Thursday, April 14, 2011

in continuum...

in the continuum….of the saga of Jack the potamus…

“I made a mistake and gave Jack the wrong shot.” I was listening very carefully now to what my caretaker/friend was telling me on the other end of the cell phone as we stood under the canopy of these gnarly oaks feeling the cool mist of the fog rolling off the ocean behind us. She asked me what might have been in the other needles that had been in the refrigerator down at the barn where I had left his insulin for her to have given him. I though a real big “Oh, crap,” because I had thought when I left the insulin in there that surely there would be no confusion as to which to use. There were the tiny insulin syringes I had left, and then there were three large other ones with writing one them for the horses’ use. Apparently I was quite wrong in my assumption, and Murphy’s Law proved to be correct, an error had indeed been made, again, but now my thoughts were racing to which of these three possibilities that were also in the fridg might be in play, and none of the three were good.

For those who have not followed Jack and his culinary capers and mishaps over that past year, Jack is an Australian terrorist, weighing in at varying weights but generally well over breed standard of somewhere around 14 lbs. He is somewhere closer to 23 lbs. and eats anything and every thing edible or not and has spent way too much time in the intensive care of my good vet, and this of course has led to the extreme level of expenditure of funds spent on his near demises. Jack has hypothyroid issues and takes his synthetic thyroid pill everyday, is a recovering pancreatitis victim from having devoured a half gallon of cooking grease, and the list continues but, he is also a diabetic and requires two shots of insulin daily. It is a holy wonder the dog is alive from these past and present problems but this one, I thought, might finally do him in if the dose of whatever it was that he had been given in error was too much for him to handle. It would be a peaceful end, no doubt, but after all that previous vet care and expense I was hoping he might hang around just a bit more if possible.

After a few more questions back and forth over the phone, I told my friend to call the vet and try to read the labeling on the used syringe to see what the heck she had given him, and then see what to do. She did say he was acting very sleepy, slumbering actually. We hung up and I waited for a reply. The news was a real stumper on the mood that we had mellowed into but there was simply nothing we could do but wait and see, so on we wondered through the foggy woods. It is an absolutely crazy world we live in that one can be at such a peaceful place in a physical and mental state and still be vulnerable to the dreaded ring of the cell phone. Does the falling tree not make any noise when it hits the forest floor if no one is there to hear it? Does bad news not really happen if you don’t answer the phone?

She called back about an hour later, and told me that the syringe had been a load of Acepromazine, a MAJOR tranquilizer, for horses. The load had been in the fridg for a just in case need, the dosage designed to knock a 1200 + lb horse to its wobbly knees, and definitely not to a somewhat, overweight, but still, very, little dog. The dosage was a major overload, but Jack wasn’t worried. Jack was in a basic coma, sleeping soundly, and was totally oblivious to his predicament. She had taken him to the vet where the vet had given Jack some form of shot to hopefully counteract the narcotic and was told to watch the poor puppy carefully, that he would sleep soundly for a day, then have a hell of a hangover but be fine afterwards, most likely. She drove the sleeping beast home with her for the night and gave him a bed on her screened porch. He really didn’t care.

We continued our journey on towards the Fort but, once there, found a sign that said it was closed after hours. Thwarted on that mission, we noticed a pier next to the dock for the ferry that shuttles cars to Daulphin Island that was facing the Mobile Bay and westward and so we sat on it and watched an orange sun slowly settle into the shrouds of fog out on the water. Mark took lovely photos and I marveled at the change in the view of the bay since I had last been there some nearly 20 years ago. Everywhere there were lights on ominous shadowy platforms of the pumps and drills of the oil wells that pump crude black oil from deep under the sands. It was a stunning sight, especially in the aftermath of last summer’s fiasco with the deep wells in Louisiana and the mess it made of the entire Gulf region. Statistics say the room for error increases exponentially with the increase in number of the rigs, each one before me a possible equal or worse disaster waiting to happen. It was stunning and sobering to see. The sun gone, we moved on to find some grub and libation.

I don’t know what made me do it but the seafood platter, fried, seemed the best choice and so we sat on the pier in a pleasantly cool night air, contentedly munching away at globular morsels of fat and flour with a nugget of some form of former sea animal in there somewhere that had been cooked in some equally unidentified form of serious fat. The lights of the oil rigs twinkled before us with a mocking innocence and mingled with the further away lights of the shore on the other side of the bay. Once damage was done to our gastronomical systems, my pancreas in overdrive, we headed for our base camp, Hotel Nondescript, and called it a day. My thoughts were with sleepy Jack, and I hoped to sleep almost as well as he was presently doing, well, almost as well.

Sleep well we did. We awoke to yet another rare foggy day, and gulls screamed as they flew past our balcony as we walked to the elevator to start our day. I needed a pair of shorts to wear since it was fairly muggy, an so we dropped into my idea of hell, the ultimate tourist store extravaganza, a store called Alvin’s Island, a place where every person who wants to look like they surf, wants a tattoo, or a piercing or two or three, and needs a reminder of exactly what town they got these relics from and want to wear a garment to keep them fresh on the idea of where they came from, can get all this, and more.

We had visited this store in a past lifetime when our kids were small and this was kind of a relatively benign place at that time. Now as I wandered past vast racks of incredibly trashy items of clothing, all emblazoned with something about having “done it” at Gulf Shores, I was trying desperately to block out the lyrics of a female singer that was blaring over the pa of the establishment, singing about having sex in the air with whips and chains to the beat of synthetic drums knocking my ear drums silly. I didn’t get it, but on I trudged thru the store and finally, at the very back of the store, I found the 75% off rack and a pair of very plain black shorts. Perfect. And then, my phone rang, again. This time the news was good. Jack was awake and ready for more.

Shorts purchased, mission accomplished, Jack was amazingly still alive, we set off to the Fort for day two of the mini-vacation.

Also to be continued,…no dangling cliffhanger this time…rather chilled out instead… just drifting

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