Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Post #6: Gypsy Attacks!

I’m warm. The fleece blanket covering my entire body is starting to stick to the back of my neck. In my effort to stay as still as possible, I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. From under the blanket, Ashley’s laugh is muffled. “Whitney! She sees you! She’s going to jump!” I make one last effort to keep my body in an unmoving ball, curled up as tightly as I can be, hoping to shield off the attack.

I hear it before I feel it. The thick carpet helps to mask the sound of her paws hitting the floor, but I hear the excited, panting noises getting closer to me. Then, it happens. A weight is dropped on to the middle of my back, forcing hot air out of my lungs and making the small space under the blanket even hotter. Ouch. I feel the claws dig into my shoulder. Her tiny, razor sharp teeth find their way through the thick fleece and into my arms and legs. “Gypsy!! Stop!” I laugh. “Gippy!! Bad dog!!” Her clawing, biting, and jumping are only fuelled by my screams.

Five minutes earlier, my sister and I decided to take turns hiding under a blanket on the floor and letting our golden retriever, Gypsy, jump on us. “Are you sure this is a good idea? She’s crazy! She’ll hurt us!” Ashley clearly needed some persuasion. I guess I had to pull the big sister card. “Oh come on, Ash. Are you scared? I’ll go first! Watch!” Before the game, a blanket always seemed like an appropriate form of protection, but five seconds into Gypsy’s attack, I always questioned my choice of armour.

“Gypsy!!!” I laughingly scold, but, in truth, her tiny puppy teeth really are beginning to hurt. I feel her jump up repeatedly on to my back, her small paws slipping on the soft fleece, and then she jumps up again. My back muscles tighten to protect myself from the oncoming assault, but each time she jumps up again, the wind is forcibly knocked out of my tiny nine year old body.

“Ashley!! She’s starting to hurt me!” I hear Gypsy panting, but it’s nearly drowned out by Ashley’s laughter. Suddenly, I see a sliver of light emerge from the bottom of the blanket. I smell Gypsy’s hot, wet puppy breath as she emerges, nose first under the blanket. She assaults my face with her tongue. “Ewww, Gippy! You’re gross!” In panic, I grasp frantically for the edge of the blanket to block Gypsy back out. The corner of the fleece is slippery and wet from Gypsy’s incessant biting. I finally grab the blanket and, after nudging Gypsy’s face out of the way, I tuck it under my legs, protecting myself once again. I wipe my slobbery hands on to my jeans. Then I remember my backup plan. I reach into my jeans pocket for a piece of a bacon-flavoured treat, hoping it will get Gypsy’s heavy paws off my back long enough for me to stand up.

I ever so carefully lift the edge of the blanket. Gypsy’s teeth aren’t visible yet. I’m safe. I inch my fingertips out from under the blanket and flick my wrist to toss the bacon treat across the carpet. “Gypsy! Do you see that? Go get the treat!” I hear Ashley walk over to where the treat landed, trying to persuade Gypsy to run over to it and abandon her attack. It’s a success! I stand up, now holding the blanket over me like a cape, careful not to get any of the slobbery parts on me.

“Hey!” I call to Ashley. In one quick motion, I toss the blanket, drool-side down, over her body. “This is for laughing instead of rescuing me! You’re next!”

Ashley laughs. “Alright! Go get her another bacon treat while I cover myself!” I walk over to the cupboard where we keep Gypsy’s treats, laughing and checking myself for any scratches or bruises, Gypsy nipping at my heels all the way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Post #5: Is My Heart Broken?

“Oh man, its so cold out!” My best friend Rachel leans over, trying to balance her weight as she lugs the bag of newspapers while we walk along the sidewalk. We both walk quickly, half-hunched over to shield our faces from the misty autumn rain.

“Hopefully we can get these delivered quick!” I stuff my hands into my jacket pocket. Luckily, I’m wearing my heavy raincoat, lined with a thick layer of fleece.

“You know, Whit, you really don’t have to help me deliver these! It’s my paper route, and it’s so cold!”

“Nah, I don’t mind!” I laugh, “Besides, we get to talk about the kinda stuff we can’t talk about at school!”

She breathes an exaggerated sigh of relief, “Ok, good. I don’t like doing this alone!”

Right as we’re about to enter the senior citizen apartment to begin the deliveries, I feel it start without warning.

Uh oh. Please don’t be what I think it is!

Just like that, my heart takes a quick jump inside my chest. I know it’s the telltale sign that it is about to start the freaky rapid beating it has been doing sporadically for the last couple months. And it’s about to start up again.

Don’t start. Pleeeaseee don’t start!

But my heart doesn’t listen to my pleas.

Like I expected, it begins beating so rapidly and forcibly that my chest begins to hurt. It’s like I just finished running a marathon, but I barely just began walking. I hope I can walk it off. Maybe it will stop soon like it always had before.

Rachel and I walk through the hallway of the apartment building as we place the newspapers outside the rooms of subscribers. My heart still hasn’t slowed, and I begin to feel short of breath.

“Rach… uhhh… you know that heart thing I get sometimes? It’s happening again…”

Her eyes dart quickly to meet mine. “Do you think you can walk back home? Your mom is probably home by now, right?”


We walk back outside, once again shielding our faces from the rain. Rachel looks down at her own fleece jacket. She tries to lighten the mood, forcing a laugh.

“Well, Whit, I bet you’re glad you have that nice rain coat! I’m so cold in this!”

“Yeah, it’s thick, right? But I bet you can actually feel my heart pounding through this jacket!”

Rachel takes her hand out of her jacket sleeve and places it on my chest. Her eyes widen in shock.

“Oh my God. I had no clue it was that bad! Maybe you should go to the hospital.”

“I don’t know. Usually it doesn’t last this long.”

I’m scared. I don’t know what is happening to me. Rachel and I walk the short way back to my house, and I see my mom sitting at the kitchen table, coffee mug in hand, reading the newspaper.

“Mom, the heart thing is happening again and it’s lasting really long this time.”

I hurriedly unzip the thick yellow jacket and throw it to the floor as I run to my mom.

“Feel.” I thrust my body towards her, hoping she can somehow make it stop.

“Honey, I should take you to the emergency room.”

* * *

Two days later, I have to wear a heart monitor to school. Circular electrodes are stuck to my chest, connected to wires that hook up to a plastic machine clipped onto my belt. It’s a little scary. And all my friends ask what is going on.

“Well, I get this scary heart thing, so the doctors want to see what my heartbeat is like over a whole day.”


“I guess?”

* * *

I go back to the doctor to find out the results of the heart monitor’s readings. I have supraventricular tachycardia, which I guess is a fancy word for a really rapid heart beat. Duh.