“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Monday, April 30, 2012

Part II, Day 24: Good Tongue!

We were on the other side of the road and when they saw us, they all came over
We drive to Vermont through Winter, Sequel II, and when Zoe asks to stop for a pee, she almost causes a bovine stampede.

Zoe eyes the cows from inside the car
Dr. Thompson (Don) says that Zoe's tongue looks really good.  I will ride on that news all day.  I used to be the kind of person who would brighten when someone paid me a compliment about something I wrote or how I looked that day, but now this thumb's up on Zoe's big pink tongue is all that I need to be happy enough to yodel.  Last time Don saw her, he and the other Dr. Thompson (Amy) agreed that Zoe's tongue had too much purple, which means too much stagnant Xi, a color/condition associated with tumors/cancer/various kinds of consolidation.

I don't know if the Chinese herbs are starting to kick tumor ass, as my friend Dan has put it, but something is working to balance out her constitution, and that's cause for me to rejoice.

Just say "aaah!" 
Finding the points
I show Don the knob on Zoe's head, a cyst that keeps bleeding.  We're not worried that it's cancerous because the oncology vet techs aspirated it with a needle three months ago and it came up clean, but ever since then, it has kept on bleeding, then scabbing into a big mound, then bleeding again.

Resting while the needles are in
"Want to take it off?" he asks.  "We can do it by laser, she'll only need a local, and then it'll be gone for good."

"Okay," I say, but I'm hesitant.  She's been through so much.  I was thinking today would be a feel-good fix, a put-in-the-needles and charge up the endorphins day, a reward for enduring with such grace the other needles that are an unfortunate fixture of her life.  Our mission on this visit to the vet's is to make her feel terrific, a fun prelude to a weekend in Vermont at play with our friends, canine and human.  Surgery, even a minor procedure, is a lot more than we bargained for, but my husband pressed against that nubbin the other day and she yelped in pain, so if we can fix one thing on her body that causes her discomfort, I'm for it.
Dr. Emily Bond has a nice bond with Zoe

"She looks great," he says, as he puts in today's acupuncture needles: the triple heater spot, the will to live spot, the appetite spot, and more.  "Good color, and she looks well nourished.  She's keeping her weight on."  I want to write everything down he says for blog purposes, but I'm too distracted trying to take pictures while also admiring Zoe's lovely tongue.

Later, Dr. Bond (Emily), whom Zoe adores, and Kate, Zoe's new best friend, prep Zoe for surgery.  I get to be with her the whole time.  I'm not giving you the one picture I took that was kind of graphic because I know some of you read this blog during the breakfast hour.  I have discovered that I have a very strong stomach, even when it's my dog's tissue we're looking at, as long as I know she's safe and that the end result will make her feel better.

All I could see was her tongue
Don turns on the laser machine and I can feel it from across the surgery table.  "It's 2,000 degrees.  She won't feel it, though, because of the Lidocaine, and it sterilizes the surface as it goes."

She's had surgery, and she wants more treats
Under the surgery tent, Zoe is eating treats as he works.  She is calm and steady the whole time.  Every time she looks like she wants to stand and assist Don in the surgery, we give her another treat.

 Today, like the other two times we've been here, Zoe ran up the ramp before her appointment began and couldn't wait to go inside.  But now that being here wasn't just about getting an endorphin surge and she's spent some time under a green tent getting a clump removed from her head, I'm not sure if she'll always be so thrilled to come here.  We shall see.  But when we leave the surgery, she wags her tail and darts into another room, on the hunt for a kitty.  She asks for more treats, and endures everyone's hugs and pats with good humor.

"She's such a good dog," everyone says as we get ready to leave.  I can't take any credit, really.  She has always been like this.  Calm and patient and good.  I give her some water before we drive away and watch as she laps it up with that fine pink tongue.   Funny the things I find beautiful now.  My dog drinking water in the back of the car while snow clouds gather on a late April afternoon is a sight that fills my heart.  "Aaah," I say, sticking my tongue out at her, not caring if anyone sees.  It's just another word for awe.

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