Yesterday I found myself moving around quite a bit. As I’m unemployed, surely this may come as a surprise (or not, if you work inside the home). Between the gym, checking in on the repair of an appliance, grocery shopping and even an impromptu lunch with some ex-coworkers, I didn’t get home until well into the late afternoon.
I walked in loaded with grocery bags and barely able to open the door. It was weird that my dear little Obi didn’t bark when I opened the door and even weirder that he didn’t come to greet me immediately. I didn’t think much of it because it’s been known to happen when he’s taking a nap or out on a walk with our trusted nana.
Not a minute had passed – I had just plopped all the bags on the kitchen table – when I heard a repetitive thump, thump, thump coming from our bedroom. When I walked in I found myself facing one of the most gut-wrenching, frightening and most devastating things I’ve ever seen: my sweet little Obi in the midst of a seizure. His head was trapped between our large, wooden television stand and the wall and since he was convulsing, he was repeatedly banging his head between the two. He was salivating PROFUSELY (more than what’s normal for bulldogs), stiff-legged and unresponsive. I ran to get my nana, yelling and freaking out “What’s wrong with Obi?” and together we went back to the bedroom and watched in horror as Obi just kept convulsing. We were both in tears, repeating his name “Obi, Obi, baby, what’s wrong?”
Weird things happen to me when faced with something so intense. For instance, my mind races but my body doesn’t react. I don’t get an adrenaline rush or physically FREAK out. I picked up the phone and dialed our vet (who’s incidentally seen Obi since he was 4 months old). He immediately told me that, from what I was explaining, Obi was having a seizure. As I was talking to him, trying to make sense of what was going on, Obi suddenly stopped moving and just went limp. This is when I freaked out because I honestly thought Obi had died.
Thank God he didn’t die. As if someone had jump-started his battery, suddenly he sat up and started barking at us – aggressively. He then started pacing frantically all over the apartment, drooling extensively and even urinating in the kitchen (something he never, ever does now that he’s an adult). His erratic behavior was confusing and it was daunting. He didn’t seem like his regular self and he seemed on edge. Then, within a minute of all this chaos and uncharacteristic behavior, he began wagging his tail and started to recognize us, returning to the lovable Obi we all know.
All this time, I was on the phone with our vet. Poor guy, I’m sure it was awful to receive that phone call now that I think about it. But I’m thankful that he was there for us and that he proceeded to tell me exactly what I needed to do – basically scoop him up and immediately take him to the vet to have him hospitalized. Tests needed to be run and Obi needed to be in observation. Seizures were known to repeat themselves.
So where do we stand now? What’s going on with Obi as I write this blog post?
He’s at the vet and we’re waiting to hear back on various tests that were administered yesterday. In addition, we’re waiting for a neurologist to see him (hopefully today) so that we can have a more precise indication if this is something related to ingested toxins (i.e. chocolate for example!!), something dietary or, worse, something related to his nervous system or brain. And so we wait.
Meanwhile, I’m overrun by a heaviness that I can’t shake. Why is Obi having such a hard time? Yes, I know he’s a bulldog and bulldogs are known to have a million problems, but there are also bulldogs who have minimal problems and go on to live 9-10 years (unfortunately the life expectancy of this breed is quite short in comparison to other breeds.) Obi’s just four years old and already he’s had hip surgery and now this. A deep hollow and unrelenting sadness is the only way I can describe how I feel today.
And since I realize I can’t stop living or moving because of this (even though what I really want to do is just curl into a ball and sleep), I wanted to at least remind myself of a few, very important things to remember today:
- Right now, at this very moment, Obi is alive and had what the vets are saying, a “very good,” seizure-free night
- Put make up on. You may feel like you don’t care about anything but don’t go about your day with that kind of face
- Go ahead and drink that second cup of coffee but don’t substitute it for breakfast. You may not be hungry but at some point you will be.
- Keep looking for and applying to jobs. You still need to work even if right now you just want to snuggle with your dog.
- Remember the life you’ve given Obi, full of comforts, full of love. How many dogs would be happy with just a fraction of what Obi receives everyday?
- Remember Obi is in good hands. These are the same people that operated his hip and he’s fully recovered from that!
- Get up, get your keys, grab your purse, leave the house and do the favor your husband asked of you. He’s your unwavering support during this heavy, uncertain time and he needs help planning his mom’s birthday celebration this coming weekend.
- Stop convincing yourself that outside sources are “cursing” you and now the people (and dogs) you love. Stop that right now. Don’t give anyone that control! Who are you anyway, believing such folklore?? Just stttttoppppppp.
- Yes you’re unemployed, yes your dog is sick. Yes 2014 has been shitty so far (between starting the year with our baby in the emergency room, my birthday sans husband because he was on a two-week business trip, horrid new job experience, subsequent push to quit, taking forever to find a new job, hearing how at my ex job the person who now has my position is being given allowances I was repeatedly denied … and now sweet little Obi having such a hard time…). Yes 2014 has been trying and not-so-stellar on the ego and self confidence. Remember that all of the ego related grievances DON’T MATTER when the people – and dog – you love aren’t well and happy. That’s the priority.
- Remember to trust. Trust God, trust life, trust that things happen for a reason. Trust that Obi will be ok. Know that he won’t be around forever, but right now, trust he’ll get through this.
- Remember to pick yourself up. If you don’t you’ll find yourself (figuratively) draped over the floor and people need you. Your daughter needs you.
**UPDATE** (June 4, 2014)
Several weeks have passed and it’s been overwhelming and stressful (to say the least.)
Without going into too much detail, Obi had two more seizures after the one I wrote about here and after another stint at the vet, more tests and another visit with the neurologist, he was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy on May 14, 2014 (two days after his last seizure.)
It’s actually kind of funny that the diagnosis of having idiopathic epilepsy means he has seizures but the cause is unknown. It could be from something he ate, something he experienced or something he underwent (surgery for example) and it could be as recent as last month or as far back as three years ago. Who knows?
I started a journal of his day-to-day so as not to invade this blog with the craziness that is occurring with Obi right now. For those interested you can read his story here – PASSWORD bulldog. I appreciate all the concern and the messages everyone sent! Means a lot! Thanks so much!