Thursday 29 October 2020

The lies sometimes make you stronger

I wrote last week about the problems I was having with my neck and back, the universe has a twisted sense of humour because the same day my blog post was published I received the medical report from my solicitor that I was asked to read and if I agreed with to sign as a statement of truth. 

Within the first few lines of the report it became clear to me that the report has been a copy and paste job by the doctor with whom I had a video call on 19th September. His first lie was that the assessment lasted 15 mins. It had actually lasted a whole 8 minutes and 12 seconds I had the WhatsApp screen shot to prove that. He couldn't wait to end the call, asked me no pertinent questions and as soon as he found out that I didn't work I was treated like a feckless waster. I am quite sure that this man also operates as a report writer for  Atos or the like due to his inability to capture the truth in anything at all he wrote. 

It was uniquely distressing to read this report, compounded by the fact that he claimed that in 5 months I would be back to cooking meals and doing the shopping. Two things I haven't done since 2008, had he bothered to ask me he would have known this. I also walked unaided from the car at the site of the accident, again something that wasn't discussed with him, I didn't get out of the car until we arrived home. I haven't walked unaided since 2008, I use a walking stick / crutches for short distances around the house. I use a wheelchair or mobility scooter outside the home. Again if he had asked me any questions relating to my normal level of health during those massive 8 minutes he wouldn't have embarrassed himself so thoroughly.

I had to email my solicitor that I couldn't sign the report as being an accurate statement of truth and then follow that up with a letter that went through the document line by line highlighting the issue with the information that had been stated. There were over 30 errors and this is a doctor that is in effect working for me or the solicitors firm. He probably charged them several hundred pounds for the report and "15" minute consultation. The problem is this report is what the solicitor uses to value the amount my injuries are worth for the want of a better phrase. If the report is riddled with inaccuracies and states things like after the 1st 4 weeks Mrs Myasthenia Kid was no longer using pain killers for her injuries when in fact I have had naproxen and amitriptyline added to the vast cocktail of medications I take daily including morphine. Again the medications I take daily weren't mentioned in the report.

I had been very careful to ensure that I mentioned to the doctor carrying out the video call assessment that I suffered from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as I know that it will impact my healing time. Unfortunately it became very clear that this doctor was clueless about EDS and it's impact on connective tissue. I also told him about the dysautonomia but on the report where it stated significant medical issues he had put none. I pointed out to my solicitor that my medical notes make War and Peace look like a Novella. The doctor also managed to mix up the terms Spondylosis and Spondylolisthesis, I made it very clear that I suffer from facet joint arthritis in my spine due to having EDS. I also have a Spondylolisthesis, he wrote I had Spondylosis arthritis, which is simply not true and not what I told him.

On reading the report I burst into tears, I was so angry and so fed up that yet again this would mean another fight to be believed. Why is it nothing ever goes smoothly. However I have that crappy report to thank because it made me push for a face to face  gp appointment, which I had yesterday. 

Since March our doctors practice like many up and down the country have been doing video calls, phone calls or simply sending text messages rather than seeing many patients face to face. They have been seeing patients only when they deem their symptoms are serious enough to warrant a face to face. I have since August the 11th filled out 4 e consult forms regarding my neck / back issues from the RTC. The last one I contacted them because I have weakness in my left hand, which is getting worse. The weakness was first observed by my physiotherapist back in September when she did a full assessment of me. After a couple of sessions of physio I had hoped that I would be seeing some improvement but we are now 11 weeks down the track and things aren't getting any better.

The doctors surgery is operating a new weird system for face to face appointments. Patients have to knock on the glass door at the front of the surgery and wait for a member of the reception team to come and ask you your name . They then assign you a door to wait out side of - there are 4 doors that open onto the street. Unfortunately the only way into the surgery for someone like me who needs a mobility scooter is through reception the old way. All the other doors into the practice have steps, which makes it impossible for me to enter. I didn't think it would be a huge issue after all you would think the NHS would be great at helping disabled people but actually they have to be one of the least disabled friendly institutions in the UK. It makes me sad because they should be leading the way.

