A New Elmo

Santa brought me a new Elmo for my collection!  You know what this means?  I need a new picture for the blog!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

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Whew! Glad That is Over!

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Chloe sleeps, and Sleeps, and SLEEPS!

My vet agreed to do Chloe’s surgery first yesterday as it was considered “minor”, and so that I could get her home earlier than the official 7 PM “release time”.

At 5 PM we arrived at the vet, only to have to sit through post-surgical instructions, paying for the procedure, etc.  I was about to yell, “BRING ME MY DOG NOW!”  Grin!  Good thing my daughter was along to “pinch me if needed” to make sure I stayed calm.

Finally they brought Chloe out to me and she practically drug the vet tech all the way over to Kyersten and I.  I asked another question about the sutures, and so had to wait around for the answer.  Chloe was “all a-tremble”, and Kyersten told me she was whining the entire time.  Normally, I would “shush” Chloe for making noise in public, but under the circumstances?  I let her whine.

She woke me up around 2 AM, and I took her outside for about 10 minutes.  We walked around a little and she did a “hurry up”, but then just stood outside in the cold with her head and down and eyes closed.  (She sleeps standing up a lot, actually!)  I finally coaxed her back inside, and put her back to bed.  I turned the flashlight on every few minutes, and could see that she was laying down in her bed next to me on the floor, but she wouldn’t put her head down.  Likely that ear is sore, and they do sort of HANG.  At about 3 AM, I noticed she finally put her head down again.

It was strange waking up before Chloe (and a full 83 minutes after my alarm usually goes off each morning!)  I was determined to not make her work today so deliberately did not set my alarm.  She was surprised to find me gently nudging her awake.

The hot water for my tea kettle had to be watched extra carefully with my eye on my watch.  I didn’t set the kitchen timer for her to let me know when it was “near whistling”.  I’m staying home today for Chloe’s sake.  She’s on antibiotics, but no pain killers.  Actually, the toughest job I’ve had so far this morning was keeping our Elkhound puppy from playing with her.  Her ears are a favorite target!

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes for Chloe.  My “inbox” has simply stayed “full” with inquiries and best wishes. We will get the biopsy results by Monday, but the vet told me to “absolutely not worry about it, as she certainly wasn’t”.

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Chloe has a little “notch” in her ear now, but you can’t hardly see it unless you are looking for it.  She’s still a beautiful red-head! Grin!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

Surgery Date

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Chloe relaxes after pre-surgical blood tests

We had an unexpected surprise at the vet today.  Last week we found what looked like a “mole” or “wart” on the tip of Chloe’s ear.  I made an appointment at the vet more to put my mind at ease than anything else.

Turns out it is a cluster-cell tumor (with a big ol’ long word in the beginning that I just could NOT make out).  ear-0021Chances are greatest that it is benign as most of these are, but surgery is schedulled to remove it on Wednesday.  We are getting a biopsy done “just in case”, as Chloe is a working dog.  The vet nor I either one wanted to take any chances.

Chloe enchants everyone who meets her up close, and face-to-face.  The vets all love her, and she actually enjoys the attention and love from others as she gets to be “off vest” while there. She loves people.  They had to “take her away” to draw blood for the pre-surgical blood work.  I heard a sound, and only saw the vet tech’s wide eyes on the other side of the counter about 20 yards down the hallway.  Evidently Chloe escaped.  (She isn’t use to not being right with me all the time, poor thing).  Chloe came barreling around the corner going full steam right at me!  I was speechless!  Fido‘s training “kicked-in” and right before she ran me over, I used the hand motions for a long recall.  She sat prim and proper after skidding to a halt.  Whew!

The vet said she was going to make some notes for the surgical team to make sure they made the smallest notch possible in her ear, and that they would use special sutures.  Still in shock, I only nodded numbly while she explained this.  I guess she was thinking that Chloe is in public all the time, and extra care should be taken?

A field spaniel with a snake bite came in while I was getting ready to leave, so scheduling the surgery went rather quickly.  Wednesday I drop her off (no food or water) around 7 AM.  I get to pick her up after 7 PM.  Will this be a long day for me or WHAT?  Grin!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

Not Santa’s Helper… TEACHER’s Helper

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When my daughter, Kyersten, started college this Fall, I had a brief moment of panic.  For 4 years, she has volunteered to be a “teacher’s aide” for me at school during hours she didn’t have other classes.  It’s really wonderful when your daughter is your teacher’s aide.  I didn’t have to worry about how she’d feel if I “bossed her around”. Smile.

Faced with a school year with no teacher’s aide, I put out a plea to my older students.  “HELP“!

I was surprised that a good number of students eagerly stepped forward to try to fill Kyersten’s shoes.  I could only chose one, and so went with who hit “reply” first.  I’m glad it was Kathleen.  Kathleen (pictured above) is one of my third year American Sign Language students.  She has been SUCH a big help this year.  As soon as she enters my classroom, she is in full “aide” mode.  She doesn’t even ask what needs done, as she figured out after the first class that the camera had to be set up for “Hot Seat”, (* see below), and without being asked she passes out graded work and new lecture notes to each student.

Kathleen didn’t even balk when I made a tiny “big deal” about a Christmas gift I had purchase for her, and even wore the HAT.  (Is that “game” or what?)

Over the past 7 years, I have learned to ask for assistance with much more grace.  If you have a disability and are “grumpy” about the fact you can’t do all you “use to”, then asking for help can be next to impossible.  Someone who is uncomfortable about asking for help, is not even a good candidate for an assistance dog.  Even assistance dogs like praise and the occasional treat.

n1143036281_30221118_5859 Chloe wouldn’t wear the hat, but was glad to pose by the tree.  She loves to work, but there are some things she can’t do for me.  She can’t pick up heavy books that I drop, and I don’t allow her to pick up things that would be dangerous for her.  An example would be that I broke a Christmas bulb when helping to decorate the tree.  I had to intervene quickly, as she has been taught an automatic retrieve (as most things I drop I don’t hear).  I obviously didn’t want her to pick up broken glass.  I had to ask one of my teens to help me.

In the grocery store today, I knocked over a huge box of Cheerios in the cereal isle.  I didn’t want canine teeth marks in the box.  It was big enough that Chloe would have had to exert some pressure to get it up high enough for me to reach it.  Instead, I allowed a person standing there watching to assist as they were eager to do so.  It was pretty easy for me to transition that to my classroom.  I’ve learned to ask my students for “help” when I drop something too heavy for Chloe to pick up.  My students never mind hopping out of their seats to help.

A big online THANK YOU to my 2008-2009 teacher’s aide, Kathleen. See you “next year”!

* HOT SEAT:  One student each week sits in an “interpreter’s chair” and listens to a pre-taped selection from which they are to sign all that they can.  They then take it home and choose 60 seconds to translate, practice and perform the following week.

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal