A Pirate’s Life for Me

Post photo from Party City

Three weeks ago, Beans walked up to me with the tell-tale squinty, red, watery eye indicative of a corneal ulcer.

Anyone with corneas can get a corneal ulcer: a scratch to the most superficial layer of the eye. Often, it happens while we are sleeping–we scratch ourselves or someone else scratches us, and we are oblivious.

With dogs, they can scratch themselves or get scratched during play. For bug-eyed breeds, such as Boston Terriers and Pugs, because there is a greater exposed eye surface, the risk of getting scratched is greater than for other breeds.

This was not Beans’ first corneal ulcer. Typically, the eye can be treated with antibiotic drops. Because the affected eye is quite painful (according to my vet), there is usually some doggie pain reliever prescribed as well.

Unlike his previous experiences, this time, the vet said that the scratch to Beans’ eye was quite deep. We left the exam with two tubes of ointment, dogprofen (not an Official term), and antibiotic pills.

As before, Beans’ eye started to show improvement after a few days. One morning, as I left for work, I noted how much better his eye looked. I was pleased. That feeling didn’t last long. When I got home that afternoon, his eye was swollen and cloudy. The vet’s office would close soon, so I made the decision to call First Thing the next morning to get him in for a check-up.

We didn’t make it until the next morning, First Thing, or otherwise.

Halfway through the night, Stacy and I were awakened by a yelp. Beans was agitated, but we couldn’t immediately figure out what was going on. Then we saw the bloody tears coming from his eye.

I paged my vet, who returned my call quickly. We don’t have an emergency vet in the town where I live; the closest one is a few towns east, about thirty minutes away. After talking with my vet, we loaded up, Beans on a blanket, on his bed, all on my lap, and made the straight-highway drive to the emergency vet.

The vet at BluePearl was great. She was no-nonsense and honest about our options. Given all the variables, we decided the best course of action was to remove his eye.

The tech (who was also fabulous) brought out an anesthesia-drunk Beans, cradling him like a BFF as he hung there, limp but awake, as if after a weekend-long bender.

Stacy and I returned home, put our dogs and ourselves to bed, and passed out for the two hours between us and the vet office’s opening time. Shortly after the alarm sounded, I called Eudora Animal Hospital and explained to Amy at the front desk that we needed to bring in Beans for an enucleation (the technical term–a shiny, new vocabulary item for my lexicon–for removing an eye).

I dropped Beans off with Stacy (no, I’m not kidding; Amy and Stacy are the best). Doc Shain and the rest of the staff took very good care of my Main Doggie Dude.

The next morning, I picked Beans up from Charles (one of our favorite techs). FrankenBeans’ now mostly empty socket was sewn shut with long white stitches that resembled flamboyant false eyelashes, and was wearing The Cone of Shame. He was quiet for the first couple of days afterwards, then resumed his usual pep and surliness.

He is adapting quite well to Cyclops Life. As someone remarked, “Animals are so adaptable. They don’t dwell on what was, they deal with what is. We could all learn from them.”

Indeed.

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