Hubby and Dembe wait outside with me whilst I wait for the receptionist to come and open a window and shout out a few questions at me. High tech eh? The first question she asks when seeing me on the mobility scooter is "do you need to use that inside the building or can you get out and walk" . I try not to be offended at the use of the word that or her thinking that suddenly being in the presence of a doctors surgery would have the Lazarus effect and have me walking. Through gritted teeth I answer that I do indeed need to use "this" and will be using "it" inside the building. If I could walk around the outside of the building and stand up waiting to be admitted do they not think I would rather than use a scooter. It beggars belief that at a doctors surgery I feel like I am in the wrong for needing a mobility aid.

Thankfully the doctor I see is really nice, he has moved the chairs around in his room to accommodate the scooter. I have a full assessment performed by him, yes there is weakness in my left hand and arm and after 11 weeks ( to the day ) there should be some improvement. He has now referred me to specialist spinal physio because if we don't get this compressed nerve root better I am looking at permanent weakness or possibly surgery to free it. Obviously with the second wave of covid happening means that everything is going to take much longer. At least now I am in the system and the specialist spinal Physio can refer me onto a surgeon or for imaging studies.  

So despite the tears I had last Thursday over the medical report it did spur me on to make a fuss and see a doctor and get things moving. I had no clue that it was 11 weeks to the day from the accident. The lies sometimes make you stronger.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Neck pain / back pain / whiplash?

I hate to admit it but I am really struggling with my pain levels at the moment. For some reason towards the end of last week my neck started playing up, waking me from sleep because the pillow felt like a house brick and I was unable to get back to sleep due to the pain. It is interfering in everything I do. It is very rare for me for pain to cause me to stop eating, I am famously the girl that was still hungry and eating when I had a partially obstructed bowel. Basically nothing stops me eating or drinking ( normal fluids not alcohol ) other than my menstrual cycle years ago when I used to get through the first two to three days on sugary tea or coffee. So believe me when I tell you that the pain is so bad I am struggling to eat.

Since around Wednesday last week I have woken up at 2.30am, with the feeling that my pillow has been swapped by some sort of sadistic fairy, to a house brick. The only way I can describe the pain in my head and neck is that it is like someone has hit me with a shovel. I spend the next few hours trying to fall back to sleep but I can't get comfortable. It doesn't matter how many pillows I have, rolled up bath towels used as a neck support I can't get away from the pain in ,y neck. I started amitriptyline a few weeks ago because I couldn't tolerate the neck pain any longer. It has taken me a few weeks to get it up to 30mg a night and then it just takes the edge off the pins and needles in my arm and hand. I have to up the dosage slowly because I end up with the dreaded amitriptyline hangover the next day which leaves me feeling disorientated and pukey the following day.  I have permission to go up to 50mg a night from my gp, I am loathe to go that high when I am not supposed to be on this medication due to having PoTS. I was offered gabapentin but that turns me into a zombie and does nothing for me, I didn't want Lyrica again as that took me an age to come off. So amiltriptyline was the only option I was given for the nerve pain I have.

What really grinds my gears is that this pain has not been caused by something I have done, this was caused by the twat that reversed into out car, back on August 11th. I had a really crap assessment done by a private doctor over WhatsApp back in September ( a call that lasted all of 8 minutes 22 seconds!!!!) who informed me it would take a year to get better from this injury. However this doctor knew absolutely nothing about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and didn't ask me if I had any previous issues with my spine or neck. In fact he barely asked me any questions at all if I am honest. I came away from that consultation and burst into tears. I had prepared notes, printed off my medication list but once this doctor found out that I didn't work he wasn't interested. Every time I tried to provide an answer to a question or give him some information he talked over the top of me. To put it bluntly this doctor doesn't even know that I am a wheelchair user or that I use a mobility scooter when outside the house that is how little he asked me. Nor did he ask me how the accident had impacted me. He was only interested if I had taken time off work which was obviously a no.  I was so distressed by the lack of an assessment, as this will be used to base my claim for injuries that I sent an email to the insurance company telling them what a crock of shit the whole thing was. I was told there would be a report provided within 21 days and that they would send it to me so I could check for inaccuracies. I am still waiting.

