Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Critical Mom and the Guinea Pig's Paw

I thought that Sunday could remain uneventful.  Lazy all morning, I had just pulled myself together sufficiently to begin dragging myself upstairs in the direction of my computer and of the midterm exams that still do not exist but which must be contrived sometime between now and next week.  Half-hearted about contriving midterms as always, I felt not entirely annoyed to hear a yell of "Mommy!  Come quick."  The guinea pig, who within the last week produced a brood of three, bringing her total of progeny to 36, had a swollen paw.  I looked her over--her eyes remain bright, she's eating, and she's still nursing that brood, but the paw looks twice the normal size, too pink, and probably painful.  
So it was that we bounced from website to website, tram schedule to tram schedule, until finding an animal hospital open on Sunday afternoon, to which we hastily repaired.  I decided to bring the whole family:  the husband, Harry, in his own carrying case away from the Mom with the swollen paw and the nursing brood.  The vets looked her over and gave her a shot of antibiotics, a shot of painkiller, and a bottle of oral antibiotics to be administered by dropper.  Quite a to-do developed about whether to give an antibiotic and which one, since the piggy is nursing.  (My kids have just named the babies, too--all boys--Barack, Maravolio, and Solomon.  The middle name seems vaguely based on Shakespeare but mostly on Tom Riddle.  Barack, like his namesake, is feisty, but I see no signs of wisdom in our little Solomon.)
"Well, I had antibiotics when I was nursing," said I, receiving a grin reserved specially for idiots from the vet. 
It turns out to be easier to pump the antibiotics down our hapless guinea pig's throat than it ever was to pump them into my children when they were little--I remember that on several occasions, two strong adults were needed to hold down my oldest while the third, me, forced open his mouth and squirted in the bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin.  He liked the vanilla kind, but hated the bubblegum kind, a matter that could not be taken up with our druggist after the fact.
Tomorrow it's back to the vet with our piggy, and I think the antibiotic is at least preventing the problem from worsening, but the foot looks anything but good.  Stay tuned.
Update:  Ginny the piggy is back home, foot bandaged.  The vet pushed out some pus, cleaned the wound, smeared on a salve and a bandage that reminds me of Cassius Clay's boxing glove, but Ginny can walk on it.  She hardly complained.  I remembered the time  all three kids had to be immunized.  The pediatrician said she'd start with the boys, since my daughter was so little the needle might hurt, and then the boys wouldn't want their shots.  So, first the big, husky ten-year-old gets his shot.
"OW!"  The eyes rolled in agony.  "Wow, that really hurt!" he yelped.  Same deal with the big, husky eight-year-old.  Then we came to the little, skinny five-year-old girl, who smiled sweetly and did not complain at all.
"Girls," smiled the pediatrician.  "I should have realized!"

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