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My -- I mean, Merlyn's -- Ordeal

by Ginger-lyn Summer, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Trying to get Merlyn spayed in the first place has been something of an ordeal. Do we go low-cost clinic? Do we take her to the regular vets? Which one? When? She keeps going into heat - no, she's out! -- oops! She's back in again!

I finally decided to schedule her surgery with the Mobile Animal Sterilization Hospital. Yes, the M*A*S*H unit for pets. Between the difficulty of being tight on cash and having no reliable transportation, this seemed the ideal option. So I made an appointment. After her Twelve Days of Heat in November/December, she was finally out of heat just days before her appointment. Yes! We're ready.

Now, I am a night owl. A hard-core night owl. The only way I see dawn is when I'm up late enough to see it. All spays and neuters I've ever seen were scheduled for early morning hours. Gulp. Well, there is always the option of skipping a night's sleep, isn't there? That was easy when I was 21; at 46, believe me, losing a night's sleep is a Major Ordeal.

So, bleary-eyed in the morning, I call the cab company. I thought it a brilliant idea. The MASH unit wasn't too far, so I could take a cab down for $5, take a bus home, a bus back to pick her up, and another $5 for a cab to get her home. Not too bad.

Did you know you can't schedule a cab? You just have to get one when they decide to send you one. Now, this presents more than a bit of difficulty when one must be somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 am. I can't be there early, since no one will have arrived yet. I can't be late, or it can't be done. Such a dilemma! So I decide to call at 8:25 am and cross my fingers. By 8:45, a cab shows up. Whew.

Now it has started to drizzle. Just what we need. We arrive at a white trailer attached to a truck as I try to explain to the cab driver what in the world is going on here. He looks confused.

I ask the vet my zillion questions and tell Merlyn to be a good, strong girl and I'll see her soon, and leave, sleepless and totally freaked out about my little girl.

Of course, I forgot to bring an umbrella, and it's raining more steadily now. I walk down to do my other task, buy some film. There's a special deal they have on the film, so I get a free 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. Just the night before, DH had asked "How are you going to stay awake long enough to pick her up is my question?" I said "Maybe get some Mountain Dew?" I assume the Gods are telling me something. But here I am, in the rain, waiting for a bus with a heavy bottle of pop. Sigh. The bus takes 20 minutes to arrive, of course. In the meanwhile, I must deal with a group of six or seven drunken college students who cross my path. That's what I get for being in the University area, I suppose.

I make it back home, light candles, and send out furious prayers to Bast. In less than three hours, I have to be back to pick Merlyn up. No time to sleep.

By Noon, I race out to catch the bus to go back to the MASH unit. It is now pouring buckets of rain, but at least this time I have an umbrella. Didn't count on the temperature dropping 15 degrees in the meanwhile, though.

I get off at my stop and walk the few blocks over to the clinic. SUVs are blithely splashing me, huge puddles are hazards that I can't avoid walking through, soaking my shoes through to my feet, and I manage to be almost completely soaking wet by the time I reach the truck.

Merlyn is fine. Huge relief! I know the recovery will also be difficult, and that I will need to watch her carefully, but she's made the biggest hurdle. I am so glad to see her big orange eyes staring at me out of the carrier as I call a cab, with the cell phone the vet has graciously provided me.

Now, try explaining to a cab company that insists you must provide an exact address, that you are in a mobile vet van outside of a pet store and you have no idea what the pet store's actual address is. And you are not about to run outside in the pouring rain to find out. Finally, I said "The corner of 13th and Pearl! It's right on the corner! That should be good enough!" It was.

The vet and his assistant sort through their supplies and make small talk with each other, as they are done for the day, while I wait for the cab. And wait. And wait. "Um, do you want to call them again?", the vet asks. "Probably a good idea," I reply.

They can't find my call on their computer. Of course not - they don't have a "real" address. Grrrrrr. I insist it is there, and they finally track it down. "Oh, 86 is on the way right now," they say.

So I wait, expecting a cab any minute. And wait. And wait.

Finally, from out of the foggy window, I spy a cab. Who goes whizzing by. I run out, and run after it, but it does not stop. At least by now the rain has.

Furious, I go back inside the van. "Want to call again?" the vet asks, rather bemusedly.

The dispatcher can't find my call - again. I shout "Look, I don't have an exact address. I just got my cat spayed, I am in a truck outside the pet store, she needs to get home NOW, and I have been waiting 40 minutes for a cab that still hasn't shown up. One just went by but didn't stop. What in the hell is going on?"

He finally finds my original call. "Oh, you have been waiting a long time." Duh! "Okay, I see what happened. There was a cab on its way to you 25 minutes, ago, but it broke down." Lovely. "We'll get one there as soon as we can."

A final 10-minute wait, and a "Thank you for putting up with me waiting for a cab" to the vet staff, and we're on our way home.

I'm a complete wreck by now. The Kitty Rescue Room isn't completely ready yet for her return. So she sits in the carrier a few more minutes while I yell at DH to change the litterbox RIGHT NOW, and get her some fresh water, while I throw a clean sheet over the bed on the floor that we hope she will stay and sleep on as she recovers.

Finally, she is home and out of the carrier. She looks more happy to be home than she is ticked at me, thank heavens. After much scritching, sweet talking, and observation, DH goes to work and I leave her alone to rest and recoup.

I'm nodding off, but want to keep checking on her every hour for the next several hours. Well, there is that Mountain Dew, isn't there? I have not had caffeine in several years, since I gave it up. Well, a little couldn't hurt, right?

So I drink a little, and get on the Internet to check e-mail and read my newsgroups. And drink a little more. Now you now why my posts were Towers of Babble-On :-)

And now you know the whole story of my - I mean, Merlyn's - Ordeal.


Editor's note:

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