“Do it now,” more than ever

What a difference a week makes. Or more accurately, what a difference just a few days makes. Just a couple hours after I posted my blog post focusing on “do it now,” I got a shocking phone call; the father of one of my dearest friends passed away suddenly that morning. This news was so unexpected that I simply didn’t believe him at first. How could this happen? He was just at my birthday party, eating all my German chocolate upside down cake away from me. He was just hugging me and wishing me the best. He was always at all my parties, always laughing, and joking, and encouraging me. I could always count on a comment from him about my blogs, or my Facebook posts, and always knew he was reading. How could this be real?

I immediately left work and went with my mom to drop some groceries off with his wife. I am not good in these situations, and that was all I knew how to do to help. I went back again after work, just to be there. It was all so surreal.

In the midst of this, that same morning, Mischa jumped out of my car and landed on her butt. I didn’t think too much of it, but when I met my mom to take the groceries over she told me Mischa hadn’t left her room and could barely walk. When I went to take her home later that day, she couldn’t walk at all, and I had to carry all 76 pounds of her to my car. Surely this was just a phase. She hurt her paw, and she’d be back to normal tomorrow.

Then tomorrow came. She was so bad she couldn’t even move or get up to go to the bathroom and wasn’t eating or drinking anything. Not knowing what else to do, I had to leave her for work, and my mom said she would check on her in a couple hours. In the middle of my second class of the day I got a phone call from my mom telling me I needed to take Mischa to the vet right away. I finished the class, and then took the rest of the day off and immediately rushed Mischa to the vet where they took some x-rays, looked her over, and declared that she has chronic nerve and muscle degeneration and osteoarthritis, with acute onset caused by twisting her ankle when she jumped out of my car. What did all this mean? Basically her brain can’t communicate with her back end anymore, and she isn’t registering where her feet are, or really that she even has feet. I laid on the floor with her and cried in the vet’s office.

The vet gave me a few different options but all of them are very expensive, some of them very time consuming, and none of them will get her where she was. This is not a spot I ever wanted to be in, but here I am. This whole weekend I’ve tried to spend as much time with her as possible, picking her up to go outside, carrying her bed, food, and water around to wherever I am, and just loving on her. In spite of the laser treatment at the vet, and the intense medication they gave me, she still is having a hard time getting around. It is heartbreaking to watch – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

This morning when I let her out to go pee, she looked as though she was going to attempt to go to the backyard. I was hopeful at this because she has barely moved past the front door, so I encouraged her. I’ll be damned if she didn’t hobble straight to the pond behind the house and get in! (The same pond that she insists on swimming in at around 4am every morning in the dead of winter.) I started freaking out because I was barefoot and in my pajamas that were not appropriate for how cold it was, so I ran in the house to get my robe and some shoes and go chase her, ready to go in the pond and fish her out if necessary. Apparently my mother, who happened to stop by right then, was prepared to do the same, and we ran out together, right as Mischa was dragging herself out of the water. She was so tuckered out by the experience that she had to lay down and rest a while before heading back to the house, but she also had a look on her face that said, “I did it!” It was honestly so inspiring to watch. This dog just does not give up! They say dogs take after their owners, but I have no idea where she gets this drive and perseverance. She just refuses to let this get her down. Her legs literally cannot communicate with her brain, but she is not letting that stop her – it is slowing her down, but not completely. So incredible. I just love her so much, and always learn so much from her.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Mischa. I don’t know what’s going to happen with me and my life. But I do know that in light of recent events, “do it now” is all the more relevant.

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