Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Schnauzer Saga

So Monday, I was all geared up to write about my latest writing goals (now shot to hell) or my day at the store (which, as it turns out, really wasn't all that interesting) but then I checked my voicemail and listened to a message from my sister-in-law.

She and my brother were supposed to be in Boston for the Red Sox's Patriots Day game. They were supposed to be taking pictures of Jacoby Ellsbury for me. Turns out they didn't make it.

Their weekend started to go wrong at midnight on Saturday night or Sunday morning, whichever you prefer. Max the Wonder Schnauzer had been feeling off and was unable to keep anything down. He wasn't himself so at midnight, they bundled him up and brought him to the emergency room vet who, after four hours, basically sent them home with "wait and see what happens" advice.

Well, what happened is that they had to bring poor Max back to the emergency room vet at 4am on Monday morning. From there, they were sent to Max's regular vet, now considered a transfer patient because he'd started out at the pet emergency room. They did x-rays and gave the dog barium and concluded that there was a blockage in the little guy's stomach and that surgery was the next step.

So, Alison called me to ask if Bru could come and stay with us while Max recuperated from his ordeal. Since I was at work, I texted back with an answer because, technically, at work, we are not allowed to have our cell phones even on, nevertheless, checking our voicemail and texting responses. But II make exceptions for dog emergencies and fortunately, so does Head Honcho Julie.

I know I bitch about the Store a lot and, with it, the managers, but they are really very good about dog emergencies. It makes it easier when you have to say something to them like, "I know this is my first shift in a month and a half but there's a chance I may not be able to work all four hours of it."

It turns out I was (unfortunately) able to work my entire shift and was even allowed one phone call where I was able to touch base with my brother and sister-in-law to get an update on the situation. At that time, Max was in surgery. They weren't sure what the blockage was but the thought was that it was perhaps a part of one of Bru's rawhide bones. I told them I'd drive up after work and pick up Bru so they didn't have to worry about getting her to me because they were going to have enough to worry about because after Max was through with surgery, he and his IV were going to have to be transported to the overnight care place.

I headed out at about quarter of four. At about five o'clock, as I was closing in on their house, I received a call from them. Bad just went to worse. After picking up Max, the poor little understandably grumpy boy, bit Alison badly enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room so the new plan was for me to meet them there.

"Sounds great," I said, "but I have no idea how to get there."

"Well, from our house," my brother started, "you just go to the bottom of the hill and turn-"

Other directions followed. However, I was lost after "bottom of the hill."

Just before they hung up, I heard Alison mention a parking garage at the hospital as the place where I should park. This required me to find an ATM as I didn't have any cash on me and parking garages, in my experience, require cash. This required me to call my sister, Wendy, to ask her where I would find an ATM. I knew there would be one somewhere. I just didn't know where.

But she didn't answer. She had left her phone in the car. So I drove further into the city, looking for a bank sign. I had a passing thought that if I had my smart phone (a Droid phone more specifically), I wouldn't have this problem because the damn phone could tell me where I needed to go. But I didn't have a phone, so I was stuck looking for an ATM the old fashioned way.

While I drove, I called Joe to give him the latest update.

"And now I'm driving around blinding looking for a bank," I finished. "After which, I have to try and find the emergency room because I was lost after Jacob said to go to the bottom of the hill."

"Hey," Joe said. "If you had a Droid phone, the phone could tell you where to go."

"Yeah. I had that thought," I said. "But I don't have a Droid phone, do I?"

"Do you want me to look it up online?" Joe asked.

"That would be useful," I said. "Yes."

So Joe booted up his computer and proceeded to do a search for banks in the area. While he was searching, I saw a little green bank sign. On the other side of the road. So I glanced in my rear view mirror and crossed three lanes of traffic and cut off a state trooper (who nicely did not pull me over. Guess my out of state plates bought me the benefit of the doubt. Not drunk...just lost, officer!) but I made it to the bank.

Joe then helped me get to the emergency room with the help of Google maps. Thanks, Google maps! I managed to drive by the big red "EMERGENCY ROOM" sign the first time and had to turn around in the parking lot of a 7-11 (which Joe could see on the map. This made him very gleeful). I found the parking garage (which turned out to be free for the patients and visitors to the hospital) and pulled into a space just before Jacob and Alison did the same.

That's when I got to see what exactly the vet pulled out of Max's stomach because the vet was thoughtful enough to send it home with Jake and Alison in a zip lock bag. You know, in case they wanted to have the blockage bronzed or something. In case you wanted a souvenir (apart from your sure to be fun bankruptcy from vet bills!) from your Schnauzer's first (and hopefully last) emergency exploratory stomach surgery experience.

But whatever it was (my personal thought is that it was several remnants of a frayed rope bone but who the hell knows), it was kind of gross. And by 'kind of' I mean spectacularly gross. I have no idea how the in world a blockage that size was in the stomach of a miniature Schnauzer. Seriously, I think it was the size of his head. Poor, poor baby boy.

And poor, poor Alison who was holding a bloody bit of gauze against her left hand. We went inside and Alison went to sign in and check in and all the other hoops she had to jump through in order to be seen. I sat in the waiting room and fielding a very nasty call from my local library informing me that a book I had placed a hold on had come in and I had to pick it up right away because it was a new book and people, other than myself, were waiting for read it. I was curious what sort of lecture the person who had checked out the book before me and had returned it three days late had received if I was receiving a lecture for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Anyway, I digress.

