Monthly Archives: December 2015

Strange Questions & Comments

I get the strangest questions and comments when I go out and about, and I thought I’d share some with you. One of the funniest stories happened soon after my coming home with Campbell. A friend and I were walking … Continue reading

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Shock Absorbers

As I have been going through many changes over these last few months, I am finding that over all I truly am improving, and while I still have miles to go before I sleep, I believe I am further along … Continue reading

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Campbell Contact and Me

Part 1
“King Campbell, Contact, and Me”
by Patty L. Fletcher

Hello, friends and neighbors! Welcome to another edition of Campbell’s Calamities. Today and next time, I’m going to tell you the story of what’s been going on with us this past week or so, both at home and at work. Campbell and I hope you’ll come along with us and enjoy the tale. There certainly were some real calamities involved!
On Monday of this past week, Campbell and I overslept. When we woke up, I saw we had only about 20 minutes to get ready and catch the first bus out for the day. I was ever so glad that I’d showered before bed the night before and had laid out my clothes and other work items. I rushed round feeding Campbell and the cats, trying to gulp down a cup of instant coffee as I readied myself for the day ahead.
Once out the door, Campbell seemed a bit off. He was loping along as if he had all the time on earth. I was urging him along with soft but firm “Hup, hup!” commands, trying to get him on down the trail.
When we finally arrived at the bust stop, I parked him and then heeled him around to my left and prepared for the arrival of the bus. But somehow, unknown to me, I was not standing in the correct position, so when the bus pulled up, I was off center. When I signaled Campbell, he didn’t do what I wanted, because my body language was just too far off.
Also, I was saying to him, “To the corner and drop the ramp!” The driver had already done this and was thus confused, because she thought I was speaking to her. I was trying to get Campbell to associate that phrase with going to the corner. My hope was that we would move to the corner as the bus pulled into position. The idea was good, but the way I executed it sucked! I thought to myself: Any Seeing Eye staff member seeing this would think I never paid one whit of attention in class! I decided I’d rework this; I would no longer say that phrase while giving him signals with my hand. I chided myself silently, saying to myself, Just stick with what you know.
Finally we were on the bus, and I hoped that would be the end of the Monday Morning Madness. However, it was only the beginning.
As we made our way to our seat, unknown to me or the bus driver, one of the wheelchair straps used to hold the chairs in place during transit was on the floor. I promptly tripped over it and sat down very hard in the seat. I was sure glad it was there behind me. After I finally untangled my feet from the straps, we were settled and on our way.

Things in the Contact office were busier than normal; it seemed we were getting calls from people with unusual requests. That caused us to really have to think outside the box, plus spend time looking for information we don’t use on a regular basis.
I didn’t get my paperwork done as quickly as I would have liked, so I was only able to review one of the two books I’d need for my training class later in the week. On top of that, I had a ton of case reports to write up and turn in, plus shifts that were still open that would have to be filled; it was looking more and more as though I might have to fill them myself. By the end of the day, I was feeling more than a little stressed out. Between my work situation of late and troubles connected with my home life, I wasn’t sure just how much more I could stand.
Once Campbell and I were home for the evening, we both began to relax. It was more than obvious that he was as stressed as I was. Once again, I noticed that my boy wasn’t quite himself, but I honestly thought he was merely reacting to my stress. So I tried to appear calmer and to reassure him as much as I could.
At work on Tuesday, things were not so bad on the phones, and we slid through without much hassle. On Wednesday, though, things were not great at all!
I spent all day long working with and proofreading a book used by people who are working shifts from home, but at 3:30 p.m., my supervisor informed me I’d been using the wrong copy. To say I was displeased was an understatement. Then my supervisor and I got into a heated discussion concerning other things that were going on. Because I was frustrated about multiple issues, he and I did not communicate well. The meeting ended with me wanting to let him know just where he could put his policy. I’m glad I didn’t do that, but I did shove the door shut very loudly on my way out.
I went home and soon learned that on top of everything else, my pup was not feeling well. I had known he was a bit off. He’d been so all week, but now he was presenting upset stomach symptoms. I knew no good could come from it if I didn’t get it under control fast. I tried several people before finding someone to help me get what I needed.
It was very upsetting to me to realize that my support system was dwindling, that people I’d once believed I could depend on were showing their true colors, which were not pretty. This, along with the work stress of the day, was starting to have a seriously negative effect on me.
However, in the end, one of my long-time friends and volunteers came to my rescue. Not only did he bring what I needed for my boy, but he spent some time listening to and comforting me, as well. It truly seemed as though he really did care.
Soon the night was coming to a close. I had my boy properly medicated, had talked with my friend and gotten some frustrations off my chest, and was readying us for bed. I hoped the next day would go well. It was my first solo training class. I had six volunteers coming, one of whom was a board member. I knew there were still a few rough places in the book I was supposed to use to train them, but I couldn’t do anything more about that. I simply tried to stay as positive as was possible and hope for the best.
I was not only worried about the class, but about Campbell, too. I knew he was on the mend, but I was concerned just the same. Lucky for me, my good friend Old Man Bob took us to work that next morning, so we would not have to ride the bus until evening. I was very relieved, because this significantly lessened the chances that Campbell would have an episode of stomach upset while out.
As we all settled in the conference room with the fresh hot doughnuts that one of my volunteers had brought, I began to feel a bit calmer. The volunteers truly seemed glad to be there. Although they were looking to me for guidance (as has been the case more and more of late), I suddenly had the feeling that things might just work out in all situations concerned. After the stress-filled past few days, having this sudden feeling of confidence was just what I needed, and I began the class with a renewed sense of peace.
As we went through the topics of instruction step by step, and the volunteers asked several questions, it became obvious that there was some confusion concerning a few things in the book. But with much back-and-forth discussion, we all got on the same page, so to speak. When we left, I felt that those who had completed the training were ready to begin working their shifts from home, should the need arise.
To say I was relieved to have that over would be another understatement. I love teaching the volunteers, but I had felt a bit unprepared for that one.
As Campbell and I made our way to the house after the bus dropped us in the driveway, I felt a huge sense of relief. I believe Campbell felt it as well.
That, however, was only the beginning. I had no idea what was coming next.
Come back next week to find out just how much of a calamity we did end up having, and what a blessing in disguise it turned out to be.
Until next time, this is Patty and King Campbell signing off.
This article was proofread and lightly edited by Leonore H. Dvorkin. She also edited my recently released book. That’s Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life.
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