One of the things that is most difficult about having MickBie is how long it takes me to do things.
For example, running to the store for a gallon of milk will take nearly an hour because of the number of times people stop and ask me questions. Since my first column, I’ve gotten stopped multiple times on campus when people had questions. So, here are some of the more commonly asked questions, along with a few that I thought were just interesting.
Q: What exactly is your “crazy complicated” illness?
A: In 2004, I started having symptoms that were more neurological in nature. These included stuttering, pins and needles, and overall weakness. It was a year before I finally got sent to the world renowned Mayo Clinic and was diagnosed with a Paraneoplastic Syndrome.
Q: What’s a plastic syndrome?
A: Paraneoplastic – and it’s a “crazy complicated” disease. I suggest going to the International Paraneoplastic Association’s website at www.paraneoplastic.org. There is a ton of information available there.
Q: MickBie almost died???
A: Yes, twice. Once as a puppy when she contracted the Parvo Virus. The second time was during her “alteration” when she bled out severely during the procedure. The doctors were amazed that she survived it.
Q: Isn’t MickBie too small to be a service dog?
A: Actually, no. There really isn’t any size that an animal needs to be; as long as they can perform the functions necessary, there is no size requirement.
Q: You said “animals” – you mean dogs, right?
A: No, actually, there are many different types of service animals. Mini horses are becoming front runners in the service animal world due to their great intelligence and versitile maneuvers.
Q: How was MickBie trained?
A: As far as my experience has allowed, I know of two types of seizure dogs: Seizure alert dogs and seizure assistance dogs. The two types are drastically different. There is actually no way a seizure alert dog can be trained for the “alerting” part of a seizure. Dogs either can alert a person, or they can’t – and most can’t! There are many trainers who go through the process of testing dogs to see if the animal is able to detect a seizure. While I don’t know the actual percentages, it is a very small number. If a dog does have the ability, the warnings can come several hours before, or just a minute prior to the seizure. However, there is no guarantee that Mick will ALWAYS alert me of a seizure. However, she will ALWAYS help in protecting me during one, especially if it’s an actual convulsing (grand mal) seizure. If I end up on the ground, Mick will get between me and any sharp object or anything that can cause me harm.
Well, there you have it: MickBie & Me’s very first Q&A. I’d write more, but I have to go. I need to buy some milk.