Chapter 11 Truly Learning the Meaning of “Be Well”
As winter turned to spring many things began to change for me. The first thing to change was my attitude about myself.
It was not an easy transformation let me tell you.
I had many issues needing to be dealt with, both mentally and physically.
I needed to truly put behind me the deal between Drew and me, and it was clearly obvious Drew was not going to assist with that. It pissed me off in ways I cannot put in to words when I thought of it, so I tried not to.
Not knowing exactly what his deal was, I tried to not assume things like thinking he simply did not give a shit about me at all.
I tried to keep an open mind and not treat him as badly as he had been treating me.
I decided that since there was nothing to do for the situation the best thing was to do nothing at all.
I’d tried writing to him. I’d tried calling him.
I’d gone through the correct procedures to do so, still nothing. So to put it bluntly I simply said ‘Fuck you’ and decided to go on my way.
The next thing I needed to do, was to begin the process of finding out what was wrong with my shoulder. Donnie had obviously caused some sort of serious damage and it was beginning to affect the work Campbell and I did together, and in turn this was all affecting me mentally.
I had to be careful of that. Dealing with the shoulder meant dealing with my thoughts of Drew.
I have a bad habit of fearing the worst case scenario. I was frightened I’d not get a good diagnosis from the doctor should I go, that they’d tell me I could no longer work a dog on my left side. I knew that if this happened one of two things would result.
A. Campbell would have to be evaluated to see if he would indeed retrain to work on my right.
B. I’d have to retire him and get another dog.
Both of which would cause me to eventually end up back at the school. They’d shown no sign of not working with me, so I’d put the fear of not being allowed back out of my mind, though the thoughts of having to possibly deal with Drew frightened me. I had no idea what he thought or felt and fear of the unknown has always been a problem for me.
I finally made myself a doctor’s appointment to seriously have the shoulder looked at after a particularly dangerous issue while crossing the street. Once I’d done that, and let Mr. Keane know, as well as talking with one of my trainer friends on Facebook, I knew there was no going back. I also knew I was not going to lie or sugar coat anything else, which had caused some of the issues between Drew and me. I was not doing it again. Mine and Campbell’s team was simply to important to me, and so the journey began.
During all of this other things were going on as well.
I had tried and failed to have a pancake breakfast and book sale of my own. It seemed as though a lot of people who said they’d be there for me when I needed, weren’t.
I, however, would not be deterred. I simply decided to find other ways to promote myself. I was on the advisory board of the ‘North East Tennessee Disability Resource Center’ and they were hosting the ‘ADA Legacy Bus Tour.’ Campbell and I were to work a table selling books, and handing out information about ‘The Seeing Eye’ and we would share our proceeds between the ‘Resource Center’ and ‘The Seeing Eye.’
I was also talking to an old friend of mine from school, and enjoying the attention he gave me. We were making plans to get together and possibly go on a trip at the end of May, so I was doing a lot better than I had in quite some time.
I don’t think, however, that any of us including me were really aware of how much better, until one day near the end of April.
I’d awaken on a Monday morning to my phone ringing. This was not unusual. It was normal routine for Mike and I to talk each morning. Some mornings Phyllis and I talked as well. So when it rang early that morning, I figured it was one of the two of them. That however was not the case at all. When I answered the phone I got the shock of my life.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard Donnie’s voice on the other end of the line. Somehow he’d gotten hold of a cell phone and was calling me. I’d been feeling rather low about not being successful with my pancake breakfast fundraiser and the shoulder issues and when I heard his voice a whole flood of emotion hit me, so when he said “Hi sweetie please don’t hang up.” I didn’t.
He began to tell me how he’d changed, how he was trying to get help for himself and of how much he still loved me. As always, he knew just what buttons to push. I’d been crying already, and he heard it in my voice. He tried to use it to his advantage. I have to be very honest here and say he damn near succeeded.
I did listen and I did talk with him. I also, however, let him know that we would not simply be picking up where we left off. I told him that he would need to call me through proper channels. When he asked me why I told him I did not want any of the old ‘he said she said bull shit.’ I told him if he were calling me on the prison phone we would be recorded and it would protect us both.
I, however, was considering going to visit him, and although all kinds of alarm bells were ringing because of some of what he said, I was really thinking about it.
After I hung up with him though and began to calm down, I decided that something Drew had taught me during training, might very well apply to this situation. He’d taught me when crossing a particularly nasty red-light or hairy parking lot to “Stop! Think! Then Act!” So that’s what I did with this. I decided that if it was a good idea today it would be a good idea later.
I decided to see if Donnie would do as I asked. To this date of writing he has not.
Instead of taking what little money I had left in my business account, and trying to get a bus ticket, I went out to the mall to meet with a book store owner. I got six of my books in his store on consignment. Campbell and I went out there all on our own, and had a fine time doing it. By the time I got home, I’d just about decided I’d been eating stupid pills. I was going to do no such thing as going to visit Donnie at the prison.
As I sat near the end of the day thinking about all I’d done I realized how awesome it was that I’d had the ability to think that through and not act impulsively. As I fed Campbell his dinner I said, ‘Maybe I truly am getting well.’
I know the Bipolar I suffer from, is never going away. I know I am going to have issue with it from time to time, but realizing that I had taken control of myself and not reacted without thought was a huge victory for me.
I have to say, it felt awesome!