Category Archives: Uncategorized
B’s dad sent me this article about hybrid cars. It’s going a little more in depth on what needs to be done to make them have noise, but some of the comments really angered me. Things like it’ll just add to noise pollution, and people should have the right to turn off the sound. Yeah, because noise pollution is more important than people’s lives.
It’s been an icky couple of weeks. Well really only about a week and a half. I can’t remember if I blogged about injuring my back. It was so stupid, making the bed and pulling something. That was last Saturday. I started alternating heat and ice and trying to stretch it out. I worked out the following Monday but took it really easy, then worked out Wednesday but ended up just walking on the treadmill. I talked with a massage therapist at Saavi and he gave me a stretch and it helped a ton. Did laundry and some cleaning on Thursday and screwed my back up again. Talked to a friend who does physical therapy and she said if it’s inflammation, the heat was making it worse, so I switched to ice and sure enough, that fixed it.
I decided to play it safe though, and didn’t work out yesterday. That was a good decision, as Aunt Flo arrived for her monthly visit and I must have royally pissed her off because yesterday was awful.
I got a really bad dizzy spell in the morning. B had just left for work and I almost called him to come back, but my phone was in the other room and I couldn’t stand. I was covered in sweat and just kept hanging my head between my legs. Finally my legs decided to carry me and I made it to the couch and my water and phone and just sat and let it pass. After ibuprofin and the heating pad on my belly I felt better but was seriously drained.
So Jayden and I had cuddle time on the couch while I listened to a movie. He is such a good cuddler! He was on the couch next to me with his butt near the arm and his head on my lap and there was enough room for me to turn sideways and put my legs up next to him, so he was swaddled between my legs and the back of the couch. He turned on his side and pushed into me. It was sooo nice. He makes these little content noises, little grunts as he pushes into me. It was wonderful and really helped me relax after the dizzy spell.
This morning we went out with Dave and before we set out anywhere, I told him what had happened. He asked if I take a vitamin and I admitted I don’t, and I’m pretty sure I’m anemic. I need to start taking One-A-Day for women. Between the having to rest my stupid back and Aunt Flo, I’m in bad shape. He said I could work out tomorrow, but just walk and stretch, no lifting. Bah. I know that the way I’m feeling is because I haven’t been able to work out as hard as I’ve been, but Dave said while my back is feeling better, it’s probably not totally healed. So it’s either be careful now or be down even longer. I don’t know how to care for an athlete’s body haha!
In Jayden news, he’s doing great. I have been doing daily obedience with him, but switching it up. He never knows when I’ll do it or what I’ll ask for. He gets all excited when I put on the treat pouch haha. Also, the frozen Kong is like crack. I freeze one every night. I’ve started craming kibble down in there and wetting it, then carefully adding some more with some water and laying it on it’s side, so it ends up with frozen kibble shoved down in there and then some frozen kibble on the side. All I have to say is, “do you want a frozen Kong?” and he goes nuts. He starts jumping up and down and runs into the kitchen. I get it out and he’s panting and going nuts and I have him run through obedience and then give it to him. He takes it and runs around the house and then settles in to eat. It’s so fun haha!
This morning on our walk, we got to a curb and I had to sit down. Then I got dizzy when I stood, so we chose an easier route back home where Jayden can just shoreline a long curb. I heard a car behind us and it’s just a driveway in the complex. So we’d be on the left of the car as it drove passed. Jayden stopped dead until it passed. He’s such a good boy. He takes absolutely no chances.
That’s really about it as far as Jayden goes. He continues to be perfect. He sleeps free now right next to my bed and our new thing at night is I hang over the side of the bed and he gives me kisses before we settle in. I love him!
In other news, I did a Safari update and now it sucks. Right after I did the update last week, I had written a long blog post and Safari died. It had never done that. And now, the text edit fields aren’t behaving the same way. It used to be I could interact with text and then arrow down line by line to edit. It won’t let me do that now. If I want to edit I have to go word by word. I can’t just easily find a mistake. So now I’m composing blogs in a text document. Gonna have to memorize the code for links. Pain in the butt. This takes me back to hating to install Windows updates. I haven’t had the energy to go check out Mac Visionaries and see if anyone else is having the problem.
