Sunday, March 16, 2014

Canine Cataract Surgery—A dog’s perspective

By Hobo Hudson

My troubles all began with a recent visit to my doctor for my annual physical when he asked how I was doing and I told him that I was doing great but sure wished the weather didn’t stay foggy all day because I couldn’t see a thing outside.

He explained that it wasn’t the weather but, rather, that I had developed cataracts to the point that, when I was inside, my pupils expanded and I was seeing around the cataracts but, when I went outside, my pupils contracted and the cataracts covered my entire pupils which prevented me from seeing anything.

He further explained my options were to either hire a Seeing Eye dog or to have the cataracts removed. He said the best cataract surgeon in our area is Dr. Thomas R. Miller of Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center, located in Largo, Fl., which is on the opposite side of Tampa Bay from our home and is about 1 ½ hour’s drive each way.

This was a no-brainer decision for me because I certainly didn’t want another dog moving in, and I asked Dad to make an appointment with Dr. Miller for me. I was very surprised to learn that I had an appointment in only a couple of days whereas it normally takes a couple of months for an appointment with a hooman cataract surgeon.

My parents and I arrived a few minutes early for our appointment and, to my surprise, we were called into the doctor’s office precisely on time whereas the hooman doctors habitually make the hoomans wait two or three hours for their visits.

I first met a very nice young lady, a nurse named Stephanie, who offered me her paw to smell and then proceeded to give me ear scratches, and she instantly won my heart. After a minute or so, she assisted me in getting onto an examining table so that Dr. Miller would be able to examine my eyes.

Dr. Miller entered the office, and we all introduced ourselves, and he shook my paw which a lot of doctors don’t seem to do anymore. He then looked into my eyes with a light, and I barely noticed it. He explained he had already reviewed all my medical records, faxed to him by my regular doctor, and said I would be a perfect candidate for the surgery even though I was getting a little old, being 14.

We discussed the price for doing both eyes at the same time and found it would be about $1,800 surgeon’s fee plus another $1,000 if I wanted lens implants. Operating room and supplies were another $1,000, so the total amount was about $3,800. Dr. Miller said that about half his patients opted for the implants and the other half did not. He also said that I would be far-sighted without the implants. Dr. Miller was very relaxed in discussing the pros and cons of the lens implants and did not exert any pressure for me to have the lens implants but left the decision up to me.  After thinking it over for a few minutes, I barked to include the implants because I didn’t want to have to wear glasses inside.

To my surprise, Dr. Miller scheduled the surgery for the coming Tuesday. I would have to return both Wednesday and Thursday for follow-up visits. He also offered me a room in his hotel for the night after the surgery so Mom and Dad wouldn’t have to drive so much, but I knew they wouldn’t mind, so I declined the offer.

I presented myself on the appointed day about 8:30 a.m., and a young nurse named Tracy approached me to leave the reception area with her. Since I had expected and looked forward to meeting Stephanie again, I really didn’t want to go with Tracy, but Dad said it would be all right, and so I agreed to go with her. She brought me to another waiting room where I visited with the other patients until it was my turn for surgery. I was given a small shot and, when I woke up, the procedure was over, but I was still wobbly on my feet, and my vision was very blurred. The nurse took me to a recovery room where I soon regained my footing and my vision cleared up a little. Then, the nurse led me back to the reception area where Mom and Dad were waiting.

The bad part was when I was presented with my bill. Knowing about what I would owe, I had filled my backpack with bones, but it turned out they wouldn’t accept bones and insisted upon payment in hooman dollars. Even though I am The Richest Dog in Town, I normally deal in bones and didn’t have any dollars with me. Luckily, Dad agreed to advance me the dollars on his credit card and told me I could repay him from the royalties on my next book which is in the editing stage right now.

As follow up, I have had to have an eyedrop in each eye every two hours but will cut it to one drop every six hours today. I also had to take a pill twice a day but will cut it to a pill once a day today. I also have to wear a cone until I see the doctor again this coming Thursday but should be able to take it off then.

In retrospect, I know I made the right decision in deciding to have the operation and in selecting my surgeon, and I recommend him highly. The only thing I would do differently is to defer the operation until shortly after Easter when all the snowbirds will have flown north because the traffic is horrendous now, and we could drive to the clinic in half the time if we had waited.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The elf returns—Part 2

By Hobo Hudson

Although Lulu Smuttdigger had dismissed Dad’s wild statements as the rambling of a deranged mind, she decided to walk across the street and confirm Dad’s tale. The first thing she noticed on the casino door was the large sign saying “closed.”

Unknown to Lulu, the elf manager had turned off the doorbell and telephone so that he could get a little uninterrupted sleep. He wanted to be fresh and alert for his first day on the job.  After ringing the doorbell for at least five minutes, Lulu decided the old man was right after all and called her secretary to dictate her story.

The first to pick up the story was The Onion, America’s finest news source, which trusted Lulu implicitly, and immediately posted a story with the headline, “Elf Casino Chain in Bankruptcy ” on its website.

By coincidence, the elf CEO had worked late into the evening polishing his presentation to his board of directors regarding the doubling in size of each European casino, and feeling certain his board would approve it, he telephoned his corporate headquarters and placed a message on its recorder saying there would be an important press release at 2 p.m.

All the national news sites picked up Lulu’s story followed by The Onion’s story and tried to confirm it. They called Elf Casino headquarters in New York but only reached the recorded message that it was closed and there would be a press release at 2 p.m. Not wishing to be scooped too badly, they all put a story on their Web pages entitled “Elf Casino to declare bankruptcy today.”

These stories soon landed on the Chinese news agency’s computer and were immediately forwarded to the Chinese premier who telephoned the head of the Chinese central bank and instructed him to order all Chinese banks to sell their Elf Casino stock immediately. The orders were sent to Hong Kong and any orders not filled were re-routed to the London Stock Exchange.

By 6 a.m., the American hedge funds had begun to check the pre-market prices and found Elf Casino stock had plummeted from a close of $53.25 to $12.15. They all placed “market” orders to sell at any price, while the short traders placed “short sale” orders, and the price continued to plummet. By 9 a.m., the banks were aware of the situation and immediately called their loans, and Dad’s rumor became reality as the Elf CEO issued a press release at 2 p.m. stating that a bankruptcy petition had been filed.

Dad was very much ashamed of himself for starting the rumor but knew he had better keep quiet to avoid being lynched. As for Lulu, she was never heard from again after learning she was the cause of the bankruptcy, and The Onion’s staff celebrated for finally getting a story right.


About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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