This is a story of today, the longest trip we have ever challenged! I am still glowing with pride thinking about our day and how far Rosie, Donny and I traveled!
We began our trip in South Surrey, our destination, downtown Vancouver! I did not sleep well the night before because a trip like this scares the hell out of me! Not only would I leave my neighborhood bubble but would blow it to smithereens!
My son requires educational testing and his appointment was in downtown Vancouver, a two hour bus ride each way. Buses I've never been on, sky trains never ventured! Routes, tracks, unknown streets. I CLUNG to my little piece of paper with my directions!
How I wished I had my anti-anxiety meds! Rosie would need to calm me down today. I trusted her to help me if a panic attack came crashing down. Stopping the anti-anxiety meds may have not been the right thing to do for me. They were making me so forgetful! I was afraid of becoming addicted to them. I will talk to my doctor about this as I have been experiencing some extreme anxiety and canceled some appointments.
I could not miss this one! With no meds and a fast beating heart we headed for our first bus! Once outside and on our way I felt elated! Rosie stayed very close and seemed to share my excitement!
Maybe I was somewhat manic, but the joy on Donny's face and the happy spirit of my high-tailed service dog promised a very exciting day...I can do this!
Alright, I know this bus! Just a short ride to the exchange, no problem! My heart begins to race as I search for Bay 3. Where's my bus pass, Rosie's bus pass, Donny's change...I'm mixed up! I'm sweating.
BREATHE AND HUG ROSIE!!
Much better! Of course we find the '301' Brig-house Station bus! The bus driver is VERY friendly and lets us on with no questions. Good! We settle in comfy seats for the hour and half ride to Richmond. The scenery changes as we leave Surrey and travel into the unknown. The bus driver assures me that his last stop is Brig-house Station. OK! All good!
We are doing it! I feel like a kid at Christmas! In the back of my head a little voice of panic is trying desperately to shout at me. I wont let it. I have my furry best friend and my wonderful son smiling at me. Could it be we are having fun? YES! I can't tell you how excited I am at this point, amazing. I would be no more excited traveling to Mars!
OK..2 buses down, we are going the right way and I know the very last stop is the Canada Line, right?
I study my little note furiously, going over and over it for times and sky train platform directions. Donny has fallen asleep beside me, Rosie is napping under the seat. It's all good! I almost fall asleep myself, incredible!
I find myself yakking away to people on the bus! This results in comforting conversation that assures me we are heading in the right direction and confirmation of our next transfer.
Dam that little voice! 'You have NEVER been on the Canada Line! You are going to end up at the airport! You will be LATE for your son's very important appointment! How could you be so lost? You can't do this!' My mind feels like its off track, there a so many tracks, they go everywhere!
Oh SHUT UP, I think. Ha, Ha! I give Rosie a gentle pat on the head and wonder how she feels in this very strange and unfamiliar atmosphere! The noise and rumble of the bus, people getting off, getting on and the smell of fresh air when the door opens again and again. Yet, we do not get off when the door opens, how strange that must be for her. She looks at me with complete love and trust. I am calmed by her loyalty to me. She fills me with confidence.
THERE IS THE CANADA LINE!
By now I am GLOWING with confidence! Donny is ecstatic about the sky train 'ending' where we get off the bus! We are in Richmond. I have never seen these things I see all around me! There are very exciting things outside of the bubble! Rosie needs a nature break and we look for a discreet place for her. She is a lady and looks for privacy! All done, good girl!
NOW...lets NOT go to the airport! A friendly sky train security guard asks for Rosie's papers. Papers? Funny! I knew what he needed and gladly showed him Rosie's service dog certification. Big smiles!
We took a glass elevator to the sky train platform. Rosie was so funny the way she tilted her head as the elevator rose. I could not be prouder of Rosie, look how far we have come!! Red carpet please..Yippee!
The most delicious part of our journey was just ahead as we walked through the sky train doors! Enter, THE FUTURE! Even the voice on the sky train telling us the stops sounded like a female android! Modular shapes, smooth white and blue seats, shiny sleek floors and wide spacious aisles enveloped us. We continued our time-warp through a dark tunnel filled with orange light, Woo Hoo!!!
Don't know where we are going, don't care! This is fun! Bring on Vancouver! We are enjoying our adventure immensely! Next stop Broadway - City Hall Station. I am looking for a City Hall, can't find one! Again the panic tingles in my head and I feel very hot.
Rosie's eyes gave me the most loving look. 'I am here for you.'
My treasured son flashes a smile at me and my panic melts away. I am a good mom. Rosie will help me through the rough times and I will overcome the anxiety. I like these positive thoughts! I do not need a pill. I have Rosie. I again give her a big warm loving hug and we depart our space train to the streets of Commercial and Broadway.
Concrete jungle, strangers, unfamiliar and scary! Up, down, up, down. My emotions are like a yo-yo. I must remember that with Rosie's help, I control the string. We need 750 West Broadway, the sign says 500 block. I have a great fear of being late, becoming frightened. How are we going to make the appointment in time, the VERY IMPORTANT meeting! Again I become quite pissed at the negative chatter, its spoiling the day. I quit listening and we walk the very short blocks to Donny's psychologist arriving just in time.
Donny's Doctors were incredible, caring and warm. I felt so comfortable with them and so did Donny. Rosie was the star of the office! She was welcomed with loving arms and many questions as to her service to me. The doctors and teachers were attentive and sincerely interested to hear Donny and I inform them all about my psychiatric assistance dog. One person on the street backed away from me when I told her Rosie was a psychiatric assistance dog. Hee, Hee! I am sincerely sorry to giggle but the fact that she thought I was scary when I am so afraid of the world amused the heck out of me! A security guard in the building told me 'pets' were not allowed in the building. I told him calmly that she was a service dog, he just walked away. What do you do? These people are rare, most are in awe of Rosie! We took some pictures out the windows of Dr. Hotz and Eric's office. Look at what we saw! Beautiful view! Nice shot Donny!
During Donny's testing I was free to explore my surroundings and Rosie really needed another nature break. I chatted to everyone I met, me! I felt as if in a dream, surreal, but knew that this was wonderful reality. Rosie and I were on top of the world. Blood pressure time! Not to bad!
I took pictures of Vancouver General Hospital. I love the old section of the hospital and the towering powerful presence of the main building.
I feel an unsettling familiarity around hospitals, especially old ones. I am drawn to researching asylums on the internet and mezmorized by 'insane' or 'hysterical' unfortunate souls that suffered horrible treatments of long ago. I have always felt 'at home' and at complete peace in hospitals, I worked in them for many years. I dwell on thoughts that I may have been one of those unfortunate souls in the past. What Rosie has taught me is that I was instead a caring, compassionate doctor, why not? She turns my dark places into places of positive light. I love her with all my heart.
The sorrow into the joy.
Time to get Donny! We made our way back to Dr. Hotz's office and enjoyed pastrami sandwiches and cheese, yum! The storm of unknown had become calm sailing seas and I looked forward to the way home. Another unfamiliar route, a different bus, but this is adventure!
This is life!
Rosie makes friends on the sky train. Smiles happen everywhere she goes!
The route home took us through Crescent Beach and to the South Surrey Park and Ride. The middle of nowhere really! Donny and I giggled and goofed around, not a care in the world!
Look Mom! We are heading home!!
The sun was shining, the day tranquil. I had traveled into the future, and remembered a dark past. Right this second, the present is a miracle and I treasure every second. Thank you my Rosie girl, thank you for the miracles.
Say to yourself every night...
'Who I am Makes a Difference'