Seth agreed to a lot when he married me.
He agreed to stick with me through good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
I don’t think he realized it wasn’t just my sickness or my health. It was also Edgar’s.
Earlier last week we took Edgar to the vet to get his vaccines updated and to get a little check-up. We hadn’t been to the vet since last summer when he jumped out of a first story window…and then a second story one…and then ate an entire batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. We’d racked up enough frequent flyer miles for the year. And aside from a having a dog whisper visit the house, he hadn’t required much follow-up care.
While we were there, we asked the vet to examine what we thought to be a hernia. I was told the little nickel-sized protrusion on the center of his ribs was just that when I adopted Edgar. “Happens all the time. Lots of dogs get them. If it doesn’t grow and doesn’t get hard, don’t worry about it.” For two years, it neither grew nor hardened. All was well with his undercarriage.
Then, while Seth and I were away on our mini-moon and my mom watched Edgar, it got a little bigger and a little darker. Not too much cause for concern, but if we were going to be at the vet, we may as well get it checked out. So, she drew fluid. And informed us it wasn’t a hernia but, was in fact a xiphoid cyst. And still absolutely nothing to worry about. It was simply bigger and darker because he’d bruised it. Ok, cool.
Or so we thought.
Until the morning when I woke up to find Edgar shaking and squirming in pain. The nickel-sized cyst was no more. Instead, it looked like he was trying to smuggle an orange under his fur. Except this orange was bright red and purple. And still growing.
Cue the panic. And the calling the vet. And the crying to Seth. And then the rushing to the emergency vet when the regular doctor couldn’t fit him in and I wasn’t about to wait seven hours while my puppy cried in agony.
Edgar was very sick. I was very scared. Seth was very strong. We all have roles to play in this family.
It was infected. Majorly. More than that, it was scary. If I was worked up, it was nothing compared to what Edgar was. After they sedated him and waited a few fruitless minutes for him to pass out, they motioned me back to sit with him. To pet him and calm him and help him drift off to sleep. Then, he was taken to the back room and poked and prodded and cut open and drained (gross, I know, sorry).
It’s very hard to see someone you love in pain. Even if that someone has four legs and a wet nose. Especially when that someone can’t tell you what hurts or why.
I imagine it was also hard for Seth not only to see Edgar in pain, but me too.
Seth grew up on a farm. He’s brought countless animals into this world and has helped ones leave it, too. He’s more comfortable with these things, more capable. It’s why he had to drive, I was too busy crying. He may not have understood why I would get so upset, become so unhinged, because my dog was sick, but he tried. He sat there beside me, whispered comforting words, held my hand. And then held my dog – doped up with a drooping tongue – swaddled like a baby in a blanket.
The entire ordeal took about four hours. And in those four hours, in between tears and exorbitant medical bills, there were muffins. Lemon poppy seed. From a gas station. Dry, bland, dense. Awful. Seth deserved better. He always will. After everything he had done for me that day (and every other day we’ve been together, truly), my husband deserves a better muffin. One that actually tastes like lemon and not old fryer oil. One that’s bright and rich and every-so-slightly sweet. One that’s made with love, like all of his decisions.
You deserve one too.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
1 1/4 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 lemon, zest and juiced
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup Half & Half (or whole milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cups and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup whisk together the oil, egg, half & half, and extracts until smooth. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix to combine. (It’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy.)
Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, or until edges begin to turn just lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.
Top with light lemon glaze made by whisking together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.