Today, on a very special episode of Aby-a-Day…
Yesterday, I needed to run an errand downtown. Jacoby was a Tasmanian Devil of activity that morning. He woke me up trying to break into the bedroom closet, he moved all the sheepskin rugs into the bedroom and attacked the reindeer rug, and turned over the fighter plane. Since he likes to go out with me, and he had energy to burn, I took him with me. Since the trip would mostly be just riding the train and going up and down a lot of stairs and escalators, we didn’t take the stroller; I just took Angel’s small carrier and his leash.
We had a pretty good time riding the T and we talked to a lot of people. He had on his sweater, because it was cold, and of course that garnered a lot of comments. I completed my errand, and we headed home.
That’s when it happened. Jake likes to run up and down stairs, and that includes escalators. He also knows when we’re close to home, and tries to break free and run home. So, when we got to Broadway, “our” subway station, he wanted to run up the escalator. He pushed out of the carrier, but he had his leash on, so I let him go, trotting after him to keep up.
At the top of the escalator, I stepped off and then immediately heard a squawk. I turned and, to my horror, Jake had his foot caught between the top step and the hole where it goes back underneath. I gasped, “Oh no! HELP!” and for a frantic second, I glanced around wildly for the stop button. I didn’t see it.
Now, I’ve heard those stories of people wearing Crocs getting caught in escalators, and I’ve also heard about how small children are in danger of injury on escalators. I’d always thought that was kind of an urban legend. So when I saw Jake with his foot caught, I immediately thought of those stories, and had a mental image of him getting sucked into the machinery. Since I didn’t see the emergency stop button, I just grabbed his foot and pulled him out.
I saw blood on my hand, and just instantly reacted (I really don’t remember the details). I kept ahold of his foot – I didn’t even look at his injury – and went up the stairs to go to the vet. We live literally just down the street from our vet and take the #9 bus from Broadway station to get there, so in my emergency reactive state, I went to wait for the bus. After waiting maybe a minute, I realised how stupid that was and hailed a cab. Thankfully, a cab stopped almost immediately and took us in. I told him what had happened, promised that I wouldn’t let any blood get on the seat, and assured him that the vet was just up the street about 12 blocks. He turned around to look at Jake…and, miraculously, pulled out a roll of paper towels! He handed me a wad of them, which I gratefully took and held firmly to Jake’s foot.
I was babbling to the cabbie, but I don’t remember Jake making any sound, even when I put pressure on his foot. He just sat quietly on my lap while we drove up the hill to the vet.
They know me pretty well there; having four cats, three purebred, in a neighbourhood of dog owners doesn’t hurt, and I also give them my cat art calendar every year. I’d also been there twice this past week because of Angel’s giardia. So I walked in, and said, “I have an emergency…” and they ushered us straight to the back.
Dr. Waggener wasn’t there, so we were seen by Dr. Horrigan, who I’d never met before, and Sean, one of the vet techs. We went into the surgery and I finally saw how bad Jake’s injury was.
Because of all the blood, I figured he’d at least lost a claw – they bleed a lot if you cut into the quick during normal trimming. But what I was really afraid of was that he’d lost a toe or toes…or part of his foot. I literally had no idea what his foot looked like; for all I knew, he didn’t even have a foot. So when I finally saw it…
He hadn’t lost a claw at all. Just one pad was cut. It was a deep cut, to the tendon – I actually saw it. We debated whether to put him under and stitch it up, or if we should use surgical glue; since he had just eaten, and because I was worried about further trauma caused by removing the stitches later, we opted for the glue.
Here he is being worked on. The hand with the bracelet is mine; I was acting as a sort of extra vet tech during all of this. The only reason I took any photos at all was I had gotten my iPhone out to look up his weight, which I record for all our cats using Pet First Aid, an awesome iPhone App, so we could give him pain medication without having to pick him up to weigh him.
He was so amazing the entire time in the surgery. He didn’t move, he didn’t struggle, he didn’t cry. Sean kept marvelling at how calm Jake was. And he will be fine, but…it was awful. All that blood, and the sound he made when he was caught…horrific. In my shock, I guess I did everything right and didn’t panic or lose my head; I honestly don’t even remember half of what I did. But I didn’t freak out, or lose it, or panic or cry; I just went into autopilot and did what I needed to. I guess I know how I react in an emergency, now.
(To be continued…)