Monday, May 28, 2012

How To Save A Life

Stuff happens----you go along the path and everything is beautiful, but all of a sudden the weather changes and wammo, you run into a tree, or a storm, and there's no way to cross the rising creek. We take things in our life for granted, even if you've changed your whole world, it still happens---we'll call it the comfort factor. I don't know how many times in these 2 years I'll talk about Keoki, but this week I found out that I loved a dog I promised I wouldn't love.  It just happened, his spiritual soul resonated with mine, and I vow not to take him for granted.  The past several weeks, Keoki became increasingly ill, not eating, losing a third of his weight, and for 3 nights he could barely breathe, his big heart was pounding verociously. I had gone to people at school who I knew had dogs and were descent, but they offered no help to me. My neighbors who have nothing, said they'd pray, but they couldn't do more than that. I walked with Keoki to the so called local Vet who just laughed at us---obviously Keoki does not have cow status. Vets in other towns would not return phone calls, so I sat here each day and night by his side, wrapping him in a blanket, trying to get a little liquid in him for survival, and I talked and talked to him constantly---reminding him of all the good times we've had in the past 6 months and how far we've come. He'd look at me when he could, try to wag his almost dead tail, but he was fading fast.

I was at a complete loss, not having a car, or even allowed to drive for that matter, and hating everyone because they don't know how to give a hand to a lowly dog, but somehow, divine intervention came into play. I have these neighbors from Gabs who are in Mmathethe for a few months doing a job at school. Because nothing moves fast around here, the guys had nothing to do today and were home. I asked one of them to look at Keoki, and with one sight of this dog, you knew he was on his last leg, so he and his friend with wheels agreed to try and save a life. My cause may have been helped when the guys saw the grave I dug under my tree. Well, you just never know when you'd need a grave around here.

Off we go with Keoki sitting on my friends lap in the back of a pick up truck, and 45 minutes to the nearest village known to have a real Vet. Luckily, after asking around ,we find the Vet outside, but he said he only does dogs on the side after work. Doc asks what time it was---I tell him it's 4:30 (it's really 11am).  He laughs and tells me I obviously don't follow the sun!  But with some charm and conjoling, he agreed to see him in his office, which was in the middle of a path, with his trunk as his office and lab. Nice set up doc! Keoki had a pretty high temp, but that's all the doc did, he doesn't have equipment to listen to his heart, and didn't even touch Keoki. It's good though that I'm an accurate reporter of symptoms, so with this, he told me that Keoki had pneumonia. The symptoms fit pretty well, so I ask, “Is he going to live doc?” “50/50 chance.” “Why only 50/50?” “If you came into my hospital for anything, I'd give you 50/50, right.” Gee, if I came to this so called hospital on a dirt road and no equipment, I'd give me a 10/90 chance doc!

Lucky for us, Doctor Dirt had shots of anti-biotics in his bag of tricks, injected them into Keoki, and gave us medicine to take home. All this for 150p, but I had no money on me. “Do you take atm cards?'' He looks around to show me we were in the middle of nowhere. Oh yeah! Well, the doc figured someday he'll get his money, and he told me to call him in two weeks if Keoki was alive so we can get him his regular vaccinations that he probably never had.

Keoki was so happy to get home, went immediately to a big pile of grass, lied down to watch his little world go by. He drank some milk out of my hand after awhile, barked at some people, and wagged his tail when I told him he couldn't sleep outside tonight because he was sick and it's cold out. He then ate a little food when he came him, wrapped himself in the blanky, and went to sleep after a long week of struggling to stay alive. I think he's gonna make it, and whew, I found out how to save a life this week---accept the prayers from those who can't do anything else, talk to your best friend from home who knows how to put everything in perspective, and pray that someone human from Gabs is sitting waiting for 2 months for materials to come in to finish their real work. The sun was descending with a magenta color to it tonight, and when I went out to lock my gate, my neighbors were standing with a shovel, and said, Tshep, this is the worst grave I've ever seen, even a dog wouldn't want to burried here, but hey, we don't need it now anyway, do we?”   

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