pandemic dequilling adventure
Tuesday, April 21 2020
I'd taken 100 milligrams of diphenhydramine well over an hour before going to bed last night. At some point I woke up in a diphenhydramine fog and went to piss, and Gretchen asked if I knew anything about Donald Trump's new immigration ban, which he'd apparently instigated in an impulsive toilet tweet. I didn't.
Later in the night I awoke to the sound of some creature repeatedly trying (and failing) to come through the pet door downstairs. That door hangs from pivots near its top edge, and its rubber weather seals making a swishing squeak whenever it flaps back and forth. Maybe a raccoon was trying to figure out how the door worked. So I got out of bed and went to investigate. I switched on the light and saw a mid-sized black form in front of the door that was clearly Ramona. When I opened the door to let her in, it was obvious why she'd been having trouble. Her muzzle was covered with porcupine quills. There were also clusters of them in her right eyebrow and on her shoulder. So I woke Gretchen up and told her what had happened. Unbeknownst to me, Gretchen had taken 5 mg of ambien about an hour before. But she was nevertheless able to leap into action and call the emergency veterinarian, who proceeded to ask a long series of questions while I bumbled around putting my pants on and such, since it would be me who would be taking Ramona in to have her quills removed. My cellphone had died, of course, so I ended up having to take Gretchen's. Ramona almost forgot about the discomfort of her quills when she realized she would be going for an unexpected early-morning car ride. Neville would be coming too. The time was maybe 3:45AM.
Like every other business not in a Dakota, the emergency vet was operating under pandemic rules. I parked outside the office and called the desk, and then a staffer came out and took Ramona in. She then called me to give me an estimate, which was over $500. Since the demand in this situation was completely inelastic, I said okay. After going around back by the railroad tracks and pissing near a dumpster, I spent the better part of an hour noodling around on Gretchen's cellphone. An article about all the medical patients in New York City who also happen to have Covid-19 was a bit of an eye-opener.
After Ramona's quills had been removed and she was given the drug to wake her back up again, the staffer called me so I could pay with my credit card, the numbers of which I read over the phone. The total price for Ramona's adventure was a little less than $550. Some of the quills had broken off and been lodged so deeply that the vet had had to make a few incisions to remove the fragments that remained, so now Ramona had some shaved patches and a few stitches.
Back at the house, Neville made it so I couldn't get comfortable in the bed, so I moved out to the couch, where I started having anxiety about how little actual work I've been getting done during my workdays. I resolved to compel myself not to read any news sites at all during the coming workday unless I was sitting on a toilet. These rules would, however, permit me to play YouTube videos.
That actually worked pretty well, and I ended the day feeling a bit more hopeful about my ability to find sufficient room in my head to continue working during this pandemic.
This evening on the diaspora Slack channel we hang out on, Dan called for spontaneous happy hour, and so Cameron and I joined him. I'd taken 100 milligrams of diphenhydramine, so I was feeling pretty sleepy at the time. As I talked, I could feel myself not wanting to put much effort into completing the sentences I'd started. Cameron picked up on this right away, commenting that something I'd just said was the sleepiest thing he'd ever heard me say. We didn't talk for long, and the only thing I remember from our discussion was about a link I'd found to an amusing product on Amazon.com: a charcoal pad designed to be stuck to one's underpants to absorb the fragrance of particularly obnoxious farts.
I didn't remember to take a picture of Ramona until after the quills were removed. Here's a picture I took today.
Gretchen took this picture.
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