Category Archives: Doggy Diaries

Doggy Diaries: Jayden and the Return to the Human Dentist

All my dental issues certainly aren’t making me lack for things to write about, that’s for sure. Jayden and I went back to the dentist today to have two cavities filled. I just prayed this morning that things with paratransit would go more smoothly and that the driver would not be late picking me up like he was on Friday.

My prayers were answered, at least for the first ride. The driver arrived promptly at 10am and we had one pick-up and drop-off and then it was my turn. I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment time and they took Jayden and me right back.

I wish you could have felt the difference in Jayden today. I’m sure other guide dog handlers will know what I mean when I say I could just feel that his confidence was much higher than it was on Friday when everything was uncertain and I was stressed and in pain. Today it was like he was thinking, ok Mom is much better, I know this place, these people are nice, it’s all good.

Today he just followed the woman back to the exam room and there was a spring in his step. This time I wasn’t stressed and my pain level was severely decreased after being on antibiotics all weekend for the infection. The fillings were done without a hitch and Jayden even slept right through the drill. He’s been through so much medical stuff with me he just doesn’t even bat an eye anymore. He used to give the stink eye to anyone who laid a hand on me haha! I think he understands what medical professionals are now.

After I was done, we had awhile to wait. My appointment was done forty minutes before my paratransit window even began. I knew I probably scheduled that one a little too late but I didn’t want to take any chances. I talked with the receptionist about my oral surgery stuff and she called to schedule a consultation with them on Wednesday. That I can do alone since there won’t be any extracting going on. I called the place when I got home to ask about the building and about how long the appointment will take and if I need to arrive early, but they didn’t answer and haven’t returned my call. Until I get my ride scheduled, I feel like I can’t quite relax today.

After I got that scheduled I used the human relieving circle and then took Jayden out to the place one of the women showed me on Friday. Jayden went right back to it and relieved and then took me back to the front of the building. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to how far the door was after the turn but I could tell he had passed it. He was just exploring haha. We turned around and found the door and settled in to wait.

At 1pm I called paratransit because it was the end of my window and no van was there. She said I was next and the van would be there in five minutes. When we got on board, the driver apologized and said she had been on her lunch break and didn’t realize she had gone past the end. I thought to myself, you should have kept quiet, your dispatcher covered for you.

I listened to my book for a bit and then some really nice ladies got on so we talked about dogs until the driver got to my place. I had made the mistake of telling Jayden he’d get a banana when we got home and he jumped up from his down, all excited. The ladies got a kick out of it. When we got off the van, he practically ran to our door haha!

I’m in quite a bit of pain as time goes on now. Not where the cavities were filled, but up by the back wisdom tooth that needs to come out. My mouth still needs so much work that this was like poking an angry bruise. I hope the oral surgeon’s office calls back soon so I can just relax.

Jayden is snoring loudly on the couch beside me. God I love that dog!

Oh! I almost forgot the joke I played on the dental assistant haha! She gave me safety glasses to put on and after I had them on I said, “I can see!” I am such a brat.

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Filed under Dental Health, Doggy Diaries, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, NaBloPoMo 2013, num num food, relieving, silly girl, working dog

Carnival Post – LittleLesson

I was really drawing a blank as to what to write for the 13th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. Lessons? How to narrow that down, especially since Jayden and I have been a team for quite some time now. February will be four years! Wow! Our work is just routine now for the most part. I was having such a hard time coming up with a lesson I’ve learned about Jayden and myself as a team.

today however, something very small happened. Something so small that no one else would notice. Something not even related to Jayden as a guide dog, but Jayden as my partner and best friend.

Jayden and I are very routine based. I never realized just how routine based my life had gotten until I was talking to my friend Ricardo one day and he said I am the most regimented non-military person he knows. That is such a true statement! I have found that sticking pretty closely to a routine helps me manage life with MS. I won’t go into specifics on that since that is another post. The point is, Jayden has gotten very used to certain things happening at certain times during the day. These certain things namely being when he gets to eat something and when he gets to um, lighten his load.

After his afternoon outside session, I always give him a Kong Wobbler with a handful of kibble from his morning meal. For some reason I have turned French when I ask him if he wants his Wobbler. It’s true, just ask Carol. She’s been on the phone with me when it’s Wobbler time. “Wooblah? Se wooblah?” It doesn’t translate well to text.

