Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Accommodating Elders

This summer I had to do a little fixing at the cabin to help Vida stay safer.  Her vision is only so-so now, and her physical abilities aren't quite up to her belief in her own sportdog activity prowess (sorry ol' gal, your jumping isn't quite what it used to be). It hasn't been fail-safe, but it has helped. Here are some things that might help you out too.

Friday, June 24, 2016

This Is Not A Machine

This is a machine.

When the brakes aren't working well you can take it in and get the brakes fixed. Later, when the belts are worn, you can get new belts put in.

Each part, though interacting with some of the other parts, is singular, and when repaired will work like new.

This is not a machine.

Every part of this animal is interconnected. Fluid and energy flows through every cell; communicating, sharing, influencing.

When part of this body isn't working every other part of the body needs to be taken into account.

Blood tests look at the body like a machine. They can tell you when something is broken, but it can't tell you when the interrelationships of all the parts of the body are in disarray.

Listening to the heart can tell you if the murmur seems worse, but not why.

My opening comment today at the vet was "Fire and Water are in a battle."

This is why I see a vet who works with Traditional Chinese Medicine, so I can discuss the symptoms and signs of imbalance and get help summarizing them and circling around to a conclusion. Because according to mainstream veterinary science she's "doing well for her age," with stellar bloodwork, and her other complaints are just to be expected.

In TCM we talk about Yin and Yang not flowing in harmony, about Kidney energy not able to get up to cool and moisten the far end of the body, about tongue shape and pulse, about the look of the midback and sclera color indicating subclinical liver difficulties (remember her perfect bloodwork?), about her evening agitation during the time when Kidney moves to Pericardium, about fleas on her head and arthritis in her hind, about her eating and drinking habits, about her pain symptoms (and what's helping), about her sloppy thinking and sloppy heartbeats, all culminating in the conclusion that the Triple Heater needs herbal assistance to gently open the flow between the three sectors of the body, and that the herbs for her kidney need to be dosed differently to strengthen that organ's energetic abilities to cool the head.

This is why TCM is so valuable when you know your dog is out of whack but there's nothing to "fix" in the machine sense. To keep adding on supplements for individual symptoms eventually leads to a pile of pills and a lack of satisfaction.

We're heading out to the woods soon, looking forward to cool nights, fresh air, and clean water. I'll be watching her, all of her. And marveling at this contained and lively ecosystem that is not a machine at all.