CUTE AS A BUTTON, SICK AS A DOG…

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On Friday, August 29, I excitedly called my brother because I saw an 11 month Female German Shepherd ready to be rescued. I didn’t think much about it, because I didn’t have to, she would be perfect. He said, “Let’s go!” So, I packed my office up and went to get her. When we got there, it was clear I couldn’t have her. She could not be around kids, didn’t even like people and was aggressive. Of course, I was disappointed.

I asked Billy if we should go play with puppies and the puppy store to make me feel better. It sounded like a good idea because there’s not really ever purebred German Shepherds in the pet stores and I knew that is what I wanted. So, we did.

We walked in the door, and in the first window there he was. I don’t even remember it but when Billy thinks back he tells me that I just said, “that’s my dog! Can someone please get me my puppy!” I instantly fell in love with him. We took him out and played with him and we both basically knew there was no going back. There was just one little thing, he was very thin. At the time, I was told that he had stopped eating and his muzzle swelled so they had to take him to the vet to have an abscess tooth pulled. He had been put on a very strong antibiotic and he was only halfway through and that was causing him to get sick.

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Of course, me being me, I knew that I can fix that. I will get a special food, I will wean him off the medicine and I will love him so much he won’t even know that he was ever sick! Well, that was the plan anyway….

He stopped taking the medicine, but continued to get sick. I took him to vet after vet and no one could tell me what was wrong with him, only that he was too thin. Most mornings, he would wake up getting sick starting at 3 AM so we sat on the floor and cried together because we were both so tired. He would get sick often through the day, I would do anything I could think of to get him to keep his food down. I tried changing his food, I tried giving him special organic food, I tried blending his food and most recently I started cooking for him. If you can imagine this, I cook chicken and then put it through the garlic press and cut it up really small to make it soupy for him to drink.

Every feeding takes about an hour and a half to be fed 8 to 12 times a day. That was okay though, because I could handle it and we would find what was wrong and he would be okay. We signed up for puppy classes and went every weekend. He listens so well and is very well-trained. He was already sitting and laying down after only a week or two. I have to give Billy some credit for that too. He is so attached to me, we didn’t even have to teach him the “come” command in class. When the teacher held him and I walked across the room, he ran to me immediately as she let go before I even said to come. We did a lot of training at home too!

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He was only 12 pounds, playing and going after my brothers 115 pound German Shepherd, Chopper! Watching them play was so much fun.

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He made so many friends in the neighborhood. It was like Cheers, but only…. everyone knew HIS name, not mine!

He hates his cage!

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He loves going for walks, especially at Valley Forge..

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He loves car rides…

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He even loves the beach!

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Anyone with access to my social media pages saw happy pictures and outings with my puppy. I took him everywhere. He even spent plenty of time in my office with me. See, he requires special care so I have to pay special attention to him and spend more time with him than normal. In addition, because he is sick, he is so cuddly. When you think of the new puppy, you think of them running around like crazy and chewing on things and being terrors. My Jax doesn’t get to be a normal puppy. He doesn’t feel good most of the time, so I spend a lot of time just holding him. He takes his naps in my arms, he sleeps at night on my chest so I can make sure his heart is still beating and he sure has become my family.

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Two weeks ago, a vet told me that I should think about getting another puppy. I was appalled. After thinking about it though, I appreciated his honesty. He pointed out that sometimes there are sick puppies and they just should not be sold. After going through this process I started hearing a lot of stories about sick puppies coming from pet stores. Now, I am not ready to get into that but I can tell you this, my Jax is a sick puppy.

He has seen five different vets. He has gone through emergency services, he has had bloodwork, X-rays and ultrasounds. None of which were conclusive. Yesterday, however, we found someone who could find the answer and it was not good. I had myself convinced that he had a condition called megaesophagus. Even though the symptoms didn’t match exactly, they were very close and I researched all night and decided that is what he had. I started taking the advice of the Internet on how to feed them and work through it in a different way. This new vet told me immediately that he did not have this condition. Actually, he did a barium dye test which showed a congenital defect which explains part of the problem, but there’s more.

To make a long story short, Jax is starving to death while we look for answers and he is not even healthy enough to have a surgery. I am stopped on the street by people telling me he is too skinny. He is going to be five months old and he is a large breed dog and he is barely 14 pounds. I have really run out of options and it is clear that he is suffering.

As I write this, my little Jax is laying on my chest, snoring just a little bit, completely oblivious to all the problems of the world. I don’t think I will ever be able to wrap my head around why this happened but I know that he has had love and happiness through his struggle. I gave him a good home and did all I could for him. I also know he would not have had that if he would have been left in the pet store that day….

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CAR ACCIDENTS FOR DUMMIES

… Does the book exist?

Car accidents are no joke. It’s hard to know what will happen, or plan for something you don’t know will happen. My luck, I was on my way to get my hair done at the salon for my brothers wedding. I took a specific route so I would pass the Dunkin’ Donuts and be able to get a cup of coffee. Coffee addictions are no joke either.

There were two cars turning in front of me and the 7-Eleven and I heard a loud noise behind me. I quickly realized that I was about to be part of a car accident. Two guys driving up the street weren’t paying attention and hit a car, who hit a car, who hit me.

There were people with injuries, so I helped as much as I could, and then waited to see what happens next without really paying attention to the discomfort in my back. Honestly, I was really concerned about missing my hair appointment, horrendous, I know!

