April 29, 2011
Hello everyone, it’s me Wimsey—yes I’m BAAAACK—once again coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and let me tell you I am happy to be doing so. I did not plan so long an absence but the dramatic events of the last two weeks necessitated the extended break, as you shall hear. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are also overjoyed to have me back--so that is an indication of the magnitude of the drama surrounding these last two weeks.
But first let me say the main beneficiary in these unforeseen events is probably the royal family, as I will not have time to comment on the wedding in this post. This should probably come as a relief to most of you (and certainly to Wills and Kate) as it seems like TV, print and online media have turned last week into an interminable version of the Wedding Channel. And like Hounds, a little wedding goes a long way. But I was not invited to the festivities probably owing to the fact that there would be a lot of people in light colored clothing (and in spite of the fact that a friend of Elizabeth’s used to regularly cruise by the Middleton’s to pick up children’s party apparatus for her little tykes). Six degrees of separation and all that obviously counts for nothing. Their loss.
Anyway, on with the show: so two weeks ago on Friday evening I suddenly felt very ill. So ill that I started shaking, which prompted Maria to call for Elizabeth (my medical proxy) who came running to assess the situation (fortunately she only lives a block away). The decision was quickly made to take me to New York Veterinary Specialists, a 24/7 veterinary hospital that is one of the finest medical/surgical facilities in the New York area. And due to the fact that I was reluctant to move, my humans called a pet ambulance service, Ambuvet (www.ambuvet.com) since I had conveniently timed my illness just as Pet Chauffeur and Pet Taxi had closed down for the night.
Well, it was all very exciting—like an episode of ER. My vitals were taken by the Ambuvet vet tech and pronounced good—certainly good enough for me to refuse to be carried out on the stretcher and to hop into the ambulance under my own steam (which prompted the ambulance guys to ask if my humans still wanted me taken to the hospital). And even though I was sick, the ambulance was way cool, as was being escorted into the hospital by the ambulance team to summarize the case to the doctors, just like they do on TV. I highly recommend these guys. (As an aside, the admitting desk has a long row of all the specialist vet’s business cards and Elizabeth went up and down the row pointing out to Maria the many doctors by whom she had had me evaluated over the years for the plethora of unusual but innocuous problems with which I tend to be blessed).
Anyway, after some preliminary poking and prodding (none of which would be complete without a finger up the bum) it was determined that I probably had (TMI alert) a recurrence of a nasty prostatic abscess I had two years ago. To make a long story short, I was admitted to the hospital where two days of IV antibiotics did nothing to shrink the abscess (Hound abscesses apparently being as uncooperative as Hounds themselves) and I was forced to undergo major abdominal surgery to remove the abscess. Of course, this being New York, it was fancy major abdominal surgery—the ne plus ultra in prostatic abscess removal where they use some internal abdominal tissue to create a better blood supply for the prostate to reduce the chances of recurrence.
Needless to say, my humans did not eat and did not sleep (nor did a variety of our friends) for an entire week and the horror of the bill was quickly superseded by the horror of the prospect of not having me around to ruin their lives anymore. And I confess I was not in the best shape—I don’t do well with anesthesia and I became anemic and very nearly needed a blood transfusion.
The ladies were asked to visit a week ago Wednesday night to see if they could get me to eat something and various appealing comestibles were brought, including Maria’s mother’s Hungarian honey cookies of which I am inordinately fond. Well at some point during the night these cookies exerted their customary appeal and they were the first things I ate. I am attributing my miraculous recovery (miraculous at least in the eyes of my humans if not my doctors who I am sure have seen much worse) to the power of the pastry. I mean who needs round the clock ICU nurses, antibiotic drips and pain meds when one has a pound of Maria mère’s famous Hungarian honey cookies? With each bite I could almost hear the voice of this superb cuisinière cooing “ Eat Wimsey, eat. Would you like some chicken paprika or perhaps a chunk of nice Hungarian salami or maybe my special dessert crepes?” And the doctors are wondering why I turned up my nose at their hamburger!
But I digress. Now as you can imagine I was not at all happy with my situation and this fact was reflected in my somewhat forceful demeanor which resulted in my kennel being decorated with the sign below. I couldn’t be more proud! After a lifetime of being mistaken for an adorable floppy stuffed toy (albeit a large, adorable floppy stuffed toy) here I was finally with some canine street cred. I can now hold my head up high next time I meet Bruno the Rottweiler.