In baseball news, the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees last night, putting the Rays and Red Sox only a half game out of first. We didn’t play last night. Tonight we’re back at home to take on the San Diego Padres, who lead the National League West. We have a three game series with them and then the D-backs come to the Trop. I hope they keep beating the Yankees here in AZ but then stop winning when they go to the Trop.
There’s lots of turmoil over the Rays moving. The owner says if they won’t move to Tampa he might sell or move the Rays out of Florida. I’m only getting snippets of all this on Twitter for the time being.
I move that the Rays come to Arizona. We need an American league team. So we have the Arizona Diamondbacks, how bout the Mesa Rays? Phoenix Rays? Scottsdale Rays? Eh, none of them have a good ring.
I was in baseball withdrawl last night, but they’re back tonight.
Ok, I think that’s about it. I should blog more often so I don’t need to write such monsters.
Yesterday, Jayden and I got all ready to go to the gym. I always have a thirty minute window for my paratransit, so we’re ready by the start of the window. Jayden gets all harnessed up and ready and then we sit by the door and wait. As soon as he heres the van, he pops up and gets excited.
Yesterday was no exception. We heard the van so I got up to get my bag and we walked out and locked up. But silence met us. Where’d the van go? We walked down the path and I still couldn’t hear it. Hmmm, guess we both are hearing things. So we make our way back inside and then I hear the van’s back up beep. Sometimes the van’s get turned around and try to make their way to us in what looks like would be a clear path but it’s not, so they have to back up. So we locked up again and went down and waited in the shade of the covered parking.
The van finally got to us and when I heard it stop I told Jayden, “ok, find the bus.” He always takes me right to the door and puts his front paws on the first step. The driver didn’t even have to get out. As we made our way in, the driver said, “wow, that’s independence. Need help finding the seat?” I assured the driver Jayden would find it, and sure enough he took me right to the seat and we settled in for the ride.
Sometimes I forget how even those little simple things are so huge. Before Jayden, I’d wait for the driver to come get me and lead me to the van steps. I was able to find a chair with my cane, but then when the driver dropped me off, I’d need help to the door unless we were right in front of it. Now, I don’t need the driver’s help at all and it’s awesome. I often get asked if I need help to my door when they bring us home and I have to stop myself from laughing and saying, “that’s what my dog is for.” As soon as we step off, Jayden is running, well not literally running, but excitedly getting me to the parking curb, showing it to me, and then getting us to our door, where he knows he gets a jackpot kibble and a frozen Kong.
The independence is spreading to him, too. He’s getting so comfortable at home that he’s not always with me these days. This morning we woke up early. We have an early lesson with Dave on Tuesdays. So I fed him and took him out and normally in the mornings, he waits for a rub down and then joins me at the computer while I’m waking up.
Not this morning. It’s like he said, “I’m up too early; I’m going back to bed.” He had disappeared and sure enough, I found him curled up on his new favorite comforter, snoozing away haha!
Dave arrived and we went and walked the entire complex. Up until now, Jayden and I only walk on one side, because everything we need is on that one side. But I had mentioned to Dave last week that I wanted to start walking the whole thing. Jayden and I are quite limited right now with the weather, so I don’t want to get too far from home, in case I suddenly get sick from heat. Also, when the monsoon’s start, we’ll never know when one might pop up. The complex is sizeable and Dave agreed that it’s a good walk. He wanted to shadow us first, though. So we did that this morning.
