Sunday Glory

 

Gail

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Insomnia and Those Dreaded Sleep Medications

I struggle with insomnia and have for quite some time.  I remember my mother telling me even when I was still a teenager, that for many women, insomnia worsens around menopause, and that the older you get, the more difficult sleeping becomes.  So far, dear old mother was spot on.

I talked to my doctor and a therapist about insomnia many years ago.  The therapist talked to me about my “sleep hygiene,” a term that was foreign to me.  Sleep hygiene is simply just good sleeping habits.  The therapist also recommended a book called Insomnia Cures: Sleep Hygiene Practice Makes Permanent.  I purchased the book, read it, and found it to be helpful.  It was a good book that I’d kinda like to reread again but unfortunately, I loaned it to a fellow book club member who also suffered from insomnia, and I never got it back.

I can’t really brag on my sleep hygiene as there’s probably lots of room for improvement where that’s concerned.  For one thing, I’m a night owl and I’ve never been able to get that turned around.  I developed terrible sleeping habits in veterinary school.  I can’t begin to tell you how many nights I never even made it to bed because I just never could seem to “finish” studying.  I’ve said before, that I simply just feel better at night.  Around 10 pm is when I come alive and want to clean house and do other productive stuff.   I remember the book also said the only two things you should do in your bed is sleep and have sex.  Well, I read in bed and I do crossword puzzles in bed and apparently, that’s a big no-no.  I’m the type person who has to “wind down” before going to bed.  My husband and both my sons can walk in a bedroom, turn out the light, climb in bed, and be snoring within minutes.  Literally within minutes.  Come to think of it, my dad was the same way.  Maybe that’s a “man thing” because I’ve NEVER been able to do that.  I always have to read a while in bed.

My primary care doctor has tried sleep aid medications on me.  He’s tried both Ambien and Lunesta.  I hated the way Ambien made me feel.  I felt goofy while on it.  Apparently, one night I talked to a good friend on the phone after taking it and the next day that friend said I was talking all crazy.  I didn’t even remember the conversation!  I did other things on it that I had no recollection of the following day (like eating, doing laundry and ordering things off the Internet).  It got to be scary.  I got off of it when a lady at my church told me there really was such a thing called “Ambien sex” where a person taking Ambien has incredible sex within about 10-15 minutes of taking Ambien, but then has no recollection of even having sex the next day!

I tried Lunesta, a sedative hypnotic drug used to treat insomnia.  Lunesta is supposed to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.  Lunesta made me have horrible, vivid nightmares.  Those nightmares were always extremely violent and I was usually being chased, attacked, or assaulted in those Lunesta dreams.  My husband was losing sleep while I was on Lunesta because he was  forever having to shake me awake because I was usually screaming out in those very scary nightmares.

One night after taking the Lunesta, I was dreaming I was in Australia and I was being chased by dingoes (an Australian canine).  I have NO idea why I dreamed that particular dream.  In the dream, there was a circle of dingoes around my body and they were biting at my ankles and lower legs.  This was a very vivid and colorful dream.  I still remember the red blood squirting from the dingo bites I received.  My gray and white geriatric cat, Bigfoot, always slept between my feet and legs in the bed with me and he was sleeping there on the night I had this dream.  In the dream, I was trying to beat at the dingoes with my fists and I actually woke up from that dream screaming and beating at poor Bigfoot.  That poor cat was so traumatized and the look on his face was just one of pure shock and horror as he jumped off the bed and went running.  I can’t begin to tell you how terrible I felt.  I had hurt my own cat while acting out this Lunesta dream!  After that, I told my doctor I was stopping the Lunesta and I never wanted it prescribed to me again. I told him I would rather have insomnia than those vivid, violent nightmares.  It was weeks before my Bigfoot kitty even had the nerve to get back in bed with me but bless his heart, he did start sleeping with me again.  I remember my doctor telling me the most common side effect his patients complained about while on Lunesta, was a bad taste in their mouth upon awakening.  He had never heard a patient (until me) complain about nightmares.  I had looked it up though and read that Lunesta could cause vivid and “abnormal” dreams.  I had them almost nightly while taking Lunesta and I was reaching the point where I didn’t want to go to sleep at night!  I mean, who wants to have nightmares every single time they fall asleep?  Not me!

