Life has a lovely way of letting smooth sailing be short-lived. I'm neurotically selfish about my time, but it's because I know from experience that it's only a matter of minutes or hours or days before my time is taken away from me by chaos. In my case, chaos is defined as a cluster of problems rolling downhill, collecting other problems as it goes, most of which are caused by others, yet I must be the one to suffer the consequences. Everyone else gets off scot-free.
On Sunday I discovered that I had run out of some blood pressure medication. My doctor had prescribed a refill after all the trouble I went through to get myself to the follow up appointment with him so that my insurance company would honor his refill. However, as usual, despite the doctor inputting the prescription directly into the pharmacy's computer system, something got lost in translation. I can't possibly have one single thing go right when it comes to my medical care, apparently.
I got online to see if there was any indication of why they did not fill the prescription and found that not only did my insurance company reject it, but it appeared as if someone changed the name of my doctor associated with the prescription. You see, a different doctor had prescribed my last new medication, so some person at the pharmacy, who must feel like they are superior in intelligence to the rest of humanity, must have thought that my doctor had accidentally input his own name incorrectly, and he/she decided to take it upon him/herself to correct it, so now the pharmacy was probably contacting the wrong doctor about the insurance company not honoring the prescription. In the meantime, I am at risk of having a stroke or heart attack because I'm having to go off my medicine cold turkey due to yet another clerical screw up.
I sent in a detailed correction of the problems along with specific instructions on what to do depending on the insurance company's reason for rejecting the refill, which, of course, the pharmacy never revealed to me. But I could take an educated guess. It most likely involved a dispute over the amount of medication I can be dispensed at one time.
My last name is an uncommon one, but if you reverse two letters within it, it becomes a very common name, so all of my married life I have had to deal with people losing my records due to some person, who most likely thinks they are smarter than everyone else, correcting the spelling of my own name, even though I was the one who filled out all the paperwork consistently with the less common spelling. This happens constantly. I used to think it was just a matter of someone not paying attention and transposing the letters in her head while typing it into the computer, but I've had a lot of receptionists apologize to me and say that they changed it intentionally because they thought the spelling was wrong. In fact, just a few weeks ago my doctor was correcting her receptionist for "misspelling" my last name, and the receptionist coolly turned toward me and asked, "How do you spell it?" I told her, and she said to the doctor, "See? I had it right."
Ironically, all the bad reviews on the Internet of this doctor's office complain about that receptionist being too cold and businesslike. I'd take her office skills and intelligence any day over someone who is bubbly and friendly, but constantly losing my records because she thought she was doing me a favor by correcting my misspelling of my own name.
Anyway, I wasn't happy about having to spend a part of the most perfect weather week on record straightening out and picking up a lost prescription. Then I saw on my calendar that I had that second imaging appointment right smack in the middle of the day at my best horseback riding time, and I decided to cancel it. What are the chances that they'll end up losing my x-rays and ultrasounds, and just wasting more of my time to have me come back a third time? Based on past experience, I'd say the chances are really high. The other thing that always happens is that the results come back inconclusive, and then I am put on cancer watch, which means having to get more extensive images and blood tests every few months. At one point I was supposed to be seeing a specialist that was a two hour drive away every few months, but I blew him off. My regular doctor didn't agree with anything the specialist said and canceled out most of his healthcare decisions for me anyway. This has been going on for years, and nothing ever comes of it other than lost time and money.
Did you see CNN's Hero Awards? I loved the program for people with cancer that gets them out of medical offices and into the world so that they can live their lives and do things they love while they can. I truly believe that people have a better chance to heal if their time is spent feeling joy, rather than sitting in waiting rooms and then being poked and prodded all day. They showed cancer patients kayaking. How awesome is that?
But I digress... While I was waiting for the other horses to finish their breakfast on Sunday morning, I took Gabbrielle for a walk along the bridle trails hoping to run into traffic so I could teach her not to flip out over other horses and people sharing the space. Of course, the place was deserted. When you want trouble, you can't find it, but when you just want to enjoy your ride, you end up being on a collision course with trouble.
