Archive for January, 2014

Books Books Books

January 28th, 2014 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

If know me in real life or if you’ve hung around my Facebook page you know I love to read.

JMM reading

 

I am that gal that you could ask any day of the week any week of the year and I can tell you what book I am currently reading. So what is my favorite book? A question you’d think I have a steadfast answer to but in fact it’s the opposite. It’s a question I  break a sweat over. How could I chose A favorite, that would be unfair to all the other favorites…

I loved the Yong Adult dystopia trilogy Razorland (Enclave, Outpost, and Horde) by Ann Aguirre. Now it is true that my Young Adult favorites change and I am likely to love the most recent ones I have read. I remember not being able to put Hunger Games down because I felt like I was leaving Katniss in a tree if I stopped reading. 

I don’t only fill up on teenagers who carry the weight of saving a collapsing government or aftermath of the apocalypse. I also love the wonderful world of best friends, summer vacations, and the tales of family drama that all the best Chick Lit has to offer. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf has stood the test of some time as one of my favorites. It’s a bit darker than your light summer reading, but all my favorites are. I could never have a favorite book list that didn’t include something from Jodi Picoult. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact will always have a place on my shelf. 

An Epic Fantasy, a series that creates an entire new world for me to become lost in, one where the people love more deeply and grief is even more tragic, where wild mythical creatures are tamed by innocents and wild beasts can be commanded. That would have to be  A Song of Ice and Fire, better known as The Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin. An author you should NEVER ask to keep your most beloved character alive.

What about you, what are your favorites?

 

This post was an idea from Snarkfest. If you are a blogger consider yourself tagged, post you favorites and link back here ;)

Kat and Beau, a Dysautonomia Service Dog Alert Team

January 2nd, 2014 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

As I sit on a wait list for a service dog I have become more aware of the ways my own life will change when my match is ready. Not just the excitement of the call or the trip to meet him or her but also the changes that having my own canine partner with me will bring.

 

I am lucky enough to be part of a large social network that gives me the opportunity to connect with so many people. Kat is one of the people I have connected with and she has been kind enough to share her journey with me and now with all of you.

 

Thank you Kat!

Kat and Beau

 

 

I know you suffer from Dysautonomia but the illness can be so different from person to person. Can you share with us how Dysautonomia has impacted your life?

 

“Dysautonomia has impacted my life greatly. My symptoms started when I was just 9 years old. I would pass out on occasion but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Since my symptoms weren’t too bothersome, I began competitive swimming and was ranked in my state. Swimming was something I loved and planned on doing through college. At age 16, I had a tilt table test done and when I passed out, my heart stopped for 28 seconds. I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope and had a pacemaker implanted. We believe the surgery triggered my Dysautonomia and caused my symptoms to intensify.

After my surgery, I began passing out daily- 5 to 10 times. I unfortunately had to quit swimming because my symptoms became so extreme. Early this year, I saw a specialist who officially diagnosed me with Dysautonomia, POTS, and Gastroparesis. Day to day, syncope is my most bothersome symptom because it greatly limits my independence. I often require the use of medical devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and shower chairs. I’ve seen many specialist for my conditions and none of them really know what to do with me. Two cardiologists have officially said that I am the most complicated case they’ve seen. For most, medicine does the trick. 

 Many people ask me how I can go through all of this with such a great attitude and I just tell them about all of the amazing people I have met along this journey and the many blessings I have received that I wouldn’t have otherwise like Beau.”

 

What originally made you think you pursue a service dog?

 

“My grandmother heard from a friend about a one of a kind dog alerting to syncope. Most medical alert dogs alert to diabetes, seizures, and allergies so syncope is new to the service dog world. I was turned down by multiple organizations until I finally found one willing to experiment and try to train a dog for syncope. “

 

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing pictures of Beau before today and he is an adorable labradoodle. What was the process like to chose Beau?

“Beau’s trainer prefers to work with labradoodles not only because they are loyal and loving dogs, but because they are also hypoallergenic. The breeder did an aptitude test on the puppies to see which ones would be good for service work and that’s how Beau became mine. I couldn’t imagine having any other dog be my hero. “

 Blog Kat1

 

What types of things will Beau do to assist you?

“At an early age of only 11 weeks old, Beau alerted to a syncopal episode and has been doing so ever since. That in itself is a miracle but Beau will learn much more. He will be able to pull my wheelchair, help retrieve dropped items (bending over causes syncope) get help when needed, and much more. He is amazing and will help me to gain my independence back. My hope is that I will be able to attend a college with him rather than doing online courses.”

What is Beau learning right now?

“Beau naturally began alerting to syncopal episodes when he was just 11 weeks old. Ever since then, he has hasn’t missed an episode. Right now, Beau is working on a multitude of things. He already has all of the basic commands down and even knows them in sign language. So the next step for him is to learn the more specific commands that I need him to know.”

 

You are able to share time with Beau during his training so you are getting a taste of what daily life with a service dog will be like. What would you say has been the biggest adjustment to life with a canine partner has been so far?

 “The biggest adjustment to having a service dog at your side is learning to deal with people. Many will stare and some will even make comments. Some of those comments will be positive, and some will be negative. It’s also really hard when you are dealing with an employee who doesn’t know ADA law and tries to tell you that your dog is not welcome. This is all the more reason why we need to spread Service Dog Awareness!”

Beau at work

Beau at work