trying another housecall vet
Wednesday, July 23 2014
A couple years ago, we had a good housecall vet whom we could call for emergencies and multi-pet visits. She also did work for our friends, including a porcupine quill removal from Michæl & Carrie's dog Penny that happened in our dining room. But our relationship soured after we called her out to euthanized Marie (aka "the Baby") and she refused. (Marie went on to live for more than a year after that, so in that case the vet was right.) We've been without a regular housecall vet since that incident. (We did get the Hurley vet to come out when we needed to euthanize Sally, but that was actually four months before the Marie fiasco.)
Recently, Gretchen became aware of another housecall vet, and so she set up an appointment for that vet to visit this afternoon, despite a bad first impression over the phone. (The vet was proving to be disorganized, repeatedly calling back to ascertain things Gretchen had already taken pains to explain.)
The vet was an older woman with the kind of battiness I normally associate with my mother. We soon saw the source of her disorganization: a piece of paper onto which she randomly scrawled notes that were too illegible for her to subsequently read. Coupled with a bad mid-term memory and the frequency of senior moments common to a person that age, her whole demeanor seemed to rub Gretchen the wrong way. There was also the matter how she wanted to do things. She had a procedure in mind, and it was clear that she didn't want to vary from it. One of the things we wanted her to do was to give Clarence a rabies booster shot, but she insisted on also giving him a whole medical examination, saying that is what she does when she makes housecalls. First, though, there was paperwork to be filled out, and that took a very long time.
Clarence is probably the healthiest creature in our house, so of course there was nothing wrong with him. No heart murmurs, no swollen lymph nodes, not even any calculus deposit on this 11-year-old never-been-brushed carnassial teeth. While the vet's interpersonal skills were somewhat abrasive, she really did have an amazing way with animals. Not only did she fuss over them with authentic fondness, but she was skilled in getting them to do what she needed them to do. Mind you, none of the creatures she interacted with today were especially difficult (since Marie was euthanized, Clarence has probably been the easiest cat to examine and vaccinate in all of Ulster County), but it's not hard to piss off even a cooperative animal.
In addition to a rabies shot for Clarence and distemper shots for both dogs (something we decided to get after she explained what our risks were), there were two issues with Ramona we wanted a veterinary opinion about. One was a grape-sized (and shaped) lump just under the skin on the right side of Ramona's face. It had been there since before her most recent porcupine quilling, and I wondered if it dated back to a quill that had been incompletely removed two quillings ago. I said that it had shrunk during a course of antibiotics. But on examining Ramona, the vet couldn't find any swollen lymph nodes, so it seemed unlikely that she was battling much of an infection. She suggested we get the lump aspirated to see what it was. She said it wasn't inconveivable that it was some sort of cancerous mass. In discussing these things, we were positively impressed by the vet's knowledge, and so, despite our reservations over her disorganization and overall kookiness, we decided that she is a keeper and that we'll be using her in the future. One further not-inconsiderable benefit: she's inexpensive.
The afternoon and evening while I drank various alcoholic beverages and caught up on my programs on the DVR, a huge thunderstorm system passed through. There wasn't much wind or electrical activity, but there was a great deal of rain. This filled (or nearly-filled) both rain barrels and allowed me to refill the kiddie pool (I'd emptied it of its muddy dog water after our party).
Meanwhile, Gretchen went with some friends to a pizza place in Saugerties for dinner, followed by a movie (also in Saugerties). It was raining so hard on the drive back home that she could only go 30 mph on the New York Thruway.
In addition to all the teevee I watched today, I also finished watching all the episodes to date of Botched, a reality show in which people with fucked-up plastic surgery get it corrected by competent plastic surgeons. I'd learned about the show on the Slate Cultural Gabfest and it sounded like my sort of show, though I'm far too squeamish to watch the surgery segments. For those, I just drag the window to the bottom of my screen so I can't see the disgusting insides of a nose or a teat. As reality shows go, Botched isn't bad. It's found a way to make its audience root for good plastic surgery outcomes, since they are mostly to repair bad ones. Still, I can't keep from being dismayed by what some of the patients were thinking (and, in some cases, still are thinking). I can't fathom what would lead a woman to want 600 cc breasts (let alone 1000 cc breasts), especially when the risk is nipple death and uniboob syndrome, not to mention chronic back pain. How is the desire to install that much useless mass on one's own chest any less absurd than Chinese foot binding?
Oscar the cat with me and Ramona today in the upstairs bedroom. Click to enlarge.
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