Category: Chats

Do You Know Your Dog?

In our household and with extended family, the conversation often strays to the fuzzy companions that grace each of our homes. My family constantly makes comments alluding to the fact that our dog (of over ten years), Jack, clearly likes me better than anyone else in our house, and about how he is often not quite as personable with others.

I got to thinking about this, and to me, there are very clear reasons for why that is.

  1. I’m the one who feeds him.
  2. I’m the one who gives him water.
  3. I’m the one who walks him.
  4. I’m the only one who lets him lay on me.
  5. I listen to him (yes, I listen to my dog. He talks to me when he wants something: “snuffing” for yes; no comment for no).
  6. I buy the treats.
  7. I treat him to small bites of cheese in the mornings.

Now, my family does do things with Jack. They do things with the dog when they want to do things. When they feel like having a dog, they do things (or if I’m yelling at them to do things, then they do things). However, I’m the one watching the signs and helping Jack when he needs something. For example, Jack could go outside every two hours and pee, and often he will indicate he wants to go out every two hours like clockwork. If I feel any empathy for Jack’s poor bladder (and if I want no accidents) I accomodate Jack and take him out whenever he signals. If I wasn’t home, Jack would probably be ignored and taken out maybe when someone remembers him or steps in a wet spot.

Jack is always happy to see me when I get home from work. That makes me feel good. When you have had a dog that long, you read in bed together, watch tv together, and you talk to him. He knows I appreciate him, and he appreciates me.

There’s a difference between having a pet and caring for your pet. If you care for your pet, you get to know your pet, and they’re much more of a companion to you then a burden (like Jack is to my kids). I feel very blessed to have such a companion in my life, and I regret that the rest of my family doesn’t seem to make such bonds.

If you have a pet you feel the same about, comment and tell me about them!



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“Working” the Job for My Health

I’m a reasonably healthy person, but I’m also fifty and little things come up.

This week, I have to choose between working while in pain (due to a complex ovarian cyst) or taking off until my next doctor’s appointment two days from now, which will determine the direction of action on the cyst treatment. Now, yes, I could get pain pills and muddle through the work day, as “all” I do is answer phones all day, however, my kidney doctor is pushing me to not take pain pills or NSAIDs as they aren’t helping my kidney problems (I’ve got a lot of protein hanging out in there). That’s another story. The point to this story is: what choice is an honest person supposed to make while caring for their health, but worrying about keeping their job? Why is everything so complicated?

I have 26 hours of Paid Time Off (PTO) and 150 hours of Extra Illness Benefit (EIB). EIB is what kicks in if you have a long term illness requiring more than 3 days off. At my job, non paid time off isn’t allowed. You either use PTO or you get pink slipped.

I would have liked to have had a vacation this year but based on the current situation, I won’t have the days to do that. It’s sad when a good employee, yes I’m talking about myself, that works hard and deserves a vacation still has to make a choice. But, of course I want to choose my health over a vacation (although my mental health may rely on that vacation..).

Here’s the events as they occurred, causing the dilemma:

Thursday I worked and didn’t feel well. By the end of the day, I was miserable with lower abdominal pain and the taste in my mouth was as if I was sick to my stomach. I got home and the cramping started. I went to bed early and woke up barely wanting to move from bed. I found that if I laid still it didn’t hurt quite as bad.

 Friday I called in (used 8 hours of PTO) and went straight to my doctor. Of course, no appointment meant I waited…forever. My doctor did a pelvic exam and sent me on to the hospital for a STAT ultrasound. It was determined I had a complex ovarian cyst with possible mass form. These are common. But my pain was not normal, and it was not manageable, and it was not okay.

Finally I got home and realized that if I work Monday, then take off Tuesday to go to my next appointment, I lose. I lose big time. I only had three days of PTO, and I’ve taken 2 days off consecutively thus far; what if I need surgery? In order to use the EIB, I have to have used up my three PTO days right in a row, consecutively. So do I take Monday off too, using my last day of PTO, so that if I need to have surgery quickly I just continue into my EIB seamlessly? Do I work Monday, and just have off Tuesday? I’d still have 8 hours of PTO left, and would just have to hope that surgery isn’t necessary. If surgery is necessary, I wouldn’t be able to have it without getting pink slipped and possibly losing my job.

What’s sad is, I’m sitting here considering ‘working’ the system so that I don’t lose my job if the worst case scenario were to occur and surgery is needed. They could really use me at work Monday-it’s the busiest day of the week-but going in to work might royally screw me over in the long run. I can’t take time off unpaid as it isn’t allowed. Whatever I decide it’ll be a crap shoot.

My appointment Tuesday may result in the cyst being smaller and no surgery needed, thus I’ll have wasted my last day of PTO by taking Monday off.  My appointment Tuesday may result in needed surgery, and I’ll be darn glad I can start my EIB and have the surgery without worrying about losing my job. Now, either way my vacation is out, but most importantly, hopefully this cyst will resolve itself.

Have you ever had to work around some seemingly inane rules to take care of yourself? If so, comment your horror stories; we can be perplexed together!



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