Ted and I are sitting in the exam room at a veterinary hospital in Daytona Beach that specializes in orthopedic surgery. The tech has just come in to get Bear’s “story”, then escorts him past us and into the hall.
“I’m just going to get his vitals,” she says. “Then the surgeon will take him outside, examine him, watch him walk, and do a few tests.”
Ted and I sit and wait – talking about whether to let this surgeon do Bear’s operation or take him back to Georgia. Talking about the challenge of keeping him off the stairs for six weeks. Talking about how much he’s going to hate being isolated downstairs (although Blake being here will help that). Talking about the scatter rugs we’ll need to purchase with non-skid backing so he won’t slip and slide on the tile floor downstairs and damage his newly repaired knee. Etc., etc.
The door opens, and Bear and the surgeon walk through. Bear comes happily over and greets me as though we’ve been apart for ten weeks instead of ten minutes.
The surgeon leans against the wall and says, “His right knee is definitely unstable. The ACL is torn and will not heal itself. But – he has absolutely no symptoms. He’s not limping. He’s not favoring that leg. He’s not losing muscle mass in either leg. A doctor’s first lesson is ‘do no harm’. So I’m going to say let’s leave it alone and see how it goes. Stop babying him. Let him be himself. If he wants to run and play, let him. You can’t keep him in a box the rest of his life. He might become symptomatic two days from now – or he may never. Let him be Bear.”
Instead of tears, I walked out of the office with this huge grin plastered on my face. We got home, opened the back of my Ford Escape, and for the first time in six months let Bear jump out of the vehicle instead of using the ramp.
If sparkling eyes could talk, Bear’s would have said, “Finally!”
Thank you, thank you for all the prayers you’ve lifted, and for the emails and Facebook comments. Y’all are the best!