Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Lost in Translation March 5, 2013

I have this habit of eating literally anything that resembles food from the floor. It’s habit enough that my mom jokingly calls me a doggie vacuum cleaner. (Oh, how I despise those contraptions!) Nonetheless, it bit me in the proverbial behind one day in the not so distant past when it was assumed I ate an extra strength Tylenol. That is a day I will not be forgetting any time soon.

It was about three months ago, not that long after my mom’s serious knee reconstruction surgery. My grandma and my best Buddy were over taking care of my mom (as they had been doing in the weeks immediately following her operation). It was freezing cold outside that day. And that was the one of the days in my doggie life that I most wished I could speak human.Buddy and I

That was the day my mom and her mom were certain I ate a Tylenol that fell to the floor at some point. While I do have the aforementioned reputation akin to a vacuum cleaner, I did no such thing that day. It was the most awful misunderstanding for everyone involved.

About an hour after the alleged consumption, my grandma told my mom what she believed had happened. I could see in my mom’s eyes that she was absolutely terrified, but she tried her best to remain calm as she pulled out the trusty laptop to see what she could find out about Tylenol in a dog’s system. She found no good news…especially as it pertained to extra strength versus regular strength pain killers.

This sent my beloved grandmother into a blind panic that resulted in the two of them encouraging me to drink something absolutely disgusting (they called it hydrogen peroxide, whatever that means) and then playing with me enough that I immediately had to go outside. I couldn’t stop throwing up. It was awful.

Since they couldn’t find anything in my little puddles of foamy goo that resembled a pill, the person mom was talking to on the phone advised that I get to the Family Pet Clinic immediately. My mom still wasn’t cleared to drive because of the surgery, so off I went with grandma to the clinic, where we waited and waited and they made me drink more awful liquid (I think it was called charcoal) and they took blood and we waited some more.

Silence is not my friendI paced and moaned anxiously while my grandma cried in the little waiting room. And I knew my mom was doing the same at home. I felt so helpless, and everything I had ingested (other than the alleged pill) was making me feel weaker by the minute. When I got home almost two hours later, mom was an emotional wreck. What a mess, I remember thinking to myself, before the shivering started. I couldn’t stop shaking that night, even though I basically passed out upon re-entering my forever home.

Usually my interpretation of philosophy is figurative, but in this (rare) case it is incredibly literal. “In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood,” said great transcendentalist thinker Henry David Thoreau.

Sometimes my silence is maddening. Watching what unfolded that day between my mom and her mom broke my heart. A few days later the test results came back clear and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. But it’s not like me not to find a silver lining in the mix of such things, and in this case it is easy to identify.

The people in my life must love me a whole lot to be so worried about me eating a teeny tiny white pill of doom. As they later found out, it would probably have taken at least three of them to do me any harm. But that didn’t matter to them at the time. No. They were blinded with worry about little ole me, the doggie vacuum cleaner who most definitely did not consume any pain killers that day. Perspective is pretty powerful stuff in matters of the heart.