In spite of normal elbows in both parents AND 100% clear elbows in both of her parents’ siblings AND normal elbows at 12 months, Claire was rated by OFA as having a unilateral Grade 1 elbow.
But it gets even better.
The three radiologists who evaluated Claire’s films did not agree — two rated the elbow as Grade 1 (DJD) and one radiologist said the elbow is normal.
Clearly the Universe has a strange sense of humor.
I totally understand why people — in the face of something like this — sputter and blame and deny and minimize.
“It’s an injury.”
“It’s because she played too rough with other dogs.”
“Jumped off the grooming table.”
“What does the OFA knows?!”
“Just a bump - the dog is totally sound.”
I am not going to do or say any of that — but yes, I understand the temptation because I am human and this is a hard pill to swallow.
Hard News is always a test of our mettle — a chance to see what traits and qualities bubble to the surface when the fire is at our feet. It is easy to be open and gracious and transparent when the news is good and happy — it is what we do when presented with challenges that speak to the content of our character.
What I did was let myself experience all the feelings and thoughts associated with the Hard News. I reminded myself that there were no decisions to make right now, nothing that needed to be done. Claire is just as perfect (and imperfect) as she was before I got that news.
Once I was done feeling sad and disappointed and asking the Universe, “What the Heck?!” I was able to think clearly about how to achieve my goal: Accuracy.
I called and spoke with Dr. Keller at the OFA, gathering information that could illuminate a way forward. Claire’s rating hinged on a single reading that tipped the three-person vote to Unilateral Grade 1. One expert thought her elbow was normal.
Given that, it seems reasonable to have some room for doubt about whether we have accurate results — even as I am not dismissing the results. Therefore, Claire will have a CT scan in the summer and repeat elbow films. My goal is not to change the results but rather to ensure accuracy.
But let me tell you what really snapped me right out of my funk about all this.
As I was assimilating that unexpected news, one of my Dear Friends was staring down a cancer diagnosis.
And then our sweet Berkeley had blood sugar so low that she had convulsions and spent two nights in the hospital— more on that tomorrow (she is doing well, if turning into a pincushion with all the pokes to test blood sugar).
The Universe not only has a strange sense of humor but also is really good at conveying this important life message: “Sister, get a real problem.”
Dear Universe: I got the message loud and clear.
Claire’s elbow? Meh. Just a thing. Not a problem.