Wednesday, July 19, 2006

animal ER

Zap and I arrived at the specialist via emergency admittance since otherwise they wouldn’t have had an appointment for us until Wednesday. She hadn’t responded to the fluids. After two days at our regular vet, her blood work was the same as when she arrived, i.e., she had sky high levels of bilirubin (the stuff that makes you jaundice). Things on the ultrasound looked abnormal but inconclusive.

I drove her 45 minutes north to more tests, to more unknowns, with a catheter in her back leg and a knot in my throat. They took Zappy back to hook her up and I waited around until the doctor had time to examine her and talk to me, though her “real” doctor would be in until the morning.

What I didn’t realize was that the specialists that were seeing us on an emergency admittance were THE emergency animal care facility for the area. I was in animal ER.

When I first took a seat in the waiting room, there was just one other woman there waiting for her dog to be released. My fellow waiter assured me unsolicited that they were “really good here.” Her dog had been hit by a car the night before. The nurse brought out a tiny little sedated thing with one of its legs wrapped, and the woman tucked her in a laundry basket and nodded nervously at the instructions on meds and hindquarter support.

Before she had the chance to leave, the room had begun to fill and the night swung into high gear.

A man rushed in carrying a beautiful white and carmel long hair dog about the size of a lab, tongue lolling. Ginger had gotten into some poison and arrived with 109 degree fever.

While Ginger headed for ICU, the receptionist hung up the phone and announced “We have a lethargic Rott coming in from Corralitos.” Next, Crinkle showed up – a terrier who had apparently rubbed a lab the wrong way and ended up with a bite out of his curly little ass. It looked painful to me, but Crinkle never made a word of complaint. The woman with the dog who was going home hugged Ginger’s dad and told him she’d put Ginger “in her prayer box.”

A black pick up stopped in front of the doors and a man attempted to lift what looked to be about 120+ pounds of Rottweiler out of the bed of the truck. Ginger’s dad offered to help. Even as sick as he was, Zeuss was imposing for the 30 seconds he stood in the lobby. That was all the time he could stand before he had to lie down again – a position his people said he’d been in for days – his massive head making a loud clunking sound as it met with the door jam.

Finally after about two hours, I spoke to a vet, got a quickie goodbye with Zap and drove home alone.

I don’t know why I’m writing all this. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to face what I now know. I could go on about the odd lighthouse theme in the waiting room, how the place you’d think would be covered in pictures of lizards cuddling with kittens was filled with paintings of craggy coastlines and red and white striped beacons. I could tell you how I really like Zappy’s “real” doctor that took care of her the next morning, or that Ginger’s fever had dropped to 103 by the time I left (though her bill was ever climbing). It was a tenser place than any medical office I’d ever been in. Emotions flowed freely and people were unafraid to reach out to one another. Animals bring us who we could be.

My Zap, my precious five-year-old little girl, has a terminal cancer.

She’s home with us now. And we’re so thrilled that she is. Maybe she’ll be here for a long time more, but things aren’t really in our favor. I want Isaac to remember her. I’ve asked her to please stay a while. Maybe if you know what a prayer box is, you could put her in it.

1 comment:

judy said...

You're right. Our animals let us be who we ought to be all the time. They love us unconditionally and encourage us to do the same for each other. Sending you good thoughts. Jude

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