Thursday, January 06, 2011

Living in this Tension

Our dog is confusing the heck outta me!

Last night she was too weak to get up and greet Sarah's friends who came back here at 11 pm after a trip to New York. I had changed Molly's bandage and it was really bloody. The boys carried her outside on a blanket and she just stayed on her tummy--didn't get up to pee, didn't mess the blanket, didn't rally at the sight of anything moving in the night air. They brought her back in.

I buried my face in her neck and sobbed. For the 443rd time this week I told her what a good dog she is, how much I love her, how she's been a handpicked gift from God.

I went to bed with a shattered heart, dreading the morning. Woke up dreading what I'd find downstairs. Scared to go to the kitchen alone.

But she was on her tummy and wagged her tail to greet me. Still too weak to rise, and needing a change of bandage, she stayed put. Steve woke soon and helped me do the nurse work. Before Paul left for work, he spoke tenderly and rubbed her head. That's not typical for Paul, so I really thought, "This is it. Even he knows her time is really short."

I cooked six egg whites and she devoured them. On her side. She drank water. On her side. She couldn't stand without help.

But at noon, Ben and Sarah carried her outside and she walked around a little and peed. Then she headed for the van. She loves her car rides. So we decided to take her for a ride. Went through the drive thru where Steve works. Gave her a bite of chicken sandwich and some fries.
Came home and parked the van. But every time Ben tried to lift her from the back seat, she pulled away. She wanted to stay there. Maybe another car ride? Maybe her way of saying she'd rather die outside than in? Maybe to die alone while looking out windows?

At any rate, I thought her eyes were saying, "It's my time. Please..."

Bonnie, Evie, and Emmy came over and took turns crawling into the van to pet her and to share our grief. Friends who care about your pets are the best. I told Bonnie I appreciated their company but hoped they'd understand we wanted to be alone with Molly when we went to the park. She completely understood. No apologies needed.

I called the vet and asked if it was okay to give her a whole chicken sandwich. He said, lovingly and yet with expert knowledge, "Is she still bleeding?" Yes, I said. "Then we can say it's not an autoimmune disease. It's a vascular bed problem. With her anemia, she probably doesn't have much absorption. Her intestines lack the lining to break down a lot of food--but by golly, at this stage, if my dog wanted a whole McDonald's cheeseburger, I'd give it to her. But maybe an eighth of it every few hours."

So, through tears, I thanked him for his compassion and advice. Then I called Steve home from work. I figured he'd want to be his siblings for the goodbye ride to the park.

We drove and drove to find a really private spot away from traffic, under trees, a soft place for her to walk. Ben lifted her out, and straightaway she peed on the ground. Then she pooped. (Sorry for TMI, but she hadn't defacated since at least Sunday and I was worried she'd go septic.) There was no blood in any "specimen." What a relief!

Then she proceeded to walk around like a young dog. You'd never know she had an ace bandage.
Her face was bright and happy. She wagged her tail and explored the land. Sniffed leaves. Sniffed rocks. Steve videotaped her youthful romping. It reminded me of what heaven might be like.

Then, when we felt she shouldn't put any more pressure on that bad leg, or tire her any further,
we guided her back to the van. I was a distance from the van so couldn't see what was happening. I figured Ben was lifting her back into her comfy seat.

But no, Molly had hopped up into the van all by herself!
Where did she get the strength? The motivation? The energy? All I could do was say, "Amazing! Thank you, God! I am so confused, but I'll take it!"

And when she got home, she laid down again in the kitchen. Then she got up and went to the family room where Sarah was sleeping. Steve put a blanket under her bad leg, but it has not bled. I don't understand. I don't have to change the bandage. What is going on? Are the meds working and this IS indeed NOT cancer? Does she have an autoimmune disease that's controllable and will meds be able to prolong her life well? Or is it a glimpse of heaven carved out to give us hope, to comfort us? I don't know. The tension is hard to live with, but I will gladly release my dog to a park-like heaven full of trees and leaves and squirrels and birds and whatever else I picture God creating for those He loves--those with two legs or four, or with wings. It's a beautiful thought to dwell on while living in this tension.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform!"