Velvet boy is home….

Kai went to the groomers today. He usually goes about every 6 weeks. However, for a number of reasons it was closer to 2 months between clips this time. I dropped off a scruffy, dirty dog and got back a velvet boy very happy to be home.

I keep Kai in what’s called a ‘kennel’ or ‘puppy’ clip. It’s very short and as a result when he’s first clipped he feels like crushed velvet. When his coat is longer it’s more like the curly wool of a sheep as he has hair rather than fur. That’s why standard poodles are considered hypoallergenic by many.

He has his face and paws clipped even tighter which helps keep him clean and also helps me with his working gear. He wears a halti when he’s working and often has to wear boots either because of the hot sidewalks in summer, or the snow, ice and salt in winter.

While he was being groomed I took the opportunity to take Molly for a walk on her own. We met up with a friend and had a short walk in the drizzle along the boardwalk. Molly enjoyed the morning without Kai.

Right now she’s been pushed down the couch so that Kai can get back in next to me. She’s very tolerant of him as he’s very insistent on being next to me. She loved bedtime though when there’s space for both of them to be next to me! It’s a good job I’m single as I’m not quite sure where we’d fit another person in with the three of us and I have a king-size bed!!

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Thankfully it was a quiet day for me. I try to plan Kai’s grooming days for such time as I find it very hard to manage without him. I forget how much I rely on him, until days like today when he’s just not there. I even had to pick my own cell phone up when I dropped it this morning!

Welcome home, Kai!

Some days recovery is so much slower than I’d like…

So today I decided to start clearing up some of that dog poop. I got myself well prepared with rain boots, heavy-duty plastic waste bags and dozens on bags for picking it up.

It was gross!!

However, the weather was probably perfect for it as I could dig my fingers in the snow around the poop and pick it up often in one slushy piece.

I got all of the side area to the deck done and started on the garden itself.

However, what I didn’t take into account was how hard all that bending down would be physically. I managed about 10 minutes before I was too out of breath to ignore it any more. So I packed up for the day and came in.

Flashback to a repeat of what my life was like for months last year…. It took a good hour for me to recover my breath again. Even after that I couldn’t eat and breath at the same time for a few more hours.

I’m sure it was a combination of the type of exercise, the scents from being outside (though the poop itself hasn’t got to the point of smelling yet – it’s still too frozen) and just doing too much.

It was scary though!

So now,  I’m inside resting and working out how long it will take me to finish off the yard if I just do 5 minutes a day. At least my dogs don’t walk it in. Somehow they pick their way round it!

I’m also looking up different poop scoop devices to see if there’s something that might be easier for me to manage once I’m finished with what’s left in the snow and I’m dealing with the bog that is the majority of my yard currently. If anybody has any recommendations, please let me know!

My apologies for the gross subject matter but hey, this blog is about my life and this was my life today! Dog poop and extreme shortness of breath once more.

The good news is that I did recover and I can breathe again and eat, and talk (to my dogs anyway!). So I am improving but the space between how sick I was and how well I am is much closer than I thought ūüôĀ

 

Mothering Sunday

Some of you are probably wondering why I’m writing about Mothering Sunday in March. Well, simply I was born and raised in England where Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Although it’s often called Mothers’ Day it has no connection with the American/Canadian festival of that name. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.

Being English, when I adopted my daughter at nearly 8 years of age we opted to celebrate the English Mothering Sunday for me and keep the Canadian Mother’s Day in May for her birth mom. However, it has been a few years since my daughter has celebrated either date with me.

Likewise, I am now estranged from my own mother and this will be the first Mothering Sunday since that happened.

So today in a moment of reflection I wanted to recognise all those other women out there who are not with their children today, whatever the reason.

Sometimes you know why, and the situation is irrevocable, like it is between me and my mother. For those of you for whom that applies I hope that today brings you peace.

For others, the situation is confusing and doesn’t make any sense. For those of you for whom that applies¬† I hope that you remember that you did the absolute best that you could, that nobody is perfect and that not being with your child on this day doesn’t take away all the good mothering that you did do when you were able to.

