Thursday night of last week. I had come home from an evening bike ride and was heading to the bedroom to change out of my cycling clothes and go take a shower. Here Fiona is lying with half her body in a dog bed.


My first thought, "She's dead!"


Thankfully not, but she was very weezy like. She remained that way for the rest of the evening.


She continued to be in a labored state of breathing the next morning. Her heart rate was quite fast and she was having trouble walking.


Since most things have often been a blur as far as timeframe goes, I believe later that morning she got off the ramp we have for her to get on/off our bed. Her back legs have been pretty much shot for awhile now, so she struggled with getting back up on.


But she scooted right on up, but was clearly out of breath.


She fell over on her side...


She got back up, but was laboring to stay upright. Aware of the possible severity of what was going on, my partner called our local vet.


It's about 1:30 pm on Friday and we are at the vet, again with her. The emotions from my partner are difficult to ignore. I'm sad, but numb at the same time.


Surely we were going to put her down this time?, I said to myself.


This was probably the 5th or 6th time since January that we had reached this point.



I should have known 2020 was going to be a special kind of hell when Fiona had a horrible day on New Year's Day. Yes, January 1st! We had my partner's family in town for Christmas time (remember, when people could travel?). She had been totally out of it that day. She could not be consoled and my partner had to stick with her the entire day as we all tried to go about our day. Somehow she recovered.


The events of this past Friday are no different. It took our vet to say she had had an experience with her own dog to convince us not to put her down that day.


We think she had a stroke of some sort, but were told that all her vitals were normal. It was just a matter of time. Could be a couple hours or give it up to 72 hours to see improvement.


As of this writing, basically those 72 hours have passed and as I look over my screen, I spot Fiona licking and playing with one of the many toys sprawled across our living room floor.


She is our Lazarus! She just won't give up!


Fiona has been my first real dog that I've had. I've known her since she was 4.


You can't find a more unique dog than her. As of her last weigh in at the vet, she was 4.8 lbs. She's a peekanese, but doesn't look like one. Quite frankly, we are not sure how she turned into what she looks like.


She use to travel with my partner often for trips during her medical alert dog days. At one point, she even did some modeling. If you're ever in a Target store around this time of year, you might see a little dog in a hot dog costume. Likely, that is her.


Here she is, cognitively affected and now has an enlarged heart. She had fluid in her lungs. She has literally had every thing you could imagine for a dog. Thousands of dollars spent on her to keep her alive.


I know the day, and it's getting closer and closer each week, when we will likely have to put her down. I think her body wants to give up, but her fierce, but loyal and loving personality won't allow that to happen.



Man, she's wearing us out! She had been wearing Hazel (our puppy) out as well.


So much that I had to take Hazel to be boarded for a week. Hazel could sense things have been off with Fiona, and us. I've felt like in the last week, I was not doing a quality job of spending time with her. Now she at least gets time to play with other puppies and is getting some training in as well. We felt it best that she just needs to be a puppy and not have to deal with a dying dog.


With that all said, I've been battling my own depression and taking care of getting my dad to all his appointments. Long story short, he's been having a lot of pain throughout different parts of his body and our local clinic is doing a number of tests as a process of elimination. An area of concern is his lungs, so he will be having a minor surgery on Wednesday to biopsy the area. Now you compound this with cognitive issues, due to his Alzheimer's and it becomes a more concerning scenario (being under anesthesia). But doctor's think it's of enough concern to do the procedure.


So I'm dealing with a lot. I struggle a lot with doubt lately. I was unable to actively participate in the NAMI walk this past Saturday for obvious reason. I'm disappointed in my inability to fundraise more for my team. I felt I did more than enough to give people a reason to donate, even just $10.


Lately my feelings have been all over the place: anger, hurt, resentment, frustration...defeated.


The defeated part is been a big one for me. I feel like few take my mental health seriously. Since I can't work, this website and my advocacy has been my "work" since the end of March. I mentioned this in my ranting post from last week, but I've been so disappointed in how not one person reached out in regards to contributing to the next newsletter when I sent them an email and posted on my Facebook page.


People are weird, man.


They have no problem voicing their concern about how their children's lives have been (not trying to be dramatic, but they are basically saying this) ruined because they can't play sports during a pandemic, but they won't even acknowledge issues with mental health.


I'm not going to get into any further people's priorities at this time. That and political stuff I I will wait for another post.


I have a sneaking suspicion that people don't like some of my blunt honesty. I care what they think, but no longer do I care enough to a point where I'm going to stop being authentic.


We need more of that transparency in our society. They can blow me off all they want, but come the morning of November 4th, they may finally get the wake-up call they need.


- Ben



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