Category Archives: Hey Doc?

Draining

Today’s the day.  D-Day.  “D” for Duncan.  “D” for Dog.  NOT “D” for Draining.  Duncan, if he knew what was in store would consider it “D” for “DON’T” or maybe “DAMN!”

 

You're Gonna Do WHAT?

You’re Gonna Do WHAT? To ME?????

I’ve grown up considerably since I first had to take similar action.  And I am now a fake medical expert and a professional Googl-er.

But the old days produced much better stories.  Like this one.

Dogs and Other Nuts

You’ve already met my psychotic German shepherd, Goliath.  The one with the stupid name and the drinking problem.   The manic of a dog I was crazy to take into my life.

As you can probably guess, from the moment I put him in my car that first night, all life immediately revolved around Goliath.  Morning, after-work and evening walks became a ritual.  It was good for my health, which was otherwise pretty crappy.  It was good for my psyche, which was also not tops.  It wasn’t so good for some of the other dogs at the park, though.

Mostly outside Goliath was quite friendly, he liked to play with other dogs.  He made many doggy friends, and their owners liked him too.  But more often than I liked to admit, Goliath listened to his darker angel:

Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog NOW!”

He would then race across the park towards his would be victim, dragging me behind him shouting:

“No!”

“Stop!”

“Heel!”

God Damn it — STOP!

Goliath was about 18 months old when I finally admitted that something had to be done.  When I knew I had to “fix” the problem.  When he pissed me off so much that there was only one solution:

I had to cut off his balls.

Yup.  Castration.  Dr. Jane, Goliath’s vet, had been telling me to neuter him for months.  Carlos, Goliath’s dog trainer told me to do it, too.  The owners of Goliath’s ‘frenemies’ suggested it less politely.

But I’d never had a neutered dog before.  It seemed harsh.  Cruel.  Unfair.  Plus, I’d always hoped for grandchildren.

Of course I read about what happens to a dog after-balls.  I learned that neutering lowers a dog’s testosterone level – makes him less likely to act like Rocky Balboa at the park.  Less likely to fight with other dogs.  And way less likely to drag me in front of a bus while rushing to attack another dog.  All good things for me.  But for him?  Not so much.

I learned that it’s best to neuter your dog at about six months of age.  But six months was right after I brought home my traumatized, abused dog!  It just didn’t seem nice to turn around and say:

“You’re home now.  Nobody will ever hurt you again.

Oh, except when I cut off your balls.”

And really, I empathized.  I was young, unmarried, childless.  I didn’t want anyone to neuter me.  So how could I do it to my best friend?  I just couldn’t.

At least not until he ticked me off once too often.  (I’m telling you, do not mess with me.)

Goliath

We were at Lincoln Park one night for our after-work walk, when Goliath got that urge to fight.  I struggled to hold him, to keep him away from the other dog, to make my maniac behave.  He didn’t.  He wouldn’t.  It took all my strength to keep him from hurting that other dog.

That was it, the last straw.  I’d had enough.  It was time.  And feeling very much like Alice’s mad Queen of Hearts, I made the decision –

“Off with his balls!”

Goliath and I arrived at the animal clinic that Tuesday.  Unfortunately it was our regular vet Dr. Jane’s day off.  A young vet I hadn’t seen before called my name and led Goliath and me into an examining room.

Handsome vet

(Google image)

I have to admit, I was embarrassed.  Dr. Jane was a woman, and, well, I’d hoped to be discussing my dog’s testicles with her — with a woman.  Instead, here was this handsome young guy who I had fallen for immediately.  And rather than flirting with him, there I was talking to him about castration – hardly the best way to get a date.   My heart sank knowing that my chances with the handsome vet were also being nipped in the bud.

Dr. David quickly sensed my discomfort.  He knew I was wavering.  He could tell that I was about to chicken out and change my mind.

“He’ll be fine,” said the vet, looking Goliath over.   “It’s very routine.  He won’t even notice the difference.  But you’ll be much happier with the results.”

