The stress lately…its eating me alive. Being at work two days a week seems trivial, but when you have been home for the last year, its a difficult adjustment. Going to work this time of year, makes it exceptionally hard. The garden is overflowing and needs weeding and picking and the food I pick cant actually sit on the counter forever. The corn needs to be picked and cleaned and put away for the year. The applesauce to be made. Then peaches and green beans. The kids want to go to the pool and to the park and I need to catch up on adult things. I want to spend every minute of the last of our summer soaking them up. Finding balance is difficult. Im so glad this is short term.
Monday, I was working hard to get caught up on all of the adult things I had been putting off, like paying bills and making phone calls. It was about 11am and I was still in my nightgown. The dog was being needy. Whenever I dont feel well or he doesnt, he sits on my feet. He attempts to have a seat even when Im trying to walk. He had been doing this all morning. I was feeling a bit under the weather so I figured that was the reason. He kept going to the door and whining. I thought he needed to go out. I told Eva to open the door for him and let him out and I would get my shoes and go out with him. As soon as she opened the door, he took off. Down the street and into the corn field. Gus is a runner. He runs often and has a history of running far. He always comes home. It was hot, I knew he wouldnt be gone long. I started walking down the road after him calling. No sign of him. I was in my jammies, so I decided to get dressed before looking further. I noticed on my walk back that the cat was in the tree, where she often goes when scared, but didnt think much of it at the time. I went in the house, threw on some clothes and got in the van and drove to the neighbors looking for the dog. Again, no sign of him. I couldnt really leave the kids alone, so I drove back down the road and parked the van, knowing he would come back eventually. By the time I was in the door, he was back. We opened the front door to let him in and I heard Eva gasp. “He’s bleeding!!” Now, Eva has a long history of being ridiculously dramatic. I was expecting a small scratch. My jaw hit the floor when I saw gaping holes.
I brought him in and put him in the tub to rinse him off. The bleeding basically stopped. I saw at least three puncture wounds and they were deep. I knew the fact that they werent bleeding was not a good thing. I called my brother in law and asked him to come over to help with the kids so I could better assess the damage. Gus started hyperventilating. The more I tried to rinse and see where he was hurt, the more worked up he got. I knew if i persisted he was going to pass out. I decided to take him to the vet. I knew he was hurt worse than I could see, when he couldnt jump into the van to leave. He loves van rides. Normally, as soon as I get to Bloomington city limits, he is going nuts. Whining and barking and trying to see. This time, silence. I kept talking to the back of the van wondering if he was still alive. I was so relieved when we got to the vet that he lifted his head to greet me. But no barking, no vigorous pulling or frantic sniffing. he just laid there limp in my arms. I knew it was bad. The vet whisked him away immediately and told me to go home, he would call when he could sedate him and assess the full damage.
At 5pm, we went back to pick him up. Now, I love Gus, he was my first pet and has always been my baby, but Im not one to get overly sensitive about pets. He’s “just a dog” but when they brought him out to me on that stretcher and I saw how hurt he really was, I turned to a ball of blubbering mush. Three bites, six areas of wounds, each area with several open puncture wounds. Most of his coat was shaved to reveal over 40 staples, 6 drains, too many stitches to count. He literally was lucky to be alive.
As I recounted the happenings of the day, I started putting pieces together. Last week something tried to get a chicken. Chicken made it, but she’s mostly naked. Feathers all over the yard. The cat has been very edgy and skittish the last few days. Gus hasnt run away in months. That day, he gave no regard to my calls and took off with intention. He knew something was out there and he went after it. He was sitting on my feet to protect me! Cue the guilt. I had been so mad at him for running and interrupting my day. I didnt really need him, my little 30 lb puggle, to take on the coyote hidden in the corn, but he did. Dogs can really teach us big lessons. No matter how I ignore him or get frustrated with him, he is loyal to a fault. So many big lessons there. He’s just a dumb dog, but he loves me and us, despite anything. So much so, that he will stupidly try to pick a fight he wont win.
