The Day I Called Nine One One

I got a sympathy card in the mail from cousin Gloria, expressing regrets over the loss of my dog Chaeli. She said, “I still laugh at the time you took Chaeli’s medicine.” Yes, me, too. It wasn’t funny then, but it is now.

chaeliredbowsbone

It was on a Sunday morning, and I was rushing around doing five things at once. I zoomed through the kitchen and threw my hands up in a halt when I saw the dog there. “I need to give you your pill.” She had congestive heart disease and was a five out of a six for years and took a little white pill every morning. I popped open the green Pet Vet bottle, shook one out in my hand . . . and with my mind scattered and racing from thing to thing and not paying attention, I popped it in my mouth and swallowed.

Oops. I realized what I’d done. I tried to cough it up and couldn’t. Oh Lord. I figured I had about twenty minutes to act before I passed out or died or had heart palpitations. I called my doctor — and got layers of “If you want . . . then press ___.” I did not have time for this. So I hung up, then pushed three numbers.

“This is nine one one. What is your emergency?”

“Ummm.” Squeaky, high-pitched voice in a panic. “I took the dog’s heart pill by accident.”

“Calm down, ma’am, and let me get you to poison control.”

A nurse picked up and asked one calm question. “Do you take blood pressure medication?”

“I take a small dose of lisinopril.”

“And what was the dog’s pill?”

“Enalapril.”

It began to click: pril and pril.

“Same family. You should be fine.”

I hung up. The phone rang again and it was emergency dispatch.

“Ma’am, we have to come check you out.”

“No, really, it’s okay. I’m fine.”

“No, we have to come. You can refuse to go to the hospital, but we have to come.”

“Please tell them not to turn on the lights and siren.” I heard the sound in the distance. “Never mind.”

My shoulders sank to knee level, and I paced in embarrassment as the siren wailed closer.

Not one. But two. Two ambulances with loud sirens and lots of red flashing lights parked at the curb. Did I say two? The orange and white ambulance and the big red fire department one. You mention “heart,” and they send the advanced lifesaving team.

I had two EMTs and two paramedics . . . all because I freakishly took the dog’s pill. I let them in and waved to the neighbors that came to see what was going on and spoke to the two little girls from next door who followed the ambulances in on their way home from Sunday School. I got my blood pressure taken, I refused to go to the hospital, they checked me out, and then they left. (Thank you, Williamson County.)

I hid out and held my head low the rest of that week.

And I’m not sure I ever gave the dog her pill that day.

 

 

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