Recently, I’ve been taking Melatonin which a lot of people seem to have good success with.  Some nights it works well, other times it doesn’t seem to work at all.  I started out with a fairly small dose and will gradually increase it until I find which dose works for me.

Do you have trouble with insomnia?  What has worked for you?  Have you ever tried Ambien or Lunesta?  Any luck with Melatonin?  

Gail 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

On Naming Pets

I’ve always been curious and fascinated about the names people choose for their pets and how they “choose” those names.

I worked at a small animal veterinary clinic for about 15 years (about 6 years as a veterinary assistant/technician and about 9 1/2 years as a veterinarian).  The practice became computerized a few years before I left and the computer program we used had fun little extras on it where we could look up and see what the most popular pet name in the practice was, what the most popular dog name was, most popular cat name, most popular female pet name and most popular male pet name.  I LOVED playing around with this little program.   I remember the most popular dog names were:

  • King
  • Prince
  • Princess
  • Bear
  • Blackie

Populars among cats were

  • Tiger
  • Max
  • Kitty
  • Oscar
  • Simba

I was in veterinary school when the movie The Gremlins came out and suddenly there was an explosion of animals named “Gizmo” (both cats and dogs).  I also remember well when the animated musical, The Lion King, came out in 1994, and suddenly every new kitten brought in for new kitten exams was named “Simba.”  We all lost count on just how many hundred of kittens came in with the name of Simba (I wonder if that trend is repeating itself with the recent remake of the movie).

Image by linesampaio_ from Pixabay

I was taught in veterinary school that clients like to hear their pets called by name.  I found this to be true.  I got in the habit of always trying to use the pet’s name when calling owners in from the waiting room – for example, “Mrs. Smith, bring ‘Simba’ on back” or sometimes I would walk out and just say, “Gizmo Johnson?”

I was astounded sometimes to see names owners had chosen for their pets.  There was the woman who had a cat named “Dammit.” She said Dammit, as a kitten, was always biting and scratching, and often climbed up her leg when she first acquired her, and since that was the first word that usually flew from her mouth, it became the cat’s name.  I absolutely could not make myself walk out in the waiting room and call for “Dammit” or say, Mrs. Smith bring Dammit in, so I used the owner’s name on that one.

And I swear to you, there was an owner who actually named their solid black Labrador mix dog “Nigger” and for the life of me, I couldn’t call that dog by name.  None of us could.  The receptionist didn’t even want to write the name on the medical record.  What in the world was that owner THINKING?   The owner had no problem with it though and bellered that dog’s name out while dragging the dog from the waiting room into the exam room on its leash.  Lord, help us all.  I wanted to run and hide every time that owner came in with that dog.

I loved to ask people how they chose their pet’s name.  “Lucky” was also a very popular name with both dogs and cats, and I learned after practicing a year or two, that there was just about always a “good story” behind any animal with the name of Lucky.  I’ll never forget the sweet young couple who brought in a dog they rescued from a would-be drowning in the Cumberland River.  They were out on their boat enjoying a leisurely river ride and nearing a bridge when they unexpectedly and horrifyingly witnessed someone throwing a white pup from a bridge above them, leaving it to hit the water far below.  They saw the dog hit the water and go under.  They raced in their boat to get to the pup and would see its head bob to the surface and go under again.  And when they were close to the area where the pup was bobbing in the water, and ever so close to reaching it, it suddenly went under again.  They were in a panic and had slowed the boat down while anxiously scanning the surface of the dirty, churning river water when they heard and felt a very loud thud.  Yes, in their desperate attempts at trying to locate the pup, they had hit the poor thing with their boat.  And they felt just terrible.  Here they were, trying their hardest to do a good deed and save this poor dog’s life who had just been hurled off a bridge like a sack of garbage, and they rammed it with their boat.  But there was a happy ending to this story and they were able to save the poor injured, exhausted and frightened pup who they scooped up into their boat and quickly dried off its shivering little body with towels.  They aptly named the pooch “Lucky” and Lucky would forevermore have a good home.  They brought Lucky in for a health exam and other than being sore and bruised, and thin and wormy, Lucky was to be just fine.

