I was going to write about pressure writers face to balance good work with work that is accessible to readers (if you can stand to read that word, “accessible,” one more time) in today’s column. But sometimes life has a way of barging in. In my case, my change of plans arrived on four feet, smacking its lips after ingesting a snack that wasn’t exactly edible.
Yes, I live with dogs. My office has a dog bed right beside the computer desk. As I type this, there is one exhausted miniature dachshund named Truffles curled into a ball, fast asleep on that dog bed.
About an hour ago, I was getting ready to edit a draft for this blog that I wrote yesterday. I was worried because I hadn’t really found my rhythm with that piece and wondered what I was going to do to fix it. Just as I swiveled my chair toward my computer screen, Truffles scooted under my desk, smacked her lips, and turned around a few times. She had dragged something behind her that I noticed out of the corner of my eye. That item was one half of a pair of pantyhose that my teenaged daughter left on the floor. As I picked up the ravaged pantyhose, I realized that Truffles, who weighs not quite 10 pounds, had eaten an entire leg of once-lovely sheer black nylon.
My first reaction was to scold the dog. My second was to envision this long piece of stretchy fabric twisted around in her intestines. So I called our vet at St. Francis Animal Hospital right here in Roseville. The woman who answered the phone quickly put me on hold so that she could ask the veterinarian what I should do. The answer was to give Truffles two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. If she didn’t vomit the pantyhose back up within 15 minutes, I was to bring her into the vet clinic.
Momentary panic. I don’t keep hydrogen peroxide in the house. But my friend, Luann, who lives just down the street does. Luann is a nurse and she had not yet left for her shift, so I called her. Minutes later, I had her bottle of hydrogen peroxide. How was I going to get this into my dog? I picked up Truffles, found a small measuring glass with a mark for two tablespoons, poured the peroxide into it. Then I searched for my turkey baster. Truffles went into the kitchen sink so I could pry her jaws open, shove in the turkey baster, and squirt the peroxide down her throat. She was not a fan, but she did leave my fingers attached. I think the turkey baster is even salvageable.
Once that was done, I put Truffles in the bathtub. It was just slippery enough that she really couldn’t get out of there while I sat beside the tub and waited. Sure enough, within just a few minutes, Truffles emptied out everything that was in her belly….remnants of her breakfast and the pantyhose leg. Whew. Thank you, hydrogen peroxide. Thank you, Luann. Thank you, St. Francis.
And here I am, back in front of my computer as I consider how flexibility has its gifts. Life, and writing, can be unpredictable, which is exactly what keeps things interesting. Maybe we should all ingest something unexpected once in a while….intellectually, I mean!