Our Invalid – Friday March 11th

Ramona Quimby, the six year old orange mutt who lives in our house, underwent surgery Monday for a torn ACL. She had to spend the night at the clinic in Woodstock, Illinois. I laid awake most of the night worrying that she was unhappy, or in pain, or asphyxiating. The nurse warned us that Ramona would be partially shaved for the operation, but you really can’t prepare yourself for the glaring, fishbelly white of a dog’s bare skin. We received an itemized bill of the procedure and some graphic photos of the actual surgery. I’ve been a wreck since we found out the dog would need to an operation.


I finally admitted to myself that this experience was picking at memories that had just scabbed over. We are caring for another soul who can’t tell us of the pain, and relinquishing that care to strangers on a faith that is born of a lack of options.


When Tom called me to say she was waking up from the anesthetic, I wiped away the tears that sprang from my eyes. I don’t trust that she’d be ok until she is ok. But waking up from the surgery was a huge step one on the path of relief. Having her at home comforts me, but seeing her in pain and frustration keeps me in a constant state of angst and heartache. Even seeing her skin makes me think of Tommy Jr; raw and pink and uncomfortable.


I know Ramona will make a full recovery. She’s in good hands with Dr. Barb Royal, who is doing everything she can to get Ro back up and running like a healthy dog. I’m trying to stay in control of my fears and anxiety because I learned ten months ago that worry and anger and self-pity don’t help the patient. I could only help my son by being a mother to him while I had him. I was upbeat in his presence, I was joyful. But I felt his pain in my heart and soul. And that’s all I can do for my dog. And really, that’s all we can do for anyone we love.


The bandage came off yesterday and Ramona’s leg is mottled with bruises. We ice her knee to keep the swelling down and feeding her elk jerky to keep her tail wagging. By the time spring rolls around I expect she’ll be back on four legs. And we’ll all have survived another family crisis together. The Guillens are getting better at this than we’d ever imagined we’d need to be. And we’re all grateful for that.

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  1. Leslie Ann says:

    Yay Ro! Glad she’s on the mend and you’re feeling grateful! I just darned a sock and thought of you. My 4 year old, Sarah, helped a little. HUGS!!!!!

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