I’m disappointed. I’m really disappointed.
I’m wondering how what I had hoped would be a bucket-list experience was decimated before my very eyes.
At the same time, I’m thankful to the entire staff at Canine Companions for Independence for their complete understanding of the situation Paige and I have been dealing with this week since J.P.’s shunt malfunction, as well as the doctors and nurses at Florida Hospital for Children for working hard to get my son better in time to make it back in time for the graduation at SeaWorld on Saturday.
It now looks like it will take a miracle to make that happen.
We were discharged from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and returned to Canine Companions in time for a take-out pizza dinner with our friends, Don and Michele Hettenbach.
It was shortly after they left when J.P. vomited again, and I began to see my hopes of getting the experience of Canine Companions going down the drain. He continued to vomit overnight, and we promptly returned to the emergency room in the morning after talking with the neurosurgeon’s office.
J.P. was readmitted for observation, and we’re still trying to determine his plan of care as of Thursday evening. X-rays and a CT scan of his shunt look good. One possibility is a stomach virus, but we just don’t know at this point.
His spirits seem good, and he continues to receive his normal feeds. However, continued vomiting led to the need for oxygen, so we’ll have to wean him from that before discharge.
The big thing that happened at Canine Companions was the test for public certification and interviews for a video presentation that will be shown at the graduation ceremony. I was able to get back for that on my family’s behalf.
But the dreams I had of going through this training with the 10 other amazing recipients and their families is gone. We enjoyed spending time with them, learning about their lives and how they’ve coped with the challenges they’ve faced.
We laughed together at some pretty funny jokes, enjoyed meals together, made friends with each other and the staff that trained the dogs we’ll be spending many years with.
For my family, we found the perfect match in the baby of this season’s class of dogs, Karina.
I feel bad that I haven’t been able to devote the time needed to complete the training process before graduation. Instead of spending time with her pals, Karina stayed at the kennel while we were at the hospital. She was amazing Wednesday when she came to visit J.P. and assisted him in therapy.
It’s been two weeks that have brought a roller coaster of emotions, and we’re now back in the hospital wondering when we’ll be able to get J.P. better and begin our lives with a very special pup.
I’m lucky that at these low times in life there is reassurance. I was so happy to learn Valerie and Maggie Habeeb, the mother and daughter team that raised Karina, found this blog and took the time to send a message to me.
“(I) am so excited about meeting your whole family this weekend! Unfortunately, Maggie won’t be able to make it. She is so very disappointed but will be involved in real-time over the phone video as much as possible. We have been praying for a wonderful match for our girl, and it looks like our prayers have been answered! We don’t have to tell you how special Karina is but it is comforting for us Puppy Mommas to see the love we lavished on our puppies continue. I am looking forward to hearing about how Karina (is) making a difference in J.P.’s life. CCI does an unbelievable job.
I can also assure you that Karina will be a source of comfort and support for you guys, as well (Jeff and Paige). She has been there for me many times. I admire your strength and optimism and hope you take advantage of those ‘Karina Hugs,’ too. We will see you guys and Karina (Friday) to celebrate a new beginning.”
Here’s hoping to better days ahead.
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Dear Jeff and Psige, I am astounded by your strength and courage and by your wisdom and love. J.P. remains in good spirits because he has you to follow. I know you will enjoy the love and comfort of your new family member. Not being there for the thrill of graduation along with the other new friends you have made is disappointing, but keep your eyes on your prize, your sweet boy and now your sweet Kirena.