Why We Rescue by Geoff Wilkins

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Why We Rescue

This is the best way to explain what we do everyday, what we see and what we feel while doing it.

For animal lovers like me, animal rescue is the most incredible, rewarding job… in the history of ever.

At the same time… it’s also the most heartbreaking…
The truth is…
You see a lot of things… you never thought you’d see.
You witness a level of cruelty… you didn’t think was possible.
You feel a degree of helplessness… you never thought you’d know.

You stare at painful images… soon burned into your memory… that will haunt your thoughts forever.
You try to pick up the pieces… so many pieces… of the damage you didn’t do.
You do everything in your power… but even still… you’ll never reach them all.

You’ll try to stay strong… but you’ll mostly feel weak.
You’ll build walls to protect your heart… but they’ll never keep you safe.
You’ll place barriers around your soul… but the pain will always reach you.

And no matter how hard you try to fight it… over time… here’s the truth about what happens in animal rescue…
The neglect changes you.
The abuse hardens you.
The suffering breaks you.

The ignorance angers you.
The indifference disturbs you.
The injustice destroys you.

On a daily basis… your faith will be tested.
Your heart will be wounded.
Your soul will be altered.

On a weekly basis… you’ll question yourself.
You’ll question your strength.
You’ll question the world.
On a monthly basis… you’ll fall down.
You’ll get up.
You’ll go on…

On a yearly basis… you’ll look back…
You’ll see faces…
You couldn’t save them.

You’ll learn to mourn.
To grieve.
To sob.

You’ll learn to trust a little less.
To do a little more.
To fight a little harder.

You’ll learn to try.
To hope.
To pray.

You’ll learn to fail.
To succeed.
To accept.

You’ll learn when to hold on.
When to give up.
When to let go.

You’ll learn who you are.
What you stand for.
Why that matters.

Then… at times… you’ll forget why you matter.
You’ll question what you’re doing.
You’ll wonder if it’s worth it.

But… here’s the good news…

When you forget…
When you question…
When you wonder…

All you have to do…
Is take a look around…
And you’ll see them.
You’ll see their faces.
You’ll see their smiles.
You’ll feel their love.

In their eyes, you’ll see their journeys…
You’ll remember their beginnings…
You’ll know how far they’ve come…

You’ll remember when they didn’t know you…
When they didn’t trust you…
When they’d given up.

You’ll remember how you healed them…
How you loved them…
How they loved you, too.

And as you look back…
You’ll want to move forward…
For them… and because of them.

In your darkest hours, you’ll look around…
To find the differences made… the hope given… and the lives saved…
Because you existed.

In those moments, when you look into their eyes… every doubt will be erased.
Every question will be answered.
Every worry will subside.

Because in that instant… in each of your hearts…
You both share the very same thought:
“Every bit of pain was worth it… for this moment here with you.”
And honestly… no matter what else happens…
Those moments hold all the strength you need…
To keep going.

Rescue is pain.
Rescue is joy.
Rescue is worth it… because they are worth it.

And that’s the honest truth.”
Geoff Wilkins Facebook Page

RA hurts those who love you

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One of the things that hurts me more than the pain from RA, is that I say things that I never would have before all of this. Sometimes my words hurt those who I love the most. I would never intentionally hurt anyone, but especially those who I love. I have always been one to say my words carefully and make sure that what I do say comes out in a positive caring manner.

As my pain has increased, I have noticed that sometimes things come out of my mouth in a way never intended. I have hurt those who only care about me. I have been angry at those who do not deserve it at all. I immediately feel horrible about my words and wish I could take them back. This is why I have always chosen my words carefully, as you can never take them back. Hurtful words can be remembered forever. This is not how I want to be remembered.

RA not only affects the person living with it, but all those who are near to the person affected. By afternoon I have usually gotten my emotions under control and can put on my brave face, but mornings are still a demon I continue to battle and so far I am loosing that fight. It is not a good excuse but my pain is so severe in the mornings that I feel angry. Angry at what it has taken from me, Angry that I am not the same person, Angry that this will continue to get worse. Angry that my loved ones are having to deal with this other me, Angry that all my plans will have to be put aside or forgotten completely. Angry that my promises have all changed.

