Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sylvia Milks Her Operation For All That It’s Worth

By Anne Sullivan
“Let me tell you about my operation,” Sylvia said as we were sitting on the porch. Actually Sylvia was not sitting; she was lying down with her head up.
Without waiting for my permission, she went on: “I wasn’t scared at all. On the contrary, I was very brave and the vet said I came out of the operation with my tail wagging, like the good dog that I am. She’s quite nice, that vet.”
“Certainly she is. Terri’s been my vet of choice forever. She came to Socorro a week after Bernie came to live with me, and Terri took good care of her for 14 years.”
“Oh, of course, the sainted Bernie, the dog that could do no wrong.” Sylvia threw her head back in a huge grimace. “I might have known she’d come into this somewhere. I can’t even have an operation to myself. No, it has to be all about Bernie.”
“OK, tell me all about your operation,” I said to placate her, even though I’d heard about her operation eight times already.
“Did you know I had three fatty tumors?” Sylvia asked with a measure of pride. “Three fatty tumors were cut off of me, that’s a lot.”
“Yes, it is,” I agreed.
“Not that I’m fond of the name ‘fatty tumor.’ It sounds rather gross in many ways.” I had only the smallest opportunity to nod before Sylvia continued, “And did you know I have a shunt in my chest?” she asked. “Did the sainted Bernie have a shunt?”
“No, she never had a shunt. She had congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart. The cardiac specialist I took her to said he’d never seen a heart so big.”
“I suppose that tops fatty tumors,” Sylvia said with resignation.
“Bernie had difficulty breathing, and sometimes she would fall over and couldn’t get up,” I said, lost in the memory.
Sylvia chewed on her shunt in a vain attempt to pull it out.
“Don’t do that,” I said.
Sylvia stopped long enough to ask, “Did you notice that the cyst under my eye is gone?”
“Yes, and you look ever so much nicer. However, I sort of miss your piratical look.”
“When I had my operation, I had anesthesia, and I was asleep while Terri did all the cutting and sewing, and I really didn’t feel a thing. Of course, now I feel it, but I’m keeping a stiff upper lip about the constant pain and continual mental stress. I have a huge scar on my rear. Can you see it?”
“Of course, you can’t miss it.”
“And that’s not all,” Sylvia was unstoppable. “I had infected ears, you know, and –”
“I know. I had to put medicine in them.” More medicine had ended up on me than in her ears.
“That was a fun game, wasn’t it? Anyway, my ears were all cleaned out. From stem to stern I was operated on. And I walked out of the vet’s office under my own steam.”
“A good thing you did. You’re too heavy to carry.”
“Only 64 pounds.”
“That’s a pretty solid dog.”
Sylvia fixed me with a fierce scowl, causing me to add, “and every pound a gem.”
In spite of herself, Sylvia smiled at this.
“I hope you won’t be too bored while you’re convalescing,” I said.
“I’ll be too busy,” she declared. “I just noticed that we have a book on the Lost Adams Diggings in our library. It’s by J. Frank Dobie, and it’s called ‘Apache Gold and Yankee Silver.’”
“That has a nice ring to it.”
“Yes, doesn’t it? That book might give me more clues to where the gold might be buried. As my rear end has all these stitches and is so sore, I know you won’t mind if I stretch out on your comfortable chair when I read.”

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