I had forgotten how challenging the other side is. I used to live on that side years ago. It’s fabulous! There’s so much to challenge Jayden; so many obstacles to get around and not many clear paths. On our side, it’s a pretty clear path anywhere, but on the other side, there’s funky parking lots and sidewalks that quit. It was sooooo awesome to watch Jayden’s brain work. He’d never seen that area before and when I’d give a command, you could just hear the wheels turning. You could hear him thinking, ‘ok, what’s the safest way to do this?’ It was so cool to get even more evidence of how smart he is. Dave loves how cautious he is, too. He refuses to move when there’s even the slightest possibility of a moving vehicle, and he puts his body in front of me as if to say, “don’t bother giving a command, we’re not moving until I know what the vehicle is doing.” It’s the coolest thing. How GDB matched us so well, I’ll never know. They couldn’t have known that I’m overly cautious and always have been, even when I could see. Jayden’s caution might annoy other handlers, who knows. But for me, he’s perfect.
As we got closer to our apartment, we were on the other side. We ran out of sidewalk and Dave was explaining to me about the parking lot and the different options. We’d be heading back home in a completely different way than we ever had before. Dave asked if I wanted him to walk ahead and target the safe place and I told him to walk behind us. I wanted to see what Jayden would do.
I told him forward and he stepped forward slowly and I could feel his head moving from side to side. Then he must have liked his decision because he suddenly picked up speed and showed me a curb. I told him good boy and knew it would be a left, so I told him left and he took off. Dave told me Jayden had sighted in on a sidewalk, one we don’t normally take. We both wondered if Jayden would spot our path because it’s a hard right from that particular sidewalk, almost a u-turn. Jayden didn’t even pause. All of the sudden I felt us making the hard right, felt my landmark little dip and we were home. Jackpot kibble, lots of love!
I took the harness off and let Jayden romp with Dave a bit and then Dave and I stood talking awhile. Dave said it’s about a mile walk just around the complex, so it’s absolutely perfect. It was nice to have a relaxing walk too.
Jayden was then tugging me towards the door like, ‘come on, mom, I want my frozen Kong now please’ haha!
I wonder if he’ll ever cease to amaze me. I kinda doubt it. Everyone was right when, after we’d been home a few weeks and I said how amazing Jayden was, that I had no idea how amazed I would be in the coming months.
Independence? I never knew independence like this. Not even sighted. I can’t explain it, but I feel more independent and safe than I ever did as a sightie. I am never alone. Well, not until Jayden decides he wants to curl up on that darned comforter!
Dad sends the best jokes.
Stuttering Cat – as explained by a grade 4 student…
A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students. “Human beings are the only animals that stutter,” she says.
A little girl raises her hand. “I had a kitty who stuttered.”
The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories can be, asked the girl to describe the incident.
“Well,” she began, “I was in the back yard with my kitty and the Rottweiler that lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!”
“That must have been scary”, said the teacher.
“It sure was”, said the girl. “My kitty raised her back, went ‘Ffffff!, Ffffff!, Ffffff!’, but before she could say ‘Fu*k!’, the Rottweiler ate her!”
The teacher had to leave the room.
When I went blind in April of 2008, I was put in touch with the friend of a friend who is blind. I remember her telling me all about her guide dog and how I just had to get one. Mind you, I had only been blind maybe a month when she was telling me all about going to San Rafael, CA for a month. Are you kidding me??? Get on a plane and go stay at a school for a month? Yeah, how bout no. At the time, I didn’t even have a white cane. The thought of leaving my boyfriend and my friends was way too scary.
Well, after a rough period of adjustment, I started learning “blind skills” like orientation and mobility with the white cane. I had learned how to use a screen reader. I went to the blind center often. Life was getting back to some sense of normalcy.
One day I decided to look up guide dogs. I ended up spending an entire day reading all about Guide Dogs for the Blind, or GDB. It was the school that lady told me I just had to attend. I was hooked. I applied. I told my friend about it and it was then that my blog was born. I had joked about writing a Doggy Diaries to document the journey and she told me I should and told me about Blogger. I’m so grateful I did, because now I can just click certain labels and remember the whole journey.