I see it in my children’s faces and I hear it in their words. So while I am the one with RA, they are suffering from the side affects of it as well. A mother always wants to protect her children, no matter their age. I can no longer hide what is happening to me and so I pile on more guilt for what they are having to deal with.

While I cannot fix or change what is happening to me, I pray that God gives me the strength to go through this in a graceful manner that will allow me to still be the kind and loving parent and friend that I have always been. And I must remember that those who love me, are suffering also. I am not alone in this journey and the ones around me need comforting as well.

Deborah

Everyday is a battle

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All days start the same, the moment I awake and hesitate moving for fear of the pain. By now I should know that it is always there waiting. Slowly I move my legs and try to sit up. This takes a few tries and then finally I am in a sitting position. After a few moments then I try to stand up, this again takes a few attempts. Then I stagger my way down the hallway, praying I make it to the bathroom in time. Then my coffee, cup full of pills and my insulin. I sit thinking what my day will be like, moving my legs and arms a bit to see if they have loosened up at all. Holding my cup of coffee with both hands for fear I will drop it. Also taking check on my emotions and if today will be a happy day or one that grief, despair and depression will rule. I always have high hopes the night before and make my To-Do list for the following day. In the mornings as I look at my list, I automatically start checking things off that I know will not get done today.

I finally make myself get up and start moving, dressing and preparing to feed and clean the birds. So I gather bowls for washing, and begin to prepare all the fresh foods. I fill all the bowls the night before with their dry foods to help save time in the mornings. Some days just doing birdie breakfast can take me a couple of hours. This may or may not include changing some of their papers as I go along. Once their breakfast/brunch is complete, I have to sit and rest my joints for a bit. During this time I am now fully aware of where my body is for the day and so I can then check my To-Do list again to see what I will truly be able to accomplish. If it is a bad day then there are tears, tears for what I have lost and tears for who I was.

My greatest fear is for what is to come. Not for myself but for my precious angels. I already know that I will not be able to continue caring for them as long as I had originally planned for. I will have to say goodbyes to them sooner than I ever expected. Just the thought of this brings me so much sadness. My human children are grown but I also worry how much of a burden I might become for them. I look at my precious grandson and so wish I could run and play with him. He and I have a special bond that I feel so blessed to have, but I know the older he gets the more I will become the old Nana that can’t play and have fun with him.

No matter if it is a good morning or an extremely painful one, these are the thoughts that run through my mind each morning. I am glad that my mornings are alone, so that I can get most of these tears and thoughts out of my head before I have to see or talk to anyone. I call them mornings, but this whole process takes me until noon or 1pm to finally just get the morning things done for the birds and my mental and physical checklists done.

Then I move forward with the rest of my day. I use to have my house cleaned, birds all taken care of and dinner planned out and prepped by noon. Now I am happy to just have the birds taken care of by noon. The rest of my day is still many disappointments of all the things I cannot do. I try to be positive and happy with the things I can accomplish….but that other person I use to be is always there lurking in the quiet corners of my yesterdays. I miss her very much.

Deborah

Memories on a Breeze

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It was a warm and sunny afternoon,  a lovely breeze blew through open  windows and the tinkling of wind chimes faintly played their lullaby.  Her little eyes began to shut as the warm summer air ruffled her feathers ever so slightly. All the sounds of her home began to fade as she drifted into a little summer nap. She was so warm and cozy and began to feel a memory of something….maybe from long ago. Maybe this was just another dream or a memory that was not hers. It came from a place so very far away and while it seemed so familiar, she knew she had never seen this place before.  The air had such wonderful aromas and she could almost remember tasting the tropical plants and berries that she saw. She watched as many birds were playing in a nearby pool of water, while others seem to play a game of tag flying up and down and above the trees. It was so beautiful here and the birds flew so high, there were no ceilings to stop them or doors too keep them in. She had never flown so high before herself, and that thought of doing so, made her a little frightened. How would they get back down, who would be there to help them.  But as she watched these other birds flying, she saw how very happy they were, they had no fear as they flew and manipulated their way between the trees, it was as though it was something they had done all their lives.

