Missing Work… Again

Aww yes…. The wonderful world of chronic pain. Having to take multiple days off work, which causes a shortage of funds in my bank account. It’s stupid and unfair. The worst thing is that my boss thinks that I’m just bailing on work because I’ve called in sick for “just” a headache.

What most people don’t understand is that I have a headache every day. So, sometimes, my headaches get so bad that I can’t walk. Other days, I am just third of pushing through my regular headaches, so I stay home and get some much needed rest.

My anxiety prevents me from getting the rest I need because I’m too busy worrying about what my boss thinks…. All in all, I don’t win either way. If you didn’t pick up on it by now, I am currently incapacitated at home. I have made the stupid decision to sit down and stare at a screen that aggravates my headache.

Right now, this is the only thing I can think of to help me work through my anxieties. Why not share my misfortunes with people that might actually understand, right? People say that they can’t imagine living day to day with constant pain. So, they don’t even bother. Seems kind of backward to me, but whatever… So be it.

Advertisements

Socially Awkward

Over the years, my anxiety and TBI has really worn me down. I used to be a very witty, opinionated, and outgoing person. Now, I am socially awkward. What usually happens is someone says hi to me, then I say hi back and just stand there awkwardly while the person is asking me questions that I can’t understand because my anxious brain is yelling at me. I’m serious. It’s like my anxiety is so loud in my brain, that I can’t hear what the other person is saying. Which leaves the other person looking at me strangely because I didn’t answer her/him.

The other day, my mom and I went into town to look for some running shoes for me because I had signed up for a running group. I went into the store and discovered that it was only me in the store. I hate being the only one because that means the people have nothing else better to do than talk to me. The lady asked me if I wanted anything and I told her I was looking for some shoes.

Then she asked me what I was dreading. “What kind of shoe are you looking for?” Now this means that she is going to be helping me find the shoes. We have made a connection and she isn’t going to leave me alone. I know that may sound mean, but it is honestly what I’m thinking. She ended up fitting me for a type of she so I had to take my shoes off and walk around.

Before I got up, I had to put Keen in a down stay, and he begrudgingly followed my direction. I got up and was ready to do the walk around when she started asking questions about Keen and what he does. My favorite topic. Now, I am glad that I’m the only person because I can really explain everything. She used to be a paramedic and had always wondered how a dog could help anybody. 

I explained how you can scent train a dog to alert you to low/high blood sugar, anxiety, and seizures (I think there are a few more that I can’t think of). I the. Explained that a dog can be trained to do mobility tasks and to help the deaf and blind. Then, (one of my most favorite responses) she said that she is having to deal with a lot of anxiety and had no idea that a dog could be trained to help her. She said that she had been trying to get an emotional support dog because she thought she didn’t qualify for a service dog. 

I have found that the only times I’m not socially awkward is when the topic is on service dogs. Mainly because that is usually the only topic people bring up with me theses days. The small talk is what I’m terrible at, or the questions cashiers ask me. Sometimes I think I’m going deaf because I come home and can’t understand anybody, but then I remember that I come from a long line of mumblers.

The pride I feel when I successfully completed a conversation lasts for quite a while. It has to because it does not happen very often.

Panic Attack at Work

My boss was gone for the weekend, so I had to cover all the shifts at the kennel since I’m the only employee. Everything went smoothly until Sunday night. We are only open for a half an hour where people pick up or drop off their dogs or cats. Well this past week was spring break for some schools, so everyone was picking up their pets on Sunday. Ten people in a half hour is pretty daunting.

I did all the chores and got the dogs ready for pick up by 4:45. I had Keen sitting under the desk while I waited for people to show up. One person showed up and it went fine. Then two people showed up and the first person claimed to have already paid, but it didn’t say that in the books. It wasn’t going as planned, and that was when I just froze. I knew I was about to have an anxiety attack because everything was seeming to go in slow motion and all the people were tuned out. 