Anyway, after Jayden has finished with his Wobbler he comes to find me and I ask him where it is and he shows me. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the floor, sometimes it’s wedged underneath the couch or the bed. When he shows me I get all excited and praise him and he gets a cookie (dog biscuit). This happens every single day. He gets his afternoon snack and a game and high praise from me.

Here is where the lesson comes in. I’m under the weather today. I think it’s a cold or something. It doesn’t have me flat but it’s not pleasant. This afternoon I forced myself to shower which completely wore me out. It was time to take Jayden outside and I just wanted to sit down afterwards and relax after the shower exhausted me. So I split a banana with Jayden.

Jayden loves bananas! We split one in the mornings after his second outside session. You ask if he wants one and he literally bucks into the kitchen, not running or jumping, bucking like a bronco. So I thought a banana in the afternoon would distract him from the Wobbler. We shared our banana and I sat on the couch, happy to relax with my feet on the ottoman.

Not long after I picked up my keyboard, I felt Jayden’s chin on my leg. I immediately knew why.

What lesson did I learn today? Never ever try to fool a dog as smart as Jayden. That banana did not make him forget about his Wobbler and praise and cookie for a second. Jayden is now curled up beside me on the couch, his belly temporarily satisfied with his afternoon snack and extra banana.

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Filed under blog carnival, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, Jayden, jayden quirks, num num food, sicky sick, spoons

Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, baseball, blind tips, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

Doggy Diaries: Jayden is Five! What?! (Contains audio)

I’m in denial that Jayden is five. I’ve celebrated his birthday all day but I’m in denial. He can’t be five! He just can’t be!

Friday the package arrived with his new toys and I gave him two new Nylabones then but I saved the new toys for today. One of the toys is this crackly sounding Cuz toy that has water bottle type material in it. I knew from the reviews that it wouldn’t last long. I also got him a holy Cuz toy and a Tugga Wubba. After I got the crackly thing out I realized I wanted to record so I tortured him for a minute while I got my phone haha. Right off the bat he went for a run with the crackly Cuz and lost it. He found it though. After a bit of play I remembered the Blue Buffalo jerky I also got last week. I was pretty sure the first bag I opened last week was chicken and today I opened the beef. What do you think, did I taste the beef?

Jayden also got some extra banana and it was just coincidence but I opened a fresh bag of dog food at dinner time. We had a nice relaxing day full of fun and cuddles and extra treats. The thunder is rumbling outside as I write this and he naps beside me on the couch.

Happy birthday my amazing boy! I love you so much! I’m so glad I have the audio of this day. I hope we don’t get a storm like last year’s!

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Filed under birthday, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, jayden quirks, monsoons, on this date

Let the Updating Begin

Ro? Who’s that? Oh wait, is that the chick with the guide dog named Jayden? Yeah, I remember her. She kinda disappeared though, didn’t she?

Hola one reader I have left haha. My friends on Twitter know I’m alive but for those of you who read here and for future me, the posting has been sparse, I know. I haven’t been well most of this year so far. Even the book posts had become daunting, trying to think enough through brain fog. So as a result, I’m behind on book posts and general updating.

I had to have a colonoscopy last month because I kept having recurring episodes of diverticulitis even though I thought I was doing everything necessary to prevent it, avoiding nuts and seeds, exercising though that had become sporadic due to the pain of the diverticulitis blah blah blah.

After the attack in March my doc made me see a gastroenterologist and he wanted to do the colonoscopy to check me out. He said surgery might be an option so I was preparing for that possibility. He started me on daily fiber and probiotics to make sure everything wasn’t inflamed for the procedure and I instantly started feeling better.

The preparation for that procedure was horrible! I had to drink stuff the night before and couldn’t eat the whole day before, then I had to drink stuff the morning of and I won’t go into the gory details but I was most definitely emptied out.

B and Jayden came with me and the nurse said when B led Jayden away once I was on the gurney, Jayden kept looking back like, but, um, what?