She began to wonder where the humans were, Could it be that these birds were all by themselves. There were no cages for them to go back into. There were no food bowls, swings or perches. She became frightened for a minute, who would bring her food and make sure she was safe, how could she survive out here with no humans to care for her in this wild place. As she watched on though, she saw that none of the birds were afraid. She could feel their happiness and that this was their home. They were allowed to live freely and fly about as much as they wanted. That brought on another thought, she wondered who chose? Who decided, who would remain free and who would be in cages? The thought was perplexing and a bit sad. Why had it been decided she would live in a humans home, was she too weak to live in this wonderful place? Was she not like these other birds in some way. The thought only made her more sad and confused.

Another little breeze blew through her open window and she wakened from her little sleepy nap. She was once again in her safe home with her loving human, who took such good care of her.  She loved this person, they gave her good food and loving little snuggles and scritches. They made sure she was safe and healthy. They gave her everything she needed. However the memory of that other place lingered for a few minutes longer….. what a wonderful place that had been, she wished she could visit there again. She secretly wished she could live in such a place and fly as free and high as all those other birds.

Deborah
Feathered Angels 2017

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE GETTING CHEMO & PETS by Rebecca, Oncologist RN

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FROM African Grey Parrot Lovers & Oliver’s Eclectus Page

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE GETTING CHEMO & PETS by Rebecca, Oncologist RN

DISCLAIMER: We cannot diagnose any illness here on the page. ALWAYS consult your own medical specialist with any health related questions. Content published on this page is commentary or opinion, and is protected under Free Speech. It is only provided for educational and entertainment purposes and is in no way intended as a substitute for professional advice. The administrators and page and the author assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of any of the published material. Your use of this page and information indicates your agreement to these terms.

*This information is for educational purpose and NOT intended to replace the advice of your personal oncologist. Always follow the advice of your oncologist.

