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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Post #22: Survivors


One of the professional organizations I belong to was having its annual conference in Chicago.  Wife and I decided that this would make for a good vacation trip.  We could go by way of Iowa and visit my mother and sister along the way.
My mom had undergone some emergency surgery about six months earlier and was still recovering.  She had suffered from pancreatitis and a bowel blockage.  As a result she now was sporting an ostomy bag.  Mom seemed to be taking this in stride, although I think she felt like she smelled, and she really didn’t like the mess.

We packed up our Fifth-Wheel travel trailer and headed north.  The conference was being held the in the middle of October.  Since we live in Deep South Texas, all of our RV parks are open all year long.  The cold weather never lasts very long, and is something we never give any thought too.  I was surprised to learn that the reservations we made in Chicago were for the last week the park would be open until spring. 

We planned to stay a couple of days in Iowa for our visit.  We were surprised when the park owner kept asking us if we would be unhooking our trailer.  It sounded like she really didn’t want us to stay.  We assured her we would be unhooking, that we would be staying two nights, and that we might actually drive into town in our tow vehicle.  She relented and assigned us a spot.

My mother, sister and two nieces made the drive out to visit us at the park.  I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with my family.  Henry made himself the darling of the family.  He got along with everyone.  Henry made a special effort to make my mom feel good.  He curled up by her side and let her know that he loved her and thought she was special.  Mom was surprised by the affection and acceptance Henry gave her.  She was expecting to be avoided by the dogs because of her ostomy bag.

We left Iowa and moved into our RV space just outside of Chicago.  This was a nice, quiet park, with close access to the trains that would be taking me into town and to my conference.

Our normal routine when we camp is to take our dogs out several times a day to walk around the RV Park.  Everyone gets a little exercise.  We get to see what other RV’s look like.  And the dogs have a chance to become familiar with their new, but temporary, surroundings.  Oh, and the walks help ensure that no one makes a mess on the floor of the trailer.

One of the things we grabbed when Wife’s father sold his grocery store was a roll of produce bags.  These bags make great “swear-prevention bags.”  We stuff a couple into our pockets whenever we go for walks and are ready to scoop up our dog’s deposits.  Keeping the pathways clean helps keep the language in the park clean.  When people don’t unknowingly step in the deposits, they don’t have to start saying nasty words.  Just our little contribution to society.

One evening, PD started throwing up after our walk.  He did this several times, and kept vomiting until nothing was coming up.  We knew something was seriously wrong with PD.  Here we were 1300 miles from our vet, it was after 7:00 p.m., and PD was sick.  We had Wi-Fi internet at the park and I was able to do a search for nearby vets, wondering if there was any way we could talk a vet into seeing us after hours.

I found a vet nearby.  Not only was the vet close to us, but it was a vet that was only open from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.  This was a true blessing!

We rushed PD to the clinic and the vet checked out PD.  She took him back and too X-Rays.  The vet complimented PD for being so compliant.  She told us that she placed him on his back and he lay perfectly still.  We didn’t tell her that he was waiting for his tummy rub.

The X-Ray showed no blockage and nothing unusual in his stomach or intestines.  She could see nothing that might be hurting him.  The vet gave PD a shot to stop the nausea and sent us home.

PD was lethargic.  Otherwise, he was OK that night.  The shot wore off in the morning and PD vomited again.  This time he threw up a peach pit!

We called the vet and she explained that the pit would not have shown up on the X-Ray because it had the same density as PD’s soft tissue.  The pit could have traveled deeper into his digestive tract, producing pain and requiring surgery, assuming we would have got him back to the vet on time.  The pit could have killed him.

I figure, this was PD’s third miracle.  Another opportunity for death to claim this little guy, and death missed him again!  His vomiting and bloody stool as a too-young puppy, his survival from eating a Sago Palm seed, and now the peach pit.

Since this event, Wife and I have often thought how stopping the vomiting was probably the wrong treatment.  PD’s ability to regurgitate his stomach’s contents once again saved him.