Sunday started out well. It really did. We spent the morning at Mom’s visiting with two of Michael’s aunts who had flown in from Colorado. We planned to spend the afternoon with some extended family, and since we hadn’t seen these relatives in years, we were really looking forward to it! I was going to be meeting some of Michael’s cousins for the first time, and I was happy to put faces together with the names I had heard over the years! Michael has one of the nicest families with the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet, so it was really wonderful to see them, despite the sad reason for our gathering.
Michael’s local aunts and uncles had been kind enough to open up their country home to family to help take the load off of Mom for entertaining, and that really helped me as well. I could put Rugby in his crate in Mom’s kitchen, turn on some soft music, and he seemed to be very comfortable and content. This was now his fourth day coming and going from Mom’s, so he was getting comfortable with her home and the yard….as long as I avoided those little deer lawn ornaments! I knew he was safe and warm, and wasn’t worried about leaving him for a few short hours.
We headed over to Michael’s aunt’s and uncle’s home, and I noticed that I was getting that silly tickle in the back of my throat which often accompanies season changes and mild allergy irritations. I started to cough from the drainage, which was irritating as I had just had a cold two or three weeks earlier. Things were blooming in Illinois, and it was very windy and cool while we were there, so I chalked it up to allergy and seasonal changes. I got cough drops and soldiered on.
By Sunday night, I wasn’t feeling really great, and by Monday….I was as sick as a dog! The cough had turned into something ugly, and now I also had chills and body aches, so I guessed a flu bug had nailed me. Michael ran to the store and got me all gooped up with the usual….cold medicines, soup, jello, applesauce, etc. My appetite was gone, and my gut muscles were really sore from coughing incessantly. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, because I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, and I sure didn’t want Mom getting what I had!
I was so sick I didn’t move for three days, and actually ended up missing Dad’s funeral on Wednesday! Rugby was my constant nurse….just like having a hot water bottle snuggled up next to me. He loved the snuggles, and the consistency of our three days in bed, but truth be told, as time went on, I felt like he was getting a little depressed. I hated making him stay in a motel room and not really being able to bark or exercise the way that he was accustomed to on a daily basis. We were doing the best we could, but it was a far cry from his familiar home and fenced yard which he dearly loved. He wasn’t playing with his beloved piggies except to grunt one now and again when he heard a really weird noise that spooked him. He wasn’t used to being walked on a leash every time he went outside, and I knew he was really over the whole idea of wearing a Thundershirt!
Clearly we didn’t want to travel with me so sick, and Michael didn’t want to leave Illinois until he was very sure that his mom was going to be fine. He kept pace between her house and the motel, being helper to Mom and nurse to me, and pitching in with Rugby for the three days when I really was down for the count.
By Thursday, I was able to sit up a bit, and felt my appetite starting to return, so I felt as if I had turned the corner and the worst of the illness was behind me. We made plans to head home on Friday, and believe me, ALL of us were ready to be home and out of a motel! We hated leaving Mom, but the wear and tear of being gone was catching up with all of us, and we were ready to hit the road and head for Tennessee.
It was really at this point where the thought occurred to me that Rugby might actually be thinking that he would never see his familiar home and yard again. He had to have been wondering why we left home, and why we were in this strange place with the new routine. I knew he missed his familiar life and predictable schedule, but I just couldn’t explain to him that the next day, we’d be heading home to the life that he knew. He watched us start to pack, and I watched his anxiety start to build again. He had just started to get used to the pattern of our life at the motel and with Mom, and now we would be leaving that again for places unknown to him…