Last night Nike had what we thought was an upset stomach from eating too quickly. Even after regurgitating her dinner, she was still active and attentive. However later that evening my friend noticed she threw up again and when I went to check on her she was crying/restless/uncomfortable looking. The last time I had seen her that uncomfortable was when I had her spayed. With my best judgement I called the emergency vet and took her in.
Cue the longest night of my life so far.
During the initial wait I applied for pet insurance. Something I should have done a long time ago, not only invest in a preventative care plan with what little income I do generate. I may have graduated from college, but I’m still an idiot.
My mother asked me “How much does Nike cost to you?”. In a perfect, frictionless, mechanical world, where matter and energy are always constant, the laws of nature are fixed and where size and mass is negligible, she is priceless and I’d Fantine for her without a second thought. Each time the vet spoke, dollar signs came out. Punctuation marks accumulated up and down the page and that price became smaller and smaller. I felt nauseated at my selfishness. Several hours of regrettable coffee, X-rays and tests later, we knew it was a partial blockage and opted for surgery.
We said our good-nights to Nike and went home. While the vet had a better disposition, I’m a realist. She is only 10 months old, but I know that my dog will not outlive me (if she does, check for my body at the bottom of the stairs, her favorite place to cut me off). I don’t dwell on it much, but I do occasionally remind myself every now and then, thinking it’ll make it easier when that day finally comes (read: it won’t). Human or animal, I have accepted that any operation, no matter how routine or minimal carries risk (for the record I cried the night before she was going to be spayed while reading The Oatmeal’s “My Dog: The Paradox”). I had about as much peace with that as a half-hour nap would allow. Thankfully at 6:30 am they called to tell me that Nike responded well: string had caused the blockage and was now coming undone and should be passing within a few hours. Major surgery was now a minor procedure and she could be home as early as this evening.
I don’t know how parents are able to get up in the morning and acknowledge that at any given moment, something could happen. A good friend (and father) said to me “don’t get me started on being unprepared”. I don’t imagine there is much preparation you can do other than teach your kids about electricity early and make sure they’re good enough a reader to understand safety labels.
My episode with my dog makes me doubt my abilities to ever be fully responsible for another human life that isn’t my own. My trick for having made it this far is to not j-walk and always stay in the marked crosswalk for pedestrians, that way if you do get hit you’re in the clear, legally…hopefully. In my stupid mind, I can’t weigh the reward against the risk. I know the cliche is that “no one is ever really ready”. To me, “you just wing it” was a mantra through college, I don’t think it’s appropriate to apply to the same practice to parenting.
All this spewed because my dog ate string. Clearly I’m not ready for much of anything.