Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Week Two - Part One

The lymph nodes under Tank's neck were as big as wall nuts, and hard, but as the swelling elsewhere went down his appetite returned so long as the food was soft. So I nuked his dry feed in water to make it so. Big deal. Until Sunday when he had stopped eating. Not just food but treats and the chunks of cheese I'd been burying his antibiotics in.

His breathing is all wrong. He's not just panting non-stop but there's also a wheezing from deep within his chest. For the first time I grasp just how quickly Tank's going downhill and begin to wonder if we'll find a vet in time. If we'll find one before Tank gets much worse and we make the decision to set him free to spare him.

And for the first time I start losing it. I'm standing at the kitchen sink telling myself I'm not going to cry but my shoulders start shaking and here it comes. And here comes Tank because something's wrong with "Mom."

Monday I brought home canned dog food. Sloppy stinky crap. Tank scoffed it down.

Tuesday he wouldn't touch it. When he finally did, it came flying up all over the carpet a few hours later. He did, however, eat and keep down without problem four slices of drive-by sausage pizza (none of us felt like cooking) a few hours later.

Da Kid had called from work Tuesday morning. He'd hit pay dirt and made an appointment for a Dr. LaDue to see Tank Wednesday morning. I have no idea who he is but Da Kid says not only is he a TOP rated specialist in the field of canine / small animal oncology but honest, too. Honest meaning that he'll tell us exactly what's going on and not sugarcoat it.

I have no idea where Dr. LaDue's office is but Da Kid does. He'll draw me a map. No, he doesn't know the address. He'll draw me a map.

WARNING, WILL ROBINSON, WARNING! I know of only two people with a worse sense of direction than I have. Da Kid is one of them. Herself, his fiancé, is the other.

I call Dr. LaDue's office to confirm the appointment, get the address and directions. Not that it means much because I still don't know where the hell I'm going.

Nothing by mouth for Tank after 10 p.m. because the tests tomorrow require sedation. Not that he's eating anything, anyway.

I get up during the night and in the dark stumble over a heavy, unmoving form. I know it's Tank and I know it's over. I slowly turn on the light . . . he looks at me but doesn't move. When I come back from the bathroom he's in the same place but stretched out on his other side. He moved!

Wednesday morning I pick up Tank's records going back to February (including the x-rays and the trip to E.R.) at Doc's, and then head home to get him. As I'm walking out the door Hubby tells me Da Kid's map — which seemed clear to me — is all screwed up. He then opens his Street Guide and on one of its pages shows me Da Kid's directions, and starts explaining why they're wrong.

I do not need this. Not now. I was doing okay but now I'm not just shaking. I'm vibrating, but no. I'm not going to cry. I can't afford the luxury knowing it will upset Tank.

"Just go to the next exit up, to Roosevelt Boulevard, and then his directions are fine."

Tank and The Wonderdog see a dog lead in my hand. And keys. "WE'RE GOING FOR A RIDE!" But only Tank is going with me.

Outside, I open the car door and Tank — as he's supposed to do — waits until I say "IN!" before he launches himself into the back seat. That it's a vehicle he's never seen before never crossed his mind nor did it matter that he's panting and wheezing so hard has to lie down. "I'M GOING FOR A RIDE!"

Da Kid had said it would take an hour to get there. Considering difference between the way he drives and I do, I left early. Instead of 60 minutes it only took less than 40. If it hadn't been for Hubby, I might still be looking for the place.


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