I was a little nervous about the anesthesia but the nurse explained that it’s a very light drug, not a narcotic, you go under quick and come out quick. When the doc injected the IV, the nurse said I should be feeling sleepy. I said, “I’m not feeling sleepy at all.” Then I woke up. They made sure my vitals were good then went and got B and Jayden. Jayden was so happy to see me he put his front paws up on the gurney even though he knows that sort of behavior is forbidden haha! B said Jay slept in the lobby but when he woke up he kinda freaked out a little bit. One of the medical staff was telling B and me how terrified of dogs she was since she grew up in the Philippines and there are a lot of wild dogs there that chased her when she was a child. She actually pet Jayden and he licked her hand. She was telling all her coworkers, “did you see me pet the dog!?!” It was so cool!

I was so glad that thing was over and the doctor told me afterwards that he didn’t see the need for surgery, just keep on fiber and probiotics. Yay! Probiotics tip, get them on Amazon. Much cheaper! Oh and he said the nuts and seeds thing doesn’t hold true anymore. He said eat what I want, just stay on fiber and probiotics. Oh, almonds, oh, tomatoes, oh, happy!

So that hurdle was cleared just in time for the next one, a massive staff infection. I’m the luckiest girl in the world! Again, I’ll spare you the gory details but here’s a tip, if you get an eruption of painful boils on your arse, take that arse to the doc and fast. I ended up getting a shot of antibiotics in said arse, a culture sent to the lab, a nasal ointment to kill the staff that lives in the nose and a course of oral antibiotics. I grossed out the nurse practitioner and made my doc exclaim, “ouch!” when she came in and saw me. Fun! We were all a little nervous that it was the antibiotic resistant strain of staff but it wasn’t, thank God.

Antibiotic tip, always always always take the full course prescribed. Always. These bugs are getting resistant to antibiotics because people stop taking them when they feel better and they leave one little bug in their body that learns how to adapt to our medicines and then tells its friends. So please, always take your full course and don’t push your doctor to give you antibiotics for things like colds. It’s possible I have success with antibiotics because I only take them when absolutely necessary too. If you take them all the time, eventually they won’t work in your body. Also, if you get boils, be very very careful with the stuff that comes out of them. If it happens to be staff, it is highly contagious. I was grateful I used to work in medicine and knew how to care for contagions.

All this staff stuff went on a week before I was getting on a plane to go to Colorado to visit Chupa and go to a Rays game. That’ll be it’s own post or two coming soon with links to photos, audio and video. I wrote on Twitter last night that I’d write at least a post per day until I was caught up with book and trip posts. If it’s on the internet, it must be true. All the illness and then the trip took its toll on the MS and my body but I think I’m bouncing back, knock on wood.

Oh before I wrap this up, I want to give kudos to Jay and his terrific work when we went for the meet and greet with the gastro doc. We took paratransit for that one and the office was under construction so not only was it a brand new place that neither of us knew, there was walking between buildings and following medical staff. Jayden did excellent work as usual. I’ve thrown a lot at him the last few months and he’s done nothing but keep me safe and sane through it all. Good boy!

Edit: The staff had nothing to do with the colonoscopy. The boils started before that procedure.

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Filed under Amazon, doc, Doggy Diaries, humor as coping skill, Jayden, sicky sick, silly girl, spoons, twitter me this, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Home Three Years

I’m probably the only one who celebrates the anniversary of arriving home with my guide dog haha. I just finished reading the post I wrote the night we got home. We’re about to have the same sort of weather. I probably only find that funny because I’m exhausted at the moment. Been having more health problems, nothing too severe, but it’s left me drained. I’m incredibly food stoned right now, too. B’s dad is visiting and we went to Carrabba’s for dinner. I love that place!

Just had to write on our arrival home anniversary hehe! Oh yeah, Jayden is totally passed out right now. He loves B’s dad and he went on a run around the house this morning. He doesn’t react to anyone the way he does to B’s dad. It’s so fun! Ok, I think I’ll go pass out now too.

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San Diego Recap Part Three – Zoo Part Two

Ok, I’m going to attempt to write the rest of the zoo recap in one or two more posts. I didn’t realize just how much we packed into just a few days haha!

When last I wrote, I described different textures and the condor attack.

I was having such a good time! It was awesome to get to work Jayden so much. We stopped a lot to rest and give Jayden water. It wasn’t hot, but we were in a lot of sun. I was on antibiotics that don’t do too well in the sun. Do you see where this is going?

