Max and Me and the Vet Makes Three …

20 May

I wake up 30 minutes before the alarm is set to go off. I don’t know if I’ve had a peaceful sleep or not but waking up has been jarring & I don’t even try to sneak in a few extra minutes under the covers. Already I feel the stress making me suck in my abdominal muscles.

I get up & bypass the toilet; regardless of the “FULL” message I’m getting from my bladder. Instead, I reach for a glass, fill it with water from the tap & wash down my blood pressure pill. It’s a protective measure meant to ward off any stress-related strokes that might be currently circling the unprotected lobes of my brain. If nothing else, I’ll be proactive.

I remember that today is one of those on my calendar that annually is off the stress-filled scale. Even though I know it will be short-lived, I want to be as prepared for it as I possibly can be (it’s that proactive thing).

I’ve just recently spoken to a nurse’s spring conference about Stress in Nursing. My presentation was successful because I did research on the subject, personally dealt with stress as an OR nurse for more than half my life & I was well prepared. So what’s the big difference, I ask myself as I give my attention to my bulging bladder & try to prepare myself for what’s to come today? I’ve had many years of experience with today’s task, too, yet it stresses me to the “max” every year.

I begin to sweat …………

I realize that the “Nursing Stress” I endured for more than half my life cannot hold a candle to “Vet Stress” & that’s what’s got me going this morning. Our cat, Max has an appointment for his annual veterinary visit.

Don’t you LOVE those commercials that remind you that “Stress Sweat” just smells worse??? So now I’m stressed out about that hour between 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. when Max has his appointment, about getting him there AND about “Stress Sweat.” Will I offend socially when I’m lugging the cat carrier through the double doors of the veterinary clinic & Max comes face-to-face with a waiting room full of barking, salivating dogs???

I decide to put those worries “on hold” & eat some breakfast.

Max is nowhere to be seen & I’m not going to look for him. Cats have some kind of “Catdar.” They just KNOW stuff like when you’re going away for the weekend & not taking them, which ONE person out of the 11 people in the room hates cats (those are the laps they elect to sit upon) & when there’s a vet appointment even BEFORE they see the cat carrier. (The cat seeing the cat carrier results in loss of precious time attempting to get them out from under beds & off the tops of refrigerators & shower rods. I KNOW … I’ve BEEN there. So we delay THAT sighting as long as possible.)

With breakfast behind me, I take the cat carrier out of its hiding place in a wing chair in the living room & put it on the table in the sunroom. I go out & open both car doors, put my purse inside & go back for Max. I find him sleeping peacefully on the family room sofa, scoop him up in one quick motion & nudge him into the cat carrier. He goes reluctantly … but he goes.

Max is just cool. He’s a 19-year-old Himalayan with powder blue eyes & the sweetest disposition there ever was in a cat.  As he’s gotten older, he’s sort of turned into a furry little old man who can become grumpy & even that has its charm. I love him & my concern on “Vet Day” begins by worrying about frightening him. Just putting him into the cat carrier seems to do that, although he is stoic, bunches himself into the back of the carrier & begins panting.

I grab my car keys, struggle the carrier into the car & my heart is racing. I have to run back in the house for a last trip to the “john” before leaving. Damned diuretic!

I get into the car & now Max & I are BOTH panting. I turn on the ignition & try to adjust the air conditioner so Max gets air in his carrier. He is, after all, panting.

Did I mention I am sweating???

At the top of the driveway, I believe I have to go to the bathroom again but we’ve struck out on this journey & I’m not about to turn around now for ANYTHING. Maybe my excessive sweating will wick some of the water from my bladder & I will be able to make it to the Vet’s office.

Max is quiet … & panting. I, on the other hand, am panting AND sweating & begin cursing that diuretic I took this morning along with my blood pressure pill. But at least I haven’t had a stroke, although worrying about that socially unacceptable “Stress Sweat” is adding to my emotional discomfort & I begin to worry about what might happen to Max if I have a wreck. Will he be killed or injured or, worse yet, be ejected from the carrier & lost while wandering down the highway & into the woods between the sparsely spaced businesses between our house & the veterinary clinic? Who will find him? Will they give him a good home?

Max has stopped panting as I realize I have a death grip on the steering wheel & my knuckles have gone totally white. I realize this as we arrive at our destination & I’m hoping there will be no cars in the parking lot at the veterinary clinic. But there are … &, from my vantage point, each seems to have a large dog occupying the passenger seat.  But at least we’ve made that 100 mile trip to the clinic … actually only a few miles & in the 12 minutes it takes to get there from our house… but it FEELS like 100 miles.

I leave Max in the carrier in the car while I go in to scope out the waiting room for dogs. The vet comes into the empty waiting room & asks me where Max is & I tell her, “In the car. I was just checking out the waiting room for dogs …” She seems to understand that logic & I go back to the car to get Max.

I am sweating that awful “Stress Sweat,” my heart is pounding, my bladder is bulging, I’m panting & as I open the door & reach for the cat carrier I realize that Max is sleeping. How could he be sleeping? I need 60 mgm of IV Valium right now & Max isn’t even panting. I check to see if he is breathing thinking he might be dead. But he is definitely sleeping. …for which I am grateful.

