I do believe I still need to post about Maisie’s (known) early days, then when she came to live with me, how I worked with her, etc. – above and beyond what I shared previously but for now I just have another tale to tell :).
A couple of evenings ago I had a dilemma, one that Maisie would have typically handled lest I hurt myself but it was late in the evening and she was sleeping so soundly, I thought I’d take care of it myself rather than bother her…and it was a huge mistake!
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my mid-20’s. The doctor was surprised because it is typically an “old person’s arthritis” and most people don’t get – or notice – it until they’re about my current age. But I’ve had it for 40ish years, it is progressive, and of course most people who are diagnosed at my current age don’t live long enough to live with 40 years of progression. But anyway, it started in the middle of my spine where I have a hump, T4-T7 area, and has since taken over up to the base of my skull, into my jaw, and downward as well as into my hips, leg joints, right foot (where I’d had a lisfranc fracture in my mid-30s) and left elbow/wrist (d/t fractures last year). As a result my range of motion and mobility is severely limited at times, so much so that I require assistance. When I realized a few years ago that much of the help I needed could be provided by a dog, rather than my husband, I started looking for the perfect dog and…well, that’s the story for another day :).
But the things that cause the most drastic reaction from my spine are twisting, stretching/reaching, and bending. And the other night I required help with something that needed me to perform all 3. And I didn’t call Maisie so I ended up in really rough shape. REALLY rough shape. (This is about Maisie, not me, so I won’t go into details.)
After Pete helped me onto the bed, Maisie came next to me, clearly upset, she laid down as close as she could get pressing her body into my leg…then she started bringing me things. She appeared so desperate to “fix it” that she was doing everything she knew to do to help me. She brought my pillows, my glasses, the TV remote…everything she could find that I often ask her for…and I felt awful for her!
That night she stayed on the bed with me for hours. (Typically she helps me get undressed and puts her body heat and pressure on my legs to calm the pain so I can sleep, we cuddle a bit and then she takes herself to the davenport to sleep for the night.) She just didn’t want to leave me. If I had just called her when I needed her, things would have been fine for us both. But I ended up with…well, whatever…and she ended up anxious and helpless.
As for Maisie, she thrives in having purpose and work in her daily life, in being needed and offering to help even when she’s not asked – she sees what needs to be done and does it. Her life is in helping me and days where her help isn’t often required she literally gets depressed. When I notice this I have to make up things for her to do and she perks right up and gets happy again. She’s so perfect – and I will never again make the mistake of not asking for her help when I need it.