October 24th: A day I will never forget.
So like I said in my intro, we are bound to face many hardships and triumphs as we go through these 20 something years of our lives. Just when you think things are going strong and life is bliss something, of course, has to come and unshuffle things a bit. I think this is God's way of making us stronger and more like Him by overcoming things and learning from them.
October 24th started out great. I woke up and had my typical coffee/latte combo..turned on the news..let Stormi and Portia out to play in the backyard and began my day. Corey's dad called and mentioned Kailea (Corey's sister) needed a costume sewed and himmed. I was excited to get back into sewing and told him to bring it on over whenever. He came by about an hour after calling, with the costume, and we played with the pups and chatted for a bit before he headed out. After he left, I decided to get started on some laundry before sewing the day away.
All morning the traffic outside had been crazy with cars honking left and right so as I was gathering laundry in my room I didn't think much of it as it got louder. When I got to the laundry room and was loading clothes I heard more honking than before and checked out the window to see what all the commotion was about. To my surprise, I saw Stormi running around in the road and neighbor's yards and Portia jumping behind her. I ran out the back door and saw Portia in the neighbor's bushes jumping around and Stormi quickly began heading my way..I screamed for them both and got hold of Stormi while Portia was still across the road in the neighbor's yard. I threw Stormi in the house (without looking really) and ran right back out to get a hold of Portia.
However, when I turned from the house and looked out.. cars were completely stopped and Portia was lying their in the middle of the road. I ran as fast as I could to her and she was just staring at me with a huge hole above her left eyeball and many bloody cuts and scrapes. I screamed bloody murder and a woman got out of her car to guide me back to the house. She ran back to her car and I jumped in mine without turning anything off or locking any doors. All that mattered was that I got this precious baby of mine to help while trying to calm myself down and drive carefully. We have a Petsmart about a block over and I couldn't think of any nearby hospitals.. so I drove over to Petsmart with Portia in my lap (balling my eyes out). I really do not know how I made it there without getting in a wreck. The good Lord was with me the entire way with his arms around me leading my hands as I was steering. I pulled up to the front of the store, put my hazards on and just ran in screaming for help. Everyone was in shock (as I would have been) and luckily a random stranger took me under her wing and said "Come with me I will drive you right now to Archdale Animal Hospital down the road. Do not worry everything will be okay..everything will be okay."
This lady was an angel from Heaven and I will never forget her or her unconditonal love that day. When we got to the hospital we took Portia and layed her on the cold operating table and they took me into a waiting area. I was covered in blood and poop from her bowels giving up and felt as if my world had just collapsed. I called Corey and he was currently helping the mayor candidate, Patrick Cannon (who is now Charlotte's new Mayor) in his campaign during the incident. Cannon told Corey to drop everything, leave, and come to me immediately which was so nice and undestanding of him. Corey's dad hadn't made it far home.. so he came over to the hospital as well to be with us.
While I was waiting for them, the kind lady sat and prayed with me over and over until they arrived. I remember just thanking her over and over for staying with me and taking me there. The doctor came in after a forever amount of time (it seemed) and said that Portia was stable but slowly becoming unresponsive and had brain swelling. He suggested we get her to a more intensive care hospital that was about 10 minutes away. As he was telling me this all I could hear was her moaning and crying a cry I have never heard in my entire life. She was in utter pain and I felt so helpless. Once they got her pretty sedated.. they wrapped her up, put her in my arms, and we drove to the suggested hospital.
The doctors there were helpful and said the diagnosis was guarded and she really had probably a 50/50 chance to make it. They said her eyes were not responding like they should and they felt she should be sent to CVS in Matthews where the doctors specialized in neurology. I wanted to do whatever was recommended and they felt this would be her best option and CVS would know even more so what to do about her brain swelling.
So like before.. they sedated her, wrapped her up (needles and all) and put her in my lap for the car ride. This car ride was about 30 minutes and probably one of the most emotional. I held this precious puppy that I had held so many times before. From holding her on my chest and giving her goat milk n bottles to playing and routine bath times we had together. This time was different though. This time she was sound asleep and hurting more than she probably knew existed. I held her completely still and was so scared to move an inch so her brain swelling would not get worse. I prayed over her body and rubbed her fur and told her how much I loved her and needed her to be strong.
When we got there, I handed her off to a nurse and after about 10 minutes we were taken into a patient room. The doctor was so sweet and she had such compassion in her eyes that I knew we had made a good decision in coming. She said they were doing everything they could in keeping Portia stable. She told me Portia had a fighting chance and luckily the brain swelling had not progressed but remained the same. They gave her fluid IVs like they had done at the hospital before and told me they were going to keep her head at a certain degree angle to help reduce swelling. The doctor told me this would be a process no matter what the outcome may be. She said Portia would need therapy and thought she may have fratures in her hips which would require surgery. Therefore, Portia would be staying for a week at CVS and the cost would be very expensive. I told her quickly that money didnt matter and I just wanted the absolute best for my baby.
After giving us more information on what was to come she told us to head on home and that she would be calling in about 3 hours to give us insight to her blood tests and x-ray results. We drove home crying that evening, but trying to remain positive in hopes that she was going to pull through.
