Yesterday morning I went back in to finish the remainder of the MRI scans leftover from Monday. This time I was prepared; my leg had been elevated all night, so swelling was down, and I took two percocets before starting the appointment. This combined with the a slightly different position on the table with my leg slightly bent made the three hours much more tolerable. Aided by the percocets, I laid there half asleep in a day dream state but couldn’t fall full asleep with the noise from the MRI machine and occasional twinges of pain. My mind kept drifting off to memories of our dog Bailey.
Back in college, Shannon would occasionally house sit for one of her professors who had a shnauzer. She grew to love the breed, and as we got closer to graduation started to want one for us. Growing up with barn cats, I was never much of a dog person, so in her usual fashion she resorted to rationalization (she’d make a great saleswoman). As a diabetic, she explained to me how shnauzers can detect when your sugar is low and can be trained to paw at you as a warning. Seems like a glucometer would be much more effective? I’m not sure why, but this convinced me to at least go look at some puppies. That was my mistake, you can’t look at them without taking one home…they’re cuter than I expected.
If we were going to have a dog, there at least had to be some ground rules. Most importantly, no climbing on furniture or sleeping in the bed. Sounded reasonable, but it didn’t even last one night. When that tiny little pup started whimpering on the floor by himself the first night, it was me who pulled him up on the bed. I became a “dog person” pretty quickly and Bailey became a family member. That’s why when he passed away from liver disease at only three years old, I had a really hard time. We have tons of great Bailey stories, so at night Shannon and I will tell each other our favorites from time to time to keep his memory alive. Like wic-a-wic-a Wegmans, I always insist that we start with “There once was a pup named Bailey…”
So the stories that kept coming to mind on the MRI table…after college my first job took us to Chesapeake Beach, MD. We had an apartment on the edge of town and this is where my most vivid memories of Bailey are centered. First, there was the time I was changing the oil in my car. Shannon came outside to hang out for a while along with Bailey. When she went in she left Bailey out and asked me to watch him. Somehow I agreed without realizing it; probably in a deep focus just to eliminate the distraction. About 15 minutes later when she came back out he was long gone. We looked all over and couldn’t find him. Then on the next street over, we heard a neighbor’s chickens going crazy. Of course that’s where we found Bailey menacing the chickens. As anyone who’s ever watched Bailey knows, he was an explorer. Right George?
He was also pretty excitable. One training rule we were taught was that we should ignore Bailey when we come home he help break the separation anxiety. How can you ignore him, when you are feeling the same anxiety? We’d walk in to him jumping up on the top of the recliner so he would be eye level and pet him like crazy. He would always be most excited to see our good friend Eric. We warned Eric that he needed to be calm around Bailey, but he’d always scream his name when he walked in the door and “saturate” him with attention. That might have been alright with their own family dog Willie, but Bailey must have had a weaker bladder. We’d feel terrible, but Eric would insist that it was okay that his shoes and pants were sprinkled. Bailey learned to recognize the sound of Eric’s car, and we knew from Bailey’s reaction when it was Eric.
Shannon seemed to pick up a new toy for Bailey everyday, which was fine except that the floor would be covered with them. This didn’t mesh too well with my moderate case of OCD. I’d pick them all up except for one, and put them into a basket on the top shelf of the closet. He must have been able to smell them up there. One toy wasn’t enough, he’d force his way into the closet and bark until he got your attention. Shannon was sure he was playing hide and seek, but I’m confidant he just wanted more toys. His favorite was a cow femer that was bigger than him. It seemed like he should tip when it was in his mouth it was so big. He’d carry it to the top of the stairs and drop it, so it would clunk all the way to the bottom…definitely nosiy. He’d do it over and over again. Pretty sure the neighbors next door were a little agitated by this? Ahhh Bailey, the stories go on and on. He was my best buddy!
When the MRI tech came back into the room I had a couple tears in my eyes. I think she thought I must be sad about everything that was happening to me, but it was purely good memories of Bailey. After the MRI, I went directly to a pre-operation appointment with my surgeons Dr. Mitten and O’Keefe where I got some relieving news. They were encouraged with what they saw such that they no longer thought they would need to take a stomach muscle as a flap. The surgery this Friday will be a straight forward incision, tumor removal, and stiches. When they asked if I had any questions, all I had was can you take pictures of the surgery for my blog? Dr Mitten agreed.
Afterward, Jeff, Ken, Dan, John, and Tracy stopped over for a while making it easy to put surgery on the backburner for a while. Another nice night of stories over a couple beers.