Friday, January 27, 2017

Another "new normal"

I really don't care for the phrase "new normal." I don't personally associate it with good things.  What I hear is "suck it up buttercup, this is how it is going to be now." Doctors and therapists love to use it when tears begin to fill my eyes (so you can imagine,I have heard it a lot.) I have a new understanding of the autistic student I taught. He would pinch you when you said certain "trigger phrases" like,      "say (insert any word here)." If I could get away with it I might pinch people when they said "this will be a new normal." Of course, in my head (usually) I'd think "not if I can help it." A few weeks ago, my beloved, super sassy, Lab mix, Mookie, "crossed the rainbow bridge." It was not unexpected but still a hard thing for me to deal with! My dad used to lovingly tease me that he wasn't sure where her quirks started and mine ended, or something like that. I think we fed off each other. But, for many years she was the easiest thing to relate to, mostly because she didn't talk or require me to! She was just there and she knew my routines, sometimes better than I did!! She checked on my every 10 minutes and never left until I gave her a scratch on the head. Unless I was sleeping, then she must have just checked if I was still breathing.  .  Although, I knew she could really do almost nothing to really help me it reduced the anxiety of being alone! Being without her is another post-aneurysm "new normal."

I looked for my Cardinal bird the day she left but got this sky instead!

When we first adopted my precious, Mookie (she had that name, we kept it because I figured she was already used to it) I thought it was because she needed us. I was wrong. I was going to need her, more than I could ever imagine at the time! Even before my aneurysm, which rocked her world too, she was my buddy, nursing me through migraines when hubby was at work. She quietly crawled into bed with me when I was shaking from pain. She just understood me and I her, we "got each other" in a very odd way ,that way only an animal can. She never would come when you called her. This caused me anxiety to no end. She would stay right with you until she saw something to chase and then realized her freedom and would take herself on an adventure blissfully unaware of the busy traffic she narrowly escaped.  I was always very careful about who I left her with when we went away.  There were very few people I trusted enough to leave her in their care. The list pretty much begins and ends with my parents, two hours away.  I would also trust my Mookie loving 8 year old niece and 6 year old nephew. They were always so concerned about Mookie being on her leash and always fed her from their hands so the anxious dog would eat something, if only they weren't 3 hours away! Once, I left her with family she already knew. They lived much closer and were right on the way to our destination.  I thought since it was only an overnight ], I would survive the separation anxiety I had.  Even though they knew, I left very specific instructions about always having her on a leash outside, especially in an area she wasn't familiar with.  Upon arriving to pick her up the next day, she was in the yard running around without a leash near an extremely busy road.  Thankfully, my prayers for the weekend visit were heard and answered that day and it all turned out okay. Well,  except for my disappointment that my instructions were ignored and her safety and my sanity disregarded.  Needless to say, trust was shattered that day and I drove the extra two hours each way or my dear parents met me half way so I could go away without having to worry about my poor, dear, anxious Mook Dog.

To this day hubs says he has never been more jealous and so happy at the same time as when I woke up after my aneurysm and the first thing I asked was if he fed Mookie.  Now, my hubs did things no man married for 2.5 years and in his 20s should have to do for his wife. Unfortunately, my memory of that time simply doesn't exist BUT I will never forget the moment when we had just brought Mookie home from the vet after seizures in 2015 and instead of sticking to the ridiculous notion that ,"she was a dog, and I was ridiculous." He picked her up and carried her down the stairs that night. I snapped a picture of the moment, I was so touched!
Her face is saying, "this is silly, I can totally do it myself."
My motivation for learning to walk again? Mookie loved walks, it was her very favorite thing. She needed me to walk again! After I came home she learned many new ways to tell me what she needed or found it on her own. You know, like there is always water in the toilet if you run out! So, at the equivalent of being almost 105 years old in human years here are a few lessons Mookie has left us with. And, thank you to everyone for loving me and for the cards and gifts.  I simply couldn't include them all and was too distraught to take a picture of everything!

Flowers from dear friemds that arrived not even 5 minutes after hubs left to go to the vet!

* Take a walk every day!
* Don`t live to please other people
* Always be ready for a little adventure
* Be loyal to those who truly love you and ignore your critics
* Be pleasantly persistent if you need something or find a way to help yourself
* Cherish every day you are given
Gift from dear friends that sums her up perfectly!
* Recover like a fighter
* PTSD is real!
* Be cautious who you call friends
* It's okay to take more than one nap in a day
* Clean up after the cook and you will always be fed
Plaque from neighbors that will go in a "Mookie memorial rock garden" in the spring!