Pet Sitting Bad for Sleep Disorders

For all the bullshit about sleep “hygiene”–as if it’s an issue of cleanliness or moral weakness–it seems bloody obvious that sleeping in a different place every weekend with different animals, noises, beds, etc. is one of the MOST disruptive things you could do to your sleep. I’ve been pet sitting for 3 1/2 years, but not one health care provider pontificating at me about sleep has bothered to consider that. I need to be at home. Which means I need a different source of income. Which should be SSDI, but you can die waiting for that. I just managed to summon all the energy to arrange a trip to Florida; I’m in no position to fight the disability denials or start something like online editing for hire. I need someone to help me with that stuff, the energy of initial startup, but that would require them to be paid for their time. And a minimum wage sure as hell won’t do that, no matter how high or low. But situations like mine are invisible to those who choose a solution based on ideology, insist it’s perfect and ideal, and blind themselves to the human suffering it causes. I’m just collateral damage.

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Today in Poverty

So. Two weeks ago I saw the doctor. She referred me to physical therapy for my arm and an eye doctor for regular checkup (eyes are vulnerable to diabetes). At the Poor People Clinic, referrals never work properly, so neither place had received one from the clinic. I called the PPC and had to insist to speak to the referral coordinator, and ask specifically when they sent the referrals and how. She repeatedly interrupted me, which is infuriating when your brain is autistic, but I try to explain that and people just get indignant. How dare you call out their rudeness! It’s not like they use email or have website where you can do this. Of course, this woman reflexively blamed the clinics and declared there’s no problem with the PPC referral system, even though another worker there explicitly told me otherwise when a previous one took 6 weeks of fighting to get through. She said she’d call the clinics and get back to me. She called back later and said the clinics had received the referrals. I asked when that happened, and she just said Yes, they got them. I again asked when, and she admitted it only happened today. Her earlier claim was a lie, and if I weren’t angry and persistent about this, I’d probably spend another 6 weeks playing go-between among the clinics to get my PT and eye check.
 
Then I called the disability law firm seeking a second opinion. I’ve left them messages before, and they say they’ll call you back in 24 hours, but they’ve never called me back. Someone took some information from me and said they’d call back. I wouldn’t bet on it. My appeal hearing is scheduled for March, and the judge warned that she won’t grant another delay without a “compelling” reason. The clock is ticking, and I’m apparently better off withdrawing my 2 1/2 year old claim and starting a new one (so, July 2019?) than getting an adverse ruling on this one. You see why I want to make sure before I kill and restart the process.
 
The client I’m sitting for has a home “security” system and seems irrationally worried about crime. So when I leave to walk another dog, I set it before leaving. What I apparently forgot is that it has motion sensors inside, and that I’m supposed to leave two big dogs shut in a bedroom while I’m out so they don’t trip it (I don’t think the welfare of animals should be dictated by alarm systems). Apparently they did. While on the bus to walk another dog, client texted me saying the “security” people called. He asked several questions about what’s going on and what I did. He had me call them to explain the alarm, disable it, and cancel the police call. So I had to give them my name, client’s name, and his address and password. Over the phone. From the bus–where riders around you can hear what you say. Then client told me the alarm is pretty loud and might scare the dogs. So this comes full circle causing lots of frustration while accomplishing nothing. The alarm system that was triggered by dogs tripping a living room motion sensor–not any kind of theft, burglary, or crime–jarred the dogs. And bothered my client while he’s on vacation, and interrupted me from my normal day, making me worry about the dogs and the client’s reaction toward me.
 
These systems do not deter crime. They do not protect property. They do not increase anyone’s safety. What they do is prey on racist fear of cities (Seattle has little crime among big US cities), constantly create false alarms (this is hardly my first time), and make lots of profits for the “security” industry. (Recall Rep. Darrell Issa made his fortune on car alarms) They exploit and increase fear, anxiety, aggressiveness, harmful stereotypes, and division among people. They make us afraid of and alienated from each other. Ironically, the reason it takes me so long to get around town is our mediocre transit system; driving is faster, but much more likely to kill you–compared to both riding transit and being a crime victim. The press sensationalizes crime, while car “accidents” are treated only as traffic issues. But if you look at mortality rates, ignoring the causes of death, they are lower in cities because we use cars less, and cars cause more death than crime. If your goal is to avoid crime (which is no more or less than what WE define it to be), move to the suburbs. If your goal is to stay alive, move to the city.

