Twenty twenty has been such a shitty year in so many ways that it didn’t surprise me that, pre-road trip, I had some misgivings about going. However, things had been set in motion, plans had been made, reservations secured. Moreover, we had petsitters coming in all the way from the east coast. Cancelling based on a gut feeling felt unfair to them. It felt like I’d be shirking an obligation, and I’ve always been apt to do things out of obligation—an instinct I’m trying to quell but that won’t go easily.
The trip itself went off mostly without a hitch. We did have one incident in which the tread of our trailer tire separated from the wheel, but it was fixed quickly and easily, didn’t damage our trailer, and could have been much, much worse. Maybe I’ll write more about it someday.
For hours and days before pulling into our driveway, all our thoughts were on our reunion with our little bun. I walked into the house anticipating a joyous reunion when I was stopped short by the state of our home. Mess. Dirt. Damage. I took nearly 40 photos documenting the state of our home, which had looked ready for a magazine shoot when we left, but upon our return looked like some teenagers had had a party and then did a very poor rush-job trying to cover the evidence. We couldn’t understand it. Still can’t. A college professor and her ivy league graduate student niece—she had 11 positive reviews. How could this happen?
Then I picked up my bun. His blind eye looked no worse than before. His coat looked healthy. But there was so little left of him. He was so skinny. Must be that he missed us. This has happened before with our buns. They are a little mad that we’ve left them and they aren’t afraid to show it. Our previous bun used to turn his back to us, giving us the cold shoulder. But this weight loss—this was a lot. His poops didn’t look right—and there were so few of them. Soon we noticed he was barely eating. He had no interest in raisins, his favorite treat in the world. He was lethargic, distant, flat.
Called the vet. No appointments available for a month. A month? She explained that around the country there’s been a shortage of vet appointments. Animal COVID? Animals reacting negatively to their humans being home all the time? So many more people adopting pets during this pandemic? She couldn’t say. Asked about urgent care: four-to-five-hour wait-time . . . in the car in their parking lot. Tried another vet: not accepting any new patients. Waited a few hours and called our vet back: urgent care now not accepting any patients for the next eight hours.
We decided to take matters into our own hands. Did some online research. Symptoms matched a condition called ileus, which is really just a reaction to some other problem. We bought baby food, force-fed him by syringe, massaged his stomach to induce digestion. After a while we got some diarrhea out of him, but his mobility went south. Previously a champ at navigating our hardwood floors, he now had bouts of muscle weakness. He was like Bambi on ice.
Finally got him into urgent care and that’s where he’s been for almost 24 hours. Doctor is worried and we are scared. Blood tests are bad. Some things are too low, lots of things are elevated. Despite their strict COVID rules, they let us visit him this morning. They unhooked him from the IV and we spent nearly two precious hours with him. His breathing is slow, his lethargy continues. He still won’t eat. They are so kind at our vet office. They would have let us stay all day, but we knew it was best for him to be hooked back up to his IV and pain medications, so we reluctantly said our goodbyes, hoping fervently that they were just temporary goodbyes.
More blood tests this afternoon. This afternoon is also when our governor will announce his plan for the resumption of school in a month. Fully back in the buildings? Fully distance learning? A hybrid? Right now I can’t muster up the energy to care. It’s going to be awful no matter what.
So we wait in limbo, knowing that miracles do happen, but that they always seem to happen to other people.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to blog about the goings-on of our trip since, had we not taken it, our bun might be hopping around the house in search of raisins and head-scratches rather than in the hospital fighting for his life. Maybe someday I can write about discrete parts of it—a particular bike ride we took or one of the 14ers we climbed. Right now, though, those things don’t seem that important.
I don’t know when I’ll have the wherewithal to blog again, or when we’ll feel like recording another podcast. Right now we need to just gather into ourselves and deal with whatever is coming.