In the last two weeks, we gasped in horror at the terrible accident that put guest columnist Debbie Norman in mortal danger. Go to Part 1 and Part 2 for previous parts of the story. We left where Debbie was losing consciousness on a cold January day, unable to reach her house for the warmth and help she needed to survive, while her dog CoCo continued her efforts to keep Debbie awake and striving. We offer the final segment of the story below.
MY HERO DOG (Part 3)
While this was going on, my husband woke up. He went to the bathroom and thought he heard me call for help. But he barely heard it. He yelled for me and I didn’t answer. He checked all over the house and couldn’t find me. He looked in the basement, I wasn’t there either. And then he opened the back door, and found me, about halfway up the sidewalk.
I was so happy to see him!!! He took care of the dogs and me, and he called 911. I just wanted him to put me in the car and go! But being a nurse, he knew that the right thing to do was to not move my leg any further. He was concerned one of my broken bones might cut a vein and cause me to bleed severely. He put lots of blankets under me and on me, and instructed me not to move anymore. Moving around a broken limb is not a good thing, and I did develop compartment syndrome in the leg. (If you don’t know what compartment syndrome is, I don’t recommend googling it, if you plan to eat anytime soon.
In the ambulance, they said my body temperature was way too low and my blood pressure was dangerously low. On the ride to the hospital, I remember the paramedic saying how lucky I was, that I didn’t get much colder. He’d take my BP and say, “How did you not pass out?” I said, “My dog wouldn’t stop licking my nose.” 🙂 It was just a freak accident. But I could have died that day.
So after that, I called her my hero dog. In my opinion, she saved my life, by preventing me from passing out in the cold. She was so happy to see me when I got back from the hospital. I’m guessing she had been worried the entire time. I think she had some measure of relief when she knew my husband had found me. But I don’t think she truly relaxed until she saw me for herself and knew I was ok.
She kept that sort of devotion to me her entire life.
Recently, her head started swelling. At first the vet thought it might be a severe sinus infection. But then the swelling went away, and it became apparent that something worse was going on. She was diagnosed with cancer.
We brought her home and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. The last few weeks have been very hard. Stress makes MG (the neuromuscular disease that I have) flare. So it’s been rough. My body has fought me every step of the way. I’ve cried so much.
Losing your dog never gets any easier, no matter how old you get, or how many dogs you’ve lost over the years. In fact, I think it gets harder. It killed me that she saved me and I couldn’t save her. I tried. I tried so hard to save her. But, like my husband reminded me, we saved her when we rescued her and we gave her eight good years. I’m trying to think of it that way.
She spent a lot of time the past few weeks sleeping in her beloved crate, on her pile of fluffy white dog towels. She always did love laundry. So I put lots of extra dog towels in her crate when she got sick and I gave her clean ones each morning, and during the day when needed. Fresh towels always made her wag her tail and smile. I would sit with her as much as I could.
And when she got till she couldn’t walk, we would carry her outside to enjoy the sunshine. As weak as she got, she kept this fantastic attitude. Always bright-eyed, always wagging her tail.
Monday, we spent the whole day outside as a family. She sat on my lap, or at my feet, and enjoyed the warm sunshine. We watched birds and chipmunks, and watched the kids play. She even tried to get a couple of wasps that got near me!She was so content. It was a truly special day.
After Monday, things got worse. Yesterday, Wednesday April 24, 2013, we said goodbye. Perhaps it’s not goodbye, perhaps it’s see you later. I believe dogs go to Heaven. And if they do, then I should have quite the warm welcome waiting on me someday. In the meantime, I will treasure the memories.
I wish she could have lived longer. My heart is broken that she is gone. But we had a great eight years together and I can honestly say that in her entire life, she never did one bad thing – ever. I’ve been blessed with the companionship of some wonderful dogs during my life. But I think she’s the only one that I can truly say that about. Not one bad thing, ever.
Have you ever had the sad experience of losing a pet? What kinds of things did you do to help ease your pain? If you would like to share that story, please just enter a comment at the bottom of this post where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”
(Next week watch for “Mosquitoes and Wood Ticks and Fleas, Oh My!” by Sandra Bell Kirchman)
Column and introductory text copyright
© 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
MY HERO DOG title, content and pictures
copyright © 2013 by Debbie Norman
All rights reserved by the respective authors.
(Volume 14-5.3, May 17, 2014)