Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thoughts, various.

I would really like to be in Seattle right now. From now until mid-October sounds about right; that means I would miss tornado season here. Tornados, strong thunderstorms, hail--it all sends me, shaking and swigging whatever alcohol is in the house, into my safe closet for hours, usually a couple times a week. I hate heavy weather. Call it a remnant of my days in Kansas, including living through the infamous Wichita/Haysville/Andover tornado of 1991.

Failing that, I would like to be up in the Blue River or over in the Comal for the next few days, not going back to work.

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An email arrived today from a woman who had a palatectomy on Friday.

This is comparable to a dodo sighting. In four years, with God only knows how many hits to this blog for "palatectomy," "obturator," and "palate cancer," I have only heard from one other person who'd had a palatectomy before now, and she was introduced to me by my uncle. Given how quickly oral cancer is becoming The Latest Thing, you'd think I'd have a coterie of fellow bionic-mouth wearers, but I don't. It seems that most oral CA people get nasty stuff at the base of their collective tongues, or on their tonsils, not in their minor salivary glands.

The emailer asked how long it would be before the hole closed up.

Honey, I said, that hole is never gonna close up. That's gonna be with you for life. How did nobody tell her that before? WTF?

Which took me back to the months after surgery, when my obturator was equal parts problem and blessing. I searched all over the Innerwebs for palatal reconstruction, eventually finding somebody in Alberta? Saskatchewan? Someplace in Canada, who would do palatal reconstruction in adults, with only poor-to-fair results.

It took a good three months before I accepted that I would indeed be wearing this Thing in my mouth until the day I keeled over. After that period of adjustment, I started experimenting. I discovered that having a removable mouth was actually superior, in many ways, to stock equipment.

For instance: I rarely have to pop my ears on an airplane, and almost never have pressure and pain with a sinus infection. (Of course, I can't wear my obturator when my sinuses are really inflamed, but you take what you can get. At least I can sleep without sitting up.) I am proof against pizza burns, Dorito stabs, and all but the most aggressive Cap'n Crunch bits. I have something cool to show the medical students and nurse interns, and I have won several bets on how much I can fit in my mouth at once. (The trick is breathing carefully, so as not to send stuff down your airway.) Nothing but poppyseed muffins cause me any trouble any more, and I never liked poppyseed muffins anyhow, so no great loss.

It's weird, how a simple email from a person can bring it all back. It's like I haven't come all that far after all. Then I remember: I saw Maricel, the tech at The Prosthodontic Elf's office, wax like the moon during her first pregnancy. The second pregnancy, I only knew about during the eighth month. I've missed the third one altogether. So that's something.

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Mongo comes home tomorrow. I have to bail him out first thing. I will be setting my alarm. I've had trouble sleeping without him curled up on my feet, or in the small of my back. The cats have been strangely needy this week; I think they miss him, though they'd never admit it. A seventy-pound dog leaves a huge hole when he's not where he's supposed to be.

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Can we please stop pillorying people for shit they tweeted five years ago? Tweets I would've made five years ago would've had me strung up by six or eight groups of people with whom I now identify. Jeez, people: personal growth. Look it up. It's a thing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Dog Is A Fugitive From Justice.

My dog is on the lam.

My dog is living under an assumed identity.

My dog is being shielded by others at great cost to themselves.

My dog is an asshole.

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While Boyfiend (formerly Brother In Beer) and I were spending a nice few days in the Pacific Northwest, watching Der Alter Jo get hitched, Mongo The Magnificent (aka ThugDog) was being dogsat by a very nice woman who keeps pups in her home and charges very reasonable rates.

He had a lovely time. I have more than sixty photographs of him running through the woods, swimming in the lake, chasing ducks (aka Water Squirrels), and sleeping on the nice woman's couch. In most of those pictures, he's side by side with her foster dog. Her foster dog is sweet, ancient, and tolerant.

The last day he was there, on his last outing, he got upset with Dogsitter's Dog and snapped at him. Dogsitter's Dog of course retaliated, because even at ninety years older than dirt, he still has some self-respect. Dogsitter tried to break up the fight. Using her hands. Near the dogs' heads.

And got bitten. Not intentionally, not badly, not in a mean-spirited way, but she had to go to the ED when her hands started to swell. And the ED, following the law, called the cops. All dog bites in this county have to be reported.

(Which brings up the following conundrum: if a burglar breaks into my house and Mongo bites him/her, and then said burglar is taken to the ED for treatment by the cops, does that count as a reportable incident? Or do the cops simply wave their hands and say "Eh"?)

Anyway, things started going Keystone Kops in the ED. The salient point in all of this is that I live in one city, the dogsitter lives in another, and the bite took place in a third, very small, city, just inside the city limits. The first cop--one from my town--showed up, decided it wasn't his jurisdiction, and left. The second cop showed up, the dogsitter refused to give him any information about me (more on this in a minute), and he left.

And the next day, in succession, the dogsitter had the police from four different cities show up at her door with animal control trucks, ropes, lassos, dart guns, and various other implements of distruction. They pounded, she said, on the door. In succession. And she refused to answer the door. (Here I have to credit her heart and cut her some slack for being flustered. If cops were pounding on my door, I would hesitate to answer it as well, for fear that the dogs in my care would be taken away in the paddy wagon, with nobody sorting the good dogs from the bad ones.) Anyway, she said squat until they showed up with a warrant.

(I don't know what the police from the fourth city were doing. Maybe it was a mistake? Maybe a show of moral support? Maybe they had to run to the store for a few things and just dropped in on their way? I dunno.)

When they showed up with a warrant, she called me. I had known she had gotten bitten, but had figured things would work themselves out in the noiseless-tenor way that they normally do. I mean, I had no idea she had bucked the police.

I had to get on the horn with three successive animal control and sheriff's divisions before I found the person who could deal with my problem, only she had left the office about ten minutes before.

So tomorrow, I am staying home from work. I will call my vet, explain the problem, and ask for a quarantine cage. It's the law here that any dog who bites a human has to, if its vaccinations are up to date, be quarantined for ten days. I can't quarantine Mongo at home, since it wasn't a family member who got bitten.

Then I will call the third city sheriff's office and say, "My dog is a fugitive from the law, and I am calling to turn him in." And we will go from there.

No, it doesn't feel quite fair that Mongo has to be quarantined because somebody got in the way of his teeth. On the other hand, I can see the dogsitter's problem: when you see two dogs going at it, the immediate instinct is to shut that shit down, any way any how.

And while it was accidental, I can see the reason for any-skin-break-is-reported. If I asked for an exception, they'd have to make exceptions for every blockhead with a truly dangerous asshole dog, and then where would we be?

So, the upshot is, Mongo gets another vacation. Not as much fun, and not as heavy on lakes and ducks, but another vacation.

And I have to figure out whether to outfit him in a striped outfit, an orange jumpsuit, or just put an ankle bracelet on him and write "LOVE" and "HATE" on his paws.