Parade of Crippling Misery Continues

1/2) I went to the dentist today. For some reason, they split checkups from cleanings, so I have to go back for the latter. They said I need a new crown. Medicaid won’t cover it (nor did federal employee coverage in 2003). The sticker price is $1100, and they have sliding scale fees for which I made an eligibility appointment, but the discount tops out at 50%.
I asked how long a crown should last, and they stuck with “for life if it’s done well”. I gently pushed for a clearer answer, saying there must be statistics on median, average, etc; and they said 15 years. That’s about what I remember being told before. My crown is only 9; I got it in 2008. It’s also either the 7th or 10th one I got on this tooth from 2003-08; they just never stay on, and when moving or switching dentists for insurance reasons, I always have to start from scratch convincing them that I need a gold crown. No other material (all cheaper, of course) stays on.
Gold crowns have other advantages, but I only care about the practical health aspects–I’m not into precious metals or jewelry at all, as I think they suspect sometimes. My only jewelry is a used watch I got for $20. The only other gold I own is a French coin my uncle gave me for my Bar Mitzvah.
The dentist was good about reasonably going over the risks and situation, acknowledging that it’s not urgent but should be done in the next 2 years. At some point, pulling the tooth and ending the root canal/crown drama enters as an alternative. I’ve always wondered about that, because it would be cheaper, less painful, and done forever after one procedure. It’s the very furthest molar in the back, so no one really sees it but me. It’s also my only root canal. The one other tooth I keep an eye on for a possible root canal is fine–they said it looks odd but is healthy, so that’s only cosmetic which I don’t care about. (The Baptist dentist who explained to me that a gay Barney Frank couldn’t be a real Jew made the filling way too big)
This means more hassle, physical pain, and expense. Could I get one cheaper somewhere else? UW dental school? Should I try a private dentist and pay out of pocket? How long will another crown REALLY last? The pain is bearable once every 15 years but not every 15 months. Or should I scrap all this and have the thing extracted? Even if it’s $550, how do I pay for it? Would it be worth buying my own dental insurance? Or getting it done on vacation in Europe? I feel awful saying this, but my grandpa is dying which could involve some inheritance. Should I see if my tooth can wait him out?
It’s just a thorny set of issues no one ever needs.
2/2) I walked a small, sweet dog today who I’ll call Kite. Last summer, for the first time ever, someone complained to me about a dog walking on their lawn. It wasn’t until last month that I checked the DPD website to look up her property limits so I knew where I could and couldn’t let Kite go.
Today another woman yelled at us from another house, apparently unhappy that Kite was walking on the lawn. It was a little hard to see in the rain, but I’m pretty sure she was in a different house than the one that owns the lawn we were on, as Kite regularly has enjoyed for months, both with me and her owner. This woman’s yard is inaccessible, so we’ve never been there. She was yelling at me about this lawn not being a dog walking area when IT’S NOT EVEN HER YARD.
I know where the lot lines are, because I just looked them up. Basically, all the open space short of the next driveway belongs to a house on the corner–where a dog lives. And apparently a nice couple with pre-teen kids.
I couldn’t tell exactly what this woman was saying, but I offered that I’m happy to avoid her yard if she likes (which we already do; there’s no access). If someone doesn’t want a dog on their property, that’s their right. That’s why I looked up the lot boundaries! Kite loves that space, and I didn’t want to get in trouble. I have no idea why this woman is white knighting for her neighbor.
Also, Americans are way too obsessed with their precious PROPERTY and get ridiculously rigid about it. Living beings are more important than property. If Kite were a big, loud, messy, destructive, aggressive, or even reactive dog; I’d understand. But she’s a small (cat sized), quiet, well-behaved older girl who just likes to sniff everything. She pees once in a while, and if she poops, I pick it up. Where’s the harm?
When I looked these homes up on DPD’s site, I also checked them on Zillow. My client rents a mother in law apartment allowed and approved only due to a 2009-era city ordinance. The houses around her are generally big, with very big lots, and high prices due to their good views of and proximity to Lake Washington. The house on the corner is estimated at ~$900,000. So my take is that this is a well-off, privileged white woman who has lost any perspective of what’s important in life. But with everything else I’m dealing with lately (nasty withdrawal from multiple psych meds, shoe destroyed by a dog I was sitting, first ever bite by a dog I was sitting and resulting $323 ticket, broken arm on the same side as my 2015 and 2014 injuries to the same one), and the cold and rain, I didn’t need this.
My client apologized for her neighbors but later said we’re both going to have to keep Kite off the lawn for now. That will take time for her to adjust to, and she won’t understand why. But it’s so stupid. She just likes to sniff all the stuff there, and suddenly she can’t anymore. Reason and compromise lost here. Wealth, privilege, and selfishness won. What makes you decide it’s so fucking important to keep a sweet little dog off SOMEONE ELSE’S lawn? Do you have no bigger problems in life? No higher priorities? Is this a little protest against the fact that a MIL apartment was ever allowed, where a non-rich person (special ed teacher) could move in? It reminds me of the passive-aggressive note I was left at a temp job in 2013 complaining that I didn’t correctly arrange the veggies in their free, twice-daily veggie tray. There are too many of these people, and they have too much power. Could they survive what I deal with?