Gabbrielle is great about hitting the trails with a buddy horse, but can be difficult without one. She balked most of the way out, looking over her shoulder for the buddy we left at the barn. I had to smack her a few times to keep her moving, and then as soon as we turned toward home, she got going too fast and got too far in front of me that I had to choke up on the lead rope and correct her repeatedly. She didn't like that and kept pinning her ears at me. I had to lead her like a racehorse at times, with her walking sideways in front of me. I used all kinds of techniques like twirling the rope in front of her face, and she'd just walk right through it, not caring that she was getting smacked. I backed her down the trails. I made her stand still and wait... After half a mile of trying to keep her head at my shoulder, the right side of my body got fatigued. Everything hurt -- the leg, the shoulder, the arm, the wrist, the elbow...
Then it hit me that all of these problems I've been having with my right leg were probably caused by me spending so many hours training all four horses to walk beside and behind me. I probably did some permanent bone and nerve damage by using that side of my body too much. I do lead from both sides, but mostly the right side.
My joy over how easy it has been to administer liquid antibiotics through a syringe to my dog Midge was short-lived when the antibiotics caused her to have endless diarrhea and vomiting. During the day, I could just put her in the outdoor kennel and sit on the porch to prevent her from barking. However, she kept us up all night puking on the carpet and running around trying to hold her bowels. So, now I have to call the vet to ask if I can take her off the antibiotics. I just don't want to have to spend more of this wonderful weather sitting in a vet's office to get a replacement antibiotic, which will probably end up being a horse-sized pill that I'll never be able to get down her throat or hide in food. There's no fooling this dog.
We were trying to take cat naps, but almost as if the universe were playing a cruel joke on us, the horses decided to start acting up. There was a cacophony of banging and pounding sounds coming from the barn throughout the wee hours of the morning. At first, I stopped it by turning on an outdoor light. Then I had to flash the light. Then I had to run outside and yell at the horses to shut up. When none of that worked as a permanent solution, I grabbed my shoes and jacket and flashlight, and ran full force down to the barn, grabbed the long whip and chased all the horses out of the barn. I then shut all the gates to all the stalls so that the horses would not have access to anything they could bang.
I knew that would be short-lived, because the horses can open the stall doors themselves and still get inside. I decided to lie awake and as soon as I heard them fiddling with the door handles, I'd go out and crack the whip at them or chuck rocks at the aluminum roof to keep them out of the barn. I started falling asleep while waiting, and as soon as I did sleep, a dog woke me up to take it outside. My pet peeve is being woken every 15 to 30 minutes by a different dog, so I woke all of them and made all of them go outside, even if they had just been outside. I was determined to get a few minutes of sleep.
But, you can't control diarrhea and vomiting, so as soon as I'd start falling asleep again, Midge would be running around threatening to destroy the carpet. I'd take her outside, the horses would hear me, they'd think it was morning, and they'd start banging gates for their breakfast. Then I'd have to run outside and crack the whip and throw rocks. It was insane. At one point, Rock ran out of the barn and bucked, kicking the metal railings. I could tell he hurt himself, because he pulled up short and started limping on his hind leg. I thought, "Great! We've finally got this awesome weather, and my best riding horse just injured himself. What next?"
Fortunately, it was just a sting, because he was moving fine later on. I fed the animals and tried to lie down to make up my sleep, but then the gnats started flying up my nose and into my mouth. I took all my fury out on them, and once enough were killed, I started falling asleep only to be woken by a friggin' coyote standing in my front yard screaming non-stop. It was very upset about something. I tried chasing it off, but it was stubborn, so I had to grab the long whip and chase it out into the desert. At that point, I just gave up. Clearly, the powers that be did not think I needed to sleep. I probably got more exercise running around last night and this morning chasing obnoxious animals than I normally get during the day.
