Friday, March 22, 2013

This Is The Definition Of A Saga

She Doesn't Like Him At AllTo all of you who are shepherding health challenged family members (including yourselves) through the world I want to say, bless you. I don't know how you do it. I have been at the vet all freaking day. I just put in a load of laundry but that is, truly, the only other thing of worth I've managed. For posterity, here's the rundown.

Tuesday I had a conversation with the receptionist at the Old Vet (hereafter OV) and requested that a. Elvis's records be sent to the Veterinary Cardiac Specialist (VCS) for our Friday appointment and b. he make a copy of our records so I could have them for my files. He was going to be out on Wednesday but would have them ready for me to pick up on Thursday evening.

Thursday evening I arrived at 6:25pm and the place was closed, the gates were down, and no one was there. I was angry. Too angry, in fact, to even call and leave a message.

This morning at 9:45 I went to OV, saw a different receptionist who had clearly been briefed that I would arrive, however, the records had not been copied. I waited for copies. They reassured me that everything had been sent to the VCS. I resolved never to bring an animal back to them.

At 10:15 I surprised the cat and crammed him into his carrier and met my neighbor in the courtyard and she dropped me off at the VCS. My first question for VCS was who she recommended as a primary vet because we were changing vets. She did an exam and an EKG for Elvis. Normal resting heart rate for cats is around 140 beats per minute, stressed is around 180. He's around 240. So she prescribe Atenelol to reduce his heart rate. She then said to go to regular vet and get the thyroid under control, once that's done we'll wean him off this med. He should not take his current medication any more. In fact, the benefits of that med are only theoretical, he probably would have been just fine all this while without it. (GAH!) We talked about regular vets and, while she cannot officially give me a recommendation, when I asked about a vet I was interested in she lit up and said she worked with him often. So, while I was waiting for my bill I called and made an appointment with New Old Vet (NOV) for 4pm.

Took a car service home. Great guy. Cheap rates. Came when he said. It's called Express 11. Love them!

3:20 I was peeing and the cat came in and investigated his carrier. I tried to take advantage of the situation and sneak him in there and slam the door but, seated with pants around my ankles left me at a disadvantage (go on, laugh, it was hilarious) and I lost the battle. I did a lot of wandering around the house pretending I wasn't paying attention but he wasn't fooled. I wound up chasing him down and barely corralling him on top of the love seat. That sounds like a brilliant approach to an animal with a stressed heart, doesn't it? Went out to meet a different kindly neighbor who drove us to NOV.

NOV office is sort of shabby home-like. Receptionist was lovely. Vet tech also. I had to call OV because when they copied the records they didn't include a. any of Elvis's records before this year or b. his rabies proof. I was stern but polite and I didn't say in so many words I was firing them. If they can't figure it out by now they're dumber than I thought and that is....let's just say terrifying. Had them fax rabies proof and asked to have a copy of the rest of Elvis's records ready for me to pick up tomorrow.  Such a fucking relief to see NOV. He is as fantabulous as I remember if not more so. Why didn't  I go back sooner? Gave him my spiel. He talked me through a medical intervention for Elvis's thyroid. I asked about the radiation cure and we talked about that but found that the medication was probably more time and cost effective given Elvis's lifestyle. So off we went with new meds, new vet, and a sort of spring in our step.

Second neighbor had kindly agreed to drive me home, too, so that was awesome. And she brought donuts!

In a month Elvis goes back to NOV to have his thyroid levels checked. Once his thyroid levels stabilize (normal is 0.4-0.8, his are 5.9, we're working to get them down below 2.5) we call the VCS and she helps us wean him off the heart medication. In 6 months he goes back to VCS for another EKG to be sure his heart isn't more damaged and is responding as we suspect. He lives a life with once a day meds and with every expectation of being perfectly fine. He may even gain back some of his weight and he'll surely feel better.

So, end result is that I actually feel better about his health now than I have in years. None of this is a death sentence, just an annoyance. Everybody likes him and thinks he's in a good place.



The New York City Listen To Your Mother Show is happening on May 12, 2013 at 5pm at Symphony Space. Ticket and venue information can be found here. I hope to see you there! If you aren't close to this show please check this site to see if there is a LTYM show near you.


  1. You're performing at Symphony Space? Say hello to the beloved ghost of Isaiah Sheffer for me. I love Selected Shorts.

  2. that's exhausting and makes my blood boil just to read. was OV the one just down Myrtle? Argh. Glad the end result involves springy steps at least. Hugs to Elvis, and you.

  3. oy. sounds like OV is a problematic vet. i wonder if other clients feel similarly? glad you found a new place to go, at least.

  4. this makes me want to go back to my old vet...I loved her! And she 'got' Wolf.

  5. Bethany, OV was indeed the lady on Myrtle. I tried to go to whoever was partnering her in the practice but those vets all disappeared so I've had several as bad as expected interactions with her. Have to pick up ALL my records tonight and be done with them. It'll be a hard conversation with the receptionist but he was the only person in the building I trusted and he let me down too!

    Laura, she is, she has a rep for being a problem. Of course her receptionist claims that he never hears the sort of feedback I'm giving so it's a huge surprise but I hear it all the time. I've been musing on this move for a long while. When it was just basic maintenance care it could be justified because it's so close to home but that can't happen any more. She's incapable of being clear and she lost my trust and never tried to regain it. Can't be fixed.

    Janet, GO GO GO! If it's anything like our experience you'll be so glad you did.