***This is not an exhaustive list, but basic info to help you during a difficult time in your life.***
The following is important information for anyone receiving chemotherapy for cancer and tips for caring for parrots and other pets during treatments. The chemo is excreted in your urine and other body fluids for 48 hours to several days after you have your chemo, so be sure your pets don’t drink from the toilet to prevent exposure to toxins of the chemo and clean up any spills. Protect your pets and family members from any body fluids, including your saliva for 7 days after chemo. Hand washing is very important not only for you but to protect your birds and other pets.
Depending on the chemo you are given, approximately 5-14 days after your chemo you reach what is called your “nadir”, which is the lowest point that an individual’s blood cell count will reach as a side effect of the chemotherapy. I will discuss 3 blood counts that are affected by chemo; the White blood count (WBC) which is your first line of defense against infection, red blood count (RBC) which carry oxygen throughout your body,and platelets, which help the blood to clot, leaving the patient open for infection, anemia which causes fatigue, and bleeding.The nadir for each blood cell type occurs at different times.The white blood count (WBC) is usually 7-14 days following the last day of chemo, and it depends on your treatment regime. Your oncologist will probably check your blood counts one week after your chemo. WBC fight bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders that can cause infection, so you should avoid situations which could lead to increased risk of infection.
A temperature 100.4-5 or higher is the FIRST sign of infection and requires a call to the doctor or trip to ER. During the 5-14 days (nadir) it is best to take your temperature twice a day. The nadir usually resolves and counts slowly return to normal in about 3-4 weeks, just in time for your next treatment, so, the entire time you receive treatment, you must be very careful. If you look up the definition of nadir in the dictionary it is “the lowest point; of greatest adversity or despair.” Sounds scary, huh? It’s not just a simple warning, but a very serious one. If your WBC is low, and some get extremely low, you are susceptible to any infections, which includes bacteria, viruses, and any foreign invaders, and if your platelets are low, you can experience serious bleeding.
The best way to prevent bleeding during chemo, as far as our pets are concerned, is to avoid any scratches or cuts by keeping their nails trimmed. Also, avoid any bites. If your parrot acts agitated do not push your luck. A bite could lead to serious bleeding and infection.
If you have cats, you know that a cat bite is dangerous even if you aren’t getting chemo, but during this time the bite or scratch could land you in the hospital. If your parrot’s nails are sharp, trim them and/or put a towel or cloth over your hand before picking him up. Even minor scratches can lead to severe bleeding if you don’t have platelets to clot your blood.
After holding your parrot or playing with other pets, wash your hands well to prevent transmission of bacteria etc., it would be best to wear a mask and gloves when handling your exotic bird and other pets during the Nadir, but hand washing is also very important. Even if you wear gloves, you must be very vigilant during this time, it is extremely important to avoid infections and bleeding at all costs. Infections usually occur in the lungs, mouth, throat, sinuses and skin. If you get a scratch or cut watch carefully for redness or swelling and temperature. Sometimes your temp will go up before you see any redness.
Do not handle animal waste such as cat litter, bird cages/waste, and fish tanks, but if you MUST clean them, wear a good mask and rubber gloves. The normal masks may not protect you completely. Wash hands well afterward. Warm soapy water is fine, but be sure you wash every part of your hands, front, back, wrists etc and nails..the best way to know if you have washed long enough is to sing ‘happy birthday to you’, twice. It’s not enough to just run your hands under the water.
If you have someone who can clean your bird’s cage, and cat litter box, that would be best. Even folding up a newspaper with bird waste on it or the dust from litter boxes while scooping can be inhaled. Spray down the bird papers with water and with several drops of GSE (grapefruit seed extract) in the bottle before removing them to keep the dust from going airborne. GSE in the bottle will help keep mold and bacteria from growing. Dust free cat litter is available.
Cats can get toxoplasmosis from eating mice, so, watch your cats, especially if they go outdoors. If your pet gets sick with vomiting, diarrhea etc, do not clean it up yourself, have someone on-call who can help you. Take them to the vet to be sure you know what is causing the sickness. DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. These are not things to scare you but to let you that your health and wellness during chemo is extremely important. You don’t have to get rid of your pets, but just be very careful. Our pets bring us comfort and can be beneficial to our well-being and healing.
ALWAYS ask your oncologist about caring for pets during chemo as your situation could be different. Be sure they know you have an exotic bird and last but not least, be sure you have emergency plans in place in case you have to be hospitalized during your treatment. Do you have someone who can care for your pets? It’s best to make these plans before you start your treatments.

My Journey with Chronic Illness

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First off I want to make sure everyone understands that I feel so very blessed. This is in no way a plea for sympathy. Oh I have had those moments and many tears shed but now I realize that was not going to help me in anyway. I had kept all my pain private until just recently and by sharing I was overwhelmed with such an out pour of love and understanding. I also was surprised by how many others were suffering with their own private battles with illness and pain and they also felt so alone. This broke my heart to know so many lovely people were in pain and keeping it all to themselves, as if it was an embarrassment or something we caused or did to ourselves.

I know personally I felt like there was so much happening all at once to me that it sounded preposterous. I also felt like a whiner should I mention any of it to anyone. I have always been one to want to help others, keep a brave front and smile no matter what! When all of my illnesses began to show up, I thought I could just control them all and it wouldn’t be an issue. That my life could carry on just the same and nobody need ever know. Quickly I began to realize that was going to be impossible to do. For one my body was fighting against me completely. I was not resting or slowing down as I should have. I was trying to cover up the pain and work through it in hopes it would just go away.