After all of the paperwork was done, and ambulances left, I went on my way to get my hair and nails done. As the day went on it got harder and harder to walk. I started to have pain all through my back and my leg. I thought, “surely, this can’t be happening right now.” Injuries do not wait for it to be convenient, that is for sure. I ended up with with and having to get pain medicine to get through the flight to California… and the wedding.

Now, I had contacted my insurance company after the accident and I assumed that all of my bills as a result of the accident would be taken care of. As the pain got worse and the tests required started multiplying, I checked on my insurance and my rights.

Limited tort is a very important designation on your insurance policy. It is because I have limited tort on my insurance, I cannot bring a claim against the insurance company for not only pain and suffering but the expenses that I have incurred since the accident. Because of injury to my ankle, I was not allowed to drive for two weeks and I continue to have pain. I have been in physical therapy for two months. I lose two hours of my day every other day to do so. In addition, I have had to pay people to take care of simple things that I can no longer do.

After dealing with the pain and the restriction that it caused for sometime, it became very frustrating. I met with Lawyers, which was an interesting experience, but there was not much they could do because I had limited tort. In addition, my insurance policy only covered up to $5000 in medical bills. If you know anything about the medical field, you know that will not get me anywhere. I have been in chiropractic care, had x-rays on my neck and back, seen a general practitioner, had x-rays on my ankle, been to orthopedic specialists multiple times and had two MRIs. Those costs alone, before physical therapy, far exceed $5000. So what happens to those costs?

Well, in my case they turned over to my personal insurance company, who denied them. The amount of hassle and stress that this accident has caused has been incredible. I now know that life will not be the same, as I am restricted by my injuries. I have back pain that prevents me from doing things that I have always done. I cannot wear heels, and I love heels, and I can’t even blow dry my hair. The mental and emotional ramifications of the injuries and the restrictions are serious.

There is, pretty much, nothing I can do about it, because I chose limited tort. Apparently, limited tort is cheaper in your monthly payment. Insurance companies want you to have limited tort, I’m sure, so they do not get sued. Limited tort exists to eliminate your ability to make a claim against the insurance company, for expenses and/or pain and suffering.

I never pay attention when I sign something, so an insurance policy is an insurance policy. I never would have thought twice about limited tort, because I’m not the lawsuit type. I never really thought about what would happen in a car accident where I had injuries. Now, I know. I’ve change my insurance policy to full tort, and a much higher financial consideration for health and injury. Unfortunately, it took me living through it, to really know or understand it. Things that we take for granted every day, like walking, driving, wearing the shoes you want, are no longer luxuries for me. I walk into a physical therapy office in the morning in professional work clothes on…and sneakers! All ready to start my day in a way I never knew I would have to.

I don’t like it, no one would, however I know I have to do what is required to get better. I’ve always been the type to revolt against what a doctor would say or instruct me to do. This is different. I want to be able to walk.

If you are ever in a car accident, my advice to you:

Go to the doctor or hospital immediately. Even if you do not feel like you are seriously injured at the time, injuries take on new forms as time goes by. It is better to get checked out and be safe, and have it documented that you have injuries and you’ve been seen by a doctor. The insurance companies will not take your word for it if it comes down to it. Unfortunately, you have to protect yourself against greed and big corporate thinking.

Make sure you get all drivers information, the police report and the names and contact information of the police officers on site. Of course, be sure that the police are present, no matter how severe the accident.

Call your insurance company right now, and get full tort insurance.

Do not talk on the phone to the insurance companies, especially when they are recording the phone call. You want to be careful about what you say, because anything you say can and will be used against you. Again it is unfortunate, but it is reality.

Don’t assume because your car does not have much damage, that you are not injured. What I learned in this process is that in some cases the vehicle is not damaged at all but your body actually takes a more significant impact. It is better to be safe than sorry in this case.

If you need a lawyer, find a good one. Do not sign paperwork with the first person you meet, without regard for the terms and conditions. Personal injury can be an opportunity for corruption, so you want to be sure you trust your lawyer.

Keep a file. No matter who is involved, be sure to keep copies of all of your paperwork and documentation. You never know what will come up or happen. Things will be questioned along the way and you have to be sure you know what is documented so that you can be sure you are properly represented.

For me, I’m going to continue with my physical therapy, I am going to be determined to improve every day, week and month. I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to ensure that bulging disc and vertebrae and tendons don’t bother me for the long-term. As much as I would love to have a little talk with the driver who caused this accident, I forgive him. He has changed my life. But it could’ve been much worse.

Overcoming Obstacles

I am convinced that we are forever on a journey of finding ourselves.  That is where FindingLaura all started.   I learn something new every day.

This week I find myself wondering if everyone else has this many obstacles to overcome every day. Why doesn’t anything just go smoothly? I have to stop and say, “who cares what everyone else has?” and “why does that matter?”  It just doesn’t.  That’s always so much easier said than done but it is true.   I honestly believe that we are only given as much as we can handle and it is through our challenges that we find our great strength.

Obstacles have always been a part of my adult life and I always find a way.  I imagine it would go a lot smoother if I just accept it, find the solution and keep moving but I continue to stop and feel bad for myself that things don’t go my way.

So, my lesson for today is this:

Know you can do it, acknowledge you can do it and be proud that you can do it….. instead of being mad that you have to.

-L