…it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last…
To the Counting Crows it may just have been a long December, but for me it feels like 2013 has been a very long year. It has been a year of ups and downs, I cannot recall a more eventful year in my twenty-something years on this planet. On the ups list I can note passing the bar, moving in with my fiance, getting a job, getting another job, getting yet another job, completing my conversion process, getting engaged, celebrating my grandfather’s birthday by his side. On the downs list I can note studying for the bar, taking the bar, juggling three part- (but really full) time jobs, still living at home, having my grandfather hospitalized for several weeks, having my grandfather released from the hospital with complications, having my heart inexplicably and unexpectedly broken, still having my grandfather remain in a not-quite-so-great medical condition, my Finch going from fine to paralyzed overnight.
Over the last week this has really taken a toll on me. It truly has been too much to handle. The straw that broke the camel’s back was last weekend when Finch had to undergo emergency surgery. I have been tired, I have been working long hours, and generally spreading myself to thin professionally, but my personal life was okay. Thursday morning my fiance flew home to spend Thanksgiving with his family and I stayed in Miami with mine. Everything seemed fine as we went to have a very small gathering at my uncle’s. When we returned Finch didn’t want to eat, I figured he was being temperamental since his dad had left him and his cranky grandfather was in town. I took him for a walk and we all went to bed. Friday morning, however, he was still down. I inevitably began to worry, especially when he refused to go for a walk. My sister and I had planned a fun weekend of wedding planning, but I couldn’t even think about it. We rushed to the vet and he told us Finch could have some back problems. He x-rayed his back to be sure and explained something about his discs being close together, but told us that the x-ray would be sent to some sort of specialist. He recommended 4 weeks of crate rest and prescribed some pain killers, he also gave him a shot for the pain. I was puzzled, I never thought Finch had back problems and I honestly believed the vet was wrong. Finch seemed to be feeling better when we got back, although his right leg seemed to be bothering him. I dismissively assumed it was numbness from the pain. That night Finch ate dinner and I happily thought everything would be okay.
Saturday was a nightmare I still expect to wake from. I woke up with Finch at my feet and greeted him warmly. He stretched and tried to get up, but it wasn’t working. I didn’t understand what could be the problem so I carried him down to the floor. He didn’t stand. I encouraged him to, thinking his leg may still be numb, but neither of his legs seemed to be responding. I freaked out. I have never felt such sense of hopeless panic. I immediately called the vet. He wasn’t available. He called me a few minutes later. He told me the specialist had looked at the x-ray and that the problem was really severe. When I told him he couldn’t walk he told me that was a huge problem and that he would need emergency surgery that day. He told me I could wait until Monday, for a cheaper surgeon, but that he didn’t recommend it. Instead he gave me the number of a colleague, a neurologist, who would be very expensive, but very good. I called him immediately. It was his day off so I had to wait for a call back. I wept. The neurologist called me back right away, he explained the gravity of the situation and the expense I would incur. He was straightforward, which I appreciated, and explained how we could pay for the surgery. He gave me fifteen minutes to think about it. I got off the phone and cried. I cried for about five minutes feeling utterly alone and hopeless. I couldn’t afford to spend $6,500 on anything, regardless of how much I wanted to (my fiance and I live at home with my mom, our finances are less than stellar, and our school debt is generally insurmountable). I tried to reach my fiance, but he wouldn’t answer. I talked to my mom, my dad, my sister. I took a deep breath and applied for a Care credit card. It’s basically a credit card for medical needs, the neurologist recommended it as the best option. My baby is only about three or four years old, I love him more than anyone can imagine, I could not give up or risk his life at the hands of a less skilled doctor. I got approved and called the neurologist right away. He asked me to come in within the hour for a check-up and an MRI if necessary.
When we met I was sitting on the floor with Finch. Finch seemed scared, confused, and frustrated. I imagine he didn’t understand how he lost his ability to walk overnight. I couldn’t stop crying, but he talked to me calmly and explained everything thoroughly. When he told my mom that we would have to leave Finch with him until Wednesday she wept. Saturday he kept me informed as to everything that was happening. The surgery took about four hours and he explained that the damage was extensive. His regular vet checked in with me and told me it was the worst case he’d seen. I still don’t understand how it happened.
Finch is home now. He won over everyone at the neurologist’s office. The receptionist called him “a little rock-star.” Every single day he seems to be improving. I can sleep again for the first time in a week. None of this process has been easy, but it has unquestionably been worth it and I am reminded every time I see him gallop happily, his wide ears flopping in the wind.
If you feel inclined to help please visit www.youcaring.com/fundforfinch. Any donation is welcome and greatly appreciated.