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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

the dog it was

A beautiful day, one in which the irony of death was primed to present itself. The sun shines bright and beautiful creatures go tits up. For when I felt the huge hard lump under Lolly’s throat, and paired it with the lethargy and lack of appetite of the last few days, I fast-tracked her straight through ‘tumour’ to ‘inoperable’ to ‘dead by tea-time.’
Following her walk – the one thing in which she still shows vague interest – I phoned the vet.
A bored girl fumbled with the pages of the diary. I described the symptoms to kill time and she said, “Can you make it 10.15? it sounds like you should come in straightaway.”
I glanced at the clock. Time just enough to scoop up the furry beast.
“Yes,” I said.
My heart pounded.
Poor dead Lolly, only 2 and I didn’t make her a birthday cake. How mean is that!
Her bed could catch the rubbish collection next day.

The sun gleamed in my eyes, a feature of driving east, as we wended our way to the vet, me trying to make the most of this, her inevitable last journey. Hello sun, hello birds, bye bye Lolly. Brave lip-biting hurt. Chin up old girl.

I lifted the baggy thing onto the table. She looked at me, confused, hunched, thinking blandly maybe that I looked familiar.
The vet busied herself with Lolly’s dubious end and a rectal thermometer, yum, and pronounced her temperature to be 104.5.
A rummage in her pink undercarriage found that her heart was fine.
“Why do you check her heart?” I said.
“To see if she’s strong enough to be sedated,” she said.

Turns out it’s not a tumour. We are not in death’s waiting room, after all, so I can take my caring face off. It’s an abscess. Probably got from chewing on a stick (yup, that figures, stick chewing is her one and only skill).
“We’ll keep her in,” she said.
Not so fast, I thought, images of a perfectly fine but totally dim dog now given to malingering, lounging on a velvet cushion having dog-grapes peeled for her as the meter on her bill went crazy. They’re not used to dog owners like me. Round here it’s all co-ordinated dog coats and talk of puppy-pilates.
"It's not that I don't love her," I said, patting Lolly in a way that I hoped convinced, "Only we've not got insurance."
So, steady on the extras, trim the room service, missy, no talk of Sky TV.

I phoned just now. They’d drained the abscess and madam was fine. “We’ll keep her a bit longer, you won’t want her on your best carpet.”
When do we ever, I thought, but didn’t say; although aware of the meter ticking fast as Lolly's stay lengthened.
“There was a lot of pus, she’s still dripping,” the girl continued.
"Well, my son has got a football match," I said carefully, "I don't like to think of picking her up and then having to abandon her to go and watch him. Doesn't seem right. Perhaps she'd better stay with you a while."
It wasn't my alter ego, St Francis, at work here, it was that word 'dripping.' It was 'pus,' as in 'a lot of.'
Why DO they tell you things like this. 'Drained''s never been a word I want to think about too deeply, but now 'dripping' is contaminated, too, to be conflated ever after with pus and rectal thermometers and louche dogs running up big bills.
“She’s all yours,” I said weakly, deaf to the meter, alert to pus and reaching for my credit card.

31 comments:

muddyboots said...

to death's door and back in a morning, copious amounts of puss topped by vets bills, and it's only wednesday, phew. no more sticks eh?

ChrisH said...

Belimey, poor (and oh, so aptly-named) Lolly! I guess you'll need to throw yourself on the sofa for a lie-down when you pick up the tab. Anyway, I'm pleased to hear that the patient is recovering. What a horrid scare for you.

Mud in the City said...

I read this at lunchtime. Turns out to ahve been a mistake. Pus? Dripping? I'll pass on the biscuits thanks.

Arosebyanyothername said...

I can take all the gruesome details, after all I was a medical Laboratory Technician, just so long as the story has a happy outcome and it sounds as though it will have.
Get well soon, Lolly.
Rosie and RufusXX

Tattie Weasle said...

Ah the joys of dog ownership - from death to bankrupcy all in one morning!

Edward said...

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Probably have to wait until I get the bill (that is, if I'm allowed to see it).

Top blog. Or dog. Up to you.

Pipany said...

Lovely. Glad she will be ok Milla, but I am with you on the bills. My ancient and ever-puking cat - now deceased, god rest her cotton socks - had the vet telling me to place a dirt tray in the sitting room to see if that would help with her pooing any/everywhere. This was despite the fact of her 18 yrs of age and various children in the saga. Next vet (a woman!) decides straight away that cat's time is up and refuses to add to the bills. Hmm, common sense about £100 pounds too late methinks.

Suffolkmum said...

Memories of being asked whether or not the vet should or should not give my cat a potentially (not even certain) life saving injection - asked whilst she was poised with the needle about an inch from his skin - whilst remarking nonchalantly that it would cost somewhere in the region of £1000 as it was a new treatment. It was late, I was pregnant and emotional, and not up to basically dispatching the cat myself. I said yes, it died anyway, I still paid. Glad she's OK though.

Frances said...

Milla, once again, your writing has captured the essence of an historic day.

