Piles of puke, carbon monoxide and me!
Version 2:  The Way Better Version

Written by: Alex Sandell

Five years ago my father and I went to the Humane Society to look for a dog.  Since my pa is one of those burly "manly-man" types and I'm more the effeminate dude you'd find strolling the paths of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden admiring that oversized spoon with a cherry (made famous when some stripper posed nude against it in a Deja Vu magazine centerfold); one canine after another ran past the cherry lover and to my rugged "manly-man" excuse for a dad.

And then came Porthos.  Ignoring my rugged, abusive forebear completely, he ran up to me with a toothy grin, leaned up against my side and proceeded to sit on his head (something he still does).  I pet his hair with the delicacy usually reserved for a woman's pussy, he licked my palm, the volunteer at the Humane Society pointed out that he had a "little poop" on him and that I should "be careful where I put my hands," but I didn't care.  This dog was a winner.  And I was already used to the whole "feces" thing.  What woman doesn't have a "little poop" hidden somewhere on her pubics?

So I took him home, gave him one of the dumbest names any dog's ever received (I'm sorry, Porth!) and for 5 years he has been one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.  Pubic poop and all. 

His personality is entirely unique and he is such an angel.  As an added bonus -- he's healthy.  At least he was until October 9th, 2006.  That was when he went from healthy to formally healthy. 

On Monday October 9th, 2006 he began scratching himself like a mad dog (no pun intended).  Then he started spinning in circles and barking at my chair, as though it was his mortal enemy (I'm not a fan of my worn Archie Bunker seat either, but isn't barking at the thing taking it a bit far?).  Then came the vomiting.  And vomiting.  And vomiting again.  Did I mention the vomiting?

Before I was finished cleaning up one pile of sticky yellow egg-yolk looking pile of barf, along came another heaping mound of the stuff.  But Porthos meant well.  He'd try to get out of the house with it, which in turn caused the world's longest string of vomit -- all the way from the living-room, through the kitchen, into the porch and out the back door.  If I didn't command that he "sit," he may have gotten all the way to China on that one shiny yellow-brick road of bile.

The 25 foot string of puke inspired me to call the vet. 

I would have called earlier, but I gave Porth a Heartgard pill the night before and those had caused him to vomit before.  My vet (who I have since "fired") told me that, "a little puke isn't anything to worry about.  I'd keep giving him the Heartgard unless things get worse."  Well, worse things had gotten.

I took Porthos into my new, non-retarded vet and he said everything looked fine, discounted my Heartgard theory ("the abnormal neurological  behavior your dog is exhibiting is exactly how animals who react to the active-ingredient in Heartgard called, Ivermectin, respond -- but it isn't possible with this small a dose.").  I swear the words "must" and "be" and "a" and "coincidence" were invented for doctors, whether animal doctors or those treating humans.

Rule # 1 in the doctor rulebook:  Never blame the medicine.  The company making the medicine oftentimes provides you with a commission (IE - "Kickback").

So my non-retarded vet gave me some IV fluid and told me to begin administering 500ml into my dog twice a day.  Nearly the same amount I had to give my former dog Brady when she was only one year younger than Porthos.  The feeling of familiarity struck me hard and I had to choke back tears when I was handed the ugly plastic bags and even uglier needles.  I paid my $108.32 and left the clinic.

I had a follow-up appointment Wednesday.  Porthos seemed to be doing better and was eating the extra-lean boiled hamburger and Uncle Ben's rice that the vet recommended (I wonder if Uncle Ben gives vet clinics a "kickback" as well?).  "Do you think he's getting better?"  I asked in that nervous way where I know the answer will quite possibly terrify me.  They said it looked that way and sent me home without a charge, but with a new appointment for Saturday.

Wednesday night Porthos began violently trembling.  At noon on Thursday he stopped eating.  At 12:35 AM on Friday morning he woke me up with another pile of egg-yolk vomit.  On my pillow.  Where I rest my head. 

He vomited 3 times in 30 minutes as I went between leaving the fluorescent yellow highlights in or washing this radioactive barf out of my stringy hair.  Egg-yolk colored hair can give a punker a lot of "street-cred."  Especially if it's made of puke. 

I called the emergency vet and they said it could wait until morning unless he vomited, "at least 2 more times."

Then I called my mom.  I told her how I was also feeling sick (sleeping less than an hour a night, having vivid fever-dreams and generally feeling bad all over) and she suggested the two of us were experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.  The heater was turned on the day my dog got sick, etc.  Mom told me I should call the fire department right away and have somebody come out.

