Days 21-31

The cone. Is. OFF!

There has been much celebrating, in the form of rolling on the ground, biting ankles, biting toys, scavaging for rabbit poo, and barking just to bark. I think she wanted to burn the cone under the full moon and dance around it.

I was hesitant to take the cone off, but my husband said the stitches were done doing their thing, and most of the healing under the scab was done. It’s nice having a paramedic / EMT spousal unit. It’s like having a reference book you don’t have to carry around. And what am I a reference for? Well, if he is interested in story structure and genre and themes and the hero’s journey, well, he knows who to turn to.

Took the pups on a hike today. A new trail and I was getting quite bored. Trees rocks snow, kaaaaay. Then I met some people coming up the trail and they mentioned caves. Caves? Yes, I will cross the stream twice over slippery, crackling ice to see limestone caves. And we did.

Days 6 – 20

OMG you guys talk about out of sight out of mind! My posting completely fell off my radar dealing with holidays and dog injuries. But the cyst removed from Mayhem’s paw is NOT CANCER!!! Hooooraaaaayyyyyy!!!!!! My husband was so happy I think that if I had asked him to buy me a new car he would have said yes without a moment’s hesitation.

Mayhem and her mitten.

Things have settled down for now, but it was mayhem (ha ha) for a minute. And I was naughty. I had work due for my development editor, and I totally slacked. Well, went on an outlining tangent, and didn’t get my chapters done. She was forgiving about it but still didn’t want to meet until I completed what I was supposed to.

This is good. I get manic on things sometimes and cannot be indulged. That’s precisely why I need her.

Lessons learned from long-term dog coning:

  • Wrapping the dog’s foot to the point it becomes a mitten is a bad thing when the injury is supposed to breathe. Mayhem has a thick neck and slim head (better to bite your ankles with), so she would rear up, put her paws by her neck and push her cone off. Impressive and fancy raccoon work, the little shit.
  • Communicating to your vet that you were having cone problems is essential. I brought the cone, harness, collar, and duct tape to him, per his request. He then performed a tiny miracle. Photos below.
  • Use the sedation drugs.

Every. Single. Loop. Secured!!

They made bows out of duct tape. Bless their hearts.

I tried every dog bootie I had, and what worked the best was double-upped Ziploc bags and medical tape. The stretchy fabric kind. She couldn’t get her stitches wet because they would dissolve with moisture (hence the cone for no licky-licky), and of course, we had a big snowstorm and the snow is still hanging around. I’ve been through about two bags of Ziplocs.

At this point, the cone is beaten to crap and I’m hoping to get it off this weekend. Just waiting for the scab to fall off, but it’s locked on tight right now like a crusty barnacle.

When this cone comes off this girl deserves an all-day puppy party. For a dog that abhors people touching her feet, she has let me get all up in her foot business and has not once barked or whined about the cone. This girl is a champ.

Day 5

  • I had a funny observation earlier today, but I forgot what it was. I always think I’ll remember, and I never do
  • Skidded on ice during my drive into work this morning and almost hit a big moving van head on.
  • Had to change the dressing on Mayhem’s foot because I forgot to wrap it during a pee break. She snapped at me a couple times, but I did it!
Not their usual formation but I didn’t want to disturb the patient

Day 4

  • The high today was -2
  • The low today (will be in about 2 hours) -25
  • Mayhem’s surgery went well. Vet techs gave me all these instructions about what she can and cannot do, how much to eat, drink…but they couldn’t get her down the hall by themselves and she had already gotten out of her cone – I had to go get her LOL
  • Vet invoices already sent on to pet insurance. Hey, everyone, get pet insurance
  • Poor Olive wants to hike and walk, but the snow is so cold it burns, and when it hurts she doesn’t hold her paw up for help – she lays down in the snow. I had to drag all 70 lbs of her out of the unplowed cul-de-sac
  • I’m beat

Day 3

I slept through my alarm this morning. Swear it was that drink I mentioned yesterday.

Going through my chapters this afternoon, and I really have to stop myself from editing as I go. I just recently learned that you were just supposed to charge through. You’re supposed to come back later, several times actually: tweak your story, then your writing, then micro-tweak your sentences. I’ve always jumped to micro-tweak.

