Wednesday, July 31, 2013

350. The Vacation That Wasn't

Pitchfork did not happen.

Or at least, it happened, but I wasn't there to witness it. On Wednesday (the 17th) Frank the dog began vomiting around noon. He hadn't been outside, except for on the balcony to soak in some sun. He had been fine that morning, and ate his breakfast as usual. By the time I came home, just before 7pm, he was still vomiting, and he had diarrhea. Badly. By 10pm, he was still trying to vomit every 20 minutes or so, but there was nothing left in him to expel. If he tried to drink water, it came back up within 5 minutes.

Franklin has a habit of becoming mysteriously ill at the most inopportune times. Usually, he's just swallowed a piece of bone, but bones aren't in his diet these days. There have been other causes; a coffee bean, large quantities of Halloween candy. It's pretty easy to tell what he's gotten into because the remnants are scattered about the apartment as evidence. This time was not like that. There was no evidence. The Wizard had been home the entire time. Nothing was out of place. I had a sinking suspicion that we would not be attending Pitchfork.

At 11pm, we arrived at the 24 animal hospital. I thought this was an actual emergency hospital, but instead, it was just a regular vet's office which had round the clock hours for late night appointments. Strange. Frank looked terrible. His tail was down, he was sluggish and appeared exhausted. The receptionist was unsympathetic, and treated him as a walk-in. I had to ask for paper towels to wipe up pools of vomit at least 5 times before she curtly pointed me to the sanitation station in the corner. The vet, though friendlier, was also unconcerned by his lackluster demeanor and my insistence that this was not normal. X-rays found nothing. Fluids were given by subcutaneous injection along with something to help his nausea, and we were sent home. I was told to offer him water in small quantities the following morning, and if he hadn't improved by the following evening, to bring him back.

We returned home, but the shot didn't seem to help. Frank continued to vomit (or at least try to) until 5am. After that, he sat, eyes half closed, drooling continuously. He looked so terrible, I became increasingly concerned. At 7am, I called in to work and made an appointment for 10am with our usual vet.

By 10am, Frank had not improved, and I was exhausted from patchy sleep. While waiting to be taken to a room, he dozed on the floor of the reception area, oblivious to everything around us. This would never happen under normal circumstances. According to the scale, he'd lost almost a full pound since midnight. The vet looked him over and decided he should be hospitalized to receive fluids and do some blood work. I was told to call around 4pm to check on him.

Having no reason to stay at home, I went to work. At 4pm, I called, and was asked to leave him until 7, when they closed. Had Frank been in good health, I would have been dropping him off at my parents' house, where he was to stay and eat a lot of cookies over the weekend. Instead, I went back to the vet to pick him up, and although he seemed substantially better, I was asked to transfer him to the real emergency hospital to continue receiving fluids for the rest of the night.

The emergency hospital door is always locked. You have to ring the doorbell and wait to be let in. I don't really know why this is, considering they're open 24 hours a day, but I guess they're extra cautious. Or else they worry the animals may use their opposable thumbs to open the door and see themselves out. Frank was taken to the back immediately, but it was another hour before I was able to sign all of the waivers and pay the minimum balance required. They asked me to leave him for another 24 hours to receive more fluids and intravenous antibiotics. I drove home crying to the Wizard over the phone, half about my dog, and half about our now ruined vacation. That night, I listed my Pitchfork tickets on Stubhub and Craigslist, and went to bed.

Friday, the morning of my 32nd birthday, the tickets sold on Stubhub, but only after I dropped the price to $85 a piece. Minus the service fee, I received $144, which is about $120 less than what I paid for them originally. Over breakfast at my favorite coffee shop, I called the hospital to check on Frank. He was cleared to go home, and we went to pick him up. 3 veterinary hospitals, x-rays, bloodwork, fluids, and antibiotics came to a grand total of $775. I should really buy some pet insurance...

The rest of the weekend was nice. The Wizard took me to the Contemporary Art Museum, out for drinks, and later we met up with friends for some bowling (which the Wizard would never agree to were it not my birthday). The next day were more adventures and more drinks, which ended in dancing. Not a bad way to ring in my 32nd year. Best of all, I've still got this guy:

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