Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jack and CAYLIE

The last couple of weeks I have been pretty busy.  After getting back from Ft. Stewart, I had a couple of appointments at the VA Clinic close to where I live.  I met with my Dr., and then later that afternoon I met with my psychiatrist.  The clinic was packed, and I just had a really uneasy feeling while I was waiting.  Terry has hit me with a few assignments, and I have been slowly working towards those goals.  One of the tasks he has given me was to do something, anything, to get out of the house a little more often.  I did really well the first week, went to a recovery meeting during the week, went to the grocery store, and then last week I had the 2 doctors appointments.  Before leaving for Charlotte, I received an email from him asking me to blog about my "adventures." 

On the way home from Ft. Stewart, I stopped at Petsmart to get some things for CAROLINE, I also got Jack a toy for CAYLIE.  CAROLINE did very well while I was in the store, of course she was wanting to stick her nose into everything, but I'm sure it would be like sticking me in an electronics store or a gaming store.  My brother and Aunt came to the house to see CAROLINE, and I spent quite a bit of time downstairs talking with them.  I never go downstairs for anything but to eat, so spending some time with them got me out of my room for a little bit.

Tuesday before I left for Charlotte, I was able to make it to group at the Vet Center.  One of my friends that attends the group is have a really difficult time right now, and talking with the other Vets made me think back to where I was 1-2 years ago.  Even though I have come a long way in my recovery, both from alcoholism and PTSD, I have realized that I have a long way to go to integrate back into society.  Everything still reminds me of Iraq, from the summer heat to traffic on the highway.  EVERYTHING that I see I can somehow take it to Iraq.  One of the things that Kevin and I have been working on is to recognize it for what it is, and slowly get to the point where I do not get so activated from it, relaxed alertness is what he calls it.

The trip to Charlotte was a really good experience.  When I got CAROLINE Tuesday night, she was acting really weird.  She was pacing around the room, sniffing everything, just not acting like her normal self.  Since I am pretty new to the dog thing, I just assumed that she was in an unfamiliar place and just getting used to her surroundings.  NOPE!  The next thing I knew, there was a big pile of steamy dog poop on the floor in my Mom's room (I don't think she has been trained to not use the bathroom in my room, but I do appreciate her kindness).  All kidding aside, that was a pretty good lesson to learn.  If CAROLINE is acting weird, TAKE HER OUT!  Wednesday was pretty difficult.  We met for lunch, and the place was packed.  I was pretty anxious, and I think CAROLINE was picking up on it because she was a a little difficult to handle.  Lunch was the easy part.  After we ate, we went to Jack's house.  Some of you may know, I have a very hard time being around children.  So, the mad scientist that Terry is, of course I am going to have to spend some time with children.  The visit we had with Jack, his Mother, and CAYLIE was great.  I had an Army hat that I gave to Jack, along with the feeding ball for CAYLIE.  Towards the end of the visit, Jack wanted to get down on the floor with me and the dogs.  The next thing I knew, Jack had wrapped his arms around mine and laid his head in my lab.  I don't think that Jack picked up on my anxiety at all.  He was funny, talkative, and just seemed to really enjoy himself.  This was a HUGE step for me.  I have little cousins that I have never even seen before, and here I have Jack laying his head in my lap!  At dinner that night, we ate with Karen her husband, and daughter.  I was quite a bit more reserved at dinner, and didn't really interact too much with Fiona.  I just think by that time I was completely spent.  After dinner, I made it to a recovery meeting, and took CAROLINE with me.  She was great, we went in, sat down, and CAROLINE stayed by my feet for the entire hour, she hardly moved a muscle.  Everyone was shocked at how well behaved she was, and wanted to know if they could get their dogs to behave so well.  That made me feel pretty good.

Thursday morning we went to an outdoor mall and walked around the block.  CAROLINE was really curious, and got distracted quite easily.  She wanted to smell all the flowers, wanted to check out each bush, and basically everything we passed.  We went into a sporting goods store and took a walk around.  She did great.  My anxiety is so much more manageable when I am with her, she really makes a huge difference.  After the sporting goods store, ad went to Borkers.  My Mom and Karen went to the cafe, and I took a trip to the magazine section, and then to the music section.  Again, she was great.  When I got back with Karen and Mom, we were sitting at this little table right next to the restrooms.  This kid came running out of the bathroom and really scared the crap outta me.  I pretty much froze, went into another world, and completely lost my train of thought.  I think Karen picked up on that right away, and she started to ask me a few questions to kind of bring me back down to reality.

Yesterday I went to get a haircut.  I pretty much avoid this for as long as I can.  I think I have gotten 4-5 haircuts in the last 3 years.  I started to talk with the person cutting my hair, and I guess a natural and easy conversation is always the weather.  I told her that I can't stand the heat and that it makes me really nagry and irritable.  She agreed with me, and then I told her that I spent 2 years in Iraq. She wasn't real sure what to say after that, I am pretty sure I scared her.  She had asked me if that was her warning.  That definitely made me laugh on the inside.  Today I went to the grocery store again.  Coffee and Mountain Dew were on the shopping list.  I was in and out in about 5 minutes, but this trip was quite a bit easier than the last time I went, and certainly easier than the trip to the commissary.