As you can tell by the title of this blog post it is from last year! Dan twisted my arm and convinced me to get a puppy in October 2015 – get a puppy they said, it will be fun they said!
From the title of my blog post you may be anticipating an extravagant night out, celebrating the amazing past year we have had, jam packed with fun, seeing in our first NYE as husband and wife. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth if we tried.
Now as a Midwife, one of the unfortunate roles that come with that title is shift working, now don’t get me wrong sometimes working shifts can have its benefits, like when you have off 2 or 3 days in a row and they fall on weekdays, and you can just slob on the sofa while the busy world passes by outside your window and you can’t help but feel smug. But then of course it comes with its downsides, I mean there is peaks and troughs to everything right? I say being rota’d to work 2 NYE in a row is pretty unfortunate, it’s not completely awful, I was lucky enough to draw the day shift both times meaning I am home by 9pm, so most people would be thinking – You’re a young girl getting in at 9pm is nothing, from what i remember ‘youngsters’ don’t go out out til at least 10pm – right? The problem is, if you are thinking this, then you probably don’t do shift work, on a busy maternity unit, the new excitable families desperate to get home with their bundle of joy in time to celebrate when the clock chimes midnight.
So the previous year, we had decided to stay in after my busy shift, I arrived home to a wonderful home cooked meal, with flowers and candles, a candle lit bath and a glass of champagne, what girl could ask for more. I then promptly fell asleep on the sofa, snoring like a walrus, dribbling onto Dan’s shoulder, awoken at 12 for a quick new years kiss and off to bed to resume the fetal position. Poor Dan I hear you say.
So this year, I promised myself (and my new husband) that we wouldn’t have a repeat of last years events, however still having to work the 12 hour shift prior to the evening, I booked us to go to a wonderful steak restaurant a couple of towns away from us.
So lets go back to the 30th December, again I am working a 12 hour shift, Dan is at home with the puppy. It got to about 4 o’clock and I was starting to count down the hours til home time, starting to feel the strain of the numerous amounts of discharges from the postnatal ward, it seemed all the babies of the local area had decided they wanted to be born in 2015, and the ward was bursting at the seams. I had spoken to Dan on my lunch break a few hours earlier and all was well, we discussed usual things, hows the puppy? what’s for dinner? Have you done the washing up?
I checked my phone whilst having the privilege of emptying my bladder and I had 5 missed calls from Dan. Now i’m sure everyone has had this heart sinking moment, thinking, 1. I have not long spoke to him and, 2. He never calls me at work. So I call him back, straight away I knew something was wrong and my heart sank further – Hello, silence, Hello, Dan what’s up?, silence, then a little voice full of emotion (very unlike Dan) Our puppy, Duchess had had a bad fall whilst out on her daily walk and was currently at the vets under a general anesthetic having X-Rays. This was news that no furry mummy wants to hear, my poor baby, less than 5 months old, in pain and scared at the vets on her own. The phone call was left that he would let me know as soon as he hears anything from them.
I carried on with my tedious tasks of discharges, trying all the while to wear a smile and a brave face, and to carry the professional demeanor that was expected of me.
2 hours later, I received the phone call that I was dreading. It was bad news, my poor little baby had fractured her elbow in 3 different places and needed surgery. Cue the water works!
After a mad dash to the vets, meeting Dan there we find out that to our horror they can’t operate until tomorrow and we have to take this poor broken dribbly puppy home, armed with medication and fresh chicken pieces we set off home.
Our first night with her wasn’t all that bad, now all I can compare it to is what I feel it must be like to have a sick child, we didn’t want to take our eyes off of her, with the repetitive phrase from me of ‘is she still breathing?’
We set off the next morning to hand our baby girl over to a complete stranger, putting her life in his hands, and putting all of our trust into the surgeon. Now the veterinary receptionist must have thought we were a right pair – just picture it, this young sleep deprived couple turn up, black tired eyes from the amount of tears shed on the way, me sporting no make up and scraped back hair, both trying our hardest to keep our shit together and not completely break down in front of her. And then all of sudden this complete elation that this little furry thing (who appears to have taken over our whole lives) prompted to wee down Dan’s jumper – cue the squeaky voices of praise. For the record we wouldn’t of course usually praise weeing on someones clothes but she hadn’t wee’d since her GA the night before, and we were worried about nerve damage.
So now here we are sat at home on New Years Eve, without our newest addition to our family. Although we have only had her a couple of months, it really hits home how much a puppy changes your life, and how silent the house it. What do we talk about now? The cats think all of their birthdays and christmasses have come at once, that crazy thing that chases us isn’t here – they feel they have had their prayers answered. We however were facing a long lonely night without our little girl. What a way to see in the new year, we certainly didn’t sign up for this, and we certainly didn’t expect 2016 to be starting this way, and almost as upsetting (as a lover of all things food) we had to cancel the beautiful steak – lets hope this isn’t the way our year is going to pan out.
So Duchess’s surgery didn’t go as well as planned, there was an option to amputate, but at 4 and a half months old this wasn’t an option for us. So we bought her home the next day minus her cast and to our horror pins sticking out of her leg (If you are squeamish, scroll past the next picture) We had to live with this new addition for a week, and we were told to keep her on complete rest and not to let her use her leg at all. Well, can you imagine the fun we have had, for 1. She is a puppy, very much similar to an excitable hyperactive small child, except you can’t control them as well, and for 2. She is a Beagle. Nightmare. Now of course, Duchess being a beagle, it doesn’t take too long for this very clever breed to clock on to what is happening, she of course was wearing the cone of shame, but within 4 days had worked out she could scratch her front leg with her back leg, oh and pull the pins out – Lord give me strength. 3rd visit to the emergency vets at 11.30 pm after a 12 hour shift is really not what I call fun.
So we are now living with a little hop along puppy, she still sports the cone of shame, expect of course because she is a princess we bought her a more comfortable version, and we now almost fully understand what it must be like to have a small child or toddler, as when she isn’t resting in her crate, she is on her lead and has to follow us around the house, to stop her from over using her leg. So if we ever wanted any privacy thats all gone out the window. Its a good job I don’t have a complex about being watched, eating, in the shower, on the toilet – you get the picture. Oh and any newly wed couple will understand this one of ‘so isn’t it time you had a baby now your married’ Try sharing your bed with a rather large puppy who likes to sleep horizontal in between you both – enough said.
So moving forward, we have no clue what the future holds for Duchess, we will see over time if she regains her full range of motion in her leg as to whether she will be keeping it, but even if we end up with a 3 legged friend we won’t love her any less just because she is minus one leg. I personally think she is using her leg well, minimal amounts but well, but then who am I to comment i’m not an orthopaedic surgeon that deals with bones, i’m a midwife that deals with…… baby’s.