You’re so lucky!

•February 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

You get to take your dog with you EVERYWHERE!!!

Ok, let me explain something to you.  I do not take a dog with me everywhere because it’s fun.  I take a dog with me everywhere because the dog is WORKING and preventing me from inadvertently injuring myself.  There are all sorts of things that I must consider when I take out my dog that people without a service dog do not have to think about.

My dog needs to be impeccably groomed.  He cannot be covered in mud, he cannot smell “doggy”, he cannot have poo on his feet, he cannot be dropping hair all over the place.  My dog is bathed once a week, and if I am unable to bathe him for an extended period of time, he does not go out with me.  Teeth are clean, nails are trimmed, ears are clear of wax and dear, eye goobers are wiped away.  My service dog is as clean and presentable as any show dog.

If it’s hot out, I need to be mindful of my dog’s feet.  I will sometimes use paw wax to combat the pavement’s heat.  Mostly I just stay inside (I hate the heat myself), but if I must go somewhere and I must take my dog, I do it quickly.  And let’s not forget the fact that I need to remember to make sure I have enough water so he can stay hydrated and cool.  Or that I have to deal with the idiots that berate me for “dragging my dog along” when it is “so hot out”.

If it’s cold out, I need to be mindful of the salted walkways, and rinse off my dog’s feet when we get home (sometimes once we’ve returned to the car) so he doesn’t suffer chemical burns.  After all, dogs aren’t usually in the stores I am shopping at, so pet safe salt is not a consideration for use.

And then there are the people.  You without service dogs can just go about your merry way, and people are generally oblivious to your existence.  I do not get that luxury.  No, I get the inconsiderate people that point out my dog to their children.  I get to deal with the children that are screaming at or for my dog, sometimes out of fear, sometimes because they “want the doggy”.  I get to deal with the people that completely overreact when they see my dog working.  The people that stare.  The people that question me about my disability (rude) because I am not blind.  The people that think they have the right to try and pet my dog just because he is there.  The people that distract my dog while he is working, because clearly he is there for their entertainment.

I am grateful that I am able to have a dog help me make my way through life.  But am I lucky to HAVE to have one?

That answer is an unequivocal “no”.

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz

The Takeover

•February 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’m not sure I’ve actually shared any pictures of Loch yet, or even talked about him very much.  Here, have a Loch!

Image

 

Loch came to me from Christine Kemper of Blackthorn German Shepherds.  After Mahler washed out (he is living very happily in another home, by the way), I had to renew the search for a new partner.  There was no way I could start with another puppy.  There just wasn’t enough time to wait and hope that a pup would work out, so I started looking at young adults.

It is only by pure dumb luck that I ended up with Loch, and I can’t thank Christine enough for him.  He’s a wonderful dog, and he definitely fits the bill for what I need.  He is intelligent, enthusiastic (understatement), eager to please, and he LOVES to learn.

He will have a lot more responsibilities than Strauss, as I’ve gotten worse over the last couple of years.  He already picks up many objects for me (we’re still struggling with credit cards), and we’re about to start training the bracing and counterbalance work.  His harness from Bold Lead Designs has recently been completed, I just need to finish paying for it.  I am hoping to have him ready to go by summer.  I just need to find somebody to administer a PAT.

I am very glad to have Loch here, and will try my best to update on his progress as we proceed.

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

Happy New Year

•January 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to 2014 dear readers.  This is year three of Twitch & Shout.  Wow….kinda surprised actually.  I know I did not blog the last two months, but there was not much to blog about.  Also wanted to wait and see if my quintessential stalker was going to quit skulking about.  Seems that they have.

I had my disability hearing on December 4th, and I believe it went well.  When I say “went well”, I mean I was able to accurately convey the difficulties in my everyday life, and the burden it puts on myself as well as my family and friends.  I was quite twitchy, and so by the time the hearing had ended, I was disoriented and incredibly tired.  I am still awaiting a decision, as the judge requested more medical records (not unusual), and one of my doctors is dragging his feet (of course).  Hopefully I will have a positive decision within the next month.

I have discovered that I really do not know myself all that well, and have decided to make 2014 a year of self discovery as it were.  It is frustrating to have people ask you things about yourself (you know, beyond questions you can answer factually) and not have an answer, or for the answer to change every time.  At 28 years old, you’d think I’d have a good grasp on who I am, but beyond knowing that I am a good person, I do not know who I really am.

