After fourteen years with too numerous to count misdiagnoses, this is my daily journey living with an unknown disease that has made me fully physically dependent, living by the help from my family, friends, and beloved service dog. It is how I have chosen to define myself to remain whole in spite of it.

Knowing How to Drop a Leash

When my caregiver is not here, I do my absolute damnedest to be as independent as possible, and pull my share with the household duties. My mother and all have to do their best to try give me as much independence as possible, yet try to stop me  from pushing myself into harm’s way. Personally, I would rather be found blue and passed out, rather than not having tried. However, they would rather I not try and not find me that way. It's a tricky balance.

Recently, one of our dogs had to have surgery, and was not responding well, even five days later. Since he had a history of allergic reactions (because one isn't enough per household), we were super vigilant and anxious to keep him well and out of renal failure. On the sixth day, he was finally showing interest in water and eating small meals (a vast improvement). I volunteered this morning (read that as “I convinced my mother”) to take Parker (the patient) with the other dogs outside on the leash. I had taken him the day before, and as he was so ill he had no real interest in walking, his leash was long enough for him to reach the grass and for me to stay on our patio, as my “day” chair is not really off-road material.

Now, it should be noted that Parker is an 85+ pound Doberman-standard poodle mix. I adore him, and he adores me. Yet, when he wants to really run, and I don't have him on the proper leash, well, it can be interesting. Since he was so sick, I put him on a simple light leash, which is really like a “tug” and not a correction leash for this excursion. But what could happen?

Well, it turns out, that Parker was feeling much better. Halfway across the patio, he saw a squirrel darting at the end of our yard, and he took off.  Now, normally Parker is good-as-gold on a leash, though it is rare that I am holding him when he sees a squirrel. The excuse to run was greater then his concern for me, so he took off, dragging me along with him. If my hand hadn’t been wrapped around the leash, I probably would have dropped it. As it was, I was simultaneously balancing my center of gravity down on the chair, to keep from tipping, untangling my hand and trying to navigate along the longest possible stretch of patio before reaching the grass drop-off.

I just managed to get my hand untangled as the grass-edge loomed near, and after throwing on my breaks, that were not nearly effective enough, I maneuvered my feet off the foot rest and behind the front wheels for further traction. Had I realized that would result in a painful dragging of my toes and legs, I might have reconsidered the decision. As it was, I managed to just stop as the front wheel went off the patio, and did not hit the grass, so I could effectively back up, unearth my poor feet that were now sticking out through my socks, and coughing up a storm, turn around to go find reinforcements for taming the now-happy Parker. By the time I reached my cellphone (which I left sitting just inside the door), I was able to dial just before I passed out.

It was quite an adventurous morning! I should note, after I got lectured about leaving my cellphone off my person, that both the dog and myself suffered no lasting injury. The socks, on the other hand, were irreparable.


Something to Be Thankful For

Introducing Watson & My Elephant