I just finished making a new medication chart. There’s fresh bedding in the closet and food she likes in the fridge. Made some calls to assure she has care round the clock if I must be otherwise engaged. The physical therapist I found will make house calls. I’ll have to go with her to the doctor’s for laser treatments on her spine.

She needs bed rest for two months and with all the meds, that shouldn’t present any problems. I’ve got to watch for bedsores, of course, so I got a sheepskin to keep her comfortable and sore-free. It’s a lot harder to get her out of bed and on her feet walking—which is also part of her therapy. I learned how to give her the massage treatment she needs three times a day and so far, she’s enjoyed that.

This is going to be a long convalescence. Dr. Brower said it could take as long as a year before she’s back to normal. He’s her surgeon and is absolutely wonderful about taking the time to talk to me and explain what’s happening. He said the paralysis is most likely temporary, but it’s awfully scary. I’m just waiting for a sign that she’s improving.

Of course I understand there’s a chance she won’t regain the use of her legs. One can never be fully prepared for the worst—but we’ll make the best of whatever happens. I’ll either be in caregiver mode for a few months or forever. As a caregiver, I’ve learned to go with the flow.

But, I don’t have a choice. Schatzie’s my sidekick; my protector; my loyal companion. I really didn’t expect to be a full-time caregiver again, and I pray that she makes a full recovery. It doesn’t matter that’s she’s a dog; I’ll be her caregiver as long as I have to. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.

Time for her mid-day massage!

About Adrienne Gruberg

Adrienne Gruberg is a former family caregiver and founder of The Caregiver Space. After six years of caring for her late husband and mother-in-law she conceived of an online support space all caregivers could come to. Adrienne holds a BFA from Boston University. She founded AYA Creative in 1982, an award winning graphic design, marketing and advertising company. Her design training has helped shape the website and her personal and professional experience continues to inform and influence the caregiver centric support experience she has created at The Caregiver Space.