I was asked to blog about my experiences in training, but I had to give some background hehe. So, after I applied, I had a home visit. A man from the school came to look at my home area and assess my travel skills. The visit went really well. I also had to submit a ton of medical paperwork which was pretty easy; I just asked my doctors to send in the required info. I had to get a tetanus shot and a TB test. Once all that was in, I waited. I got my acceptance email on December 29, 2009, after having applied in September. I would be going to school on February 15! The classes have changed now and are only three weeks, much to my relief.
I had joined an email list of other GDB grads and began signing my emails with my name and “insert doggy here”. Soon we all referred to my unknown dog as “Insert” haha! I have an “Insert” label on my blog so I can go remember the waiting and the anticipation. I started doing a doggy countdown.
Already, Insert had changed my life. Because of the blog and the email list, I had made so many amazing friends. I sometimes wonder how I made it before I met all my Blogger pals.
Finally it was time to go. I boarded a plane to California, about to begin the biggest adventure of my life. At the campus, I had my own dorm room. The other students and I joked that it would make great video if someone filmed us in our rooms, feeling around, getting to know the place haha! The first few days we worked with the instructors on learning the guide dog commands. We learned how to harness “Wheeler” the fake dog on wheels. We did Juno work, Juno being a rolled up piece of carpet. We learned obedience commands and even got to practice with a few dogs who were still in their formal training.
March 17, 2010 was dog day. We’d be getting our dogs that day. The instructors had painstakingly matched each of us to a dog, based on information gathered from our home interviews and discussions with the instructors. All I knew was that I needed a chill dog because of my auto immune disease. That was really my only requirement. I was convinced I’d be getting a black lab female. Don’t ask me why.
The morning of dog day, they went around the room and told us our dog’s names and details. My heart pounded as I waited for them to get to me. Finally they did.
“You will be receiving Jayden, a yellow lab male.”
I sat there, whispering his name to myself. They took us back to our rooms and we had to wait for them to come take us to meet our dogs. Finally they came and got me. I had been furiously writing on my laptop, though at the time I wasn’t on the internet. I have the whole experience documented on my dog day label.
I finally had my dog! After all the waiting and the anticipation, I had him. He was awesome. He was chill. I got him back to my room and crouched down beside him and he put his head on my shoulder. I instantly knew he was the perfect dog. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew. The training began immediately. We spent some time together and then I took him to lunch. We didn’t work the dogs in the building yet, so I heeled him next to me. That afternoon was our first workout together. I harnessed him up and we went for a walk in downtown San Rafael. There are many experiences I’ve read about the first walk. For me it was nerve wracking haha! There was so much to remember, so many commands, when to take out the leach, when to tell him to hop up, when to probe out when he stopped, finding curbs, listening for traffic. It was intense. I was still fairly new to traveling blind and here I was trusting a dog to guide me.
I won’t lie. The training was hard. It was grueling. There was a very set feeding and relieving schedule. My day went something like this:
Wake up at 5:45. Get dressed, make instant coffee. Feed Jayden at 6:20. Relieve Jayden at 6:30. Breakfast at 7:15. Meet in day room at 8:15. Relieve Jayden at 8:30. Board bus. Arrive at downtown lounge, go on a work out. Arrive back at campus at 11:30 and water and relieve. Lunch at 12:30. Relieve at 1:30. Board bus. Do another workout. Arrive back at campus. Feed and relieve at 4:30. Dinner at 6. Water at 7, sometimes have a night lecture. Relieve at 8:30. Pass out.
It was hard to find time to shower or do laundry. I limited phone calls to my boyfriend and family only after quickly realizing that phone time was too stressful. All I wanted to do was bond with Jayden. In the dorm rom, we would play or cuddle. He was with me all the time. He went with me to meals in the dining hall. I’ll never forget when I finally could work him in the building. I told him to take me to dinner and he took me right to the dining hall, and then right to our table. We flew through the halls!
