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Friday, April 12, 2013

Calling Doctor Daisy, Calling Doctor Daisy!

(c) 2013 by Tom King

We've been training our dog, Daisy as a medical alert service dog.  My wife has suffered severe panic attacks for more than 30 years as a result of an accident in labor and delivery with our youngest child. Daisy is able to recognize their onset and comes immediately to Sheila's side when they start.  She helps Sheila know when a panic attack is coming on and it helps Sheila know to take her anti-anxiety meds quick.  That way, Sheila is not totally alone when I'm away from the house and so that we get an early warning that a panic attack is coming if we're out in public.

Sheila often experiences vivid nightmares and night terrors.  Many times these occur after I get up in the morning and leave her sleeping a little longer.  This morning I was taking a shower and thought I heard a noise.  I got out and threw on a robe.  By now I could hear a strange voice that sounded dry and small, but terrified.

"Dr. Daisy," the voice shouted. "Don't do the surgery yet. The anesthetic isn't working!"

I figured Sheila was having another nightmare, so I bolted for the bedroom.  When I arrived I found Daisy up on the bed with her paws on Sheila's chest, licking her face.  Sheila was spluttering and shouting, "No, no, Dr. Daisy. It's not working. Help me!"

I shook Sheila awake and asked her if she wanted a drink of water to help her wake up.

"Oh, please, yes....."

As she came to, I moved Daisy back.  Apparently the dog had heard Sheila trying to wake from a dream that Sheila was having about being stretched out upon a surgical table and being operated on.  The best we can piece together it went like this.

Sheila's nose got blocked somehow and she couldn't breathe. Sheila is NOT a mouth breather.  She was in deep REM sleep and couldn't wake and began gasping for breath which dried out her mouth and tongue making it difficult for her to speak clearly.  She began to groan because in the dream the surgical team was fixing to start cutting and Sheila thought she was going to be awake for the operation.

She began to shout for help which was when I heard her.

Meanwhile, our faithful, highly trained service dog, Super Daisy, sprang to the rescue, placed her paws on Sheila's chest and began to do CPR (chest compressions alternating with muzzle to face resuscitation).  Sheila's words meanwhile were slurred and thick because of the dry mouth.  Not having opposable thumbs or access to a water bottle, Daisy moistened Sheilas mouth and throat with the only wet thing she had available.

"Hey," Daisy says. "The manual says clear the airway, so I cleared the airway."

Later as I gave Sheila some water to help her speak clearly, she sputtered and choked and then sat up looking confused.  "I think I've been French kissed by a dog," she said.

Daisy looked up at me and grinned.  "My work here is done," she seemed to say and resumed her spot at the foot of the bed.


elmelw said...

Tom, Daisy appears to be a remarkable animal. Hope Sheila is doing much better! How have you been getting along without Texas?

Tom King said...

I miss being dry. Washington is in a permanent state of damp it seems.