I am the world’s worst patient. Probably because I have none. Patience, that is. Ask me to wait five minutes for my computer screen to load? My brain melts. Primarily, I have zero patience with myself. I expect myself to perform at full capacity at all times and if I don’t cut it? I chuck myself out. It doesn’t matter what the task is. Watercolour painting, horseshoe throwing, or computer programming. If I can’t do it perfectly after a quick lesson? I quit.
When I was fifteen I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. None of them had actually grown in yet so it required full on anesthesia. All I remember is panicking that I wasn’t going to fall asleep and then waking up several hours later wondering why this strange woman kept telling me it was time to go home. I wanted to keep sleeping. Forever.
I gave myself a day of feeling like crap. My mother drove me home and told me to go to bed. Bundled in with ice packs on both cheeks – no way was I swelling up like a chipmunk – I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. The constant taste of blood at the back of my mouth, the wooziness of the sedation, and the headaches resulting from the pain medication, I let myself give in for one whole day.
But the next morning? I fully expected myself to be one hundred percent better. No way was I going a day without showering.
Much to my horror, I was not doing much better. The nausea had faded but the rest was still there. Still tasted blood, still felt dizzy, still was in pain. To me, this was unacceptable. I had things to do, people to see. I was schedule to volunteer at a food bank two days from now and dang it, I was going to be fully presentable before I ever went out in public. I didn’t handle the disappointment well. Not only did I take my frustration at not feeling better out on myself, but I made sure everyone around me felt my pain. Including my mother.
It wasn’t pretty.
Luckily for the rest of the world, I haven’t been that under the weather since. Regardless, even when I am suffering from a cold, I am pretty impatient with my symptoms. Feeling ill, in my opinion, is no excuse for not being able to get out of bed and get things done.
Until now, I have never projected this impatience on to other people. No, I am not the world’s best nurse but I understand that everyone handles sickness differently. I don’t expect others to jump up and walk the dog at five thirty in the morning even when they feel like their lungs are trying to escape out of their throats.
But with Shiva, for some reason, my expectations are skewered. We are on her second week of kennel rest and – to my shock – she seems to be doing okay. Sure, she grumbles a little when I pick her up to carry her down the stairs, and she sighs when I slide the cone back over her head after taking a potty break outside. Yet on the whole, she seems to accept the current situation. She’d love to chase the cat when he rolls around on the floor in front of her, but she refrains with nary a whine. It’s strange,
At first, I wondered if she was just depressed. Maybe she has given up hope of every going on a real walk ever again?
Or maybe, just maybe, Shiva has more patience with herself and with us than I anticipated. Maybe she understands that she feels off and that this is just the way things are going to be. She doesn’t put up a fuss when we lay her on the couch and prevent her from doing things on her own. Instead, she wags her tail when we shower her with affection and waits for us at the bottom of the stairs before we carry her to bed at night.Perhaps a part of her knows this is temporary, just a resting place.
If it was me who was in her position, I’d drag myself up every single one of those steps. I’d refuse to pee unless my humans let me walk outside by myself. I certainly wouldn’t tolerate the cone without looking as pitiful as I possibly could. Heck, I’d rip that thing off the instant they left me alone.
Luckily for us, Shiva is nothing like me. With only some understandable stress, she has kept it together, remained positive. In many ways, she is the world’s best canine patient. Even injured she has a much stronger spirit than I. Once again, she has shown me just how much I have to learn.