I learned so much in those three weeks and I thought that was it. But no. The training really begins upon arriving home. Jayden knew that campus and San Rafael from his formal training days, but he didn’t know my home. The first few weeks were all about showing him routes. I patterned him by heling him and using the cane to walk routes. I used food reward to mark places we’d go on a regular basis and always had a party when we reached my door, so he’d do anything to get me to those places.
We got lost a few times, right in my apartment complex haha! Luckily there were always neighbors around, but once I had to call the office and get rescued. I quickly learned never to leave the house without my phone and a poop bag, oh and kibble of course!
The last time we got lost, a storm had blown in out of nowhere. I couldn’t hear to get my orientation. I didn’t have my cane. I had no idea where we were. Finally I said, “Jayden, find home.” And he took us right to my door…that was the day it all began to click. That was the day I finally turned my life over to my guide dog. I fully trusted him then, and we haven’t gotten lost since.
Jayden fit in well right from the start. He quickly earned house freedom and was only on tie down at home for about two weeks. I started giving him small amounts of freedom and he never once tried to eat anything or kill a cat haha! The training continues and will for awhile. I do obedience with him regularly and even have made it a game of hide and seek. He knows I’m boss, but also knows I love him more than anything. I’m the keeper of the food. 🙂
Having Jayden has changed my life. Those grueling three weeks of training at school were so worth it. Jayden is my guide, my companion, my best friend. He picks me up when I’m down either by throwing his head into my lap when we’re on the couch, or dropping onto his back in front of me for a belly rub and a romp. I love my guide dog!
I had quite a few people tell me they’d like to contribute to this month’s series on mental health, so I thought I’d write a little reminder. You can do it anonymously by leaving me comments anonymously with your story that I won’t publish, I’ll just copy the story. Or you can do it under your name and have your blog linked, it’s all up to you. Keep in mind there’s a limit to the length of the comment but I’m not sure how long, so break your story into a few comments.
I’ll also leave my email here and I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t actually write their email in email form, which makes me think that’s safer or something lol. So you can write me at: raynaadi at gmail dot com
Many thanks to all who have contributed so far! I really think the message is more powerful when it comes from human experience.
So far I’m not sold.
Maybe it takes time.
Maybe it’s gotta get worse before it gets better.
I got it on Sunday and did a treatment Sunday night. I used a packet for each nostril, so I poured the whole pot in the left nostril and out the right, and then vice versa. It’s a tiny little pot that reminds me of an Aladdin type lamp. It seemed to clear my nostrils for sure, but my ears are still all jacked up, especially the right one.
I had run out of Zyrtec on Sunday, meaning Monday was a day without it, and if I thought it wasn’t working, I was wrong. Not having it sucked.
I did another treatment last night when B got home and really didn’t notice a difference. This morning I got more Zyrtec and took one. My right ear is just driving me nuts. I can feel fluid in there and it hurts. Every so often I’ll get a jabbing pain in the left ear too.
Today I was going to wait until B got home, but my right ear was just making me miserable. I decided to just to the right nostril. Which is really the left. But when I started with the left last night, it took some time for the saline to be able to drip out the right. So I was afraid maybe the fluid was backing up into my right ear. So just now I poured it in the right nostril and it still took awhile to make it’s way out the left. I might just be hoping or having a placebo effect, my right ear isn’t hurting now. But now the left ear feels a little full. Crap. I wonder if the saline is getting up in the ear canal since my damn sinuses are so blocked.
Sadia had said to make sure your head is down low enough, and my chin is touching my chest, but I’m bent over the sink. So I wonder if you need to be standing straight up. My friend does hers in the shower, so I might need to try that so I can stand straight up. I don’t know how you’d do that with clothes on because it would end up dripping straight down your front. Sadia, any pointers?
Ok seriously as I’m writing this, my right ear seems to feel better. But now the left one doesn’t. Herm. I’m not giving up on this, especially since now many people are waiting for my opinion. Guess I’ll keep trudging. Maybe things were just really backed up in there.