Accidental Life Lesson
I had a life lesson last week when I had an accident. I was walking down the street -actually I was skipping and dancing down the sidewalk, singing, and walking my dog Camille when, all of a sudden. I noticed that, as the nursery rhyme [Halfway Up The Stairs,-A.A. Milne] goes, “I really wasn’t anywhere, I was someplace else instead.” My shoe scuffed, caught, and thud! I tripped and fell, landing hard on my elbow. Six hours later I’m in the emergency room, staring at my new cast and sling, and imagining how I’m supposed to teach a workshop and play golf this summer with a broken arm. The images on the X-rays indicate that I cracked the radial head in my right elbow. And yes, I’m right-handed.
So now, with my arm in a movement restricting cast, I’m forced to figure out ways to move about my day, in as normal a manner as possible, without using my right arm.
Activities of Daily Living
Years ago when I was in nursing school I learned about ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living. These include all the things that we want and need to do in our daily life. Normal everyday activities such as walking, driving, brushing your teeth, making coffee, cutting a piece of fruit, buttering a piece of toast, putting on socks, tying shoe laces. Essentially, we’re talking about a lot of simple tasks that are now problematic for me.
These last few days have been very disconcerting. There’s no physical discomfort. I’m in a learning mode. Once again I am reminded that I’m mortal and still “in process.” I’m being reminded firsthand, the impact of losing one’s sense of self-sufficiency and independence. 99% of me is fine. My inconvenience is minor and temporary My arm is in a sling. I simply do not have access to my right arm, hand and fingers.
This little accident is giving me an important life lesson that I guess I needed to learn now, at this stage of my career. I’ve been so consistently strong and healthy that I’ve become arrogantly well. I’d like to believe that I am so spiritually evolved that it is my natural condition to function at a high frequency. That’s why I’m the healing facilitator. No ego here, my friend. We’ll, I just put a dent in my shiny little halo.
I feel my client dogs healing abilities and profoundly support them. After all, an effective PetMassage requires me to be tuned in and tapped into what is happening in the dog’s body. I realized that I’d created a separation by becoming a bit aloof. My world view is so embedded with being and feeling healthy, I’d detached from fully empathizing with the suffering of my clients. Thanks to this injured elbow I have a new appreciation for the life condition of the dogs I work with. This experience is teaching me that every compromise on/in their bodies can have an immediate and substantive effect on their lives; their activities of daily living.
Quality Of Life
What sort of activities would a dog need to be able to do? A “normal” happy existence includes sitting, standing, eating, comfortably lying down, getting back up, playing, climbing up steps, descending stairs, turning around, scratching; even sleeping comfortably. When any movement is restricted or causes pain, that can be a truly debilitating situation.
When a concerned pet owner brings his dog to me for a PetMassage™ and the dog is suffering the physical and emotional affects of arthritis, stiffness, the symptoms and effects of old age, traumas, infections, allergies, wounds, grieving, or any of the hundreds of things that the dogs present to us as reasons for PetMassage™, I now see them in a new, less filtered light. The dogs and their people really are incapacitated.
Quality of life is the ability to do the ADLs: their activities of daily living. The PetMassage™ that we provide makes a huge difference in their quality of life.
A tribe is a group of like-minded and like-intentioned people. We’re so lucky to be a member of this dog healing tribe! How lucky are we to have found a vocation in which we can help dogs enhance the quality of their lives by helping them expand their abilities to perform their every day activities; their ADLs.
A Conference to Learn More
If you would like to find out more about animal massage and bodywork, the various schools that offer canine massage training and meet your future instructors, make it a priority in your life to attend the upcoming educational conference. The IAAMB/ACWT conference will be in Louisville, the 19th and 20th of May. Go online at www.IAAMB.org. Find out about the topics and speakers where it’s going to be held and how to register. I hope to see you there.
Your ADLs Include Your Dogs ADLs
In the meantime if you are planning to sing and dance while walking your dog, stay conscious. Keep present. Remain aware. And you will be able to continue doing your ADLs in the most perfect way.