Bringing puppy home was an ordeal. The kids were so upset by looking at his wounds. He was still very groggy from anesthesia and nippy and growly. I discussed with the kids that the meds may make him very grumpy and to just let him be this evening. When we got home, he was all nuzzled under the back seat of the van. I couldnt wake him enough to get him out. So, we sat in the van with him for 30 minutes waiting for Darren to get home. He couldnt come at him from behind because he would bite and there was no great way to grab him without causing pain. He couldnt get to him from the front without taking out all 4 car seats and moving the seats all over the van. What an ordeal! We carried him in the house and put him in his bed in the kitchen. He laid there limp and groggy all night. The next morning, I had to go to work, so left the kids and the dog with my grandma. I had no idea how ruffled the kids were by the whole ordeal until I got home. Grandma said the kids were afraid of Gus being anywhere near them. Afraid to get bit. Afraid to hurt him. Afraid of him in his cone. Afraid he would get blood on them. She pretty much held the kids all day. Poor Grandma. Im sure she was more than ready to go home!
Things have calmed down a bit now, except with Emma. Poor girl is simply terrified of everything now. Every noise and shadow has her on high alert. Gus went back tot he vet since he hasnt eaten since Monday. We had to be gone several hours today, so thought it best to leave him in the care of the vet so he could get his pain medicine on time and they could monitor his need for hydration. Tomorrow he will go back to surgery to remove the drain and close those holes. Im so happy for this. The purpose of the drains is to keep the wound bleeding and healing appropriately. But keeping the dog off of my carpet isnt an easy feat!
In the midst of all of this, we learned that due to Darren’s job change, our medical insurance ran out. We had been attempting to sort this all out since he quit his job, but have been getting the run around. We have the option of COBRA, but its very very expensive. Levi was supposed to see urology at Lurie’s Childrens Hospital today. We have waited months to get a referral and an appointment. So we went and we paid for the visit out of pocket…all $320 of it. OUCH. But it was worth it.
The doctor took a very good history of the incontinence issues that have been developing over the last two years. He was very concerned at the lack of work up our previous urologist did. He was concerned specifically that he had been potty trained and has lost ability over time. He noted some abnormalities on the VCUG from 4 years ago that the previous uro had thought was not significant. He disagrees, and actually feels its a very significant finding and likely related to the Ehlers Danlos diagnosis. We know, based on his physical exam and the “pee log” we kept over the last week, that he isnt emptying his bladder. So, the objective is to determine if this is because something is blocking the urine from leaving the bladder or if there is a neurological issue. It seems most prudent to move from a least invasive procedure to most invasive if needed. So he ordered some simple non invasive tests to rule out obstruction. But, here we are without insurance. UGH. So, do we purchase COBRA and do the tests now, with our previous policy where the deductible is met, or do we wait until September when the new insurance with the high deductible starts. Either scenario leaves us with a huge out of pocket expense. I also havent done the stress test or brain MRI I need. So, the total cost is something to consider.
Just this morning, I was working on writing us a new budget, now that Darren and I have started our new jobs. I had a plan to have us debt free in a year. Key point there is HAD. The amount of money we have paid out in medical bills in the last 5 years is astronomical. Im very thankful for insurance. Very. But, I wish it truly made medical care affordable. So, in the last week, my dog has had very expensive emergency surgery. We have self paid a specialist and the eye doctor for three of us. I paid off one medical bill and im fixing to acquire several more. Im trying not to complain and be thankful that we do have access to care and well paying jobs. I fully understand these are “first world” problems. I know there are many, many with more financial barriers than what we have. But, Im frustrated. I want to get answers for Levi and for myself. I want to get past all of this. I want to be able to move on. I want to find financial stability. Seems you can have one or the other. Answers or income. Not both.
Sometimes you just have days when the weight of the world gets heavy and you just need to vent. I need a minute to breathe and regroup and refocus and those moments are few and far between in a mom’s world. Hence, why Im typing this at 1am instead of sleeping. I know all of this will work out in time. I know me worrying wont help a bit of it. I know. I know. Being patient has never been something I was good at. I suppose God will keep giving me opportunities until I figure it out.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.