My husband and I acquired two kittens several years ago.  They were barn kittens from South Dakota – one a gray tabby and one a blonde tabby.  I knew upon seeing them that the gray tabby would be named “Dakota,” after his birth state.  We had a more difficult time choosing a name for the little blonde tabby.  I knew more of what I DIDN’T want to name him than what I wanted his name to be.  At the clinic I had noted a handful of people who named their blonde cats “Pinkie.”  I didn’t get this (at all) until one very large male tomcat named “Pinkie” came in and I swear to you that cat was indeed pink.  I wish I had a photo of Pinkie because he really did have a pink sheen to him.  But a tom cat named Pinkie?

Does this cat look pink to you? It doesn’t look pink to me either.

We discussed names for the 2 1/2 hour drive to our house and it wasn’t until we reached home that my husband told me he wanted to name him “Nugget” as he was our little gold nugget.  And it was perfect.  Our little gold nugget fit perfectly in the palm of our hand.  And that’s how Nugget and Dakota got their names.

Soon after my husband and I married, we had a little tiny black and white dog show up at our doorstep.  She was estimated to be about 6 weeks old, weighing about 4 1/2 lbs. with a big swollen wormy belly and covered in fleas.  I took her to the clinic to work with me that night, gave her a bath, and dewormed her.  No one claimed her so she became our dog.  Since it was Valentine’s Day when we found her (or she found us), I suggested names like “Valentine” or “Cupid.”  My husband put his foot down and  informed me that there was no way in hell he was going to be walking outside and calling “VALENTINE,” or “CUPID.”  We ended up naming her “Patches” since she had black and white patch markings on her.

Our Patches pup. Irresistible, isn’t she?

We’ve had other pets over the years with unusual names.  There was my beloved gray and white polydactyl cat who I named “Bigfoot.”  He had extra toes on all feet and his feet were massive.

Bigfoot

When I was a young girl in elementary school, a gray and white tabby followed me home as I walked home from school one day (yes, I’ll confess it had a little coaxing from me). It was a tom cat who was always getting into fights and trouble and my mother named him “Nuisance.”  My dad and the vet, however, called him J.L. (after the famous professional boxer John L. Sullivan).

This cat resembles Nuisance.  Image by Blanka Šejdová from Pixabay

There were the two female sibling hamsters I acquired while in veterinary school who were both just downright mean and nasty and would just as soon bite you than look at you.  I sustained many a bloody finger from their nastiness.  I called them “Chisel” and “Weasel.”  They got along most of the time but got in a bloody fight one day and literally killed each other before I could separate them.  True story.  Talk about sibling rivalry.

Image by Juliet van Ree from Pixabay

There were my sons’ hamsters and gerbils who my sons’ named.  A hamster named Stripe because he was white with a gray stripe.  There was a Syrian hamster named Roly Poly which was shortened to “Roly.”  Roly had some sort of brain damage and he never could walk, he rolled instead.  He was “thrown in” for no additional charge when we went to purchase Stripe.  The pet shop owner realized he probably couldn’t sell him and just asked that we give him a good home.  I promised him we indeed would.  Roly led a long and happy life and was able to eat and do everything a hamster does.  Roly just rolled to get around.  We never knew what exactly his neurological problem was, but we loved that little guy all the same.

I had another hamster in veterinary school named “Critter” because he came from a pet store named The Critter Barn.  Critter was also a freebie because he had been cannibalized by some other hamsters.  Half an ear was eaten off as was the lower part of one leg, hence he had a peg leg.  Critter was a sweet ole boy but was an escape artist who I later wished I had named “Houdini.”  He was forever getting out of his cage.

And then there was “Roadrunner” the black and white gerbil (who was very fast and darted around like the cartoon roadrunner) and who once tried to pull an entire puffy comforter into his cage, and then shred up the polyfill for a nice comfy bed.  He was in hog heaven that day and was delighted with his “new bed.”  He was a character, that gerbil was.  I cried buckets when he died.

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

Do you have pets with a story behind their name?  How do you go about choosing a name for a pet?  What’s the most unusual pet name you’ve heard?  Please feel free to comment below…  I love to hear about pet names!!

Gail

Posted in Animals, Memories, Pets, Veterinary Medicine | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Sunday Glory

Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. 

