Counterintuitive: PS to “Cone of Shame”

Trouble doesn’t overthink things, which is one of the reasons she’s such good company. So she is not puzzling over the whys and the hows, as Human is — she is just delighted to be free of the cone of shame and to have the regimen of medications reduced to just lubricating drops until her next check with the surgeon.


Photo Credit: Eileen Donahoe

The keratectomy has done its magic: within six days of the procedure the ulcer had shrunk to a pinpoint; on day twelve, it was pronounced fully healed. No stain uptake in any tissue. The vet, the assistant, the office manager, other clients in the waiting room — everyone had a huge smile, and there was a little wine with dinner that night.

Human continues to puzzle over how removing a microscopic layer of tissue can promote healing — it’s counterintuitive that a large raw surface should heal faster than a partially healed ulcer. But that’s what happens, in nine out of ten dogs, the surgeon says, and in the tenth, there’s usually some underlying unsuspected condition which has been interfering with the healing.

But of course, it does make sense. It’s a bit like throwing pots. When you work your clay on the wheel, you shape it to bring it closer and closer to your vision — but there are times when you have to let the whole thing collapse and start afresh. Fiddling with it, like debriding the ulcer, is just not working. Go back to the raw clay.

And throwing pots is like writing (isn’t everything?). Human believes in the power of revision, working with the draft until it becomes, through successive versions, closer and closer to what it should be. But there are also times when you have to put the whole mess aside, and start fresh. Go back to the raw clay. Whatever your chosen technique — blank paper, free writing, writing against the clock, turning off the monitor and writing blind — it somehow frees the clouded vision.

Warm thanks to Trouble’s vets in Halifax and to CullenWeb Animal Eye Specialists in Moncton.



2 thoughts on “Counterintuitive: PS to “Cone of Shame”

  1. Mary Jane Schaefer

    I am so glad to hear about Trouble’s recovery.

    A very lovely and inspiring doggie.

    Your thoughts about writing are also lovely

    and inspiring. I’m working on a trilogy about the life of Shakespeare

    (I know, but it really isn’t dull at all), and the first play

    of the trilogy will be given 3 readings next month at the

    Utah Shakespeare Festival. That play took me 4 years and

    13 drafts. The second play in the trilogy is about done:

    1 year, 6 drafts so far. And I don’t just tweak. I throw out

    whole scenes when need be.

    The thing about plays is that if you have a good core,

    you can just keep working it till you’ve got the dynamic

    of the play right, just keep it sweeping forward, and never

    mind this or that “nice touch.” You gotta be ruthless.

    Other members of my work shop group

    marvel at how much I’m willing to throw away. And therein

    lies the key. That, and listening to the play, recording and evaluating the

    comments. Especially the SAME comment from more than one person.


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