Wednesday, June 28, 2006

News Flash

Gee, here's a shocker....second-hand cigarette smoke is bad. Who'd'a thunk it?

Friday, June 16, 2006

An Epileptic Mouth

The spiking pain on the right side of my head that has confounded doctors for two years finally has a name. I have been tested for temporal artery inflammation (and later told that was impossible – I was too young), had cat scans done on my sinuses, had my teeth checked and my eyes examined, taken antibiotics, endured repeated blood work for who-knows-what possible illness, been told “you get headaches” and given medicine that would eat my stomach if I took it for more than 6 weeks. And then one day, almost two months ago, I went to a new dentist. When I got there, I realized it was a woman I knew when I was teaching at the dance studio – she’d gotten married and changed her last name since then. After my cleaning and x-rays, she said she had no idea, but that I should go see an oral pathologist, and she gave me a referral to one in the area.

I saw the oral pathologist Wednesday. After two years of hearing “I dunno,” he had it pinpointed, diagnosed and explained in under 10 minutes. I love this man. Just knowing I’m not insane (about that, anyway) was a huge relief. The short version is that I have epilepsy in my mouth. The longer version is that I have a tic douloureux of the middle superior nerve bundle in the upper right soft palate. The easy version is that some nerves in my mouth have become exposed and cold temperatures trigger a seizure (the epilepsy connection) that sends a horrible spiking pain up the side of my head. But it can be fixed!!

There are some surgical options, which I’m not nutty about. I mean, really now, who wants to think of some doctor cutting open the roof of their mouth and pulling out nerve bundles??? There’s also radiation to kill the nerves, but doc says that’s not too reliable, that the relief period varies for everyone, but never lasts more than two years. So, first we’re going to try some medication, and my regular doctor will have to monitor the dosage and side effects, and I’ll have to have blood drawn periodically to make sure its not screwing up something else. The meds will basically raise the seizure threshold a good bit, so that it takes a much colder temperature to trigger an attack. Doc says I’ll be able to drink sweet tea and eat ice cream pain free, once we get the right dosage. I’ll probably be on these the rest of my life, but if they work, I’ll deal. And who knows, maybe they’ll come up with a less hideously invasive and yet more permanent solution.


Happy birthday to my sweet boy! He came from Mecklenburg County Animal Control, so I’m not totally sure of his age, but I picked June 15 as his birthday. Based on the information they had, Loki should be 8 this year.

No Talent Required

Reyna and I entered the Hand and Paw Pet Hospice “No Talent” Talent Show. We were supposed to do our freestyle routine, and were interviewed by a lady from the Chapel Hill News prior to the event. Thankfully, we didn’t get a lot of space in the article, because Reyna refused to perform. It was outside, hot, at 6:00pm (not her best time), with no significant shade. When we started, I got the opening move out of Reyna, and then she walked off. We tried again a few minutes later, and she wouldn’t even do the opener. She had absolutely no interest in doing anything but finding her brother and getting a drink of water in the shade. The coordinator gave me a “My Dog is Better Than Your Dog” t-shirt, anyway. She said she knew that if Reyna had actually done it, we’d have won easily. After all, the dog that won did nothing more that chase his soccer ball between his mom and dad. Next year, I’m going to enter her again, but her talent will be “Digging a hole in the water bucket.” I think we’ll be able to take the division with that.

The Video Taping

We did the video taping for the MDSA film festival a few weekends ago. It just wasn’t fated to go well. When we got to the Elk’s Lodge, the guy that was there didn’t know we were coming. And then it turned out that they’d had a wedding reception there the night before, but it hadn’t been cleaned up. So my good friends - who came to watch, not work – helped clean the place up. The guy who was working there didn’t even come help for more than a few minutes. We had to clear off and move tables, clean up the floor, and take down decorations. Poor Reyna followed me around for a while, and then I put a bowl of water for her, and she just stayed next to it. I had a feeling the distractions were going to be a bit much for her – after all, the place reeked of beer, there were chicken wings scattered around, and the remains of a roast in a tub on the bar. She also kept finding interesting tidbits on the floor.

Once we were ready to go, we tried it first without treats, doing the 1:30 version. I lost her attention so often, it was ridiculous. I always got her back, but it was easy to tell she was focused on everything but me. And the guy kept coming in and out of the little kitchen attached to the main room, snagging her attention every time he opened the door. So we tried it with treats, which meant we had to do the 2:30 version. It felt bad, but after watching it, I realized that even though she didn’t do everything I asked, and even though I forgot a couple of moves, there’s only three obvious times when I lost her. The biggest one was because I dropped a treat, and she found. The second time, we passed by the same spot, and she decided to double-check and make sure she hadn’t missed anything. The third time, she started to walk away from me, towards the kitchen, and I’m betting that’s when the guy decided to leave the room again. I gave it one more shot after that, but she was done. She did the opening “stick ‘em up” and then walked off the floor.

The funny thing was that I had more difficulty with the humans in the room than with the dog. There are parts on the video where, even though I specifically told everyone to be quiet, because there shouldn’t be talking on the tape, certain voices are very clear. Jeff got some spectacular pictures, though. And it was definitely a good learning experience for me. Of course, I was also glad to hear that several other people in the group had trouble getting their dogs to perform on video as well as they’d done in practice.

Our goal now is to really wean Reyna off of treats before the next film festival. I’m going to start listening to music again, and try and find another song I like, but I’m certainly not going to stress over working out a new routine for a while.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Its just too much...

I can't get over how much I love this picture...