Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bye Bye Silly Mutt

About 15 years ago, my uncle called my mom to ask if we wanted a dog. We had lost our first dog shortly before then to an illness. I never even thought we'd end up with another dog, considering I was so shocked when my mom brought home the first one. Anyway, my uncle said this dog was already a year old, and the people who had her couldn't really take care of her (which ended up being that they didn't want her anymore). My uncle and his family drove this little dog 3 hours to get to our house, and I think we all fell in love. The dog's original name was Maggie. My sisters and I didn't like it, so after much debating, we renamed her Shelby (after a character from our favorite "sistore" movie, Steel Magnolias). 

Shelby as a puppy, we didn't have her this little, but this is what she looked like!! Soo stinkin' cute!

Shelby had to get used to her name, of course. And, of course, that took some time. Also, of course, we would get her confused by sometimes calling her Maggie on purpose. UGH, poor puppy!! She took off a few times from our house, and being such a little dog, she sure could sprint! The worst time was the year I moved out of my parents' house to my apartment. I was in the computer room with her, and the door was closed over. But somehow, Shelby got the door open when I wasn't looking, and VROOM! She ran through the dining room, into the living room, and straight out the open front door! Now mind you, this was in January with lots of snow and ice on the ground! She took off right down the street, and onto the next block over. My dad tried running after her, but he finally gave up when he reached the other block. He started going back, and Shelby kinda started to follow him. When she eventually caught up with him, he grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and got her home! So thankfully we only "lost" her for about 20 minutes!!
Shelby didn't mind it when my mom tied handkerchiefs around her. She was usually festive for the holidays. Here she was one year with a lovely flag handkerchief!

Shelby used to love running through the house at full speed, and particularly after she had just come in from an outside potty break. Why do most dogs seem to take off running crazy after they've pooped??? lol Shelby would just run around like crazy, and it would crack me up!! I also loved it when Shelby would run after a toy she loved, and bring it back, and just spit it at your feet. She also used to "sing" whenever she heard a siren, but the best was when she "sang" for the ice cream truck! So many summers would go by with Shelby striking up a song as soon as the ice cream truck started making it's rounds! Very entertaining!!

Shelby and me, one of very few pics I have of the two of us. I had to get down on the floor to take it. lol


While it took some time for Shelby to get used to my dad, they eventually became pretty inseparable. My dad just loved her, and it was so obvious she loved him, too. At night when my mom would see my dad's truck pull into the parking spot in the back, she would say, "Shelby, guess who's home?" Shelby would perk up her little ears, and she'd wait by the back steps, sometimes calmly, sometimes bouncing around! My dad would play footsies with her when he got in, and when he'd go into the bedroom to change, she'd be right behind. My dad loved taking her to his shop, where she'd run around and explore everything around the area. There used to be a lot of junked cars stored in the yard, and sometimes you couldn't even tell where Shelby went! If you called for her, she'd come out of nowhere, sprinting toward you with her classic grin! I think my dad really got a kick out of that! 


I also used to think Shelby completely understood my dad when he'd talk to her. He would have her sitting up in his lap, and would hold her paws, and just start talking to her about whatever. A lot of times, she would turn her head as if she was listening closely. They just really had a great bond together! 

Shelby's most favorite spot in the world, my dad's lap. And she always had a smile on her face, even in the end when we all knew she wasn't doing too well.


Like any living creature, Shelby started showing her signs of aging several years ago. She lost her hearing, which meant we never heard her bark or "sing" again. While she never did go blind, her vision was pretty bleak when she had to go outside in the dark. Her back legs really gave her grief from arthritis. Last summer I helped my mom drive Shelby to the vet many times to get some laser treatments that only seemed to work for a short while before she seemed to be in pain again. Eventually they tried cortizone shots, also a temporary solution. No matter what Shelby was dealing with, you would never know she was hurting because she always had that huge grin on her face!!

Last Wednesday morning, before my dad and I left for Cleveland, my parents took Shelby to the vet one last time to put her to sleep. She wasn't able to walk much the day before, and that morning was even worse. They took her in, and talked to her for a little while before the tech came in the room. My dad said that it almost seemed like Shelby was thankful, like she knew what was about to happen, and she was at peace. Although I knew this day was coming, it's still been pretty difficult, especially for my parents since they were the ones who saw Shelby on a daily basis. We were so lucky to have Shelby for 15 years. That's a pretty long time for a dog! So, RIP Shelby, aka Silly Mutt. Thank you for all the smiles you gave us, and especially for that great big grin of yours that always made me feel like everything was so right with the world.
RIP Shelby '97-6.13.12

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cleveland Aquarium!

