A Seizure Dog Sees Rose.

Story 38:

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.

Everybody’s Mama

Trauma at the Board

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.

I froze.

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 Roses’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.

 

Mama

 

 

Flinking

Do not be alarmed. I am not referring to copulating, although this is a scientific term.

This hybridized word involves physics, not biology.

I love the word because it describes a stage in between.

Flinking refers to a state between floating and sinking.

The density of an object is such that it neither floats nor sinks.

It flinks.

Suspended in the water below its surface.

Too heavy to float but not heavy enough to sink.

I do enjoy the concept,  but not the sensation.

It’s like the limbo without the line or the music.

I am not drowning. I am not swimming.I am not floating. I am flinking.

Motionless, powerless waiting for the current to shift and my density to change.

I have to follow through, before I can start something new.

Stinking flinking!

Flow

 

 

Enemies and Heroes

People puzzle me.

I have been living with my eyes wide open for a long time now.

It seems to me that some need enemies and some need heroes.

Folks need something to fight or follow.

I am fortunate to have a full life, so I do not feel this need.

But some folks have holes in them.

There is a void that yearns to be filled.

They need to fight a boss or spouse, so they revel in political battles.

They need a champion parent or preacher, so they follow a paternalistic leader.

I have an enemy all ready.  Epilepsy takes the battle out of me.

I have heroes in my family, one of which is my amazing Rose.

Because my life is full, I do not scroll for anger or watch a screen for inspiration.

I stay home peacefully puzzling about people while surrounded by plants.

Mama