Louie’s Visit to Tufts Animal Hospital
The car ride is silent, except for the sounds of wheels going thump-thump over the highway pavement. The car ride is silent, except for the sounds of deep breathing. During the car ride, I see nothing out the window, except for the blur of trees speed by me. During the car ride, I feel tired. I wonder who is breathing so heavily? Is it my daughter or the dog? I glance back and both daughter and dog are sleeping peacefully and quietly. It is then that I realize the thump-thump is my heart beating loudly. I am surprised to learn that the deep breathing is coming from me. I try to squelch down my nervousness with a sip of cool bottled water. My neck is tense, and my stomach feels like there is a pair of flip-flops in it. Suddenly we arrive at Tufts; The Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals.
Louie arrives into the dog waiting area like he is running late for an appointment. He greets every dog and wags his tail with such excitement. He becomes his happy self. He is in his element of being the greeter to all. He says hello to the beagle, the toy poodle, the black lab and the Great Dane. After we check in, we wait. We wait to find out what is wrong with Louie and his hip.
Louie decides to be friends with the Great Dane, Millie. Millie and her owner sit across from us. We find out that this is Millie’s second day of radiation for her cancer. The owner will drive an hour and a half everyday each way for the next month so Millie can receive her treatments. The owner will wait for her and then bring her home and let her eat and rest until tomorrow comes again. Millie will be fine. Before Louie can find out what Millie’s favorite color is she is called for her treatment and we wait. As we wait, I pray. As we wait I think only positive thoughts. As we wait, I pray!
Louie is called and we walk down the wing that says Oncology. My heart races and I hope my daughter and husband don’t notice. We are ushered into an exam room and the lovely senior student takes Louie’s history and examines him. She then leaves the room to report her findings to the Doctor. I know Louie is confused and hungry, since he hasn’t eaten anything since last night. I reassure him with many pets of love. As he lies down, I sit with him and with a ton of other dog hair on the cold tile file. It feels cool and comforting to both of us.
Dr. B arrives into the room with a warm greeting to all of us and examines Louie. I am so proud of Louie and how still and brave he is behaving. As Dr. B rotates his left hip, Louie yelps and howls in pain. It is suggested that we go to lunch while they x-ray Louie to get some clear pictures of his hip. Louie bounds out of the room with such joy. We just laugh and say, “See you later Lou!”
Upon our return from a lunch that could have been delicious, Dr. B informs us that Louie is suffering from an old fracture of the hip at the growth plate. This fracture has healed incorrectly. I actually start to cry happy tears of relief because it could have been worse. We are given options, pros and cons and decide upon a total hip replacement. When we ask when he should have surgery, Dr. B says tomorrow.
The house is silent as I enter. The house is silent as I look at the empty water bowl on the floor. The house is silent as I look at the dog toys on the floor. The house is silent as I look at Louie’s blanket on the couch. Suddenly it will be tomorrow and he will be on the road to recovery. Suddenly it will be the weekend and we pick him up and smother him with hugs, love, and kisses!