Friday, January 23, 2015

Let Me Help

Earlier this week our Little Miss Libby had her second knee-repair surgery. She came home doing so well that we were calling her a little miracle. Then the next day she vomited up everything we gave her to eat, barely drank anything all day, and capped it off by having three seizures. She hadn't had a seizure for 235 days (but who was counting), and didn't respond to the valium we gave her so we had to book it to the emergency vet clinic.

She did not have any further seizures, they gave her IV fluids, antibiotics and an anti-nauseant, and we picked her up this morning. The staff was amazing, Libby was a trooper, and we seem to be on the other side of the whole situation.

But that's not my story.

My story is more of a puzzle. Maybe you can help me solve it,...

While waiting to pick up Libby, I got talking to a lady who was there with her 9-year-old mastiff, Georgia. I didn't catch the lady's name, but we chatted for a bit and shared our concerns over our fur-babies. Then Libby came out, I wished her well with her pup, and said goodbye.

Lib was in a bit of a state, not herself, pacing in a circle. I tried to stuff the medications and paperwork into my pockets while also holding onto Libby's harness to keep her supported. It was a little crazy.

Georgia's mom came over and offered to help me bring Libby to the car. I smiled, thanked her, and said I appreciate it, but I've got this. And Libby continued to circle. She asked again, "Are you sure?" Again, I smiled and thanked her heartily, but refused.

I then struggled to get Libby moving, going round in circles, weaving and bobbing, until we got to the car. Then I lifted all of her 80 pounds, grunting and groaning (me not her) into the back seat.

It struck me as I plopped into the driver's seat, panting: why in the world did I not accept that woman's offer of help? I certainly could have used it, and I'm sure my back would have been happier if I had. Never mind how it would have made her feel good to be able to help. I know how fabulous I feel when someone else allows me to help them out.

I stewed and struggled with it all the way home (and beyond as this little note shows).  Why didn't I accept her help? The best reason I came up with was that it was my habit not to ask for help and not to accept help. That, without thinking, I refuse an offer and choose to fend for myself.

It has made my heart hurt the entire evening. What a powerful, wonderful connection I probably missed. I had visions later on, playing out how it might have happened. I would accept gratefully. She would smile widely. I would hand her my keys and the medications. She would hold open the door while I had both hands to guide Libby in a straight line to the car. I'd make a crack about my car being the dirtiest one in the parking lot, she would admit that hers was awful too.  We would laugh and then wish each other well. I would feel good from being showered with compassion and consideration; she would feel good at being permitted to help us out. Win-win.

What short-coming of mine prevented that exchange? A lack of mindfulness? Succumbing to a habit? Thankfully, mindfulness and habits are something that I can work on. I can put some effort into taking a pause, and then accepting help when it's offered.

Do you accept help easily? Or is it a struggle for you also?


Kei said...

Sorry to read that Libby hasn't been well. I hope she'll be free from seizures again for a while now. Maybe the surgery or something she ate triggered it?

As humans I think we've trained ourselves to try and be self-reliant; there's this kind of mindset that asking for or accepting help is shameful or makes us weak, or that it's a bother to someone (and that even if that person is offering help, it's only out of politeness and not because they really want to help). This stuff might all be totally subconscious, so we don't even realise what we're doing until we think about it later! It's a bit like when you're feeling cruddy and someone asks how you are, and the automatic response is "I'm fine thanks."

Do you happen to be reading Brene Brown's book...?

Tina Bradley said...

So very sorry to hear about Libby's health challenges and discomforts, Terry. I sure hope she's much better this evening. Like you, I find it hard to accept (or ask for) help--even when it's offered. For me, I often wonder if it's my strong sense of introversion that's at fault. Could also be I was the oldest of six children and was taught at an early age, I had to do for myself. Like you, I know I've missed out on wonderful connections with others simply because I've tried to never accept or ask for help. Hugs to you and Libby! T.

Magic Love Crow said...

I am the same way my friend! I totally understand! I hope Libby will be ok? Big Hugs ;o) xoxxoo