So last Friday, much to everyone’s relief, especially those who had to come within close proximity (I had been overdue for a bath when I was admitted so the stench at discharge defies description) I was released! And several hours later our good friends Paul and Ilonka arrived for their planned Easter visit (Paul runs my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks, www.baying-hound.com).
Well you can imagine all the care and concern with which I was surrounded---I had four grown adults falling over themselves to admire me whilst I slept, to fluff up my new Wimsey green duvet and to proffer tempting bits of food. Elizabeth and Ilonka trotted off to Fairway to purchase some eatables and came back with a sumptuous selection of French and Spanish cheeses. I was offered each of them in turn
and selected a very fine Morbier. Maria offered me an old piece of Brie from the refrigerator and was sternly reprimanded for offering me anything other than the preferred Morbier. And on Saturday night I was brought around the corner to see if perhaps I could bring myself to consume a cup of Grom Gelato—this artisanal gelato being second only to Hungarian honey cookies in its recuperative powers. The answer was a slurp and drool filled affirmative.
And to top off all the indignities to which my humans are heir, they were following me around for the first few days dipping tissues into my urine, (because it was initially a strange color), to make sure there was no blood. I think pretty much that and the excitement amongst everyone when I passed gas for the first time were the weekend’s highlights.
During my recuperation it seems like all the things that generally annoy my humans were now cause for intense celebration. So it was all:
“Look Wimsey’s poking his nose into someone rear end!” and
“Wimsey farted! Isn’t that wonderful!” and
“Wimsey’s walking like a crab again so if I don’t give him a cookie I will trip over him!” and
“Wimsey’s gotten up on a bench and is refusing to leave the park!” and
“Wimsey is dragging me to the gelato store!” and
“Wimsey’s trying to sneak up on that squirrel!” and
“Wimsey’s baying!” and
“Wimsey’s pulling again!”
etc. Well you get the idea. Each day brought the return of some behavior for which I am usually castigated but which suddenly became cause for celebration.
On the subject of pulling, for instance, I was initially so enfeebled that I was walked on a regular collar—something that hasn’t been possible since I’ve been knee high to a fire hydrant. My humans were horrified. There was much relief when I needed to be moved to something stronger (in this case a slip chain, as I am still too sore for my harness) and I once again commenced towing operations. I haven’t been back to Central Park yet (not for want of trying, mind you) as I am still on restricted exercise. Fortunately, however, I live quite close to Riverside Park with which I am making do (grudgingly).
And then this Wednesday I gave my humans another scare—I was crying and carrying around my stuffed dog and refusing to walk. The ladies imagined more dramatic ambulance rides and emergency surgeries, etc. Actually, I was constipated. To combat this, the vet recommended feeding me some fruit--which brings me to the next topic in all of this—so many of the vet’s helpful suggestions were predicated on the belief that I was a normal dog. Bloodhounds are not normal dogs. Some of us do not consume something just because it is edible. The vet clearly did not consider the refined Wimsey palate which demands that each potential food item be extensively evaluated to determine whether it is worth the effort of masticating it. Fruit is a non-starter. This led my humans to consider all the things that normally give me the runs and to settle on beef chunks sautéed in oil (after much debate as to in which type of oil I would prefer to have my meat cooked). The irony is that Elizabeth had cooked me a variety of things and had laboriously and conscientiously removed the fat from all of them only to have to add back the fat in the end. I love being me.
The same problem applied to my exercise restrictions. “Short” walks just to relive myself were recommended. My humans scratched their heads—a short walk for me is an hour and while I was not up to much the first few days the length of my walks has inexorably lengthened as my health has improved. We bloodhounds do not do 15-minute walks unless we are very sick indeed, leading to increasingly intense leash struggles over my reluctance to go home. Fortunately plans are finally afoot this weekend for some hanging out time in Central Park as I have had a few of my surgical staples removed. And my fine wardrobe of cones has made its appearance (a stunning collection , patiently assembled over years of vet visits) which is much admired by everyone but me. I have elevated cone wrestling to an Olympic art.
Well I think that about covers it. I am on the mend. My humans not so much.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Fierce Hospital Hound
PS: My humans want to thank Dr. Mark Levy and his surgical and critical care team at New York Veterinary Specialist. I don’t. Grrr….