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Holy Motherfucking Shit. The Battle of the Bulge in my Spine--Grover Edition: Part Two

Monday, July 10, 2017 | 0 Comment(s)

Grover's back-end was paralyzed following surgery. This fact was obscured by the staffs' practiced use of medical jargon that denoted immobility while purposely not using the "P-word." I don't think I fully comprehended his paralysis until a few days later, after he's regained some range of motion.

That said, some dogs regain full mobility (but not strength) immediately following surgery. Twenty percent become temporarily paralyzed. As we covered in part one, if there is a 20% change of a dog having a certain outcome, Grover will have it 100% of the time. He's one in a million, and he puts those odds to use when it comes to medical maladies. Not my favorite aspect of his uniqueness if were being honest. 
Grover was still paralyzed when I got the "evening call" from Dr. Silver. This call was, by far, the most excruciating of all the two-a-day phone conversations.  Dr. Silver sounded impatient on the phone. It was clear that she too was frustrated by Grover's continued paralysis, and while it was completely normal, like any good doctor, she was impatient. She heard the quivering in my voice and reassured me that the surgery had gone very smoothly. She said that when patients don't recover right away, she always re-goes over the surgery, to think more deeply about if anything could have gone wrong that she hadn't accounted for. Grover's disk was healthy, and that meant it had been relatively easy to clear away, without touching Grover's spine and setting off the red nose and buzzer. 

Still no movement in the morning, but by midday Grover began to stretch his legs. Thank. Fucking. God. I hadn't slept in two days. I was spending long periods on the couch. I needed some good news. 

From there the experience got exponentially better. Each phone call came with improved mobility and the return of Grover's signature smile. I could tell that the docs and nurses were falling in love with him. That's when I knew everything would eventually get back to normal. Everything pivots  around a love of Grover.
Signature Smile TM
On day six in Woburn, Grovey pee'd all by himself. This is apparently a big deal. Similar to how humans have to fart post-colonoscopy before being released, doggos must pee post-surgery to signal that they have regained to ability to coordinate the muscle and neurological function necessary to complete a task as rudimentary as urination. Once mastered however, the dog is IMMEDIATELY ready for release, medically speaking. Grover was coming home . . . in three days.

"I'm planning on coming to visit him tomorrow (Friday) even though I know he won't be coming home until Sunday," I confidently told Dr. Silver in my best responsible dog parent voice. I thought that sentence sounded more professional than, "I'm a puddle of useless crap without my dog, please let me see him."

"Well . . ." She began speaking even more selectively than normal. Each word measured for connotation and tone.  "While you can, of course, visit your pet whenever you'd like, right now, what is most important, is keeping Grover calm and relatively immobile. If you think he might get excited and start moving around if he were to see you, it might be best to just wait for Sunday, as he's all settled in here and seems relatively chill."

Do I think Grover will be chill when he sees me? No. No I do not. I don't expect that I would express much chill myself.

I hope you could tell that Dr. Silver did not actually say "chill." I threw that in to make sure you were paying attention. Vets, I've learned, don't make lazy mistakes on words that leave too much open to interpretation. Dr. Silver said Grover seemed relatively settled.  Isn't that just the perfect friggin word.
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When you make tough promises with yourself/god, you rarely hope to be held to them. For example, I somewhat clearly recall promising to whatever god existed that if s/he would just make my college quad stop spinning, I'd never drink again.  God purged me of my sins that night in college, but damn it if I didn't drink again.

I promised myself i wouldn't let my love for Grover stand in the way of his health or well-being. Considering he is a canine, at the time I really didn't see how this promise had much relevance to my future. That was until a veterinary surgeon told me that visiting Grover, something my heart desperately needed, might aggravate his recently surgically-repaired back.

It was just short of impossible, keeping my promise, but I did. I waited. Til Sunday.

On Sunday morning Falcor, our other doggo, woke up and decided enough was fucking enough.

"He's not heavy, he's my brother."
We got Falc as a puppy and he immediately bonded to Grover. I mean, Grover loves Falcor, but Falcor needs Grover. Falcor is a very happy go lucky perpetual puppy-type doggo, and for the first week of Grover's absence,  Falcor played it off like it was some unfun mini-vacation for Grover or him or someone. But, one week later this game WAS NOT FUNNY ANYMORE.  Falcor woke up Sunday morning and began shrieking (not barking -- cry/whine/shouting) and running back and forth between my wife and I. The pupper finally lost it. He needed Grover back, and frankly, so did I.

Still to Come - Part III - Home is Where the Hurt Is.

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