Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Does this "Moms" have a STOP button?

Diego and I had to really jump in with all 6 feet those first three days. In order to get the three "with trainer" days organized, I had to concentrate all my errands into one day. That  included  a follow-up medical appointment including x-ray and cast application on my hand, an hour and a half trip across town to drop off my car and another long ride back in my daughter's car. For helping me out, I took her to eat at Olive Garden...Diego in tow of course. The next day wasn't much slower. We tried a track mile at the gym, went to Target to get him some much needed supplies, then a trip in Wayne's truck to get my car, eating out at KFC and then another long ride home.  Mind you, as a retired person, this is A LOT for me.  I seem to do one big thing a day and call it good. This was packed, and on top of all that we still managed to get in the doorbell, phone and fire alarm practice twice a day. He was such a trooper at every establishment.

 There was one small down side that for reasons explained later, that I have not been able to address.  Diego gets car sick! Now, he has been in no less than 4 cars for 10 rides this first week. He got sick on the longer trips, all in my car! While I was driving across town to have some work done on my car, he threw up twice. That will be the last time I have only one slightly used Kleenex in my purse for clean-up. Thankfully for only $40 they would clean up and detail the backseat. I came prepared when I picked up the car, and spread a blanket over the backseat. It covered the whole thing except for about 4 inches...Yes, that was the spot he aimed for on his third hit. Poor, poor. little guy. I was actually grateful to have years of mommydom under my belt to kick in for these moments.

Things did start to calm down after those first two days, at first.  Except for the whirlwind of meeting the three young grandkids, Diego was able to keep up with my pace. I do think he must be wondering if this new "Moms" had a STOP button.   I didn't think too much of that scratchy throat feeling as the weekend came to a close. I usually shake off these spring colds pretty easily. Besides, I was in a "Stay, Focused, Go Positive" mode. I had declared that Diego was just what I needed to avoid my typical negativity. So on to plan the next week. But by Tuesday, I could barely walk from the couch to the kitchen without gasping for breath. This cold/flu thing was a little rougher than expected, and to make it worse, Wayne was pretty sick with it, too. Neither one of us was able to care much for the other.  But Diego still needed to be taken outside. This dog is trained to bond with only me. I had to be the one to take him outside at least 4 times a day. So on goes the hoodie, the jacket, the scarf, and the blanket in Colorado spring weather that included inches of snow one day, wind for most, and sub-freezing temps. They were the only 4 times each day that I even moved from the couch.

As Wayne got a little better, I was just getting worse. So another doctor trip and a second time watching me from behind the x-ray wall, Diego and I found out that I had pneumonia. That pretty much put my "Hakuna Matata" attitude on hold. This was my STOP button.  I was really too sick to care. Too sick to figure out what a one-handed cook could make in the kitchen. Too sick to try. But I still had to be the one to get him outside. He still would not go out alone. He had been with me less than 10 days total, and not getting a true reading of how all this was going to work into a real forever routine.

Today marks two weeks that Diego has blessed my life. I feel like I have cheated him in a way, because for 4 days he has not been able to work or play much, only because of my lead, poor thing.  He reads me like a book, and if I'm slow to move, so is he. He was such a ball of energy. The little snow on the ground gave him sheer joy as he chased and plowed and slid all over the backyard.  It had become his sentinel duty to rid the backyard of that rascally rabbit, that Squirrel Family, and even that cute Mourning Dove couple.  I do hope as I heal, and get stronger to pick up the pace again and I'll get him right on track. Maybe I can look at  it as a need to slow down a bit and spend some time getting a pace that works for us both. I do know that will be my focus.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Can’t Cook, Can’t Sew, Thank Goodness for Diego

      If there was ever a right time for something, it happened yesterday.   Any apprehension I had about bringing a service dog into my life melted into a sigh of relief less than a day of having this little guy. Again, no heralded angels singing, no love at first sight, just pure relief and joy to have something to pull my attention forward instead of inward. The events of the past week, though more blessings than not, were really trying to draw me into a pity party I did not want to attend.
      The first day of March (which would have been our parents’ 68th anniversary) brought all my siblings here to Denver to celebrate a new life within our fold.
A new baby next month is the best reason to celebrate and after a quarter of a century of mostly coming together for funerals this was cool stuff. We had met up in Albuquerque 2 years ago for this new baby’s parents (my nephew Andrew and his beautiful wife Gretchen) to marry. I was liking this new pattern and it was such a joy to have both brothers and my sister with their spouses in my home.
     The week was filled with everyone going in different directions for skiing, traveling, and working. We didn't have to be in each other’s back pockets to just enjoy being close by. Our last day together would just include my sister and husband. We planned a little western apparel shopping, lunch, the beautiful Butterfly Pavilion, and an easy home cooked dinner. But in a quick rush back to the car to get the clothing coupon, my bifocals read one step when there were actually two. If I had been even a decade younger, I might have been able to correct my stumble, but this time I made a sprawling leap forward onto the concrete walk. My right hand and temple received the greatest damage.
     I now have a “road hazard” orange cast on my broken hand and the most brilliant black eye I have ever seen.
“A sight for sore eyes” has taken on a new meaning.  Because I cannot have an MRI due to my cochlear implant, I am just watching for possible symptoms in case a lurking subdural hematoma wants to surface. The death of a dear friend’s son and a close call with a sister-in-law’s brain bleed last year has made me all too aware of that potential danger.
     I decided to go ahead with the plans to have Diego arrive this week.  Luckily I am left handed and he is trained to walk on my left.  The commands can be delivered with a clap to my thigh rather than a two hand clap. However, this plan was not without its challenges. The daily training practice, feeding, walking, poop paroling is a silly scenario to watch. While I have to remember to lead him with my left hand, it is the only functioning hand I have, and I need it to use it to open doors, get him out of the car, and carry things.

     Even with these crazy challenges, I’m very grateful for them.  The outlook of thinking about the next six weeks was going to be overwhelming. There is very little I can do that I wanted to do. Sewing/quilting right now is pretty much on hold. One arm cooking and cleaning is a bit slow but doable. One hand typing for this blog is a whole new brain adjustment.  I pictured myself just sitting and moping about the “can’ts” but with Diego I have so many other things to focus on. He and I are in training for the next three months, and it is up to me to follow through with it all. Two practice sessions daily of listening for the door bell, the phone and the smoke alarm.  I don't have time for a pity party! We have work, and praising, and a lot of loving to do. Oh, and learning to take better selfies is on the list, too. Stay tuned to hear about Diego's first professional on the job outing.It was a doozy!