You Can’t Just Take It On The Chin-Chilla

, , , , | Healthy | February 19, 2018

(It’s a Saturday evening. We are at home trying to have a relaxed evening when our chinchilla starts having a seizure. She has had them before; her liver is severely damaged because of pain medication she was on some years before. Our vet told us that if she had a seizure again, we would have to put her to sleep. Because the cramps stopped after about an hour and a half the last time this happened, we decide to wait and hope she’ll get better soon. But after two hours pass and there is no foreseeable recovery, we decide with a heavy heart that this will be her last evening. Because we don’t feel too comfortable driving to a vet with a wriggling chinchilla in our hands, we start looking for an emergency vet who does home visits, to have her put to sleep. I find one and give the telephone number to my dad. He puts the phone on loudspeaker so we can help him explain.)

Vet: “[Vet].”

Dad: “[Dad] speaking. Good evening. We are having problems with our chinchilla. It is having—”

Vet: *interrupting* “I’m not handling emergencies anymore. Call [Animal Clinic], instead.”

Dad: “They don’t offer emergency services anymore. Please, we just need to have it—”

Vet: *interrupting again* “Go and call [Animal Clinic]. Good night.” *hangs up*

(We just looked at each other in disbelief. Desperate to relieve our poor pet, we had no other choice but drive over 20 miles to a different vet that had emergency services, in the middle of the night, in a snowstorm, with a severely cramping chinchilla in our hands. To this day, I can’t believe that a vet, who explicitly offers emergency services on both his website and answering machine, refused to even listen to what we wanted.)

When You Have Anxiety Play Possum

, , , , | Hopeless | February 6, 2018

I struggle with anxiety and while I have recently figured out a very effective way to manage it, this happened shortly before I did that. It was kind of the wake-up call I needed to make me realize I needed some help. This will be important later.

I have a little black kitty who had been acting like she had a bladder infection or UTI, so I took her in to the vet’s office. They kept her overnight because she was apparently pretty dehydrated, even though there is always fresh water out for her. The vet said it wasn’t uncommon for cats to stop drinking water when they have bladder issues, because it means they have to go less often.

I left her there and went home. I knew that logically, my kitty was going to be fine, because bladder issues aren’t the end of the world, but I still worried about her all night and didn’t sleep well because of it. She’s a very timid cat and really only likes me, so I worried even more knowing she was probably pretty anxious, too.

By the time I went in the next day to pick her up, I looked okay on the outside, but inside, I was falling apart. I got up to the receptionist’s desk and as I started speaking, my throat tightened up and my eyes started to water, I was so overwhelmed. The lady behind the counter was late-40s or so, definitely a motherly type. She was immediately concerned and asked what was wrong, and I just lost it.

Five-or-so years prior to this incident, my other cat, who is my absolute best friend in the world and my therapy cat, had a urinary issue as well, but in male cats, they aren’t minor issues. He had a blockage over his urethra, which could have killed him. I was 21 years old at the time and spent $2000 I didn’t have to save my cat. He’s been great ever since then, but it was one of the scariest experiences of my life, and apparently it was traumatic enough that dealing with minor feline urinary tract issues now is a trigger and sends me into a two-day anxiety attack.

I explained all that (more briefly) to the receptionist (let’s call her Sandy), and rather than tell me not to worry, or that everything would be okay — two very pointless things to tell people who are experiencing an anxiety/panic attack — she thought for a second and then asked me, “Would you like to see a baby possum?”

I was taken aback at first, wasn’t really sure I’d heard her correctly, but she was not kidding! She took me back to her office, where she did some basic wildlife rehabilitation. She got the baby possum out of its crate and handed him to me! I couldn’t focus on anything except the adorably ugly little rodent in my hands, so my anxiety attack quickly passed. I held him and talked to Sandy a bit about her rescue and rehab adventures, and when I gave the possum back, I was able to take a deep breath and start over. I gave Sandy my kitty’s information and she brought her out a few minutes later. I paid the bill and we were on our way home!

I was so touched by Sandy’s concern and the way she handled the situation. I couldn’t believe that a complete stranger knew what I needed when I didn’t even know myself. The next day, I made sure to stop at a coffee shop that is walking distance to the veterinary hospital and got her a gift card, and I wrote her a thank you note. She wasn’t working when I brought it in, but I hope it made its way to her and I hope she knows just how much I appreciate her. It wasn’t a big thing that she did, but it made a big difference to me!

You’re Killing Me Here

, , , , | Healthy | January 28, 2018

(A lady comes in with a cat in a very bad condition. After a short examination, I have to tell her that the only thing I can do is to euthanize her cat.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, but the kidneys have completely stopped working. The only thing we can do is release that poor cat from her pain and suffering.”

Lady: “Oh, that’s a shame, but if it’s the only option…”

Me: “Unfortunately, it is.”

Lady: “Okay, but is there any homeopathic euthanasia you can give? You know, all these chemical things are bad for her health!”

Me: “Um, do you know what ‘euthanasia’ means?”

The Crap That Comes Out Of Your Mouth

, , , , , | Healthy | January 24, 2018

(We have just finished working with a cat who was so scared of being at the vet that she soiled herself, and then got it everywhere. I have finished cleaning the treatment area but have yet to wash my hands. As with all health fields, it’s common knowledge that anything on your hands will eventually end up in your mouth if you don’t wash them.)

Vet: “Would you like to look at her ear slide?”

Me: “Sure. Let me just wash my hands first.”

Vet: *jokingly* “You mean you don’t want to end up eating poop?”

(I start giggling.)

Me: “It’s not that I don’t want to ingest poop; I just don’t want to smell it on my hands!”

Bean There, Done Cat

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 16, 2018

(I am playing with one of the clinic cats, Bean, and toss a toy to him. Unfortunately, I miss and hit him in the face, though he doesn’t seem to mind. Bean is cute, but he’s not the brightest cat ever. Later, I am telling the vet about it.)

Me: “I feel kind of bad. I beaned Bean in the head with a toy.”

Doctor: “That’s okay; there’s nothing up there, anyway.”

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