CHAPTER 24 – In Sickness and In Health
Abigail disliked being picked up. It just went against her nature as a rabbit. Usually, Dad respected that. But there was no choice now. He had to give her medication twice a day.
“I’m sorry, Abigail. It’s time for your medicine,” said Dad. She knew what that meant. Even though she felt terrible, she tried to run away. But she couldn’t run as fast as she usually did, so Dad caught her.
Dad wrapped a towel around her to keep her from struggling. He held her with one hand, and with the other, he put the syringe through the gap between her front teeth and her molars and squirted the medication into her mouth. “Good girl!” he said, as she lapped up the medicine.
Abigail was not eating much, so Dad tried to feed her some Nutri-Recovery through a syringe. “I don’t want any food!” thought Abigail. She spit it out. Soon, her chin was coated in it. She hated that. When it dried, it turned into a hard mass in her fur.
“Oh Abigail,” sighed Dad, “Let’s get you cleaned up.” He wet his fingers with warm water and dissolved the Nutri-Rescue. Slowly and gently, he squeezed each little crumb out of her fur until she was clean, and then dried her off. To his surprise, Abigail didn’t fight him. “Thanks for cleaning me,” she thought, “I can’t do it myself. I can’t reach under my chin.”
Dad worried that Abigail would associate being picked up with something bad. Instead of just setting her down on the floor when they were done, he laid down on the couch and cuddled her in his arms, right side up. At first, Abigail struggled a bit, but then flipped herself into a comfortable position on her side. “Sssshhh. It’s OK, Abigail,” said Dad in a soothing voice as he petted her gently. Abigail felt safe knowing she was in Dad’s arms. She knew he would protect her, so she didn’t need to be on guard. She closed her eyes and dozed off.
The bunny who hated being picked up was now sleeping in the crook of Dad’s arm—for hours at a time! Every so often, Abigail woke up. She felt disoriented and flailed around. Dad hugged her tightly to keep her from hurting herself and whispered in her ear, “Ssshhh, it’s OK. Everything’s fine. I’m right here.” He gave her a kiss on the head and stroked her. Abigail realized where she was and drifted back to sleep. Although Dad had many things to do, comforting Abigail was at the top of his priority list. He quickly learned to do many things with one hand.
Days went by. Her head was still tilted, but there were small signs of improvement. Much to Dad’s delight, Abigail began eating on her own, so he no longer needed to feed her with a syringe. Much to Abigail’s delight, despite her head tilt, she could now out-run Dad when it was time for medication.
Days turned into weeks, which felt like an eternity. Sometimes, it seemed hopeless. But Dad had read, “If your bunny doesn’t give up, don’t give up on your bunny.” Abigail was definitely not giving up! And neither was Dad. Dad continued to cuddle her in his arms for hours while she slept. “Well, if nothing else, Abigail, I finally get to hold you!” he said. Abigail felt secure. She didn’t mind.
From the beginning, Dad promised he would always take care of her—in sickness and in health. Abigail discovered he was a man of his word. He rarely left her side for long.
Learn more about head tilt here