At 4:30 AM I ended up throwing up.  Mine wasn't egg-yolk color, but did look like something you'd get at the Olive Garden Lunch Buffet (without the free breadsticks).  Too bad I chose against leaving Porth's puke in my hair -- because with my red and his yellow I'd really be king of the underground!   

I took mother's suggesting and called a fireman over to check out the house.  Little did I know, I was calling in the Calvary.

First came a fireman in a regular car.  Then a policeman, flashing his lights like he finally found evidence enough to convict OJ.  After that came an ambulance with 3 paramedics.  Then a second cop car arrived.  My driveway looked like a bad episode of COPS (as opposed to the one good episode they aired, sometime back in 1994).

Robocop, or whatever the head cop called himself, acted like he was at a crime scene.  "I'll have to ask you to remove your dog from the premises!  Did you not hear what I said?  You will need to remove your canine before I am forced to impound him."  He pointed all over the place in that way self-important cops point -- arms outstretched like he's directing traffic -- I'm sure you know the look.

Then I had to answer a million and one questions.  Well, not exactly.  I had to answer 3 questions a million and one times.  "What are your symptoms?  Do you live alone?  When did you start feeling sick?" 

As I answered, Robocop was busy trying to get my dog back into the house.  No matter how powerful his policeman point, Porthos wouldn't follow.  Oh, what a good dog I managed to raise!

I had to stifle a laugh a firemen commented that, "putting the dog back in an area where he will potentially suffer from further carbon monoxide poisoning and die may not be the best idea."  He added a "Sir" at the end, so Robocop didn't go ballistic with his nightstick. 

Is it just me, or are cops the exact kind of people who should be allowed to carry no weapon more threatening than the Super Soaker 2000?

I put Porthos into the garage, after making sure it was safe from any chemical contents that may hurt him.  Robocop seemed slightly satisfied.  He did ask me, "What could ever be in a garage that could harm a dog?"  I asked him if he had heard of "rat poison" and he said he had heard of "Ratt" and hummed, "Round and Round" before walking away. 

Okay, the "Ratt" part didn't really happen.

I was then rushed into the ambulance and strapped into a seat with a couple of thick leather belts.  I wasn't sure if I was there to have my oxygen levels taken or to be transported to a maximum-security prison with Multiple Miggs.  Fortunately, they simply took my blood-pressure and oxygen levels and then talked down to me for a few minutes.

The head fireman hopped into the ambulance and said the carbon monoxide readings came up "0."  But he did say there was a gas-leak coming from the furnace.  He said it surely wouldn't be making my dog or myself sick -- but I should call Centerpoint Energy and have them localize and fix the problem. 

I went back into my house and comforted my trembling dog until the vet opened at 8:00AM Friday morning.  I called and asked if I could get a "fit-in" appointment.  They said, "Sure, come right in!  We're pretty open this morning."  In this case "pretty open" was equivalent to saying China's, "Not that populated!"

I went in at 8:15 AM and waited until 11:15 AM before seeing the vet.  She told me my dog was sick.  I brought up the Heartgard thing and she agreed with the last vet that it was typical symptoms of the med, but not possible at such a low-dose. 

Rule # 2 in the doctor rulebook:  Never contradict the first doctor when it comes to blaming medicine -- esp. when you get a big kickback on the med.

She ordered a buttload of tests that ended up costing me $546.06.  She said that they were for the good of the dog.  I wondered if they were more for the good of her pocketbook, but kept my mouth shut like a good citizen. 

She told me not to let Porthos eat for 7 days and not to let him drink for 3.  She administered 800ml of IV fluid herself, because that way she could charge me $9.00 more than if I had just taken the bag home and done my own "administering." 

The vet is calling me back Saturday, October 14th.  She'll give me the results I paid half a thousand dollars for.  Then she'll probably tell me not to let my dog eat for a week and not to let him drink for at least 3 days.  Er ... wait ... what was I paying for again? 

Maybe she'll also tell me that there's a highly overpriced I/D prescription food I can give him on day # 8.  Of course I'll have to buy it from the vet. clinic that already robbed me blind -- as it is "prescription."

The veterinarians exploit this, but the truth is that Porthos's companionship has meant the world to me.  If someone sold the world to me for $654.38, I'd jump at the offer -- and then resell it on eBay.  On the other hand, Porthos won't be up on eBay anytime soon.  So I guess he really does mean the world to me.


 If you want to communicate like normal people used to do, way back in 1997, you can send me an email.  Thanks.

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