The pain in my neck, back and base of my skull is so bad today that I have had to resort to wearing a soft cervical collar. I really try not to use this as I am always warned by physio's and doctors that this will leave my neck muscles weaker in the long run. However this has always been the best form of pain relief for me as it lengthen things out and takes the pressure off my neck. 

On Friday last week I ended up in agony from raising my arms when threading my embroidery machine. I got stuck with my elbows raised and my ribs feeling like I had suddenly been put into a very tight corset. Every time I went to move I felt like I had been zapped with a cattle prod. In desperation I filled out an e-consult form, the current way to access the doctors surgery, it was late at around 2pm, so I didn't think there was much chance of me actually getting a response. Unfortunately I was right, my back did ease off a little bit, probably due to the amount of gin I drank as a last ditch attempt to get the muscles to relax after trying everything else in my arsenal first. I did get a call at 9.30am on Monday and got some diazepam. That has stopped the spasms in my back but it hasn't stopped the muscle spasms in my forehead, it is these that lead to horrendous headaches and occasionally migraines like I have endured today. 

I am writing this on Tuesday, Mr Myasthenia Kid has already told me that I don't have to go to dog training this evening but that would mean I had missed the last session of the last two courses. The last one I missed was because I was in hospital being checked out the day of the accident. I have already missed one session from this set of 6 due to being unwell, I have never missed so many sessions as I have this year but then my health has been an unmitigated disaster this year. I know my health is poor but I like to pretend it isn't and when I am confronted with the fact it is shit like I have this year it makes me miserable.

I had got to a sort of place where my neck / back wasn't getting any worse but it wasn't getting any better. It was liveable and although impacting what I could do, I could still do ( for a limited amount of time ) the stuff that I like to do craft wise. However now I am really struggling again and I feel like I am back right at the beginning again of when I first got injured and have absolutely no clue why last week it got so much worse again.

If you couldn't tell I am seriously pissed off today.

Thursday 15 October 2020

Lock down again?

 So it seems we are looking down the barrel of another lock down here in England ( Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved governments so make their own decisions ). Not that the first lock down made much difference to my life other than having Mr Myasthenia Kid home with me for 7 weeks whilst he was shielding as he is at higher risk from Covid than me. People don't seem to understand that I only leave the house for dog training on a Tuesday night or going out in the car and staying in it whilst Jay walks Dembe. I only shop online, I actually can't remember the last time I went food shopping or clothes shopping if I am honest. So lock down changes very little for me.

Mr Myasthenia Kid is classed as a key worker with him being in retail, so even if we do head into a stricter "circuit breaker" ( who is paid to come up with this shit?) lock down of two weeks the only thing that will change is that I won't go to dog training for 2 weeks. I know many people in the chronic illness world whose lives are identical to mine or worse,  a lock down isn't something we fear, getting Covid-19 and being assessed as not worth saving due to ventilators not being available is.

It seems that Covid has already made it's presence felt again in my sleepy little town. During the first wave we were aware that there were many people coming down with it although I wasn't aware of any deaths ( that doesn't mean that there weren't) . Yesterday the gossip at Mr Myasthenia Kids work place was that someone had tested positive at a local gym. There were now a few people having to get tests and self isolate. Jay joked as it was a gym and he is so unfit as are many of his friends it was highly unlikely that he had come into contact with them. It doesn't stop me panicking though. 

His job in retail put's him at higher risk, just from the sheer volume of customers coming through the door and number of staff. They have already had staff members come into work with Covid symptoms, despite all the government infomercials, news programmes and his work place carrying out regular briefings telling staff what to do. It makes me so cross that people have done this especially when there is no reason to, his workplace have been excellent in ensuring staff members do not lose pay if having to isolate or if they have a positive Covid test. 

