This is the fifth installation in this story series.
Sunday, April 7 (cont):
For the first time since this entire experience began, I no longer feel alone. I recognize this is largely due to my own unwillingness to reach out and ask for help. If nothing else this experience is teaching me sometimes I need to swallow my own pride and admit that I can’t do it on my own. I’m glad she’s here; I know that she will support whatever decision I make, prevent me from being pressured into making choices I really do not want, and if the worst is confirmed and we have to put her down, at least I won’t be alone.
The vet comes back and suggests we all go together into the exam area. I feel much more at ease knowing I am seeing ‘behind the scenes’ and watching what he does. He spreads out a towel for me to place her on, and the entire family, my friend, the tech, and I surround her. As the vet begins his physical exam a wave of peace washes over me as I see the concern on everyone’s faces. Here are people who have no reason to care about the fate of my rabbit, and yet they do. The wife strokes her head and comments on her cuteness, my friend squeezes my hand. Internally my prayer mantra continues “Please let me afford this… please let her live.”
As the vet examines, he narrates for us and describes what he is finding. My friend, a medical student about to graduate with her MD, is able to follow his train of thought and ask appropriate questions. I am glad she is here and I am not required to ‘think’. He comments that it sounds like her stomach has stopped working, a side effect of the antibiotic. He sets up to administer fluids and asks if Im ok if his son assists. I tell him, that’s fine, I trust him. They take her temperature, it’s lower than it should be. The vet tells me I should help warm her up at home. His wife gives me suggestions for how to do so, things they have found handy. The vet goes to get medications, and we chat about my work at the hospital. The mother shares her story from their experience, the son asks me questions that I begin to answer. The dad comes back and comments to his son that in addition to everything else we have in common, I am also a Gator. So is my friend. We laugh.
He administers the medications and tells me that while he can’t guarantee she will come out of this, he has high hopes. He gives me prescriptions, describes the appropriate abdominal massages I should be conducting, and informs me it is time for me to start forcefeeding her. She has to eat and drink or she doesn’t have much of a chance. He then thanks me for bringing her in. He comments that the timing was perfect as he was already coming in for his son, it was a God thing. As my friend, the medical student, assists him in checking his son’s blood levels, the wife and I began chatting. It turns out she used to attend the same church as my friend and myself. We begin talking about faith, and discover mutual friends. We talk about suffering in this world, and how unfortunate it is.
The subject turns to the vet’s son, and he starts confiding in me about his difficulties at school. We start a conversation, that lasts about 20 minutes, and I begin giving him advice about how to handle his problems. I feel God urging me to say particular things, and I see relief on his face as he truly listens. I offer suggestions for what to say or do when his friends unload their problems on him, and in that moment it all becomes clear. I’m not here for Lilly. I’m here for this boy. God put me here. Right now, in this moment, because this child needed advice only I can give.
Peace actively fills my veins. I know in that moment, for that moment, that whatever comes of this, its God’s plan. If Lilly hadn’t become sick again, we would not be here right now. We would not have had this encounter. I’m almost giddy with happiness that there WAS a purpose, but a small part of me riffles with anger that God would cause her sickness to allow this meeting to happen. In the scheme of things I can see why a human’s emotional well-being would be more important to him than a rabbit, but it feels utterly unfair that she bears the brunt of it. Right as I am about to lash out at God I feel the voice speak to me. The same voice that spoke to me almost two years ago returns. He tells me that he didn’t cause the illness to happen to provide for this moment, he’s using her illness, one that was inevitable thanks to living in a fallen world, he’s using it for good. He’s using it for his purpose.
It’s all part of the plan.
I look over where the vet and my friend are conversing. He has some questions about the remaining effects of his son’s illness, and as a doctor (well a month away from being an MD), she can answer those questions. It occurs to me that she was part of this plan as well. She was here not just because I needed her here, but because they needed her here as well.
The vet asks if I have his personal cell, I say no, we exchange numbers. He tells me “please call, text, whatever. Let me know how she is doing, and if you have questions. I can’t guarantee anything, but if you do everything we talked about, I think she can pull through this. She’s only middle age for a rabbit.” He thanks me for talking to his son. “He needed that, he needed you”. I assure him I was glad to help in any way that I could. He informs me that aside from the medications, he is not charging me for any of this visit. “We’re family now. “ I smile, because it’s true. I feel connected to these people in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible in such a short period of time. We all reflect on this experience and how amazing our God is.
We all hug and start to walk out. It's amazing to me how quickly my mood has shifted, how different my perspective is upon leaving. An hour ago I was angry at God, prepping myself for heartbreak. Heck! I had even packed up all of her belongings in the car so that as soon as she passed I could get in and drive. And now... I have hope.
Hope. A dangerous emotion, but powerful.
As we’re leaving the mother comes and give s me some other last minute advices. Feed her this and that. Try these vegetables. Try this to make a hot water bottle; do you have those supplies? We can get them for you. I assure them I am prepared. I thank them again, and I tell the vet I will call him if we have any problems.
As they drive off my friend comes over and hugs me. “are you going to be alright?” “I think so” I replied. “How crazy was that?” “I’m so glad you called me… we were clearly both supposed to be here tonight.” I smile and thank her again, and again, for coming.
“That’s what friends do.”
To Be Continued...