When is a routine not a routine?

So I am now officially housebound, tending to sick animals. I recently returned from a lovely vacation to California to visit my best friend, as well as to spend some time with some new friends who I met while a guest last year at the hotel they both work at. (And yes, I’m aware that I just ended a sentence with a preposition, which is not acceptable, but I couldn’t figure out a better way to end the sentence. I beg you, please don’t call the Grammar Police on me. I admit my grammar sin and I ask you for forgiveness.)

In any event, right  before I returned, my lovely petsitter sent me a text letting me know that my older puppy (a 3-year old beagle) was limping badly and she surmised he might have fallen off the couch during the time she wasn’t there. I returned home the next day (goodbye California, home to 3 people I love dearly and miss greatly already) to a badly limping dog. Off to the vet we went, a wonderful, gentle and compassionate woman, where we discovered our puppy had apparently suffered a soft-tissue injury between two vertebrae, most likely while jumping off the couch. Many medications were prescribed, including the bane of my existence – prednisone. A fine medication it is to accomplish what it’s supposed to, which is reduce the swelling of the injury but the side effects – oh my goodness, the side effects. To put it as delicately as I can, it involves virtually non-stop accidents around my tiny little house. One has to live with the side effects, my great vet tells me, and tough it out while the puppy stays on a 10-day regiment of the pills. And the prednisone makes the puppy anxious, so he’s also on Valium. And the Valium upsets his stomach, so he’s also on an antacid. And the antacid causes stomach pains and muscle spasms, so he’s on a painkiller. I feel like my puppy is becoming the Neely O’Hara of my house and that we’re now living in a Valley of the Dolls otherworld.

So I’ve been staying home since I needed to make sure the dog didn’t attempt to jump on or off anything while I was gone. And whatever little routine I had in my day before this has gone by the wayside. I admit that in the summer my routine is fairly simple and that if I have to abandon it, it’s not much of a big deal, but I am a person who finds comfort and predictability and safety in routines. I like knowing that, most days, at a certain time, I’ll be in a certain place doing a certain thing. In some ways, I know, that makes me like a small child who craves routines and a regular schedule and I admit that spontaneity is not my strongest attribute but I embrace, in fact I cherish the knowing of what comes next.

And now I don’t have it for a myriad of reasons. For one, my great kid is still away at camp for a while longer so the emptiness that his absence brings to my little space seems overwhelming at times. I am a person who likes to talk, who enjoys good dialogue, who relishes a stimulating conversation but now I’m here with no one to talk to. I know I’ve spoken about this before but the quiet in the house sometimes is almost too much to bear. I fill the emptiness with music and background noise. I marvel at people in soap operas who talk out loud to themselves all the time. I have not yet gotten to that point (and, frankly, slap me silly if I do) but I miss the routine of talking to my son. Even if many of our conversations are silly or inane or about nothing, it’s still interaction and dialogue and a connection and boy, do I miss that person-to-person connection.

Now my other puppy is not well. The medications that the beagle is taking apparently made him a little cranky and last night there was a terrible, awful fight between the beagle and the 1-year old baby dachshund over a scrap of food on the floor. I couldn’t separate the dogs for what seemed like forever and afterwards, there was much aggression and growling and snapping going on. And as daybreak woke me from a troubled sleep, I checked closer and found that the baby dachshund had 4 or 5 bite marks on her from the fight so off we went to another visit to our vet. Nothing major but the baby dachshund is now on her own set of medications to stave off a possible infection. And our vet has told me that I cannot go out for a few days unless I separate them, because there’s no guarantee that the fight will not reignite. I know what she’s saying is true because the baby dachshund has gone after the beagle multiple times today. Apparently, she is nursing a grudge because she wants nothing to do with him. And he is traumatized to the extent that he has been laying on my bed for nearly an hour, shaking. (Of course, I had to lift him to get him on the bed because he still can’t walk).

So now I now have a new routine which involves tending to animal wounds, dispensing medications, keeping the peace and trying not to go crazy because I have the house to myself and no one to talk to. I know we all wish for the occasional day when we can just play hooky from life and stay home and do nothing but, as someone who now has that as a routine, I can tell you that it’s better as a wish than it is as a reality.

And I’m not complaining so I hope that is not how this is coming across. I am a truly blessed person in my life in so very many ways. I have wonderful parents and sisters, a best friend who loves me like no other, so many great friends who range from phone buddies to people I only keep in contact with on Facebook to girls I have known since I was 14 years old. And I have my great kid, who keeps me moving forward and was my lifeline and my rock, even when things were very dark for me a few years ago. I have my health, I have opportunities to do new and exciting things in my life, I have the blessings of a great God in my life. I know how lucky I am. I know the gifts I have been given. And if this is the new routine I have, then I will do my best to embrace it and make it the best I can. But a little voice inside of me is counting down the days until my great kid is back home, until my puppies are on the mend, until I can slip back into my little comfortable cocoon of predictability at least for a little while longer.

I know change is on the horizon. College awaits, new job opportunities are coming, my life may be changing in many ways. And so today’s routine is not likely to be tomorrow’s routine, or next year’s routine. We all evolve and cope and adjust, some of us better than others. Nothing is forever; nothing is permanent. This too shall pass but, in the meantime, to quote a song that was very popular when I went to high school, I will survive.

And I am and I will.

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About mygreatkid

Mom, daughter, friend, blogger, DC grad.
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