Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘grief edition’

  • It has been quiet here. Things are very different without Madison’s presence. She was the matriarch of our dog family. Almost all of the dogs had a relationship with her. Piper and Sawyer were like her babies. She would make sure they were clean and that they behaved. Sienna loved Maddie but Madison would growl at her after a while. Molly and Clio loved to cuddle with her. Kiefer is probably the only one who didn’t have a relationship with Madison. Unlike the other dogs we have lost in the last 13 months (Mackenzie, Tucker, Gemma, Kirby), Madison died at home. The other dogs watched and seemed more able to process what had happened. This was an altogether different situation.
  • I got approval for a crap load of dental work I need. Three root canals and more crowns. After that we will look at some cosmetic work and a partial plate for the top 4 molars I am missing. At least this work will be done under conscious sedation. I really like the dentist who is going to do the work. She was able to give me freezing and I really did not find it all that bad. Normally when I am given locals for dental work I cry as a matter of course. This time I did not. I was amazed.
  • My hemoglobin is way down again. I am very tired and I really feel like I am struggling. Clearly I am having difficulty taking enough iron again. My ulcerative colitis flare has calmed down a fair bit which is good and it means I will be losing less blood.
  • Have any other Mac users noticed that Safari has been incredibly slow for the last couple of days? I thought it was just my computers until I noticed it on my work computer too. I am switching back to Google Chrome until it is fixed.
  • Oh and this post is the last for the month of November. I have successfully completed NaBloPoMo! I will finish the year out too. I may try again to do a whole year. I think I only missed 3 days in 2010.

Quiet Day

We did ‘t get up until 1:10 pm. I got my blood work done and picked up my prescriptions. I did notice how dark and depressing it was outside. Nothing more for today. I will be back to the grind tomorrow.


Madison has been slowly deteriorating over the last couple of weeks. Slowly, her ability to get around was getting more and more limited. The other day I noticed that she had no control over her back leg. It was like she couldn’t get it to go where she wanted.

It was clear when we got up this morning that Madison was actively dying. We opted not to take her to vet clinic and just let it happen naturally at home, where she was comfortable and surrounded by those who loved her. Madison died at 1:15 pm this afternoon. I will write more but this is all I can manage now.


One of the worst things about dealing with ulcerative colitis is the fatigue. People who don’t suffer fatigue have no idea how bad it can be. I describe it as bone-weary, deep exhaustion that never goes away. I sleep for 12 hours and I wake up yawning. During the week, I am not able to get as much sleep as I need. Given my choice I would sleep 12 hours each and ever night.

Fatigue really gets in the way of living your life. Some days I am awake in time for lunch. Getting things done is almost impossible. By the time I get going, commute to and from work, work all day, there is not much time left over for any kind of leisure activity. Really, all that is left is some time to eat and hopefully engage in some leisure and/or self-care.

Being sick means that there are all sorts of medical things I have to attend to. I have to go every week for a blood test. Although the lab has improved lately, that can still take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. I visit my GP every other week. Those appointments can take anywhere from an hour to 2 ½ hours based on how backed up she is. Yearly (sometimes more) colonoscopies eat up at least 3 days. These procedures take 3 days of my life every time I have to do it. Then there are the follow-up visits with the specialist. Then there are the occasions where every thing goes south and I end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

What really causes the fatigue in ulcerative colitis is the fact that my immune system is activated all the time. It is the same thing that happens when the immune system mounts an attack on a virus or bacteria. The only problem is that my immune system is attacking my colon. The activated immune system then causes things like rashes (which I get on my face mostly), thrush, yeast infections, joint pain, sore muscles, and fever.




Happy Long Weekend – for Me!!!

I worked at home today after sleeping until noon. I was able to finally get the grant I have been trying finish done. It has been a very hectic, eventful week. I did learn some interesting things that will definitely help me as I go forward. My stress level is finally going down.

I am going on a cruise with my mother to Alaska in June. I have always wanted to go on a cruise and she really can’t travel without assistance anymore. We have never spent this amount of time together. I am sure it will go well. She will be ok as I don’t go off the deep end like my sister does. Apparently, my sister, who is a saint right now in my mother’s view, has brought up all the Christmas decorations and bought her groceries. Maybe she is calmer now. Who knows?

