There I was, lying on the floor of the veterinarian’s treatment room. Not Daisy. She was doing quite well with the procedure Dr. Keating was performing on her. I was the one overcome by it all and dysfunctional at that moment: a codependent in relapse.
As you know from reading My Life as a Border Collie: Freedom from Codependency, Daisy is a very important creature in my life, a long-time, loyal companion and a teacher of mine. She will be seventeen years-old on April 15th and she is doing well for her age.
Sometimes I am doing well for my age in recovery and sometimes I am doing not as well.
Daisy has warts of some sort which grow in various places on her body. The procedure Dr. Keating was performing was shaving some of Daisy’s fur from around one of these growths on the side of her face close to her ear. There was no emergency about any of this, and both Dr. Keating and Daisy were doing well with this slow, tedious process.
It was I who slowly and surely became overwhelmed by it.
One could say that of course a novice to medical procedures involving blood and bad smells and possible pain might be overcome by such close involvement as I had there. Dr. Keating had asked me to be the one to hold Daisy on the examining table, and I did have my face and eyes right on what she was doing.
But I also had my heart and soul right on what she was doing as well. I don’t like to take Daisy to the veterinarian in the first place, not because of the care she receives – which is excellent – but because I am so afraid that something is going to be wrong with her that I didn’t know about or because I don’t want to stress her.
I said to my husband about it all, I just didn’t know if Daisy, at her old age, could handle a procedure that would contain her in ways she doesn’t like to be contained and that might frighten her. Monty and I laughed as he said back to me, “And you were the one who couldn’t handle it.”
Yes, that is correct. Halfway through the procedure I was overcome by heat and felt like I was going to faint. Dr. Keating called in her assistant immediately to take over my job and had me sit in the chair. I held my head down low. She wondered if I was having a heart attack, and I reassured her I was not. She wondered if I should get down on the floor to be completely safe, and I did as the floor had much appeal at that time.
And so there I was lying on the floor of the treatment room looking back up at Daisy on the examining table doing well as Dr. Keating and Trisha completed their work.
My level of over-concern for Daisy had taken me over. I had moved from being helpful to being a distraction and a problem in this process. As I had allowed my heart and soul to worry about how Daisy was going to do with all of this, I failed to simultaneously pay attention to my self. I had not taken off my coat as we started, adding to my getting hot. I watched what Dr. Keating was doing way more than I know is good for me to do. I kept feeling impatient and restless for Daisy who I imagined felt that way but did not show it. I wanted this to be over with – I thought for Daisy’s sake but really for mine.
At the end of My Life as a Border Collie I tell a final tale about Daisy and I that highlights there being a fine and important line between us, that fine line that us codependents can be challenged by in our relationships: the line between where I end and you begin; the line between where you end and I begin.
There in the veterinarian’s treatment room I blurred that line so thoroughly that my body acted out my enmeshment and took me to the floor.
A lot of help I was!