Wednesday, November 19, 2003

But I Don't Want To Be The Mommy

This is a day I would not want to live through again. This morning I was vacuuming the living room carpet when I noticed blood on one of the pads where the dogs sleep. Neither one was acting like anything was wrong but I know Emma is kind of tough so she could have cut a pad on one of her paws when my husband took her and Kate hunting earlier and not be showing any pain. I could see Emma lying on the ground in the front yard so I opened the front door and called her over to me. When she came she walked like she was hurting a little so I was pretty sure it was one of her pads. I picked up each paw and check the pads but could not find anything so I started running my hands over her body. When I felt around her chest I found an area that was wet and I leaned down to take a look, “OH, GOD!” There was a hole about the size of a silver dollar down near where her chest met her belly. I was so shocked by the image of that hole that it did not stick in my brain but kind of hit the surface and skittered off into the ether. I am still not sure what it really looked like. I was just afraid that what ever she ran into had punctured either a lung or her belly.

At this point the adrenaline kicked in and I was in controlled panic mode. My husband was out running errands and I wanted to get a hold of him but I did not know the number of the retail store that he had just left for minutes earlier. A neighbor knew the number so I hurried across the street, told her what had happened, got the number, called the store but was told my husband had just left. My neighbor asked me where he was headed next and I told her the post office so she ran to her car and went to find him. I went back to my house and called Emma’s vet. Her vet is in a town about an hour and a half away from us but three days a week she works at a satellite office in a town only 30 minutes away. Today was one of the days that she would be working in the closer town. When the Vet Tech answered I told her what was going on and she said the vet was on her way to the satellite office and would be there in about 45 minutes to an hour. I said we were on the way and that we would wait if we got there before her. Then went out to get a bed ready for Emma in the car.

While I was doing this my neighbor came back saying she could not find my husband. I asked her to look at Emma because I was not sure if I was over reacting or not. Maybe Emma wasn’t hurt as badly as I thought she was. Emma was walking around acting like nothing was wrong and even wagged her tail at my neighbor. My neighbor bent down to look at Emma’s chest but could not see anything so I reached under Emma’s front legs and lifted her into the air a bit. Now my neighbor could see the damage and she blurted out, “OH, GOD!” That was it- I wasn’t waiting any longer. I asked my neighbor to tell my husband where I had gone, put Emma in the car, and headed for the vet’s office.

During the drive I kept checking Emma out in the rear view mirror. I could tell she was uncomfortable because she would not lie down on the seat but sat up even though she was very sleepy. She would try to lie down but after about 30 seconds would sit up again. Once when I look at her I was shocked to see the damage to her body was greater than I thought. I could see a thick line of blood that started near her sternum and continued down to where I had seen the hole. I started crying, afraid she was seriously hurt and thinking the reason she wasn’t showing any pain was because she was in shock. I knew there was a vet in a town north of us and I wondered if I should go there instead of to Emma’s vet. This doctor was only about twenty minutes away. I was racing east and knew I would have to make a decision quickly because the turn to the town up north was only a few miles ahead of me. I didn’t know what to do. What if he wasn’t there? What if something happened to Emma before I got her to her own vet? I was panicking. What should I do? I was getting closer to the turn off. I had to make up my mind but I couldn’t decide. What, what should I do?

I decided to ask my mother. Maybe she could help me. So I asked out loud, “Mom, should turn up here?” I heard a voice in my head distinctly say, “No.” I drove past the turn off but about a mile later I was sure I had made the wrong decision. I asked my mother another question, “Should I keep going straight?’” I heard the word yes in my head but I was still worried about Emma and still not sure if I was making the right decision by driving on so I asked, “Is Emma going to be alright?” The answer came as quick and clear as the other two times, “Yes.” At that moment my anxiety level dropped from panic to worried and I was able to relax and just concentrate on my driving.

When I reached the vet’s office I was relieved to find the open sign on the door and gently carried Emma inside. I put her down and she started trotting around the office with her tail wagging. I lead her into the exam room and lifted her up to the table where the doctor examined her, “Well, that’s not too bad, we will just sew it up and she will be good as new.”

“It’s not bad? It looks bad to me.”

She ran her hand down Emma’s back and said, “No, for a dog this is like a cat scratch is to us. She only ripped the skin, which is why she not in a lot of pain. She hasn’t done any muscle damage and doesn’t have a puncture wound. I’ve seen dogs ripped open from here,” pointing to Emma’s left flank, “to here,” drawing a line with her finger across Emma’s body to her left shoulder, “and be OK. Call about two o’clock to make sure, but I’m sure you can come back later this afternoon and take her home.”

The sense of relief I felt was almost overwhelming and I lightly leaned my head on Emma’s body to keep from dropping to the floor. The drive home was a breeze.

My husband was the one who went to pick her up and I heard him drive into the garage as I was typing this so I stopped and hurried upstairs to see how Emma was doing. She was awake and sitting up looking out of the backseat window like a queen reviewing her troops. Kate was as excited to see her as I and, after I opened the car door, rushed over to Emma with her tail wagging. Emma was a still a little groggy from the anesthetic but could walk. When I saw where she was stitched up I was surprised by how small an area it covered. The row of seven stitches is only about three to four inches long but then I realized what I had looked at was a gapping open wound with the skin pulled apart and hanging loose. She is now sleeping off the affect of the anesthetic and we expect a quick and complete recovery.

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