Jolanda also reminds me to take my medication twice a day by reminding me of her meal time, which is also twice a day. Itʼs not magic; I just taught her to ask for her food around a certain time. When I put the food down, she has to stay and wait until I take my medication, and then she can eat. Itʼs a ritual and it works really well.
So far we have mainly gotten positive responses from the public. I appreciate it when people offer help and ask what they should do if I have a seizure. They also ask how to identify Jolandaʼs signals. I am open with my disability, because I am dependent on other peopleʼs help when I am in need; I brief staff on airplanes and the usher at the opera, for instance.
Sometimes people feel helpless when they are around me and I am not doing well. They donʼt know what to do. My advice is that it’s a tremendous help to just ask people to back off. Don’t grab the service dog or touch the person, and make sure that we do not get separated under any circumstances.
I can’t predict whether lighting, sounds, or smells will trigger my seizures, so I often feel uneasy in social settings. It’s challenging for me to go to the movies, and shopping is almost impossible. When I reached a certain level of dependency, I really felt helpless. A disability should never push you to the point of losing yourself in it or stop you from living a healthy and compassionate life.
The sad reality is that not all employers are welcoming to individuals with disabilities and their service dogs.
I found a really cool cardigan thrifting this weekend. It has a little purple dragon spitting fire on the left lapel! Half of the buttons were missing, so I replaced them with cute princess and castle buttons to go along with the dragon. Now it’s a fairytale cardigan >.<