October 14, 2010
Five Weeks After the Fire
Yesterday when I woke up, Nellie was lying on the bed, shaking. I jumped out of bed and tried to rouse her, but she just shook and whimpered. Oh God, I thought, Oh God, not Nellie. Please don’t let anything be wrong with Nellie. I can’t take it, I can’t handle it, this would be the worst thing in the world right now. Anything but that. Anything but Nellie.
I threw on some clothes and called the veterinary clinic that I used to use when I lived in town, 20 years ago. Miraculously, Dr. Cathy, the vet who used to take care of my dogs, was in that day.
As I drove to the clinic, I realized that Dr. Cathy and the gals at the clinic didn’t know The Bad News. I called them back and told them. The receptionist asked “What can we do to help?” I said, “Just please understand that Nellie is all I have left right now, and the thought that anything is wrong with her is making me a little hysterical. I’m probably going to burst into tears the minute I walk in the door, so be ready.” “Okay, no problem,” she said kindly.
When I got there Nellie was still shaking violently, and crying whenever I touched her. I carried her into the clinic and they whisked us right into a room, where I immediately burst into tears. The vet tech patiently tried to get a description of her symptoms, asked what she had eaten, and explained that Dr. Cathy was in surgery, and I was welcome to drop Nellie off and they would watch her until she could see her in a half hour. “No,” I said, “I’m not dropping her off. I’m staying with her until Cathy can see her. I’ll wait with her in the waiting room, or here in the examining room, or even in the back, but I can’t leave her alone right now,” and I promptly burst into tears once again.
She thought for a moment, and then told me she would go into surgery and see if Cathy was at a place where she could take a break and examine Nellie, and in a few moments she returned and said Cathy could do that. I was so relieved and grateful that I started to cry – again. (Good thing I have lost all self-consciousness about crying in front of strangers…)
Nellie was lethargic and wide-eyed with pain, and she whisked her away, and I went back into the waiting room. The tech came out a few minutes later and said that Cathy was recommending x-rays, and she would let me know what the results were.
After about a half hour, Cathy appeared and called me in to an examining room. She showed me the x-rays and explained that Nellie had an unusual looking vertebrae, and that she might have pinched a nerve or hurt a disc in her back. Dogs often show pain by shaking and whimpering, and my poor little girl was in pain, but not in any danger. She would be fine, with some rest and medication.
I was so relieved and grateful I threw my arms around Cathy and gave her a huge hug, and then (you guessed it) burst into tears.
Then they brought Nellie out to me, still shaking a bit but none the worse for wear. “My Girl!” I cried, and got down on the floor and folded her gently into my arms. She licked my face and wagged a little – I think it hurt to wag. Can you imagine what that’s like for a dog? “Oh, I love you!… Ow, ow… But I do! I love you!… Ow, ow…” Poor sweet girl.
I got the meds and then took her home, gently loading her into the car. Saved, I thought. I am saved. We are saved. I can face everything now. I can live again. Without Nellie, I don’t know what I would do. I think I would crumble, I think my courage would finally fail. I would lose my faith in a Benevolent Universe if she were taken from me now. I would go to bed and never want to get up. All my friends and Irish ancestors wouldn’t be able to help me then.
But I am saved. Nellie will recover, and after a week of rest and medicine, she will hopefully be right as rain. She will curl up with me each night and nuzzle my face to wake me up each morning. She will smile and wag and not be in pain, and say, as she always does,
“ I love you! I do! Did I tell you I love you? I do! I love you I love you I love you I love you!” Lick, lick, wag wag.
Nellie is fine, and Life is Good.
Wishing You a Good Night,