May 12, 2014

1/2 Way Point

For those that I am connected to on Facebook, don't let my recent post fool you. This isn't all dot-to-dots and seashells here.

This Team Training is not for the faint of heart.

I cracked.  Saturday at 9:30am precisely.  Everyone of us here has reached our breaking point already and we laugh comparing when that moment was for each of us.  Luckily, I bounced back (as I always seem to do) and put on my poker face and kept going.

The training is rigorous with 7 dog trainers staring at your everything you do -- right down to the flicker of your finger, your lack of proper expression, your shoulders that are too tense, your tone that is too high, your hips that are twisted a few degrees too far to the right. . . And they comment and pick apart every bit.  Add on top of this that I am trying to manage Bridger's movements, tone, expressions and wheelchair twisted a few degrees too far to the right, when he is in a very non-compliant state and you have a recipe for disaster.

Bridger is functioning at maximum boiling point.  He is surrounded by the commotion of dogs and people all shouting commands without reprieve.  There are none of his comforts of home here that act as his "reset" button to help him self-soothe and calm down.  He is sleeping in a strange bed, in a strange room, on a strange floor, eating from a strange table in a strange kitchen. . . all of those unfamiliar experiences stress him out in a way most people can't understand.  He expresses that in frequent meltdowns.  When others get to go on a break, I get to rush in our room to change Bridger's diaper and try to get him to have a drink or snack to snap him back into an agreeable state.  When others get to retire to their rooms to relax and unwind for the night I am going back to our room with Bridger who is not relaxed and wound up tight and try to shower him in a very oversized adult shower chair as I hold him with one hand so he doesn't fall through the hole in the center and try to rinse the shampoo out of his hair with the other simultaneously managing the shower handle with the same hand and not make myself soaking wet.  After that I try to entertain him in a 10x10 foot space with the 3 toys I have for several hours until bedtime.  Bedtime is not the relief it should be because it is a strange bed and Bridger won't just go to sleep without lots of noise (pleasant and not-so-pleasant) for a while.  He has been waking up at about 4:30 and letting me know he is awake in every way possible.

In summary, Week One has been really, reeeeally tough.

This is not a complaint.  This is just reality.  It is the reality that we chose to be a part of in an effort to help Bridger in every way we can.  I am seeing glimpses of what is going to come out of this, which is nothing short of miraculous.  That will make it all worth it.

** note: due to my extreme level of exhaustion right now, I am not going to proof read, spell check or otherwise even give this post a second glance.  So please pardon its raw form.