Of course I couldn’t look Dr. David in the eye.  Because naturally I was wondering if he would notice if someone cut off his balls.  I was pretty sure he’d notice.

“Now, I don’t know how much you know about this procedure, but there are actually two different ways of doing this.  We can either castrate him completely –basically cut off his testes — or we can drain the fluids inside.  That has the same effect.”

Drain them?” I said hopefully.

“Yes, we essentially drain him, lowering the testosterone to a more manageable level.  It’s less radical, less risky.  Dog owners are often more comfortable with this procedure.  Now which of those options do you think makes the most sense for this big guy?” he said, looking Goliath right in the eye.

“Draining them sounds much better,” I said, feeling relieved.  I was feeling so good, in fact, that I could actually look Dr. David in the eye again.  They were deep blue …

So I left Goliath with Dr. David and what I envisioned to be some sort of sterile siphon.   I no longer felt even a smidge of guilt.

You know what?  Even doing the procedure late helped.   After the surgery, Goliath was less interested in killing other male dogs.  From time to time one of them really ticked him off and led me to believe that those sacks hadn’t been completely drained, after all.  But the newly drained Goliath was a huge improvement over the old testosterone-filled maniac.  For the rest of his life he was considerably less aggressive.

The draining also left him with his pride.  He kept a bit of flesh in between his legs to chew on.  It eased my guilt — after all, they’d only drained some fluid from him, and doctors and vets do that sort of things all the time.  Goliath was still a man.  He kept the semblance of his balls.  Something to chew on.  He was still alpha dog. I had not turned him into a pansy.

In the intervening years, I married John, a man who quickly became devoted to Goliath.  A few years later, when we had all moved out of state, I took Goliath to a new vet.  Goliath was then about nine years old –getting up there in doggy years.  The poor old guy was having problems urinating and needed some attention.

But when I gave the new vet, Dr. Joe, the rundown of Goliath’s health history, I got an unexpected lesson when I mentioned to the man how Goliath had been “fixed” at 18 months.

“I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I should probably tell you that, you know, Goliath wasn’t actually ‘castrated,’ he was ‘drained.’”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, at the time the vet said that either they could castrate him, ummmm, cut off his, ummmm, testicles, or drain them.  I chose to have him ‘drained.’”

I’m pretty sure that all of Dr. Joe’s medical training in delivering disturbing news culminated in this one moment with me.  Every cell in his face solidified so that there wasn’t even a hint of a smile.

“Ummmm, Ma’am?”  he said without so much as a hint of humor,  “There is no such procedure in veterinary medicine.  We don’t “drain” the dogs.  We surgically remove the testes.  All that’s left is the skin.”

“Oh,” I replied.

I’ve never told this story before.  Somehow, I bet both vets have.

79 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Dogs, Duncan, Family, Goliath Stories, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Huh?, Humor, Pets, Stupidity, Wild Beasts

Mother’s Voice

Somehow, I didn’t even give it a thought.  Not until I heard the song, anyway.  Then the tears filled my eyes and I struggled to keep them back.  I couldn’t stop the lump that formed in my throat, though.  I couldn’t talk, couldn’t even whisper.  I had to stop and listen and remember.

Music, even a song you’ve never heard, can set both the tears and the memories flooding in.

It’s the anniversary of the drastic surgery I had in 1982 that gave me back my health.  I had forgotten all about it.  Normally when November rolls around, I find myself thinking back to that time, and how lucky I was to have the doctors I had, the family I had and the friends I had.

But what makes me think back most fondly on having my guts torn apart and totally reorganized was that it reintroduced me to my mom.  I went from having no respect for her whatsoever, to realizing that she was one strong, smart, funny woman.  That was my silver lining.  I’ve writen about that time a lot, including here.  And here.  And here.

When I heard this beautiful son on a satellite radio show interviewing and playing Arlo Guthrie’s songs, Mom came flooding back.  And I’m so glad.  It’s always a gift to spend time with Mom who passed away in 1997.

