He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
By William Butler Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
So, back to the story of my dog Luna’s TPLO surgery. I received a call from the surgeon just after he completed her procedure, “Luna did well during the surgery. The breathing tube is out and she is resting comfortably. The CCL was completely ruptured. I cleared out the cartilage from her torn meniscus, as well. The joint looks good—there’s little arthritis. You can pick her up tomorrow after 3 p.m. The front desk will provide discharge instructions for taking her home.”
Whew.Twenty four hours later I was reunited with my pup. As I walked Luna down the hall at the vet’s office, she seemed disoriented, slightly veering toward walls. A 12-inch incision coursed down the front of her rear leg. No stitches were visible. The wound looked strangely “calm”— no redness and not much swelling. She seemed somewhat “out-of-it.”
The discharge instructions said to leave the Fentanyl patch (for pain) in place for five days after it was applied and to provide Tramadol (50 mg) two to three times a day for seven days to manage pain. Watch the incision for changes. Limit activity.
Before we left the office, the front desk staff person, who was very knowledgeable, said, “It’s quite common for dogs with one ruptured CCL to have the same problem in the other leg.” I had heard this before at previous appointments. Each time I heard it, I thought, “We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. I’m hoping that bridge is not on our particular path.”
I saw immediately that the rugs I had laid down on my slippery floors were helpful to Luna. In the yard I noticed how difficult it was for her to pee with an unstable leg. She had a very good appetite and slept well. (I slept next to her on the floor so that I could attend to her needs, a practice I continued for a few weeks.) So far, so good.
Unfortunately, by Monday Luna seemed to be moving about less. The wound looked good, but she did not. By Tuesday she was drooling big thick drops and barely moving at all. I called the vet ‘s office and spoke to a technician who consulted with a vet: “Your dog sounds over-drugged. Cut back on the Tramadol. Also, we suggest you bring her into the office as soon as possible.”
How would I get her back to the vet? She was now 80 pounds of incapacitated dog under the influence of pain and pain medicine with a foot-long incision on her leg. How to get her into the car?
Soon family and friends came to my aid. I put a plastic “Queen Elizabeth collar” on Luna’s neck to prevent being bitten. We scooted her onto a blanket then lifted her into the back of a friend’s van. With all of this activity, my mild-mannered, kind-hearted Luna had morphed into a head-waving Tyrannosaurus Rex of a dog.
Once at the vet’s office, staff met us in the parking lot with a gurney and whisked her away to be examined. When Luna returned to us, she was suited up in a full body harness that had a handle at the shoulders and at the hips. Using this harness, I would help Luna stand up to eat, relieve herself, drink water and visit the vet.
The good news was that her incision looked great. Unfortunately, her other cruciate ligament appeared to have torn and her “good leg” was now incapacitated, too. Also, she was way too fat and needed to lose weight pronto plus, which would help with her recovery.
The vet tech explained that in a few weeks the leg that had been repaired would work well, but until then, things were going to be rough. She said, “I hope you are strong.” I was in for some “heavy lifting”, both physically and emotionally. Luckily, I am strong.
I watched the youtube video about how to put on the harness a couple of times to figure out how to do it. Putting the harness on and taking it off became an everyday ritual that required Luna and I work well together. It proved to be worth its weight in gold.
The good news: The weather was sunny so that Luna could stay outside in my fenced backyard during the day. The vet would prefer that she be indoors, safe from bad guys, cats, squirrels, and other things that cause excitement and excessive movement. But, Luna insisted and I followed her wishes: Outside she would be while I was at work. Besides, she wasn’t moving much these days…
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. —John Wooden
I believe we are free, within limits, and yet there is an unseen hand, a guiding angel, that somehow, like a submerged propeller, drives us on.–Rabindranath Tagore
Thank you, dear diver.
Two mammals, despite the apparent barriers, enjoy each other’s company. I wonder how they discovered each other?