TRAINING FOR COVID SNIFFING DOGS - RIGHT - OVER 95% ACCURACY SO FAR WITH LABS! - PHOTO CREDIT ANON.
THE THORN IN THE LION’S PAW
COVID- 19. A word that steals smiles, freedom, and lives. No one deserves to be happy during this crisis, right? Any laughter and “good times” seem so very disrespectful. Due to San Diego’s strict closures, I couldn’t even take my dog to our park’s pond, where the blasé mallard, teal and widgeon ducks ignore humans, and even dappled dachshunds like my twelve-year-old Smokey.
Since everything seemed so dismal, I decided to embrace the dark, and undergo a knee replacement surgery I’d postponed for a year. Before surgery, a fall at midnight without my trusty cellphone scared me to death. As I lay hurting and helpless on the kitchen floor, all I could think of was the commercial where a woman cries, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Eventually, I staggered back to bed, and the dreaded appointment was made.
Before I went into the hospital, I saw that my little dog’s rear hock was swollen. Since this had happened before due to age and arthritis, I wasn’t too worried. The vet gave him anti-inflammatory meds and a recheck in two weeks. We were back in five days, the swelling twice the size. The vet diagnosed an abscess, cut a hole in the elbow, flushed out the inside with antibiotics, and sent him home with three different bottles of meds.
Four days later my eleven-pound dog had a ping pong ball sized knot on his tiny elbow and was crying in pain. I rushed him in for emergency surgery. A deeply embedded, broken off rose thorn was discovered and removed. He needed five medications, daily flushing, no bandage over the stitches so the wound could drain, the hated cone of shame, and worst of all, he whimpered with pain. My heart was breaking, and I was terrified my senior dog might have complications. He didn’t, but his whole medical crisis took five weeks to resolve, and his stamina was way down. He wasn’t bouncing back, despite my husband’s and my care.
Then it was my turn for the scalpel. My sister, mother, father and two friends had knee replacements. All were upbeat about the surgery and the “wonderful” cure; no more falls or wobbly knees. But none of them had complications. I did. My blood pressure after surgery dropped to 80 over 40, and remained there. That meant oxygen profusion to my brain was dangerously low. It also meant no opioids. Ice and prayers to God got me through day one—with no husband at my side. COVID meant “No Visitors.”
By day two, I was in agony and asked for a discharge. I wanted home with my husband and Smokey. My husband is a retired Navy corpsman (medic) and could monitor my blood pressure until it was safe to take opioids. I sobbed in pain through day two and that long night while he stroked my forehead and held my hand. His love got me to day three, where my blood pressure returned to normal. I could finally take the blessed pain pills and sleep, Smokey at my side.
Hubby now had two senior patients—dog and human—to tend. Neither of us walked much save for potty breaks. Smokey and I huddled under the blankets, dreaming of the rainbow-catching spray of water from the huge bronze seahorse fountain in the park's duck pond. Instead, we both ate on the couch and watched too much TV.
Then it got worse. My physical therapist started coming to the house, teaching me how to use a walker and exercise. Despite his stitched hock, my hurting, cranky, yet protective little dachshund escaped from my grandson’s arms and bit the therapist hard on the thigh. No human skin was broken, but still… Luckily, the therapist himself owned and loved dogs, and didn’t make a formal complaint, but he never returned. He scheduled me for out-patient therapy instead. When my husband drove me home from sessions to Smokey, I watched the depressing TV COVID stats from the couch and felt so low.
Then I thought, “Should I really let COVID-19 do this to me? I’m taking care of my dog, but he’s miserable. Maybe because I’m miserable. COVID or no COVID, this ends today!”
First, I ordered Smokey an inflatable neck balloon and exchanged it for the plastic cone of shame. Since his dachshund legs were so short, the cone edge kept tripping him, which hurt his bad leg. Now he perked up, to my delight. Next, enter the “old lady” scooter. With a dog pawprint mask on my face, and my healing dog in my lap, we went for our first sidewalk ride. Smokey was nervous about the scooter, and my knee hurt going over the bumps, but we were free! My husband walked along as backup, and all the days after that. Smokey soon walked more and rode less as his leg healed. It took me longer, but by the time the park reopened, Smokey, my husband and I, cane in hand, walked to the duck pond again.
My husband and I became closer. My dog and I became closer. My husband and Smokey became closer, because he’d taken over my regular role as Smokey’s caretaker and nurse during my illness. Our happy trio bonded like we never had before! We three put aside the traumatic memories of surgery, embraced the California sun, embraced each other, and in doing so, pushed hard against the dark cloud of COVID. Yes, the virus is terrible. Yes, I pray every night for the afflicted and a cure. But I’ve kept our precious bubble of hope and happiness intact, even when my brother and my son were both exposed to COVID-positive coworkers.
Their tests were thankfully negative, but I could never have waited for the verdicts without hysteria before Smokey’s and my surgeries. The sun sets over our Pacific beach here, yet every morning it shines again. In the dark times, I hold tight to the light I found, thanks to a thorny rose…and my Smokey.
