There’s a Tennis Match in My Skull

by Soul Places | Diane Ludeking

I took my twelve-year-old Golden Retriever, Dallas, to the veterinarian last week.  He has been experiencing mysterious little twitching attacks over the last few months that recently became more frequent and worrisome.  He wears the cutest, curious-puppy-dog face when it happens, as if to say, “what’s going on?” but there is nothing cute about these fits.  His body is getting older, arthritic, grey and has begun to confuse his youthful soul.

A thorough exam and lengthy conversation with Dr. Arnett at Waunakee Veterinary Clinic narrowed us down to hypothyroidism or a tick borne disease.  With his knack for explaining things in layperson terms, Dr. Arnett gifted me with a life lesson to ponder.  He said, “Perhaps these puzzling symptoms are the new normal for Dallas.  All things considered, he is a very healthy twelve-year-old dog.”  As much as I wanted to reject that theory, I knew there might be some truth to it.

My Beloved Dallas

We opted for the thyroid test first as the symptoms seemed to point most earnestly in that direction.  Dallas is at the lowest range of normal, but given his past super-athlete lifestyle, I suspected that this ‘low range of normal’ is actually his version of below normal.  More tests were recommended to help narrow down what is actually causing the low thyroid results.  As my husband and I continue to explore options for Dallas, I cannot get the conversation about “new normal” out of my head.

I am in my mid-thirties now and my body definitely doesn’t behave like it used to.  Nothing alarming, but enough change to perk my own ears and tilt my head in curiosity at.  What if these subtle nuances are my new normal?  Of course, I emphatically dismiss that inkling, wanting things to be the way they always were.  But when the wave of denial passes, I consider this notion again:  when do I stop searching for a ‘cure’ and accept the changes as the ‘new normal?’

By no means am I giving up on Dallas or myself; I intend to pursue my due diligence, all the while entertaining the questions: “Is this body or symptom my new normal?  Are these unusual tremors Dallas’ new normal?” As you read this, dear friend, those questions continue to bounce off the rigid walls of my skull like the tennis ball in a Wimbledon match.  With appreciation for a questioning mind, I will watch this match develop; returning the wicked serves as best I can while seeking a return to normal or accepting the new normal.

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