© 2019 by Jason Elbinger

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Wet Nose Nuzzles

The visit with the psychiatrist specializing in cancer patients went very well. There wasn’t a couch in her office; I was a tad chagrined. Nonetheless, the appointment was beneficial. Lots of the stuff we talked about had to do with coping and the stuff I’ve shared with you. I know the things I need to do to bring my mind, body, and spirit into alignment, but it's hard to do when I’m sad, so now I am accountable for doing the things necessary to stay happy and centered while I’m going through chemo. She said the chemo is cumulative, so the side effects will probably worsen. I need to prepare myself for that by fighting the depression. She stressed that I need to exercise. I know that even a simple brisk walk for a half hour makes me feel great, but I’ve been avoiding doing it rationalizing that walking Bingo was exercise. She laughed and told me walking my dog doesn’t count for exercise. She prescribed an anti-depressant, Zoloft (small dosage), and sent me on my way. Next I had a massage. Nice and relaxing. I nearly fell asleep, but the snot buildup in my nose bubbled as I breathed. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever lay on your belly for a back massage.

The massage therapist, Kristen, spoke highly of Dr. Mo, PhD, the acupuncture guy who worked with at the Miami Cancer Institute. She felt all the tension in my shoulders and back during the massage and said acupuncture might give me relief. She introduced me to the doctor (to me, the skeptic, calling him a doctor is akin to calling a chiropractor a doctor). He is a thin Asian man in his late fifties with salt and pepper hair and long, thin fingers. His accent isn’t too heavy and his English is articulate.  He wore a white lab coat with his name embroidered in blue on the chest followed by a PhD. I guess the lab coat gave him authority, plus he worked in a hospital, so maybe he could help me. I mean, the hospital wouldn’t offer this kind of service if it had no value. I’m an open-minded guy, and I want to align mind, body, and spirit, so I made an appointment for acupuncture with him. However, if you read in this blog about essential oils, candles, aromatherapy, salt lamps, cleansing diets, drum circles, or ashrams you’ll know that he has converted me to a true believer.

  I want to write a little about sleep apnea. I wear a mask hooked up to a CPAP machine to sleep and I’m 100% compliant with using the treatment. I haven’t missed a night since starting it. I know many people with sleep apnea rarely use the device. Perhaps they think they look silly wearing it, or they find it uncomfortable, but for me it has been a life changer. I’ll probably devote my next blog post to sleep apnea to encourage other with it to seek treatment.

This is the machine.

This is the mask. It is non-obtrusive (note: this is not me in the picture)

Rachel is visiting her family in Missouri, so it's just Bingo and me for the next week. He’s lying on his dog pillow, staring at me, waiting for me to finish this blog entry so I can give him attention. Usually he climbs on the couch next to me and paws at the laptop keyboard. 

I miss Rachel already. We cuddle every night and fall asleep in each other's arms. But at least I’ve got Bingo to sleep with. He pushes himself up against me, nuzzles me with his cool, wet nose, gives me a zillion licks, and eventually falls asleep spooned-up next to me. 

I don’t know how we got so lucky with this dog. He’s perfectly polite, his coat never looks dirty or matted, he never has dog odor, and does not have dog breath. His farts stink, but so do mine.

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