Friday, February 15, 2008

The Muffin Saga, Part X, a News Flash, & a MEME

How to make God laugh: Tell him your future plans. ~ Woody Allen

Eight days hospitalized can blow anyone’s plans and it certainly blew mine. There was no possible way for me to attend the Interim Ministry Network’s certification course in Oklahoma City in mid-January. So I contacted the Network’s national office and rescheduled for the course taking place in Tucson, Arizona, in March.

I’m fairly certain that that was OK with Muffin. She had evidently been traumatized by both my illness and my absence. When I returned to my temporary abode in my mother’s basement, she greeted me by jumping as high as she could and licking my face over and over. She was reluctant to let me out of her sight. She even followed me to the bathroom door and scratched at it while it was closed. That was new behavior for Muffin.

Meanwhile I was so weak that I couldn’t go anywhere so Muffin’s fear of my leaving again wasn’t realized. I was much too frail to go out for any length of time. I needed to rest and recover.

The only real recovery problem that I had was that when I left the hospital after eight days of being treated for pneumonia, along with other medications, I was prescribed a bunch of steroids supposedly to wean me off the steroids I had been receiving intravenously while hospitalized. The instructions were to take four pills for three days, then three pills for three days, and so forth.

I had never heard of roid rage until I experienced it, which I did on the third or fourth day of the weaning routine. I was irrationally angry, yelling at my mother and Muffin, even feeling like kicking Muffin, which, thank God, I did not do. At some point I left the house, got into my car, put it in reverse, and stomped on the accelerator. I had to slam on the breaks to prevent ending up in the yard across the street. I sat in the car and took deep breaths to regain some sanity. Then I slowly drove back up the driveway and went in the house, where Muffin greeted me as she had when I returned from the hospital.

I did not know what was happening with me, except that I wasn’t OK. I petted Muffin and began to feel some calmness returning. Then I telephoned the physician who treated me for pneumonia while I was hospitalized. As luck—good luck—would have it, he was out of town, so I made a long-distance call to Indiana and the physician who had been my doctor for the past eleven years. This was the excellent, because he was an acknowledged expert in sports medicine.

After I explained what was going on and told him the medications I was prescribed at the hospital, he informed me that I was suffering from steroid rage, which he said affects some folks. He recommended that I flush all the pills except three down the toilet and take those, one per day, for the next three days. I followed his advice and quickly returned to normal.

Again, Muffin had saved me. She was a calming presence when my body felt anything but calm.

With almost two month before I had to leave for Tucson, Muffin and I began to explore Louisville, where I had not lived for more than twenty years. Unfortunately, my mother’s house didn’t have a fenced yard and the county had a leash law. Muffin couldn't go exploring on her own.

Thus Muffin and I began taking long walks with her on her leash. We explored the subdivision where I had lived from the age of ten to eighteen. Muffin, who was so often led by her nose and stomach, really wanted to raid garbage cans, which wasn’t on my agenda. I spent an abnormal amount of our walking time tugging on her leash to keep her away from cans that, according to her nose, contained food scraps.

We needed another place to walk—a non-residential area where Muffin wasn’t tempted by garbage. I had already made contact with fellow clergypersons in Louisville and so asked their advice. Several spots, almost all of them parks, were recommended, so Muffin and I began daily drives (Muffin loved riding in the car) to explore these parks. And we walked—we walked a lot. And I loved it and Muffin loved it.

Part XI of The Muffin Saga will be published in a few days.

The Muffin Saga

The Muffin Saga, Part I

The Muffin Saga, Part II

The Muffin Saga, Part III

The Muffin Saga, Part IV

The Muffin Saga, Part V

The Muffin Saga, Part VI

The Muffin Saga, Part VII

The Muffin Saga, Part VIII

The Muffin Saga, Part IX


Yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call from the company for whom Tasha works. They told me that she wouldn’t be able to make it to work today (Friday) because she had entered hospital to have her baby on Thursday—my birthday! I have no further information, even though I did telephone her employers today. They had no information, except that Tasha told them she wanted to return to her job with me as soon as possible.

Carol at Carol for Peace tagged me for a book meme. Of course, I love books—am addicted to books—so I am more than fine with this MEME.

The Rules
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the 5th Sentence
4. Post the next 3 sentences
5. Tag 5 people.

The first book I saw when I looked at my bookshelf was: Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957-1960: On the Road / The Dharma Bums / The Subterraneans / Tristessa / Lonesome Traveler / Journal Selections (Library of America).

The sentences:

He didn’t know. He didn’t bother to look at the title page. He was only looking at the words, as though he had found the real Torah where it belonged, in the wilderness.


  1. Hey there Nick !

    So glad that you're birthday was a good one . That's the best part about animals that they are so quick to forgive and share their love and comfort with us. I love walking my dogs too, and yes, the most frustrating day is trash day for them as well. (and with five dogs, that live by their noses, that's no small frustration.) It's hard enough for them to stay focused without all the trash barrels on the curb !

    Hope that you have an awesome weekend.

    Take care,

  2. Dogs never bear a grudge do they? It must have been scary feeling like that, thank goodness you got some good advice.

    Any news about the baby?

  3. Yo Nick!! Stop by my site and pick up your Major Award. Cheers!!

  4. Glad you are feeling better and back to normal. I think I may have to try that boob meme!

  5. Hello Nick! I came via Matt-Man (boy did that sound bad or what?)

    Congrats on your COW!

  6. congrats to Tashaon her baby!!

    And I hope this Muffin story has a happy ending, cuz I could. not. stand. it. if it didn't.....:/

  7. Yay! Muffin Saga! And you tell it so well. Thanks for sharing.

  8. It sounds like you and Muffin bonded even more deeply than the typical human/dog bond. You also bonded through adversity.

    Your book quote made me smile. Kerouac is great.

  9. Muffin is amazing. You two had some relationship. I am sure you two had fun exploring all the green spaces in your area.

    Best wishes to Tasha on the arrival of a healthy baby. If she did not have a Valentine's baby, hopefully they will come soon.

    I decided to give that Meme a try too but I cheated just a little. The author of the book I choose has visited your blog on more than one occasion.

  10. Did Tasha have the baby? How wonderful a blessing that would be.

    I am just going to say this, I am glad that you had Muffin when you needed her most.

    Mama Bear Hugs

  11. Nick I think I already love that Muffin almost as much as you did.

  12. I'm so glad you are doing better and okay now.. The book meme sounds fun. I'll have to try that.. Have a great rest of the weekend! and tell you co-worker congrats on the baby!

  13. for me, I spend a lot of time tugging on the leash to get my dog away from eating acorns which he loves.

  14. Hi Nick ~~ Another great Muffin story and so glad it worked out OK. I hope that Tash has safely delivered her baby and all is well. They should have sent someone in her place, until
    she is able to return. Take care of yourself, Regards, Merle.

  15. A belated Happy Birthday & Valentine's Day to you, Nick!

    Enjoyed your Muffin saga, though am sorry for the trials you've had - thank God you had the presence of mind (& Muffin) to get you through the side effects you suffered with those steroids...

    And may I add, you are one excellent writer! :)

  16. i love your muffin stories! any news from Tasha???