One of the activities I’ve taken on to preserve my sanity during the pandemic is online, on demand core power yoga. Dozens of classes with different formats based on skill level and class length are offered for less than $20/month. Two months in I still self-isolate at beginner level but am progressing to longer sessions. I’m delighted to report that, at age sixty, my core muscles really are becoming stronger and more toned! The instructors keep me inspired and gently urge me to pursue my yoga practice with joy.
You read that right: with joy. Joy in what I am at that very moment. Joy and acceptance for what my body can and cannot do on that day and at that time. Joy in gifting the extra energy created in my yoga practice to a friend that needs it.
Joy is influencing my emotional state and locked down existence for the better.
Except for the Fourth of July.
Ugh, don’t remind me, Lily! Lily, my inner fourteen-year-old, didn’t like the excessive multi-day fireworks fiesta any better than I did.
Or the poor cats. They wouldn’t come out of the office closet.
True, 9. 9 is also an insider. You guessed it, she’s 9.
If we factor out the Fourth of July (I admit that when one of those bomb-type items went off in broad daylight I yelled an expletive over the back yard fence worthy of my tart-tongued paternal grandmother), we’re really doing pretty well. Even as life has delivered the usual hard knocks we’ve responded with positive action.
For example, discovering that Doc Holliday has life-limiting cardiac issues. He’d been coughing a lot, and at first I’d been told (over the phone) that this was typical for older dogs because of some part in their throat gets stuck in the wrong direction; the purpose of the cough is to unstick whatever this part is. When the cough persisted, I made the earliest appointment available (a 3 day wait, given pandemic-driven scheduling).
Nowadays I can’t be in the examining room when my pets receive treatment. When the vet came out to talk to me, without the dog, the expression on his face was sober. Doc’s heart was working way too hard, even though his heart rate was normal. He was having difficulty breathing. Blood tests and a chest x-ray were ordered to find out what, exactly, was going on.
At home I waited for the call and I wondered if Doc might have congestive heart failure. That had happened to my kitty, Arial, back in 2008. She’d recovered after a course of antibiotics. Doc’s diagnosis, I told myself, would not be that bad.
But it was, you know, bad.
Doc has a bad heart valve. Because of this, fluid had collected in his lungs. At the vet’s office they gave him an injection of diuretic that almost immediately eased his breathing (not to mention he started “peeing like crazy”). His condition is not curable but it’s treatable- -heart medicine and diuretic twice a day for the rest of his life.
Which could be a few months to a year, or he could go at any time.
He liked taking his pills at first, when you wrapped them in cheese.
Sure, who wouldn’t? This trick lasted about a week, after which we entered a phase of my “insisting” he take his medicine. Resorting to my cat pilling technique, I straddled him, popped the pills into his mouth and held his snout shut until he swallowed. Though I handled him gently and talked to him in a soothing tone, neither of us was feeling the joy.
The poor guy!
I totally agree with you, 9. After a few days of this unhappy solution, I remembered the Best Dog Mom trick ever: liverwurst!
And you stick your fingers in it. Ewwww!
Lily is our resident vegan. I do, indeed, stick my fingers in it and coat the pills to resemble miniature meatballs. No need to force feed now, I just set them on the kitchen floor and make happy noises to attract Doc. Two slurps of joy and they are history.
Is liverwurst good for dogs?
Well 9, it isn’t bad for them, and as one website says most dogs are bonkers for it. I’m good with that and I’m pretty sure Doc is, too. Call it Doc’s end of life plan. We’ll do what we can to keep him comfortable and happy for as long as he’s with us.
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Much empathy for all — dogs and humans! We had to go to the Vet, too, with all the extra precautions and masks adding to the usual tension. But Bingo is better now, and all of his extra pills (served with cheese!) are behind us.
Susan, I think of all the wonderful performers we’ve lost over the past year or so — Bruce of course, and here in Port Townsend, Coleman White and Laurie Driscoll. I wonder what they would have made of this brave new world.
Thanks for the updates. Take care! Yoga Joy!
Hi David, Glad your pup is better. It’s always such a worry when they’re sick and now, somehow, it seems even more stressful with the extra precautions in place.
It is sad to think of our stage comrades who’ve moved beyond. I can’t surmise for Lawrie (such a sweetie!) and Coleman, but Bruce, I think, would have been very upset and ill at ease with the state of the world today. He was having enough trouble coping with the Cheeto presidency all by itself. . .
Yoga Joy has proven an excellent lifeline for me! I hope you have, likewise, found things to help you face this challenging and ever-changing world.
Somehow in the last decade I have found myself approaching illness in family, friends a beloved pets with real gratitude that we live in time with technology to heal, or if not heal, then embrace the ability to make the inevitable more comfortable and meaningful. I usually keep this sentiment to myself because most people don’t want to hear it when they’ve just gotten a gut punch diagnosis. Susan, I’ve always love to read about how much you love and take care of your animals even when it’s really difficult medical stuff that you have to do to keep them comfortable. Thank you
Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on gratitude for life and, inevitably, what good things come at the end of life. We’re here until we’re not, and I’m pretty sure were here after we’re “not,” too! It’s all about love, really. Thank you for the love you bring to the world.