Loch continues to excel in training, though we have had a setback with his retrieves.  The cause is unknown, but I am taking a few steps backwards with him, and rebuilding his confidence in the task.  Strauss is heading towards retirement, and it seems to be happily so, which makes me feel better.  The switch is difficult (which I will address in another post), but necessary. Strauss will be 10 in April, and it does seem like he is just about ready to be done, even though he still enjoys his work.

I have started making payments towards Loch’s new harness (Strauss’s is far too large for him), and I look forward to receiving it.  It will probably be a couple of months yet, but in the mean time I will be starting to teach him how to brace and counterbalance.  I am very proud of him, and grateful that he is mine.

Enjoy 2014, friends and remember:

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz

How Dare I Have a Hobby

•October 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am not in a good place today.  Wasn’t in a good place yesterday, but I thought maybe sleep would help.

No such luck.

I have a hobby that I love very much.  It is exhibiting my dogs in conformation.  You know what I don’t love?  The assumption that because I am disabled, I am not supposed to have hobbies.  That I am supposed to be broken down and miserable for the rest of my entire life, or I don’t “deserve” to call myself disabled, or to ask for help from the government (disability).

Here’s a fucking newsflash, people.  I spend most of every goddamned day miserable in one way or another, and trying to fake my way through it so I don’t make everyone around me miserable.

You know what my day consists of?  Nothing.  Absomotherfuckinglutely NOTHING!  I have a daily trip to Walmart, which is all of a whopping five minutes away, because I cannot drive much anymore.  Oh, I have my license still, and I’m judicious with it, but I cannot drive terribly long distances, and not more than a couple hours a day unless I have somebody with me, like I’m a damned child.

You know how I afford showing dogs?  My (wonderful) mother helps me when she can, to keep me from go absolutely stark raving fucking mad, because I DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE!  There’s nothing else for me to do!

I go to doctors appointments, I take my animals to the vet when necessary, and otherwise, I sit the fuck at home, because at 28 @#$*(#&*(@# years old, I can’t go out by myself very often anymore.

The dog shows I go to are generally within an hour of home.  Any farther than that and I take a buddy, because I just cannot drive that far on my own without fear of injury.  There are some extremely rare exceptions.

You know how long I’m in the ring with a dog when I show in conformation? Two to five minutes.  A whopping TWO TO FIVE MINUTES!  And in that time, I struggle to stand, I drag my feet (literally) as I take my dog around the ring, and pray to the universe that I don’t make an ass of myself and fall in front of the judge.

And I never look as good on Sunday as I do on Saturday.

By the time the Sunday show rolls around, the fighting to stand is a lot more obvious, I am constantly asked “Are you ok?” and I pseudo lie and say “I’m fine”.  I’m not not fine, but I certainly am not “right” either.  I am just used to the struggle, because it is a daily one.

I’m supposed to hide the achievements I have accomplished with my bitch, because it looks like I’m not disabled.  Here’s a motherfucking shock for everybody.  SOMETIMES PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DON’T LOOK DISABLED!!!!!!!!!

I recently went to the GSDCA national with my friend Alyshia (who did 99% of the driving, because I was not able).  I helped steward rally, but was only able to do timing because I wasn’t able to bend over and pick things up or do a lot of walking.

On Thursday, my bitch was exhibited in conformation.  I did not show her because the ring was far too large and I knew I would not make it around.  I instead gave her to somebody I trust to handle, and took a digger whilst trying to double.

YEAH!  GO BRAIN THAT DOESN’T WORK RIGHT!

By late that evening, I was barely functional.  I was hunched over, my feet were dragging, and I had to work to get into my own damn van.  The next day (Friday), walking was a chore, and I did not do much of it.  I sat and watched everything unless I needed to hobble somewhere to help with my stewarding duties.

I literally stumbled through my rally run with my dog, who scored a lowly 84 because I was unable to demand better work from him.  He titled, but it wasn’t the title run I had been hoping for.

You know what I’ll be doing today?  The same thing I do every day.  Nothing.  I’ll sweep the floors and vacuum up, do some dishes if there are any in the sink, and let the dogs in and out of the house.  I’ll probably run to Walmart later for no real reason other than to get out of the damn house.

But fuck me.  How dare I have a hobby to try and avoid this whole mess right here *gesturing wildly to blog*.  How dare I have something that makes it moderately worthwhile to get the fuck out of bed (at any point in the day…if I can at all).

Shame on me.  SHAAAAAAME!!!!!!!!

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

The Stillness

•October 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It is often in the dead of night that I feel the urge to write.  While my brain is never silent, my desire to paint a literary picture is little more than a dull ache in the back of my mind.  But when night falls, and when I’m in bed staring at the ceiling, that dull ache transforms into a heady throb.

