I abandoned my husband for a dog--a true story

Ginsberg, 8 months old and totally tipsy

PART 1: Surgical 'wards'

It began a week ago Thursday, when I "abandoned" (as he likes to remind me) Mr. B the evening before his eye surgery scheduled for early Friday morning.

It wasn't like I was out all night (er, well, come to think of it, I almost was, but I'll get to that in a minute).  I was simply joining two of my dearest friends for dinner to toast one of our fallen in the best way we knew how--telling stories, drinking wine, and laughing ourselves silly. (We think Renie would have liked that; some of the best stories I've ever heard were hers, and she was a novelist, after all.)

We had a grand time together, and knocking down 2 glasses of wine had put me in a most light-hearted mood. (Yes, I am admittedly quite the welter-weight drinker.)

When I arrived home around 10 pm, Mr. B was getting ready for bed. And Ginsberg, he told, me was good and sick. He'd already hurled twice and his tummy was tender when touched. And with that bit of news, Mr B. bid me good night.

Within seconds, Ginsberg begins to utter the truly bizarre sounds that precede the emptying of a canine tummy. And within 1 hour, I have cleaned up 4 messes. Poor guy, he does his best to alert me, sitting by the door making high-pitched-little whimpers that let me know this could be serious. Now mind you, the boy has deposited umpteen pairs of underwear, owl-scat- like capsules of Cora's shed hair, the stuffing of dog toys, and some unidentifiable items. But something is seriously stuck. And it hurts. And he is looking to me with his baby blues and droopy ears, clearly communicating: "For heaven's sake, DO something about this."

So I do. I load my Alaskan Husky pup into the car and drive to the emergency animal hospital. Ka-ching: $115 just to walk in the door. Next come X-rays. Ka-ching, ka-ching: "that'll be $125, please." Gins skitters around the exam room nervously, smelling every nook and cranny, unable to lie down and get comfortable. And soon enough, Dr. Yantis ("call me Rick") comes back with the results. "Well, it's not metal, plastic, or rock. But we can see something that looks like fabric in the small intestine."

(X-ray image: object found in a dog,
 fortunately, not in Ginsberg)

And that my friends, is not good. Not good at all.

Given his history (of eating all manner of textile), his age, and his breed, Ginsberg, the good Dr. Rick explains, had finally met his match. Something is lodged in his belly and it isn't moving. We discuss multiple options and, with my semi-inebriated, very tired mind, I try to process these options. Then he cuts to the chase: "If you were my sister, and I was trying to decide what to do, I would want you to know what they tell us the first year in vet school about these kinds of situations--time is trauma."


It doesn't take long for me to cave.

Yes, please keep him overnight, give him barium, and take images every 90 minutes or so to see if the object as moved. Then call me in the morning. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching: Another couple hundred dollars.

A vet tech brings Gins out so I can say goodnight. He isn't at all thrilled with the idea of me leaving him behind, and I depart the animal hospital listening to the mournful wailing of my sad--and mischievous-- Husky pup.

2 am.

I crawl into bed for a 4-hour nap before getting up to take Mr. B to surgery. I shut my eyes. And the next thing I know, he is gently urging awake. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes as he showers, I sit up and hear the sound of crickets -- oh, right, the ringtone on my phone. It's Dr. Yantis. He sounds as tired as I feel. "The object hasn't moved. I can take another image in an hour or so and call you back."

OK, let's do that.

I can't help but notice how impressively calm it is in the house. Cora and Charlotte don't equal even one-eighth the energy of my sled dog puppy, even one who's in the midst of a health crisis. Mr B and I  head out to the human hospital so he can have a cataract removed. It's the first time in our 30 years together he's ever had surgery. He's a little nervous. I just know in my bones it's going to be fine, that the odds are in his favor, but we ARE talking about an eye, after all, so I listen and try to say reassuring things. Once he's prepped, I'm invited back to sit with him in a tiny pre-op room till they wheel him off to have his damaged lens removed and a new acrylic one inserted. A nurse, and the eye surgeon come in and we chat amicably for a few minutes until the sound of crickets introduces an awkward moment.

OH, that's my phone!

I step outside the room to take the call. Ginsberg must have emergency surgery within the hour, I am told. Oh, and it'll cost in the neighborhood of $3,500. I nearly pass out, but that wouldn't be such a good idea. The morning shift emergency vet suggests I contact our personal vet, who can probably do the surgery cheaper. He urges me to call asap and let him know the plan.

And now, Mr. B is being wheeled out of pre-op. I manage to get one kiss in on the top of his head, say some loving words, and do NOT mention money for a second. Why mess up the nice little "high" he's enjoying from his pre-surgical cocktail? His mind is so rarely free of monetary worries. And away he goes.

