Vagus

The oldest dog in my menagerie will be ten in September. For many years already, she’s been prone to seizures (sp?). We’re still not sure what brings them on for the handful of times a year they occur. Our veterinarian hasn’t really offered much in the way of an explanation aside from many small breeds are prone to them and that we should avoid allowing her to have onions, because those can specifically cause them.

When they happen, Bodhi’s little body tenses up entirely – her little paws either curl up tightly or kind of reach out into space stiffly. She slobbers a little and passively, slowly, and subtly licks her lips. Her pupils dilate hugely and her eyes become “scared.” Sometimes she’ll grunt or make a very very soft whine, as if she’s hurting.

The whole ordeal lasts only a few minutes and upsets myself and my beloved. While it’s happening we usually just hold her close and softly repeat her name to bring her back to us.
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My beloved has a “compromised” lower back. He virtually always has. In his teens, I’m told, he underwent physical therapy for it. Off and on throughout his adult life it’s been an issue. It’s usually something that only flares up when he’s been careless during one of our moves or during fitness activities or something. It flared up recently because of a combination of factors to do with fitness and grouting my inlaws’ spare bedroom floor. For most of this week he’s been in some sort of pain from it.

This morning the pain became too much. Sitting or standing was very uncomfortable. Being on the couch or bed, flat on his back, was about the only thing that brought even a little comfort. By the time I’d showered and was preparing for work, he decided that he wouldn’t be going to the office. We briefly discussed that he should likely seek medical attention in the form of a MedCheck of Emergency Room (He’s currently in between PCPs). I told him that I’d take him, and so we went to a nearby, new, ER.

Getting there and admitted was easy. They asked him questions about every aspect of his health, and the ER physician indicated that the plan would be to give my beloved three injections (Morphine, Valium, & Ibuprofen) and then send him home with a few prescriptions.

The first injection was Morphine and was administered to his left thigh. A few seconds passed and he seemed fine. As the RN was prepping his right arm for the second injection, I noticed him looking toward the ceiling.

I moved toward him and noticed his pupils were enormous. Soon thereafter his eyes were rolling backward, and his head was tipping even more backward. I moved closer still, began saying his name and touching him – and suddenly his body went rigid. His hands and fingers contorted into the familiar shape people use when making fun of “retarded” people, and at one point his right arm flew upward.

By now another nurse or two had arrived. I’m still calling my beloved’s name trying to coax him back to me. Suddenly, although remaining rigid, his body became still. His entire body then flushed very red and his breathing stopped. There was a kind of straining happening with his body, pressure that felt like it was leading to some sort of burst. This, of course, sent me into orbit.

Only a week ago we’d been watching the show, Downton Abbey, and a character, shortly after birthing, had died following an event that looked JUST like this. The episode made me cry, for many reasons – one of which was that this woman’s husband was by her side desperately pleading for her to return from her seizure. She didn’t. They were unable to make her breathe again and she left while her spouse held her hand. All newborns aside, my emergency room experience this morning mirrored that of the Downton Abbey scene far too closely.

Within a few minutes, as with my Bodhi, my beloved came back. By this point he had oxygen strapped to his face and more wires hooked to him than I knew to count. Aside from weeping like nobody’s business (a point which I’m nearing now simply recounting this ordeal, and which I’ve neared many times since the event because of images that keep flashing through my mind’s eye), the only thing I could do was kiss and hug and hold him in any way allowable and, of course, constantly inspect him for new or additional signs of more terror. I didn’t even care what the staff thought about my display – thankfully none attempted to stop me or remove me, or it’s a sure bet the ER would have had a few more patients right then.

The final verdict from the attending physician is that he experienced a vagal episode, more technically called a vasovagal response/reaction. Simply put: he passed out.

I disagree that he simply “passed out,” but vasovagal reactions are possible in response to opioid exposure, so whatever. He’s never getting Morphine again. This experience has taught me a few things, noted thusly:

1) Don’t ever let me fool you into thinking I’m succeeding at nonattachment within the context of Maya. It is a spiritual and personal goal of mine, but I’m failing horribly, and will likely continue to so long as my beloved is my beloved.

2) I will probably always be simultaneously trusting of medical staff and questioning. Honestly, as annoying as this may become to some, I’m not sorry. If we were to trust doctors simply because they are doctors, medical malpractice insurance wouldn’t exist.

3) I will never adhere to thoughts or beliefs that perpetuate any semblance of distance between myself and my Source. The distance experienced between myself and my beloved today during our stay at the ER is enough to have scarred me for some time and as with medical staff, I’ll continue to question and discern and I will surely drop any belief that matches this – there can be no Truth there, in my estimation, and if there is, it is a Truth that causes only longing and pain. I experienced misery today when my beloved was pulled from me only a little ways. It isn’t good. I will not have it.

That’s virtually all I know right now. I’m not sure it amounts to much of anything, but there you have it.

Jai Shri Ganeshaya Namaha
Om Shanti

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One response to “Vagus

  1. So happy that turned out alright. You had me scared there. I had an experience 10 years ago that closely mirrored this, though no morphine was involved, that I know of. I was staying with my wife (though we were not married yet, and all of a sudden I lost the ability to finish sentences, the ability to form words. Then, I am told my one arm was flung into the air as you described, and I yelled. and then I was out. I lived. But the way she described those long questionable moments, my lady felt the same as you did in your concern for him.

    1. I have never bought the idea that it is a failing of detachment when it involves a loved one. I do not believe that another person, beloved or not, is an extension of the ego. I have always said that my love for my wife is my one non-adherence to the concept of non-attachment. I insist that she simply IS the most beautiful woman in the world, not because she is “my” wife but because she is what she is based on my experience and observation of her.

    2. Make no apologies for mistrust of the medical field. They don’t know everything and you live with him and know him more. And I think it is admirable that you are willing to get in their face to be assured (a) that he got the treatment necessary, and (b) that you saw for yourself that he was okay.

    3. I could go on and on…

    Like

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