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

honey-2201210_640

Image by Piotr Eliasz from Pixabay

Gail

Posted in Kindness, Sunday Glory | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Box Play

These two melt my .

Gail

Posted in Animals, cats, Love | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Virtual Coffee #7

If we were having coffee today, I’d invite you in among the myriad of red and green Rubbermaid Christmas boxes stacked around, as today I’m packing it all up.  I’d ask you when you usually take your tree and “Christmas stuff” down.  You see, as a young married wife, I’d always have ours down by New Year’s Day.  I grew up with a mother who always said it was “bad luck” to keep your tree up past the New Year, and though I never looked at my mother as a very superstitious woman, down our tree came just about every year on New Year’s Eve.  And then when I married and left home, I did things the same way, as my mother’s ways were just sorta ingrained into my ways.

I was raised in a liturgical church (Episcopal) which I attended for over 50 years.  It was on a Sunday morning while sitting in that church several years ago listening to a sermon, where a priest told us not to be in such a hurry to take down our trees right after Christmas.  And then she talked about the twelve days of Christmas and Epiphany, and ever since then, our tree has remained up until the day after Epiphany (yesterday, January 6, was Epiphany).  And I grew to love those twelve days of Christmas and getting to enjoy my Christmas decorations and the tree lights without all the hustle and bustle and stress of Christmas.  I play Christmas music those 12 days to the chagrin of my husband.  To sit in a darkened living room with just the glow of the tree lights while sipping on a cup of hot tea and listening to Christmas music is pure bliss.

 My husband and I were just amazed at the number of Christmas trees we saw go up before Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, we saw two Christmas trees adorned in windows before Halloween and I could hardly believe what I was seeing.  It gets earlier every year.  And then we were even more amazed to see how many people in our own neighborhood who took down their tree and outside decorations on Christmas Day, barely before the day had begun.  I wondered why they couldn’t leave them up at least  through the day they were intended to celebrate.  I don’t get that.

I was looking at my nativity set the other day (it’s my most favorite Christmas decoration I set out).  I purchased it from my nephew for a school fundraiser back in the early 90s when he was in elementary school.  That nephew is now 34 years old so my quaint little nativity is showing its age.  I didn’t pay much for it and I had always intended to replace it with a nicer nativity.  But over the years, I’ve grown to love my humble, cheap little nativity.  To me, it represents exactly how Christ chose to come into this world – in a humble stable among animals and itchy straw and smelly manure, where he was laid in a meager manger – a food trough for animals.  He could have come to us in any way of his choosing, with all the pomp and circumstance beyond our wildest imaginations, but this is how he chose to come.  Yes, I think I’ll keep my scrawny little nativity set.  It’s so symbolic of how it really was.  I sometimes look at the Mary and baby Jesus figurines and I start to ponder.  I wonder when Mary actually realized that the infant she held in her arms and nursed at her breast was God, her creator?  Just sit with that for a while and really think about it….  It’s mind blowing really.  I wonder how Mary must have felt.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably ask you if you’ve set any goals or New Year’s resolutions for this year.   The phrase New Year’s Resolutions seem to have gotten quite a bad rap over the years.  A lot of people instead choose one word to represent their year.  You know, words like Hope, Love, Create, Gratitude, and Courage.  I’ve chosen words before, but usually by April, I would be hard pressed to tell you what that word even was.  In past years I’ve made the usual New Year’s resolutions to get more organized, declutter my basement, to eat more healthy foods, and to lose weight.  And then by the end of the year I’d feel like one big failure when I realized I had failed in them all, but I’d make all the same resolutions the following year.  It was a vicious cycle.  So I don’t think too much about words and resolutions for the New Year.  I do try to set both short term and long term goals throughout the year and just try to do the best that I can.

