This whole adventure was such a shock to my system both physically and emotionally. It took almost a full week to eat normally and even now I’m not the voracious eater I once was - my stomach just can’t take it. I was exhausted for days - sleeping 12, 14, 16 hours a day just to be able to stay awake for the remaining part of the day. Even with my baby puppy warm at home next to me, I’d break down sobbing randomly when I remembered the feeling of that terrible night, when I tried to think of what could have killed her, when I realized I would be starting school all alone in this state and now need help caring for Espresso.
A good friend told me “just let yourself feel it all.” I had been through hell and back and my body was still coping, still getting up to speed with the current situation. I don’t think most people understood - I had Espresso back, everything would be okay right? Why was I even more depressed than when I first moved?
Well, yes, everything eventually would be fine I realized. But I was so scared of life, so hurt and terrified and alone still, nothing felt fine in the present. I was still having random, unprompted panic attacks. I couldn’t leave the house in fear of leaving Espresso even for a few minutes.
I have rarely ever let myself just sit for hours - I like to stay busy. But with Espressos return home I would spend hours idly on my couch, watching her sleep, listening to the rain. I gave myself a full 5 days to just be. To just feel. Happy that I had her. Relieved she lives. Terrified that I’d lose her again. Sad that I was homesick and alone. She was happy to just sit and sleep next to me, not caring about anything that happened, and happy to be inside away from the evil rain.
But it’s amazing what time can do. As Espresso continued to improve, slowly I did too.
She went in for one check up to see how her liver and kidneys were doing - she was most excited to see Dr. Got-it-Right who in turn told me that her kidneys were still fine and her liver had improved even since I had taken her home. After that, I no longer had random fits of sobbing or fear so plaguing I couldn’t move. I dared to venture into normal habits - grocery shopping, laundry.
Espresso regained all her energy and her desire for food - she learned to pick up her dish and carry it around the house, looking cute and pathetic begging for more that nummy nummy wet food. I slowly regained my strength and interest in the world around me and got back into my research, went onto campus.
Espresso learned to break through the baby gate that kept her in the kitchen and enjoyed discovering the hidey holes under my bed. I went to orientation and met my fellow cohorts and started classes.
Honestly Espresso has recovered much faster than me. Sometimes she is so quiet when she sleeps, so still, I panic and move her and wake her up. She always gives me a disgruntled look of “Why did you wake me?” “BECAUSE YOU ALMOST DIED LAST WEEK!” I say back.
While Espresso goes on with her life like nothing happened, I will never be the same. My ability to TRY has been diminished. I just don’t have it in me to care so much about meeting people, doing the best possible. I just do what I can, when I can, and everyone else can be damned.
However this has helped me gain a broader perspective. The things that seemed SO important before - making tons of friends, meeting a special someone, knowing where the best pizza delivery is, knowing how to order coffee at this one store, just how things are done in this town - is all just so trivial to me. I am okay asking questions, I don’t fear to look the fool, I am a California transplant who has been through hell and doesn’t care anymore that everything is unfamiliar.
What I have here - a cute apartment, the fun of meeting new people, interesting research - doesn’t add up to what I had in Davis by any means, but it I can still enjoy what I can. If Espresso can run around happy as can be in Ithaca, then I can be happy in what I have too.