Waiting to exhale

All day we tried to go about our ‘normal’ activities in a zombie like fashion, by 4 we were very nervous that something was wrong, but the surgeon had reassured us that if that did happen they would call from the operating theatre. In true cruel fashion, we were right in the middle of having groceries being run through cash out and the phone call came.

My husband tried to find a quietish spot to take the call, I could just tell by his body language the news was not good and prepared myself for news that Kona had expired on the table. Without a word we walked to the car and literally threw everything in the back and took our seats. He was almost hyperventilating and shaking. I begged him to tell me and he turned with tears in his eyes “They weren’t able to get it all”. The surgeon said once they were able to see the affected lymph nodes, it was clear they had grown and attached themselves to the large blood vessel. All they could do was shave off any portions that were detached and pressing on his canal. It took a few seconds for the meaning to wash over and then I realized all our best intentions may have been in utter vain.

As the next 2 days passed, we beat ourselves up and drowned in guilt – what had we done to our sweet boy, why were we so selfish, why were we so naive thinking a miracle could be performed. The bottom line, we were not prepared to say goodbye and were going to go down swinging.

Just like the previous experience with Guelph we received calls from the student vet assigned to Kona, she had fallen in love with him and left her family dinner early(it was Canadian Thanksgiving)  to keep an eye on Kona. The surgeon was happy with his recovery and suggested an early discharge, she felt the ICU was a very busy and noisy place and it would be less stressful for him to come home and recuperate with us in his domain.

I had made the preparations at home, stock piled food for his diet, hot dogs to feed him pills, disinfected his mats, surrounding areas and parceled off my workload to colleagues. I even managed to sprain my back and faced a two hour car ride loaded on Advil and Tylenol. At that point I didn’t care  what it took, I just wanted my boy home.