Aug 3, 2014: The $2,000 Apricot Pit

Well, if you’re reading the title of this blog, I bet you’re wondering how an apricot pit could possibly be worth $2,000. Is it made of platinum? Part of one of those super-fancy desserts at high-end restaurants where they put gold flakes on your ice cream and then charge you $800 for a sundae or something? Oh no, no, no, my friends, it is much simpler than that. You can have your very own $2,000 apricot pit if you simply let your pug out in the backyard to go to the bathroom and she decides to ingest the pit while she’s out there! (Probably in protest because you cleaned up the backyard and left no old fecal matter for her to nosh on, really. And yes, I’m well aware of how disgusting that is, but if you’re a dog owner, you know that some dogs just eat their poop. It’s completely disgusting, but it just is a fact of dog life.)

Yes, folks, it’s true. Luna is a poop-eater—always has been. It has always grossed me out (although she is a fantastic dog in all other ways!), and I recently decided that enough was enough, and I was going to make sure all of the poop was cleaned up every time she went outside, so she couldn’t “snack” anymore. So what did she do? Went and ate an apricot that had fallen off our tree, pit and all. And then nonchalantly came back inside—and we were none the wiser. Until Wednesday, when she started throwing up all over the place. Oddly enough, I already had a vet appointment scheduled for Thursday, as she was due for vaccines before our upcoming trip. So we kept a close eye on her as she puked…and puked…and puked some more. Thank god for our steam-cleaner. Same story on Thursday, except she wouldn’t eat or drink, either. I can say this lightly now, but on Thursday I was a mess. Luna has had several serious medical issues in her 11 years on this planet, and every single time, she has always still eaten and drank. So to see her barely walking, refusing food and water…well, given her age, you can imagine that I thought it was the end. I mean, 11 isn’t horribly old for a pug, but it’s also not young for any dog.

I took her into the vet on Thursday afternoon as planned, and the vet thought she had just eaten something that upset her stomach. They did bloodwork (because she was due for it anyway—she’s on a bladder medication for the rest of her life and needs bloodwork done every year or two to refill the prescription), gave her a shot of anti-nausea meds, and sent me home with instructions to return the next morning for an ultrasound if she hadn’t started acting more normal.

She didn’t. By Friday morning, she still wasn’t eating or drinking more than a sip or two (though the meds had at least stopped the vomiting), and she wasn’t walking more than a few steps. I took her in for the ultrasound, and they determined that she had a “curved object” lodged in her GI tract. Our options were to do surgery or to wait and see if she passed it. The problem with the latter option was that she was pretty darn sick already, and if she was unable to pass it, they’d need to do surgery anyway—plus, there was a risk of her rupturing her GI tract trying to pass it, which would necessitate a very expensive visit to the emergency vet (it being a weekend). Not to mention…well, it would probably be pretty darn uncomfortable. (Not that surgery isn’t!)

And to complicate matters further, we’re headed out for vacation shortly, and the vet said if we did surgery Friday, Luna would be fine to come with us on our vacation as planned. But if we waited for her to pass it and she didn’t…we’d have to do surgery later, and we might have to cancel our vacation. Given that more than half of the vacation is already paid for and nonrefundable, that wasn’t a particularly alluring option.

To be honest, I was unsure of whether it was even fair to put a dog of Luna’s age through surgery. This is her fourth surgery, in fact. She was spayed as a puppy (routine, but still surgery). Then, when she was pretty young (I think she was still under two years old), she ate large pieces of four supposedly indestructible Kong toys and had to have them surgically removed. (Yeah, don’t let them tell you those dog toys are indestructible. They’re no match for the jaws of a pug.) Then, a couple of years later, she had bladder stones that she couldn’t pass, so she had to have surgery to remove those, too. And honestly, another surgery just seemed cruel. But the vet said the ultrasound and bloodwork showed she is in very good health other than the “curved object” (which turned out to be the pit), and she said that in her opinion, she wouldn’t put Luna to sleep because she probably has several good years left and was likely to recover well from the surgery, despite her age.

So…we did it. And I have to say, I can’t believe how well she’s recovering. She slept a lot for the first day or so after the surgery, but she’s drinking, going outside to potty, and walking around a bit. I even saw her run twice (to get food dropped by Sam—any surprise?!), though the little diva is refusing to eat her bland diet and is starving herself until I finally cave and give her a few pieces of kibble. She’s actually recovering better than she did after the bladder surgery, and that was eight years ago! So I’m glad we took the vet’s advice and didn’t put her to sleep…but wow, $2,000 is a mighty expensive apricot pit. It required some creativity on our part to figure out how to cover it, in fact, and I think I need to figure out some creative way for Luna to make money to pay for the darn surgery! In the meantime, she’ll never be let out in the backyard unattended again. Sheesh! I didn’t even leave her out for more than two minutes, given her knack for finding rogue poop and eating it, even when I think I have it all cleaned up. But apparently two minutes was enough for her to find and ingest a ridiculously expensive apricot pit.

