A Modafinil Moment…

Just before Christmas four years ago, I drove to Home, Pennsylvania and picked up Ginger. She was a cute and loveable Irish Setter puppy. She was the love of my life.

For the first couple of years, Ginger had no medical problems. Both she and I enjoyed everything we did together. Ginger and I have bonded.

Interestingly, fifty years ago after a year of post-graduate work at New College, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, I got a job and then got my first Irish Setter. Her name was Ginger. In many ways, I am revisiting my early years now that I am in my twilight years.

However, the last couple of years have been difficult for Ginger. In the past two years, I have taken her to see her local vet, Dr. Sabedra, countless number of times. It was Dr. Sabedra who told me to take her down to Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital on two different occasions. They determined that Ginger has inflammatory bowel disease. During one of my recent appointments with Dr. Sabedra, I mentioned that my relationship with Ginger is like that of my parents. In the beginning of their marriage, all was happy. However, my mother started having medical problems. They started with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and then lupus. For a couple of decades, my mother got worse and then got better. That was repeated many times until she died when she was 51.

The thing that I learned from my mother’s dancing with death was that my father loved her and cared for her. I’m now in my father’s position with my relationship with Ginger. It isn’t easy to care for Ginger while fearing that things will soon get worse and replicated my mother’s cyclical getting better and then getting worse.

That is the backstory. In the midst of this haunting relationship with Ginger, Ayanna, my granddaughter, moved into my home. Ginger loves Ayanna. Before Ayanna goes to work or returns in the evening, Ginger wags her tail so much that it bleeds due to her tail hitting walls, appliances, and furniture. So, off Ginger and I went to see Dr. Sabedra. Ginger got a cone collar, which is designed to kept her away from licking her bleeding tail. When I got home, I put on a non-stick covering and medication over tip of her tail.

Well, that modafinil moment didn’t work. Ginger could still reach the bandage and remove it, which caused the bleeding start again. Back we went to Dr. Sabedra. Her suggestion was to tighten her cone collar and that would keep her from reaching her tail. Also, the tail wasn’t infected, which meant that Ginger didn’t need the medication.

I did as I was told, but Ginger has a long neck and a long tail. She could still lick her tail, which meant her tail started to bleed again. My next modafinil moment came when I thought that I could get a regular collar and use that collar in the cone collar. In that way, it would be tighter around her neck, which allowed her to move the cone collar and get to her tail.

Bingo. I thought, “Hey, Campbell, you are very insightful.” I was for about 15 minutes. Ginger was still able to get to her tail. The cone collar was the size for Ginger, but I needed to extend the cone collar a couple of inches. I got a file folder from my desk and attached it to the cone collar. Bingo again.

While that was a modafinil moment for me, Ginger could still reach her tail by moving her head to the end of the blue extension.

My next modafinil moment came in a couple of nanoseconds. I needed to use two larger file folders.

I took two new blue folders, attached them to each other with tape and attached it to the cone collar. Ginger knew what I was doing and wasn’t pleased.

I call my design a scoop collar. Finally, Ginger wasn’t able to move beyond either side of the blue-collar extension. The ends of blue scoop collar juts out another 3 inches. While I am delighted with my creative invention, Ginger doesn’t seem too excited.

Ginger is just over four years old. Strangely, Ginger is an example of the old truism, “It's like déjà vu all over again."