When I once dreamed of sharing my life with a significant other, I never quite pictured my veterinarian as the man in mind. Alas, Dr. Arnott has indeed become the most steadfast, reliable and longest relationship I've had in recent years.
And I don't mean in a holding-hands-while-strolling-the-beach-at-sunset kind of way.
It's been a roller coaster whirlwind of emotions ever since Elvis was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (tonsil cancer) last November. There have been horrific days when I truly thought this was "goodbye," and glorious moments when I've almost believed my sweet pup might beat this demon. We were relishing those better moments up until last Wednesday night.
I was lying next to my boy on his La-Z-Dog recliner, cradling his head in my arms and rubbing his belly as is our nightly ritual. Elvis just eats this up. Whenever I stop, he raises his head and nudges my chin with his needle nose. "Carry on," is the obvious message. But this time when he raised his head, I saw that the crook of my arm, from elbow to wrist, was wet. Soaked.
The incision on his neck was leaking. Gushing, actually, a pink watery fluid. Don'tpanicdon't panicdon'tpanic.
And I didn't. Instead, I remembered to use a sanitary napkin as a makeshift bandage (a most handy tip from a pet first aid class) and wrapped his neck with gauze. This enabled me to avoid a pricey trip to Emergency and safely control the leak until morning when I could take him to see my significant other. Dr. Arnott drained the remaining fluid from Elvis' neck, cleaned and wrapped the site, and reminded me that this leaking business is good: the chemo is dissolving the tumor.
Alleluia, right? Except the leaking hasn't subsided.
Over the past 12 days, I've taken Elvis to Oak Tree Animal Hospital every single night, except Sundays when the clinic is closed, to have his incision drained and cleaned. It's getting to be our daily ritual: work all day, drive my one-hour commute home, pick up Elvis, rush to vet, drain, clean, wrap.
Sigh. And we were there again tonight.
But trust me, I'm not complaining. I'll do whatever it takes to keep my boy comfortable. However, I have learned one thing:
The next time I wish for a steady man in my life, I'll be a little more specific.