Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Do You Call the Doctor or Vet?

My wife will call the doctor/vet with the slightest issue. Most recently, one of our three indoor cats was limping, and his right front paw was swollen "three times its size, like a catcher's mitt," or so I heard from the frantic voice over the phone while I was at work.

I already knew what happened. One of the thousand wasps that makes a nest right next to the basement window above the litterboxes wandered into the house and fell into the litterbox. It was weak but not quite dead, and delivered its sting while the cat tried to torture it, as these adoringly innocent creatures are wont to do. Of course, since I'm the only one who cleans the litter box these days, no one else knows about the wasp problem, which is probably a good thing.

Calmly I say, "He probably got stung by a bee. He'll be oka..."

"What do you mean he got stung by a bee!?! He wasn't outside! Do you think I should take him to the vet?" I sense her glaring at me over the phone.

"A bee probably got inside, and he attacked it. Call the vet and see what they advise. And take a picture of it." Then I added, "Remember when the dog got stung above the eye and that swelled? He was fine after a couple of..."

"Yeah, yeah. Right. I'm calling the vet," she responded dismissively.

Five minutes later I was informed that the vet wants to see him immediately. I can't even imagine what she told them about the situation. Maybe she said it was the size of a grapefruit, turning green and pulsing.

After I got home I did three things:
  1. I examined the cat, who appeared perfectly normal with the exception of a very slightly larger right paw, which you'd notice only if you knew there was something wrong and got down on your hands and knees to look closely at it.
  2. I looked at the photograph my daughter took of the paw, which appeared to be mildly swollen. (The paw, not the photograph.)
  3. Cringed at the $92.17 vet bill on the kitchen table.
"A catcher's mitt?" I asked, pointing to the photograph. "You do know what a catcher's mitt looks like, don't you?

"Well, I meant a catcher's mitt if it were made for a cat."

But I still remember the last time we called the doctor for our daughter. She had been coughing for about a week. My wife kept saying that something wasn't quite right. And I kept saying that she probably has a virus, which the doctor can't treat. So just ride it out. My wife was too tired to argue.

She felt warm that night. But everyone always feels warm to me -- I have cold hands. However, she was glassy-eyed, and that's what prompted my wife to urge me to take her temperature. And I felt compelled to do so.

It reached 99F very quickly. Then 102F. And kept going. Right up to 105 F. Shit. Needless to say I didn't mind paging the on-call doctor. She informed me that if it gets to 106F, then she'd need to go to the hospital. For now, I just had to give her some Jr. Advil or children's Motrin, which, indeed, lowered the fever really well. And our daughter did get better eventually, without needing a trip to the doctor.

Anyway, all this mental diarrhea was inspired by CardioGirl's post, "At least they won’t accuse me of Munchausen by proxy". Why not go over and tell your story?


CK Lunchbox said...

I grew up on farms so the only time the vet showed up was maybe to help artificially inseminate certain larger animals.

Cats, however, were on their own.

cardiogirl said...

Hey, thanks for the snaps, SPG!

I absolutely LOVED this line:

"Well, I meant a catcher's mitt if it were made for a cat."

I'm gonna laugh about that all day.

Square Peg Guy said...

Hey, Ron:

Cats seem to prefer to be on their own, don't they?

Thanks for commenting!

Square Peg Guy said...

Hey CG:

My wife is a great source of funny remarks. I just wish I could remember them all!

Thanks for commenting!

Rummuser said...

Square Peg, you have to be a care giver to a 92 year old hypochondriac paranoid person to understand what swings of moods one normally sane person can go through.

The Bumbles said...

That's great. I too love the kitty catcher's mitt comment - being the cat and baseball fan that I am. Our cats constantly bother the bumble bees outside in the flowers and though I have heard that they don't sting, they certainly do something to wig out the cats' paws every now and then. Usually though the bees survive and a clumsy cat falls into the flowers smushing them forever.

I feel your pain with the vet bill. Ours have thickening hearts and heart murmers diagnosed after 2 ekg's at about $600. Now one of them won't eat the expensive pills. And their lifespans are very short. Happy days!