Take a moment in either, or both situation(s) and simply choose today to remember the good moments.

May this Mothering Sunday be the best it can be for you!

On my own today….

Kai is getting a well deserved rest today and going to the doggy spa for a bath, groom and to have his feet and teeth cleaned. He usually loves going. However, at his last groom they must have used dull clippers and he came home some what unevenly cut with razor burn in a number of places. I was not at all happy!

The problem is that Kai likely never reacted to being hurt. Part of his Service Dog training is to stay calm while being trodden on, pinched and pulled at. Much as I watch out for him so that these things shouldn’t happen, sometimes they do and he has to react calmly. So he’s unlikely to have let the groomer know how much he was being hurt.

Today, he goes to a new groomer. Who will have very explicit instructions to use new blades on him and to check him closely so that he doesn’t get hurt again. She’ll also be warned that he loves toothpaste so don’t leave it in his reach if she wants any left!

Lastly while he’s virtually grown out of his excited peeing, his last bastion is to not pee when he sees me after our being apart. So I’ll be warning them to expect the flood, Much as the mess isn’t that much fun to deal with; there is something kind of sweet about somebody being so excited to see you that they can’t control their bodily functions ūüėČ

My vet thinks that this will be the last element of the excited peeing to go but that he still needs to mature some more for us to see it happen. Interestingly, even when his excited peeing was at his worse he has never, ever peed when working except when commanded to do so.

Anyway, so today I have to get by without my other half for part of the day. I have extra anxiety medications to take to help curb the panic attacks at being out without him. He’s my safety backup in so many ways. Even at rehab. I’ll have to remember to stand closer to hand rails and walls as he won’t be there to provide counter balance for me. I’ll need to monitor my own breathing and the staff will be monitoring my Blood Pressure and heart rate more frequently than normal, just to be on the safe side.

Service dogs provide such great independence that sometimes we forget just how much they do for us. Until a day like today comes along and you have to manage without them. Then we are harshly reminded how much harder life is without having them along to mitigate our disabilities. The chances are that I will fall, bruise and have at least one asthma attack while he is away at the groomers. All of which are issues he would have prevented. Likewise I’m sure that I’ll offend somebody talking to me as I won’t have Kai’s cue that they’re speaking to me

It’s going to be a tough day but one that Kai and I will be better for. He’ll be nice and clean and have had a complete break from working for a few hours and I’ll get by. Though even now I’m counting down the hours until I can pick him up again and he hasn’t even been dropped off yet!

I spoke a little too soon…..

While lung rehabilitation is certainly helping I was a little too optimistic two days ago on just how well I was doing. While I was able to shop much more effectively the downside was the amount of recovery time needed. I napped Saturday afternoon and thought that that would be enough to help me recover. In fact I played several games of scrabble with a friend that evening as I thought I was doing so well.

Then Sunday hit! I ran out of spoons!

It was like moving through treacle all day. I was exhausted. I’d obviously done too much too soon. So this week I need to step back a bit and remember that after 10 months of doing nothing, rehab two days a week and working one day a week is a BIG change and takes a lot of spoons. I need to make these my priority so that I can increase to working two days a week in three weeks time, as planned.

Lesson learned. Slow down and enjoy the recovery time. It took a long time to get this out of shape, it’s not going to get better overnight but I do seem to have turned the corner physically.

Now if only my respiratory system would decide to stop being so hypersensitive and allergic things really would be looking up!

However, I have been spending time researching options that might help me out there so more to follow soon as I get more information on whether the concepts will work for me or not.

In the mean time, as it’s the first day of Spring today, my lesson is to slow down and not try to recover all at once! Stop and smell the flowers as we start to see them appear as the snow hopefully melts for the last time !

When you don’t know what to say, say that; don’t just say nothing!

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the last year is that people seem to have a real problem with not knowing what to say when somebody is in an extreme situation. Rather than say the wrong thing, they say nothing at all.

I assume that it’s a variation on the old adage that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, as the recipient of a lot of silence over the past year, from people I’d previously thought of as friends I’d have to say that it hurts.

