We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us…
Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist… Natalie Goldberg
Observations from August 16, 2012
1. Dropping the Princess, my scruffy terrier poodle mix, at the vet’s to get her six month shots, a young, bright blue clad vet’s assistant ushers the dog and me into an exam room.
My understanding of “dropping off” is being challenged. She wants to know how Princess is doing. I could say fine, but it won’t matter. The vet will do an exam anyway and tell me what I already know. She has allergies. Might as well give my two cents worth.
I begin by telling the young thing about the continual search to relieve her itchy skin. Her diet is now Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison Formula. $17.95 a bag at Petco. I recently received a $6.00 off coupon in the mail for my next bag. Probably their way of thanking me for the business.
I tell of changing shampoo and the addition of a spray for hot spots. And then there’s the food supplement for skin and coat that I purchased at the health food store.
The assistant interrupts my answer to to the question “How is Princess doing” to tell me she’s new here and she’s going to get another assistant.
She returns with another young bright blue clad assistant, who may have six months’ more life experience on her than the first. I begin my answer again. The food, the shampoo and spray, the food supplement. I am now taking this holistic approach, I tell her, because the vet has already tried a number of medications on her. The switch to expensive Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison Formula had been his idea; I just continued, in my mind, that line of reasoning.
I tell the two young things about recent changes in her behavior. How this eleven-and-one-half-year-old companion has been more clingy lately. Perhaps her eyesight isn’t as good. Or her hearing. As I talk, Princess, perched on the cold, shiny metal examination table is smashed up against me, shaking.
The second assistant asks if she has anxiety issues. I’m not sure how “anxiety issues” are defined in dog terms. I do know the dog’s companion struggles with them. When I tell her that, she excuses herself to find more help.
There are now three bright blue clad vet’s assistants in the room with Princess and me. The third assistant looks a bit older. As I wonder how much information I need to repeat, the newest addition to the expanding forensic team begins reading aloud the entries that were made on the computer while I babbled.
“Princess is scratching a lot and is taking a supplement from the health food store. She has anxiety issues,” she reads. “Perhaps she has allergies that the vet can treat.”
“Yes,” I say. “That’s what he’s been doing for the last few years, which is why I thought I would tell you what I’ve observed since we were last here.”
“OK, thanks. We’ll look into what’s going on and call you when she’s ready to be picked up.”
I thank them and leave a shaky Princess in their care.
Later that afternoon, when I go to pick her up, another bright blue clad assistant ushers me into the exam room to tell me what the vet has discovered.
“Princess has allergies.”
Duh, I think.
” She does not have anxiety issues.”
“Those were y’all’s words, not mine,” the mental dialogue continues.
“Have you tried Atopica?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say aloud, wondering what was in those computer records anyway, “but it made her sick and she had to take a second medication to take the first.”
“Well,” she says, “we have a medication here to give her three times a day and wipes for her feet to be used twice a day and we want to see her again in 14 days.”
I thank her, move to the checkout counter, give the receptionist my credit card for the 40 buzillion dollar charge and wait for another assistant to bring my non-anxious, allergy-prone companion to me so we can go home.
Oh, did I tell you they discovered a heart murmur during the examination? Nothing to worry about right now, but the recommendation is an EKG and blood work.