It’s funny how your world can change in a heartbeat. One minute you’re doing your thing, making pictures, cooking, sleeping. The next, you’re in the hospital watching your oldest and dearest friend in the depths of a medically induced coma with every tube and gadget known to the medical world attached to her. Not even breathing on her own.
It went down like this. Saturday morning, January 7th, I’m sipping tea and about to jump in the shower when I receive a message from B’s sister-in-law. B collapsed in a café. Cardiac arrest. Do you know that moment? When all of your senses and emotions go into overdrive and you’re not sure what is reality and what is shock and am I asleep and dreaming? I’ve had that feeling two other times in my life. The first time is when my now very ex-husband came home to tell me he was cheating on me. The second, when my folks called to tell me that my father had prostate cancer. Adrenaline rush, shaking, dizzy, cross-eyed, what the fuck. Dad, thank the Lord, made a full and successful recovery. First marriage, thank the Lord, did not.
B was in the hospital for 26 days. Twenty Six. The first week her brother, sister in law and me sat by her bedside in the CICU for 5 plus hour shifts (I suspect her brother was there for many more) watching the beeping and buzzing lights. The sound of an automatic blood pressure machine, by the way, now fills me with dread and nausea.
I feel like I got a hard and fast education in nursing. Those nurses (any nurse!) by the way? Rock stars. Simply rock stars.
Do you know what it’s like to watch someone’s eyes as they struggle to step out of narcotic stupor? They had B on 4 (or was it 5) hardcore narcotics. As they slowly weaned her off of them, she’d occasionally open her eyes and it was like I could see her swimming in her pupils trying to reach the surface, only to sink back down into the deep dark depths of where ever the heck she was. Crazy.
Fast forward and B’s recovery, especially after they took that blasted ventilator out of her throat, is strong. Although, her heart is not. Plus the pneumonia. So she stay’s in the hospital for another solid week before the cut open her chest and rewire her heart. Triple bypass. She’s only 47.
In the meantime, her brother and I share the mildly unpleasant task of walking her dogs. Mildly unpleasant because one of the dogs is more than a little insane.
This is her.
Sweet and loving some of the time, but near impossible to walk. She tugs and pulls on the leash and quite literally stops every two feet to look around. Barks and runs at anything on wheels. And joggers. Oh wait, I forgot to mention that her previous owners had her debarked. But that doesn’t stop her, oh no. She constantly and I mean constantly barks like a giant squeak toy. Squeaking from both ends. Yep.
She’s gone now. After much deliberation and discussion on how she is in fact a danger to B (tugging, pulling, always underfoot, stairs), we took her to a woman who helps place displaced pets. I have no doubt someone will fall in love with her and she will be their one and only and she will be riding in a pink stroller with the word “Princess” emblazoned in rhinestones on it. No question.
But then there’s Harvey. A little Westie a little Shitzu, as B puts it, he’s like an oversized Toto. Sweetest, smartest dog ever. I am smitten.
Harvey and I take long walks together in the early morning. Since Pookie has moved on, I’ve been able to sip tea and make a few pictures with my iPhone. Of which you see in this post.
He is always by B’s side. He rarely barks and is one cool pup. When B is fully recovered, Adam and I are going to take her and Harv to the beach. He’s never seen a beach.
B is home now and has been for about a week and half now. She is on the mend, but it is a slow and frustrating (for her) process. Her heart and lungs are simply tired and any purposeful striding on her part leaves her out of breath and fatigued. She’ll get there. Her brother and I are continuing to walk Harv and many of my days are spent helping her simply live her life. Dishes, dog walks, errands. In the middle of all of that, I’m working. Making pictures and earning a living. Keep your eyes peeled on the New Seasons (website and weekly flyer) right around Mardi Gras, by the way. Also, take a look at (and like!) St. Honore’s Facebook page for a glimpse of what I shot for them for Valentines day. As always, of course, on Eater.
So, this is where I’ve been. Yeah, I’m tired and could sleep for a week, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except, of course, that B never got sick in the first place. By the way, get your heart checked. Get your cholesterol checked, exercise and eat lots and lots of veggies. Take good care of yourself because disease, as we are so intimately aware of now, does not discriminate.