“Apply a warm compress for five minutes two to three times a day.”

Lexi requests and receives many belly rubs a day. So, on Friday when I got back from a meeting, rubbed her belly and discovered a giant nodule, it was very easy to determine how long it had been there. Not long. When I encountered this fancy new growth she had been feverishly working on in my absence, I immediately began to panic. And credit must be given. When that dog grows something alien on her body, she really puts her all into it. So I called the vet and breathlessly explained that I have a dog who is sprouting things from her belly at a frightening rate of speed, and I needed to get her in the office right away before she starts sprouting appendages or extra eyeballs or something horrifying that I haven’t even thought of because I don’t know how I’d handle that type of medical marvel, but it won’t be gracefully. I’d probably just open the back door and gently nudge her outside with my shoe, slam the door quickly and begin tunelessly whistling, bustling about ineffectively and muttering nonsensical phrases until another family member got home. Anyway, the vet’s office told me to come on in. I thanked them so effusively that I think they just hung up because they had other patients to attend to. Relax, already, lady. You’ll be here in 20 minutes and we’ll get this growth identified and fixed. Chill and get moving. So, I got Lexi in the car and over to the office. When we met with the vet, he stuck a needle in the growth to get some cells to look at and said, “Hmmm! Interesting.” Fortunately, he quickly explained that he was pretty sure what it was and that it wasn’t serious. After he studied the cells in the back, he came back to report that Lexi had fashioned herself a pretty fine abscess and just needed a round of antibiotics. They are in pill form, and he was showing me how to break the pill in two. I knew I could tuck something that tiny into her bowl of food and it would be easily ingested during the food inhalation process. Then he delivered the kicker. “You also need to apply a warm compress for five minutes two to three times a day.” Then he explained how to construct a warm compress. And here’s where it gets funny because while I received wonderful details on how to construct the warm compress, what I didn’t receive were details on how to pin down a puppy long enough to APPLY this wonderfully-constructed warm compress. Let’s face it: any idiot can construct a warm compress. The ability to pin down a puppy for 5 MINUTES? That’s a touch harder to accomplish. I believe he was giving me the details on the warm compress to distract me from the real issue at hand. If he kept me talking about something insignificant up until he could shuttle me out of the office, I wouldn’t think to ask, “Um dude, how in the world am I supposed to keep a squirming mess of puppy still for five minutes while I apply this TWO OR THREE TIMES A DAY?” It takes THREE of us to apply the damn compress, and we consider it a good day if we apply it twice a day. But, as I expected, the antibiotic is being sucked in with the rest of her food and she is none the wiser.