Archive | November 2012

My Secret Thoughts

It’s Thanksgiving, and as I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking about the things that I think about every day. Most people, not even my closest friends and family, know what goes through my head every day.

After having a hemorrhagic stroke 1 1/2 years ago, I am realizing that my positive attitude has probably helped me through this. I always think good thoughts! I have always been that way, and I can’t imagine being any other way.

I remember being paralyzed on my right side, and realizing how much I had used that side before, and then I couldn’t anymore. When I was slowly getting it back, I was so thankful for every little thing that I could do with my right side. The one thing that I couldn’t wait to do again was hug! A real hug with both arms, squeezing tight! I remember when I could raise my arm a little bit, then higher, and higher! I remember my husband placing my arm up on his shoulder, to help me out. All of those little things that he helped me with, were really huge to me! He was so patient when I needed extra time to try something. I was so happy when I could get both of my arms around him! Then when I could give a squeeze too, well that was the best! My family was aware of when when I could hug, too! To this day, EVERY time I hug my husband, I am secretly saying thank you to God for being able to hug him with both arms.When I hug my kids, I say thank you for letting me be able to hug them tightly with both arms. Yes, I really do think this every time!

Even though I was able to get the use of my arm back, getting the use of my fingers has not been as successful. I still struggle with fine motor skills. It’s not so bad, though. The things most people can’t see, or can’t tell that it’s a struggle, are what I work on every day. Cracking eggs, for instance, is still challenging. I love to bake, therefore, I crack a lot of eggs! After I crack eggs, I smile because I did it!

So many times during the day, I’m thinking about how lucky I am. When I wake up in the morning, I’m happy! I know that it will be a good day, and I’m always hoping for the ability to do more than I did the day before. When I go to bed at night, I secretly say a thank you for a great day!

I know all of the things that most people take for granted, are the things that I am so thankful for. When things have been taken away, and there’s a struggle to get it all back, you can’t possibly ever take those things for granted again!

So, because it’s Thanksgiving and everyone is saying what they’re thankful for, I’ve been thinking a little more today about the things that make me thankful. I’m thankful for my life, my health, my family and friends, and for all of the little things that I can do that no one ever knows! If I hug you, know that I am saying a secret thank you, because it’s one of my favorite things that I’ve accomplished!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Puppy Therapy

When I decided that I was ready for a dog, after putting my sweet 15 year old dog down in July, I had a list in my mind of what I wanted in a dog. I wanted to rescue an older female dog who was sweet and gentle, and who would want to hang out with me. The dog would have to be very nice, and definitely not a puppy! When I started visiting shelters and various dog organizations, all of the dogs had major issues that I didn’t feel prepared to deal with. I stayed searching, knowing that I would “know” my dog when I saw her.

When I was at the shelter in Santa Cruz, I saw this cute little dog, and knew it was mine. When I looked at the tag on the cage, it said 2 month old female Terrier mix. For some reason, I thought it said 4 month old. She’s actually 3 months old. Anyway, it was a puppy!! I looked back at the dog, and just said, “Well, I guess I’m getting puppy”! I never fight the feeling of knowing that there’s a bigger plan at work for me, and I just have to trust that intuition. When we went back inside to fill out papers and get a session with the pup, they informed me that someone had just called and put the dog on hold for 2 days. I wasn’t even allowed to have a session with her, because technically they owned her now that they put her on hold. So we left.

On the way home, I told my daughter that if that little puppy was meant to be ours, then she will go off hold, and we will get her. Once again, I had to trust that feeling that I know what is right, is what will be. The next night at the time the shelter closed, I called them. The puppy had just gone off of the hold  status. They opened at noon the next day, and I was there with my mom shortly after noon. I was able to get a session with her, but while waiting, I had a lady come up to me and ask me if I had my heart set on her, because she was also interested in her. I told her that I did. I realized that if I had arrived 5 minutes later, I wouldn’t have gotten my dog. When I finally was able to meet her, she leaped into my lap! Well, that’s exactly what my last dog did, and I knew this was definitely my dog! My PUPPY! It was “meant to be”!

So, we’ve had “Nilla” for about 2 weeks now. I’m in love with this little dog. Even though I never wanted a puppy, she’s so perfect! She’s very friendly, happy, playful, rambunctious, smart, and so loving. She takes at least 2 naps a day, and so I do, too! Haha!

I have realized that Nilla is actually providing therapy for me! I am her main playmate, therefore, we are outside a lot! She loves to fetch, and actually even brings it back to me! Throwing the toys, I use my right hand, which is the side affected from the stroke. She doesn’t care if I throw it weird or crooked. One of the exercises that I’ve done in therapy is to throw a small ball against the wall and catch it. So, I do that with Nilla. She has a Frisbee-type of toy that is definitely a challenge for me throw, but I do it! Squatting down to be at her level is therapy. Getting up from that squat is even better! I do that a hundred times a day, I bet! It’s got to start getting easier!

A weird thing that has affected my right side is rhythm. What I mean by that, is when you knock on a door there’s a rhythm to that knock. I don’t have that rhythm on my right side. To tap on my legs to call the pup over to me, is therapy, to get the rhythm down. Tapping my foot to call her over, I work on the rhythm. If I go slow, I can do it. If I try it  fast, it’s all confusing. But Nilla doesn’t care, and that’s what’s so perfect! Prying her little jaws open to get grass, dirt clods, rocks, and other things out, is therapy. I make myself use my right side to get the various items out! I also make myself find reasons to tap my fingers, hand, or foot.

I am thankful for my little puppy! I never thought I’d get a puppy, but I am so happy that I did! She makes me laugh so much every day!! She helps me out, without knowing that she’s helping me with things. She is constant entertainment for all of us! She’s learning the rules, and getting better every day. I am glad that I have the time to spend with her, being consistent, and turning her into the best dog ever! She’s helping me to be the best that I can physically be, and I’m hoping that maybe I can get that rhythm back! Life is so good!