I call our vet, and yes, they can do the surgery cheaper, but I'll need to bring him immediately, and it's Labor Day weekend, and they'll be closed, so I'll have to bring Ginsberg back to the emergency hospital for a night of recovery after the surgery.

Now, tell me, what would you do in this situation?

The best I could do was punt.

I called EarthDoctorSon, and asked for help. Sort of.

You have two choices, I say. You can go pick up Ginsberg and take him to the vet (finding places he's not been to before is not his forte) or you can come sit at the hospital and wait for Dad to come out of surgery. What would you prefer?

Not even a question. He arrives at the hospital in 5 minutes.

And this is the part I will never live down.

With my husband in surgery, I leave the hospital, drive 15 minutes to pick up my dog.

That's right, I abandoned my husband for a dog.

And to add insult to injury, Ginsberg snubs me when we get in the car, sitting as far away from me as he can get, all the while giving me "the look." No amount of coaxing will get him to sit near me. So I decide to sing to him. And drive. And eventually we arrive at the vet's and I drag him out of the car (that's right, I PULL my SLED DOG out of the back seat of a CAR), and leave him at another place he doesn't want to be, and listen to him wailing -- bitterly this time.

By the time I check back in with EarthDoctorSon, Mr. B is already home, chipper and so happy he can already see better out of his eye. I will be taking him to the doctor's office at 4:15, he tells me, for his first administration of eyedrops. And off he goes to bed, still enjoying the meds they gave him to relax.

Crickets chirp again, and I can't get to my phone fast enough. And next the "ping, ping" notice that I've received a text message. "The surgery is over. Ginsberg is fine. We found a fraying towel-like fabric.

Please pick him up between 5:30 and 6."

. . . to be continued . . .

PART 2: Mr. B isn't allowed to lift anything. Ginsberg is "dead" weight and completely loopy. Ginsberg comes home. Dog and man recover amazingly fast. Ginsberg escapes 3 times from his crate, opens the front door, and greets Mr. B each time. A dog crate security system, involving 5 bungees and 8 carabiners, is installed. Kathleen begins to prep for knee surgery Sep 16, manages to remain sugar sober through it all, and finally sees the needle on the scale move.
 Stay tuned!


Rudee said…
I feel for you, Kathleen. I really do. Poor Gins. He has such a sweet face. And poor hubby. I'm glad they're both on the mend.
Barb said…
My goodness - who needs a reality show? I'm glad all seems to have turned out fine - hope your surgery goes equally as well. I'm assuming Ginsberg doesn't have health insurance!
Silliyak said…
Oh my! If it'll help (it won't), somewhere in my blog is an xray of my cat's $4200 broken femur.
Finding Pam said…
That sounds very horrible for Gins. I am glad that your husband's eye surgery went well. I hope both continue to heal.

I await to hear more.
Gaston Studio said…
I would have done exactly the same thing because... hubby can talk and you knew he was in good hands but Gins was in a state of emergency. Good on you and I, too, am glad hubby's surgery went as expected. Breathe.
Erin Davis said…
Oh, my! You've all had more than your fair share of medical drama. I'm glad hubby and puppy are healing and hope your surgery goes smoothly!
You need the aroma therapy we are busy trying to invent. Valium scented. Break a leg, lovie--but not literally!!
Derrick said…
The things some people will do for a little attention?! Seriously, Kathleen, so glad Ginsberg is better and hope Mr. B's sight is back to full strength. Now, just breathe deeply 'til the 16th.
Hilary said…
I'm pretty sure most folks would have done pretty much the same thing. I'm glad they're both ok. :)
Joanna said…
How crazy is it that all those things are happening together? So glad to hear all is well. Good luck with your surgery too.
Suldog said…
Funny - if not so funny to you while happening - story. Isn't that the way it sometimes goes? Everything all at once, no way around it, must act now! God bless!
Uncle KT said…
I hope that you and your family are recuperating quickly! The way that you tell that story is amazing. Make sure that you keep on finding the amusing (or semi-amusing) parts of impossible situations--you have a wonderful sense of humor and joy!
Janie said…
Yes, I'll bet your husband never lets you live down that decision...
You certainly have no lack of excitement at your house. In this case, you maybe would have preferred to have less!
Hope the patients recuperate quickly.
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Carissa Layton said…
i want to use this opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man Dr Saibaba who brought my husband back to me, i had 2 lovely kids for my husband, about 3 years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows an Ad pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i shouldn't worry about it at all so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man phone number and his email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just two day and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what this great man asked me to do and for sure after two days i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy.that's why i want to say a big thank you to Dr Saibaba. This great man made me to understand that theirs no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. you can email him templesaibaba@yahoo.com

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