Saving An Angel

February 12, 2022 at 2:50 am (Uncategorized)

Those of you who know our daughter Jacqueline recognize that she has the face and heart of an angel, and the mouth of a truck driver. “Spicy” is the term some people use to describe her. This is a young woman who is a fully committed animal advocate and will go to great lengths to rescue those in danger. She does her best to find a new home for these unfortunate creatures and has been known to drive four hours to deliver a pet to its “forever home”. Failing in that, she often adopts the animals herself (case in point: her current four pit bulls). Jackie even once pulled over on the Belt Parkway to chase down an escaped chicken! Her devotion to saving our wild horses and burros is legendary, sometimes to the chagrin of public officials. She even went to Washington DC to ride on horseback as Lady Godiva (not nude, but wearing a body suit) to protest the roundups of our wild mustangs.

In May of 2016, Maureen and I traveled to New York to celebrate Jackie’s 40th birthday. We were staying in the guest cottage behind her house while Jackie was asleep in the main house. Her husband, Mike, is a New York City fireman, and was on duty at the time. In the dark of night, we were awakened by pounding on the door and muffled cries for help. We raced downstairs to find Jackie slumped on the front stoop. She seemed confused and tried to tell us that something was wrong, but was having difficulty and slurring her speech. I lifted her and carried her inside.

Having spent twenty-five years working for an internist, Maureen immediately recognized the symptoms of a stroke and quickly gave Jackie several aspirin. This was a move that her doctor later told us may have saved her life.

I called 911, explaining that we believed our daughter was having a stroke, and requested an ambulance through the South Hempstead Fire Department, where Mike was the Chief. While we waited the few minutes it took for the EMTs to respond, Jackie recovered a bit and was able to explain what had happened. She had been asleep in her upstairs bedroom. Sensing something was wrong, her pit bull dog, Baby, began barking and pawing her until she awoke. When Jackie realized that she couldn’t move her right side, she crawled down the stairs and outside to the cottage to seek help.

The ambulance arrived and soon transported her to the hospital. I followed, while Maureen alerted Mike, who left work to meet us there. After several hours, the hospital released Jackie. We were furious that they hadn’t kept her for further observation. Early the next morning we called a local neurologist, who agreed to see her immediately. An examination confirmed that she had, indeed, suffered a stroke. Her carotid artery was almost 100% occluded.

Thus began a long period of treatment and recovery. In fact, Jackie will probably be on powerful medications for the rest of her life. But she is back full bore with her rescue efforts. Her mom and I frequently caution her about overdoing it, however, she generally chooses to ignore us. Sadly, I’m afraid she gets much of her hard-headedness from me.

Naturally, Maureen and Baby are two of my greatest heroes. As an aside, Baby was in a “kill” shelter scheduled to be euthanized when Jackie rescued her. Yes, Karma is truly a wonderful thing!

Each May on Jackie’s birthday, I give grateful thanks for the amazing dog and quick-thinking mom who saved our “spicy angel” to spend another year with us. Every day since has been Christmas morning. To paraphrase Dickens’ Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone, and our loving pets.”

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