Loretta's work during camp meeting has been amazing! For one thing, she has to deal with untold numbers of people who often pet even though they know better. I often ask people not to pet or even remove their hands bodily from her, only to hear them say, "I've heard you aren't supposed to pet them." Many people assume that she's still in training when they see me correct her for various behaviors or redirect her attention when she is distracted. It is tiring and difficult to explain that a dog guide finishes "training," (learning to guide) but must constantly be given direction regarding what my expectations of her are in a given situation. The guide work is the easy part.
The camp meeting event is located in the wellness center on the AU campus. This has required me to learn a new part of campus. Because the wellness center has a lot of wide open space, Loretta has to do a lot of "patterning." She has learned several locations in the building using various terms: "door" to get to the correct door out of the auditorium; "table" to get to the seminary table, which I will be working twice this week; "car" to locate the outside doors to the parking lot; "water" for the water fountains; and "outside" for various other things. I use "outside" for getting out of the building and back to the main part of campus; but I have also used it for getting out of the eating tent and back onto the main sidewalk, at which point I then use another command for picking the portion of route that I need to do (inside for the building or left for going to the street to walk over to the rest of campus). There are portions of this kind of thing that I could do without her; but there are things that I could not do without her. Getting out of the auditorium is one of them.
Loretta's facility with these patterning tasks is amazing and has turned out to be extremely helpful. I had to leave the service early tonight due to a show-stopping migraine--I was on the verge of passing out and did not have any medications with me. I missed the activity following the service, which I had really been anticipating; and I was deeply disappointed. It was a Church of God heritage song sing-along. I really wanted to go, particularly because for the first time in my life I have a collection of hymns pulled from my braille hymnal and I would have been able to participate and truly enjoy it. I briefly contemplated walking home, but I realized that walking 1.3 miles when I feel like I might pass out is not a wise idea even with an amazing dog. Dad picked me up; and at home I bawled, took meds, and lounged in bed with the cats. Alexis brought me a CD from last year, and this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would not have bought one if I had been there; and having it on hand is a nice thing. Robert Reardon was there, and he spoke. I feel like I have a piece of history.
Whether I will go to the morning activities tomorrow is up in the air. I would really like to go; but someone made a good point to me tonight that I knew was true even while I was so upset about the migraine. Last year I was very sick during camp meeting week and was really still building my stamina even when I was healthy. I attended only two morning sessions. This year, I have already attended four services and a social function as well as done a bunch of baking in between times. I'm also not entirely recovered from whatever I caught last week, and I've had daily headaches that sometimes did not respond to medication. Last night I went to the service with a headache that was fairly high on the pain scale. I'm probably due for some rest whether I want it or not. I'm having a hard time with the concept. Camp meeting is an annual experience, and I'm very conscious that I will be missing out on opportunities to encounter the work of God and nurture relationships.
Hmm... I just realized that I never posted my entries from Friday evening or Sunday morning. I need some sleep; but I am making myself a note to do this at the first opportunity tomorrow. Important context is missing from this post without them.