As I start to re-enter the world a little, even heavily mediated by technology, I’m finding that many people just didn’t know what to say when they heard about my precarious health. So while they were thinking about me, and concerned; willing to help where possible, they still just said nothing.

So from my perspective, they didn’t care. They weren’t interested in me or what was happening to me. Their own life and situation was much more important than taking a few seconds to drop me an email now and then. It hurt.

So for what it’s worth – if you know somebody in a difficult situation and you don’t know what to say to somebody in response, may I suggest that you say just that.

Let them know that you are thinking of them. That you care.

By being silent you’re making a statement. It feels as so you don’t care enough to make an effort to say anything, even the wrong thing.

When people are in extreme situations; especially one like mine which is extremely isolating please take the time to just say hello now and then. It takes next to no time for you to do but means the world to those fighting such health battles.

There is one caveat to this recommendation of course. If you’ve been asked to not contact the person, that’s a different issue. In that case I strongly suggest that you do do as asked. People don’t ask for no contact with others lightly. Disrespecting such a request is incredibly arrogant and narcissistic.

I believe that people know what they can handle and what they can’t. Unless you’ve been asked not to contact somebody in a difficult situation… take a moment, let them know that you care.

Success at achieving some of my bucket list items!!

In the past couple of weeks I have managed to achieve several items on my bucket list and I’m so excited that I just had to write about it again, without adding new items just yet.

You might remember that my list is currently up to 20 items with some having been italicized to mark them as in progress the last time that I reviewed the list.

  1. At least once a month, taking appropriate precautions, get out and do something social
  2. To be a bridesmaid
  3. To visit New Zealand
  4. To live on the ocean
  5. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  6. Waist length hair
  7. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  8. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  9. Acceptance of RADS diagnosis and limitations that places on my life
  10. Despite RADS diagnosis, work on improving the quality of my life and work at getting back to work
  11. A year-long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  12. Lose steroid weight and return to a healthy weight
  13. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  15. Go indoor skydiving
  16. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  17. Go on a picnic
  18. At least once a day, do something creative
  19. Resume dress-making
  20. Train Kai in Rally Obedience

Firstly, I’ve kept up with my aim of doing something social once a month, and with the help of the public library, their scent free policy and an extremely helpful librarian and other book club members, I was able to attend a book club meeting! That’s #1 on my list met for this month.

My hair hasn’t reached my waist yet but it is significantly longer than it was – if I straighten it – marking progress towards item #6. I also think that if I was 5′ something, instead of almost 6′ tall, that it would be waist length on almost anybody else!!! Though that would be cheating!!

I’ve pretty much come to terms with my RADS diagnosis though I’m still frustrated by the limitations especially as I have finally made it back to work admittedly in a very restricted fashion. So that’s major progress towards items #9 and 10.

While it wasn’t quite planned, I even managed #17 and had a picnic in my car earlier this week. I’d had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital and only just under two hours later also had a group to attend at the same hospital. Given the extortionate cost of parking I sat in my car for an hour and read my book, having a picnic lunch!

Lastly I got out my sewing machine and whilst I haven’t made a dress yet, I have turned an old T Shirt that I couldn’t bear to throw away into a cushion and I’m part way through a bigger project. #19 can be checked off!

  1. To be a bridesmaid
  2. To visit New Zealand
  3. To live on the ocean
  4. To own a Class B motor-home (Roadtrek ideally)
  5. Day-trip to Frankenmuth & Bronners
  6. Reschedule & enjoy my belated 45th birthday vacation
  7. A year-long road trip following 70 degree (21 C) weather throughout the contiguous United States.
  8. Get out walking, locally and a little further afield on walking trails and then snowshoeing as determined by the weather
  9. Visit Harrison Hot Springs in BC
  10. Go indoor skydiving
  11. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
  12. Train Kai in Rally Obedience

If I take out all that have been accomplished or had significant progress made, as you can see, a lot has been accomplished in the last couple of weeks. So much so, that I’ll have to start thinking of some new items for my list as 8 of them have now been marked as either “in progress” or “accomplished”. It’s a great feeling!

How’s your list coming along?