The doctor called on the dot 3 hours later and said she first off had not gotten much better but nothing had gone downhill. She said her blood work was not to bad but had elevated levels of potassium. She said Portia did have fractures in her hips and would for sure need surgery and therapy. She told us the good news was that her chest looked fine which was a huge relief..however..the bad news was that her heart rate had been fluctuating. She informed they planned on giving small doses of medicine to regulate it and it should become more stable. She told us in the morning, Portia would be sent to the neurology department for further evaluation and that she would remain by her side all through the night. She said we would be called first thing if anything were to get worse and were told to get some sleep. I kept worrying and prayed without end that God would keep her alive and give her a second chance that night.
I stayed over at Corey's apartment..and we prayed and hoped to not get any phone calls.
At 3 a.m. my phone began ringing and I was so startled and answered immediately. It was inevitably our doctor. She said "I need you guys to head on down..Portia has made a turn for the worse and her heart has just stopped after another round of medicine..we are doing chest compressions now." I hung up, Corey and I threw on coats, got in the car and went straight to the hospital. I remember holding his hand so tight as we sobbed and drove through the dark night.
Shortly, I got another phone call from the doctor saying "Amanda we have now done 3 rounds of chest compressions and she still isn't responding..we can keep trying if you want us too but too much can damage her heart completely"..I quickly replied "Do not give up..keep trying." After about 10 more minutes we were almost at the hospital and I got a third call. It was the doctor again "We have now done 4 rounds of compressions, her heart is very swollen and she is still not responding..I do not think there is any more we can do." I told her we were almost there knowing my baby had already gone to be with the Lord.. and we were not going to be able to tell her goodbye.
When we got there it was silent and we were probably the only people there other than the doctors and nurses. They took us in a room that looked very familiar to me. A room where they think they are going to help you be strong and get over a loss when really the room is just depressing and screams death.
After waiting 10 minutes the nurse brought Portia in the room for me to hold one last time. I held her and rocked her and pet her fur like I had done so many times before. Her body was still warm and her face looked so peaceful. She was not my bouncy fireball Portia though..she was gone and in Heaven now. I kissed her face, while Corey held me, and told her this wasn't fair and that I would see her again one day. I told her to give my daddy so much love in Heaven and keep him company until we all are there together one day.
I handed her back to the doctor who looked at me with swollen eyes from crying herself and told me how brave I was and how Portia was so loved. I thanked her for all of their efforts and for being so gentle and sweet with my baby in her last hours. We drove home that night and I sobbed my eyes out once again. I felt an emptiness that was a feeling I sadly was used to. I asked God why he had to take this joy that he had placed in my life not long ago and prayed he would show me understanding and peace.
After finally crying myself to sleep I woke up feeling miserable and once more..empty. We gathered all of Portia's things that were at Corey's and made a special box with everyhing that we didn't want to loose or ever forget (the smell of her blankets and her first toy and sweaters..etc.). The couple days after the accident I stayed at Corey's. I couldn't bare going to my house and down that road she was hit. On Sunday my mom came to Charlotte to be with me and she met me at my house. I remember her holding me in the front yard, and we cried and held each other for awhile. She helped me gather all the toys in the backyard and everything in the house that was Portia's so I didn't have to stare at it on a daily basis. I am so thankful for her and could not have gotten through this what so ever without her love and support.
This was God's will though.. and I am finding comfort knowing he has a plan and reason for everything. That whole day of the accident was filled with his miracles. The sweet lady who dropped her plans that day and drove me to the hospital, praying endlessly, was an angel from above. I wouldnt have been able to drive anywhere else after Petsmart without help, and she really was there for me..a complete stranger. Not to mention when we went back to Petsmart that night my car had not been towed and the doors were locked..meaning the employees at Petsmart made sure nothing happened to it which was very nice of them. All through the day I had people reaching out to me and praying for me that I barely know.. and holy cow is that encouraging and uplifting in so many ways. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and truly thank God for this large amount of comfort and compassion.
About a week after loosing Portia, we were browsing through the Charlotte Observer and saw an add for adopting a sweet puppy yorkie. His brother had found a home and his owner already had 3 and didn't have much room for more. So we made a few phone calls and after talking with the owner over a few days we made a visit. I fell in love with Brody and couldn't resist bringing him home with us that night. He has been more than therapeutic for me and is completely different than Portia in so many ways which is actually what I was wanting if we were to get a new dog soon. I just can't handle having another Jack Russell yet mostly because they all remind me of her with their amazing features and personalities. There will however, be no other dog that compares to her. She was everything to me. Not many people get puppies at 2 weeks old and bottle feed, train them and love on them like I did. She became my child and my world. She did things no other dog will probably do and had a way about her that was so rare. She was gorgeous and flawless and always the most popular at the dog parks due to her spunk, speed and pretty frame. She showed us and taught us so much that no other being or animal could do.
Brody, however, is quickly becoming my new little boy. He is much more laid back which has been new and seems to be an instigator thinking he is one of the big dogs. He does have the same love for toys, cuddles and blankets that Portia did and loves wearing cozy sweaters. He will never be Portia's replacement but rather her little brother that she gets to watch down over.
Who knew this would all be in store for me this year and I don't wish it happening to my worst enemy but trying to get stronger each day. I want everything that happens in life to shape me and make me stronger in God's image. I hope that other may learn little things from this like the importance of driving slower and watching the road. We found out there was a tiny hole in the back of our fence and it was a motorcycle that his Portia which devastates me. I hope other realize you never know when you wont see someone or something the next day so live everyday like it is the absolute last.
...Until next time...