Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sick Dog. Good Books. Comforting Blogs.

My dear Nikki (an almost 11 year old Akita) became seriously ill the week before last. On the Thursday morning she collapsed in the street when we started out for our walk. Thank goodness a neighbor came by and helped me. He picked her up and carried her back to the house, his comment "She's a substantial young lady" floating on the early morning breeze. Nik at that point weighed in at 108 pounds.

I got Nik to the vet and we couldn't figure out what was going on. She was acting just the same as my boy Akita who lived to be almost 13 (elderly for this breed) and he'd died with a cervical spinal chord degeneration. Nik wouldn't let anyone touch her and even with her being muzzled they were unsuccessful in getting any x-rays. She was given an anti-inflammatory shot and a pain killer, and sent home with a new NSAID drug to be administerd once a day starting the following morning. The plan was to give her a light anaesthetic on the Tuesday and try to get some studies done so we'd know what we were dealing with. My Vet knows that money has been tight lately and she was trying to help me as much as possible without running wild with tests and treatments. I appreciated that.

On Sunday morning Nik refused her medication and wouldn't eat anything. In the afternoon she vomited. I didn't worry too much as she's always had a sensitive stomach. If she gets nervous, that's the first place it will show up. Sunday evening she had a bloody bowel movement, but it was old blood. I rushed her home and took her to the emergency hospital. Four hours later they wanted $2,000 to keep her in overnight, medicate her, give her IV fluids etc. This month is tax month. I said I couldn't do that. I opted for $675 and one IV fluid replacement and pain meds, and something to slow the motility in the bowel. I'm an ex-ICU nurse. I figured I'd stay up all night and tend to her needs, and take her to her own Vet on monday morning.

At one am Nik had bright red blood from her bowel, vomited three times and was in awful pain and discomfort. I got out my emergency credit card and drove her back to the hospital. They kept her there for two days and $3,000+ later I got to take her home. She's thinner, she's been on oral medications, antibiotics and Flagyl for the tummy. She looks good, but is frailer than before.

So, we had the first vet bill, the hospital bill, the carpet cleaning bill, the new medication and diet food bill. Tomorrow I take her for a follow-up with her own vet. Another bill. This has been a harsh month. But you know, with all of the angst and the cost, the hardest thing of all was having to sign the resuscitate/do not resusciate (should she have a cardiac arrest) sheet. I'd taken one look into her trusting big brown eyes and knew she still had quality of life. But that's one hell of an awful thing to have to think about.

What got me through all of the terrors of the last ten days were my writer's blogs. Every time I felt down I'd visit Jenny Crusie's blog, www.jennycrusie.com
or Lucy March's blog, www.lucymarch.com. Just being entertained, or hearing of someone else's troubles was almost enough to cheer me up, or at the very least help me to put everything into perspective.

But the best...the very best cure for waiting for a loved one's results, and then nursing them back to health, is a good book. I read Wild Ride, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer.

What a fabulous story. I love how these authors write outside of the box. They tell a story that has so many layers. Not layers like in a seven layer cake (you know cake, filling, cake, filling, cake, icing) or a lasagna, where it's all the same. No this is more of a Mexican dip. You ever see or taste one of those babies? Yum. There's cheese, there's beans, there's salsa, there's guacamole, there's...well you get the picture. Jenny and Bob's books are like that dip. Everytime you think you've hit that final delicious layer you find another. And those layers all blend so tastefully together that all you need is a perfect corn chip to give it crunch. Oh, and a Margarita. Definitely a Margarita. And salt.

Anyway, Wild Ride is a must read. I think everytime I reread it I'll find something I missed the first time around. So, there are no spoilers here for anyone who is waiting for the paperback edition.
This is a quote from the flyleaf:
Mary Alice Brannigan doesn't believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she's been hired to restore, is a prison for the Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there's a guy she's falling hard for, and there's something about him that's not quite right.
Go get it. You'll love it. It's a suspense. It's a love story. It's full of spit and vinegar. And yet, underlying all of that are the basic needs of family, love, and the need to know that someone has your back.

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