April 6, 8:30am- Today’s the day our girl comes home. I’ve arranged to work from home to be here as MJ arrives and begins her convalescence. I call Southpaws to ask when we can expect her to be discharged. We’re eager to see her. Anxious. The nurse tells me that Dr. T. is on rounds and MJ will be evaluated, then they’ll call to let us know when we can come get get.
April 6, 10:15am- I’m in the shower. Of course. James fields the call. We’re all set to pick up the little girl, preferably around noon.
Aril 6- 12noon- We’re ushered into the doctor’s office, the same room in which we received the mass-diagnosis. A nurse comes in to go over MJ’s discharge paperwork. It’s overwhelming. 5 medications (steroids and pepcid, antibiotics, pain killers, anti-convulsants) and a long lists of don’t-dos. It is explained to us that the upper left quadrant of MJ’s skull was removed to get to the mass, and it was not replaced. This is normal for the type of procedure she had. I inquire about a helmet for her. The nurse laughs at my joke. I was being serious. This is a dog who frequently runs into fences and trees, doors and her brother. Now she has inches of muscle protecting her brain. [This is when it starts. We slowly begin to understand that this is how it’s going to be now.] We have to keep MJ calm for the next 4-6 weeks. We can do without an e-collar or sedatives as long as we keep her calm. She requires a harness since leashing to her collar will put pressure on her neck and head. We’ll buy one today. The nurse goes to get MJ; she warns us first that MJ looks a little rough. She’s lost some weight and she has staple sutures along her head. There is some scabbing. “It looks worse than it is.” I warn everyone I might cry when I see her. I don’t.
April 6, 1pm- We’re home. I leave James to get the little girl settled onto her bed with her new get-well toy from our new friend Mikey (and his mom, Jennifer). I set up her pill box in the kitchen.
April 6, 5pm- I drive to pick up Zozo from camp. We’re worried how he’ll handle MJ– her behavior, her medicinal smell… we should never worry about Zo. He’s incredible. He’s excited to see her and licks her ear, then settles next to her on the floor with a sigh. Now we’re whole.
April 7-9th- TeamMJ mobilizes. Between friends and family, a human is always home with MJ and Zozo. We are grateful for the help. MJ’s lethargic and mopey, but she doesn’t appear to be in pain. We don’t have to make any updates on her seizure log. She does’t fuss with her sutures and she takes her pills like a champ. She has razor rash on her face where it was shaved before her procedure. She’s not feeling her best. But it’s ok. We can do this. She’s getting better every day.
April 10th, 7am- James is walking the trash can to the curb when the strangest thing happens: MJ becomes possessive of Zozo’s water bowl. Zozo comes into the kitchen, not even pausing at the water bowl, and she attacks him. I separate them, yelling for help. I push MJ across the kitchen floor and I try to shove Zozo into the sunroom to close the door and calm everyone down. James runs inside and lifts MJ up and out of the way. I assess Zozo, who is remarkably injury free. MJ, on the other hand, has popped two staples. James rushes her back to the vet hospital, where her wound is cleaned and new sutures applied. The nurse confirms MJ will likely have all of her sutures removed on Tuesday, at our follow-up appointment. We’re hoping to receive the biopsy results then, too.
We start pulling up the pups’ bowls when they walk away from them. We have to regulate their water. We monitor their interactions. We scrutinize every glance or posture shift. Please let this be a fluke.
We’re thankful to be together, healing as a family from this horrible health scare.
Tuesday can’t get here fast enough.