Monday, November 9, 2009

Benefits of owning 'the beast'

(Hello there. I trust you had a good weekend.

I want to share with you this solid New York Times article about corticosteroids, the synthetic versions of the natural chemicals produced by the adrenal glands. Prednisone is the corticosteroid I am taking to manage my sarcoidosis symptoms. The drug works, but the side effects can be as bad as “cure."

And now, a long overdue ode to a family member assisting me in my healing…)

The beast is eating my foot.

Well, more like…a soft gnawing…a gumming. He could crush my left foot if he wanted, but his tail is wagging so hard that I know he never thinks that way.

He just wants me to keep roughhousing with him, so I do. Until he turns on his back and I can rub his belly.

He is Tobie, my family’s Golden Retriever. Tobie plays a big role in my recovery from sarcoidosis.

Pharmaceuticals control the sarcoidosis that tries to ravage my heart and lungs. My family keeps my spirits buoyant. Tobie just makes me warm inside.

Things are looking up, but these are still stressful times. The dog, along with writing and exercise, help reduce stress. Much has been written on the benefits of owning a dog or cat.

I hear the “thump, thump, thump” of his tail against the floor in my parents’ bedroom when I wake up in the morning. He just lays there and beats the carpeted floor with his tail, letting everyone know that I am up and that he is happy I am here. He brings me his favorite squeak toy. He loves me to take his leash off after we do a round in the park. I then fold it and place it in his mouth so he can carry it home.

Tobie actually smiles a crooked grin when he plays. My mom half-jokes that he might have had a micro stroke. Could be. The crocked grin comes from somewhere.

Tobie is seven years old. He is the color of late autumn leaves and he is developing a white mask. I am noticing more and more white hair in his fur. He is getting up there, so I enjoy time with Tobie and am thankful my parents added him to the family.

At night, I like to find quiet moments where it is just the two of us. I cradle his head in the palms of my hands and message his golden face until he breaks into that crooked grin.

Then he farts. Whoa! I'm just gonna go to bed.
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