A much more honest version of that old saw, don’t you think?
I barely know where to start, but we’ll go with last Thursday morning, how’s that? Todd woke up with a backache. That, in and of itself is not incredibly newsworthy, it does happen occasionally, but you have to remember that’s Todd tolerance level (to alcohol, meds, pain, my ideas) is pretty damn high and his usual attitude is to get on with things regardless.
So the fact that he was vocalizing some pain issues should have tipped me off that this was not going to be standard operating procedure.
As I was going to lunch I got Â a text from him…
He failed to mention the chest pain that morning. Master of understatement this one. I truly debated leaving right then and there. Some people would have, but I’m trying to curb some of my natural panic-mode inclinations, so I decided to abide by his wishes and stay put.
Sure. it was a bit alarming that they’d sent him to the ER, but it’s not uncommon for a beleaguered urgent care center to refer patients up a level to better be able to handle their case load. Meanwhile, I was a bit distracted at the office, watching for further updates to come through. After an hour of him being at the ER and nothing, I finally got this:
And then I left work…
Homeboy neglected to mention they transported him by ambulance. Do I need to even explain how crucial a piece of information that was?! King of the understatement.
That was the longest my commute ever felt.
I get to the ER (at least I knew where it was, this time), sign some paperwork, and finally I can go back to the triage rooms.
Had I not been pretty damn anxious by this point, I might have taken a picture of the scene I walked into, but I didn’t. Let me see if I can adequately paint this picture for you:
Empty medical bay, a gaping void where the hulking white bed once stood. To one side of the room a boot stands, toe pointed towards the wall. On the other side of the room its mate lays tossed hurriedly aside. A box of EKG leads sits on the table, discarded adhesive covers littering the workstation. A monitor beeps. A disembodied voice moans from elsewhere along the corridor.
In my state of just this side of panicked, the far flung boots were a silent reminder that very bad things happen in rooms like this. I paced until they wheeled him back into the room, fresh from the ultrasound that revealed a perfectly normal aorta (thank goodness!) and a gallstone that was situated right at the opening to the duct, causing the pain and discomfort.
Surgery is likely in the near future for Todd, but we’ve done this once before with me, back in 2008, so at least we know the drill about what to do and not do. We finally got out of there around 6:30 and had to stop by Urgent Care to get some things out of Todd’s car. He couldn’t drive it home because they’d given him some meds before discharge and even though it was less than 5 minutes away, no sense chancing a fluke accident and him being technically “under the influence.” He’d also had the meds on an otherwise empty stomach, so they might have had a chance of making him sleepy, if it weren’t for the ensuing burst of adrenaline when we got home…
We both noticed Duncan didn’t come out to greet us when we pulled into the backyard. This was odd because we were home a bit later than usual (say, 30-45 minutes after I’d normally get home) and he’s usually very excited to see us. We’re discussing this fact as we get ourselves and our stuff out of the car when the neighbor to our right comes out of his backdoor, asking for our attention.
He calls his son out to him and says he’s got to face the music. Simultaneously, Todd has noticed and called attention to the fact that the back gate is standing open.
The neighbor boy has been playing ball in his yard, a narrow strip behind the duplexes that runs along our property. The ball went into our (Duncan’s) fenced area and Mr. Slick decided that he could make it in and out without Duncan noticing.
Three guesses how that turned out.
Duncan barked. Boy fled. Boy left gate open. Boy denied it to Mom and Dad when they noticed it a little while later.
And when did this happen, you might be wondering? About 30 minutes before we got home.
So we rush inside, drop our gear, grab leashes, and head out to search, on foot, around the neighborhood. Each going separate directions. I walked down to the park and looped back up a block or two, Todd took the streets behind us. Not a sight or sound of Duncan was to be had.
Meanwhile, I’m still worried about how Todd’s doing, so when our paths crossed as we make intersecting loops, I suggested we pack it in for now so I could get him home and fed. We posted on NextDoor and had an uneasy supper in a way too silent home.
Duncan’s gotten out before, due to his own devious streak, and we’ve spent a bit of time and money ensuring he cannot escape the backyard at will. He’s even let himself back in on at least one occasion, so that if the neighbor on the left hadn’t ratted him out, we’d have been none the wiser about his solo adventures. But this was different. This was at night, this was due to the poor judgement of a stranger, and this time we didn’t find him right away.
To compound the problem, he’d recently pawed his tags off his collar (breaking the split ring they were on) and we’d tried one fix that didn’t last but hadn’t found another solution yet, so he’s wandering around without tags. Fabulous. And he’s microchipped, yes, but (for the non-pet owners out there) you have to register the microchip and pay a separate fee. The pwperwork to do that went AWOL pretty quickly, and Duncan tried to eat the backup tag so I couldn’t read the numbers. He’s due for a vet visit this month and the plan was to have them scan his chip so we could get the number and finally register this wayward son of ours.
Timing’s a bitch, ain’t it?
We decided to go out one more time, together in the car, and crawl our way through the little streets that surround us, going as far as Broad Street just in case. As we were running out of roads, about 3 blocks from home (in an area we’d already covered to no avail), we caught a flash of something in a wooded lot. Duncan was finally found.
It was a very happy reunion, and a short trip home to get him fed and snuggled. And for me to write our address and phone number directly on his collar. Why I didn’t think of that before I have no idea.
Of course, then I see that Duncan has worked said collar off and is chewing on the plastic clip latch thingy.
So off to Walmart the three of us go (we were taking no chances) to get him a new collar, a package of split rings to add the tags to, and a lock for the back gate (the front gate’s been locked for quite some time). He may have also received a new toy for being such a good boy riding in the cart, but you could hardly begrudge him the hedgehog that makes piggy noises.
After the double shot of stress on Thursday, Friday found us in zombie mode so I took advantage of an unencumbered Saturday morning to sleep in ’til noon, then work on projects for the afternoon and evening. All this to say it was no surprise that I was still awake just shy of 3am when the first Tornado Warning lit up my phone.
I went upstairs to wake Todd and Duncan and bring them down to (relative) safety. Our house has no true safe spot for riding out a tornado threat–all rooms are exterior rooms, even the hallways have windows courtesy of the doors at either end, the closest we can get, if it really gets dangerous, is the closet under stairs among the Halloween decorations and my wedding dress.
Instead, we fell asleep on the sofa, all three of us, while the local news kept continuous coverage of the storms flowing around and through our town. We woke up sometime after 4, when the first wave of warnings had expired, and went up to bed for a few more hours.
Sunday was spent watching the news reports and being vary wary of the weather. Mid-afternoon we got a lull in the weather, a gap large enough between storm bands to be able to go grocery shopping. We lost power briefly a couple of times, butÂ figured we were out of the woods when the last warning expired with only a wind advisory remaining.
Naturally that’s when we lost power for an hour or so.
Par for the course.
We were lucky, in all three instances. I’m ever so grateful for that fact, for our family being intact as well as our home. I just wish the reminders of our good fortune didn’t come all at once and with so much for potential for bad.