MAY OUR WORLD HEAL SOON.
In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s, “You know you’re a redneck when…”
I wish to present 50 ways of
“You know you have quarantine cabin fever when…”
1. You take down light fixtures to wash out the bugs, then wash the light bulbs, too.
2. Your grandmother is sewing face masks on her ancient sewing machine and making more money than you are.
3. You make homemade lemonade, then decided to make fresh squeezed orange juice, too.
4. You secretly steal the citrus fruit from your neighbor, then get a guilty conscience and secretly weed his yard for payment.
5. Your fast-food-addict teenager begs to be taught how to cook.
6. Your husband is watching the Golf Channel’s “vintage games,” on TV, and they’re in black and white.
7. Your rookie niece learns not to moor her peg board game ships in corners, and is forced to say, “You sunk my battleship!”
8. You buy up the kiddy 24 and 48-piece puzzles at The Dollar Tree, because the adult ones are gone or either cost more than a steak dinner for two.
9. Your children are so bored on their electronic devices they want you to play cards with them.
10. You have to teach them to shuffle, but first you have to purchase playing cards.
11. Your boyfriend asks if anyone wants to play Mexican Train, and you don’t know that he’s talking about dominos, but you agree anyway.
12. You realize binge watching for a solid week is 5 days too long.
13. You feel it’s just wrong to hit up your ATM wearing a mask, sunglasses, and a hoodie.
14. You ask your kids to detail your car for $5, and they’re so bored they agree.
15. Your brother tells you “Marble Racing” is now a legit sport on the sports channel.
16. You go on U-tube and check it out, then you and your sister bets big bucks on the winner.
17. You’ve found better toilet tissue in gas station restrooms than in the store, so you steal the restroom tissue rolls.
18. Your friend, married only one year, talks off for Utah for “a break from my husband.”
19. She refuses to take you with her when you’re tired of your own spouse.
20. You learn that waiting in your doctor’s virtual waiting room is just as boring as the real one—and the doctor is still late.
21. You threaten to throttle your wife if she binge-watches anymore “Grey’s Anatomy.”
22. Your son puts colored, toy cobras in your succulents’ terrarium, and your son is 38 years old.
23. Your compulsive-obsessive work buddy calls to say his favorite TV news channel has shown the same virus picture at least 7 times in a half hour, and asks how many times your different news station does.
24. You get off your high horse and become a connoisseur of boxed wines.
25. You’re sick and tired of hearing, “Now what are we gonna do for dinner?” when all the rice, beans, potatoes, and pasta is gone.
26. When everyone is talking about their new stim package purchases and you haven’t got your money yet. Or can break through the IRS site line to request it.
27. He quits shaving his face and she quits shaving her legs and wearing a bra.
28. Hearing the words “another teleconference” from your boss sounds worse than dropping the f-bomb.
29. The newspaper does not cover marble racing.
30. You don’t know who needs a manicure more, you or the dog.
31. The local news woman broadcasts from her beautifully decorated home office that’s much nicer than yours.
32. The local newsman broadcasts from his boring bedroom and his closet is actually open. (True story—channel 7 news in San Diego!)
33. Your spouse is on the waiting list to buy board games, and your child asks what a board game is.
34. You’ve now rearranged your closet by seasons, colors, old, new, and favorites, and discovered a black-widow’s nest in the back corner.
35. Since traffic is light, you and your girlfriend have contests to see who can drive the longest without getting a red light.
36. Your local cops have a weekly contest to see who they’ve caught speeding the fastest on the almost empty freeways.
37. You learn the names of the neighbors you’ve lived next to for the past ten years.
38. You finally get to meet your mailman, and you and your neighbors bet beers on what time she shows up on your street every day.
39. After losing on the marble racing and mailman, you decide calling 1-800-GAMBLER is a good idea.
40. You go to the pharmacy for your long-overdue flu shot just to get out of the house.
41. You almost buy Turtle Wax for a Wax-on / Wax-off hand-buffed job on your car.
42. You actually go out and buy it and do it.
43. You try making ice cream and bread after ordering two very expensive appliances from the home shopping network, then try to return them after disastrous results.
44. You turn on TELEMUNDO and watch the same commercials we have in Spanish, then start watching the tele-novias.
45. You clean out your garage to find the unopened home brewing kit your brother-on-law bought you three years ago for Christmas, then go clean the bathtub for a bathroom brew.
46. You decide to do your bored neighbors a favor and go skinny-dipping in your spa.
47. You pour chocolate milk over your Lucky Charms cereal because you’re missing your usual Starbucks latte and breakfast Danish.
48. You tweeze hubby’s unibrow, then insist on tweezing all the hairs on top of his toes.
49. Your grandfather begins every sentence with, “Well, during The War…” while your grandmother prefers, “Well, during The Depression...
50. You finally decide to try wearing thong underwear, because no one will see you pulling out those first few wedgies!
And a bonus one!! You actually want to go back to work!
Stay safe, Everyone! Anne Marie Duquette