Getting undressed, picking something up when you drop it or even just grabbing your shoes from the floor. They’re things many of us do without thinking. They’re part of daily routine. Many of us do it subconsciously. What if your subconscious was rudely awoken by pain every time you picked up the mail from the door mat? What if you had to choose not to get dressed? Because you know that not taking off your pyjamas will save you energy to do something else. I’ve spent a long time making similar decisions.
I live with Congenital Rubella Syndrome. This happens when a mother contracts the Rubella virus during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Those born with CRS have varying degrees of sight loss, hearing loss and one or more heart diseases. Plus a whole host of other things. Everyone is affected differently. My muscles are affected. Many of them are weak, which means a lot of tasks are painful. Sometimes I can use so much energy, that I need to take an afternoon nap.
I had to make a choice. Employ a permanent caregiver, or get a Service Dog. I’m a dog person. Combining something I need with something I would enjoy sounded like a good choice. I put in an application and the process began.
From the time of applying, to the point of enjoying the sound of the snoring furry four footer next to me, was quite the rollercoaster ride. Being an almost blind wheelchair user presented some problems that needed to be solved. How would I know when my dog is doing what I ask him? How will I be able to care for him and take him for walks? For every problem, there’s some Flip Thinking. Then it’s no longer a problem. I’ll tell you more about it in my next column.