It really is great that Lolly is on the mend, and that you were able to get her treated quickly. I extend sympathy on the expense part, but ... what are you gonna do, when such a sweet and loving pup needs your help?

Did the vet have any ideas on how to deter future stick munching? Probably not, guess it is just something that amuses dogs the world over.

xo

Faith said...

Very good Milla and I don't mind the gruesome bits. Poor Lolly, it mustve been horrible. Will you think about insurance now? I dread to think what my dog whatve cost me without.

Preseli Mags said...

Poor Lolly. Thank goodness it wasn't anything more sinister. I have had a similar experience today with a pony's hoof. We are applying hot poultices now and waiting for it to do what Lolly's abcess has already done. I don't think it's going to be pretty! If you think dogs are bad enough, never get a pony!

Expat mum said...

We know you really love the mutt BTW.

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh, gosh, Milla - don't know what to say, really, but what a day. Fingers crossed that the bill won't be too extortionate. (If it's any compensation, I reckon our insurance costs us about £300 a year - she must be nearly three now, so if you're under a thousand, you'll be quids in.)

Fennie said...

Sad for dear ol' Lol, but it does have its funny side, you have to admit. Better get on with making the birthday cake. She always looks a slightly bewildered but otherwise caring dog. But I hope for the sake of your carpets that the dripping dries up soon.

lampworkbeader said...

Hmm Milla, I have a sneaking suspicion that you love that dog.

Arcadian Advocate said...

Not sure who to feel sorriest for, you or the dog?
Why do some of us have such galloping imaginations over worse case scenarios? It happens here too!
Sharp writing, and blunt sticks [or no sticks at all] from now on!

seashell cosmos said...

Gaaaawwd, (can I say that? red face icon) Milla--I LOVE reading your blog. Understand I naturally send my best to poor Lolly, I do hope she gets better. xxx Wow the tags, shouldn't laugh, not laughing here, no, just digging another hole for meself and where is my shovel. Oh in the chat room from yesterday (or was it Tuesday). Milla, I really do send my best. Hugs xxx from me seashell

Exmoorjane said...

Now THAT, madam, is the perfect blog. Perfect. Oh, and glad the dog isn't dead (sorry, nearly forgot to say that).....
jx

CAMILLA said...

Poor darling Lol, and aptly named too I think Milla considering the wad of cash. Hope the bill is not too extortionate. Pleased to know your sweetie bundle of fluff is going to be alright though, phew.... had me worried there for a moment.

Daisy has a fondness for the stick things, only this morning I found her trying to claw the carpet from beneath the TV, only to discover she had rolled one under there for safekeeping.

xx

Pondside said...

This was really one of those 'good news/bad news' stories. Which is the good news and which is the bad?
Now we know though. You are a closet dog-lover.

Mervat said...

I guess Lolly had better stay awayfrom those sticks. Alot cheaper for you in the long run too!! BTW I came over to you from notSupermum (amother great blog/blogger!).

Best wishes,
M.

elizabethm said...

Not sure whether to wish a merciful release for you and the dog or long life and happiness. Looks like the latter!
Dripping is bad, isn't it? I have had an elderly farting cat on my knee tonight, just gross but mysteriously impossible to shove her off where she belongs.

Woozle1967 said...

And here was I thinking of cancelling Alfie's insurance to save a bottle of wine or two ........ er I mean, a pound or two (more like 17!!!) a month......

Calico Kate said...

Am having a dog conundrum myself - one not v happy possibly got something stuck somewhere internal, I went to bed expecting her to be dead in the morning - she wasn't, isn't and though still not 'happy' won't be going to vet till tomorrow - this is vets advice.
Insurance for the three costs us £44 per/m = £500+ a year (big shock icon here) but nothing like the amount for peace of mind. When one is a Wolfhound everything costs three times as much to start with! And the Insurance covers when B goes to hospital which again provides comfort to mind and pocket!
Lovely blog and really pleased Lolly will be OK even if your carpets won't!
CKx

Calico Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KittyB said...

Just Yuk. That's a worse mental picture than a dog licking up your nose btw, so now we're equal.

Welsh Girl said...

Been in that position with the Loyal hound (it was a heamatommah which I can't spell). I thought that was it, game over, and it broke my heart. Then he was fine and I was cross with him for frightening me so much! Hope the pus dries up soon though. Pus, eeurgh.

Jude said...

I'm sorry, I laughed, with relief,of course. What a day, but at least the sun was shining....
Best wishes to the patient when she next appears.

Gayle's Joy In Life said...

Found you through the Little Black Box. Funny, thoughtful stuff here that I enjoyed reading. I lokk forward to another visit.

Gayle

Weeping Sore said...

Breathtaking suspense. Descriptions that paint shadowy stark pictures in black and white. And sentences with "dripping pus" adjacent to other sentences with "having dog grapes peeled for her". Conjunctions of beauty and death cloaked in metaphors of a dog's abscessed tooth. Your topic is mildly creepy, but your writing delights, and I'm so happy for the happy ending.

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