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.

Traveling Bags, Priorities

Traveling Bags, Priorities

Soon my family will be expanding, and with the celebration of a wedding, Camelot and I will be going on a trip to take part. Such excursion require planning with military exactness, something my mother specializes in. Me? I like to daydream that I am easy going, require no plan; make everything easy peezy. With my physical requirements, I am about as opposite from that as you can get it. From needing food snacks that I know I can swallow when I am done-in (which is surprisingly limited), to my collection of small pillow assortments that can fit in just the right places, to oxygen chargers for the car, wall adapters, non-portable oxygen tanks, strategizing which wheel chair will be the best one to take, … It requires, a painful amount of brain power.

However, most of those items qualify low on the traveling bag priority list. Number 1, well, has to be my oxygen. (I turn blue too quickly when off of it to not have that be the most essential). The second item on the list, is none of the a fore mentioned items that I require. It is, Camelot’s suitcase, naturally. (Really, had you guessed anything else???)

Camelot’s gym-size travel bag is always at the ready. It is only taken with us when an overnight stay is expected, and as soon as Camelot sees it in the car, he immediately knows it will not be a normal day outing. It is always “stocked” with 5 days worth of grain, his favorite stuffed toy, a blanket, water bowl, a hackey-sack, and two of his favorite treats. The travel bag lives in the bottom of my mother’s closet, and is always ready, primarily in case there is an emergency admittance to the hospital, my mom doesn’t have to worry about Camelot.

Camelot, however, is a resourceful fellow, one who would make great friends with Winnie the Pooh, as they both believe in having always-full bellies. On multiple times, Camelot has dragged his suitcase from my mother’s closet, down the hall in her bedroom, down the stairs, and brought it to me so that I could give him a “snack”. A couple of those times, he abandoned the suitcase half way through the trip and somehow unzipped it, to simply bring me the hefty weighing Ziploc of his food…. He was very pleased with himself.

Whenever we arrive to our destination, Camelot watches his traveling bag like a hawk. Once, he didn’t see it on the luggage cart and refused to leave our car until my mother showed him we had it. It’s a safe bet that he’s the first to unpack, as well. Usually he waits until I am safely ensconced on a bed, then he finds his bag, unzips his case and begins to bring me his favorite treat. Thankfully the rascal looks adorable while doing it. That’s the surface value. Having had another service dog I fully understand the stress of the situations I am taking Camelot in and out of; so for him to initiate a relaxed, and non-stress action by causing normal mischief is actually very welcome.  When Camelot is truly stressed, I can’t make him take a bite of warm, juicy steak; he turns away from his favorite toy, and sits next to or on me.

For me, I know Camelot is actually truly relaxed not when he brings me his treats, but when he drinks water. Camelot is the only dog I have ever known who water rations himself. He somehow senses that there can be long periods of time before a suitable location has been found for him to relieve himself, and so he won’t drink so as not to have a need. It’s extraordinary. And at times really annoying and stressful to my mother and myself, to make sure he doesn’t become dehydrated or have any other possible issues. Thankfully, he’s rarely caused himself an issue.

So for this upcoming trip, the first things to make sure are in the car is my oxygen, Camelot’s suitcase, then myself and Camelot. After that, it will be, oh, you know, the wheelchair, my suitcase, food, etc, etc. In case you were wondering why my wheelchair came after Camelot’s suitcase, it’s very simple. In a pinch, I can be carried wherever we arrive. It’s rarely my preference, but it is an easy solution. And, thankfully, we have never had to face a scenario in which we would either be taking my wheelchair OR Camelot’s suitcase… But if there was one, Camelot’s wrath and displeasure would be a greater hassle, I’m sure, than trying to find one or two people to help a “damsel in distress”… ;) .

Blessed

Blessed

Camelot, The Star

Camelot, The Star