So, while I was waiting, I was imagining Alison explaining that she had been bitten by her dog, a miniature Schnauzer and then imagining the conversation becoming a Monty Python routine. This one, as a matter of fact:

The emergency room sent Alison to the First Care Clinic where she disappeared into an exam room and Jacob and I sat out in the waiting room and talked about the dark cloud of gloom and doom that had been following the pair of them around. If bad things come in threes, they should be covered for a while.

Anyway, I think Jake and I were getting a little silly by the time Alison came out of the exam room. Alison was not in a silly mood. She was irritated by the entire health care community and their antiseptic solution and their band aid stinginess. She had quite a rant going about the torturous nature of the antiseptic solution which spurred Jacob and I to pull out our very best torture humor (our stage show will soon be coming to a theatre near you!). We received a faceful of dirt when the med-evac helicopter arrived on the helicopter pad near the parking garage and then went to the grocery store to fill Alison's antibiotic prescription. We also had to stock up on first aid supplies. The pharmacy clerk ringing up Alison's sale managed to join her shit list when she asked Alison if she was planning an accident. Or did she say boo-boo? Or owie? I don't remember exactly what she said. Whatever it was, it annoyed Alison.

"I already had the accident," Alison said with the smallest hint of annoyance in her tone. Really, it was so minuscule you would've have noticed it...if you were, you know, dead or sleeping or something. Barely noticeable.

After the grocery store, we went to eat at Denny's. They must have seen us coming and had our picture up somewhere because we were seated at a corner table in an empty dining area. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to our waiter as while we are sometimes bratty and trying, thinking we're funnier than we really are, we're usually not that bad.

It took us a while to order. And by us, I mean Alison. She couldn't decide what to get and couldn't focus long enough to make a decision. She'd had a very long and trying day so it was understandable (and highly amusing if you weren't our waiter).

"Why don't you call Joe and ask him what he's having?" Jacob said as Joe and Alison usually end up ordering the same thing and can sometimes help each other expedite the ordering process. Jacob and I never take very long to decide what we want. The bonus of being an exceptionally picky eater.

Jacob made the suggestion as a joke but, before you knew it, Alison had her phone out and was calling Joe. Joe was having tomato soup and saltines because it was the only thing we had in our house so Alison asked him what he would order if he was at Denny's.

The waiter came by during the call. I think it was his third stop to see if we were ready to order. We weren't. Jacob explained how Alison couldn't poll the audience (as we were the only people in the entire section) so she'd been forced to phone a friend to help her decide. The waiter left. Joe and Alison discussed the menu and settled on a burger.

The waiter came back and took our order. He noticed Alison's hand and asked what happened so she told him (The Cliff Notes version). He followed up with a story about how he dislocated his shoulder and had to have a friend help him put on his pants. I was mostly left confused by what had happened and how it happened. I think he was holding on to a car door that went from zero to whatever in thirty seconds and he wasn't able to keep up? Or maybe it was a dog that took off on him? I'm not sure. Somehow he dislocated his shoulder and was at least half naked at the time. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

When the food arrived, Alison really started to get punchy (you know, more so than before) and I mean that literally. She punched Jacob in the arm. She also threw a french fry at him. Jacob and I were laughing so hard, we could have used some oxygen. Our waiter didn't come around again until it was time for the check. Wonder why. I paid and gave the man a very generous tip.

We went to Jacob and Alison's house next so I could get Bru and her belongings and head for home. Waiting for me on the table in the foyer was a pretty bunch of flowers (they're yellow...apart from that, I'm not sure what kind they are) and a note sticking out of them that had originally been for my sister, Wendy.

I knew it had originally been for Wendy because her name was on the card. It was crossed out and my name had been written above it. Wendy works near their house and she was going to stop in on her way home from work to let the dogs out while Jake and Alison were in Boston for the Red Sox game but since they never actually made it to Boston (good thing too...Boston lost. Again. Do NOT get me started on that.), they were regifting their thank you gift to Wendy. Here's what the note said inside:

Hi Wendy (Crossed out) Melissa,

Thank you for taking care of the pups (crossed out) Brewster while we're in Boston (crossed out) Hell. It's much appreciated!

Well, kids, you're welcome.

Anyway, so that was Monday. Bru and I made it home around 10:30 that night. My dogs were already in their crates but the cats were out and BOY, you should have seen the looks of death both Bru and I received from them. I imagine they'll be pissing on something I don't want them to piss on at some point. That'll be fun too.

And, in case you were wondering, the Schnauzer is still with us. He went from surgery to the overnight care facility and spent the following day at his regular vet. He went home Tuesday evening where he continues his recovery. Alison reports that he is quickly getting back to his old self.

Bru's doing well too. She's only been tagged by the Gator Girl once (for trying to climb over the back of the couch to get to me. Sorry, Bru, but that is NOT allowed.) and has steered clear of both her cousins ever since. I've taken her for a couple of walks down to the river (It took her a while to realize that the river was a really big water dish) and came back without having been dragged on my face. I do have to report that Bru has some fear of my neighbor's mailbox. She's run away from it twice now. But, you know, bravely so. She and Big are having a "let's see who can shed the most" contest. Big is, surprisingly enough, most definitely winning. There have been no accidents involving bodily functions better tended to outdoors and my couch is still in the same number of pieces it was in the last time Hurricane Bru blew through.

But now it's time for another walk. Enjoy your day.

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