Guilt rushed though my body like a Chicago wind chill. I knew at fifteen, with bad teeth, that crouton was too hard for her to chew. I knew better! But she was barking and I was anxious to get back to work. This blog had taken center stage. I only had three more days before the launch. I needed to write. I needed peace.
But now, everything had stopped. My baby Nambi was fighting for her life. I was helpless. I remembered Oprah watching her Gracie die before her eyes and was saddened. Like Oprah, I wanted to make sense of it all. Two minutes into the ordeal I had already started to spin her death in my head. She had given me 15 great years. She was a wonderful companion, especially in those early years of my transition to AIDS when the quality of my life was reduced to home and bed when I wasn't out speaking. On those days, when my body was racked with fatigue and side-effects from my medications, Nambi would lay on the pillow over me and never move. She became my guardian angel and a reflection of my alter ego. She has been often called “Little Rae.” My significant other looked at me one day recently and declared, “That dog is just like you."
Nambi when she was young. She had so much hair! She's almost bald now.
Nothing was changing, as I attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver, squeezing her back and stomach, alternating with my finger down her throat. She was clearly choking to death. “Oh God, help me! Not this way,” I cried out. And after what seemed like an eternity, her face started to relax and her eyes popped back into place. I took a deep breath and then placed my finger down her throat again just to be sure. Her breathing was labored but she seemed ok. I put her down. She could walk but she was clearly shaken. The crouton didn't come out so it must have gone down. I picked her up, sat down and held her in my arms. I slumped over her body, and the tears starting streaming down. I was so grateful for this small miracle
Her old lady diva picture