Losing Asher at 32 weeks 5 days was the worst case scenario of my otherwise healthy pregnancy. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but since living the worst case scenario with our son, I go there now with basically everything else. It has made my hypochondria worse, increased my worry about my loved ones, and made my outlook on life completely different.
We’ve had Murphy for 4 years and not once in that time frame has he ever had any health issues. Last week, I took him out to go pee, like usual, and then we went to bed. I woke up at 12:30am to constant licking and scratching from Murphy (I also stepped in poop on the floor, but that is unrelated and my fault for not securing the poop before bed). For the rest of the night, that is all we heard. He would not stop. I kept yelling at him to stop. I was pretty mean, actually (you don’t mess with Amy and her sleep).
When Hubby’s alarm went off (because we just laid there all night listening to Murphy), he looked at Murphy’s belly and he was covered in red marks, mostly from licking and scratching but he had some rash like marks on him, as well. We gave him a Benadryl and I called the vet when I got to work. Of course, they didn’t have any appointments for that day, unless I marked it as an emergency. I thought it was just an allergic reaction to something so I said it wasn’t an emergency. I wanted to see how he was when I went home at lunch. The vet told me to try to rinse off his stomach and that it was likely an allergic reaction to the Febreeze I used earlier that day (even though I have used that several times before). When I got home at lunch, I tried to rinse of his belly in the sink, which basically just got me wet. I called the vet to see if I could get him in later in the day for an emergency appointment. They proceeded to tell me the doctor left at noon, but that the local emergency vet opens at 6pm. What is the point of having a veterinarian, if they can’t see my furry child on the same day that he has an issue?!
I decided that I was taking him to the emergency vet that evening. We didn’t sleep the night before, he wasn’t getting any better, he was uncomfortable, and I wanted all of us to get some sleep that night. Hubby and I took him to the vet at exactly at 6pm. While checking in, Hubby saw a couple there who had just put their dog down (I was completely oblivious, filling out the check in form). He told me how sad it was while we were waiting and that the nurse said “we are sorry about what happened to your dog”. That planted the seed. The tech took us back to a room and we explained his issues. She took his temperature and said Murphy had a slight fever. (My poor baby!) She left us alone (for a while) and we waited for the vet. While waiting, the spiraling started. What if they tell us there is something seriously wrong with him and he isn’t going to make it?! Prior to going to the vet, I figured they would give him some Prednisone and we would be on our way. But after seeing the couple with their dog’s ashes and learning Murphy had a fever, I started to freak out. I thought to myself, “this has been the absolute worst year of our lives, what is to stop it from becoming any worse and us losing our furry child”. I kept asking Hubby if Murphy was going to be ok and he would always say “I’m not a veterinarian”, which is not helpful. (When I ask him if everything is going to be ok, I do it because I need reassurance that it will and I’m just overacting.) While the spiraling was happening, Murphy was just lying in my lap, exhausted and tired. It hurt me to see him so sad and uncomfortable.
The vet came in and immediately told us it was not a reaction to Febreeze. He examined Murphy and told us that he was bitten by something, possibly a spider. He said it was quite possible he was bitten when I took him out before bed the night before, based on when his symptoms started. He said that Murphy also had a slight infection from his scratching. So our little guy was given two shots at the doctor; a steroid injection and an antibiotic. We were sent home with Prednisone and advised to continue to give him Benadryl for the next week. The injection made a huge difference and we all slept soundly that night. By the next morning, his belly already looked 80% better with no more red splotches everywhere. YAY!
The point of this story? This year has kicked my ass. It’s taken more from me than just
my son. It’s taken away part of my positivity. The loss of Asher, the struggle to conceive a sibling, and just the general suckiness of the whole thing takes a lot out of a person. The world is not always sunshine and rainbows (literally, we have not conceived our “rainbow” for the “rainbow” we lost). The worse-case scenario can happen to anyone and I’ve seen it happen to the same people multiple times. Clearly, Murphy was going to be fine; he did not have any swelling or trouble breathing, it was isolated to his skin. However, I still couldn’t stop myself from going to the possibility of what if he wasn’t going to be okay. What if we lost our reason to smile every day? On the difficult days, it can be hard to smile, but Murphy always has a way of making me, just by simply looking at me with his handsome, little face.
This life after loss is a tough one. Prior to losing Asher, I don’t think I would’ve ever thought of the possibility of losing Murphy because of a skin issue. After losing Asher, that thought pops up and causes me to spiral in a very real way. I am aware of all the pain this life has to offer and I know that it isn’t necessarily a “once and done” thing. I know that I am not spared from any future heartache because my son died (even though that should definitely be the case for everyone who has lost a child) and because of that knowledge, I go to the worst case scenario, more heartache, with everything.