Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tale of a rare medical coincidence

About three weeks ago, our close friend Fred damaged the meniscus, an obscure but apparently essential cartilage-type thingie on his knee. A week after, our even closer friend Felisa suffered a similar accident on her left knee. Both of them had to undergo surgical interventions to relieve the pain and prevent permanent damage.

What are the chances of such medical coincidence?

Fred hurt his knee while playing tennis, when he pivoted on one foot in a heroic attempt to return a volley from the other player. He may have been channeling Martina Navratilova for all we know. We do know, however, that Felisa didn't injure herself playing tennis.

You see, Fred is about six feet tall and a biped (one leg immobilized now by a groin-to-ankle cast), while our dog Felisa is a quadruped (only three feet functioning at the moment) that stands barely eighteen inches off the floor. Despite her current disability, Felisa continues to furiously wag her tail in a circular motion, propeller-like, as if to help her move forward. No reports received, or solicited, about Fred's tail.

Fred was flown to a hospital in San Antonio, where he underwent surgery to patch up the damage. Felisa rode on the back seat of our car to Ciudad Mascota ("Pet City"), located in the city of Celaya about ninety minutes away, where a vet specializes in orthopedic interventions on "small species."

After some rest, Fred flew back to San Miguel and so did Felisa, though she again traveled by car and this time marked the occasion by peeing all over her cushion. Fred didn't have any airborne accidents, though his husband Ron did report that the flight attendants tossed him the complimentary bags of peanuts from farther away than usual, just in case.

Felisa with her Elizabethan collar and the scar
from her surgery on her knee. 
For both Fred and Felisa, rest is key to recovery. In Felisa's case the doctor prescribed an "Elizabethan collar," a plastic device to partially immobilize her head and prevent her from licking the injured knee. Ron borrowed an Elizabethan collar from a local theater company but Fred wouldn't wear it even around the house. Besides, both concluded, at his age Fred couldn't bend down far enough to lick his knee anyway.

People-style Elizabethan collar.
The vet also recommended that we accompany Felisa outside to pee, to keep her from running around too much and possibly causing further injury.

Ron, the ever-faithful companion—one who takes the part of his marriage vows about "in sickness and in health" very seriously—at first did the same with Fred until the plants in their backyard started turning brown. Even their beautiful mesquite tree seem to be distressed. So Ron quickly put an end to that routine and told Fred to get his forty-pound cast, and the rest of him, back to the indoor facilities no matter how clumsy it might be.

Felisa has remained silently stoic during her recovery, though she really hasn't got much choice because she can't talk. According to Ron, Fred has been far more eloquent in his complaints, groans, moans and requests, the latter generally along the line of "gimme this" and "gimme that." At certain points, Ron even seemed a bit vexed, friends noticed.

But both patients are coming along fine. Fred is using a walker to help him navigate in his cast, and Felisa is hopping along three-legged, a bit like a rabbit, with a plastic cone on her head and oblivious to how ridiculous she looks.

In a few months Fred and Felisa should be completely healed, and this peculiar medical coincidence will be happily behind us. Get well, both of you.

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