Our Dog Looks Like We Feel

Lucky surgery!

Never thought I’d see the day when our dog Lucky would find himself dressed like a Sno-Cone, but here we are.

Poor Lucky, ten years old and counting, had to have surgery today to remove a small, ugly lump that’s been growing on the back of his neck for a few months. While he was anesthetized, he also had some dental work done, including three extractions, and had to have samples taken because a couple of his organs appeared larger than they should be in recent tests. My wife Anne brought him home this afternoon with his new temporary collar, which I believe is good for extra credit at select seminaries nationwide, as well as a tiny white scarf to hold it on, or possibly it was the veterinarian’s idea of a fashion accessory, albeit a dumb idea. Honestly: a white lampshade and a white ascot? No no no.

Lucky’s not the only one in our house who hasn’t had the best holiday weekend. Thanksgiving itself was nice, if a bit crowded. Over three dozen relatives and friends-of-relatives packed into the same house (not ours, thankfully) and in general had a blast, setting aside one extremely poorly thought-through conversation and a round of The Logo Board Game that dragged on for nearly two hours because so many of the questions were terrible stumpers about companies that either no longer exist or none of us cared about. It still wasn’t as bad as your average Monopoly tournament, but for a while we were headed in that direction.

Then came Friday, ostensibly Black Friday, which for us became Cell Block Friday. A key spring on our garage door broke and thereby made the whole thing inoperable. Our cars were trapped with no way out. Even manually lifting the door up was impossible. Our nearest mass transit option is a mile-‘n’-a-half walk away. I’ve talked here before about how Black Friday is no longer my thing, but I had a Christmas shopping list I’d meant to work through at stores that weren’t participating in the annual retailer Hunger Games. I had to set aside my to-do list and instead pace back-‘n’-forth for a day till a repairman could arrive to replace the garage door parts and give us driving access once again. Unfortunately the happy young helper assigned to us didn’t finish the job till 4 p.m., by which time we still couldn’t leave because company came over. They didn’t leave till around 7, effectively making the day a wash for any and all Christmas plans.

Saturday was spent partly on errand-running, partly on a “celebration of life” after a much-beloved relative’s funeral. Busy day from dawn to dusk. The celebration was nice, but I took care of a fraction of a fraction of my to-do list.

Then came Sunday, when Anne and I were less than thrilled to discover we’d both apparently caught a bug from one of those three dozen relatives and/or friends-of-relatives. Anne was in greater pain than I was, but we spent over half the day just lying around, her moaning and me grumbling to myself. We each have our coping mechanisms.

And y’know what makes illness even worse? When you still have to go to work. Anne had the foresight to schedule herself a vacation all this week. Good for her. I was still miserable come Monday morning, but attendance guidelines prohibit me from calling in sick the day after a holiday weekend without a doctor’s note. I’m unconvinced that I’m at Threat Level Prescription, so I spent the day fiddling with spreadsheets while trying not to pass out on my keyboard. I managed to stay conscious till I got home, then passed out for a nap before my TV superhero stories came on. My appetite hasn’t returned yet, but I have yet to vomit. Thank the Lord for small favors as well as the large.

And at least I didn’t have outpatient surgery like our poor Lucky. I’m told his sutures will fall out on their own, that he can basically ditch the collar if he behaves, and that he’ll be back on crunchy foods in no time once his extractions are healed. But we’re waiting on more test results to see if that benign lump removal was responsible for any more side effects.

In the meantime, here we are, still not feeling our best, and vowing revenge on whoever carried this bug. In hindsight I should’ve taken it as an omen when that long bout with The Logo Board Game concluded with me victorious and — I Am Not Making This Up — the winning answer was “diarrhea”.

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