An ode to my dogs

When I was in the hospital, one of the hardest things was the fact that I couldn’t see my dogs.  6 weeks of no dogs was like an added level of torture.  My dogs are pampered, to say the least.  They’re my little buddies.  My constant companions, if you will.  So to live without them for so long was awful!

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

Ever since I’ve been home, they’ve been glued to me.  Well, my boy dog more than my girl dog.  If my boy dog could permanently attach himself to me, he would.   (Even now as I type this my little guy is on my lap.  I have the tan fur on black pants to prove it.)  He seems to not be comfortable unless he’s sleeping on my lap.  This is sweet until you consider that living in a place where the average summer heat is 110 degrees plus, that gets a little toasty.  But, I don’t even mind.  His little face is so content when he sleeps on my lap that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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What’s funny though, is that before all of this, I never really understood the importance of a service dog.  I mean, yes, I know that they can really help people retrieve things or alert to certain medical issues before they occur so the person can prepare.  I guess I just never thought about it beyond the obvious.  Beyond the superficial outer layers.

But I’ve come to an even deeper understanding.  The other night I was having a really hard time sleeping.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  Then my mind was racing with worries about being in one position too long and the fact that I am scared to death of getting pressure sores, because the treatment of those are awful!  And it would require lengthy bed rest.  So now I’m super freaked out about them.  So there I was trying to get comfortable and tossing and turning.  (To fully understand the impact of this let me explain: Say I’m on my right side.  I have to turn my body so I am on my back.  Then I have to sit up to uncross my legs.  I have to take off the sheet which has likely become tangled by this point.  Then I lay back down and turn my body to the left.  Then I grab my right leg and drag it over to be on top of my left leg.  And then I again try to untangle the sheet because somehow in my sleepiness, I always get too wrapped up.)  So tossing and turning and getting comfortable is not very easy.  And it get frustrating.  My girl dog will sometimes put up with a toss, but is gone before the turn.  But my boy will put up with it and stay in the same spot.  So on this particular night, when I was especially uncomfortable and frustrated, after I rolled and was still not comfortable, he came over and stretched out against my back.  It was so comforting and calming that I almost immediately calmed down and fell asleep.

So now I completely understand on a whole new level the importance of service animals.  I don’t trust mine to fetch me food as I know it would be eaten in seconds.  And I don’t trust them to not bark at birds or other dogs in public.  And I’m not going to tote them around in a giant purse in places like the movies.  I am lucky in my disability that I don’t need a service animal like that.  But I am so glad that I have my little pups in my life to help me in situations when I don’t even realize how badly I need them.  That is the amazingly beautiful thing about dogs, whether they’re formally trained or just naturally intuitive.

MRI

Life is super funny sometimes. Today I had to do an MRI because I’m seeing JPJ, my surgeon, on Monday. I didn’t want the MRI. My dad wanted it. JPJ wanted it. 5-0 wanted it. I did not want it. My want apparently didn’t matter. My theory: what does it matter what it says? I’m not having any more surgeries! If there’s something wrong, it will just have to stay wrong. This may seem crazy, but the way I look at it is that I’m in this mess because my spine is pissed that it had to go through another surgery. It threw in the recovery towel. And until there are major breakthroughs where people are walking after years of paralysis, I’m not interested.

But, what JPJ wants, JPJ gets. And I went in for my MRI. Before the appointment, I went to court and had a great result for a new client. In fact, it was so good that I got one of her cases dismissed and amazing resolution on the other. She was so happy she was practically in tears thanking me. The MRI was scheduled during a break in court, as I had to go back for the afternoon session.

I went to the facility where the scan was to take place. I called my mom and texted the hubs along the way to make sure everyone knew how thoroughly displeased I was to have to go alone. This was the first time in my entire life that I’d had to go to a test alone. That may seem weird to people. I’m an adult. A professional adult. A responsible adult. And yet I didn’t want to go to the test alone. I guess that on the surface it seems weird. Immature even. But, when you look deeper, it makes sense. Every time I do something like this, something bad is the result. Surgery. The last time I had surgery I lost the use of my legs. Most x-rays and MRI’s that I’ve had since I was 10 have resulted in my body being cut open by teams of surgeons. So, yeah, I hate going to these things alone.

Another reason is that I had to get an IV. I HATE needles!! I hate them even more each time I encounter one. You’d think it would get easier. You’d be wrong. Today the nurse put in the IV and I teared up. I didn’t full on cry. I was giving myself major kudos for being so strong. The nurse was quick and gentle. Definitely good at her job. She put it in the crook of my elbow. After it was in there, I was afraid to move my arm too much. She told me that I could bend it, that it would be ok. But, I’m really good at isolating body parts and decided to not move it. The only problem: I need to use my arm to wheel myself. Another nurse offered to push me. A) I don’t have push handles, and B) I hate being pushed. I politely declined. But I still tried to push with my straight arm. Do you know how hard it is to use a straight arm to push a 24” diameter round wheel? Answer: very. I looked absolutely ridiculous trying to keep my arm straight and push myself. The nurses literally laughed at me. At. Not with. So finally I gave in and bent my arm. She was right. It didn’t hurt.

I got onto the MRI table and went into the tubey part. I’m not claustrophobic so MRI’s don’t really bother me at all. They’re just loud. The technician put ear plugs in, but it’s still loud. After about 2 minutes of laying perfectly still (I’m also really good at not moving at all during these tests. Years of practice have made perfect) I started crying. My arm was aching where the IV was. My nerves were on overdrive. And I was definitely pitying myself at being alone. I then thought how funny this all was. Here I was an aggressive fighter that morning defending my clients. And now I was laying there with tears running into my ears when nothing at all was happening. There’s literally nothing wrong with me, but I’d gotten myself all worked up. Well, I guess not literally since my arm did hurt from the tiny needle.  But, I realized I was being ridiculous and forced myself to stop.  I realized that I was lying still and had a legitimate excuse to take a nap at 10:30 in the morning!  That was a very freeing realization.

The MRI was over after about 30 minutes. The nurse took the needle out of my arm, which made me want to give her a hug. I made a joke about liking her way better than the one who put in. And then I went back to court and back to being an aggressive fighter, wiping away all scaredy-cat thoughts and remnants of tears. Back to pretending that nothing ever happened. Well, pushing it all away except for the fact that I left the bandage with the small blood spot on until I saw the hubs so he could see the tangible proof of the pain I experienced that day. Hey, if I had to go it alone, I may as well milk the whole sympathy thing!