Sadly all my fighting through the pain was actually making it worse. I felt as if my whole life was going in a very dark direction and the depression began to set in. I closed myself off from all the outside world. I was having issues getting my own doctor to listen to me, and I allowed it. I asked for referral to specialists, and he declined the need. I complained about weight gain even though I was eating practically nothing and again he just told me to eat less rather than explore what might be happening instead.  I accepted whatever he said, even when I knew it was wrong. But I just didn’t want to fight and he was my doctor so I allowed him to tell me that a lot of it was in my head. I was hurting so bad and felt so alone that I was actually fearing how quickly my body was deteriorating and how very limited my time might be. I was giving up….and that is not me. One final visit to my doctor shocked me completely out of this downward spiral. His total lack of caring was so evident that I knew this man could not be in charge of my life any longer. This gave me the kick I needed to take back my life and all decisions regarding my body and illnesses.

Once I allowed my friends and family to know what was happening, it felt like such a relief and to finally have those who cared about me, giving me positive feed back, ideas and input. I was no longer alone and the dark place I had been headed was immediately a thing of my past. I am still going through doctors and trying to find just the right ones. I implore all of you who might be having the same issues to please do not give up and if your own physician is not listening to you…..please please please go get a second and third or however many opinions it takes, until you feel like they are hearing you and caring for you. We are paying their bills and they work for us, not the other way around!

Educate yourself on whatever illness you may have. Join boards or social media groups, it can not only help to educate you, but also keep you from feeling isolated. Study all your medications and ask questions of not only your doctors but others who have taken these meds. Make sure you are fully aware of the side affects, long term conditions etc. You make the choices and decisions on what is going to be best for you!

My own battles are:
Severe Rheumatoid Disease also known as Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is a progressive destructive disease where the immune cells attack the joints and organs, and they degenerate. It cause deformity and pain to the joints especially in the hands and feet but not limited to.  RA also attacks the heart and lungs.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” People with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. Fatigue, weakness, cold sensitivity, weight gain, depression, memory loss etc.

I am also now a diabetic and I am type 1. Most people who are diagnosed later in life are type 2 however in my case it has been discovered that I am type 1. From my diabetes going unchecked for so long,  I have also developed diabetic neuropathy,  which damages the nerves that send signals from your hands and feet. It causes numbness and tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Another symptom is a burning, sharp, or aching pain (diabetic nerve pain). My fingers are almost completely numb now and I am not sure if this can be reversed or at least improved on but I am hoping.

I have degenerative disc disease and have already had two back surgeries to shave down the herniated portions on different discs.

I have recurring kidney stones, one I had to have surgically removed due to the size. Since then the others have been smaller and while still painful not nearly like the first one that was 6mm

Most of my illnesses are autoimmune disorders and it becomes very complicated to treat each one as the medications needed for one, can counteract medications for another.

Every day has pain, each step I take feels like I am walking on sharp little stones. Mornings are my worst and it takes me an hour or longer to move without holding onto things as I go. Just getting out of bed became a struggle, not because I didn’t want to get up, but actually being able to move and get up took a great deal of effort and pain to get moving. I have to set up all my med cups the night before as it takes far too long in the mornings to get them done. Sometimes giving my insulin shots to myself is difficult as my fingers and hands are so stiff. Picking up the smallest of items can feel like 50 lbs to me. Holding my larger birds is almost impossible some days. I can no longer feel the soft feathers of my birds or even the tender skin of my grandson. While I plan out my daily routines, there are some days I can barely feed birds and do the basics around the house. I cannot walk long distances and definitely not without someone with me as my knees can give out without any warning. A shopping trip means the next day is full of pain and very little done. I am a little OCD when it comes to cleaning so I just clean every moment I can in order to keep it all done, but this consumes so much time that I don’t have time for the things I enjoy to do most days. This is just a very small portion of the changes I am going through but I want to share this so that others reading might want to open up and share as well. If not here at least with your family and friends.

Going forward I will be devoting a section here in my blog for anyone who would like to chime in on their own struggles. I will also try to share new ways of doing things that might be easier for anyone with chronic pain. Most importantly I want to make sure that nobody feels alone. We are all going to have less than perfect moments but we do NOT need to suffer alone!

deborah