Thursday, November 18, 2010

The aftermath

First, I’d like to say just how much I appreciate all of you who reached out to me with your kind words, advice, support and hope in response to my post about my dog’s surgery. These are dark days indeed (oh dear, no pun intended) and your voices have helped carry me through some of these difficult hours. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kirby is convalescing now; her surgery went well. My Guy and I picked her up on Tuesday, and while I held it together at the doctor’s, I bawled in the car. The sutures in her eyes were just too much for me. But then again, when I imagined what it was like for her, I felt worse. I’ve been surprisingly emotional these few days. While I’m often easily moved to tears, I usually feel strong enough to face whatever it is that I have to face. This, however, is not one of those times.

On Friday, when I had to make the impossible decision to have the surgery to remove both of Kirby’s eyes, I cried at the doctor’s office. When I got home, I was too immersed in work to dwell on it, but when My Guy came home from work, I lost it. In front of Little Miss. I frightened the poor girl, who murmured in quiet desperation, “mommy, mommy” as she wiped my tears. When she saw that I was inconsolable, she started to cry herself, and I felt awful. That pretty much ended my sobfest right there. Note to self: Don’t cry in front of your two-year-old.

Yesterday when we brought Kirby home, Little Miss was acting out in ways that made her unrecognizable. My sweet little girl became an absolute terror, and we suspected it had something to do with the fact that Kirby was getting all the attention, and that she didn’t quite understand what was going on with the e-collar around the dog’s neck and the sutured eyes that she kept referring to as “Kirby’s big owie”. Explaining to a two-year-old that Kirby could no longer see was like talking to her about what happened in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 - an exercise in futility.

Little Miss was so belligerent that when she wanted to go to bed at 6pm, an hour before her bedtime, and even though she had only taken a bite of her noodles when she asked, I couldn’t get her there fast enough. For once in my life, I didn’t plead with her to eat more and I didn’t worry about her not eating a meal; I just gave her some milk, sent her to bed and there she stayed until 7am the next day. Thankfully.

Because I just wasn’t equipped to handle anything that evening. My body betrayed me too. My stomach was upset, I felt nauseated and dizzy all evening and ended the night by throwing up in the bathroom. Stress does funny things to the body doesn’t it?

My family was in all sorts of funk yesterday, and the only one who held us together was My Guy. He was the rock who dealt with the demanding toddler, the ailing puppy, who was disoriented and mostly kept to herself, and the useless partner, who spent the evening watching Law and Order: SVU reruns on TV because that was all she could manage. I’m ashamed that I didn’t couldn’t handle it better, but I’m grateful that he was by our side. I don’t know what I would’ve done without him.

The thing is, I’ve usually handled bad news pretty well (like the deaths of both my grandmother and grandfather who were in Malaysia while I was here in the States) and dealt with many horrible situations with strength I didn’t know I possessed, which was why my reaction this time surprised me. I guess trying to predict our emotions is another exercise in futility.

While my body may have failed me, I know that I won’t fail Kirby. This is the beginning of a very difficult road ahead of us, but she will get better, and I know that because we’re committed to get her there. She may not have her sight, but she will have our love. Hopefully that will be enough to get her back to the active, happy little pooch she once was. And us back to the somewhat sane, slightly off the wall little family we once were. Dog, cats, toddler and all.

For now, thank you for “listening” and I promise you, I will have a lighter, brighter post for  you next week. In fact, I have joyful news to share. Stay tuned...


TheLastNight Taken on the night before the surgery. Hoping to remember Kirby the way she was…

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How do you respond to stress? Have you ever surprised yourself in how you handled a particular situation? Who is the rock in your family? Have you ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet?