Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Update on Lucy: Upon opening her up, a 14 pound tumor was found attached to her spleen. It was removed successfully, the doctors hope, and showed to us in a large galvanized feedbucket. It was the size of a basketball and looked to me like a cow's stomach. The tiny tongue of a spleen was a little red shriveled afterthought curled around one side of the tumor, which was whiteitsh purpleish red and flocked with curd-like fatty deposits. To me, the spleen itself looked like part of a diaphragm coming off a huge round stomach. I told the doctor what I thought, and he seemed to like it. He seemed very excited to be able to do this kind of surgery and, of course, to pull it off successfully. I asked him if the mass inside was all blood or spongy tissue and what would happen if he perforated it. Upon this, he said he imagined spongy tissue with lots of blood (as the spleen hoards blood) and promptly punctured it with the end of a scissor. Thin, bloody yellow fluid seeped out.

That's the interesting part. Looking at Lucy, petting her, and reassuring her was awful. It was nice to do but awful to see her like that. She was a flat slab with a fully shaved belly and an incision (stitched) from her sternum to her pubis. She was still paralyzed from the anesthesia, but she was awake, her eyes were wide open, and she was becoming more awake by the minute. She was absolutely terrified. She doesn't like loud noises or anything remotely scary, and it was pretty noisy in there. Another doctor walked in carrying a huge basset hound, and the dog yelped, and that is the noise Lucy worries about the most. She can't stand to hear another dog in distress. When she is afraid, her huge eyes roll around in their sockets, and you can see the whites, and she reminds everyone of a horse (the rolling eyes, the trotting around, and the skittishness). I could see the whites, but of course, her eyes couldn't roll around at that point. Also, she had lots of slobber coming out of her mouth, and her breathing was very labored. She looked rabid, and I was almost afraid to pet her. Many people think that her excited or anxious face is really an attack face (I have to admit, she does look kind of psychotic when she makes this face, but she would never attack anyone). We pet her and rubbed her ears and looked at her former tumor.

I hated to see her like that, but of course I really wanted to see her much more and especially as she gained consciousness and movement. The very upsetting thing is that we can't see her at all this weekend because the hospital is closed, but we can see her tomorrow morning. She might even come home tomorrow. She is a strong dog and will probably replace the blood she has lost and will probably survive this just fine, provided the tumor is not malignant (which it is probably not). She won't have a spleen, so she won't revisit this particular crisis.

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