Thursday, April 21, 2011

I guess they're aware now...

First of all, may I just say, happy autism awareness month! Though life has kept me far from the computer, Jaymes and I have been making our own unique brand of awareness. I will share that here, and once the massive mountain that is my school work due in the next couple weeks has gone down some, I will share the long version of the many, many things that have happened over the last couple months. I will quickly mention that Jaymes was finally moved out of the class with the teacher from hell, and he is doing VERY well now that he’s in class with a teacher who knows him, can teach him, and cares about him.

He’s far from perfect, but he’s doing so much better than in the other class. Of course the down side to that is the fact that this school year has pretty much been a waste of what little precious time Jaymes has to catch up. I’m thrilled to have the issues solved, but there’s what... Another month and a half of school left? And then what? I’ll get into that personal rant once the aforementioned mountain of school work is finished.

Jaymes is having some major issues with touch- he cannot deal with other kids touching him. Even so much as a tap on the shoulder and Jaymes is convinced that he has been viciously attacked- and he attacks back. We are working hard on this. He bit a little girl in the regular ed kindergarten class, quite badly, and I’m very unhappy with that. He’s lucky he did it at school, because if he’d done it at home, the gates of hell would have opened. We do NOT bite. But, that’s another rant for another time.

Back to our awareness efforts. Check out this fantastic article, featuring my cute little man, in our local paper for autism awareness month. It totally made my day. I love being able to reach out to my local community. With this blog, it’s mostly NOT local folks reading. I am thrilled to help anyone, but it’s especially neat to share resources locally too. Anyway, I had to cut the article apart and scan it in three pieces, so I hope it’s reasonably readable. Enjoy, and soon my rantings will be back, along with some new book reviews and maybe even a few book give aways!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alive... Does that count for something?

(Last photo is my mom and Boo at the Cultural Center in Port Charlotte, FL)

I hate that I have been away from the blogging for so long. Seems like everything has gone to hell in the last month. We found out my mom is very sick, and she recently was released from the hospital after an 8 hour surgery. I have not been able to see her in the last 3 weeks, because I had pneumonia from hell, and now currently am having dizzy spells and nausea. So I've not been online much. I'm about a month behind on my school work, and am probably failing two of my classes, but am having trouble getting up the desire to do much about it yet.

I had to make the decision to put my old dog Boo down on Friday. Technically she was my mom's dog, because she stayed with her when I moved out after high school... But this dog was my best and only friend as a messed up teen.

They sedated her first, at my request. Then I put a huge pile of dog cookies in front of her, and she scarfed them down as the needle went in. She died in mid-chew. I guess dying while eating the dog treats you couldn't normally have(dietary restrictions), is a good way to go. I made an ass of myself crying, but I knew that would happen.

I can't believe she is gone. Boo was part of my life from when we got her when I was 11. She was my only friend, and the only reason I survived my awful teen years. she brought joy to hundreds of people as a therapy dog, and she was my best friend.

We had a rough night on Friday, but my Lab, Echo seemed to know it (ironic, because while she is a wonderful dog, she is about as intelligent as a dandelion) and was super cuddly and snuggly. I relented and let her sleep in the bed with me, and she was really a comfort. I hate this part of having animals- the losing them. and in the last 3 losses I have had, every one of them went sort of the same way. I'd keep it together until the needle was in, and at the moment the vet was about to push the syringe in, I would think to myself "take in (insert animal name here) still breathing.. Because it's going to be gone in a second." That split second between life and death really sticks in my mind- it's something you just don't forget. I hate the feeling of feeling your pet go totally limp and just sink down while you're petting... I always want to keep petting because it makes it a little less real.

One thing I always did for Boo, from the time she was a puppy... You know that little tiny flap part of the dog's ear toward the back, it's super soft and just big enough to get one finger between the folds... I would get both my hands going with fingers in that little fold and scratch- she loved it. I did that all the way to the vet's yesterday (with the non-driving hand), and all through everything. I just kept thinking to myself "you'll never get to do it again." I hate the finality of it all.

Boo was the once in a lifetime dog. She was awesome in every way. I did everything with her. We did doggie drill team, obedience trials, agility, some breed showing. We swam, and walked, and did everything together for years. She was my closest friend, I loved her more than anyone. We walked from our house, to the place I boarded my horse one night after a fight with my mom... The walk took me a good five hours. It was normally a 30-45 min drive, down the highway. Somehow I did not get us killed. We walked through a construction zone in the country in pitch black, and somehow I didn't break a leg walking into ditches and holes, because I just followed Boo.

We won a cool pet trick competition once, at a fun show. You had 30 seconds to show off your trick. I taught Boo to do a series of three tricks, fast in a row. She'd shake hands, then do a high five, then jump up on her hind legs and give me a double high five. It was awesome.

I dressed her up, I put glitter on her, I painted her toenails. She had jackets and sweaters, and a billion leashes and collars.

We shared ice cream cones. I took her to the mall and stores and everywhere (she was a certified therapy dog, and back then no one questioned it, she just got to go with me wherever.) and she got me over my terror of going to public places alone. Having her there made me feel confident and not afraid.

One time I got on a photography and photoshop kick, and I took all the lamps in the house outside at night to photograph Boo with the digital camera. I got her to hold a whole stalk of broccoli in her mouth, who knows why. I wrapped her in Xmas lights for Xmas cards. I put bunny ears on her, and one time I made her into a fisherman dog by sewing stuffed fish all over a dog sweater. she was covered. I got 2 sets of baby booties, the pumpkin kind for halloween, and a pumpkin top headband. She looked SO cute in her booties. Black and orange go well together.

As a young teen, 13-14 I would think about what I would do if she died. I would think to myself that life would be empty without her. Looking back, I had underestimated how much it would hurt to let her go. The only thing that makes it better for me is knowing, without any doubt at all, that she was suffering. Boo not being able to chase squirrels, leap into the air after tennis balls, and swim like a duck on crack... Well, that wasn't Boo. Lying around being half dead was not something I ever wanted for Boo, and I do feel some solace in knowing that I did what had to be done.

I'm glad I was there, but I'm sick over it. Losing Boo was worse than losing my dog Chancie, or my mare, Lucy... Because Boo was a part of my life from 11 years old. I'm 25 now. That's how long we had her. It's like one of the most important pieces of my life is gone, and every time I think about our exploits in the past, I feel like I'm dying inside.

I feel terrible about everything. For pushing my mom to let me put Boo to sleep, while my mom was recovering from major surgery. For being so sad, when she has not been my dog for so long... And I feel like I'm almost afraid to talk to my mom because it just opens up that wound again and the grief just comes back.

So, I'm totally out of the swing of life right now. I can't keep up with my school mess, I'm a pitiful mess about the dog, and I'm sick all the time. My husband is losing patience with me needing to lie around all weekend... But I prefer his being annoyed at me over puking in a public place!

I will get back to blogging soon, I promise. But for now, I'm trying to reorganize and move on with everything I have dropped.