Here are some of the pics I took at the aquarium last week! Side note: I'm getting really frustrated with my the camera on my phone. I think it's partly my fault, since I've dropped it way too many times lately. But, some of my pictures look fine as thumbnails, until you enlarge them, and then realize it's corrupted and doesn't look anything like whatever you just took. I had to delete a whole bunch of pics from the aquarium since they just looked like nothing. UGH!! I can't wait to get a new phone in a few months! Anyway, these were some of my favorites!

 I wasn't sure if these guys were alive. I mean, they didn't move at all! My dad said he did see the first alligator blink, though!! lol

 Angelfish! We used to have these when I was a little kid! I loved them!
 These are lobsters in the ceiling! There was a little girl in the same area as us, and when she saw the lobsters, she said, "Look mommy, spiders!" They really do kinda look like spiders from below!


 Wrapped around the coral was a sea snake, I think that's what they were called. They were neat!
 This little guy was one of my favorites, and reminded me of being a kid and watching these fish at our aquarium. They love to dig in the sand and then spit stuff out! I could've watched him for hours!!
 My dad loved the colors on this fish. Very beautiful!
 The rays were one of my favorites. They just glide along so easily, made me wish I could swim with them (of course, I'd have to learn how to swim first lol).

 The big horseshoe crab climbed right on top of the little one and wouldn't move. Meanie! lol

 Almost seemed like this shark wasn't real! And apparently, this isn't full grown yet!

 This is the tunnel you walked through near the end, with fishies, sharks, and rays swimming over your head. I think it was my favorite part!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Results Are In!

My trip to Cleveland to go for my appts went well! I saw my cardiologist on Wednesday afternoon, after my echo was done. My cardio is always late for appts. Unless you're the first one of the day, you're fine! But my appt was at 4pm, and we didn't see him until after 5. Sometimes the waiting can be irritating, BUT, I absolutelly love him and he will stay with you to discuss things in detail for as long as you want. This is why his appts run so behind every day! Anyway, my echo results were very good! My heart is not enlarged at all, which is awesome! While the pressures in my heart are still estimated to be very high, my cardio said that for me, he's not really sure that matters at all. Being an Eisenmenger patient, my body has adjusted to living this way for so long, and the pressures aren't going to really get better no matter what meds I'm on. But I'm functioning pretty well, my exercise capacity has been good this year, and that's what counts the most! So after we talked about my heart, I told my cardio I'd be at the PHA conference next weekend, and that we'd be doing a short video together. He was excited! He said he'd been wondering if the person he films with would be someone he knew. Well, now he knows the answer to that!!

Thursday morning, I had my 6 minute walk test, the one test I hate the most. The entire time I walked, I thought about my dear phriend, Mason, who had passed away 3 years ago to the day. I kept talking to him in my head, telling him he was with me, and that I could do this! Something must've worked, because I ended up doing better on the walk than I did last year. Yay!! Awhile after that, I saw my PH doctor. I also love him!! He's easy to talk to, not that much older than me, which is kinda cool, and he said it looked like I was doing very well! He told me I could take dramamine before my flight, if I felt the need. I'm just not sure about that yet, though. Anyway, my dad and I left the Clinic around noon, with no reason to return until around this time next year!

My dad had asked about directions to the Cleveland Aquarium while I was having my echo done on Wednesday, so when we left the Clinic, we headed in the direction of the fishies. It took some time getting there, but I got to see parts of Cleveland I've never seen before (in my 10 years of going there!). The aquarium was actually an old converted power plant, and it was neat! There were all sorts of fish, and the tanks were different than what I'm used to seeing at our aquarium  here. I took a bunch of pics, which I'll try to upload in another post. It is so hard to capture fishies on film!! They don't like to just sit there for you and smile. LOL! The coolest part was the tunnel of glass, with fish and sharks swimming over our heads. I almost wish I could have a bedroom like that!! We were there for an hour or so, and then we walked to a restaurant kinda close by that was on the water. I wish my phone hadn't almost lost power, because I wanted to take pictures of the huge boats and the enormous barge that drifted by the restaurant! I guess I'll just have those images in my head!!

So my trip to Cleveland went very well! I like that I don't have to go back until next year, unless anything has changed significantly, of course!! Now, on to focusing on my trip to Florida! I can't believe it's almost here!!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Time For A Tune-Up!

