Thirty Six Years Plus Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Days
Last night around 8:30, Minnie the Biting Wonderdog vomits. This happens sometimes. Dogs vomit. I commence the disgusting clean-up process. Minnie hops around while I eat dinner and I ignore her begging (good instincts on my part). Around 9:30 she vomits again. I think, "Not again!" and clean up disgusting mess. "Stupid-freaking *&^%$#@ cleaning up vomit twice in one night!" Little did I know . . .
It was to be the night that Minnie got something I wouldn't wish on anyone. During the ten minutes or so I was in the bathroom around 11:00-ish, brushing my teeth, washing face, etc., she vomited three times. Actually more, but at that point she was just dry-heaving. Is it only my animals who happen to become violently ill after dark? Anyone? Two hours later - long for me, but I'm sure MUCH longer for Minnie, she finally conked out. I stayed downstairs with her and "slept" on the couch. Of course I didn't really sleep because every time she made the slightest peep or snuffle, I jumped up with the paper towels. (The only good thing to come out of this experience was that by the end of the vomit-fest, Minnie had pretty much learned to vomit directly into a paper towel. She's so dainty.)
This morning, she was her usual spunky (aka "ornery") self and she was able to keep down water, so I figured I would go to work. Plus, I'm new at my job and I don't have any vacation time. Plus plus, do you really want to be the new person who calls the boss and says, "I'm not coming in because my dog has the stomach flu?" Yeah, me neither.
When I got to work I called my regular vet. I love my vet. A lot. It takes a very special vet to not judge or reprimand me for not getting Minnie "straightened out". However she (the vet, not Minnie) does not have emergency hours nor does she have an answering service. At one point last night, I was in Yahoo! Yellow Pages typing (with one hand) every iteration of "Emergency Vet" I could think of while Minnie sat in my lap and quietly puked into the paper towel I was holding.
I have learned recently that this town will never be known for its emergency vet scene. We'll never be on Animal Planet. My regular vet said to feed Minnie boneless boiled chicken breasts and boiled white rice. Apparently this is the canine eqivalent to ginger ale and Saltine crackers. I thanked the vet and said I could do that. Then I hung up the phone and realized: I don't have a kitchen. I have a microwave on a table. (Yes, again. Please don't ask). I call my mom to ask if I can come over after work and "borrow" her stove to make some boiled white rice (because "Minnie must have BOILED white rice - not microwaved - BOILED" was my thought process, if you must know). Why am I switching between past and present tense? I have no idea. But if you continue reading I think you'll allow me this annoying grammatical quirk today.
My mom's voice sounds very strange. She tells me that my 92-year-old grandfather has just fallen and he's on his way to the hospital. I don't know anybody who knows anything about geriatrics - I personally do not - but from what I understand, after a certain age, breaking your hip is bad, bad news. Which is (of course) exactly what he did. (Aside: The paramedics didn't want to take him to the hospital because they said he showed no signs of broken bones and his vital signs were near perfect. Luckily, a few family members were there to insist they take him.) My grandmother (also 92) hates hospitals so she stays home. (Another aside: My grandparents have been married to each other for 66 years. In November it will be 67. I have very big shoes to fill!) The ripple effects of this are big - too big for me to go into now, but the situation is not good. It especially stinks for my mother and my aunts. So there's that. And mostly I'm just trying not to think about it because in some cases I find denial an extremely effective coping mechanism.
I get home and Minnie is in GREAT spirits. Her dog food is gone (I had completely forgotten it was out from the night before.) She's had water. She's so excited to see me. I open the door, she runs over, does her little "hoppy, hoppy, I'm so happy" dance and hops right to the edge of the basement steps and falls. down. the. whole. flight. All I could think was, "My dog is going to be dead in a second." And of course, the whole thing feels like it takes ten minutes while I wave my arms around trying to figure out some way to help her. She lands on the floor at the bottom of the steps, looking at me like, "What?" wags her tail and I go down to get her. Normally I never take Minnie off the leash. Ever. EV-er. But I'm so traumatized and she's so traumatized (not really, but I was "projecting" as they say) I take her outside to see if she can stand/walk/move. I don't put her leash on because this is a twelve-pound dog who has just tumbled down an entire flight of stairs. She may not even be able to stand up. So of course, she takes off running. Into the street. This last episode? Just happened.
Someone get me a drink. Now.