I am hoping to play Civilization V all weekend. I have it downloaded on my main computer but I am still trying to get it on my laptop so I have it in the living room.

Clearly this blog entry is going nowhere. I will stop now.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Danny Williams for Prime Minister’ edition

  • Things are quite snowy at the Swamp. The dogs don’t seem to mind. Madison has such a thick coat that she likes to lay down in it. I am sure she doesn’t even feel it.
  • Danny Williams has resigned as Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am extremely hopeful that he is going to enter federal politics. He definitely has the skills and the charisma to do a fabulous job for the country. He also seems to have compassion – something that is sorely lacking in the federal government. Danny Williams says he does not have federal aspirations, I hope he changes his mind.
  • After my visit with my GI doctor this week, we discussed the fact that my ulcerative colitis is not really responding to the various treatments. My symptoms have been much worse lately. We talked about doing Remicade but I am not sure about it. It has nasty, nasty side effects. Plus the province does not cover it for ulcerative colitis only for Crohn’s. Apparently, it costs thousands and thousands of dollars per year. I may get some coverage from Deb’s plan but I am not sure yet if they cover it at all. My mother did not offer to help us out with it either. The only other option, if medication is unsuccessful, is to have my colon removed, full stop. I would likely have to live with the ileostomy for the rest of my life. There is a surgery they can do called the J-pouch where they form a pouch with the small intestine and everything works normally. However, people with ulcerative colitis quite often develop pouchitis, which is just as bad as the ulcerative colitis they got rid of when the colon was removed. At this point, I don’t know what I am going to do. Lots of thought needs to go into this decision.
  • I am very pleased with the drainage work. The house is much less humid with the water drained from under the crawl space. I have also noticed that even though there is still some minor flooding in areas when we get a torrential downpour but it generally clears quickly now. The actual top layer dries out now. It should make the yard much, much better!

Cell Phones

Last time I checked, we had a law against talking and driving. Recently, I have been noticing more and more people talking while they are driving. Generally these have been drivers who have pissed me off for some reason. When I get close to them I often look over to see what kind of idiot would do whatever it was they just did and of course, the driver is talking on the phone.

In the beginning it seemed like most people were following the law and not talking on their phones. I want to know if this law is being enforced now. I spent lots of money on a hands-free Bluetooth system so that I could follow the law. It is completely unfair if others get to continue to use their handsets. I would love to know what the statistics are with regard to enforcement. Perhaps the police are far too busy impounding the cars of innocent drivers who are being penalized for having one drink and then driving.

In all seriousness though, the government needs to get it together and enforce the law they have if they are serious in believing that cell phone talking drivers are that dangerous.


Today is the day that Civilization V is released. While my iPad is updating to iOS 4.2, I am going to be downloading and playing Civilization V. I have played every version since the beginning. It has always been one of my favourite games! Catch you all tomorrow!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘cold and windy’ edition

  • I love my job but I have to say that I hate board meetings. They are getting better but still leave a lot to be desired. The only good thing is that they happen only once per month.
  • It is too freaking cold out there. I know that no one really listens to us Lower Mainlanders when we complain about the cold. personally, I don’t care. Minus 3 is damn cold here because it is so damp. The good news is that our drainage is working quite well. We still get some flooded areas in the heavy rain but it resolves quite quickly. This is a very good development. While me may live with mud for the winter, it does bode well for the spring and summer.
  • I am still amazed at how much I use my iPad. It is constantly with me. I no longer dread an hour long wait in doctor’s office anymore because I can play silly games like Ranch Rush 2. I read books on it, I read blogs, and, most importantly, I play Qrank everyday!


Weekend Crash and Burn – Day 2

I have kept to my plan for the weekend. Today we watched episodes of Criminal Minds and the movie The Kids are All Right. We are having chicken for dinner – my favourite. Then back to work tomorrow. I have an appointment with my gastro doc tomorrow. Hopefully she will agree to put me on Remicade so that perhaps I can get the ulcerative colitis into remission.