5 hours ago
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
There's a method to my Mini-information
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." ~Anaïs Nin
I read this quote for the first time today, and its timing couldn't have been better.
Last Thursday night, our dog Mini had to have emergency surgery on her spine. When the surgeon informed us that she'd only have a 50-percent chance of walking again, my initial reaction was one of fear, followed by sorrow, and then rear-ended by truckload of helplessness. I'm only human, and my head automatically swayed to the worst case scenario...
But just as quickly, an instinct took over. It was an instinct of preservation, and a level-headed realization that I wasn't about to let my baby go without a fight. And I started asking the surgeon every question that I could. Every question... Lest you think a Paul Gargano line of questioning starts and stops with fluffy commentary about a new album from a band whose record label paid my salary with full-page ads, think again - I was an editor for the Associated Press long before I was waxing poetic at the helm of Metal Edge.
I'm inquisitive by nature, and painstakingly thorough when I'm looking for information. To the point where I almost start to feel bad for the people on the receiving end of my inquests... but why should I? If you're charging me a base of $6000 to operate on my dog's spine, aren't I entitled to have every question answered to my satisfaction? To the surgeon's credit, he went out of his way to make sure I was completely clear with everything - and in a situation like Mini's, that was all I could ask for.
My goal was to not only understood everything that Mini was going through, but also how she got there, where she was heading, and what I could do to best prepare for her future. The surgeon gave her a 50/50 chance of walking again, and am doing everything in my power to tip that balance to her favor.
But please don't get the impression that I think I'm special because of how much I love my dog, or the way I handle her surgery and recovery. I don't believe my dog's story is any sadder than similar stories that happen to countless other pets on a daily basis. And I don't believe that what I'm doing is anything less than what so many of my friends, as well as other pet owners, would do for their animals, if the tables were turned.
And because the tables are constantly turned, I wanted to write about our experience - I don't think I'm special, I just think I'm different.
And I'd like to think that someone might find my perspective helpful.
I wanted to document the knowledge I've gained, express the emotions that we're battling, and share the ups and downs of Mini's recovery. Yes, there is a part of me that writes for the therapy, but there is a bigger part of me that does it because I feel like it is my responsibility to say what others are often not able to say.
Do I cross the line sometimes, maybe injecting my humor or sarcasm in a place where another might find it offsetting? Maybe. But that's who I am, and I don't think any of us should ever be afraid to let our guard down. The people that are taking the time to read are doing so because they care - and because they care enough to read, I care enough to try and be as honest as possible.
I want people to know exactly what we're going through with Mini, because I want them to know that if they are ever faced with a similar situation, they can go into it armed with knowledge, and backed by knowing that they are not alone.
Will reading about Mini's lack of bladder control make some people uncomfortable? Perhaps. But that's a small price to pay for the possibility of having someone, someday, research their dog's condition on the internet and stumble upon my collective writings. I may not be able to cure their dog, but perhaps I can help them find a little bit of clarity throughout the muddied process.
If a single person makes the decision to work their dog through its recovery, rather than giving up because they can't handle the pressure of inconvenience, then my offerings here are not in vain.
That is worth more than any paycheck, and that is why I write - because I feel an inclination and obligation to say things that others may not be able to say... With the hope, of course, that they are things that others may also want to read.