Wrist/Work Update

Wrist update: (fell and broke scaphoid August 5)

I saw the doctor today. They took x-rays, and he thinks the fracture is healed. He said I can wean myself off of the splint over the next week. No explicit weight limit, but that I should resume using my hand/wrist gradually. No physical or occupational therapy for now, and he wants to see me again in 2 months when they’ll take more x-rays. Oddly, my temperature was just 95.3, even after double checking.

I have to visit some pet-friendly hotels and apartment buildings in the next week to leave promotional materials. I was the only male and only car-free person of 7 people. Most of my sites are downtown Bellevue or near the Mercer Island park and ride. They aren’t doing anything in the city yet, which is good and bad.

Job Possibilities

This is both good and frustrating.

There’s a dog training place right near me that I sent my resume to asking if they might have any jobs open. The owner met with me this morning. They do use substitute people for walking and other tasks when someone is sick or on vacation, etc. And being a sub is the entry path to real jobs there. If I got a UBI number (business license?), she could refer people to me for sitting and walking. She also invited me to come in and watch their classes to learn more about dog training. We made an appointment for me to go observe/help this Friday. I’d be on my feet a lot which isn’t great with my feet, but I’d get more exercise and time with dogs and learn more about them (which would also give me a basis to charge more for my own sitting and walking).

Then the agency I gave up on–the one that cancelled an interview without telling me–called saying they have a 2 month job at Metropolitan Market in West Seattle. It’s full-time at $17/hour doing data entry/analysis which is kind of up my alley. Lots of Excel. And I like Met Market, and $17, while still not a liveable wage in Seattle, is more than I’m seeing from other temp jobs. She asked about my administrative experience which I have plenty of, but it’s a common Aspie trait to be especially bad at answering such questions off the cuff. I expressed strong interest, and she said she’d submit my info to them. The catch is that they may want to do a phone interview Thursday, after which they may want me to start Friday or Monday. I’m already booked (partly double-booked) to sit pets from tomorrow through the 28th. I could reschedule the dog training visit, but not the pet sitting. And part of what I take pride in offering to my pet clients is being with them pretty much all day. Yet if I’m not available for interviews, I’ll never get any temp (or real) jobs. OH! I forgot to tell the agency my hand is out of commission until at least Friday, limiting my ability to work at a computer for now.

So the prospect of one or both of these potential jobs is hopeful, but it’s really hard to manage so much at once.

Grief Process, Part 1

There are times when I want or expect Lucy to be there, but she’s not. I’m slowly doing things like cleaning and putting away her food and water bowls, or emptying her litter box for the last time. I forget that I can close my door all the way now since she doesn’t need to get in or out anymore, and I don’t have to close the toilet lid for her. I have uneaten food to return to the pet store or give away. The cat hair that finds its way everywhere is starting to get cleaned up but no longer replaced. I haven’t been the wreck I feared; the main result seems to be that I’ve slept poorly since she died. But then I fear breaking down in tears at some other random time. My dogsitting job for this weekend got canceled, so I won’t be volunteering with the foster cats in Ballard. The shelter has a pet loss support group that I plan to attend. I decided to have Lucy cremated individually with the ashes returned to me–but not to go to the crematorium in Auburn. I may have her ashes shipped to me rather than brought to the emergency clinic in Renton. Apparently, “they ship people all the time”. The things you never expected to learn…10988519_10152695769922507_1706186877072026819_n

Is My Cat Dying? :(

UPDATE: (8pm) Lucy died about 5:30 this evening. They think she probably had hyperthyroidism leading to arrhythmia. It was sudden and quick, and I was home with her. I chose to have her cremated and keep her ashes.

ORIGINAL POST: I can’t sleep. In part I am increasingly worried about Lucy. She seems less happy, energetic, and playful than normal. I’m worried about arthritis, weight loss/boniness, much greater hunger, Hairballs, odd new behaviors like napping right in front of her litterbox, and ultimately death. We have a Thursday vet appointment, which she’s needed for several years now, but I’m worried what they’ll say and how much I may need to spend–when I’ve liquidated the last of my retirement and don’t make enough to get by. I’ve never lost a pet and know I’ll take it very hard. A pet is a huge boost especially for an autistic person, and I couldn’t afford a new one now. Pets improve your mental health and reduce your risk and severity of heart attack and hypertension. She’s 15, but I need her for a few more years. I’ve had her since January 2002 when I was in DC working for my hero, soon after buying my first home. She’s been with me through so much–the plane crash that killed my boss, Montreal, my snowballing health problems and career collapse, trying and giving up on dating, the hell of my housing job…I can’t imagine life without her. Torties are temperamental; she doesn’t like many people or animals and bit, scratched, and hissed at me plenty, but she’s also my loyal sweetie girl.