A miniseries, part 2
In part 1, last week: After that year of loss, I had one dog left. My doxie, Doodle. Next thing you know, an elephant grew on his head. A fast-growing tumor. At Christmas.
So, after some denial and procrastination…
knowing full well I had to be a grown up - and actually grow up….
I had the elephant in the room surgically removed.
From my doxie’s head.
It was last January and the vet cut it off of, and out of - my dinky doxie.
My snicker doodle poodle.
My long, low wiener with the thin, glossy red carpet on his back.
Glistening, expressive eyes.
The only dog I have left this year, after the worst of all my 50+ years on Planet Earth.
Doodle is the only dog to wrap his paws around my neck, and lean in close as if to whisper some secret-something as I’m propped up in bed. I’m sipping coffee and fiddling around on the laptop, trying to wake up, trying to write our dog blog.
And then, BOOM! The magical moment – the dog kid hug!
The most wonderful way to start your day.
Life begins again.
The cat should be in charge.
Tia presides over the bed and sees those hugs – “so un couth – so un-catty! “
But she’s cool. And warm. She’s a soft and fuzzy presence in our lives.
She does the full-body crush – “just a little pressure,” but in a good way.
Her bone-shaking bass audio, the kitty vibro-purr leaf blower- passing- snow- blower- in- the- night.
She is our anchor. She took over that role after Elvis passed away.
What happened to the scaredy cat, so terrified when I brought her home from the rescue place? It took her two full years to get used to our house.
Now she’s head dudette of the family.
Maybe she would have booked the doxie brain surgery much sooner that I did.
Not, like me, bag him up and take him on a plane under the seat back to our old hometown at Christmas to visit the human family, like nothing was wrong with his head – or mine.
What am I, the middle-aged, middle child here? Non-Alpha in my own home?
Step away from the doxie.
The cat of the house is in charge.
The second elephant in the room - was mine
The other elephant, the biopsy of the first, took its toll on me while we waited to hear if that grey tough-skinned hard knob of a growth on his head – the brain elephant - was malignant.
Or had grown through his tiny skull and thin skin… into his actual grey matter.
They say, always, ALWAYS get growths removed from the head of your dog quickly – since it can so easily grow into the skull and all the good stuff beyond. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.
I didn’t need that Internet fact in my own brain, that’s for sure. That’s why I froze.
I’m not proud of that, mind you.
In theory, I am supposed to be good in emergencies, what with the nickname Disaster Girl and all.
I am that person you, and your County, hopes you never need. Because that means the worst possible thing has happened to your community. I am Emergency Manager for Hood River County.
Which is a misnomer, really; I don’t do emergencies – only disasters.
Clearly I suck at emergencies. Not cool-headed, cool-skinned – reptilian enough.
Cops and fire guys and 911 dispatchers I work with, easily juggle DV (domestic violence,) code 3 (lights and siren) fire and police emergencies, high speed chases, meth heads and MVC’s (multi vehicle crashes) while nibbling chocolate chip cookies and texting their friends.
Not me! I am a basset. Soft and fuzzy.
But, make no mistake, I can ride the ups and downs - I am a surf dog. I managed the Hood River County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for a month during the Eagle Creek Fire. Together with so many dedicated people, we rode that mother of a fire, until it dwindled out.
The big C… … so common in our lives. In dog life.
Why is that and can it please just stop?
Love so pure and easy and free, from my doxie boy. Who was, for a while, my Elephant Man.
I was crushed by doubt and fear.
I was clingy through stitches and waiting periods.
Clinging to hope.
Asking for life to go easy on us.
Praying like life depended on it. Oh, that’s right – it did.
Praying that even if it was originally malignant, the great life force in the sky would quite simply change those biopsy results, change my doxies’ fate - and return a happy ending instead.
The 2nd elephant in the room was the biopsy.
The longest 10 days in the history of the planet while I waited for that elephant to land.
Or sit and stay, like a dog.
That shrill phone call of dread… from the vet.
With biopsy results.
(continued next week)