56: Rescue from Across the Rainbow Bridge

56: Rescue from Across the Rainbow Bridge

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Rescue from Across the Rainbow Bridge

If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.

~Pam Brown

Shortly after my cat Molly died in June 2010, I started having two seemingly different health issues. My left leg developed a weird kind of ache, and I started to have some problems breathing. My doctor said we all start having joint problems at a certain age, and the problem with my leg was probably some arthritis starting in. As to the breathing problem, she assured me it was probably just a combination of allergies and grief over Molly’s death.

After all, Molly had spent almost every day of her twenty-two years with me. Anyone who knew me knew it was going to take me a long, long time to accept her passing. She was such an amazing little cat. She was so stoic in dealing with anything that came her way — new cats in our household, her developing kidney disease, new relationships in my life. She was a quiet, little sentinel who was by my side no matter what.

That June, after a cortisone shot was administered in my leg and I was given an inhaler for the breathing difficulty, I went home. But the inhaler didn’t help much and my breathing problem got worse.

Three months later, on a Friday in September, my left ankle suddenly swelled up, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how I’d sprained it. I mean, seriously . . . how could I twist my ankle and not know it?

The next day my ankle hurt a little more, and my breathing had become even more difficult. But hey! Fall allergies, right? To deal with the pain in my ankle, I started icing and taking aspirin. I figured I’d call my doctor sometime the following week if the pain didn’t stop.

On Sunday, though, I had a very troubling dream about Molly. In life, her back right leg was a bit lame due to arthritis and age, but it didn’t stop her from getting where she wanted to go. In this dream, though, her back left leg was lame. She kept falling down every time she tried to stand. And every time she fell over, she’d look at me with such sadness in her eyes. It broke my heart in the dream and even more so when I woke. Wasn’t she supposed to be restored to perfect health in heaven?

The dream stayed with me. Every detail of it, including the look in her eyes when she fell, unable to stand on her left leg, cast a pall over the day.

As for me, as the day wore on my left leg hurt more and more. No amount of ice or aspirin alleviated the pain. As the day drew to a close, my breathing became even more difficult. And as I looked down at my very swollen leg, I began to cry for what Molly had gone through in the dream. Some people might say, “It was just a dream.” But for me, as I looked at my leg, I knew it was more than a dream. The reality of the fact that in life it was her right leg that was slightly lame, but in the dream it was her left leg — the same leg that was giving me so much pain — hit me. I felt that my little cat, who had always looked out for me, was trying to tell me something.

I grabbed my purse and headed to the hospital. Within minutes of walking into the emergency room, I was on oxygen. The ER doctor took one look at my leg and told me I had a deep vein thrombosis, and he suspected a pulmonary embolism. He immediately ordered a CT scan of my lungs and an ultrasound of my leg to confirm his diagnosis. Just before I was wheeled out for the tests, he started me on blood thinners and assured me I’d be fine. I was never so confused or frightened.

A short time later, after the tests were done, we had confirmation. He told me it was a miracle I was still alive — I should have been gone weeks before. He paused a moment before asking me what made me decide that I needed to come to the hospital when I did. After all, I’d walked around with these issues for about three months.

He smiled in understanding when I told him about a little black cat named Molly, who reached across the Rainbow Bridge to save my life.

~Regina Schneider

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