We encountered inclines often but I handled them fine, having been doing inclines on the treadmill at the gym a lot. However we hit an incline that did me in. There was no way for me to know how long this thing went. It was steep steep steep, and it just kept going and going. The sun was beating down on me and all at once I was just done. B laughed, saying I’m the one who works out, that is he laughed until I reminded him that MS doesn’t like it when I get hot and the antibiotics didn’t like sun. We stopped and rested on a bench but then had to go up some more. By the time we reached the top, I was scared. I did not feel right at all. I told B I needed to stop and eat or find a nurse’s station. We had to walk a lot more to find a place to eat. B got me sat down and then went back and forth, telling me what was on the menu at the counter. I just wanted water. He got me a huge bottle of water and a burger. The water was awesome but I could hardly eat. I was near hysteria I was getting so scared and trying not to show it. After not moving for a bit I started freezing so B went and got me coffee. We were hoping I could go on once I was nourished but no. I told him we had to find medical staff.

As we got back near the front of the park I was feeling so bad because there was still half the zoo B hadn’t seen. I had known it might be a challenge to walk the whole zoo but I never expected to get that sick. I did feel a bit better after the huge bottle of water and half a burger and B and Jayden were both making sure I took it slow. As we neared the entrance I freaked out.

“Wait! What if the nurse insists on calling an ambulance or something? I’m not that sick, I just need to not walk.” I had stopped dead in my tracks. B waited for me to decide what I needed. I came to a decision and hoped he’d go for it. “Find me a bench in the sun and you go on.”

“Are you sure?”

I could hear the doubt in his voice. “Yes, I’ll be fine, I have Jayden, just find a bench in the sun. If we leave now I’ll never forgive myself.”

He reluctantly found a bench in the sun. I had my long sleeve top on and my Rays cap so I wasn’t concerned about the antibiotics but if I didn’t sit in the sun, I’d freeze. He made sure I was sure and I shood him away. Jayden passed out at my feet and I just listened to the people as they passed. I texted B, telling him to take his time and enjoy himself. A minute later I heard his voice asking if I was sure. Hahaha! He had taken a turn and found himself back where I was. He took off again and I resumed listening. The best thing I heard was this,

“Doggy! Doggy doggy!”

“Of all the exotic animals he saw all day, he’s most excited about the dog.”

Some people commented on how beautiful Jayden was as they passed. About fifteen minutes into my resting, I was feeling tons better. A woman asked if I knew the time. I checked my phone and told her it was a quarter of two. Little did I know I was about to have one of the coolest experiences of my blind life…

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Doggy Diaries – Together Three Years

Today is three years since I was matched with Jayden! I just can’t believe it. It feels like last month that I was given the perfect dog to be my guide and companion in this chapter of my life. I love this dog so much! He’s curled up on the couch beside me. I think I wore him out a bit with all the spoiling hehe! He went on a run around the house earlier when I asked if he wanted a banana, making B and me laugh. He has added so much to our life!

Every anniversary I look back on the writing from Dog Day. I’m so glad I have it! I’ll paste the first two here and then link to the third. All of the writing from that day is raw and unedited.

***

Today is dog day! I can’t believe it’s finally here! I got to work with two dogs in training yesterday, just doing some heeling and obedience, and it was the coolest thing.

I’m all over the place in this journal. I just started this one for today even though I haven’t finished the first one I started writing lol. But I just couldn’t finish that one on Dog Day.

Three people got their dogs last nighty. They are retrains who chose the three week retrain class over the two week one. None of them have dogs from GDB, oh wait no one did, I think, yeah. But the other two didn’t. The other two had in home training through another school, and the one has a german shepard who was just getting way too protective. The other person’s dog started getting a soft esophogus. Not sure why the third person had to retire her dog.

Anyway, so at dinner last night, I’m exausted. We had done lots of Juno work and the work with the two dogs and we also did work in downtown San Rafael and it was actually hot. I didn’t prepare because I didn’t realize we’d be doing a long Juno walk, so I got pretty hot. So we got back and actually had an hour and a half free time before dinner, yay! I talked to B and my dad and uncle and was about to get in the shower when Carin called the room phone, awesome! She put up a blog post for me, letting everyone know I ws safe but had no internet. That morning, Barb called. She’s Carin’s best friend in Canada and I’m staying in her old room hehe! So that was great.