Happy Anniversary Mom.

Mom at my wedding.

Mom at my wedding.

Thanks for everything.  I love you.  Especially when I made you laugh and you spit beer on the wall.  Or when you did it back to me.

53 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Crohn's Disease, Family, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Mom, Taking Care of Each Other

Vive La France!

When we lived in Switzerland and just across the border in France in the late 1990s and early 2000s, one of the biggest problems was finding healthcare.  Now I realize that I worked at the World Health Organization, but the docs there were researchers, primarily, meeting goers-to-ers.  They weren’t your every day heal-the-sick kind of doctors.

In addition to not knowing the ropes of a foreign system, there was the language barrier.  I mean, frankly, it is difficult to describe illnesses in English — I always feared that I would go in with a sore throat and end up without an important body part.  I didn’t realize that that could happen right here in the good old U.S. of A.  In fact, that just happened recently when a man went in for a routine procedure and, ummm, had a life changing event.  Allegedly.

So in 2002, we moved home to the U.S. where I could communicate and get medical treatment for $197,238.73 per word.

Today, though, I’m rethinking that decision.  Maybe we acted in haste.  Maybe we should have thought twice or three times.  Maybe we should go back.

No, I’m not sick.  In fact, with my English-speaking doctors I’m doing quite well.

But there is one thing that I could get in France that I cannot get here:  wine.

French hospital to open wine bar to cheer up terminally ill

PARIS – A hospital in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand is to open a wine bar where terminally ill patients will be able to enjoy a “medically-supervised” glass or two with their families.

Vive la France, where the terminally ill can get “medically supervised” alcoholic beverages.  I hear the wine is to die for.

UPDATE!!!

If I DO go back to die with wine in my hand/throat/tummy, somebody else needs to pick it out.  I have an amazing skill crafted while living inside of or within spitting distance of France.

I can go into any store in France and leave with a bottle of awful wine.  It’s a talent.  A gift.  Not many folks can claim it.

95 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Crohn's Disease, Hey Doc?, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Taking Care of Each Other

I Coulda Been a Contender!

Have you ever wanted to leave a different impression on folks around you than you actually do?

Yeah, me too.

In high school, boys found me cute.  Now to all you high school age boys reading this, please note that the way to a girl’s ummm, heart, is not via the word “cute.”  By the end of my senior year, I had had it with that word.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my older sister, Judy, was seriously sexy.  Nope.  Nothing to do with that.

As I entered English class one day, my friend Jonathan was still chuckling over something adorably cute I had said or done in the class we had together earlier in the day.

“Elyse,” he said, chuckling, “you are so cute!”

“Really?” I responded.  “Damn it, I always wanted to be voluptuous.

Jonathan’s mouth, no doubt, is still hanging open.

Years later when I played basketball for a law school team (I was an honorary student at the time with gym privileges), I wanted to be tall.  Very tall.  Sadly, tallness is something you cannot fake.  Especially if you are 5 foot 2.  Damn.  And did I mention that I’m slow, too?  Yeah.  Molasses.

But I’m resourceful, so when my opposing guard, all 12 feet of her, hovered over me whenever I got down court towards my basket, I improvised.  I shot the ball from center court.  Of course I made the shot.  Alas it was before you got 3 points for such skill.

Shooting hoops is a skill that has helped me throughout my lifetime.  I am never, ever, out of reach of the trash basket.  Yes, I am that good.

As I’ve aged, though, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would never be either voluptuous or tall.  So I wanted to be intimidating.  Physically intimidating.  At 5’2″.  You got a problem with that?

You’ll be pleased to know that now, and for the near future, I could scare the hell out of you.  Or anybody.  If only I’d remember to.

Where I live, the guys who design the roads like to pretend that we are waaaaay out in the country.  They do this by insisting on putting one lane bridges over bridges that cross streams connecting two pieces of major roads.  These road designers either have bizarre senses of humor or a sadistic streak.  Maybe both.

As you drive towards the one lane bridge, you note a white line and a “yield to oncoming traffic” sign.