I didn’t have Keen under the desk by that time because I stuck him in a kennel when I checked out the first dog. I hate having to do that, but I can’t predict how a dog will react. I had one too many close calls with aggressive dogs going after Keen. So, I just stared at a wall trying to keep calm and continuing to breathe. 

The lady looked at me and I said I would go get the dog and headed downstairs very slowly. I grabbed the dog and brought him up then did the next two pick ups without crashing (I also stayed pleasant which is a plus). After the people stopped coming, I went and let Keen out and sat down while he did his job. He layer on my lap and licked me till I was done hugging him. 

I think another reason why my anxiety was bad was because I could keen all upset because he knew I wasn’t doing well. And the fact that I had to finish what I was doing because I was alone and didn’t have someone to cover me. Ten people in thirty minutes is NOT ideal when you have social anxiety and a service dog to prove it. It is especially stressful when the people are angry and there are more people waiting. I ended up just giving the lady her dog and letting my boss take care of the misunderstanding. It is just too much to expect from me.

I have been working at the kennel for three years now, and one year with grooming included. And I have never had an anxiety attack in front of someone. I have had plenty while grooming, but never while I was dealing with a boarding mix up. Augh! It was bad and very unsettling. It was also embarrassing. The lady probably thinks I’m incompetent. Oh well… I need to find out how I can keep Keen with me at all times… Or get another job. This is not working.

Fixing Keen

We met with Deb (the owner of the service dog program) again today for the third time today. I was absolutely exhausted before because we went to church with my grandparents, and for some reason I can’t handle it. The church is full of old people that don’t have much respect for personal space. We were there for three minutes and I had to leave. 

It has been a long time since I have had a panic attack as bad as the one I had today. My grandparents ended up sitting near the front and I was at the end of the isle that was in the middle. So, when I got up to leave, everyone was watching me. It didn’t help my anxiety at ALL. Then, we had to go to a family gathering with the side of the family that I don’t know at all. So, here we go again. Two panic attacks in one day. It was not a good day.

I ended up leaving Keen in the car because with training we are going through, it was just better that way. My friend that I talk about a lot who is a veteran, is part of my extended family so he was there with his PTSD dog. As soon as I entered the door, she would not leave me alone. She would lick me and lean on me until I end up getting pushed into a corner. One of the things she does for her handler is pull him from a situation. So I had my hand free leash still attached to me and she would grab it and pull me until I left the room. He thought it was pretty funny because she was off duty (vest was off) and so she worked on me.

Anyways, we went to Scheel’s for the animatronics because Keen didn’t like them. Deb showed me what to do when he begins growling at things. He did really good. Keen was comfortable enough (and tired enough) to lie down in front of them. We kept the training session short today because Keen and I were exhausted, mentally and physically, from today’s battles.

Since we have been meeting up with Deb, I find myself not getting frustrated with him. Main reason being because I thought he was being terrible. But she assured me that he was doing wonderfully. I am going to put him in a basic obedience and advanced obedience training course so that he gets used to be around other dogs. He has a problem with getting too excited when he sees another dog. He is just too friendly sometimes, so he needs to learn that when the vest is on, he can’t socialize. And that’s what I hope to accomplish with the classes.

Babysitting

I am babysitting Wednesday. My mom is doing a group meeting at church and I volunteered to watch their little ones during it. Let me tell you… I am so freaking nervous. I have always been good with youngsters an love playing with them and stuff. The only thing is that Keen has been added into the situation.

I am not worried about him barking or being aggressive with the kids. He is fantastic with kids. I mean heck, if we was able to keep his cool when my little cousins were punching him, kicking him, climbing on him, pulling his ears, he can deal with any kid (I did not allow them to do all those things, by the way. My two little cousins are extremely aggressive with just about everything. One was picking on Keen while the other was trying to choke me to death. Their older brother had to haul him off me. Yeah Keen stayed in the car the next time we went over).

