A tether is a connection of a mobile thing to an immobile thing
to limit the movement of the movable part of the pair.
The irony of this description is not lost on me.
Rose was prevented from flying away and I was immobile.
I am the heavy, the anchor, the immovable.
Who wants a heavy, immovable mother?
Who wants to be heavy and immovable?
Maybe I have been looking at this the wrong way.
I want to move, too. I want to fly, too.
I am still stationary long after my Rose bird has flown.
I am still here holding down an empty fort.
I am still here.
Still tethered by fear and habit and age.
I need to rise up. I need to look up.
I need to be free from the hanging, empty tether.
Free to be me.
One afternoon, Rose and I were shopping in a large department store. Rose was several yards away from me between the clothes racks. I could see the top of her head. I saw her head turn to look at two people and a dog strolling through the aisle in her direction. I knew she had spotted the dog’s service vest. I also knew that she would be interested in watching the dog at work.
The big, shaggy hound was wearing a red triangular vest on its harness. The vest was a sign that the dog was a service dog of some sort. Our family had discussed the possibility of getting a seizure dog several times. Since Rose had no aura before most of her seizures, having a dog that could alert her that a seizure was coming would be a nice warning. Rose could at least get to the floor before falling down.
Rose watched the dog approach. The two adults were deep in conversation. They were paying attention to each other and not the dog. The dog turned and walked away from the two people until it stopped and stood in front of Rose. I watched as my daughter and this dog looked into each others eyes.
Both men were surprised by the dog’s behavior. One of the men pulled on the dog’s retractable leash and gave a command for it to return to the side of the other adult. The dog hesitated to leave Rose, and paused for a few more seconds before rejoining his human companions.
I spoke to the two people. I told them that Rose had epilepsy. Their looks of dismay turned into smiles. This gentle giant of a dog was a seizure dog in training. What they first thought of as bad behavior now took on a different meaning. The dog was a seizure alert dog. It somehow knew that Rose had epilepsy. His name was Mr. Biggles. He was with his trainer and new owner.
I got the name and number of the company that trained the dog. The threesome continued to slowly stroll around the store. Rose and I looked at each other in wonder. “How did he know?” she asked me.
It was my turn to be concerned. My first thought was that maybe he sensed an oncoming seizure, but I told Rose that possibly he could smell the seizure medications in her sweat.
Either way, I had a new hope for Rose. Maybe someday a dog could help to keep her safe.
Seizure Mama speaks to parents:
We have not gotten a seizure dog for Rose during these twenty-four years. We had other dogs while she was growing up, which would have complicated the training of a companion pet. We did seriously consider a seizure dog during the times when her seizures were frequent. A trained seizure dog can be very expensive.
I did talk to a woman from this company about training a dog for Rose. She said that the dog must be trained while the companion person is having seizures. Rose’s seizures had become so infrequent that it would not be possible to train a dog for her. This was a mixed blessing.
Now that Rose is an adult, she may need a service dog just for protection. She goes places by herself. She is very independent. Several weeks ago, Rose had a seizure while away at college. It was at night while she was walking beside a road. A dog could have at least stopped traffic.
I am re-posting this in honor of a friend who is beginning the SERVICE DOG application process. I hope he will be blessed with the perfect dog.
PTSD is not remembering, it is reliving.
The mind takes one back to the event that caused the trauma.
The trigger time warps the person out of the present and back to the past without warning.
Instantly catapulted back to the painful event that caused the damage.
I was lecturing to an Anatomy and Physiology class at the local community college.
The subject was the cornea of the eyeball. I was describing its delicate nerve endings.
That is when I heard the scream.
The scream belonged to a younger Rose.
Years before Rose had seized in the corner of the garden while planting flowers.
She fell face-first into the dirt with her eyes and mouth wide open.
Soil filled her mouth and eyes.
I tried to remove the dirt from her mouth. But what does one do with a dirty eyeball?
A scream erupted from Rose’s dirt-filled mouth.
A haunting, primal vocalization of deep pain that brings chills to the listener.
The sound of suffering and shock that a mother never wants to hear from her child.
Rose was rushed to an eye specialist for an eyewash and a liquid bandage on her eye.
As I stood at the board in front of a class full of students,
I heard this horrible scream again.
I stood silently with tears streaming down my face, crying about the cornea.
There was a long and awkward pause as I pulled myself back together.
My precious, puzzled students patiently waited.
I could have continued my lecture on the cornea of the eye,
but there was something more important to teach these future nurses.
They needed to know about trauma and epilepsy.
So a story was shared about Rose and me and PTSD.
Whenever I miss Rose, I go to the Rose Museum.
Her entire life is archived into this small space(her room).
The wallpaper has not been changed.
The walls are covered with photographs and ribbons.
The shelves are stuffed full of photo albums, books and DVDs.
There are fairies everywhere.
The closet is packed with shoes, dresses, purses and toys.
Things go into the museum, but they never leave.
I am not allowed to straighten or clean.
I must dust delicately and sweep carefully.
Why the archives? She needs to remember.
Her memory cannot be trusted.
There were too many drugs and too many seizures.
The museum is her memory.
I do not need it to remember Rose, but Rose does.