Bogie, Life

The Great Grey Beast

We’re deep into winter and life is kind of like this lately:

So close but no chips. This was at the animal hospital, when I REALLY wanted some salt and vinegar chips. I put in the first $, got frustrated when it got stuck, then watched in awe as 2 others came after me and tried to get the chips.

Ok! First the stressful stuff, then the good.


I’m not sure why, but starting around November I found myself anxious about a nebulous “something bad” happening. Being resilient is part of my personal narrative, so I was troubled by this feeling that if/when the bad thing finally happened, I would not be able to cope as well as I have before. Like I would just be too tired to handle it…

During our trip to Scotland everywhere we went we were confronted with the country’s inescapable story of sorrow and loss. Every place has its dark moments, but something about the sad history combined with the bitter weather and stunning and harsh scenery made it even more melancholic.

Glencoe, site of the massacre of 1692

As I mentioned in my last post, the very day that we got back from Scotland Bogie had another seizure that lead to an overnight in the ER and him finally getting put on meds.

Bogie update

Time for TMI about my dog’s health. Skip ahead if you’d rather not read about my puppy drama.


The meds worked beautifully for about 7 weeks and then the seizures came back. It couldn’t be that easy, right?

Unfortunately the time in between seizures was shortening drastically and the severity was ramping up as well. We went from 7 weeks of calm to seizures every 3 weeks, then 2 weeks, then 1 week…

Even worse he’s started having “cluster” seizures – multiple seizures in a day (7? 8? I don’t know). The first time he clustered it was scary (I couldn’t keep him from falling down the stairs and banging his head on the concrete), guilt inducing (we came back from grocery shopping to him flopping like a fish under the couch), and led to an emotional discussion about whether we would put him down if things became unbearable (but unbearable for us or for him?). I know it’s always a possibility, but the way that we jumped to euthanasia so quickly and naturally scared me. Bogie ended up spending the night at the hospital yet again, and we both cried ourselves to sleep.

We switched neurologists and have connected with a cheerful and practical doctor who has promised us that we will “become pros” at dealing with this disease. I don’t want to become a pro! I want this to happen so infrequently that I’m always shocked and disturbed by it.

The morning after the first cluster ER visit I was exhausted. So I was sad but numb when I learned during a surprise all hands meeting that we were having layoffs at my company. I’m not precious about my work, but a lot of people that I enjoyed working with lost their jobs for a “strategic realignment” that I don’t agree with. Ryan jokes that I just wish it were me so I had time to putz around and visit friends. Well maybe… but I did wish it were me because I think it would have hit me easier emotionally. Some of my coworkers had been there for more than a decade, I can’t imagine what they’re going through.

This is a reminder to keep stacking that money people! Your job doesn’t care about you!

Anyways, it was a mess of a week. I was feeling hopeful about Bogie stabilizing but within 2 weeks it happened again. We were better prepared to handle it because we had discussed a game plan with our neurologist and we had “rescue meds” to try to break the cluster. Unfortunately things quickly veered into the danger zone (endless seizures with no recovery) so we ended up taking him to the emergency room AGAIN for the fourth? fifth? time at 3 in the morning. We’d done it before, but it was still terrifying. I thought the damn dog was going to die in my arms on the way there (all the while thrashing violently, biting, frothing and peeing all over the car, god). I don’t think I’ll ever become a pro at that.

After this last overnight in the animal hospital, they realized that the phenobarbital in his blood was way low. We had gone from a starting dose of 32mg of pheno 2x per day to 64mg 2x per day, and his levels still decreased! It was hypothesized that Bogie was a freak of nature metabolizing the drugs faster than we could give them to him. So now we’re up to 128mg 2x per day to jump start things. Doesn’t that sound like a lot? In another week we’ll get his levels checked again and they may lower the dosage.

One thing that really sucked about this last episode was that we kept Bogie in bed with us so that we could quickly comfort him when he had a seizure in the middle of the night. And y’all sometimes when he has a seizure he pees/poos. So… I think I did 10 loads of laundry over that weekend. Every time I had to clean the blanket, the duvet cover, the duvet if pee soaked down, the sheets, any towels we used to wrap him… You would think we would have learned our lesson and kicked him off the bed. I don’t know why we didn’t. Maybe because every time we thought it was the last time. But we have multiple comforters and did so much laundry that we ended up cycling back around to the first one! For about a week after Ryan and I took turns sleeping in the living room to keep an eye on the dog. Worst sleepover ever.

For a while we threw down pee pads everywhere since he had forgotten his potty training again. This was only for a couple days thankfully.
And funnily enough I held it together for most of these episodes, but during one of my loads of laundry I was pretty out of it and accidentally threw my Pendleton blanket in the dryer, shrinking it! That’s what made me finally cry. I managed to block the blanket and stretch it back out but it took a lot of work and all of Ryan’s free weights.

Anyways I’m rambling. I know animal health stuff is incredibly common, but in my head I am telling myself that so begins the trials I was waiting for. And that I must rise to the occasion, for the dog of course, but also because there isn’t really any other choice. So life continues to putter along, bookended by seizures. I keep scheduling things, doing things.

