Sunday, September 09, 2012

FeeBee's Big Adventure

Ella had knee surgery this past Wednesday. The knee injury the doctors and physical therapists assured us would get better with ice, rest and PT turned out to be a torn meniscus, and no amount of ice, rest and PT would make it better. Instead of having knee surgery over the summer, when Ella wouldn't miss any school, she had it during the second week of middle school. Lovely.

We've had some not-so-good experiences at Dell Children's emergency department (did you know that's the official name now?), so I was a bit nervous about taking Ella there for surgery. I needn't have worried. Every staff member, from the receptionist to the post-op nurses, was absolutely wonderful. They took very good care of both of us.

I had planned to write a post about how sitting in the waiting room at the children's hospital had given me a new perspective on how grateful I am that we haven't had so many operations that we know the janitorial staff by name; on how even though we have a high premium and deductible, fixing Ella's knee wasn't going to put us into bankruptcy; and on how lucky we are to have four happy, healthy kids.

But I'm just too tired.

I was absolutely not prepared for how rough the recovery would be. I expected Ella to be off her feet the day of the surgery and maybe for a day after and then be fine. Instead, she has been pretty much helpless since Wednesday. Her leg is in a big brace, so if she wants to move to a new position, I have to help her shift her leg. If she wants to go from being on the sofa to sitting up in her wheelchair, I have to help her. If she needs to use the bathroom, I have to help her. (This isn't to say B hasn't been helpful, because he has been. But I'm a more patient nurse than he is.) For the first two nights, I had to get up every four hours to give Ella her medication and check on her knee-icing machine.

I don't think I've been this tired since I had a newborn.

On Friday morning, all hell broke loose. I was trying to get Lily and Campbell out the door in time for the bus, and Ella got into a panic-pain loop and was screaming "It hurts! It hurts! It hurts!" at the top of her lungs. FeeBee was in the middle of all of this, bouncing around and begging someone, anyone, to take her for a walk.

I turned Campbell and Lily over to B, who got them to the school bus, and threw FeeBee in the backyard and forgot about her.

After a half hour of her screaming, I managed to get Ella calmed down (or maybe the pain pill kicked in). I turned on "Turweeous Dorge" for Elizabeth, and passed out on the sofa between them. Then the phone rang.

Caller: Hi. This is Sally* from Heart of Texas Lab Rescue.
Me, thinking it's awfully early for a fund-raising phone call: Hi?
Sally: Um. Are you missing your dog?
Me: I don't think so. She was in the back yard.
Sally: Well, we just got a call from a guy at a construction site who says he has your dog. Here's his number.
Me: Ohmygod. I'm so sorry. I don't know how this happened. One of the kids must have left the gate open. I don't know how else she would have gotten out. I'm so sorry. It won't happen again, I promise.
Sally: Yeah, here's his number.

So I called the guy, and it turns out that he was a supervisor on a construction site around the corner, and he did actually have my dog. He was super nice and offered to walk FeeBee home for me. Five minutes later, she came down the street with her new best friend. According to Mike, the guy who called, FeeBee had been hanging out at the job site, mooching breakfast tacos from the builders.

She apparently had the best time ever and was quite pleased with her little adventure. She definitely wasn't at all sorry.

I texted my cousin, who had facilitated FeeBee's adoption, and begged her to tell the people at the rescue group that we aren't irresponsible dog owners. I really was worried they were going to make us give FeeBee back.

We put an extra latch on the gate, just in case she's actually opening it on her own. Unfortunately, extra latches do absolutely no good if the kids leave the gate open.

This morning, I put her out in the yard, assuming, foolishly, that the gate was still latched. About half an hour later, the doorbell rang, and there was a neighbor from around the corner with a sopping wet FeeBee. She and another neighbor's dog had been romping through sprinklers.

We are pretty much now the family everyone on the street hates because our kids are too loud and our dog keeps wreaking havoc. Yay us.

The lesson is all this is to make sure your dog has a collar and tags. If it hadn't been for her tags, FeeBee would have been gone on Friday, and we wouldn't have known what happened. It's probably how she ended up at the animal shelter to begin with.

Until I get a lock for the gate, FeeBee isn't allowed out unsupervised. But if she ever does go missing, we'll know to check all the local construction sites. She'll probably be hanging out, chowing down on tacos.

*Her name isn't actually Sally. I was so asleep when she called that I have no idea what her name actually is.


Unknown said...

She's one of the guys now, mom!!!

Becky said...

Have you thought about an invisible fence? it's really heavenly. Oh FeeBee... sweet girl!

ckh said...

I feel your pain! My dog goes on walk-abouts as often as he can get away with it. I'm filled with anxiety until he comes home, but panic if the mail carrier hasn't yet delivered. My dog will eat him some day.

Maybe you could get one of those little alarms that is off when the gate (or window or door) is closed but on if it's open.

And thanks for the reminder. My dog lost his tags and although he has a microchip, and all the neighbors know him by now, he has no identification.

Joan said...

Oh, my crazy rescue dog Keela was only 9 months when she first jumped our SIX FOOT FENCE to chase rabbits. Trying to get her to come to me in zero degree weather with two feet of snow on the ground is permanently frozen (no pun intended) into my brain. My neighbors have my number on speed-dial. Even good dogs (with good parents) don't have the sense to come home sometimes.