He along with his colleagues are also at risk from those customers who should be self isolating due to being in contact with a Covid positive person or having Covid themselves who for whatever reason decide that they have to come shopping. I know some people don't have a choice, they are a single parent, live on their own and just don't have anyone who can help them out in an emergency. During the first lock down there was plenty of support available for people who had no one to help them out, now however people seem to be under the impression that the danger has passed and no one is isolating. Despite the fact the city next to us is a Covid hot spot due to the number of university students and staff who are having positive Covid tests.

Please don't get me started on the Covid deniers or the ones that insist that it is no worse than flu or that just a tiny amount of people get it. I help admin a group on Facebook for people with PoTS ( postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome ) / Dysautonomia and we have had a sudden influx of people who are suffering from what is currently called Long Covid / Covid Long Haulers.At one point last month we were having at least 5 requests a day from people who had developed PoTs post Covid. We normally get 5 to 8 requests a day to join, so it was crazy that we had so many people turning to us for help as they were getting nowhere with their own Gp's. 

Long Covid sufferers tend to be  people who were fit and well before getting Covid. When they had Covid they were poorly but not poorly enough to be hospitalised however instead of getting better as they and everyone else expected they have gone on to develop a whole host of strange symptoms. Many of them have developed PoTS or other Dysautonomia symptoms. Their lives have been changed forever due to these symptoms and apart from the occasional newpaper article or short segment on TV or radio very little is being said about these patients whose bodies have been ravaged by Covid.

There has been talk in Parliament that the government / NHS will set up clinics for Long Covid sufferers to help them. In some areas these have been implemented but the majority of the country has been pretty slow. Of course this is all very galling for those of us who have been left with no consultant at all whilst CCG's & hospital trusts hold pissing battles over who is allowed into their area's for treatment. Since June I have had no consultant to over see my treatment for PoTS/ severe autonomic nervous system dysfunction, the CCG where my consultant worked has banned him seeing anyone outside that city's postcode. The hospital nearest me, has no consultant for PoTS as the last consultant retired. The story is similar up and down the country with many CCG's and hospitals refusing to fund PoTS clinics stating that it is a condition that can be managed in primary care / general practice, yet the majority of the medications for PoTS are Consultant Prescribing only. So if you have no consultant you may not get medications like Ivabradine / Midodrine / Pyridostigmine the latter being an off label medication, it is primarily used to treat Myasthenia Gravis. 

So we now have a situation where PoTS clinics are desperately needed up and down the country ( because those still in operation are buried under new referrals and existing patients) and the hospital trusts and CCG's have been closing them down or refusing to replace consultants that have retired. It is a perfect storm. And predictably it is leading to bad feeling in PoTS groups, where people believe that they have suffered for years, are still suffering and are struggling to be referred to a Consultant yet those with long Covid are having the red carpet rolled out for them. The animosity isn't against the long Covid sufferers but the decision makers who have decided these are more "worthy" than them. Personally I see it as an economic / ideological move, if we have thousands of people now economically dependent on the state for benefits, lots of people that have previously never experienced this awful system you have an issue that you may lose your voter base. Some people who voted for this current shower of shite are going to have a rude awakening when they find out living on benefits means living in poverty and not the lives shown in the usual Government propaganda. God, I must be getting old to be so cynical. 

It isn't hard to see why some PoTS patients are upset that it would appear long Covid sufferers are being taken more seriously than they are. Personally I am happy with whatever brings PoTS to national attention but I do want the same facilities that are being offered to Long Covid patients to all PoTS patients, many who have had to battle for years for a diagnosis. Something good has to come from this surely?

So we wait whilst the government makes up it's mind on whether we are heading to another lock down or not.

Thursday 8 October 2020

HRT 7 weeks in

 I have now been on HRT for around 7 weeks and things keep improving for me on the whole. I am constantly amazed at how many parts of my body were effected by the fluctuation of hormones. I am so grateful that I didn't have to battle my doctor to be put on HRT. I can honestly say the last three years have been utterly miserable with all the symptoms I have been suffering that just went crazy once I stopped taking the contraceptive pill back in December 2019.