(Google Image)

(Google Image)

It’s terribly quaint.  You are expected to take turns.

But this is 2014, and there are lots of overachievers around here who flunked only one course on the way to their advanced degrees:  Turn Taking.

On Sunday, I approached one of these bridges, slowed down, and stopped at the white line.  It was the oncoming car’s turn.  After the driver of the oncoming car went, I started forward to take my turn.

Flying down the hill towards me and the one lane bridge I hadn’t yet reached, was someone who didn’t know how to take turns.  And she wasn’t going to stop her Mercedes SUV for me.

My mouth ran on with some choice words, but my foot wisely pressed the brake, and the collision that would have otherwise occurred, didn’t.  But I was, pissed.  And swearing.  And really wishing that I was a frightening, imposing looking person so that I could chase after the asshole and confront her.  Yell at her.  Threaten her.  Teach her how to wait for her bloomin’ turn.

A mile down the road I stopped short and pulled over.

“SHIT!” I shouted as I realized that I had missed my chance.  My chance to stand in front of someone and scare them.  To make them wonder just what I am capable of.  To wonder if they would be able to survive an encounter with me.  All 5’2″ of me.

Because you see, these days I’m a wee bit scary looking.  I look like I’ve been in a knife fight.  Like an abused wife.  But like someone likely gave way more than she got.

Yup.  You can call me Scarface.

Remember last month when I told you about the Valentine’s gift I got? You remember, don’t you — I got melanoma!  (Although, I would have preferred flowers.)

In the intervening weeks, I’ve de-melanoma’d.  Yup, I’ve had it taken out by a plastic surgeon.  And while I will look just fine in two shakes of a dog’s tail, right now I look a bit intimidating.

OK, So I have no makeup on.  Sue me.  Just Don't Mess with Me!

OK, So I have no makeup on. Sue me. Just Don’t Mess with Me!

AND I DIDN’T USE IT!  I didn’t chase after her and make her fear for her life!  I didn’t teach her how to take turns!  Damn it!  I coulda been a contender!

*     *     *

This was just a little ditty to let you know that I had my surgery, that I am now cancer free and just fine, thank you very much.

But what about you?  Did you do what I told you? (No comments from you, Guap!)

Save your skin.  Right now.  Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:

  1. Go into your bathroom
  2. Take off all of your clothes
  3. Examine your skin
  4. Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
  5. If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.

Even though I look pretty scary now, I won’t for long.  But I won’t forget to use what I have — I will intimidate assholes for several weeks until my scar fades.

But you know what?  The real way I’ll get back at folks who don’t know how to take turns is to take away their sunscreen.  That’ll fix ‘em!

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Filed under Cancer, Driving, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Humor, Melanoma, Out Damn Spot!, Stupidity, Traffic

Hey Doc? Be Mine ♥!

Anybody who has read my blog knows that I’m really not keen on holidays.  Nope.  It stems from the fact that my family members have a nasty habit of dying on holidays.  It’s a competition.  Mostly, it’s an annoying game if you’re not playing.  AND I AM NOT PLAYING!

So I approached last Friday with a little bit of trepidation.  Valentine’s Day.  You’ll no doubt forgive me, but I hate to answer the phone on holidays, even manufactured ones.

But this Valentine’s Day changed my mind.

Yup.  It’s true.  From now on, I love Valentine’s Day.  And it has nothing to do with my husband, with chocolate or with flowers.  This Valentine’s Day, somebody saved my life.  And she did it by giving me the most terrifying news anybody ever has to hear.

CANCER

Yup.  It was my doctor.  And she told me I have cancer.  But just a little bit.  Because unlike with pregnancy, you can be ‘a little bit’ cancerous.

In all honesty, I knew it was coming.  I’ve know it for years.  Because I grew up a Cheeto.  My idyllic childhood was spent here, at my beach, hastening the inevitable.

