I settled onto the couch as the old fellow chatted away to me. He really did love to tell a story, and he was full of them! A life truly well lived, he had been in the army, fought in Vietnam, been partly blown up a couple of times, came home to breed horses, and still had a happy smile and a positive outlook. His wife was in a nursing home, and had lost all her marbles, couldn’t even remember who he was, yet he went in every day to read to her and help her eat her meals.
His little dachshund was in a lot of pain, having trouble with weakness in her hind legs. As he told me, she had had quite bad disc trouble a few years back. I Gently picked her up, and started to assess her back- Tension, so much tension, and pain! Her lower back was rigid, solid as a rock.
“Did you realise that she’s crawling with fleas?” I asked him
“What?!” he said – “No, I didn’t know. If I had noticed I would have treated her straight away. I feel really bad to think I missed that…”
“Yep- she’s got thousands of them on her – I’ll give you something that will clean them up quick smart. I reckon she’s hurt her back trying to get at the fleas. I saw her trying to reach around and chew before I picked her up.”
I was working into the tight areas- having to work with a very delicate, precise touch- just enough pressure to release the tension, but not enough to hurt. At first she was nervous, worried that I would hurt her, but after ten minutes or so her eyes started to get sleepy, and I could feel her body get heavy in my hands as she relaxed more and more. I could feel the layers of tension slowly releasing from around her spine as I worked. All the while the old man chatted away, telling me all about his life story. Not the easiest life, in so many ways, but he always had a positive way to frame what had happened, and I could see that even now he was happy, and made every effort to find the positive in everything.
“I’ll need to come back for a few more visits, to get her right!” I told him.
“You do whatever you think she needs, Doc. She’s very important to me, this little dog!”
I sat for another ten minutes, listening to his stories. I could tell he enjoyed the company, and the next visit could wait for a bit. Some things are more important than being bang on time, after all!