My main reason for starting HRT was to see if it would stop or reduce the migraines that had increased from one a month when on the pill to 3 a week when I was no longer taking it. The difference has been remarkable. I have had a couple of "migraines" without aura's but they haven't been as intense as my pre HRT ones and the Sumatriptan do knock them on the head ( pardon the pun ) really quickly. Migraines now are something I can live with and not something I need to be ruled by, I couldn't make plans without having to bring my migraine grab bag with me. Even if I was post migraine I was suffering from the after effects, so that it meant I only had one day a week where I felt like I was fully functional or at least functioning at my normal pre coming off the pill level.

The anxiety I suffer with has massively reduced, I still have the odd panic but it is nowhere near the totally paralysing fear I was dealing with since 2017. I have noticed a massive improvement in my overall mood as well. I hadn't listened to music, either on the radio or by putting a CD on since Frankie passed away on 29th December 2018. I was listening to a vinyl record when he had his neurological even that let to us making that awful decision that every pet owner knows and wishes would never happen. It wasn't a conscious decision not to play music, I would sing along to music whenever Mr Myasthenia Kid played music videos on the TV but to actually go and put music on or listen to it, just the once or twice when I found some music I really loved. But then after a while the desire to listen went away again.

A massive indicator of my mood has always been my desire to listen to music, I am not a one band or one genre only kind of person. I love pop music so you will hear me singing my heart out to anything by Katie Perry or Brittany Spears. I love the bands U2, Travis, Cold Play, Radio Head, Snow Patrol and James. I like some of the metal and rap that Jay plays, I also like opera and classical music. So to not sing or bop along to music is quite odd for me and I didn't realise what a long time it had been since I really listened to music by choice not just because I happened to be in the room when it came on. Music was a huge part of my teenage years, again I had very eclectic tastes but I seemed to have lost that in the last few years. Now everyday I have music on, I tend to listen to  Absolute 80's . I really love the music from my youth and will sing along to my hearts content. I am quite shocked by the difference HRT has made to my mental state and that I have got some joy back and that things don't seem so bleak and overwhelming as they did previously. 

I just wish when I had been to the doctors in 2017,2018, 2019 about my anxiety and mood they hadn't just increased my antidepressants, yes I had been through some pretty awful trauma but the anxiety and low moods were so much more than that. I had no clue that depression and anxiety could be linked to the menopause. I don't think many women do, so how many of us are being given antidepressants which are an absolute ballache to come off, when it is in fact our hormones that are causing the issue. It is also sad that on all those occasions I saw female doctors and whilst they were sympathetic and understanding whilst I spent the majority of the appointment in tears none of them thought that maybe what I needed was HRT. Now at some point in the future I will be looking to reduce my antidepressant, which is also probably behind my weight gain. Deep Joy as I have been through the experience of reducing antidepressants before and it is an utterly horrific experience. No one is told how awful coming off these meds are when they are prescribed them. Yet HRT comes with a warnings list as long as your arm.

Another symptom that I had no clue could be caused by the menopause was dry skin. My skin has been terribly dry for several years and no moisturiser would work as it would sink in and disappear. My physiotherapist used to say whenever I had an appointment she couldn't get over how dry my skin was, making me feel a little self conscious because it wasn't anything that I could do about it as nothing worked. I didn't realise until  very recently that this could be another symptom. But then again I didn't know acne could also be a symptom, for the last few years I have had bouts of cystic acne, pimples all on my chin. Having not really suffered with acne as a teenager I have found the bad skin really difficult to deal with. I would end up whenever I left the house having to at the very least cover my spots with concealer and powder, even if I knew I wasn't seeing anyone I knew. If I was seeing people I did know that meant a full face of makeup and praying that the livid purple cystic acne lumps would break free of their concealer prison whilst I was out. I am not massively vain, you kind of lose your dignity and your vanity when you are chronically sick but acne in my 40's really did a number on my self confidence. It wasn't just the fact it was painful it was also the fact that nothing I did seemed to help. I took vitamin B5 for a year....nope, I changed skincare regimes to Tropic Skincare and whilst that did reduce the number of outbreaks and redness it didn't get rid of the acne completely. I feel awful for having my self confidence destroyed by having a max of 4 spots on my chin at any one time but it did and I won't apologise for it.