I often ignore it.

I shouldn’t ignore it, because I know it is good for me to unleash the angst I have felt during the day.  But I ignore it anyway.  I feel I have to, in order to maintain my sanity.  It’s a rather counterintuitive measure.

I saw a new neurologist recently, and I must admit that I found him rather brilliant.  He did confirm that most likely the collapsing of my legs is Tourette’s related, and thus there really is no fix for me.  I am indeed broken, and the best that can be done for me, unless I choose to try various medications (which I am loathe to do, due to side effects), is to maintain my current state.

I hate my current state.  It barely represents who I was when I was younger, and I find that I do not know myself at all.

Perhaps that’s what I hate most.  That I don’t know who I am anymore, and that the only word I can ascribe to myself beyond “Useless” is “failure”.

 Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

Things are better

•August 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t blogged in a couple of months because it’s not been in me.  Nothing to say, nothing changed, all the same.

But, there are some great things happening now 🙂

Loch is picking up most objects I indicate these days, his public access training is going splendidly, and he should be working by the time Strauss retires next year!  He has made great strides not just in his training, but in how he handles having to be juggled with Strauss (they are not friends).

I have an MRI scheduled for the day before my 28th birthday.  I am actually hoping that something is found, because I really want to get my pain issues and the like under control.  Answers are good….I want answers.

My disability hearing is finally scheduled, and I’m SUPER excited about that.  It’s not until the end of the year, but it’s scheduled!  This has been a long time coming, and I’m glad it is finally happening.

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

Oh hi

•June 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Hello all.  Hope you’ve not missed me too much.  It is hot out….incredibly hot.  This means that the yearly summer hell has started, and I have massive headaches and am overall exhausted from having constant twitchies.

While I have had much to share, I will admit that I have not written in the last month out of fear.  Fear that some certain person is out there, watching my words sticking her nose into things that are absolutely none of her business, simply because she has nothing better to do with her life.  She’s even admitted herself that she doesn’t like me, and yet she makes it a point to follow my writing (which I find creepy).

I have lived most of my life in fear of various things.  My bullies, my (sick) brother, failure.  I’m working hard not to let fear rule my life anymore, though it is exceptionally difficult.  Medication has certainly made moving forward with my personal growth easier, but, change requires more work than that (unfortunately).

I am working dogs, the same as I ever was, though with some difficulty.  Mahler, having washed out, has become a decent, if not noisy, pet.  He enjoys running about at the fairgrounds and soccer fields, and we work on impulse control work constantly in the hopes of helping his screaming.

I am working with a new dog, Loch, who is absolutely excelling in his newfound work.  We are slowly bonding, and he seems grateful to have something to do.  We have started our first bits of task training, and he is learning how to pick up objects.  We just recently moved from dumbbell to ladle, and he’s picking up consistently.  He doesn’t always look happy about it, but being praised for bringing me the object asked for always brightens his spirits.

He is a funny fellow.  Bright, attentive, and really just very silly.  He play bows at me frequently, and “dances” when we head out to the car to go train in town.  He just wants to be right and make me happy.  And he does it all without shrieking.

Adjusting to his size has been a bit difficult for me, as he is just 25″ tall (as compared to Moo’s 27″), and only weighs about 65 pounds.  He is perfectly capable of doing the work required of him, but it is strange taking out such a “small” dog.

Strauss’s harness, though adjustable, is much too large for him to wear for a full time working harness, so I will be ordering a new one from Katrina Boldry of Bold Lead Designs (I highly recommend her harnesses) designed especially for him.  It’ll cost a pretty penny, but it’ll be worth it to have my dog in correct gear, particularly since he will be learning harness work fairly soon.

I am working on getting a new neurologist (someone in Pittsburgh) in the hopes of getting more answers about what is up with my brain and why it goes “HAHAHA, bitch!  FUCK YOU!”  I am hoping it is not MS (tested once, was clear, trying again).  I really don’t think it is, but, you never know.

It’s starting to cool down, so it’s about time I load up the crew and head off for our daily run.

Flail on,
 – Cassical Spazz

Mother’s Day

•May 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I had a unique childhood.  I grew up in Wisconsin, adopted by a wonderful single parent (mother) when I was 3 weeks of age, and she was 38.  I ended up with a grand total of 4 siblings, two brothers and two sisters.

