I had my insight into dealing with an infant through the end of last week.
On Tuesday evening, around 9pm, I realized that Madeleine's upper muzzle was a bit swollen on both sides. I had no idea what she might have gotten into, and promptly called the vet to get info for a recommended emergency vet from their recording. I called to see what they thought I should do. Their response was "if she's had a reaction, you need to come in." And oh by the way, it's $100 just to walk in the door.
So I got some Benadryl from the landlord and snuggled in for what I hoped would be an uneventful night.
Around 1:30am I woke up to her rubbing her muzzle, dry heaving, and her left eye swollen halfway shut. I jumped out of bed, called the emergency vet for their address, threw on some clothes, and rushed out the door with the little girl. Two backseat vomits later and a 20min drive (that should've been 35) and I was at the vet trying to figure out what was wrong with Madeleine. They agreed that she'd had a reaction to something, but checked her temperature anyway to rule out infection (she'd only had her spay surgery a week and a half ago). No temp meant a steroid shot, wash of the paws (her), orders to continue giving Benadryl (me), and rest.
We finally got home and settled, after I mopped the floor in the kitchen in case the reaction was to a possible spilled chili powder mix flake or two. In bed by 4am, I shot off a quick email to work to let them know I would be working from home later that day.
She slept for most of the day, waking only for water and snuggles with her head in my lap while I worked at the computer. I spoke with her vet on the phone that afternoon, letting them know that the swelling was reducing and she appeared to be getting better. They wished us luck on the continued road to recovery, and said to keep them updated.
Around 6pm, as the third round of Benadryl was wearing off, Madeleine felt like eating again. It was wonderful to see her eating again. Or so I thought.
About an hour later, she vomited...for the first time. I figured she just ate too fast, so I watched her eat when she went back for more, and got her to eat slower when she did. Thinking that would help.
About 5 vomits later, I took her food away from her, remembering that I had some leftover white rice in the fridge from a previous night's dinner. I set that down for her to eat and she happily gobbled it up. I set up the stove to cook more...
And she vomited at my feet.
A 12hr turnaround and 9 vomits later, I was at work trying to help make a deadline, praying that she had finally vomited the last time and the bland rice was starting to help. I worked until lunch and came home to check on her. Still puny as ever, I emailed in to say I'd be working the afternoon from home due to her state of puny and a vet checkup at 2pm.
The vet said what I had assumed. It was whatever she had gotten into just working its way through her body. They said that the steroid shot and the Benadryl had been masking the intestinal side of it, but now that those drugs had mostly worn off, we were seeing the tail end of the reaction finishing its course. Her swelling was all but gone, but I could tell by her eyes she was still feeling pitiful.
By this time, she hadn't thrown up since just before work, so I opted not to do the anti-nausea shot and instead just take her home for more Gatorade and white rice. In case you're ever wondering, dogs will drink blue Gatorade. It's the adult version of Pedialyte and all I had on hand. 7.5 cups of white rice later, no vomits, and lots of gatorade and water, I think we were finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There were so many times I looked at her over those 60 hours, feeling helpless, asking "What did you get into? What do you need? What do I do?" I'm sure I experienced something akin to what new parents feel the first time(and I'm sure every time after, if they're good parents) their kid is sick. Do I feel ready?
But I'll keep practicing with my little lady and hopefully some day I will be.