Here’s some happier stuff I did:

Holiday travel

Way before all the puppy drama happened we had scheduled a Christmas trip to Austin to see Pravi. We were stressed about leaving the dog but decided to go anyways because she was about to ship out to Lithuania. Miss her.

We visited Tiki Tatsuya, which was the most magical tiki bar with the hardest working marketing team I’ve ever seen for a bar. Honestly, look them up. They’ve created an entire backstory for their tiki bar, in the guise of a fake travel agency.
I just started collected tiki mugs, so I was happy to pick up the “Slurping Bastard” (third) to add to my collection. The two on the ends are from Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, and the green guy is from a weird fratty tiki bar in Glasgow. I’m limiting myself to only getting mugs from bars I’ve visited, so I won’t become a hoarder.
While in Austin we also hit up the Drake Hotel for cocktails as is tradition. I really can’t keep up with these two. So old, so tired.
One afternoon we drove out of town to visit a pretty popular cave nearby. – Inner Space Cavern. One of the mineral deposits was so large and funny looking (kinda looked like Jabba the Hut) that I made an NFT out of it when I was messing around for our work hackathon.
I saw my mom for the holidays as usual. While I was there she was pulling together presents for her coworkers. She makes this delicious fishy peanut snack mix that everyone loves. She was pretty meticulous about who deserved how many peanuts based on merit, and had a whole naughty/nice list. LOL

Catching more shows

On New Year’s eve eve I took the train in to NYC and caught Hadestown. It’s a sung-through musical so I knew how it was going to go, but I was still moved by the staging and the acting. It’s really a gorgeous show that deserves all its accolades. I had gone down to catch Patrick Page’s last day, and it was totally worth it to spring for the good seats (third row!). Look at me, I’m becoming a snob.
In January it was Center City Restaurant week. While Restaurant Week can be a bit of a scam (cheap food and sub par experience dining out), we went out a few times to catch up with friends. We also finally were able to see a show at South, which is a pretty popular southern restaurant/jazz club in the city. My wallet is hurting from January, so I’m on a strict food budget this month.
The day for me to cash in my birthday present finally came, and I got to see Phantom again before it closed. Ryan left even more perplexed about my crush on the Phantom – the “ultimate nice guy” (or as I like to say “scary sewer sad boi”), but he was a good sport. It was a lovely day out.
Back in Philly we caught the first tour stop of A Soldier’s Play, the Pulitzer award winning play by Charles Fuller. I was wishy washy on whether I wanted to check this out, but it felt important to see because Fuller was from Philly, and had recently died. I also usually love Roundabout Theatre Company.

Unfortunately the crowd ruined a lot of the experience. Coming in late up to 30 minutes (!) after the show started, filming video, texting, taking pictures with flash, sitting in the wrong seats, talking, eating Pringles… Same shit happened at Les Mis to an extent… I don’t want to say Philadelphia audiences are ratchet because I’ve heard that audiences have just been terrible everywhere post-pandemic, but my experiences at the theater here have been annoying so far. Glad I got cheap seats. At least I was able to take my reusable cup and got a discount on cocktails.

Also this is weird, but the Kimmel Cultural Center, which schedules a lot of these shows was under a cyber attack for like a week. They had to set up a temporary portal to sell tickets, and you couldn’t even pick your seats. It’s wild. There’s no details online, but I think their site was held ransom.

Fixing my house

January was a great time for catching up with friends, but also I finally got off my ass and got to work on a few things that annoyed me around the house.

I started slow by fixing wobbly furniture and framing some prints I’ve had laying around. I have an irrational hatred of framing and hanging pictures, I don’t know why. So this was actually a struggle.
Then I gave in and bought another dresser to hold my overflowing sock collection.
Sucked it up and painted the most used and tiniest bathroom in the house. Lighting is sketchy, but it’s a pleasant light purple grey.
Best of all I finally set up my book nook! The chair and ottoman are green velvet, and yet they are not covered in cat hair yet. I think the animals haven’t discovered it yet, or the bed is just more comfy.

The Superb Owl

Ryan sometimes goes out to the bar to watch football with friends. I joined on a whim one day, and felt so moved by the crazy Philly energy that I suggested we host a joint Super Bowl party with our neighbors. I thought about backing out once the alcohol wore off, but hey, what were the odds that this beautiful moment would happen again, right? Ryan didn’t take kindly to my assumption that the Eagles would not make it to the Super Bowl again anytime soon.
At the neighborhood beer garden

Some of our invites declined due to traffic (Broad street cuts through the city vertically and gets overrun during celebrations/riots). In earlier times I would snark about it, but Philly sports fans are no joke. If you get caught up in the crowd, you might be stuck for ages with no way home, the only reliable option being walking.

We still overdid it on the food and had a great time. I’m not sad about the Eagles losing, but I am sad that Ryan’s disappointed. At least he took the day off to recover.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully next time I’ll have better things to report about Bogie’s seizures. What a wild ride.