Thursday, September 9, 2010

How My Dog Rescued Me

I wrote this blog in 2007, stumbled upon it recently, and decided to share it on my Blogger account.

I am watching this funny little pup sniff around the house and I love him more than anyone will ever know.  Before we adopted Kitsu, I had been in a very serious car accident.  I was driving home from work last October and I was struck by a large truck that came out of a parking lot.  The driver did not see me, and hit my Land Rover on the right hand rear passenger side.  I had a back injury so bad that I had to have a spinal fusion surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital here in Boston, MA.  The doctor had to fuse a piece of bone from my hip onto my vertebrae to stabilize my spine.  The accident was on October 6, 2006.  It is almost August 2007, so it has been a long haul to say the least. 

I had been enjoying my job very much, I was hired as a Manager for Subscriber Services at Philips Lifeline in Framingham, MA.  The people were wonderful and the company was fantastic.  I had found the right "fit".  I had only been there for three months, and then one day it all changed.  My whole life has changed for nearly a year now.  However there have been a lot of blessings in disguise, so if anything, I am a grateful person and better for it. 

I had to spend 3 solid months in bed after my surgery and I have two titanium rods and 4 screws in my back. In the hospital they gave me a drug that was literally 10 times the strength of morphine.  I remember a lot of pain and a lot of hallucinations. It was very physically painful for a long time too.  But I had a lot of time to think about my life.  What was important about it.  I also counted my blessings, and thanked God I wasn't hurt much worse or killed.  More than anything I thank God my children were not in the car.  Thank God the other driver was not hurt.  Thank God for a lot of things.

After many months of physical therapy I was finally able to go for a walk.  Simple, right?  No.  Not for me anyway, I had developed such a routine of being in bed, wearing a brace, needing special equipment like safety bars and chairs for the bath tub, a raised commode (I know), a walker, cane, and one of those "picker upper thingys" that old ladies use when they drop something, I did not feel 42, instead I felt about 92.  I felt so "hospitalized" and so bedridden, then so housebound, I didn't know HOW to go for a walk, it just felt completely foreign and unnatural.  I had also been on painkillers and my mind had become so fuzzy.  I was able to handle doctor appointments and physical therapy.  Those were "structured" in some way.  But go for a walk ....... how?

My husband and children have been a God send.  Jim got me a laptop, so while I was in bed all of that time, I could at least go online, get some kind of socialization with the outside world.  I was never a big TV person either, although I did see the whole Anna Nicole Smith drama from start to finish.  But so much time went by.  No going to see the children's activities at school, soccer games, ballet, karate, teacher meetings, class presentations, none of it.  I couldn't even help them with their homework because of all of the medication I was taking.  Everybody had to pick up what I used to do, around the house too, on top of caring for me, including dressing me.  I didn't feel HUMAN.  I felt like an enormous burden.

When my doctor at MGH cleared me to go walking I almost didn't know what to do with it.  It was as if I had developed agoraphobia or something.  Not only did my muscles atrophy from physical inactivity, but my social skills did too.  I went for walks at night so I wouldn't have to talk to anybody or see anybody.  But this felt very unsafe as I had a bad experience years ago running around Fresh Pond in Cambridge, so I just didn't feel safe alone.  And my husband worked nights, and was working so many extra hours just to make up for me staying home.  On my walks though, I noticed some people with their dogs.  They were taking them for their evening walks.  So when I got back to the house and back in bed, I got on my laptop and started searching classifieds, shelters, everywhere.  I  had found my answer, I needed a dog for a companion.

The story of how I found Kitsu is that he was in a bad space too and needed a home and was up for adoption.  I think he was a puppy mill dog that was too old to be sold as a puppy anymore, and his front right kneecap had patellar luxation, which means it slipped out of place a couple of times on walks and he seemed to be in a lot of pain.  In the "home" we visited, there were a bunch of much bigger dogs that were beating the heck out of Kitsu.  They said "we keep him crated 24 hours a day because of the fights".  This little pup had been through hell.  We both really needed each other.  And of course this was a family decision and was well thought out, and I had a dog before and knew exactly what kind of responsibility I was taking on.

The day we adopted Kitsu, July 4th - Independence Day, which I believe was no accident, was indeed a miracle.  I regained my independence, as did Kitsu.  And it was love at first site.  And he was my kind of dog.  A small enough dog so that I could walk him with no harm to my back, yet a "big dog in a small dog's body" ..... he could go for very long walks and had plenty of energy.  I also felt protected by him. 

Soon I started going for walks, even though I didn't feel "ready" mentally, but it was too bad, because he had to "go" lol.  At first I felt very exposed, very out in the wide open, a hard uncomfortable place to be.  But as I would walk him, people would stop me and ask me the usual questions, "What kind of dog is that?" and "What's his name? Hey he looks like a little red fox......"   My walks had a PURPOSE, a reason and structure.   

Then I needed to go out and get things for him.  My doctor had told me it was okay to drive but I was scared to drive.  But Kitsu needed things and I wanted to go get them for him.  Soon we were in the car and going to parks and pet stores and everywhere.  Once I got so caught up in Kitsu, I had forgotten ..... and overcome ...... my problem!  I HAD MY LIFE BACK BECAUSE OF HIM.  And I was back to my same old silly crazy self and having FUN.

I had to just tell my story of how my dog Kitsu really brought my whole life back.  I don't think anyone has any idea what this cute little guy has done for me.  Now although I am not physically able yet, I am getting close to beginning a job search and I feel very confident about it.  I am able to wear less "physical therapy-like" clothes and go out with my husband and be with my husband.  I also believe everything in life happens as it should.  I have learned to be grateful for so much, especially my children and my family, my health, and my spirituality.  I really do stop and smell the flowers, and watch the ducks, and laugh with my children.  And spoil this little canine creature like crazy.  I think that if this accident hadn't happened, I may not have learned what I have learned.  And I would have kept going a million miles an hour being a mother, a wife, a manager, a social secretary, a soccer and ballet and karate coordinator and driver, a homework helper as well as all of the many other hats I have had to wear, without stopping and enjoying life.  I know I have to eventually go back to that routine, but I can do it now as a much wiser person.  I am also better able to manage it all, and fit the important things into the places where they belong.  I am now able to step back and see the all of the good things there are out there.

Life - it's all good ...