My brother, Andy, was a schizophrenic.  I was frequently his target of hatred.  He said I breathed too loud (I have asthma), and that I “smacked” my food.  Of course, on his good days, such things were not an issue.  On his bad days, and there were many, at best I was a target of verbal abuse.  At worst, he’d try to physically harm me.  And I’m not talking an angry brotherly punch in the arm, I mean trying to stab me with scissors or smothering me with a pillow.

That said, now that I am grown and able to understand his illness, it does need to be made clear that my brother was SICK, not a bad person.

It also needs to be said that my mother is a brave, selfless, kind, loving, deeply devoted person.

I harbored a lot of anger when I was young, especially in my teenage years.  I felt ignored and insignificant.  Everything was about Andy.  What Andy needed, what Andy wanted, what was best for Andy.  It is a very hard thing to feel so small, but to also be unable to properly articulate those feelings.  I didn’t understand the feelings then, I only knew I was angry.  I wasn’t a particularly good daughter in my teens either…I was still angry.  Still didn’t understand why, but I was.

I hope my mother knows she did a good job.  A superb job.  No child is flawless, but a child’s flaws are not only brought on by their parents.  That is just nature.

Indeed, I do value my mother very much, and I only wish that the clarity of being able to reach that acknowledgement had been obtainable to me at a much younger age.

I love you mum.

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz

Alone

•March 28, 2013 • 2 Comments

I have not blogged at all in the last month.  I have had nothing of note to share.  Nothing has changed.  I still fall, I am still tired, I still have no answers.

I am angry and I am anxious.  I feel guilty for having feelings at all.  I often wonder how long I will live, not because I will kill myself, but because I feel that at some point, my Tourette’s will kill me, accidental though it may be.

I wake up in the middle of the night, but I am paralyzed.  It takes a few seconds for me to be able to move or breathe.  Do you know what that feels like?  What it is to wake and have no breath?  To try to breathe and have your body fail to respond?

It is utterly terrifying.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I am told that there is nothing neurologically wrong with me, and all I can think is that the doctors are unequivocally irrevocably wrong.  People don’t just fall for no reason.  And I wouldn’t sacrifice the use of my legs just for a scrap of attention.

Strauss is retiring next year.  He is my legs.  Mahler is not suitable for service.  He needs a place he can be somebody’s best friend.  I need a dog I can bond with and trust like I trust Mouse.

I feel like I’ll never have that again, and I should just give in, and get a wheelchair.

I am anxious, and stagnant.  I feel exhausted, and broken.  I feel guilty for a reason I can’t quite discern.  I am upset that still, after all this time, I am left with no more knowledge than I had a year ago.

I feel emotionally crippled.

I feel very, very alone.

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

Crash and Burn

•February 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I don’t feel I’ve had much to write about lately.  Same old same old.  I’ve been exceptionally tired, and crabby (sex would be nice, but still not really possible….makes me damn pissy).  I would really love to wax philosophical, but I can’t.  it super blows actually, as I’d love to be in my “British state of mind” (as I like to call it).  I feel that’s when I do my best writing.

I fall a lot these days, and I do mean a lot.  It has gone from being maybe a weekly thing to a daily thing.  Now, I do stumble frequently, but I generally catch myself.  I don’t call it a fall unless my knees or my ass hit the floor.  My legs are wicked sexy because I have to catch myself so often 😉  But….I do legitimately fall on a daily basis now, and I dislike it.

I haven’t talked about it because I really haven’t hit the level of acceptance necessary yet to admit that I am still deteriorating.  The most frustrating part is that I’m not falling apart on a physical level.  It’s all neurologically.  Physically speaking, I can still lift 90 pound animals.  I am not weak in musculature.  The fact of the matter is that I just don’t do it often now because at any moment my brain can go “AH HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA BITCH!  DARKIE GOIN’ DOWN!” and I could collapse in a heap with a 90 pound animal on top of me.

That would not end well.

With Mahler washing out of service (and he will not be going anywhere), I must find a new candidate for work.  This means that some way, some how, I must raise money for a new candidate.  I have asked nobody because it largely hurts my pride.  This may not be the time to be prideful, but I feel that it is all I have left (in terms of maintaining my own self worth).

I like to go out, but have noticed that I ask to do things that involve sitting down (watching movies, going to a restaurant, riding bikes).  I do not like to fall in front of people.  It isn’t the fall that is my issue, honestly.  Rather, it is the massive rush of people that want to come help me get up.  While I appreciate the care, it’s embarrassing.  I’m a grown woman.  Unless I am crying because I’m seriously injured, I want to get up on my own (particularly if Strauss is with me…that’s his job).

I guess the whole point of this post is that I’m still alive, not much going on aside from the fact that I fall more now.

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

 
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