A Hole in the Head

I have always been allergic to childbearing....or to put it in my Grandmother Irma's vernacular, "pushing a Buick through a keyhole." My grandparents owned a car dealership, so Irma's vernacular was peppered with snappy car metaphors. It was common knowledge in my family circle that, as an only child, I was far too self-absorbed to attempt motherhood. And yet, somewhere along the path of life, I have been infected with maternal instinct. It began around the time I started acquiring Angels From God.

Irma La Premiere with baby Denise...

But now, I see that worst case scenario has occurred. Apparently, I have given birth to Miss Irma La Deuce. An Immaculate Conception or a case of the Devil's Spawn...it is not clear. Nonetheless, this eight pound barnacle on my heart has captured every last bit of my attention. And, just a few weeks ago, as my knees buckled, I had to sit down to quell the dizzying nausea that overwhelmed me as I watched my baby girl, Irma La Deuce, undergo an emergency exam at 3:30 am at the Veterinary Centers of America, in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Back to the beginning..... hours earlier, I was enjoying a bottle of Merlot and a filet mignon with my date at Grill 23 in Boston. I arrived home about 1:00 am flush with joy and goodwill toward the world. I wasn't yet sleepy, so I went about my nocturnal business...popped a pair of Excedrin PMs to sleep, broke up my nightly Angels From God versus Lovey Dovey bitch brawl, inspected the participants for wounds...and after finding nothing of import...went for a cruise on the information highway, stopping squarely on ebay, where I know I can find some trouble.

After a while, I turned on the ABC News because I get antsy when my joy and goodwill toward the world lasts more than an hour or two. As I perched on the edge of the bed, Irma La Deuce jumped into my lap. When I stroked her head, she jerked away and I gasped in horror as I saw blood drip from my hand. As plain as the nose on her face, Irma La Deuce had a hole in her head.

A gash, actually....an inch and a half long....gaping about the size of a quarter, through which I could see muscle and skull. Right about then, the Excedrin PMs began to feel like tar dripping through my brain ....which under normal circumstances is not an entirely unpleasant sensation...but now was completely inconvenient. The shock of the scene produced enough adrenaline to pull me from snoozeland to zombieland. I moved sluggishly through the apartment, pulling on a wild melange of mismatched togs...basically whatever was lying on the floor. Finally, I collected Miss La Deuce for a trip to the emergency room.

En route, I was struggling to think clearly, so I called that bastion of clear thinking -- Ann. In life, you have to have at least one friend whom you can awaken at 2:00 am to nurse you through dog trauma. As I was explaining the circumstances to Ann, I zigged when I should have zagged on the unlit Route 3 and got lost. Since I have moved to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, zigging has been my modus operandi on the zaggy highway system. I commented to Ann that "I refuse to live in this pain-in-the-ass state one more day!!!" ...I am still here.

When Irma and I arrived in the ER, we were the only car in the parking lot, and yet, the wait was appropriately long considering that this was an emergency situation dripping with blood. When the vet ambled in, she asked me casually, "What happened?" And I, Mother of the Year, replied, "I have absolutely no idea." And, it was true. I was clueless. I could not believe such a thing could have happened under Toot's constant supervision. It often seems like Toot has given birth to Irma La Deuce, as much as she is into Irma's business. I mentioned to the vet that Irma might have gotten into the middle of the bitch brawl....inasmuch as the Angels From God have proved to be a very very bad influence on Irma La Deuce...I could not say for sure.

The vet advised me that Irma would have to be admitted, anesthetized and sutured. She returned with an estimate of $644 to sew up Irma's noggin. Silly me, I only brought $500 in cash thinking that would cover it. Apparently, I was at Don Corleone's Veterinary Clinic. All I could think of was that I could "soup to nuts" vet four dogs with that money....and besides, I did not like this vet and there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell that I was going to leave my Irmy there. There is something heinous in the obscene pricing policies of emergency vets who have you at an emotional disadvantage when they stick it to you.

Irma after her visit to the emergency vet.

So, I asked the vet to put a compression dressing on Miss La Deuce and I took her home to see my regular vet first thing in the morning. Thanks to Dr. Judie Pulaski at the Emmerson Animal Hospital, Irma's noggin was stapled shut. She may have to forgo her chic leopard print look in favor of leather and studs, now that she has piercings.

Irma survived the surgery, but timing dictated that I pick her up before she had fully come out of the anesthesia. I had assumed she would be dopey, so I brought her favorite blanket that Auntie Diane made for her. Irma was flopping around like a fish out of water and would not sit still for a second. And, her left eye was bloodshot and rolling up into her head. I bundled her up and went home.

"What's for dinner??"

The recovery process was fine at first....after my nerves settled, we took off for New Jersey to drop off Lovey Dovey at her new foster home. Irma rode well overall, but the stress of the last few days took its toll on me, and I could not make the trip home. So I turned to Diane Gonzalez and said," What's For Dinner."

We spent the night at Diane's during which we became concerned about Irma's eye. I applied some eye salve that we had left from Dinah's bum eye. The fortunate thing about rescue is the veterinary pharmacy that is ever present in one's kitchen cabinet. Irma's eye settled down, and we made the trip home the next day with Montana in tow, who was heading to New Hampshire.

That evening, I had a quick errand, so I put Miss La Deuce in the care of the Angels from God with stern instructions that they NOT let anything else happen to her.

Montana came along for the ride.

I was not even gone for an hour, and when I returned, Irma's head had swollen like a jiffy pop tin. They may be Angels From God, but they are the lousiest babysitters on the planet. I rushed Irma to the vet who was worried that Irma was abscessing infection. And, she found a corneal abrasion....more evidence that Irma had been snagged in the brawl. We went home armed with antibiotics and I was under instructions to monitor her carefully and rush her back if the swelling got worse. Talk about your sleepless night!

In the morning, thankfully. Irma's swelling was much reduced and I breathed a sigh of relief as I cleansed the wound and tried my best to keep her quiet. She took her antibiotics like a little trooper, except that one that Nikita snatched like it was a piece of chateaubriand.

Irma's wound has almost completely healed...

And the wound healed over the next few days.... Then the swelling came back -- an abscess appeared on Irma's head right below the wound. And then, bloody pus began oozing out of the top of her head...through an apparent biscupid puncture that had gone undetected. I drained about a quart of gunk out of Irma's head and finally, her little face was back to normal. I would rather endure the rest of that root canal I keep postponing than ever go through anything like this again.

And so, the hole in Irma La Deuce's head had healed, and I had gotten through one of the worst weeks ever...until I received a call from the Quincy Health Department. The vigilant folks at the Veterinary Centers of America, in accordance with local law, reported Irma's bite wound to the police, who in turn notified the Quincy Health Department. I was informed that all the alleged assailants, as well as the alleged victim, MUST be quarantined for 10 days to guard against a rabies outbreak. The logic here lies in the assumption that if neither the Angels From God nor Lovey Dovey croak from rabies within the ten day gestation period, then we can safely conclude that Irma La Deuce does not have rabies.

...an alleged assailant fraternizes with the alleged victim...

Believe me, if any of the Angels From God gave Irma rabies, I am NEVER speaking to them again.

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© 2003 Eskies Online/Denise Gareau