Sunday, November 18, 2012
A Healing Machine
That's what the surgeon called her at her first checkup. A Healing Machine. I know it was a generic comment, directed at the natural capacity for baby puppies to heal quickly, rather than being an assessment of her specific capacity for preternatural deposition of new bone. Still, it was reassuring to hear it. I'd taken her back to the ER for an evaluation just eight days post-surgery because she was turning her leg oddly, walking with a twist and roll to her step that I thought was indicative of trouble. She placed her weight on the inside edge of her paw, turning her knee outward and rolling off the inside toe rather than the middle toe.
The surgeon took her in for additional X-rays, and confirmed that her external fixator apparatus needed to be adjusted. A few twists and tweaks to the screws and pins later, and the surgeon reported that Purple Girl's tibia and fibula were lined up nicely. She came home groggy but was soon wide awake and back to being bored and frustrated. The first week had been tough for both of us...she wasn't allowed any freedom whatsoever, just potty breaks on a short leash, and otherwise crated. To help her tolerate the enforced confinement, she'd been on Acepromazine and pain killers, but now, ten days later, she'd been weaned off the pain meds, and I hated keeping her medicated. She had now earned some freedom in a small enclosure, but had to have careful supervision of her time outside the crate, and she wore a "cone" at all times.
For anyone who's ever had a dog in a cone, you know that they just don't "get" that their head takes up more space than usual, and they seem to revel in one of the only games available in their restricted state - how many objects (or people) they can wipe out with each move they make. Purple Girl really only wanted attention, wanted entertainment, wanted above all to have that itchy spot just under the edge of the cone to be scratched and scratched and scratched!
In the days following the adjustment to her apparatus, the pup has used the leg far more normally, her limp is hardly noticeable, and she's becoming a dynamo impossible to keep quiet. The crate is too confining, the leash too restrictive, the play area too bland and austere. She explodes out of the crate, blasts full-bore into my shins with the sharp edge of that cone, and ricochets around like a flea in a can until I can grab her and tuck her under my arm, where she squirms and writhes and groans in protest. She can't wait to get back to living a normal puppy existence, which, thankfully, the surgeon assures me won't be too much longer. The Healing Machine will go for her next X-ray on Tuesday, and I'm hoping we'll have more good news to report.