Before I started HRT I had noticed I was losing a lot of hair, when it was being brushed or dried. Whilst I realise losing hair everyday is pretty normal, this was beyond normal, my legs would be covered in hair when I finished sorting my hair out for the day ( I tend to lean forward whilst sat on the bed when my hair is being done) . It was also obvious when Jay had hoovered by bedroom when it was becoming a close contest between Dembe and I whose hair he had picked up the most of!  I practised cognitive dissonance with the hair loss, I knew it was happening but I told no one. I came up with excuses like I hadn't conditioned it enough, my hair was over processed due to straightening irons. All of which I knew was untrue. It was only when my hairdresser mentioned that  my hair line around my face had become considerably thinner that I had to say that I had noticed that my hair had been falling out. For my hairdresser to notice when she see's me so irregularly it was a shock that I had lost that much hair. I am very lucky I have fine hair but an awful lot of it. After the first week or so of HRT I noticed that I wasn't shedding as much hair, I was back to normal amounts now rather than handfuls. I have suffered hair loss previously when I was put on the medication Lamotrigine by my neurologist back in 2009-2010. I was putting my hand through my hair and handfuls were coming away. It is a rare side effect of the medication which made me come off it, plus I didn't believe the diagnosis he had given me to put me on the medication.

On the whole HRT has been a positive experience, the only thing that came as a bit of a shock was getting a period two weeks ago out of the blue with no warning. Now just to remind people if you have not had a period for a year ( and you are in the menopause ) and you suddenly have a bleed or what you think is a period please get it checked out. Bleeding can be a sign of cancer so it is important you are properly checked over. I hadn't gone a year without a period, I would have officially in the menopause on 7th December but that surprise visitor has thrown a spanner in the works. Thankfully due to the Facebook group I was in I knew that HRT could trigger the return of periods...deep joy. I just wasn't expecting it as I hadn't had my usual symptoms other than a 7lb weight gain overnight which was my usual water retention ( always has been between 5-7lbs) and a massive craving fro chocolate that I couldn't work out why.

Pain wise it wasn't too bad, it was uncomfortable but not enough to stop me getting on with pottering about. It was incredibly weird just because I hadn't actually had a period for nearly 5 years!

I was told by my doctor when she prescribed HRT that it would take up to 12 weeks for it to reach it's full effect so I am more than half way in and the improvements in mood, skin, hair loss have been mind blowing. I get maybe one hot flush a day now and I don't have to change my clothes when it happens. I certainly don't have to stand outside in the cold for five minutes waiting for the heat to subside - no fun at all during the heat wave as there was nowhere for me to go that was cool. I am also sleeping better as my sleep isn't being interrupted by hourly hot flushes where I am drenched in sweat. However the thing I am most grateful for is the reduction in frequency and severity of my migraines. I didn't realise how low they had made me feel and how I just felt like I was existing rather than living.

I am fully aware that menopause is an individual experience and whilst some people have positive experiences of HRT others can have negative experiences. I know I have been very lucky to have so many improvements with the first dosing level I have been given. To take HRT or not is an individuals choice and I am not pushing it on anyone just sharing my experience of menopause and HRT.

Thursday 1 October 2020

Dembe, dinky dot

Mr Myasthenia Kid is on holiday from work this week, so it will just be a quick post. I say he is on holiday but he has just worked a night shift doing the stock take, so whilst he is sleeping I thought I would quickly write a post.

I have been purposefully keeping Dembe - whom I could write about for forever and a day, off this blog as he has his own blog over at The Dembe Diaries . He is such a good boy and a massive part of my life that sometimes he deserves a little post about him here.