Photo:  Offmetro.com

It was a lovely place to grow up.
Photo: Offmetro.com

For my entire childhood, I was baked to a crackly crunch.  Nobody ever used sunscreen or wore a hat.  Or sat under an umbrella.  If you put anything on your skin it was OIL to quick-fry you.

I was never one of the cool cats, though. Photo Credit:  gawkerassets.com

I was never one of the cool cats, though.
Photo Credit: gawkerassets.com

When the phone rang on Valentine’s Day, I sighed.  I don’t hear good news on a holiday.  You know that.

The call was to give me results of a biopsy done on a weird spot on my face.  A spot that had been there for quite a while, and that she had looked at several times before.  It had been ugly, but only damaging to my self-image.  Now?  It had become dangerous.

“Elyse, I’m so sorry — it’s malignant.”

That’s not something one ever wants to hear, no matter what day it is.  I’m proud to say, I took the news fairly stoically.  Well, kind of.  OK, a little bit stoically.  (I have a reputation to uphold, here.)  I fell apart later.  Minutes later.

She went on to explain that the cancer was brand new — caught really early. It hadn’t grown down, which is when it becomes serious.  It hadn’t even expanded out very far.  It wasn’t advanced, but I’d need to have it taken off and then I would be fine.  And that I should never go outside again without sunblock.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, Elyse.  And on Valentine’s Day!”

Now, now, bloggin’ buddy, don’t worry.  Remember, I am a fake medical expert.  I know just what to do.  In fact, I asked for this diagnosis.   Well, sort of.

You do not need to make your plans to attend a virtual funeral.  I’m not going to die.  Well, actually, I will, but it’s a good bet this spot on my face will not be involved.  No need to plan the fiesta.

Because mine is a ZERO.

If you have to have cancer, you want to be a Stage ZERO.  I don’t know how that still means I have it, but still.  Zero is good.  Ish.

I have Stage ZERO lentigo maligna melanoma.  It’s basically a sunspot gone bad.  I have already seen two doctors, and in the next couple of weeks, I will have it removed by a plastic surgeon.  And bye-bye cancer!

So why does this make me LIKE Valentine’s Day?  Why don’t I just add it to my list of hated holidays?

Because the diagnosis saved my life.  Really.

The cancer has been caught at the earliest possible point – it just started being cancer.  It hasn’t dug it’s nasty roots deeply into my face, it hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes.  It hasn’t metastasized to any one of a dozen organs.

If I hadn’t gotten that call?

If I hadn’t had that biopsy?

If I hadn’t seen my dermatologist?

Then, and only then, my melanoma  would have become deadly.

Now, why am I telling you all this?

It’s not to get some bloggy love, although that is always welcome.

It’s because I want to save your skin.  Right now.  Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:

  1. Go into your bathroom
  2. Take off all of your clothes
  3. Examine your skin
  4. Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
  5. If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.

I could give you the statistics that I’ve naturally been reading compulsively.  But I won’t.  You’re welcome.

Instead I’ll give you a song by Eva Cassidy, a brilliant, talented singer who died of melanoma at age 33.  I have long loved her music, and have included her in some of my most heart-felt stories.  She was also the subject of a moving story on Nightline.

But I’m not trying to make you sad.  I’m not trying to drum up sympathy for me (because really, I will be fine).  But for all of us, for all those who love us, it is really important to remember:  It is a Wonderful World.  Let’s all hang around.

Please join me in saying thanks to the nurse practitioner who just didn’t think that spot on my face looked right, and biopsied it.  Megan, I will think of you every Valentine’s Day for the rest of my life.  Thanks to you, I have a shot at it being a very long one indeed.

Now – you guys reading this – go check out your damn skin.  What are you waiting for? GO!

Me, I’m busily thinking up intriguing stories to tell folks when they see that I have a scar on my cheek …

Perhaps I’ll get a pirate hat and a parrot!

108 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Cancer, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Holidays, Melanoma, Out Damn Spot!, Taking Care of Each Other

Because I ♥ You Still

Nope, this isn’t a dozen roses.