I’m so sick of this damn story I dread going through it again, but I promised myself that I would finish it. I wish I got a developmental editor years ago, even if it was just for a month or two.

Took Mayhem to the vet this morning for a cyst on her front paw. They don’t like the look of it and think it might be cancerous, surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. I have to admit that I did cry in the waiting room. I am still very scarred about what happened with Max, but I also learned a lot.

Stay calm, don’t freak out, wait for test results. In the meantime, love and play.

Day 2

I’ve been living off of miso soup and protein shakes. Of course I blame the reason for my headache-y lethargy to not taking my multi. Yeah, no. I have chapters and six (short) scene analysis due on Thursday morning, which is just three short sunrises away and I do my best work in the a.m., so I have got to get it together.

A few weeks ago, I ordered some samples from a company that has mushroom based protein powder and coffee and elixer/potion stuff. I accidentally drank one of their “chill” chai latte at work, having read the word “latte” and assumed it was a pick-me-up. It was so not. I was very relaxed that evening and I think I went to bed at 7:30. All of this to say I have another sample packet of said “chill” and think it’s just what I need tonight. And not to worry – I don’t get paid from the brand to promote or anything. I mean, who reads this besides me?

My lights just flickered. I CANNOT lose power. Tomorrow the high is 2 degrees. Dos. Degree-os.

Major win today: Getting two booties on Olive. The sound the plastic hitting the ice is hilarious. It’s what I kind of always hear in my head when she’s walking anyway – she is soooo flat-footed and the most ungraceful labrador-golden(?) I have ever seen. It’s like she’s got palapus feet – plat plat plat plat…..

I did get two booties on Mayhem, who promptly sat down and Yoda-ed her ears until I took them off, then she ran away. We both knew that was the only outcome that could ever happen.

Turn up the volume for that plat plat perfection

Day 1

Was up at 4:15 am and felt a bit proud about that, but still a bit panicked about the upcoming cold snap. Negative 26 degrees won’t crack the house open, I think, but I’m scared of things happening: pipes cracking, septic tank exploding…I can’t imagine what -26 feels like but I’m about to find out. Last year the lowest was -13. I wanted to get out of the heat and humidity, but as usual, I overshot.

  • Ate a huge pancake right out of the pan,
  • Kept a baking show on the TV all day to keep me calm,
  • Two loads of dishes,
  • Scrubbed the fridge,
  • Shoveled snow from the side steps, and walkway, and created 2 dog paths. It’s not melting anytime soon and the weather app predicts clouds with light blue stabby knives coming out of them, whatever the heck that means, but it can’t be good,
  • Rolled-up towels and blankets to stop drafts, my addiction to rubber bands coming in handy and secured the rolls with them,
  • Took the dogs out for mini-walks. They were so happy to go outside but got cold pretty quick and looked at me accusingly,
  • Took a two-hour, man-sized nap,
  • Smeared Aquafor on my face like three times,
  • Brought in some miscellaneous pet toys that were outside, and
  • Threw carrots to the bunny that is living under the front porch.
Mayhem & Olive

Skipped dinner, which I may regret soon, but Day 1 down.

I’m Still Here

Death was following me around for a little while, and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the dark. In 2020 my Labrador died slowly, then my Dad died quickly, then in 2021 my grandfather passed, and then a dog I adopted. All in less than a year.

My heart and my mind were heavy. Leaden, really. I knew in my head that others lost more, but it was still hard.

I don’t remember the holidays last year, or the ones the year before. Thank god I keep a planner otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything that happened or when. Everything is like in a big soup in my brain. That’s right, I was supposed to research trauma stages today and just remembered.

So that’s where I’ve been, in my Me-Soup. But what I’ve learned is: adopt another dog, it won’t be the same but they will still bring joy; and be a fierce and unapologetic advocate in a family members healthcare, no matter what doctors or facilities say.

But like I said, I’m seeing an end, and so a beginning. I’m thankful for my family, for two healthy pups, for bending over in laughter with my husband, for watching deer cross my lawn. You know. Small but big stuff.