The past three years, I've been going to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to see my cardiologist and PH specialist. Usually I can see both of them on the same day, and usually it's been a Monday, so my parents' and I would just travel to Ohio on the Sunday before, and stay overnight. This year didn't quite work out that way. When appts were being scheduled, I wasn't able to see both doctors on the same day in May. In fact, I would be able to see one of them one week, and the other one two weeks later. Ummmm, no way I was going to travel twice to Cleveland! So I asked the scheduler (a very very nice woman!) about June. She was able to get appts two days apart. Those two days are tomorrow and Thursday, so I'll be leaving in the morning with my dad! My cardiologist appt is tomorrow, along with a lovely echo. Shouldn't be too bad, the wait just might be long! Thursday will be my dreaded 6 minute walk (I really hate that test), and then a visit with my PH doc. And I should hopefully be out of there by noon-ish. I've asked my dad about going to the new Cleveland aquarium, so I really hope he's willing to go! We never do anything extra when we're there. It's just appts, everything's good, ok let's go home. Soooo, since we'll have plenty of time before we need to travel back home (I mean, it's only like a 3 hour trip give or take), I'd like to do something fun! So here's hoping for good results from my tests, and that I'll be able to go look at some fishies on Thursday!! lol

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Hanging Out

It's been a pretty lazy Saturday today so far. I got up around 9, but didn't actually get out of bed for like half an hour. When I finally rolled out of bed, I threw frozen chicken breasts into the crock pot after I used a rub on them, and topped them with half a bottle of Jack Daniel's hickory smoke bbq sauce. The smell in my apartment is driving me nuts!! In another several hours, I'll have some awesome pulled chicken. K. is coming over for dinner!

Last night, I hung out with one of my friends. She's going through a hard time right now, and so I decided to help her out with my company and booze. She enjoyed it, and so did I! So tonight I'll be hanging out with K. And tomorrow I'll be hanging out with my two best friends from high school (one of them being the friend who needed booze). So pretty much the theme for this weekend is: hanging out!!

Yesterday, during the day, I hung out with my mom. Well, we went on an excursion to Walmart. I bought some stuff I needed, including a few things for the trip. I also bought some ear plug things for my phriend and her daughters, who I'm traveling with. She had asked me to get them because they didn't have them up in Canada where she lives. So I got them, paid for them separately, paid for my other stuff, and my mom and I made our way to the liquor store, and then home. After I unpacked all my stuff, I realized the ear plugs weren't anywhere in site! However, I am sooooo thankful I had kept the receipt separately in my purse. I called my mom to see if she had them, but nope. UGH!! I have never done that before, walk out of a store without the merchandise I had just paid for!! So I called Walmart and talked to Customer Service. I told the gal what happened. I had to give her some number off of the receipt, and she checked to see if the items were at the register I had used, but came back to say nope. She said I would be able to come back with my receipt, get 3 more ear plugs, and bring them to the front desk so that I wouldn't have to pay for them again. I was at least thankful for that! I debated about whether to go back another day, but then I had decided what I wanted to make for dinner tonight, and I needed more bbq sauce and rolls. Sooooo, I got all ready and went back to Walmart! Not a fan of going there twice in a day, but oh well. I got everything and made sure I had all my stuff when I exited the store!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Eeeeeeek!!!

Two weeks from today, by this time in the afternoon, I should be at the airport. In FLORIDA, not up here in Buffalo! I will have HOPEFULLY survived the plane trip with flying colors!! lol I'm finding it hard to believe that the PH conference is almost here!!! I've been slowly trying to prepare for it. The first thing I set aside a couple weeks ago was pajamas. Of all things! Well, eventually I've gotten a lot of my bathroom stuff ready, like shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, lotions, etc. Last week I started getting my meds together. Today I called to make sure all the oxygen stuff is really actually arranged, and after a callback, I found out that I'll be able to use liquid at both hotels! That makes me so happy!! I also got a couple outfits together. It's hard to know what to wear! I mean, it's Florida at almost the end of June. Today it's currently 83, and high humidity. For all I know, 2 weeks from now it might be in the 90s! However, despite the heat outside, the hotel is going to feel like I'm in the artic! I hate freezing cold air conditioning. Sooooo, I honestly have to pack summer and fall clothes. How sad is that??? At least I'm not bringing bulky sweaters. I've mostly got long sleeved shirts that I can have under a tshirt, and then of course a zip down sweater or something like that. It's so much easier to take off layers than not have enough of them! So, things are slowly coming together for my trip. Before I know it, it will be here, and gone in a jiffy!!!