Stuart loves the beach. The sand between his toes. The ocean rolling up and away. The lighthouses. Boardwalks to stroll along. Looking into shop windows. Gazing into the water and wondering what it’s all about.
This is the time of year when we drive from Richmond to Nags Head, North Carolina, to spend some time away from the humdrum. We’re childfree with no close relatives nearby, so it’s the three of us. Our family. And we love it that way.
So the question arises: Do we go? Or stay home? Is Stuart well enough to travel? What if something happens? Where are the vets? Is there a 24-hour emergency hospital if his heart-based hemangiosarcoma rears its evil head again?
As usual, Dr. Elliott had some sage advice: Does he enjoy it? Then, take him. If HE enjoys it, go.
During our phone with her call last night, we discussed what might happen if we went on our trip. At the very least, she said, when the pericardial effusion happened four weeks ago – THAT’S RIGHT 4 WEEKS AGO! – it was hours before he was admitted to the emergency hospital. He wasn’t himself all day, we took him in to see her that afternoon, then we admitted him that night. You can always drive back here to Richmond, she said.
If he passed in his sleep on the way home, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, she said, and apologized for being blunt.
No apologies necessary Dr. Elliott. We’re in a much better place to discuss that these days. The initial shock is still with us, but we’re more composed to deal with it.
He’ll be in no pain. That’s the key. The other key is that during the four weeks since we almost lost him, he’s never been alone more than 10 or 20 minutes. We take shifts and between us and Auntie Meredith, bless her, he’s constantly under a watchful eye. Because there’s no warning for another cardiac event.
We’ll just take our drive, enjoy our walks, cook Stuart’s salmon, and be a family.
Or maybe not. We haven’t decided.