When we arrived at the starting point, my husband enthusiastically told me that he wanted me to enjoy the ride so that I would want to go riding with him every weekend. It all sounded like such fun. My sister arrived and we started off on the trail. I never took into account that my husband and sister could go on a ride where they didn't go at it like masochists. The first part of the trail was okay and I kept up with them without any trouble. Then we got to the second part of the trail. I swear that it was all uphill. As we kept riding, I started to feel nauseous, but I pressed on, thinking it couldn't be that much further. As we approached the last part and I saw the final hill I felt like throttling both of them. It wasn't an enjoyable recreation for me at all. I confess that the things in my head weren't particularly favorable.
We arrived at the restaurant and parked our bikes. As we went inside, I was really not feeling well at all. I decided I would head to the bathroom. I thought if I could just throw up, I'd be okay. Only when I got in there, I couldn't throw up. It was the handicapped stall, so I went to the sink, thinking a little cold water on my wrists and face would help, because by that point I was really not feeling good. I got to the sink and stared at my reflection in the mirror. It occurred to me that I had passed the point where women "glisten" to full out sweating like a butcher. I remember looking down at the sink and the next thing I was aware of what that my mouth hurt as if I'd bitten something too hard and I felt like I was waking up in the middle of a dream. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom. As I sat there, slowly my vision began to clear. I realized that I couldn't sit there forever. I got up somehow and made my way out of the bathroom. My husband was waiting for me in the hallway outside the bathroom. I have no idea how long I was in there. He asked if I was okay and I think I nodded or something and he said that we had a booth, so I could sit down there and rest. We started toward it. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor and strangers were looking down at me and talking to me. After a while, I sat up against the wall while we waited for the paramedics to come, and I passed out again. So, I got to spend the rest of the evening in the emergency room at a local hospital. As far as I know, everything is okay, it was just overexertion. Still, it was scary. I had to wear a halter monitor for twenty four hours to make sure I didn't have something wrong with my heart after lots of prodding and poking revealed nothing else wrong.
After all the excitement was over, we headed for home, where we were greeted at the back door by Blueberry first. She had to give me a thorough sniff over and a curious tail wag. She figured that something was wrong with me, but she also seemed to determine that it wasn't serious. She took it in stride, but did seem to have an eye on me when I wasn't looking. She was even kind enough to curl up on the other end of the couch so that I could stretch out and be comfortable. She seemed to just give me some space and keep an eye on me from a distance.
Hawk resisted sniffing me altogether the night I got home. I imagine I smelled too much like the vet's office for him to be too comfortable being too close. The next morning he decided I needed close supervision, however. He followed me into the bathroom as I stood brushing my teeth and leaned his frail old body against mine for support. He rarely ventures into the bathroom for long, because baths can happen in there, but he was willing to take the risk to keep his eye on me. He pretty much made sure he was in the same room with me the entire next day, when I stayed home to rest. I found it sweet and funny that he would take such risks for me. He's always been protective of me, but he hasn't shown it like that in quite some time. He often came over during the day to look at me and sniff, then went off to his bed, content that all was still okay in his world.
Lilac remained her sweet self. She wasn't fazed by my entrance at all the night I got back from the hospital with all the wires and funny smells. Her only concerns seemed to be that she'd still get taken outside, we would remember to feed her and her scritching schedule would not be interrupted. Our old lady is a creature of habit. You can change the clocks in the house, but you won't alter Lilac's internal clock, which will always say that it's time to go out thirty minutes before your alarm clock goes off. Her concerns are small ones. Keep her routine the same and keep the fireworks and thunderstorms at bay, and Lilac is happy. So, she was completely unimpressed by the fact that I smelled funny or seemed to have been through any kind of ordeal.
Bunny was her sweet self, of course. She pushed through Blueberry and Lilac and then her little eyes bugged out as she smelled the olfactory smorgasboard that was attached to me. She leaped around me, her tail twirling, just happy that I'd returned yet again. She dutifully went outside to take care of business, then quickly returned to my side as I rested on the couch. As I crawled into bed, she clambored in, curling herself up against my side and offering herself up for any kind of therapeutic puppy petting that I might need. The next day she alternated between keeping my feet warm at the end of the couch, curling up against me in a little ball and sleeping on the floor beside the couch where she could watch me. She spent a great deal of time licking my feet, making sure that the hospital smell would come off me.
I found it funny that for the most part, they all seemed to sense that I wasn't feeling my best and they all had their own ways of trying to take care of me. I doubt anyone else could have watched over me as closely as those four sighthounds. It really is true that the best therapist in the world is a puppy. Spending the day recovering with them definitely made me feel much better.