Perhaps it's the nature of life that as soon as we think we've found stable footing, it feels as though the ground has collapsed beneath us. Whether big or small, these things always seem to rock us back and make it difficult to see where we should head next, to know what the next steps are.
Last Thursday, when I got home, Nehi was limping. We've dealt with problems with her mobility the last few months, so I thought maybe she'd pulled something. I wanted to take her straight to the vet, but Dad said to wait a day and see if she was okay. By Friday night, she was the same, so I took her to the vet first thing Saturday morning. I fully expected something related to the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a few months ago or maybe a sandspur she wouldn't let me see.
Instead, a vet with no bedside manner informed me she had torn her ACL and needed surgery. I had two choices- have it immediately, with a doctor I knew and trusted, or wait a month for a doctor I didn't know. Anyone that knows how I feel about Nehi can see this was a no brainer- I went with immediate and the doctor I knew.
She had surgery Monday, and it went fine and I was able to pick her up and bring her home on Tuesday. True to form, it was Thursday night before she began to chew on her bandages and lick her incision. I put one of Mom's old neck braces on her for the night as a stop gap.
Then it was back to the vet on Friday. Dr. said it was the bandage that was bothering her, so he took it off, and said she was fine and the incision was looking good.
She started putting weight on it yesterday, although I'm grateful it has rained all week so she is more inclined to take it easy and not run around.
She's loving the wet food she's getting because she needs a full stomach to take her medicine on (and it lets me try and hide her pills in it). Although she cracked a pill today, and spit the medicine all over the floor, so I guess I have to work harder at hiding them.
But here's the big meandering back to my original point- the news of this wrecked me, and threw me for a loop. I was just starting to feel like I had a grip of things, and then comes along the knowledge that Nehi has to have surgery, the $1000 expense, the two month recovery time, the cost of follow up visits, the stress of whether or not she'd be okay, the worrying that her other ACL will blow (which is does in 50% of cases where one has). I went from thinking things were okay, and suddenly there's all this STUFF.
And this is on top of all the other STUFF already weighing down- still dealing with Mom's death a year later. Trying to figure out how to balance full time teaching, online teaching, adding on adjunct teaching at the community college. Trying to make some life changes.
At first, it feels like the straw that broke the camel's back. And you fall to your knees with the weight of it. Because you can't believe that now there's ONE MORE THING you have to deal with, and you weren't doing such a great job before.
But here's my personal belief- there are those of us who are survivors, and those of us who just aren't. There are people in the world that when these things happen just throw up their arms, blame the world, and give up. And while I know people that are like this, I have never understood them.
So I cried when I got in the truck with Nehi last weekend. And I mourned the loss of my safety net savings. And I worried about what it would all mean. And then I put it away.
I took the money out of savings to pay for the surgery.
I calculated what goals and projects were going to have to be put on hold because of this.
I dealt with the immediate issue of taking care of Nehi.
I ignored everything else.
And I kept going.
Now, my dog being injured may seem irrelevant to other people. And it probably is. I know people who are struggling with being unemployed for over a year, who are raising kids on their own, struggling with juggling work and raising families amongst a hundred difficulties. Life is rough all over, and maybe Nehi's ACL surgery seems small compared to all of that. But it's not small to me. I think with most of us, it is these smaller things that can seem so much worse than the big things we're juggling or dealing with. Sometimes it is the small straw that does break the camel's back.
But sometimes, it's just the weight that you add to your pack, adjust to, and keep going.