It’s a downer post. Be forewarned. But, my clinical pastoral education process tells me I need to work it out and writing is how I work things out.
I think I almost lost my little buddy this week. I’m not completely sure we’re totally ok yet.
This weekend, I tried to have Sabbath like I did last weekend, but I couldn’t, the memory of Thursday afternoon forever burned into my brain.
On Wednesday, I had taken my guinea pig, Oliver Elizabeth, to the vet where he was diagnosed with malnourishment. He hadn’t been eating. On Thursday he still didn’t seem right so I made an emergency appointment with his vet again.
With only 30 minutes to make it over to the vet, I rushed out of the office, leaving my shoes. My sister called and I filled her in on Ollie on the way to my car.
Distracted, I locked Ollie and my keys inside The Chupacabra (my car). I immediately fell apart and lost every ability to think rationally.
I tried to pry the door open with my bare hands- knowing it wouldn’t budge. I tried to force the window down by pushing on it with all my might. No. Then I called my pastor to please come bust out my window.
He came, but all my windows are still intact. He calmly suggested calling the police. I was a little flabbergasted I didn’t think of that before.
I spent the next 30 minutes alternating between wailing by Oliver’s window, apologizing to him over and over; pacing around the car trying to pull it together, and secretly trying in my mind to Avada Kedavra the unhelpful and itritatingly nonchalant officer who kept telling me to calm down because Oliver looked fine (Avada Kedavra is one of the more dire curses in the world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter).
At one point, just because it’s me and let’s face it, why wouldn’t it happen, I paced my way right through a fire ant bed. Immediate welts everywhere.
Officer Kedavra finally left, leaving me, my pastor and my receptionist. Ginger stood with me and spoke soothing things; Greg tried to get a hold of Decatur lock and Key.
Neither one of them told me to calm down, but were themselves calm and even.
That’s good because by then I literally just could not even.
After all efforts failed, First Baptist Decatur’s facilities manager, my friend Van, FBCD’s executive pastor, and my pastor Greg finally got my car unlocked- with a hand-fashioned hook-type apparatus.
I immediately began syring-ing water into Ollie’s mouth, and Greg let us sit in his car with the AC on to cool off.
The humor in the whole ordeal was watching Oliver figure out how to jump out of his travel box, and run laps on the floorboard of my car.
The grace in the whole ordeal was all the support, and that Ollie was ok.
A good lesson for all, just as a quick aside- if you’re ever around someone who is convinced they will be watching their pet die soon, knowing it will be their fault, please refrain from telling them to calm down.
We learned that in CPE and got to practice many times. Don’t say it. You can think it- but don’t say it. Not helpful. Be a calming presence instead.
Oliver is home with me, we found our favorite vet and are switching clinics, and I think Ollie is going to be ok.
I haven’t slept a lot this weekend. I’ve been getting up every 2 or 3 hours to make sure Ollie is still alive. Yesterday, after trying to get an afternoon nap forever and going to check on Oliver every 15 minutes instead, I finally had to tell myself it was ok to get some rest.
I told every muscle individually that it was ok to relax. I told my brain it as ok to let go for a bit. And I slept. Not long, but I did sleep.
I don’t know how long it’ll be before I quit getting up to make sure he’s still there- but hopefully this trauma won’t haunt my nights for too long.
In the meantime, I’m thankful:
For Oliver Elizabeth, my little buddy; for my sister and my church staff. For FBCD and their staff, and all the other supprt ollie and I have received through texts and notes and calls.
Things that make the nights not so bad after all.