Not a box of chocolates (milk — I wouldn’t dream of giving you dark).

Not skimpy underwear.

Just some important information from a fake medical professional and expert patient to ensure you can get those from someone else next year.  And the next.  And the next.

Know the signs and share this one with your friends.

*     *     *

It’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s Wear Red Day.  Red for heart disease. It’s the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.

35 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other

Crisis Management

Normally, I am the best person to have around in a crisis.

I keep my head.  I think the problem through.  I react intelligently, organize other helpful responders and do what needs to be done.   Yes, that’s just the sort of person I am in real life.

Generally, I also manage to keep a running humorous commentary which is invaluable to the hoards of folks standing around doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Because, let’s face it.  Not everyone handles stressful situations without becoming certifiably stupid.

Of course every rule needs an exception, and this story is no exception to the exception requirement.

*    *     *

It was just after John and I bought a house for Goliath because nobody would rent to a young couple with a gigantic dog.

We were incredibly lucky in buying our first house.  It was a tiny split level cape cod type that defied description.  But it was just right for newlyweds.  The whole inside had been redone – we bought it from a contractor who’d lived there.  The kitchen was new, the paint unmarked.  Everything was bright and clean.  The coral colored carpeting was newly installed and didn’t have a single blemish on it.

It had been a long stressful day at work for me, so after John and I walked Goliath and had dinner, I decided to take a long, hot, relaxing bath.  The one bathroom was on the “second floor” which was four steps up from the living room.   As it turns out, it was my last relaxing bath.  Ever.

So I wasn’t far when John announced from the living room below

“Uh, Lease?  We have a problem.”

John was fairly calm, actually.  Of course that would change.

“What’s the problem?” I said.  The water was still warm and I was just starting to wash away the day.

“The red ball is stuck in Goliath’s mouth.”

Shit!  I thought as I got out of the tub and grabbed my robe.  Why couldn’t he just pull the damn ball out and let me have my bath?  I was a tad annoyed at my new husband at that moment.

I went down the two steps to find John holding Goliath steady, calming him down, even though Goliath was relatively calm.

Goliath turned towards me and I immediately saw what John was talking about.

Goliath’s favorite tease-toy, a hard red rubber ball with a bell inside, was there in his mouth.  But it didn’t look like any big deal.  I looked at John with an I can’t believe you can’t handle this without me look.  John didn’t notice.

Red ball with bell

Still available.  Photo Credit

That ball really was Goliath’s favorite.  He’d pick it up and taunt us when he wanted to play.  He’d wag his tail ferociously, and drop the ball, catching it in his mouth long before we could grab it from him to throw it.  It never hit the floor.  Goliath would drop and catch, drop and catch, drop and catch.  The bell inside would ring and he would wiggle his eyebrows and his back end.  Come on, grab the ball, he was clearly saying.  Let’s play.  But of course, he would never let us.

This time, as I dripped on the new carpet and assessed the situation, I could see that Goliath had caught the ball too far back in his mouth.  He couldn’t drop it again, and the ball’s size was just a little bit smaller than his windpipe.

First I petted Goliath, soothed him, although he wasn’t really terribly upset.  In fact, he was just a little bit confused and uncomfortable.   I looked at John, astonished that he hadn’t just reached into Goliath’s huge mouth full of huge teeth, and pulled out the ball.

So I did.  Or at least I did the first bit — I reached into Goliath’s mouth, firmly placed my thumb and forefinger on the ball, glancing at John to make sure he would know what to do next time.  John and I watched in horror as the dog-slobbery ball slipped out of my fingers, lodging further into his mouth, right at the top of his windpipe, blocking most of his throat.

No longer able to breathe comfortably and no doubt pissed that his Mommy had made things worse for him, Goliath began to panic.  He started running around the house with John and I chasing after him. Trying to catch him, trying to pry the damn ball out of his mouth.

I’ve never felt so helpless.  So terrified.  It was later when I felt like an idiot.

