Giving the Dog a Bath by Sharon O’Donnell

     One night recently, I decided to give our long-haired dachshund, Fenway, a bath. I always give Fenway baths in our own bathtub, regulating and testing the water temperature like I did with my sons when I used to give them baths many years ago. I’m the one who usually gives Fenway baths, and since he is over ten years old, that’s a lot of baths. I usually run the water and then step over the tub and sit on the side of it, my feet in the water so I can lean over and give Fen a good scrub. Afterwards, I lift him out and dry him off, with him trying to escape to air dry by running back and forth down the hallway like a crazed madman, almost galloping down the hall, his floppy ears flying behind him. I’ve never had any incidents at doggy bath time .  . . until now.

      I was home with Fenway and my youngest son, Jason, 14, when I decided it was time to give the dog a bath. When I stepped over the tub with Fenway in my arms, my foot slipped, and I lost my balance. I remember falling toward the side of the tub, and I held tighter to Fenway so he wouldn’t get hurt. Bam! My forehead hit the side of the tub, and then I bounced off the side and my shoulder hit the bottom of the tub — hard.  I knew I’d have a huge knot, probably a black and blue one on my forehead, but my immediate thought was of Fenway. He sat in the shallow water beside me, looking a bit frazzled but otherwise okay. No yelps, no odd movements. Then I realized my left arm was numb – I could not lift it.  And my head was pounding. My shorts, t-shirt, and hair were all soaked. Fen was wet too.

     This was the point I called my youngest son. “Jason!” I yelled. 

     “I’m in the bathroom!” he yelled back.  I replied that I needed him, that I was hurt. While waiting for him to finish his ‘business’, I shouted that I needed him right THEN, not in five minutes. Perhaps I should have invested in one of those “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” contraptions. Jason came relatively quickly, but time seemed to stand still.  He helped me out of the tub and then finished giving Fenway a bath, while I put on dry clothes and took an account of my injuries. Bruised left leg, arm pain, but no bruise on my forehead — just a knot.  But my left arm felt numb and weak; there is no break, but I wonder if there might be a tendon tear, which would require an MRI. Don’t really want to have one of those right now, so I have just been putting up with the pain whenever I stretch or lift my arm or lift something heavy. I keep thinking it will get better, but I’m not sure. Just another thing to add on my list of ‘someday’ surgery, like that of my gall stones, eye cysts, and toe problem. Really wish they could fix everything at once.

     I do know one thing. Next time someone else is giving the dog a bath.

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