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."
(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."
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.
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.
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.
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.