A dog’s scream – By @NJStanley94

By Nick Stanley


A dog’s scream

You’re miles away from the real word. Reality is confusing; it exists only in glimpses. When you surface, it’s distant, as if experienced by a slightly separate being.

And the constant shivering. Days of shaking make everything a bit sore; too stiff to walk, too weak to stretch, too tender to lie.

Everything happens in waves. As soon as the first one hits, you know what’s coming. It passes quickly but wave number two soon follows it up, stronger than the first, confirming that you’re at the top of the descent into fever.

At that point you have a couple of hours before you’re rendered useless. Condemned to bed.

If you’re lucky, it’s already evening and you can dive under layers of duvets and blankets to begin your sweaty hibernation. Sense and reality relinquish their grip and give way to the most bizarre of dream worlds.

A world that seems impossibly real. ‘Impossibly’ because it’s home to the strangest dreams you will ever have. Weirder than a stilton-induced coma, yet more vivid than a regular dream – almost tangible.

When you wake for the first time you’re freezing, contracted into a foetal ball. It takes a minute to realise where you are. You’re not in touch with reality, you have no sense of time and soon you’re back under.

The next time you surface, your somehow rotated 270 degrees, your body more tightly wrapped in sheets than a fresh hotel bed.

The scene is the sweaty aftermath of a battle between the virus and your blood. The fact you’re drenched is a sign you’ve won. It’s time to inch back into the real world.

Chicken broth and hot Ribena. Long baths and films on the sofa. Bit by bit you re-emerge.

It’s no fun, but you survived. You understood what was happening; you could explain it and you could express your pain and your needs.

Imagine if that weren’t the case. Imagine a fever you didn’t understand. Imagine a pain you were incapable of describing, not for its severity but for your lack of spoken language.

You could whimper, pant and scream, but had no ability to verbalise what hurts, how much it hurts and what those around you can do to help.

I picked Bonnie up from the vet on Friday evening, a shell of the dog I’d last seen. Half- shaved so she could have injections, bandage-wrapped and limping horribly. One leg completely unusable, she was a tripod. A haggard and listless mangy hound.

The tramadol wore off about midnight. I was long asleep but she woke me from the other side of the house with her screaming.

Dog’s can scream. News to me.

It’s a harrowing sound. The only cure was my presence, so we waited out the night together.

She seems on the mend now. Mum’s return helped. As did the antibiotics. With no diagnosis we can’t be sure, but it seems she’s on the mend.

I’ll be back down to see you in three weeks, pup. Wait for me.

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