Anyways, I am mainly concerned about how he reacts with the parents. They all said they were cool with it, but you never know what will happen. They might stare at him too long or move in a strange way. Sadly, Keen is where a lot of my anxiety stems from. He is a bit unpredictable, and that makes my mood unpredictable. I am really pissed off at the program we went through because he was never finished. So, now I have to make do and fix his problems on my own.

This post has kind of turned into a rant. I’m sorry about that. Umm… I am excited about working with the kids about service dogs. Kids seem to follow the service dog rules of conduct much better than adults. They also educate one another too. So when they see another service dog, my hope is that they ask before touching the dog and teach others to do the same too. This experience will be very interesting.

Dropping the ball

I’m really sorry guys that I haven’t been keeping on top of posting. I don’t really have an excuse. I have just been too anxious to write. We scheduled my HiSET for next week, so I am really nervous. I just keep finding myself doubting that I’ll even pass. Which will cause me to have to retake the test, which will cost even more money. Argh… I just really hate the time leading up to the test, but love taking the test. I know, I’m weird that way. 

It was my older sisters birthday on Monday, but we aren’t celebrating it till today because we were all working and then she went to a concert. She wants pizza so I made it today, and she just left so I’m kind of wondering what that means. She and her boyfriends one year anniversary was on Halloween and he asked her to marry him. She was oh so surprised, but everyone else knew he was going to ask.

Keen is doing a lot better. He is doing very well on “Alerting” me when I have an epsiode. It is kind of a strange command because the command is not to alert me before I have one, but to bring me out of one. To where I am alert. He just licks my face when I start breathing irregularly and moving strangely. He has gotten very good at it too. 

My mom and I went with my sister to go pick out an outfit on Friday, and let me tell you what. I was on display more than usual. I have become a bit stingy with whom I provide information about myself to, and I am okay with my decision. It keeps people away from me on my bad days. The only thing is that my mom is not stingy at all. All a person has to say is “Oh how cute.” And my she will tell them my whole life story. 

It really frustrates me. I can get in and get out of a store in under ten minutes when I’m alone. My secret is that I pretend I didn’t hear them and let them assume. But when my mom or older sister comes with, it can take us more than 30 minutes to get out. And I am left standing there awkwardly as they talk as if I’m not there. Anyways, my mom talked to many people that day and I got stopped and talked about a lot more than usual. I’m not quite sure why. It was a bit unsettling. 

I don’t know if this is a necessarily interesting post, but I thought you guys should get an update. Thanks for your time!

Keen’s Alias

One of my top suggestions to new service dog teams is to come up with an alias for your dog. There are so many people out there who are polite by talking to and ask your dog’s name. As soon as they learn the dog’s name they then start calling them. Extremely rude, but people do it.

I went to church for the second time. My family had to pull out of our last church for various reasons, and haven’t found a new one since. The week before last, they went to a church that a lady my mom works with goes to (she’s British… In other words, super awesome!). I didn’t go until last week. 

It was nice. Kind of refreshing really. It was the second time my family has gone, so I got to skip all the introductions. Today, everyone noticed that there were now four kids and they haven’t met them. So, I had to go through the introductions again. The First Lady asked Keen’s name and I said Bradley. She didn’t talk to thankfully. I was very impressed.

We then walked to our seats at the other side of the room and ran into a few more people. I introduced Keen as Bradley and they called and talked to him. He didn’t react because they didn’t call his name. I’m used to it, so I’m used to the confused or unimpressed face that comes with the fact that he didn’t react.

Some actually say that he must not be trained very well because he doesn’t come when you call him. I just smile, but I’m so tempted to say, “That’s because your not calling his name.” And then walk away. There are some people that deserve it, but I don’t want to waste the energy.

Anyways, when you come up with an alias, make sure it doesn’t sound anything like their real name. Specifically the last syllable.