The night snuck up on us quietly. We all went to bed and I fell asleep praying. At 4:30 a.m. I woke up to that godforsaken hacking sound. Gelsemina was having another seizure, only eight hours after the first one. We rushed back to the hospital received the first dose of phenobarbital, then went back home. Somewhere in the night she had a stroke, and when the Sunday sun kissed my balcony, my beautiful girl could no longer walk and went completely blind. I held her in my arms, her limp body hanging like a vintage rag doll, her little tongue swinging in the hot September air like a lifeless handkerchief. That afternoon I did what my teacher, a shaman from the Peruvian Amazon taught me. I pulled out my chakapa - a bouquet of jungle leaves tied together - and rattled it over her spent body and told her: "If you have to go, you can go, I love you; just tell me what you would like me to do."
"I am not going anywhere," came her indignant answer through the celestial quantum plane. "I am just really tired, you have to let me sleep, and get me off these meds, please," she concluded. I was relieved to get that answer, though it was a slight challenge to fully believe it. How could you not have doubts when your best friend's almost lifeless body is relieving herself at your knees, when it seems like no one is "home," when your firecracker of a dog can no longer walk? Regardless, I prayed, I kissed her, I sang her beautiful mantras, I "OM"-d my head off. And again, I was in the moment.
The next morning I carried her to Dr. Kumar in my arms. We did X-rays, blood tests, fecal tests, urine tests and waited patiently for answers. I was by her side every minute - my boss allowed me to bring her to work. My friends comforted me. You know who your true friends and allies are in times of need. You also realize that help is just a few doors down; my neighbors showed up for me in unexpected ways. Dr. Kumar took her off the medication and concluded that all her tests were negative. I continued to pray for a miracle. I sang her my favorite Icaros, I continued to "OM" my head off and again, I was in the moment.
That afternoon I did break down though. I allowed myself to fall apart in celebration of her greatness. I remembered her "freedom ride" from the shelter, us being kicked out from our home because my ex didn't want her - no surprise he is an ex - our first winter in Chicago, how she frolicked through the snow, her fall in Washington Square Park in NYC, her exuberance after each bath, her poolside manners at Coachella, her falling into numerous pools and her inability to swim, her "doggie yoga" TV debut where she proceeded to lick her genitalia for the whole KTLA segment instead of performing the yoga poses. I thanked her for all the experiences and smiled balling my eyes out. Because of her inability to stand I had to feed her laying down. Too week to chew, I fed her chicken broth through a syringe which she enjoyed so much that she relived herself onto my favorite West Elm rug. I didn't mind. I was happy that she was present and I felt that the angels were with us.