Anyway, that drama made up a big part of our week. We had planned to go visit Grandma Diane on Saturday, but given that Luna was one day post-op, we couldn’t leave her. So Chris stayed home and cleaned (and kept the pug company) while I took Sam up to see Grandma. Theo opted to stay home with Chris (likely because he was mad at me for daring to take an inappropriate Pink song off of his iPod!), and Auntie Jeanette and Justin swung by to take him to a little kiddie amusement park for an hour or so. Theo said he had a lot of fun, and when I asked him what he talked about, he said, “Oh, not much. I didn’t really talk much—just enjoyed the scenery.” Which is a striking contrast to Auntie Jeanette’s report that neither Theo nor Justin stopped talking the whole time! She said, “Wow, it’s good to know that’s ‘not talking much’! I wouldn’t have guessed!” He he, I tend to believe Auntie Jeanette here, knowing how very, very much Theo likes to talk. 🙂

Sunday was also very low-key and local, given that we couldn’t leave Luna for long. We went out for ice cream at our favorite place in Walnut Creek after spending a little time at the bookstore, but that was about it. In case you’re wondering (because I know at least one blog reader who probably is!), Chris had two scoops of vanilla salted almond toffee, and Theo had a kiddie scoop of strawberry rose sorbet. I had a scoop of vanilla salted almond toffee and a scoop of crème fraiche carrot cake. And the blog reader who is likely interested in this is now slapping her hand to her forehead and saying, “Why no chocolate?!” I’ll tell you why: They only had one chocolate flavor, and it was just plain chocolate. Not even dark chocolate—just plain. No goodies in it, no nothing. I like dark chocolate and/or chocolate with all kinds of yummy stuff mixed in. But it wasn’t a loss—this place’s non-chocolate flavors really are fantastic, too.

Let’s see…what else? Theo had another bowling field trip at camp this week and apparently won. He seemed more interested in the slushie he had, though. 🙂 He also got to hold an eight-foot snake when “Furry Tails and Scales” came out to do a presentation for the kids. Better him than me—I’m not a snake person. I’m sure I would’ve liked the bunny rabbit, though. 🙂

He also had a walking field trip to Jamba Juice, and it just so happened that Chris and I snuck in a lunch date at the pizza place right next to Jamba Juice that day. (Chris works at home two days a week, so we try to sneak in a quick lunch date one of the two days. It’s been so long since we had regular “dates” that it’s quite a treat!) So we saw Theo’s camp starting to walk past the pizza place on their way back to camp, and I popped my head out the door to say hi. I wondered whether Theo might already be in the “my mom embarrasses me” phase, but I’m pleased to report that he isn’t—his face lit up and he yelled “Mom!!!” and came over and gave me a big hug. He’s been talking about it since, too—how cool it was that he saw me while on his field trip. Given the fact that he lately spends a lot of time irritated with me for the various (perceived) injustices I dole out to him, it’s nice to know that he still loves me, too. 🙂

Speaking of which, I was talking to one of the teachers at camp who has only recently gotten to know Theo (she worked an odd shift for a while), and she was commenting on how much she liked him. She said, “He’s like talking to a little grown-up—it’s hilarious!” Indeed…one of the things I find most amusing about him is his “professor-speak.” I had a great example of it this week when I was up in the den working. Theo was being mouthy with Chris, who finally said, “Theo, enough. You need to go up to your room for five minutes.” Theo replied, “I will do nothing of the sort!” I burst out laughing because he sounded just like a 50-year-old formal British man or something! I’ve never heard a six-year-old express displeasure in such an eloquent way. Makes it hard not to laugh! Luckily, I was sequestered in the den working, so he didn’t hear me crack up. 🙂 (And by the way, he did end up in his room, despite his lofty protestations!)

It was nice, though, to have the camp teacher say, “You know, he’s really well behaved. He actually behaves better than a lot of the older kids here.” She’s the second person who’s told me that in a week, and it’s nice to hear. (The other was Sam’s PT, who works with a lot of kids and sees their older siblings hanging around…plus has three kids of her own.) Theo can push so hard with us that it’s nice to know we must be doing something right, as he’s largely respectful and well-mannered when he’s around other adults.

So, this is my last weekly blog post for a couple of weeks, as we’re heading on a vacation soon. But I’m working ahead on Blog Hop posts so as not to get behind. Click here to read the latest one, on “golden moments.” I’m hoping to get one more written this week, too, so be sure to check back later in the week. If I do get that one written, it’ll be on how my connection with disability has changed how I see the world. I’ve got a lot to say about that one. 🙂

In the meantime, happy beginning of August! And happy birthday to Papa Tom, who turns 68 on Monday!

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