Ginger and I
In Our Recovery Modes

Ginger has had some major medical issues in the past couple of years. The first half of her life was normal, happy, and healthy. She turned five at the end of October. Ginger has been down at the Purdue Veterinary Hospital three times in the last couple of years, two of her visits this past summer. Ginger has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She takes a dozen and a half meds per day, eats prescription dog food, has a probiotic containing 450 billion lyophilized lactic acid bacteria, and gets a vitamin B₁₂ shot weekly.

Ginger and I have each danced with death a couple of times. The parallels between our two lives haunt me. When she is having a bad day medically, I talk to her before we go to sleep. It is our quiet time at the end of one of her hard days. After I finish, she will lick my hand as a sign of appreciation for my care for her. On exceptionally bad days, she would continue licking for ten or fifteen minutes before nodding off. Fortunately, Ginger has been doing very well for a month.

That is the backstory. A couple of weeks ago, I had surgery for plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome. I had to be at the hospital early in the morning, which meant giving Ginger breakfast a couple of hours before taking her for a walk. She wasn’t sure what was happening. We have a routine, but this wasn’t close to it. It struck me how similar Ginger’s attempt to process what was happening paralleled holding A Ngal Lay for the first time. She, too, looked at me and wondered.

My granddaughter, Ayanna, drove me to the hospital and returned to pick me up eight hours later. When we got home, Ayanna said that it would be a good idea to get in bed or else Ginger would knock me over with excitement.

I got in bed, elevated my foot, and Ginger came in to see me. She jumped up on the bed to chat.

I kissed her.

Ginger looked at me as if I had become a different person than I was.

The next day, I went to the office to teach and write. Ginger went to my office to play.

She wanted to play Chuckit in a nearby field or even go for a walk. That was impossible, but we did play…inside.

Then I showed her how I could get exercise.