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An epileptic dog? Only in this family.

About six months ago, John and I were eating chips and queso and drinking margaritas at On the Border when Hannah called us crying: "Something's wrong with Truman, I don't know what to do!" She had called John's mom, too, who thought it sounded like a seizure, and rushed over to try to help until we could get there. By the time she arrived, Truman was perfectly fine. We all thought maybe Hannah had overreacted to something minor, like Truman running into a door and being disoriented for a few seconds (yes, this is something that would actually fit within the realm of "normalcy" in my mind...sad, I know).

About three months later, John and I were watching TV one night. Truman was in his usual spot, asleep next to the couch after enjoying a rowdy bone-chewing session and ruining yet another spot on our living room rug. We noticed him try to get up, and then his body slammed over to one side, his head twisted to the other, his paws curled up like hooks, his jaw clenched shut, his eyes bulged in confusion and terror. John and I froze in fear and stupidity, looking at each other, then back at the seizing animal at our feet: "What should we do?!" "I don't know. The vet is closed!" "Well, for starters, let's at least keep his head from slamming into the coffee table!" Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Truman stood up, looked at us, and walked to the back door. It was like he was saying, "Geez, what's wrong with everybody? Why the long faces? Well, see ya suckers, I'm off for a back yard romp!" We kept thinking maybe WE had overreacted, but we filed it in the back of our minds under the If It Happens Again Then We Should Definitely Do Something category.

I was forced to access that file this morning when I awoke to what sounded like Truman's very annoying THUMPTHUMPTHUMP ear scratching. I mustered enough energy to give a groggy "Truman! Stop!", but something wasn't right. Flashing back to the seizing we'd witnessed, I jumped out of bed and ran over to him. He was in the same horrifying position we'd witnessed two months before. Since he was in a little corner of the room, he was bouncing between two walls, trying desperately to walk away, but whatever evil puppet master controls epileptic dogs refused to give up his morning entertainment, and Truman's body flipped from side to side. I tried to make eye contact and at least confirm awareness, but his dilated pupils stared right through me as his taut muscles shook in the physical effort that this seizure clearly was. I wrapped myself around his middle to protect his sides and head from the corner of one jutting wall, and I received my own bruises as a result. I kept thinking, "This has to end soon. It must be almost over. Please let it end. Oh my God, it's NEVER GOING TO END AND THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO COME PUT HIM TO SLEEP RIGHT HERE IN MY ARMS."

The whole thing lasted 20 minutes. Uh, from what little I know about seizures, I think that's pretty friggin' horrible. We took him to the vet and after paying $130 for five minutes of time with the dr., learned that the dog will have to be on medication for the rest of his life...medication that is likely to damage his liver. But if we don't medicate him, the seizures will get worse, more frequent, and longer in duration, putting him at risk for brain and organ damage. According to the vet, we're only witnessing one in four seizures, so there have been at least 12 in the past five months, not three like we thought.

I purposely adopted a mixed-breed dog (abandoned as a puppy in a box in front of a Wal-Mart) to avoid the chronic health problems of many pure breeds. Haha! The universe laughs at my pathetic attempts at control once again, and my poor dog suffers for it. The list of "uncommon" ailments in this family continues to grow. Either they aren't so uncommon, or we really are a group of misfit freaks in this house.