February 15, 2012

What doesn't kill you...

Life has been a little bit tough on us lately. First our girl got a severe case of the stomach flu a few weeks ago and I had never seen her so sick. She had only been sick one other time in almost 20 months so this was definitely the worst. There's nothing harder than seeing your child suffer. And then to clean up bodily fluids for days and days, all the while staying strong for your little one, makes you realize how much moms and dads endure. But what could be worse than that? Getting the same stomach virus yourself and having to care for a sick child while you are curled up on the bathroom floor. Could things go downhill from there? Yes, when your sweet husband who has been cleaning up after you catches the virus himself. A triple whammy of yuk. This is what happened to us a few weeks ago.

Then things got better, we all made a full recovery, June went back to school... and then came home a week later with a runny nose and cough which turned into a full-blown cold. It's going on a week of this stubborn cold now and the poor thing is hanging in there even though she's coughing and sneezing and having a hard time sleeping. But at least Daniel and I have stayed healthy through this one.

The one creature in our house who seemed above it all has been our sweet German shepherd mix Olive. She lays beside us and gives us those sad eyes when we're too sick or it's too cold to go out (the weather has been ugly too of course) but she never gives up on us. She's as sweet as a dog can be. Last weekend we noticed she wasn't her usual happy self but chalked it up to the cold and boredom.

Actually, she hasn't been her normal self in a while. Then she stopped eating her food. That's when we knew there was something wrong. So we took her to the vet yesterday morning and they told us they think she has kidney failure of unknown origin. She's very, very sick and more testing needs to be done. They told us not to think the worst. But it's hard not to. She is our first baby.

Daniel gave Olive to me on Valentine's Day five years ago. She was the best little puppy. They had named her "Amore" at the shelter and we renamed her Olive because of her black hair and big Olive Oil eyes. She was my constant companion in the days before June and while I was pregnant she kept me company and walked with me every single day and slept on my belly at night. It's true that your life changes after a baby comes into it and if you have pets, their lives change too. But Olive has never been anything other than a member of our family and she continues to be our "firstborn."

I have to believe Olive (or "Oloo" as June calls her) will pull through this. She's still a young and healthy dog. But bad things happen to good people (and animals) all the time. Of this I am certain. Disease does not discriminate, as my family knows all too well. Whatever it is that is attacking our beloved dog, we'll have to fight it right back. How could we not?

As the saying goes "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." When June was at her lowest one of the nights she was so sick and could not keep anything down, I gave her kisses and fed her little bits of ice and she looked up at me with the saddest eyes, but grateful, and said "good, Mama." I will never forget that. It's as if going through the trenches together somehow brought us even closer. So I know our little family will get through these tough times and hopefully, sunnier days are on the horizon.

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