Deep into resilience

Apologies about being MIA on Monday, it’s a very busy week here in Luang Prabang.

I’m working hard on drafting this resiliency report I’m working on all day, every day. I’ve asked 15 fabulously interesting people all over the world questions such as, “do you think there are differences between the qualities that can make someone resilient in the short term versus the long term?” and woefully underestimated the amount of time it would take me to data crunch 25,000 words of interview notes. It’s a good thing I’m interested in the topic, or I’d be a bit dark at the way it’s consuming my life at present (and all my email, blogging, and showering time).

Just kidding. I have been showering. Most days, anyway.

Then there’s the toddle… I mean, the puppy. He’s not shy anymore, more’s the pity. Zulu has fully recovered from his brush with rabies/panic. He alternates between looking angelic and adorable (when he’s fast asleep) to racing around the tile floor in here as if all the hounds of hell are after him, yipping and screeching just for the fun of it. He also has a charming habit of biting hands. Playing with him when he’s excited (so, basically, anytime except the first 47 seconds after he wakes up from a nap) is like juggling a set of very small knives that have no handles. Any number of gentle admonitions not to bite have yet to break him of this habit. So has smacking his nose, although that does sometimes make him go and sulk under the ant pantry where I cannot reach him.

One of our friends here, Chloe, took pity on me this last couple of days and has come over twice to dog-sit while I am trying to write. Bless her.

So that is my life at the moment – report and dog. Oh, and pain in my bad foot.

Mike and I have been trying to find an English speaking physiotherapist here in Luang Prabang on and off, and on Sunday we followed up on a tip and went to a hotel on the Pennisula where, lo and behold, we met a lovely woman who did indeed speak some English.

She also looked as if she knew what she was doing with my leg – at least until she started working on it.

I think she probably is good at treating some issues, but not lymphedema, because she subjected my foot to everything that all my research thus far suggests is bad for it – deep pressure massage focusing only on the foot itself, and lots of heat. She also recommended acupuncture, which I had the good sense to turn down.

I let her go with the rest of it because I wanted to see whether it might help. Perhaps she knew something I didn’t. She studied here in Laos, I thought, and perhaps Western medicine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Yes, well, unless continuing pain and swelling three days after treatment is a good sign, I now doubt it. In this case, anyway.

I stared at it crossly at my foot after I got up this morning. Then I had a heart to heart with God about it that went something like this.

“Look, God. I was trying to do the right thing here and be proactive in taking care of this stupid foot. And so it didn’t exactly work out, but I think three days of pain is enough to learn my lesson about treating it gently. So you can just get your act together and sort it out now, OK? Be a pal and do your part.”

“Well my child,” Mike said from the bathroom where he was shaving (and eavesdropping). “One could say I have done my part by organizing against the odds for you to procure a very expensive piece of medical equipment called a lymphatic drainage pump before you left for Laos, and then moving your medical insurance company to reimburse you for two thirds of the cost, and then moving the pump company to ship you a new part for that pump at no extra cost all the way to Laos when it broke six weeks after you go there.* You have not used this pump in three days, so get your ass upstairs this afternoon and do your treatment.”

“Wow,” I said, amazed. “That was a really good impression of God you just did there.”

“Thank you,” Mike said modestly.

That’s it from me for now, I need to go and rescue Zulu from Mike, or vice versa. I’ll be back later this week, hopefully to report that the resilience report is fully drafted and that the foot has demonstrated resilience.

*Whether they believe their actions were divinely inspired or not, I must give a heartfelt shout out of thanks to Flexitouch for all the remote troubleshooting they’ve helped me do with the pump since I got here. They’ve gone above and beyond. I’m grateful.


8 responses to “Deep into resilience

  1. Puppy mouthing is a very normal part of puppyhood. Dogs have no hands, so they explore the world with their mouths. If you’ve ever watched puppies with other dogs, they bite them CONSTANTLY.

    But, we’re fragile, and it hurts. Rather than smacking his nose — which is punishing him for being a dog — surround yourself with toys and stick one in his mouth. Over and over and over. When he gets too wound up, physically separate yourself from him. (Chances are he’s about ready to crash for a nap at that time anyway.)

    Just keep reminding yourself that he’s not being bad — he’s being a DOG. He’s an alien in your home. Nothing you’re asking of him makes any sense from his point of view. Be consistent and fair. Make it worth it to him to do what you want, not punishing to make a mistake.

  2. In my dog experience, the best thing to do when a pup bites is to remove your attention immediately. Stand up. Walk away. Etc. Our dog was extremely motivated by attention so this worked very well. Good luck!!! 🙂

  3. That picture of you and Zulu is great! He looks rather inquisitive.

  4. Ditto both zozo and melissa…. only very important is to make sure he does stop biting by puppy teen years and that you do NOT continue to play with him when he bites hands. A pal never stopped playing with the pup of theirs when he bit….. then they had an adult dog that wanted to bite the hands of all things that came near him (adults and kids) as a weird game of tug of war…..sadly puppy is gone now for biting kiddos hands one too many times. But you guys are too attentive to let that happen! And prayers for your foot! I hope it feels better ASAP! with help from God AND the pump!

    • Thanks you. Yeah, I think he’s getting better with the hands thing and we’re trying not to reinforce bad behaviour. It’s hard when they’re so little and so cute. Foot is feeling better this weekend than last, so yay for that. Hope you four are all very well!

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