Big Blake’s tail didn’t thump when we walked in the room.
His eyes were … there but not there.
Even the magic word “Food!” provoked only a little attention and some reluctant movement – maybe. For a dog who had always been ruled by his stomach, that was the scariest of all.
“I think we’d better call the vet again.”
It would be his second trip in two days. Yesterday he had been moving fine and eating fine, but with rather messy results out the other end. He’d been checked out and sent home with something for an upset stomach – but this seemed like a new ballgame.
There are moments in a crisis when all the walls turn transparent. You can see all the possibilities but you have no idea which one the path leads toward. Were we looking at an intestinal blockage? An injury, from a slip as he left the car the day before? Something more insidious that had been waiting until now to show its head?
All we could do was take him in, hope, and watch the clock.
Two hours later, the call came. Two minutes later, so did our reaction.
“It looks like what he’s having is an extreme arthritis flare-up . We’ve added some pain medicine to his NSAIDs for now ….”
I think our collective sigh of relief must have re-routed hurricanes in the Gulf.
We could see the path at last. And it actually led somewhere that we wanted to be.
Now, with our furry friend beside us, we get to watch another moment of clarity and uncertainty – this time on a national scale.
As I write this, the drama of COVID-19 entering the White House is still going on. So many questions are still hanging in the air. How many more names will we hear that we recognize? What does this mean for the country? Headlines about confirmations, debates, economies, elections, and yes, very real lives – those actually infected and those affected by them and their choices – continue to whirl and spin across the landscape like a Kansas tornado.
Once again, the walls are transparent and the path unclear. The nature of the virus almost guarantees it. Some get sick and get well and get on with things. Some require much more intensive medical care. Some recover, but with serious after-effects that can hang on for months.
And yes, some die. Too many have.
Again, you’re reading this later than I’m writing this. You may already know the next chapter of the story. But if we’re still watching the news, wondering what’s next and what it will mean – well, I suppose in 2020, it isn’t all that surprising.
Once again, we have to wait. And to keep doing what we need to do while we’re waiting. Because life doesn’t stop for the rest of us.
We still need to hold out hope for the future and caution for the present, looking to a day when things can be better while taking the careful steps needed to make it there.
We still need to look to each other as friends and neighbors, giving and accepting strength.
We still need to look to our own care, so that whatever the world sends us tomorrow, we’re ready to meet it.
Ready when the path starts to re-emerge.
For now, we’re once again walking the path with our dog. Big Blake’s tail is thumping. His eyes are bright. And his attention to food is as laser-sharp as ever.
It’s the moment we didn’t dare hope for.
And we couldn’t be happier.