I struggle to the entrance of the clinic & a very nice man opens the door for me. He has a very large dog with him & inside there’s a couple with a howling Jack Russel. When did THEY arrive in the waiting room? The Jack Russel gets Max’s attention as I try to find a seat & adjust the carrier so Max can’t see the dogs. He’s panting again & I am praying not to cause a scene by looking panic stricken, allowing my bladder to rupture all over the waiting room & perhaps even needing to call the Stroke Prevention Unit of the local Fire Department’s EMTs.

Finally, it’s our turn & I take Max & his carrier into the exam room. While he very reluctantly got INTO the carrier, he is dead set against getting OUT. The vet tech tries to pull him out to no avail & ends up dumping him out. As he lies down on the exam table, I sit down in the only chair in the room & we both stop panting. It’s a miracle!!!!

The vet is a friend & is very gentle. She has Himalayan cats of her own so she is very tuned in to Max’s fears & temperament. She calms him immediately with her touch & he hardly whimpers when she takes a blood sample from his neck.

Max & I wait the 30 minutes that are needed for the results of his blood work. The vet team is kind enough to leave us in the exam room &, while we can HEAR large dogs in the waiting room, we don’t actually SEE them, which is good for both of us.

Max is a much better patient than I am his pet parent.

The vet & I discuss the blood work results. Max is slipping into a bit of kidney failure, which goes along with being the very senior cat that he is. But he is currently doing OK on his own & we will keep a careful watch on him.

He is also a little anemic & the vet gives him a B12 shot. She wants him to have one each week for 4 weeks & then once a month. I will be giving him his shots & that reminds me that I gave my mom the same shots when she became ill & in her 80s. I can’t help wondering if … although I am a nurse … I will have any difficulty giving Max his shots as I did giving them to my mom. There’s something about not wanting to hurt those we love deeply, even though we know we are helping them.

The vet tells me I will see a big change in Max this afternoon after the B12 gets into his system. I thank her & I leave the exam room with Max sleeping in his carrier. I must admit that reaching this particular leg of the journey is a relief & neither Max nor I are panting.

Seeing the vet bill almost gives me a heart attack but I have managed to avert a ruptured bladder, a stroke & a psychiatric meltdown, so I guess … as I’m handing the office girl my credit card … I can deal with the bill.

The ride home is far more relaxed than the trip TO the vet. I feel much better & Max is quietly lying down in the carrier sort of nodding off. I am grateful for his good report & for whatever miracle has gotten us through yet another annual vet visit.

Back at home I get the cat carrier out of the car & set it on the ground. Max seems very curious about the sounds & smells of “outside;” the ones he missed when we started our journey an hour & a half ago.

We go inside; I open the door to the carrier & Max steps out. He goes to check on his food, checks out the stairs to the bedrooms & family room & comes & sits on my lap in my office chair. He always does that when we get home. I believe he just wants to make sure he is home & that nothing has changed while we’ve been gone. He purrs & we both drift off … finally leaving this morning’s stress behind. It is the most peaceful moment of the day so far.

Unless you know the love of a special animal it’s difficult for me to describe my relief at knowing that Max, although elderly, is still in good health & that there just may be a chance that I may have the “PRIVILEGE” of going through this special, stressful day again with him next year.

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7 Responses to “Max and Me and the Vet Makes Three …”

  1. Tony May 21, 2016 at 12:19 am #

    I’m really glad Max took the trip to the Vet well.
    Usually cats are stressed out and meow all the way. Lol.
    It reminds me of my trip to the Dentist !!! Lol😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • heimdalco May 21, 2016 at 12:28 am #

      I have had other cats that didn’t do nearly as well as Max. Mostly, they NEVER panic as much as I do on that trip …

      Funny about you & the dentist … LOL

      Thanks for reading my stuff

      Like

      • Tony May 21, 2016 at 1:53 am #

        Thank you for sharing Linda 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Les May 21, 2016 at 2:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing this Linda, Max is such a cool cat..as always, such a good read and very funny too!!
    Love you,
    Les

    Like

  3. heimdalco May 21, 2016 at 2:35 am #

    Thanks for continuing to read my stuff, Leslie.

    When I got home from the vet with Max & it was all fresh in my head, it seemed like a good time to write it down.

    Max does much better than I do. He pants … I’m a basket case …

    Love you back

    Like

  4. Willy May 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    I was sorry I couldn’t be here for both of them but it gave Linda something to write about 🙂
    MAN! The B12 shot really perked up the ol’ man! His eyes are open wider last night and he was climbing stairs better than me. I want a couple of those shots. He was down in the basement this morning as usual . Good to have him roaming around.

    Like

    • heimdalco May 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

      I was sorry you weren’t with us, too, Willy. I would have been a little less stressed but still stressed. Sorry you had to work.

      We could ALL use a B12 shot if it would help us like it’s helped Max. He’s rejuvenated … I wish I’d taken him to the vet sooner but I thought his lethargy was just due to his age.

      Like

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