“No, just maintenance,” I respond.
The massage is relaxing for the most part with some added pressure to try to encourage my muscles to help me improve my posture—too late, I suspect.
Next, I visit the doctor for prescription renewals for the pill for my GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder)—a fancy name for really bad acid reflux. My esophageal flap is sluggish and not flapping shut correctly.
“Are you wearing your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask?” the doctor asks. I have mild to moderate sleep apnea—in short, I snore and snort and sometimes gasp for air.
“For about four hours a night. It slides off.” I don’t tell her that the headband and chin strap irritate me, the headband gets caught in my hair, and I end up ripping it off—the mask along with a few precious strands of thinning hair. “I guess I should make an appointment with the respiratory therapist to see if I can get a better fit.”
“Yes, it’s important that you wear it. We should also check your liver and gall bladder function,” the doctor tells me as she hastily keys, prints the requisition, and hands it to me. “Make an appointment for an abdominal scan. We’ll book a mammogram when you come in for your physical in May,” she adds. I can hardly wait for that squeeze!
I trudge next door to the Imaging Clinic and make the appointment for the abdominal scan. “We can’t get you in for three weeks,” the receptionist reports. “But I’ll put you on a waiting list in case of a cancellation.”
On to the dentist, “I’ll grind down that tooth a bit. I think it’s just stress from chewing,” he tells me when I report that, yes, I’m wearing my night guard. “The night guard looks like it will last a few more months but come back if it totally breaks.”
Sure, I’ll do that—I love trotting back and forth, around and around, just to keep myself upright and functioning. Has anyone else of my vintage noticed the time we spend on maintenance?
The dog also requires more maintenance. Hayley was 10 years old in December.
“She’s been a senior since she was 7,” the veterinarian explains. Hayley puts her front paws up on the counter as she eyes the treats. He gives her a couple, hastily drawing his hand back as she lunges at it. I apologize for her manners and suggest he use a flat hand when giving her treats.
Hayley has developed small benign tumors on her eyelids which cause runny eyes. We tried the steroid drops. Then the woman who owns the kennel—Hayley’s Pet Hotel our granddaughter calls it—suggested just swiping Polysporin across the closed outside eyelid to reduce inflammation. That works, but only short term. When I ask the vet, he says the Polysporin won’t hurt her.
The vet reviews the pros and cons of surgically removing the small tumors. Doug and I decide to leave them for now. Giving anaesthetic to a senior dog has its risks.
“She also has some tartar on her teeth,” he states. I vow to brush them more often.
“The teeth are quite worn down,” he notes as he peers in her mouth. “You aren’t giving her bones, are you?”
“Yes. Shouldn’t I be?”
“A dog should never chew on a hard bone. Their teeth are not for grinding. That’s why wolves leave the skeletons of their prey.”
I feel like I have personally inflicted the worn down teeth. All the dogs I’ve ever known have chewed on hard bones, but no more for Hayley.
The vet administers the Rabies shot, and squirts the Kennel Cough up Hayley’s nose. She doesn’t flinch at the immunization, but lurches back shaking her head at the spray. Some gets on me so now I don’t have to worry about contracting Kennel Cough.
We explain that Hayley hasn’t done her usual immediate gobbling of food and seems somewhat lethargic. The Vet recommends blood work to establish a baseline. We agree, Hayley goes into the backroom for the tests, and we wait. When she emerges and gets a couple treats “for the road,” Doug takes her home while I sit and wait for the blood work results. (Sometimes Doug and I travel together, but not today. I went to aquafit before the appointment—more maintenance for me.)
While I’m waiting, the office cat crawls all over me and snoops in my open purse. Did I mention I don’t like cats—too many scratches by the feral barn cats and kittens when I was a kid.
The results show that Hayley probably has borderline hypothyroidism which would explain why she’s not as active and doesn’t gobble her food as quickly. The vet recommends that we bring Hayley back in a couple months if the symptoms persist.
Maintenance is certainly time-consuming, but it’s much better than the alternative—not being around to maintain!
The redpolls are long gone so filling the bird feeder is not as much maintenance. On a couple ponds south of us there are 42 Trumpeter Swans resting, eating, and waiting for open water to the north to complete their migration. They are stunningly elegant and graceful. When I stepped out of the vehicle to get a better view, they swam to the other side of the pond.
Happy Spring, and soon we’ll have yard and garden maintenance to add to the list.