"Oh, God," I whimpered, reaching to pet her even as I tapped out 'eye care for animals' in the Google window and started to reach for the phone. I clicked on the main website, mind filled with how Chienne would adjust to constant darkness, why I'd not worked harder to prevent this, if I'd opt for injections or surgery to stop the pain as we'd lost all sight.
"Think, dammit," I demanded of myself with vicious impatience when I realized I should have clicked on the map to reach the local number. Punching it out, I left a message with a shaking voice, clutching the phone as I requested someone call me back even though it was 6AM.
"She's blind," I told one of the partners when she called, having coaxed my dog down the three steps from my deck, weeping when she sat and held her paw out to shake, unsure of where to step without falling and clearly reading my distress. "I don't know what to do. How to help her." She told me to come in at 8:00 and to keep Chienne in a small area where she couldn't hurt herself.
"We're OK," I told her, frantically putting away the various items I keep scattered across the floor, carelessly dropped shoes and dog toys, papers and books and bags. They tripped my pretty girl and I hated myself for my insensitivity, realizing I was overreacting and pausing to take deep breaths, dropping to my knees and bowing my head over my dog.
After guiding her through a walk, taking a quick shower and throwing on clothes, I dashed off an email to work and helped Chienne in the Jeep, gasping when she misjudged her typical leap and ended up bouncing off the steering wheel before I was ready to lift her. We made the trip without incident - listening to hymns I keep on CD - and I rolled down the windows when we arrived, some 40 minutes before the office was due to open. Despite my efforts otherwise, she bumped into a giant rock when I walked her through the grass then stumbled over a tree root.
The office staff must have seen me when I tried the locked door, for one came to open it for me so I could sit on the floor with my blinded animal, one of us terrified, the other curiously wagging her tail, and wait.
The doctor - the male partner - emerged from the back and grinned at Chienne before frowning when I said she wasn't able to see. "One minute," he said. "Bring her back to room 3 and we'll get started."
And so there were drops and checking of pressure (58 - her last normal reading was 14) and more drops and two pills. Chienne gave kisses as I blinked back tears, reacting with confusion when he said we were trying to restore vision.
"But she's blind," I replied.
"But you said she was fine last night," he said, staring into the dog's eye even as he spoke. "The pressure's below 60. And the pupil is starting to constrict." He turned on the light in the room again and patted Chienne affectionately before looking at me kindly. "I'll be surprised if I can't get it back," he told me and I blinked at him, afraid to hope.
"Still up," he muttered the next time he checked pressure. "We try glycerin next," he decided. "If that fails, I'll remove fluid with a needle but that does increase inflammation so I use it as a last resort." Having wrinkled my nose over the thought of a needle but desperately wanting her to see again, I nodded dumbly as he left and helped hold her head while he coaxed 4 syringes full of gel into my sweet puppy.
"30 minutes," he decided. "This is going to remove water systematically so she'll need to go outside. So go ahead and walk her - keep her away from bushes so she doesn't poke herself in the eye."
I breathed easier when she pranced around the giant rock, avoided the patch of tall grass and trotted over a pothole without tripping. And so we wandered. And I hoped.
And finally sagged with relief when she curiously watched the cotton ball the doctor tossed make a gentle arc before floating to the ground 20 minutes later.
"16," he announced of the pressure and I nodded, swallowing hard to regain some semblance of control. And we came home and slept. I offered water at regular intervals and refused to let her become sick by drinking as much as she wanted. I watched her carefully, noting the eye did look funny and she was holding it closed, but vision remained as she followed me around.
She rests at my side now - if more than a few moments pass when we're apart, one of us will begin to search for the other. Seeking reassurance. Comfort.
I had thought this morning - ever prepared for the worst - that degeneration was inevitable. We will all die. Parts wear out. Fears establish. Hearts break. But it appears there are sometimes reprieves. Corrections and recoveries.
And so we curl close and feel grateful and rest.
- Someone asked on my last point about having the eye removed. The blind eye doesn't bother her and the pressure is normal. The doctor tells me it's a choice of aesthetics. Please know that if it were hurting her and they wanted it out, she'd be down to one eye.
- John's flowers appeared to last longer than he did. Which also makes me sad.
- That was an instance when being hopeful was the wrong approach, methinks.
- I find myself indecisive about new dating opportunities - I'm just not good at it. And it hurts when I don't understand what went wrong.
- Work is work - one unpleasant task at a time. But - apart from those - all is well.