What to do on a Saturday night during Valentine's day week-end? This past week-end, instead of relaxing in the apartment, enjoying the special steak dinner that Corb had carefully prepared, we decided to ditch it all and do something a little different.
Wild, spontaneous, wacky? Well, that all depends on whether your idea of a romantic evwning is to spend it in the animal hospital with a sick kitty.
Related story: http://nocompromises.livejournal.com/459628.html
Yes, Oliver's pink noodle problem returned once again. We had our suspicions on Friday night, when we saw him gingerly licking his little pink penis. However, he still seemed to be eating just fine and didn't seem lethargic at all, so we hoped for the best.
Saturday night, right before we were about to sit down to that steak dinner, we discovered the worst. He started squatting down everywhere, trying to pee, without success. Yep, the crystals were back again.
How did I handle it? Oh, you know me, I always handle things like this with the utmost calm. "This can't be happening!" I said, pounding my fist into the bed. "Not after all that's happened! This is the worst possible time to rack up a huge kitty bill. We can't afford it, Corb!"
Well, after a short sulk and a quick dinner I don't think I even tasted, we did what we knew what we had to do. We got dressed and called the animal hospital.
Half an hour later, we were sitting in a small room at the West Bridgewater animal hospital, talking to a thin brunette with a tight smile and stethoscope around her neck that didn't look exactly thrilled to be working on a Saturday night.
"Well, your cat has crystals," she said. "But you knew that, didn't you?"
I nodded. "But here's the thing. Last time Oliver had crystals, it cost us $1,300 for two nights here."
The vet nodded. "That sounds about right."
"Well, the thing his, my partner just lost his job. We don't have $1,300, and I looked up pet insurance today, and I don't think this would be covered, because Ollie has a pre-existing condition. So, my question is, is there a really low cost option?"
"Well..." The vet closed her eyes for a moment. It had been a long night for her, I could tell, and we couldn't have been the first people there complaining about the cost. "The first we can try is to milk the plug and hope we can remove the crystal. That would be relatively cheap. But if we can't do that, then we have to evacuate all the crystals in his bladder. That'll cost more. Around $500."
I looked over in Corb's direction. Even $500 was going to be tough. "Milk away," I said.
"If that doesn't work, move to plan B," said Corb.
The vet nodded. "The milking won't take long. We'll know soon enough."
Worried, the two of us moved back into the waiting room, praying for an inexpensive miracle. I rested my ass in a thin plastic seat, feeling more than a little dejected.
An older couple sat across from us. They were the Fuddermans--an older couple from the town next to Eldredge.
"Bad news?" asked Mrs. Fudderman.
I tried to maintain a brave face. She had a bright smile and a friendly nature, and I just couldn't sound grouchy around her. "We don't know yet...hoping for the best." I paused and took a second look her way, realizing that her clothes were covered in dried blood. "How long have you been here?"
"Since three," she said. "We've been here for six long hours. Isn't that right, Fred?"
Fred nodded, holding a cane in his hand, covered in red roses. Hers. "Came home this afternoon. Our puppy had gotten out of the house for a minute."
"Hit by a car," said Mrs. Fudderman. "He was so quiet about it. We didn't even know it had happened, he limped back into the house and we found him in the kitchen, covered in blood."
"What kind of dog was it?"
"A white husky. Beautiful dog," said Mrs. Fudderman. "They're actually getting him ready for us to take him home."
"We'll be coming back tomorrow, to get the bandages changed. Can't afford to have him stay here overnight," said Mr. Fudderman.
"Yeah, it's been a tough year," said Mrs. Fudderman, rocking in her chair. "I fell about a month ago in our bathroom, which is why I have the cane..." Her husband lifted it up and pointed it at me, pretending to shoot me with a rifle. "So I haven't been able to work, and Fred here is an electrician, but nobody wants to hire a 79-year-old electrician, right?"
Then she laughed. But the funny thing was, there wasn't any bitterness in her laugh. It was a tough situation, but it wasn't making her tough. Somehow, she had a lightness of spirit that allowed her to keep going on. At least, from what I could see.
A couple walked into the waiting room. The moved to the other set of double doors, but they were locked, at this time of night.
"Looking for the rest rooms?" asked Mrs. Fudderman.
The couple nodded. "To your right," said Fred, and laughed. "We've been here for so long, we could give tours!"
"How did you fall?" asked Corb of Mrs. Fudderman.
"Oh, I kind of slipped in the bathroom tiles," she said. "Ended up falling onto the sink. And being as tiny and insignificant as I am..." She looked down comically at her heavy frame. "The sink kind of gave way. Fred was quick, though, and used my cane to hold up the sink..."
Fred rolled his eyes and groaned.
Mrs. Fudderman nodded at the cane. "So that's how I got the posies on my cane. See, the sink didn't hold up too well, and son of a gun, wouldn't you know that this all happened on the day of our anniversary? So Fred went to go get me a replacement, and he was going to get me another black one, same as the one I had before. But he mentioned to the woman at the store that it was our anniversary and she looked at him and said, 'You are not going to buy your wife a black cane on your anniversary!' So he picked this one out, and when he brought it home, he said to me--"
"Look," said the husband, holding the cane out to her. "Two dozen roses!"
Corb and I chuckled. So did the Fuddermans, even though they had probably told that story as many times as there were roses on the cane. "You have to laugh," said Mrs. Fudderman, wiping her eyes. "Laughing is a lot easier than crying and way more enjoyable, too."
Have you ever been in a situation that you think you were meant to be in, simply because it puts you in contact with someone you needed to hear?
That's what I think happened that night. Listening to the Fuddermans speak...seeing how they handled their situation, which was way, way worse than ours...seeing how they dealt with their adversity, how pleasant they were, how they made everyone in that waiting room feel good about things, just by maintaining a positive attitude, having a nice word for everyone they met.
I don't know. I guess it was kind of infectious. It made me want to be like them, when I grew up.
It gave me hope. We need more people like that in this world, I think.
About ten minutes later, our tired vet entered the waiting room, covered in cat urine. "Plan A worked," she said. "Although when the plug came out, Oliver sprayed everywhere. He's free to go, after we get him some medicine. But look...this is his third crystal incident, so next time, our policy is he'll need to have surgery."
"Don't they poke a hole in his penis for that?" I asked, probably a little too loudly.
Our vet wrinkled her nose. "No, not really," she said. "Some people refer to it as turning a boy into a girl. You kind of cut the penis open and spread it out, so that it's easier for the cat to pee without forming crystals. It sounds bad, but it's usually really successful."
"Oh great," I whispered to Corb, after she left to get Oliver. "We're going to have a tranny tabby!"
Corb giggled. "I need to call my mother about this."
"Don't do it in the car, with Oliver there! If you do, you're going to hear him meow like he never meowed before!"
A few minutes later, we were out the door. We said goodbye to the Fuddermans as we left.
"What a beautiful kitty," said Mrs. Fudderman, reaching into the cat cariier, where Oliver was hiding under a blanket, high on kitty morphine. "He reminds me of our orange tabby."
I left the vets feeling ten times better than I had going in. Partly because it looked like Oliver was on the road to recovery, once again. But mostly because of the people in my neighborhood.