AFter phone calls I got in the shower since after dinner was yoga. So I’m sitting there all exausted and one of my table mates says, I’ve got my dog here!

I think he had been bursting to tell me and the other table mate hehehe! Both of us were shocked; we had no idea there was a dog there. So the guy is like yeah! I just got him an hour ago! He told us his name and that he’s a yellow male and we were so happy for him. Then he told us the other two got their dogs. So then I was all excited. I tured to my table mate and was like, that’s us tomorrow! Gary told me we’ll get the dogs before lunch! Gary is a trainer and he’s really cool.

So I eat and we’re talking and then I wanted to check in with the others who got their dogs so I went over to their tables and they told me about their dogs, a black female and another yellow male. Sweet!!

I went back to the room and Called Carol. I didn’t have a lot of time before yoga but I wanted to say hi. So we talked briefly and then I went down for yoga. I wasn’t going to do it because I was sooot tired but I also don’t want shin splints, and my body was hurting. I had packed my work out clothes for yoga, so I might as well, right?

The retrains had to leave their dogs on tie down for class and one of them was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this, I didn’t want to leave my dog already.

Yoga was fab though. Felt great! Then I had to crawl in to my damn hard bed. It’s awful. So now I’m all sre again. And I never sleep to the alarm. I did a little better last night, but still didn’t sleep well at all.

So now it’s 6:23am and breakfast is in a little under an hour. I guess I should get dressed and then wait. After breakfast I think we’re doing more Juno and then we get our dog before lunch. Insert will have a name soon! Holy crap! Ok, I should be able to write while I’m waiting for them to bring me Insert!!

***

We had a lecture on meeting your dog and then the instructors took their sweet time coming to tak to us. they went around the room and gave everyone theier dog’s names. three no four people were ahead of me and there were some funky names, thats for sure. one guy asked if he could change it and then kept talking. they gave another lady her dog’s name and then they got to me.

you will be receiving a yellow labrador male named Jayden. J-a-y-d-e-n.

Wow! Jay jay, jay, jayden. I kept whispering the name. Jayden. Yellow male. Jayden, wow!

Then it was time to go back to our rooms and wait. So Here I am. Waiting. My door is open, I hear a vacuum, people talking, footsteps. I wonder how long I’ll wait? They are taking me to an instructor’s office to meet Jayden. So I just wait. I’m not calling anyone. I thought about texting Carin or calling friends or family or B but I just want this time to myself, to listen, to write. Jayden. I’m not crying yet. I feel a little misty. Will I cry when I meet him? I just heard an instructor say Gary are you eady? I think they’re starting. Who are they taking? I just heard another classmate say his dog’s name.

Oh man. Jayden. Lala. I hear people. Gootsteps. They pssed my room.

I have my leash around my neck and my treat pouch on. Jayden. Jayden. Jayjay. I wonder who won the pool. I get to go look at that soon. I hear them. They are taking the person across from me. Oh my goodness. I think they are going backwardsd which means I might be next. I need Gatorade. Ok that’s better. So glad I have my computer to write down this moment. I’m not recording it. I don’t want to focus on a stupid iPod when I have a Jayden!

La la la. Hmmm. I wonder who his raisers are. Yellow fur will be good in the sun. Good. Oh it’s gonna be Jayden, Spinelli, Timmy and Fi. Hehehe!

Insert is Jayden. I think I got the most normal name hahaha! I love it! It’s pretty quiet out there now. Quiet quiet. Something rolling. Cleaning people maybe. I hear them coming back. I hear her dog, the woman across from me. I might be next. Yep she’s coming back! Oh dear. Am I next? Am I? Am I? He’s walking away. I hear the lady across from me talking to her dog. Oh goodness. I hear an instructor again.

Ok I heard “do you wanna get the next dog ready?” Is that Jayden? Is it? Nerves. Can’t wait! Oh goodness. Where are they. It’s finally hear. Ok now I feel like I might cry. The lady across from me is crying, softly talking to her dog. My hands are trembling. Lump in throat. tears in my eyes. Jayden, yellow lab male, Jayden. Ok crying now. footsteps.

