My worst nightmare happened.** My husband and I were dog sitting for our good friends’ adorable 1 yr old dog and he almost died. I was home alone with him, working on my computer, when I heard the dreaded crunching. I checked on the dog and he had my bottle of estrogen in his mouth.
Smashed and empty.
He had jumped up onto my night stand and snagged the bottle, the bright orange pill bottle a seemingly enticing-looking toy. A million things ran through my mind at once. I realized it was late in the evening and the vet would be closed. I realized I did not know where the closest emergency vet was located. And then I realized with a sinking thud that my husband had taken our car to the office that day, and was about an hour away in the thick Los Angeles traffic.
I called the person I knew who lived the closest to us, my husband’s cousin, and asked her in frantic voice to come get me. She ran out the door, braless, leaving a freshly poured glass of wine, and was at my doorstep five minutes later. I called my husband and he immediately called Animal Poison Control as well as the closest animal hospital. Meanwhile, the dog had become incredibly hyper, running in circles around my living room and continually leaping on and off the couch. He was having a blast.
We made it to the animal hospital 20 minutes later, and they took the dog, who was still wagging his tail, naive to the chaos surrounding him. They induced vomiting, and put charcoal through his system to detoxify him. Unfortunately, estrogen pills are tiny and uncoated. They absorb quickly. I was taking 2 mg twice a day after my hysteroscopy, an extremely high dose (as a comparison, birth control pills each contain .04 mg of estrogen). I estimated he swallowed about thirty pills. The vet explained that the concern with high estrogen intake is the risk of bone marrow suppression. If that happened, he would stop producing red blood cells. And from there, the prognosis is poor.
I cried for two days. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I still felt at fault. He was under my care, and they were my pills. My heart broke for our friends. And my heart broke for the dog, so young and so sweet.
After going through my two miscarriages, and all the stress and trauma that surrounded our fertility testing and subsequent surgeries, I suddenly felt completely helpless. Suddenly completely vulnerable to the idea that bad things happen. And they can keep happening again and again. Horrible incidents beyond your control. I had spent so many days crying, with a knot in my stomach, unable to eat or sleep, during our infertility battle. That familiar feeling came back with a vengeance.
And now my infertility was killing dogs. I cursed my malformed uterus and blamed it for the whole horrid event.
I felt in that moment that if the dog died, I would never get over it. I would be permanently changed by the shadow of a sweet creature’s demise under my care. So reminiscent of how it feels to lose your baby. A little embryo that I was housing that I couldn’t keep safe.
Our friends were sweet and apologetic about the whole incident, embarrassed their dog would do that, sorry that we had to deal with such a harrowing emergency. They took the dog to the vet a week later for a follow up and all is ok. He has seemingly survived his brush with female hormones.
And I’m happy to report that even after ingesting 60 mg of estrogen, he is still a he.
**Besides my miscarriages of course.