If we were having coffee today, I’d share with you that a friend and I are reading through a book together that was written back in 1911.  It’s called Story of the Bible and it was written by Charles Foster. My mother read from this book to my sisters and me when we were growing up.  It covers Genesis to Revelations and has 300 illustrations.  It’s told in simple language and adapted to all ages, but especially the young.  We started reading it over the phone one night several weeks ago and we both discovered that we liked doing this!  We’ve had some good discussions and we sometimes have questions that we’ve had to dig a little deeper to find the answers to.  We’re halfway through Exodus now and I think we’ve both learned a thing or two and that’s always a good thing.  I’m grateful I have a friend who I can go on this journey with.  We talk on the phone almost every day so we decided to make the most of that time and what better way than discussing the Bible.  We read a section which is usually several chapters a night.  I read once that the number one reason that most people don’t read the Bible is because they don’t understand it.  I would agree with that wholeheartedly.  So yes, we’re reading this very vintage book designed for children and we’re trying to understand and we’re growing to love it.  Did I ever think I’d read the bible over the phone?  Not in a million years!  When we finish, who knows, we might just try reading not just the story but the actual Bible together.

The Crucifixion- Story of the Bible

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been thinking about the last decade and the things that happened in my life.  That’s always sobering.  My youngest son graduated from high school and started college during the early part of the decade.  My oldest graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and then his Master’s degree.  My youngest graduated with his Bachelor’s degree.  Neither returned to their hometown but stayed in their college town and started jobs.  They entered a major conflict with each other that turned ugly, broke this mama’s heart, and left me asking myself where I had gone so wrong.   My nest became officially empty and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  During that decade, I lost two of my best friends, and ironically both to tragic single car accidents which involved trees, which changed my life forever.  I hated trees for a while.  I lost a beloved cat and I’ve never grieved harder.  I acquired two new kittens that have brought me much joy.  I lost a brother-in-law who I wished with all my heart that I had known better.  I watched my oldest sister get diagnosed with melanoma of her eye, lose her vision in that eye, lose her husband unexpectedly from a surgery, and a week later, get diagnosed with lung cancer.  And from all that, I learned just how tough my sister is.  I learned a lot about grief in that decade.  I learned that while grief is different for everybody and you can’t set a time limit on grieving, it’s also not healthy to get stuck in a spirit of grief.  We have to move on. I watched three nieces get college degrees and one start veterinary school.  I watched a niece get married and I became a great Aunt in this decade three times.  I learned more about sinkholes than I ever wanted to learn.  I turned 60 at the end of this decade and I’ve never felt older.  I ate way too much sugar and didn’t do near enough exercising and I’m seeing the long term effects from that now.  I had a long awaited breast reduction and I had the unfortunate experience of learning just how painful a kidney stone can be.  I never want to experience another one.  I had classmates die which brought thoughts about my own mortality.  My oldest son bought a house during this decade and did some traveling, both with his job, and independently.  I learned just how hard a Mama learns to pray for her offspring, especially when they’re out of the country.  I watched my youngest son say “I do” to the woman he fell in love with and wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  I watched my mother-in-law reach her 90th decade.  I watched my father-in-law undergo a hip replacement and then be diagnosed with kidney cancer soon after.  I watched him work harder at 88 and decided he’s the hardest working man I’ve ever known.  I watched my husband leave the the very stressful hospital floor where he had worked as a med/surg nurse for  34 years and transfer to a rehab floor.  I left the church I had grown up in and attended for over 50 years and I grieved.  I retired my veterinary license which brought both peace and sadness. During this decade, I had joys and sorrows, I loved and I hated, I cried and I laughed.  I taught and I learned.  I lost friends and made new friends.  I lost my hairdresser to early onset dementia and I’ve never gotten over it.  I hurt people I loved.  I tried to love people I didn’t like so much.  I yelled and I stayed silent.  I talked too much and then I talked too much some more.  I fought self hatred and self esteem issues daily.  I ended a long term therapy relationship and I grieved.  I started a new one but it was not the same and I hated it and left.  I battled laziness and selfishness daily.  I searched hard for God and sometimes I found him right beside me and other times I wondered why in the world he had abandoned me.  I survived a wreck that made me terrified to drive again, especially in the rain, and I struggle with that still.  I loved this world and I hated this world.  I started blogging and I’m still blogging and I hope to keep that up as hard as it is sometimes.  I celebrated 34 years of marriage to a man who I would  pick all over again.

Thanks for visiting and having coffee with me today.  I wish for you a very Happy, blessed and fulfilling New Year.

Gail

 

Posted in Virtual Coffee | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sunday Glory

 

There’s no better time than Christmas to become

the kind of seeker the wise men embodied.

Wise people still seek Christ.

Rick Warren

Gail 

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