John and I tried everything we could think of – we put the stem of a wooden spoon behind the damn ball and tried to pull it out.  But  it didn’t budge.  The spoon broke, naturally.  We went through a lot of kitchen equipment that night.

Stupidly, in spite of the fact that it hadn’t worked, we kept reaching into his mouth and trying to pull the ball out.  Each time we made it worse and the ball went down further.  With each effort we only made it more difficult for him to breathe, and the more panicked poor Goliath got.

Goliath ran back and forth between the kitchen, the dining room and living room – the three tiny rooms of our tiny little house.  John would catch him as he ran by and try something.  I would catch him on the rebound and try something, anything else.  Poor panicked Goliath raced across the three rooms, a half-dozen times.  And then a half-dozen times again.

Once when he caught Goliath, John reached into Goliath’s mouth behind the ball.  Goliath’s gag reflex, in constant action by that time, led him to clamp down on John’s right index finger.

“Shit!” John shouted as he pulled his hand away from Goliath and let him go.  Blood dripped from John’s hand.

Almost immediately I caught Goliath and did exactly the same thing, only Goliath bit my left pointer finger.  Then it was John’s turn again to be bitten, and Goliath got John’s left middle finger.   Blood was flying all around our new house, our new carpet.  We didn’t really care, though, Goliath’s panic had spread to John and me.

Goliath was going to die.

There was nothing we could do.  My boy would choke to death on that goddam ball in front of us.  And with each movement that Goliath made, the cheerful bell inside of it rang.  Alfred Hitchcock was directing the scene.

Maybe the image of Alfred Hitchcock led me to do what I did next.  Yeah, let’s just assume that that’s what happened. It is the only explanation.

I had to do something or my crazy, psychotic, beloved life-saver of a dog was going to die.  I was about out of ideas, and then I remembered a show John and I had watched on TV just the night before.

I went into the kitchen and took out our largest knife, knowing I had to give my dog a tracheotomy.

At the time, I was not yet a fake medical professional.  I had never done a canine tracheotomy.  I did not, in fact have a clue if dogs have tracheas, and if so, just where Goliath’s might be located.  I didn’t know if it would make a difference if I, ummm, otomied it.

But just the night before, Radar had done a tracheotomy on a wounded soldier on M*A*S*H.  And if Radar O’Reilly, another animal lover, could do it, well, so could I.  Goliath needed me.

Besides he was going to die.  That reality had become crystal clear.  I had to do something.  Something drastic.  And likely messy.

So I took the butcher knife from the kitchen to the living room to perform my surgery there, on the new carpet in the room that was now looked like a crime scene.  My blood and John’s was speckled all over the living room and dining room  rug and smeared onto the walls and door frames.  I stood, knife in hand, and looked around the living room for a clean spot on the rug.

Henkels Butcher KnifeAlso still available here where I got the photo

John had at that time caught Goliath who was still terrified, still panicked, but running out of energy and oxygen.  When John saw me with the knife in my hand and heard my plan, he must have thought

This woman can never get near my (future) children.”

But “Are you nuts?” was all I recall him saying.  Perhaps there were expletives mixed in there, somewhere.  Maybe.

At just that moment, Goliath keeled over.

“Oh my God,” I shouted.  “He’s dead.”  And I began to sob.

“No,” was all John said.  But he started punching Goliath in the stomach, which did not seem like a very respectful thing to do to a dead dog.  To my dead baby.

Out popped the ball.  John, holding tightly to Goliath’s muzzle with his two bleeding hands, breathed into Goliath’s mouth.   Magically, Goliath’s eyes opened.  Goliath took a very deep breath indeed.  So did we.

The Heimlich maneuver.  It works on dogs. 

There’s another thing I should tell you about the Heimlich maneuver.  It’s best to try it before attempting a tracheotomy.

*     *     *

Other Goliath Stories:

For Medicinal Purposes Only

Dogs and Other Nuts

What’s In A Name?

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Filed under Dogs, Family, Goliath Stories, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, History, Huh?, Humor, Science, Stupidity, Wild Beasts