How to Deal with a Heat Wave: Ice Cream Dog Walks

“You better put in that application for a service dog.”

We hadn’t even made it half-way down our block and I already stumbled and fell. The teenager, her dog, and I had left our house at 7 p.m. on just another high-90s day. We were headed to CVS for ice cream.

The CVS is a 2,000 step walk— there and back— so we thought it would be good exercise for the whole family.

Plus, I had about $3.75 in Extra Bucks and a 40% off coupon. A pint of ice cream is $6.99 at CVS so I grabbed a whole bunch of singles and a handful of change.

The dog behaved really well on the walk, but my left foot did not— it kept twisting under me. I felt like I had to lift up my feet in exaggerated steps not to fall. Like high knees marching.

I stumbled twice on the way home but did not fall again.

The teenager made her remark about the service dog. I’ve spent a lot of time with her dog this weekend and thought… just imagine if this dog were useful.

I already did 90% of the 54-page application packet. I talked to those people I want to be my support letters (the teenager and my neighbor, as they would be my literal supports) and my references: the teenager’s father, cat foster godmother (who used to be a social worker) and my long-time therapist (whose wife is a physical therapist).

That leaves one thing: the medical evaluation. My own insecurities make it very difficult for me to ask for help. And it’s taken a long time for me to learn to speak up and out and advocate for myself.

I am nervous to ask my doctor— my family doctor of more than a decade— to do it. Part of me wants to wait until my appointment on August 19. But if he says no, that only leaves me two months to find someone else.

I think I need to call the office tomorrow and leave him a message to ask if he’d do it if I bring the paperwork August 19, or sooner if he wishes.

Again, I have doubts. What if I’m not disabled enough? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I don’t want to take a spot away from someone who needs a dog more than me.

But I’m struggling and I’m scared and I’m getting older. And I can do so much on my own but a dog would give me that much more.

I spent a lot of time on the application. Pretty much a whole day. What do you want the dog to do? What’s your typical day? Do you work? Do you volunteer? What are your interests and hobbies? Do you own a home? Do you have pets? Who lives with you? Do you drive? Can you handle travel? Can you take care of the dog? Are you able to train the dog?

If I can get ahold of the doctor’s office, as soon as I know someone will fill out the papers— I will tell my letter-writers and references to do their thing.

My therapist and I had a chat about it. His professional association discourages therapists from doing medical evaluations for service dog applications, but since I was asking for a reference, he was okay with that. He had no idea how many things a mobility dog could do.

He mentioned that in our current times, the emotional support animal and assistance dog phenomenon seems to be getting more and more prolific but that in my case, I’d obviously put a lot of thought into it, done my research, and found a program that could really benefit me.

Fingers crossed, I guess.

Oh, and the ice cream… it was $1.86 after my discounts. I had a $5 bill, five singles and 87 cents in my pocket. I paid exact change.

Moldy cabbage & DQ Blizzards: Happy Birthday to Nan

I have been trying to cook a cabbage for weeks. I envisioned fried cabbage and this fancy edamame and rice ramen I had in the cupboard from a past Hungryroot shipment.

The cabbage was bigger than my head and had a bit of mold on it, so the teenager said I couldn’t eat it. I cut a huge chunk out of the side and sautéed it anyway.

“Mom,” the teenager said, “that doesn’t solve the problem.”

I wanted cabbage. I’m the one allergic to penicillin and molds. So if I’m willing to eat it, I’ll live.

But I was not willing to feed it to Nan. I called her up to tell her the story, and I knew I’d either missed her birthday or it was coming up in the next few days and I had to ask.

I’m terrible with birthdays.

It turns out it’s today. Happy 69th, Nan! You’re still my coolest blind friend (and my only blind friend).

The teenager and I hopped in her Nissan Rogue and took Nan out to DQ for blizzards— we offered to take her for fancy ice cream but she wanted Dairy Queen.

It turned out the teenager had Avenue Q in the compact disc player and Nan had never heard it, so we listened a while and now Nan plans to look up the rest on Spotify.

Wait. What? The teenager is using discs and the old lady is using Alexa to stream music on Spotify?

In other news, I’m 85% done with my service dog application. I’m about 85% certain I want to do it. Several people have expressed support whom I did not expect.