Sleep was fitful Friday night. I was up every hour to check on the dog. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a few suspicions. I tried to calm myself, to sleep, I knew I was going to need sleep. Finally at 6 I gave up, got up, and made coffee. I checked emails and graded assessments and checked the time of the nearby vet. Once I had confirmed that I could do nothing before 9 a.m. I had more coffee and prepared the backpack for the dog.
This was about all I could do. At 8:45 I was out of the house with the dog, still coughing, still sounding like he was in great pain. I laid the backpack on the floor for him and he crawled in happily, because he loves to travel. We walked to the vet, went in, and talked to the girl at the counter.
“My dog is sick.”
She asked for information and I informed that I had actually been in on Monday to get his shots and regular check-ups. My thinking was, my hope was, that he had kennel cough, which can be a side effect of the kennel cough vaccine. It wouldn’t be as bad a full blown case, but seemed likely. It’s not impossible.
She took one look at the dog in the bag.
“Oh my god, he’s adorable.”
“Yeah, we get that.”
She put us on the waitlist, since we didn’t have an appointment, but let us know about 10 minutes later that she might be able to get us in at 9:45. We waited. Other dogs came in, the men and women fawned over Tino, but suggested caution because I wasn’t sure if he was contagious.
At 9:45 we entered the office. At this point the dog had mostly stopped coughing. The night had included a lot of coughing and spitting up of fluid, which again, struck me as most likely to be kennel cough. However, now, the dog was quiet and seemed to be happy to just chill in my lap. I was cool with that. I read my book. We relaxed on the uncomfortable vet bench.
The vet came in, same as Monday.
“So your back.”
“Yep. I think it’s kennel cough.”
“Let’s have a listen.”
She listens to him for awhile.
“Ah, there is that big heart murmur. It makes it hard to here anything else.”
“Yes, I know, but this is most likely kennel cough, right?”
I want her to say yes. I want her to say right. I want her to say anything but what I am most worried she is going to say. Because I’m not stupid and I know that there is a good chance this is not kennel cough but something much, much worse.
It’s going to be much, much worse.
“I really think you should go to an emergency room.”
“It’s not kennel cough?”
“I mean, we could start him on the antibiotics, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think this is just a cough. I think I might hear crackling in his lungs.”
Fuck, is all I can think. Fuck, fuck, fuck.