I guess the thing to do is jump right in with the bad news. Even though I haven’t been driving for the past month, I let my wife sleep in this morning and drove myself to my joint doc’s new office. I figured that since it’s just around the corner, I should be able to make it okay. And I did, although I left Dawg at home. I was going to see the doctor. I didn’t figure I needed the extra help today. All went well and when I got back to the house, my wife was out taking a nice long walk with Dawg, something I haven’t been able to do for a month or so.
At this point, I need to recap: in case you forgot, Dawg has this problem where he dashes after other dogs once or twice a year. In the past, he’s only done it when he was with me. His sudden spurt of speed, however, is responsible for several of my injuries. For that reason, I’ve taken to using a short (10-foot) leash to keep him from gaining any momentum when he tries to dash off. When using the short lead, I haven’t had any further episodes…yet. My wife, however, has continued to use the (25-foot retractable) long lead because, although she doesn’t exactly say she thinks I’m lying about his problem, has stated several times that it never happens when “she” walks him. At which point she usually adds, “But then, I pay attention to what he’s doing, so maybe he just never gets the chance.” [And my dentist asks me why I grind my teeth.]
I was playing a game on my iMac when she returned. She was limping, her clothes were dirty, her hair looked like hell, and I could tell she’d been crying, so I was immediately concerned, though I managed not to show how close to panic I really was. “What’s wrong — what happened?” I said softly as I hugged her. (Children, take note: there’s no more powerful medicine than a hug. Well, if there’s no blood showing, anyway.) I was afraid she and Dawg had been run over.
She tried to brave it out, but that lower lip started quivering and tears started leaking down her face as she said, “Dawg knocked me down and drug me for a mile!” Eventually, between snuffles, it all came out. Dawg was sniffing around for a place to do his business, and she was looking around to make sure there was no trouble coming their way when she heard a car door slam way off behind her. By the time she got turned around to see what was going on, Dawg had already lit out for the small dog he could see getting out of a car about two blocks down our group parking lot. He hit the end of the lead right about the time she saw what was happening. Bam! She fell like a tree and Dawg, whose breed used to pull carts full of milk back in Belgium, kept going as if my wife was a cart. A cart with no wheels, but a cart, nonetheless.
In truth, she probably slid about three feet. The lady with the dog tied up her pooch and came to help my wife get up. Dawg ignored both of them; he could still see that other dog. At this point my wife didn’t give a damn about Dawg, she was understandably concerned about her own problems. She’s almost as old as I am, and when she fell three years ago, she broke her shoulder. Two operations later she still doesn’t have full use of it. This time her other shoulder hurt (she was holding the leash with her “good” arm), and the fall had twisted an ankle.
Not to keep you in suspense, it turns out my wife wasn’t so much injured as embarrassed — both for losing control of Dawg in front of the other lady, and in having to come home and tell me that, what do you know, maybe Dawg does have a problem after all. I silently vowed I wasn’t going to say a word about “paying attention” (although I admit to biting my tongue), but she beat me to it anyway. “If only I’d been paying attention,” she kept repeating under her breath. So I just hugged and patted her. After all, that’s what family does. Offers comfort, I mean. I can always gloat later, when she’s feeling better.
Now for the good news. As I mentioned earlier, my left knee’s been getting more and more painful, ever since my trip to see my brother. Once it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep, I made an appointment with my joint doc, even though she’d moved her office and (with my wife between jobs) I no longer had any insurance to pay her with. Here we go, I thought, draining the emergency fund.
So how’s this the good news, I hear you ask? Well, the pain’s starting to recede. There are even positions I can place my leg where it hardly hurts at all (until I move it). Since, after draining the excess fluid, the doc injects some pain-killer in with the corticosteroid, it usually starts to feel better fairly soon. Right now it’s been about 12 hours, and I can definitely tell the difference. I expect that over the next week or two, it’ll get back to normal (for me) again. But as soon as we have some insurance, I’m going to let the doc go in and trim the ragged edges of the meniscus. That should help a lot — I hope.
However, right now I’m feeling okay and so is Dawg. That clueless idjit is laying on his bed, chewing his boney, without a care in the world. He doesn’t know how close he came to being a non-dog. My wife was mad enough strangle him for causing her so much embarrassment.
Well, maybe not. She is an old softy. But I think his days of relative freedom are over. I’ve got a feeling that my wife won’t be using that 25-foot leash anymore.