Wednesday, July 18, 2007
wakeupandsmellthecoffee has taken intense pity on me and named me a "rockin' girl blogger," mainly because i am pretty much the last blogger left who hasn't already gotten this award and i had no shame in pointing this out to her.
clearly, whining is the only way to get ahead in this world. thanks, coffee! i'm gonna try this with my boss now. i'm pretty sure i'm the last person in the room who hasn't already gotten a raise ...
Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
it was a cautious spring. toby seeemed all right, just old. once in a while he had another "seizure"--always when we were walking, always when one of neal young's dogs came roaring up to the fence. he'd crumple up, i'd quietly panic, but i learned to wait and eventually he'd get to his feet again and we could go on.
our wonderful next-door-neighbors, craig and nettie (pictured below), gave us advice--craig was a veterinarian, and his wife was finishing up her veterinary degree over at the U. more than once, they came over to listen to toby's heart and lungs. the problem was his heart. over time, the murmur that he had had for years had worsened. the valve didn't close properly, and a little blood seeped back into the heart chamber with each pump. over the years, the chamber had enlarged.
and now there was fluid building up outside the heart. it was pressing on his lungs, which made it harder for him to take a breath.
he still loved going after the tennis ball--his lifelong passion. we lobbed them at him softly and made sure he didn't run very hard. he was still my boy. still my good boy.
one night in late april, i awoke some time past midnight. toby was standing at the side of the bed, breathing hard. "go lie down," i told him sleepily, and he did. the sound his poor old body made when he lay down was of a great clattering of bones--when had he gotten so skinny? but he was up within a few seconds, breathing hard again. he was clearly uncomfortable.
i woke doug. "what should we do?" i asked. "do you think we need to bring him to the U?"
the university's emergency clinic was about five miles away. craig had told us that if toby ever had trouble breathing, we should bring him in right away. the U's ER was open all night, but bringing him in seemed so ... drastic. we never went to the hospital as kids, and heading off to the emergency room at midnight with my dog seemed almost melodramatic.
but toby couldn't lie down. he couldn't get comfortable. and his breathing sounded very bad.
so doug brought the jeep around front, and i leashed up toby and brought him out to the truck. he wheezed laboriously all the way up Como Avenue. he was calm, but he stood the whole way. the look in his eye was wary.
the waiting room of the small animal clinic was washed in a cold, fluorescent light, the only building illuminated on that part of the campus that time of night. the doors whispered open, and toby and i staggered in while doug parked the truck. we walked up to the admittance desk in the middle of the waiting room. the receptionist was playing Yahoo solitaire. "my dog--he can't breathe," i said. i was very worried, but i thought it important to be calm. tell them what they needed to know. the receptionist was quick.
it was only a matter of minutes before several white-coated figures came rushing out to help. "Oh, Toby!" said one of the doctors in a voice filled with empathy. it was Nettie. our next-door neighbor. those two words were so concerned, so kind, and they had on me the effect that kindness in the face of trouble always has on me: the tears i had been holding back all night broke through and i began to cry.
.... TO BE CONTINUED