The day before Tess was shipped off our little island on a midnight ferry run to the mainland, I noticed Oreo acting pretty clingy to Tess. I wasn't super surprised because I knew Tessie had a cold and Oreo tends to hang closer to Tess when she isn't feeling good. Oreo had also been alerting but I assumed it was to seizures.
In hindsight, I was right and I was wrong.
Some of Oreo's alerts that day were pre-alerts for small seizures. The other alerts were because Tess was getting sick. Very sick. Sicker than I ever suspected at the time.
But Oreo knew.
And when, late the next afternoon, Oreo brought her very favorite toy, a ball which she does not let anyone take from her willingly, over and dropped it gently on Tess' lap and then "lapped" her by resting her head on Tess's lap and proceeded to sigh a very heavy sigh, my immediate thought was...
Crap. We may be in some trouble here.
I know how crazy it sounds to base my concerns about Tess on Oreo dropping a ball in her lap, but the only other times Oreo has done that exact same thing, Tess had a pneumonia and then a broken right femur.
|Tess and her ever faithful buddy, Oreo, after just getting her leg casted after her femur break|
And my theory on this is that Oreo knows Tess is her girl and they've got a pretty unshakable bond now so I think that Oreo did the only thing she knew how to do in the moment to try to make Tess feel better....
She gave Tess her most prized possession. The thing that always makes Oreo feel happy. I even liken that silly ball to Linus's security blanket on Charlie Brown. But that ball is Oreo's treasure and she was offering it up to her girl, on all three of those occasions, when her girl was in trouble.
It just about melted my heart while at the same time scaring me half to death.
It also played a very big part in me being so hyper vigilant of Tess that night to the point that, even thought her sats on the monitor looked okay, not great but okay, I decided to do something that I rarely ever do; I counted Tess's respirations. And they were high. Like sixty breaths per minute high.
It wasn't four hours after Oreo dropped that ball on Tess's lap that I had called out our island doctor to our house and the ambulance arrived and we got on the ferry to get out of dodge.
How does Oreo know Tess is so sick? I have no idea. But she knows, of that I have absolutely no doubt.
And while Tess was at MMC, Oreo was on high alert. So much so that just before Tess was moved down to the ICU in respiratory distress, Oreo had been jumping up on Tess's bed and getting in her face just before her oxygen sats would dip down. When Tess would recover, Oreo would usually jump back down on the floor or come over to Charlie or myself for some attention or treats. Then, JUST BEFORE the O2 would alarm again in warning of low sats, Oreo would be back on the bed with Tess and in her face.
She knew BEFORE it would happen, that Tess's O2 was going dip too low and she would try to tell us.
|Oreo on the bed with Tess right before being moved to ICU|
Of course we didn't put this together as it was happening, only after when we had time to think about why Oreo had been so "restless" before they moved Tess down to the ICU. Yup, that's what we thought at the time. That Oreo was restless and not that she was alerting to Tess's breathing. But afterwards it was so obvious we couldn't believe we had missed it. Even the doctors and nurses, who were in the room most of that afternoon because Tess was requiring nearly constant medical attention and watched Oreo do this, agreed with us after the fact when we mentioned to them what we thought Oreo had been doing.
|Oreo & Tess in the ICU....she was at her sickest in this photo and you can see where Oreo put herself. <3 td="">3>|
Needless to say, the doctors and nurses at MMC thought Oreo was a total rockstar. And they would be right. They also all thought the tale of "the ball" was incredibly sweet. And they would be right again.
But on the other hand, I have learned to Beware the Ball. ;)