So I mentioned recently about Hudson’s new love affair with bugs.
It’s gotten sillier.
Hudson will spot a bug, and stalk it. When it goes behind something – the couch, a speaker, whatever – he stays there attentively watching the crack into which the bug disappeared. He’s stayed watching where the bug left from for as much as 10 minutes, completely absorbed, ears perked, head cocked…just waiting for his ‘friend’ to return.
It’s kind of cute, kind of sad, and utterly absurd.
Yeah, that’s life with my service dog.
In other news, because of the knee injury, I’ve been using my new-to-me scooter a lot. The only trouble with it is its weight – without batteries, it weighs some 125 lbs, and the batteries weigh in around 50 lbs. It breaks down, but the heaviest piece is still 50 lbs. That means the boyfriend has to be available to carry it around, because yours truely couldn’t pick up a 50 lb thing without hurting her back not to mention the finger, wrist, elbow, and shoulder dislocations that’d be likely. We’ve been talking about getting a carrier for my car, though I’d need to get a tow hitch installed. Trouble is, a carrier like that is EXPENSIVE! The cheapest one I’ve been able to find is $250. On the other hand, that’d let me go places on my own where there’d be too much walking for me to hoof it, which would be nice…it’s definitely something to consider when we’re in a less precarious financial situation.
So, about the scooter – or rather, about the scooter and the dog. The thing about switching up your equipment with a service dog is that your dog’s first reaction (after the ‘what’s that?’) is usually ‘Hey, you aren’t walking right!’ Now, Hudson’s response to my crutches tends to be to tangle up the both of us, which does me less than no good. That reaction is a small part of why I’m using the scooter so much (the rest being the fact that I can only bear about 1/2 of my weight on my injured leg, and I can’t carry half my weight on my arms for very long anymore). I was worried that I was going to be constantly bumping into Hudson, or that I’d run him over, or just…well, that we wouldn’t work well. I emailed my trainer with a slightly panicky request to get together today and train, and she emailed me back that she already had plans and included a very detailed set of instructions on how to get Hudson used to the scooter.
I’m pleased to say that it worked quite well. Yesterday, when I had a psych appointment and an MRI scheduled, we ended up going about 14 blocks altogether. We bumped once, and it took a bit to get him to stop racing ahead of me, but in the end, I think he works just fine with the scooter. He may even like it, as we go along at a faster clip than I usually walk, and he does like to get a quick walk in now and again. The only real trouble we ran into was difficulty getting the scooter and the dog through doors and into and off of elevators. Having not used a scooter much before, I’m still a little clumsy with it, and I have to think about what I’m doing, which is hard while managing a dog! Also, to get him enough leash to go behind me, I have to drop my right hand – the one that is on the ‘forward’ side of the speed toggle – and try to steer and control speed with my left hand. I think by the end of the day we were getting the hang of it, but only just.
The other trouble with the scooter is all me, not Hudson – mobility scooters have a weird throttle mechanism. It’s basically a toggle that you’re supposed to press with your thumbs. If you press the right side forward, you go forewards. If you press the left side foreward, you go backwards. It’s a lot of pressure on your thumbs, and by the end of all that scooting around, mine were SO painful! I was afraid I’d need to ice them when we got home, but fortunately the pain cut off not long after I stopped driving. The boyfriend and I are already planning to modify the toggle – to lengthen and pad it so I can use my whole hand to press it foreward, instead of just a thumb. If I can grab it with my palm, that will make it a LOT easier for me to use.
I mentioned earlier that I had an MRI yesterday. Hudson, of course, did not like the MRI because it meant that he waited with the boyfriend while I went into another room to go in the giant magnetic tube. I’ll admit, I was a bad patient and forgot to get stuff out of my pockets (much to the amusement of the tech, who asked if I had any more surprises in store for him). Hudson spent the entire 20 minutes I was gone mournfully watching the door I left through. He was overjoyed to see me for about 30 seconds, and then it was back to life as usual.
Now, the MRI may not have been strictly necessary. My knee pain is much improved (though the swelling seems much the same). This injury may indeed turn out to be a minor one. But here’s the thing – it’s far from my first knee injury. The first one was when I was 15, when I partially tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I reinjured it at 16, 18, 19, and 22, if I recall correctly. There was never a second MRI taken. I know most of the re-injuries were damage to the sub-patellar cartiledge, but no one has ever investigated how badly it’s damaged and whether it’s worth fixing. Even if it turns out that I don’t have a new ligament tear, I really want to know what exactly is going on with that knee. It’s been trouble for over a decade, and maybe now someone will be able to tell me why with certainty, instead of saying ‘Well, it’s behaving like your kneecap isn’t tracking correctly.’ I’ve been hearing THAT for a decade. I tried looking at the images myself, but other than thinking I see inflammation, I can’t make much sense of them. *laugh* One of the few areas where I have not been able to train myself at all, medically speaking, is reading MRIs. I’ve tried, believe me! But I just can’t…can’t make sense of what I see. I’m a few anatomy classes short of being able to easily visualize where things ought to be in the first place, and add in that I don’t know what the varying shades on an MRI mean (nor have I been able to find a consise guide to what they mean) and it’s all pretty pictures and gibberish to me. Hmm, maybe now that I have a brain MRI and a knee MRI, I’ll be able to change my banner so it shows my brain and my knee – the brilliant mind and the broken body.