Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Poor little Henry. He may be 120 pounds, but when he's cradled in Michael's arms with his nose buried in a towel, he looks so small and fragile. It was a rough morning, so we decided we'd better take him to the hospital for some help. In the lobby of the hospital, he decided he wasn't going to move anymore willingly. So Michael, a nurse and I pushed and slid him into an examining room.

After two hours, some epinephrine, a tranquilizer shot and some acupuncture, Henry was subdued and no longer bleeding. We decided not to wait and see if it gets better on its own. Instead, we're taking Henry to South Carolina tomorrow morning for a CT scan. Everyone thinks it's most likely a nasal tumor, which will probably require chemo and radiation treatment.

Luckily, we've had several opinions all pointing to this same diagnosis. Which is good, because like I told Michael as we sat on the floor of the hospital, I don't entirely trust our doctor. "She's too pretty," I told him. "You can never trust pretty people." You know those beauty pageant candidates that always say, "I want to be a veterinarian, because I love animals!" And you think, "Sure, honey. Who wants a modeling career when you can be taking a cow's temperature?" Well, apparently sometimes they really do become veterinarians. Still, pretty people will kill you where you stand, especially if you're blocking a mirror.

The confusing part is that she seems so nice. In fact, everyone at the hospital has been extraordinarily kind to us. Technicians who weren't even involved in Henry's case popped in to see how he was doing and to ask if we needed anything. The tech who was helping us couldn't have been sweeter. She helped shove gauze up his nose, which is something we haven't been able to accomplish. Plus, she didn't even blink when Henry bled on her shoes. The guy who came in to twist the acupuncture needles spoke softly to Henry and stroked his fur. Even the pretty doctor, who first told us there was nothing else we could do, came back a few minutes later with the acupuncture needles and said, "We might as well give it a try!"

The tranquilizer shot and the acupuncture did the trick, but left him pretty much immobile. So we loaded him onto a stretcher and carried him back to the car for the ride home. Just as we were loading him into the back, a woman who had been in the lobby when we left stopped by the car and handed us a bag of M&Ms. "I keep extra bags in my car," she said. "You look like you could use some cheering up." Of course, I'm thinking, "Great. Some crazy serial killer drives around looking for gay guys taking their dogs to the vet and gives them poisoned M&Ms," but I just said, "Thank you."

People are nice here. They're nicer than I am. If I walked into a room and saw two tired, frazzled guys, splattered with blood, holding down a monster of a dog, I think I would just say, "Sorry, I must have the wrong room" and keep on walking. But here, they come in and try to help. It's humbling. It makes me think of The Color Purple, when Miss Celie helps Sofia in the general store, and Sofia tells her, "I want to thank you, Miss Celie, fo evrything you done for me. I 'members that day I was in the store with Miss Millie - I's feelin' real down. I's feelin' mighty bad. And when I see'd you - I knowed there is a God."

Clearly, I need some sleep.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Country folk aint all bad! Im sorry you guys are going through this. Give Henry big dog love from Luis and I. :,(