April 22, 2024

Cone of shame

By Curt Swarm

Like master, like dog. I have lipomas all over my body. Especially on my forearms. They’re embarrassing. I think I have them on my forearms because of all the knocks and bruises I took playing high school football. I was a lineman. Forearms are an integral part of blocking, or they were back in the days when holding was enforced.

I’ve had some of the larger lipomas removed. There was even a huge one on the top of my foot where the shoestring knot of my running shoe rubbed. When wearing sandals, the lipoma glowed like a beach ball. People, especially women, would comment, “Eww, what’s that?” I got tired of it and had the lipoma removed. I limped around for a week, and it became infected and had to be drained, twice. I was almost sorry I had the lipoma removed.

One time a lipoma formed at the spot where a phlebotomist drew blood from my arm. The lipoma was the size of a golf ball. I had it removed. It left a scar. The next time I had blood drawn, the phlebotomist asked what that scar was, like it was a “track mark.” Good grief.

My dad and brother had lipomas, so I guess it runs in the family. I’ve asked the doc numerous times what causes them. I just get a blank look that says, “If you wanna see some people with real problems, buster, come with me on my morning rounds.” So I shut up.

Buddy, our (my) dog has lipomas all over his body, also. A couple of years ago, the vet removed a big one that was rubbing under Buddy’s front leg. Recently, Buddy developed a huge lipoma on his belly that was so big, it was rubbing on the floor. I thought it was a hernia. It made him look fat. We talked it over with the vet. Buddy is going on 14. We didn’t wanna put Buddy through any kind of surgery that was going to hasten his death. We love Buddy. The vet assured us that Buddy could handle the surgery, even at his age. So we went ahead with it.

Ye gads. The vet removed three lipomas from Buddy’s belly — two small ones and that big one that was dragging on the floor, plus a cyst on his foot. The vet said there were more lipomas he wasn’t going to mess with. I counted the stitches. There were over 20 that I could see. The vet said there were more internal stitches. Poor Buddy!

Right away, Buddy got sick and was throwing up. The antibiotic the vet prescribed for Buddy was making him sick. So we stopped the antibiotic. Buddy got so lethargic that I thought he was dying. I rushed Buddy to the vet. The vet looked at Buddy’s stitches and said he was licking them. Out came “The Cone of Shame.” Poor Buddy! Along with a change of medication, Buddy came home.

He got sick again — in the “Cone of Shame.” Another trip to the vet. He had a fever. We were told to put Buddy on a bland diet — rice and chicken breast. Buddy liked that.

He got used to his “Cone of Shame” and was getting around pretty good. I felt so sorry for him, though. Those stitches were driving him nuts, but the “Cone” kept him from licking or chewing on them. The stitches started looking a lot less angry.

The big day of the stitches removal finally arrived — three weeks after surgery. Ginnie said, “If he gets another lipoma, we’re leaving it alone.” I had to agree.

Buddy sailed home, stitches free, and no “Cone of Shame.” He thanked us by getting in the cat food.

There’s a lesson in all this for me, I think. If people ask me one more time what those bumps on my arms are, I’ll just say, “It’s better’n having a ‘Cone of Shame’ around my neck to keep me from chewing on the stitches.” That’ll shut’m up, by golly.

Contact Curt Swarm at curtswarm@yahoo.com