Bombay has started this habit of scraping his tongue on his teeth, which makes a sound reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard. I have to listen to this the whole time I'm doing barn chores. I think it's a boredom behavior. I decided that since I have to pick up that dang prescription anyway, I may as well stop at the feed store and pick up a couple of salt blocks to give him something to lick. In the meantime, he was grabbing the bell bottoms of my jeans and tugging on them with his teeth. I realized that he was telling me that he needed a new toy since the coyotes stole all of his old toys. So, I ran in the house and grabbed another old softball T-shirt and threw it over his back. I took pictures that speak for themselves...
My goal today is to keep all of the dogs and horses wide awake so that when night falls, they won't have any choice but to sleep and to let me sleep. But first, I have to wait for the vet's office to call me back because the vet is late to work this morning (like my husband was after not getting much sleep), I have to pick up my lost prescription, and I have to pick up a couple of salt blocks. Then maybe, just maybe, I might be able to either take a nap or ride a horse.
Oh yeah, and the entire time I kept trying to sleep, I kept falling into this repetitive dream in which someone was at the front door at night, and I kept getting up to see who it was, but each time I opened the door, no one was there. Then one time I opened the door, and found that someone closed my screen door and hung a Christmas wreath from it. I was baffled. Who would do that in the middle of the night? Then I woke up a little more and realized that I still haven't put up any Christmas decorations, wrapped or mailed out any gifts, written or sent any cards, or even cleaned house since Thanksgiving. It looks like I've got a lot more to do this week than I intended.
UPDATE while I attempt to eat my lunch: So, I thought I could run all those errands in half an hour and get back before Midge had anymore accidents. The vet wasn't returning my call and I had to get on with my life, so I left to run errands. Of course, she called right when I was driving down the busiest road in town with a cop next to me. I let it go to voicemail.
While running errands, I discovered that all of my cash, with the exception of a few ones and coins, was missing from my wallet. Sigh. That's a mystery I will have to solve later. I can only tackle one problem at a time. I paid all these bills that were less than $15 via credit card.
Before driving home, I thought I should listen to the voicemail. The vet's assistant said I may need some urine testing strips for Midge. I didn't want to make a second trip into town, so I drove straight over to the vet's office to talk with her in person. Just as I feared, I opened Pandora's Box by telling them that Midge had diarrhea and was vomiting. I simply wanted to know if I could end her antibiotic, because that seems to be the cause of her stomach issues. However, because she is diabetic, they have to first run other tests to make sure that something more sinister isn't going on.
My attitude is to end the antibiotics and see if the vomiting and diarrhea goes away, and then if it doesn't, look into the more expensive causes. She tried to make it less expensive by telling me to go to the pharmacy next door and ask for the test strips and test her urine myself, however that pharmacy didn't have them. They had to special order them, and one little box was going to cost me $71. Ummmm, no. So, the pharmacist instructed me to order them online for less money. Who knows how long that will take for them to be shipped to me, and I have to keep her on the antibiotics until the test is run.
Oh well, I guess there's no point in starting to clean house for Christmas. When I got home, there was diarrhea splattered over every carpet in the house. Please note that over half of our house has tile floors, but Midge makes a beeline for the carpet whenever she gets sick. She had to go so bad that when I opened the interior garage door to let myself in, she ran between my legs and raced for the closing garage bay. I screamed at her to come, because I didn't know if the safety on the garage bay door was working. It could have squashed her as she ran under it, or she could have run right out into the jaws of a coyote or bobcat. She didn't want to listen to me, and kept running toward the closing door, so I screamed in my angriest voice for her to come back, and that did the trick. Once I got a leash on her, I took her straight out to the kennel where she made another mess, and then she barked her head off until I brought her back in.
I wish I could focus on just one problem at a time. I nearly got a hernia delivering the salt blocks to the horses, and then a kick-fight broke out over them. I guess I should have bought four -- one for each horse. The solution to every problem always has to create more problems. I think I'll go curl up in a corner and play a tune on my lower lip like a looney toon until everything goes away and settles down on its own.
But, hey! On a positive note, I did get my blood pressure medication. It doesn't look like the same pill I had before, but the label is correct. I guess I'll find out if it is the right medication once I start taking it. Maybe it will help me sleep.