August 19, 2015

That Bites - Warning: Graphic Content!

Jocelyn is really into skating these days. I took away all access to electronic devices for a week and she put on my roller blades and went to town. Well, not really, just around the neighborhood. I took apart a broom and gave her the stick to use as a cane, of sorts and she persevered in learning. She can stand up straight and move and not fall down. It's impressive, really.

I didn't think anything of it yesterday when she skated over to the neighbor's house to play in the afternoon sun. It was hot out. They went to the house to get a drink. Didn't realize the dog wasn't in her kennel. Chaos ensued. I heard crying from across the cul-de-sac. "I want my mommy!" I started walking over. I thought she'd fallen down on her skates. The neighbor used a strong voice to stop Jocelyn from moving. Uh oh, that's not a good sign. I started to run. Another neighbor was running toward them, too.

My neighbor was sitting on the ground with Jocelyn in his lap and hand pressed firmly on her thigh. The dog had attacked Jocelyn. Ripped a chunk in her leg. Blood everywhere. She calmed down to a whimper when she saw me. And saw I wasn't going to move her. Or change the pressure that was being applied. I called 911.

So Jocelyn got her first ride in an ambulance. And she didn't even have a good time. The firemen were really nice, though. Even though they cut her shorts to see the bites on her bum.

I have some majorly mixed emotions. This is the same dog that bit the girls a year and a half ago. Her name is Lightning...because that's how fast she strikes. I don't know what makes some kids safe and then others (mine) turn into play toys but Lightning's days are numbered. I wonder if her doggie sense can feel that.

I explained to Jocelyn what it meant to put a down to sleep. That's a nice euphemism. But I thought in explaining what would happen that Jocelyn would be upset. She wasn't. She looked at me and said, "good." Now when we talk she thinks it's a little sad Lightning will sleep forever.

For me, I'm sad that Jocelyn is hurting. I'm sad for my neighbors who are losing a pet. I'm happy that Lightning won't be able to attack anyone else. Her breed isn't known for violence. Quite the opposite, really. Many are service animals. Lightening's in quarantine for ten days in case Jocelyn gets an infection and they need a tissue sample from the dog.

The little neighbor boy came over this afternoon to check on Jocelyn. I hope he understands what it meant to open that door yesterday. And that Jocelyn will grasp that adults have rules and give warnings for valid reasons. I know she now believes that doctors are here to help people. Although her favorite saying last night (whenever anyone touched her) was "you're killin' me here!" Just like the "you're killin' me Smalls" line in Sandlot.

Jocelyn had the emergency room staff in good humor, even when they were killin' her. She did well after they got some local anesthetic in her. But sticking a needle into an open wound several times at different angles didn't produce the most ideal sound. I'm sure people heard her in the parking lot. And all I could do was help hold her legs so she didn't thrash around.

I'm not sure how many stitches she got. Maybe 11 or 12 in her thigh. Makes a nice Y shape. She kept her focus on her glove balloon peeps and the Temple Run game on my phone and didn't holler at all when getting them. I sent a plastic surgeon in Seattle photos of the bite and sutures, we can see what can be done to minimize scarring in 9-12 months.

Not exactly the complication our lives need when we're moving next Wednesday. But alas, it's here. Anyone wanting to come help me attack my To Do list is welcome to come over. I'm slowly figuring out the difference between what needs to be done, what needs to be done by me, and what doesn't matter. Sometimes, it's a fine line. Jocelyn's been watching Netflix all day and hasn't once complained of soreness or hurt. Amazing.

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Oh, my. Poor girl. That looks incredibly painful. I hope she heals quickly and you get the help you need.

  2. Briget, remember when you were climbing on a big stump at Pilchuck park which had lodged in the river until the next big flood carried it further downstream.

    Under the water the stump had a potentially deadly secret. As a young tree someone had laid a pitchfork against it and forgot about it. The tree grew up around it and the tines were trapped ready to poke anyone climbing the tree.

    Probably decades later the tree died and the stump was eventually carried down the flooding river, pausing in Pilchuck park where there is a little beach and picnic tables. By a strange twist of fate little Bridget (about Jocelyn's age as I recall) found one of the pitch fork's tines through the flesh connecting two of her toes and temporarily lodged her there. Some men were there, fortunately, who held her and comforted her and one found a hacksaw and removed the tine and foot and girl who was delivered to my arms, tine and all. I had been summoned from elsewhere in the park and watched from shore helplessly for a few minutes while this was going on. I wouldn't have been much good out there in the waist high water, but I felt guilty not being there holding her while the others separated her from the rest of the pitchfork. Dryness overcame guilt those few minutes. Isn't that sad?

    The picture of Jocelyn with the rubber glove balloon trick the doctors used to calm her reminded me of this story 30 some-odd years earlier. Thank heaven good people and agencies are there to protect us in emergencies. I wish I knew those who helped Bridget then, so I could have thanked them again.


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