10 May 2015

The T Word

Up until about three years ago, ‘lump’ was just something I associated with cheap futons that I associate with my poor university days. But then two things happened, or more accurately, six.

I got two lumps, both malignant. And around the same time, Jed the basset got four lumps, which were magnificently benign. We were de-lumped about the same time. Mine were dealt with a great deal of permanence, which involved a pair of fabulous new breasts, and Jed’s lumps came back in the way that hounddog lumps do.  

Jed’s lumps, still benign, are an ongoing concern. Especially since he ran enthusiastically into a pile of sticks this weekend, stabbing one of his lumps, which erupted into a gross mountain off goo on the side of his left hip. Wingman and I took one look at his sorrowful eyes on Sunday night, and bundled him into the car and rushed him of to the emergency vet clinic.

By the time the doctor saw him, he'd developed a slight fever. Worse, he looked tired confused, and we couldn’t’ explain to him that he was going to be okay. We got him up on the table and the vet confirmed that there was a painful infection. He told us that it would eventually have to be surgically removed. Jim and I nodded like sad bobble head dolls. ‘It’s important to remove the tumour,' the vet said.

Cone Head
My bobble head sprung to attention. What the f*ck did he say? He repeated himself and said that we had to remove the tumour. I looked at him, and then at the glass canister of dog treats behind him, and wanted to pick it up and smash it over his head.

Technically, a tumour is just an abnormal mass of tissue’, but to an ex-cancer patient a tumour is something that involves pain, worry, and an uncertain outcome.  Same goes for ‘lump’, ‘terminal’ and  ‘caller unknown’. And it’s particularly unpleasant to hear it in the early hours of the morning when all you want is the best for your pet. (And a coffee).

‘Why are you using the word tumour?’ I said. The vet looked up at me, also tired, but also kind of caring. He took off his glasses and wiped them tiredly on his shirt, ‘Well tumour doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad, it’s just a mass…’

‘I know what it means,’ I snapped. ‘So let’s just call it a mass.’ He put his glasses back on and I looked at his scrawny neck and figure that if I wrapped my hands around it, and shook hard enough, I could shake his glasses back off again. My anger was sudden and intense, and though it wasn’t logical, it made total sense to me.

The vet suggested we leave Jed overnight, and they could operate in the morning. We suggested, to each other, that we bundle up our precious parcel and take him to our own dog doctor in the morning. Which we did.

Our vet, Dr Steve, recommended antibiotics & anti-inflammatories in order to soothe Jed’s painful wound. Then we’ll reassess to see if it has to be removed. In the meantime Jed has to wear a cone, and though he hates is, there has been  significant shrinkage. 

So, Jed's wound has gone from the T-word, to a mass, to a boo-boo. It’s technical name is ‘sebaceous cyst that got poked with a stick and may have to be removed for $1,500’, but I like boo-boo sounds much better to me.