***

And here is the link to the third part. I had been without internet so I was writing and saving documents until I was able to post.

I’ve been thinking about that three weeks at school a lot lately coming up on this anniversary. It is still the hardest and most amazing thing I have ever done in my entire life! Thank you, GDB, for my incredibly awesome yellow mellow guide dog, Jayden!!!! Jaybay, Jayden Bailey, love him so much!

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San Diego Recap Part Two – Zoo Part One

Most of my posts lately have just been about books so let’s try and remedy that, shall we? I’ve wanted to continue writing about the San Diego trip but never seem to be able to. so here goes! Thank goodness I jotted down a list of notes after the second day of the trip.

When last I wrote about the trip, I had woken up and taken forever to get Jayden’s breakfast ready. We leisurely got ready for the day’s adventure to the San Diego zoo. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that you could bring in water and stuff. I had asked B to check this before we left the room because I didn’t want my water bottle taken. What place lets you bring in your own water these days? Haha!

Right as we pulled into the zoo parking lot, B’s car let him know that the tire pressure was low. I just love these smart cars. We knew we’d need to address that when we left. As we walked up to the zoo gates, B was reading locations on license plates as we passed vehicles. As we stood in line to buy tickets I listened to the conversations around me. The people behind us were from another country and their children spoke in quiet and excited tones. I had to laugh at the music being broadcast over us as we waited, Christmas music since this was at the end of November. The air had a typical San diego crispness to it but it wasn’t cold. One of the songs started and angels were singing there aaaaaaah lyric and I laughed inwardly at an inside joke between Carin and Steve and me.

B let the ticket agent know we had a service dog and the man let us know to stop in at guest services before we entered the park. The man at guest services was friendly and explained to us that we were welcome anywhere but but to be careful in the aviaries as the birds might go a little crazy. He also let us know that zoo staff might walk one of the big predators at some point so just be prepared for that and if the staff asks us not to go somewhere because of this, to please obey. We were given a bandana to put on Jayden so zoo staff would know we had checked in and knew what was up. B tied it to to Jay’s harness. I now keep it on my desk as a souvenir.

As we walked, I listened to people around us, heard children exclaim, “doggy!” and listened as parents explained what jayden was. The zoo was not very crowded so we were able to move with ease. The ground texture changed often and Jayden did not like one of the bumpy textures we had to cross a few times. I practically had to drag him every time we encountered it. Not fun.

Ok, picking this up again a few weeks after writing that first part haha!

As we walked around, B would explain what he was looking at. The zoo pipes in animal noises which I really did not like because there was no real way to tell if and when I was hearing actual animals. That was so disappointing since I experience things mostly with my ears unless there’s something to touch. Aside from that it was really an awesome experience, just listening to all the people and things they said about the animals.

At one point we walked to an enclosure and B was like, “condor, big condor, oh no, turn around turn around, condor sees Jayden…” He turned us around and we walked briskly away. I could feel Jayden literally trotting beside me and B and I were both giggling as B assured me that the condor had been behind glass. It had obviously never seen very many yellow labs and was either just curious about Jayden or thought he looked like a meal. After we were some distance away, B explained that the condor had been up on a high perch but had suddenly taken flight and swooped down to the ground next to Jayden. I’m glad we were giggling so Jayden didn’t get freaked out. That was most certainly an experience!

After that things were much calmer except when some donkeys and llamas saw Jayden and got curious. I freaked out a little because there was stupid piped in donkey noises making me think the things weren’t in an enclosure but were right next to us. I really wish they didn’t pipe in animal sounds.

There were so many different textures we crossed, like wooden bridges and that surface Jayden didn’t like. One of the ones I loved the most was this soft and bouncy texture, like that stuff they have on the ground at outdoor playgrounds so the kids can fall and not break themselves. That surface helped me orient myself and if I’m still remembering correctly, the rattlesnake and tarantula enclosures were near this stuff. I wasn’t afraid of the snakes but when B said, “tarantulas!” I freaked out a bit and before B could say it I said I knew they were in an enclosure but still, ew haha!

I’m going to post this part since there’s still another entire half of the zoo experience to go and I’ll never get this trip posted about if I don’t do it in chunks.

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Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

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