I can't believe our little dinky dot, as I used to call him is going to be 2 in November. It seems to have flown by so quickly and in those two years we have been through so much together. I really wish both my Gran and Pam could have met him, they would have both loved him. We still attend obedience training ( when it is being held we had a break due to lock down) once a week and we all thoroughly enjoy it. Dembe has his good nights and his bad nights, like every one does. Same as Mr Myasthenia Kid has good night and bad nights when he is handling him all depending on how tired he is. Tonight could be fun after he worked a night shift last night and he hasn't had much sleep. 

At the start of this year Dembe got bumped up from the intermediate class to the advanced class as he was doing so well. We are so proud of him and ourselves as he would never have achieved this without Jay and I doing the work outside the class room as well. Dembe loves to be busy doing things. Although his favourite thing currently is to lie on his dads lap and have a long cuddle. He is a real daddy's boy but he also loves me and when we are at training when he has done something well he still looks to me to get some praise. Quite often if we are all sat on the sofa he will give his dad and kiss and to ensure I am not left out he will give me a quick kiss as well. 

He is a funny bugger who is very set in his ways for a dog that is less than two. He does like his routine and isn't happy if we aren't sticking to it. He gets unsettled and needs lots of reassurance. He still takes my socks off for me most nights, I have to hide my feet once he has done it or he will lick them and I can't stand that. He loves to nudge things with his nose, just yesterday he managed to turn on Mr Myasthenia Kids play station by hitting the on button with his nose. If you aren't paying him the attention he thinks he deserves to get he will nudge an item off the table beside you with his nose. He is a real bugger for that. 

His latest self taught trick though is helping me up off the floor. If I am on the floor, usually for pilates and sometimes as I am unwell or have fallen, he now waits for me to get on my hands and knees, then he puts his head under my head and pushes up. When he first did it I wondered what on earth he was doing although it did make getting up easier. The second time he did it I was like "oh right, you are helping". Now he does it most times, sometimes a little enthusiastically leaving me with a bruised jaw line but due to EDS I do bruise easily.


He has also started picking up items I drop and bringing them to me. Again another little job that he has taught himself to do which is incredibly useful. I am always dropping things when I try to carry stuff so I am very grateful he now see's it as his job to give me a hand without prompting.

                                                    His speciality is sock retrieval

We have been brave and taken the plunge and since May Dembe has been going out with a dog walker at least once a week. We book him in when Jay is working a late night as Dembe needs a proper walk in the afternoon so that he is nice and chilled in the evening for me. He can get very excitable and exuberant when he isn't sufficiently worn out from physical exercise. So it makes life easier for all of us for him to have that walk. The first time the dog walker showed up Dembe ran up the stairs and I had to coax him down. After those first few walks he was fine, now he knows when Jay is working late to look out for Martin's van and his tail goes like crazy when he see's it. He runs down the drive ( once he has been clipped onto the lead) and jumps into the back of the van without a backwards glance. I still find the hour or so I am in the house without him extremely odd. I usually try and find something to do that will absorb me so that I don't sit and fret about him. He is so very precious to the both of us.

I have never known a dog with so many toys. He now has two toy boxes, one upstairs in my room and one in the lounge. He adores his toys and he never deliberately damages them, they are usually damaged through games of tug. His favourite game is Nudge, where he will nudge a ball with his nose towards you and you have to nudge the ball back to him with your foot or hand. He will play this game for hours. He also likes playing find it, where we hide a toy in the house and he has to find it. We have upped the stakes now and hide it in the washing machine, under the bed but he always finds it. He can get bored of that game quite quickly. When that happens he runs off with the toy and won't let you have it back. It is a good game for wearing him out mentally.

Out of all the dogs we have owned Dembe is the most affectionate, he loves to lie on your lap and have a cuddle. He loves giving kisses whether they are asked for or not. He really is a dog in a million. He will be the dog that all other dogs are compared to past and future. He is my angel and I wouldn't have got through the last two years with out my Dembe dinky dot.