Saturday, January 19, 2013

That Time Kirby Cost Me $500

Ann got them sweaters for Christmas. Best
20 minutes of my life.

As you probably know by now, Kirby is a genetic cesspool who is constantly suffering from a variety of maladies, forcing me to drag him to the vet and spew large amounts of my hard earned (rather small) paycheck to the wind. In the three and a half years since he has come into my life, he has suffered from the following:

- Eye infection
- Luxating patella
- Crystals in urine
- Horrible hot spot that made it look like his leg was literally rotting
- Food allergies
- Colitis
- Gingivitis
- Neck lesions
- Bulimia (Ok, he wasn't really diagnosed with bulimia. But once or twice a week he eats too fast and pukes his food up immediately.)

After his recent gingivitis diagnosis, I scheduled a vet appointment to have his teeth cleaned. I'm thinking this is going to cost me $150, maybe $200. And I'm stressed about this. Financially, this is not a great situation for me. But, as a devoted cat-mom (sorry, Jamie), I know I don't have a choice.

A couple days before his appointment, I get a voicemail from the vet (at 10 on a Friday night. Does that seems extraordinarily odd to anyone else?) that says:

"Hello Ms. Jeffries, just calling to remind you of Kirby's surgery on Tuesday, yada yada yada, bullshit bullshit bullshit, blah blah blah $600."

I hear this and panic. I'm also a little confused, because as far as I know, Kirby is just having his teeth cleaned, not being operated on. I'm not sure if this is just fancy vet talk, but needless to say, I call the next morning and frantically and somewhat incoherently babble on about pretty sure my cat just needs the most basic freaking teeth cleaning, and it can't possibly cost that much right? Right? RIGHT?

The receptionist looks through my file, pauses, then says, "Oh. Hmm. Yeah, it looks like we had him down for oral surgery.... and I guess it doesn't sound like that's what you requested. Ok. Um. We'll just switch that to a regular teeth cleaning. Let me put you on hold so I can get an estimate."

The following two things happen in my head.

1. Oh, thank sweet baby Jesus, I won't have to pay $600.
2. Wait a minute, you almost ACCIDENTALLY OPERATED ON MY CAT?????

She then gets back on the phone, and cheerfully tells me that teeth cleaning will be the much cheaper, much more reasonable price of $500. And she says this like it's great news. Like she's really doing me a fucking favor. Like I'm going to be all, "Oh! $500? That's fantastic! I was, in fact, hoping to spend $500 for you to brush my cat's teeth! As a young starving artist, that just sounds like the dandiest way I can think of to use up those extra pesky $100 bills that have just been clogging up my wallet! Super freaking great puppies and unicorns awesomesauce!"

Tuesday morning finds me biting the bullet, ready to take my poor invalid cat to the vet. I wrangle him into the carrier as he stares at me with his big, soul-crushing "How could you?" eyes, and drive him to the vet.

Side note. Kirby is terrified of being in the car, and absolutely petrified (read: extremely violent) when it comes to the vet. He really loves when I sing though, so whenever I have to drive him there, I sing to him. He always immediately stops crying, but starts back up again the second I stop. It's really, really cute.

I drop him off at 9, am told I can pick him up around 6, and head off about my day of dogs.

The thing about me and my pets is if they aren't with me, I'm slightly convinced they're going to die. I know this isn't really rational. I know it's a liiiiiiittle crazy. But whenever I'm out of town, there is always this very, very small voice in the back of my head telling me that Stella fell off my bookshelf and broke her neck. Or Kirby had an aneurism. Something like that. And having him at the vet's all day, while under anesthesia, absolutely had me in a mild state of panic (especially after signing all those forms that say, "Your cat could totally die during this procedure and you better not sue us, fucko").

Since I pretty much spend all day surrounded by canines instead of humans, I usually talk on the phone a lot during my walks. This day, I called my grandma. Now, my grandmother is a really awesome lady, but she also carries the distinct Jeffries doomsday mentality of thinking if something can go wrong, it will. (I'm pretty sure my belief that nothing bad can ever happen to me was derived as a defense mechanism from this. Except when it comes to my pets. I totally think bad things can happen to my pets.)

Me: So, Kirby's getting his teeth cleaned today, and I'm kind of, not really, but kind of worried he's going to die while under anesthesia *cue nervous, slightly hysterical laughter*
Grandma: Oh, yes. That actually might happen. Pets die under anesthesia all the time.
Me (somewhat taken aback): Oh. Well... I mean, hopefully it'll be fine.
Grandma: I don't know. I think you're right to worry. He really might die.
Me: *shocked silence, rapid subject change*

Cut to the end of the conversation:

Grandma: Well, alright hon, I'll talk to you later. And let me know if Kirby survives his procedure.
Me: Grandma, I really think he will. I was worried in a worst-case scenario type sense. I don't actually think it's likely he's going to die.
Grandma(very dubious): Well, ok..... just let me know.

Fortunately, Kirby survived, and apparently shocked the entire staff with his remarkable levels of aggression and ungodly screeching. The vet came out and helpfully told me that one of his teeth has a neck lesion (which oddly enough doesn't seem to involve necks) and that it will probably need to be pulled out in a year or so, which is just freaking fantastic. I brought him home, he wandered around the apartment growling with his eyes bulging out of his head, jumping at every sound he heard. Finally though, he calmed down and made a little nest on my lap and went to sleep, looking like an angel, just waiting for the next horrible, money-draining ailment to pop up and rob me of my funds and my sanity.

1 comment:

  1. Good grief. Pets are so damn expensive sometimes. The last time I took my cat to the vet (she went to the bathroom outside of her litterbox, so naturally I panicked and was convinced she had a UTI or was dying), I paid $65 to sit at there and wait for 45 minutes for the vet, who looked at her for 15 seconds and then told me to go home and call back on Monday if she didn't seem better. Ridiculous.