Of course, now she’s trotting alongside the nurse to run some tests. An hour ago she couldn’t stand on her own. I’m glad I had the presence of mind to bring along a book to read. I’ll have gone through five chapters before I leave tonight. Don’t ask me what any of it is about. My eyes scan the words, but my head is elsewhere.
Through the closed door I hear the voice of the receptionist on the phone. “Are you in the car now? Is there someone there with you? Is he still breathing? It’s okay, honey. I need you to calm down. We have to get you here safely and then we can help. Is there someone there with you? Do you know where the exit is? Take a left. It’s okay, honey.”
I wonder, how can this be just another night at work for her? But it must be. Add it to the list of jobs I would hate worse than the one I have. The nurse brings my girl back to me. I remove the muzzle while we wait for test results. I look into brown eyes turned a little cloudy with age. Trusting eyes. Loving eyes. Eyes that have been glad to see me every. single. day. for nearly 14 years. Astounding.
“I’m not ready to let you go,” I tell her. She thumps her tail a couple times and then lies on the tile floor. I go back to staring at the pages of my book. And we wait.
The doctor shows me the EKG printout. Her heart is beating irregularly. “The chambers are like dancers listening to different songs,” he says. The familiar lub-DUB lub-DUB lub-DUB is reduced to lub-lub-lub-DUB lub-lub…DUB. Meanwhile my heart is beating wildly. We don’t know what causes it. Drugs are rarely effective in treating it. There are pacemakers. [Dog pacemakers. Really?]
I promise to make an appointment with her regular doctor. There’s nothing more we can do tonight. Come on, baby. Let’s go home.