Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dog tumor adventure

In December two weeks before the date scheduled for tumor removal, 

I discovered that MaeRose had gnawed into the tumor on her right front leg,  and split it open.  We rushed to Dr. Watanabe's, had a long wait, and when he saw her he said that I should keep it uncovered over the weekend so it could scab over before Monday's surgery - which would be squeezed in ahead of schedule.  

The weekend was dreadful.  I bought a new expensive Comfy Cone, which MR managed to drag across the tumor - leaving a trail of blood in her effort to get at it -
so I put her back into the plastic cone from the vet's.  

That first night I tired shutting her up in the kitchen, hoping to keep the rest of the house gore-free.  When she realized that Darby and I had gone to bed she went through several stages: 
1. Barking  
2. Barking louder
3. Barking woefully and even louder
4.and two hours later, managing to knock down the gate and drag herself up the stairs - open plastic cone dangling from her collar.

Saturday -
Rain, rain, rain.  The dogs don't like going out in the rain, and MR was even more reluctant than ever.  
All day long I cut the toes out of old socks  to cover her tumor, the only thing Dr. Watanabe said I might do - he had absolutely refused to bandage it.  MR gnawed, slurped, nibbled -
anything she could think of to get at the tumor, dragging the edge of the plastic  cone over it - ick.  More blood - and soggy soggy pieces of sock.

Sunday  - the same - the day seemed endless.

Monday morning - arrived at Dr. W's. to find that they had a very busy schedule.  Everyone was horrified when they saw what MR had managed to do - at least half of the tumor was gone - looked like a torn tennis ball with jagged edges - I guessed she had decided to do her own surgery.

Late Monday - $933 bill (teeth cleaning included) - nice green bandage, plastic cone secure.  Dr. W. said that she had used her teeth to push some of the tumor down into tendons, and that he had ordered another pathology ($175) - I'm a little uncertain about the details of his reasoning - one of those end of the day somewhat rushed conversations.

MR settled into her new cone-head routine beautifully.  Every now and then she came up to me and looked wistfully - "What in the world is this thing on my head?" I cleared paths inside and out - but she had no  trouble eating, drinking, jumping on my bed, into the car (for little trips) - and you can see from these photos - she squished herself onto a stool so that she could look out the window.  

Couldn't wait  for the bandage and the cone to come off.  There was no scar or something which she could chew on, just a little row of white thread - to mark the top of the incision against her black fur.

All this time Darby did  not get much exercise - and let me know it.  He opened drawers, knocked over wastebaskets, and tried staring me down with a baleful look.  I'm not sure who won.  

When the second pathology report came, it indicated that the tumor had been cancerous.  Next step was a chemo pill - so potent that I was instructed to wear rubber gloves when handling it.  

And, now, in April when I am finally posting this, the tumor has not returned.  But, then there was the husky attack - five of them - 

to be continued.

More grammar woes - grammar snob am I

I can't stop getting uptight, annoyed, grinding my teeth, wondering if I am out of the loop -
it's all about the universal misuse of pronouns.  Are we heading toward the day when sentences such as "Sonja and him make a great pair," "My coach and me went to the finals," "Her and my mom are best friends"are standard English?

I could fill page after page after page with quotes from the media - among them, yesterday's from Luann, one of the New York housewives, and a "Countess" who has written an etiquette book.  She is responsible for the first of the quotes above.

Will the day arrive when English handbooks accept the objective pronoun as the subjective one?
Usage, so they say, is fluent and subject to change.  My mother used to insist on the proper use of "whom" rather than "who."  When I hear it used correctly nowadays, it sounds quite stilted.

Do teachers even bother to correct their students, or are they setting the example? When I was calling on college professors, representing a major educational textbook publisher, I met many who taught essay writing but admitted that they did not correct students' grammar  - implying it would inhibit creativity.

Which leads to more than one generation of graduates and post-graduates who mangle the language blissfully - and us older fuddy-duddies whose numbers grow smaller every day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gum Chewing in public appearances and the anatomy of a cow

Showing my age, attitude, disdain - so what?

Just saw an interview with Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution guru, about his appearance at the Los Angeles
Unified School District Board.  He offered to visit their schools to offer alternatives to the food choices currently provided to the students.  His mission is to instruct, encourage healthy eating, and to change the obsession with junk food among the majority of today's school children.

The camera panned across the faces of the School Board members - impassively listening, many barely paying attention, not a glimmer of encouragement - but what struck me enough to write this blog entry was that several of them were chewing gum - at least I imagine it was gum - what else do people chew nonstop nowadays?

Needless to say, Oliver's request was turned down, and some of the Board continued contentedly munching their "cuds."

The next televised segment showed Oliver visiting a school leading a cow to a pile of hay.  The cow's hide was chalked into sections - to show various parts of its body.

I wonder how many of the School Board members know anything about the anatomy of a cow.
Do they know that it has four stomachs (accurately, "chambers")- or what cud chewing really is?

Interested in public school education? Take a look sometime at the televised meetings of the LAUSD Board -

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Copyright ownership - whose is it?

At a recent gathering of children's writers a question about posting on blogs came up. One participant insisted that Google owns the copyright of anything posted on blogspot - but the Google website covering blogger and blogspot seems to contradict, and to a certain legalese extent, clarify it.