Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Timing: It's a God Thing

First, I am sneezing my head off so if there are a few more vowels or consonants in a word than there should be (or maybe a lot), forgive me. Sniff. Sneeze (x 6). Cough. Sniff. Repeat.

I had one of those God days today. I was on a mission of my own (ha, or so we always think!), to take three of my healthy wee little doggies to another rescue who could not handle a big dog they had gotten. Trade sort of thing. The rescuer is older and physically unable to handle this doggie but is absolutely fabulous in vetting and placing her dogs. The incoming dog is 12 weeks old and almost 30 pounds... gonna be a big boy! She has broken both legs and spent over a half year learning to walk again and this is NOT a dog she can handle, but the shelter begged her and, well, she made a decision.

The beginning of the God thing is that I was sick and spent almost the whole day in bed which I absolutely NEVER do. I have to be really sick, given my animals, to actually stay horizontal for more than four to five hours at a time.

I finally felt my e-mail calling, and got up to check. There was her e-mail about three e-mails down, pleading, in a rescue room, for help with this dog. She was really distraught. She is not well and this was beyond her doing. I wrote back I would take him. I know her. She is a great rescuer. Might she be willing to take a couple of very healthy, spayed/neutered little dogs that I believe are very placeable? Yes, she writes. Absolutely. So we arrange to meet two days later, today, Tuesday.

So I get to the meeting place today--her vet's office--and her dog is now in my car's dog crate, and my three are in hers, and we are standing at the vet desk making arrangements for the three to go in and get microchipped when...

She says, "Oh no." She lays her head on the desk and all of us are looking at her and each other wondering exactly what that statement means. It's one of those combined uh-oh moments that is adrenaline spiking. She lifts her head up and says, "Okay." I know she is talking to herself, but I have no clue what the context is. I ask her if she is okay and if she needs help. She is NOT okay. She says so.

The staff moves her to a room where she can lie down and sends someone out to watch the dogs (our cars parked side x side in front of the clinic, the backs of our SUV's open. It's only 70 degrees, but that is NOT the point...).

I ask her what the heck is wrong and she explains she has something called "pet". Some irony in that, believe me. What she has is a condition that, in more modern parlance that "pet", is ventricular tachycardia which is described thus:

VT is a rapid heart rhythm originating within the ventricles. VT tends to disrupt the orderly contraction of the ventricular muscle, so that the ventricle's ability to eject blood is often significantly reduced. That, combined with the excessive heart rate, can reduce the amount of blood actually being pumped by the heart during VT to dangerous levels. Consequently, patients with VT often experience -- in addition to palpitations -- extreme lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, or even sudden death.

She tries to correct it herself which, she says, she has been doing for a while learning, apparently, some techniques from, frankly, God knows where. She tries about ten times. The vet is panicked. He takes her blood pressure and looks extremely perplexed. I wanted to call 911 from the get-go, but she said no... you know how that is. This is an independent, extremely bright woman, well employed (even in this environment) worried about her dogs. Even if near death, she she would be like an 18 wheeler at 90mph beeping "get the hell out of my way" as she approaches, dog leashes in hand.

Finally, we call 911. I load all the dogs back into the vet except the big dog, Hank. Not one, but FIVE fire vehicles of various sorts show up, sirens blaring. I have to explain that while we asked them to tip-toe in, law requires them to do what they do.

Eventually, in the ambulance, after three tries of some sort of injection, they lower her heart rate, close the doors and speed off. I ask where they are going. Perfect. Whittier Hospital. Know it well. I had three broken arms set there, a finger sewed back on there, and left some adenoids and tonsils behind there. I should have a club card.

So over the meadows and through the woods I drive and arrive shortly after they do. Of note is that the paramedic that was working on her backed into a light pole (oops) while leaving, because he was staring at me. How funny is THAT? Well, if you had seen what I looked like, you would be asking the SAME question. I see him at the emergency, he looks pretty sheepish. I obviously drive better than he does. Well, if you ignore that tiny bit of a crunched bumper on the left rear of my car I do. I ran into a light pole. Mmm. Maybe I have met my true love.

So I wait in the empty emergency waiting room watching some kind of game show that I really cannot figure out. Guys with head phones and lots of money and pregnant screaming women. Oy. Totally out of my league. I don't even own a TV. There is no--and I mean NO--reading material, and since I didn't plan on this field trip, I don't have anything either. I walk outside and look around. I bump into Mr. Hit-the-light-pole again. I am really not--in fact definitely not--looking for a relationship. Unless of course he is a total animal lover and loves to spend money at the veterinarian. I might think about that. I go back into the emergency waiting room.

In the meantime, three pregnant women enter and go in a door... baby time. Some people are sitting outside crying... loss time. I am hell and gone from home at this point, and the cats need meds an hour ago but I need to make sure this is okay, that her children know she is HERE (not somewhere else) and try to figure out if I can help with her animals at home if need be. Yes, she has three biters at home, but the other nine or so are nice. Mostly. Mostly nice. No prob. Can handle that. They are small. The indoor feral cat is unseeable. Food, cat box, water and all is fine.

I get the list of whose who and who's where. How to get in, what to do, etc. just in case.

She calls her doctor (while in the emergency room!) and makes an appointment for the next day. I tell her ten times she really must get serious about this and get this handled. She agrees. We agree to send each other (because we are both single) an e-mail am and pm each night so someone knows we are alive. She is worried not because she might die, but because if she does, someone might put her dogs in a city shelter. I totally get it. I worry about this constantly. Many animal people are extremely independent and many are singletons. If they don't have cooperatives (she does) they are in deep trouble when ill or when dying. But if she cannot get home, she cannot take care of the dogs. I get it.

So, what is the moral of this story for me? God wanted me there. Period. I know I learned a few things today, and was in the right place at the right time (she could have had this happen with strangers at a 7-11).

Often times in EFM as my lead-in, lead-out (assigned rotational), I don't come with reading in hand. My question is always: Where did YOU see God this week? The question is really designed to get people to think about what they see in terms of God AT THE TIME in motion. What did you SEE? What were YOU a part of?

It's easy to say we see God in all things. But I believe that is us not paying attention and it is a well used phrase to just excuse ourselves from paying attention.

This story reflects a big event, but I experience them all the time. There isn't a day I don't experience them. It might be a single sentence someone utters that brings things home. It might be an act by a friend or stranger, large or small. It might be a frigging miracle!

The point to me is that we do a lot of thinking and hand-wringing. Nothing wrong with that. But what about just 'God observation', if you will?

As we enter the season of birth of our Lord Christ, and re-witness the beginning of our belief and its stories, myths and miracles, isn't this the perfect time to set about seeing them not just once or twice a year, but daily?