Last week wasn’t a great week at Chez KnotMagick. Wednesday, I was just about to make my breakfast when Ash informed me there was bloody stool in the litterbox. So we ran around catching cats and trying to figure out which one had left the deposit. It turned out Hermes was the culprit.
Hermes is my 12 year old tuxedo. Monsieur Fatcat was the first cat I ever adopted; he’s been with me since college and he’s my heart kitty. The first thing that came to mind with bloody stool was internal bleeding of some kind, but I tried not to panic. I very calmly dialed our local vet, which is only a block away–I can and have walked there in a pinch.
No big deal; our vet has been swamped for some reason since March, which is why we have a backup vet a few miles away.
No answer there, either. I left a message.
I tried to wait a few minutes, but there was no return call. So I went to google and called the next closest offices, which weren’t answering, either.
I called the e-vet I took him to in the spring, back when he had a burst abscess (I’d already determined that this time, the bleeding was not abscess-related). They wouldn’t open until six pm, and refused to take him in the mean time (I’m pretty sure they missed the “emergency” part of “emergency vet”). Now I was starting to panic. I tried another vet hospital, but they were booked 2 weeks out and also refused to take him. I widened my search and ended up with the South Seattle Vet Hospital, about 20 minutes away in Burien. They had walk ins, with a wait of about 90 minutes.
I loaded up my cat and my knitting and set off, trying very hard to stay calm. But calling 7 vet offices had freaked me out a bit.
We got to the vet, checked in, and I settled in to wait. Hermes was fine–I let him out of the carrier and he laid down on a fast food bag in the back and started purring his head off because his new bed smelled like burgers.
And then there was an armed insurrection at the Capitol.
I spent seven hours waiting–waiting to go in, waiting for test results, waiting for the vet to talk to me. I kept being told it would be 90 minutes, fifteen minutes, etc, which wasn’t enough time to make driving home worth it. But in every single case, it was at least 50% longer than they told me. Our hour and a half initial wait was more than two; the two hour wait for test results was more than three, etc.
When I finally talked to the vet, he basically shrugged and told me my cat was constipated and they would keep him overnight for observation, just to rule out things like UTIs, ulcers, or other infections. Reluctantly, I went home without my baby.
The next day I called around 10:30 to find out if he was ready to go home, but wasn’t able to reach anyone until 2pm, when they confirmed he was ready to be released, but couldn’t provide any other information. Based on previous vet visits during quarantine, I figured it would be a fairly quick in-and-out; diagnosis, pick up meds, check out.
I showed up at 4:45, checked in, and waited. And waited.
2 hours later, I finally got into the building. I was told it would be about 15 minutes before the doctor could see me. So I waited some more.
After 30 minutes, I went to the front desk and asked if I could pay to save time, since I was just waiting. But the receptionist informed me that my final bill wouldn’t be tallied until I spoke to the doctor. I asked if they could bring Hermes out, since I was waiting in an exam room anyway. Couldn’t I at least pet my cat?
No, pets couldn’t be brought out until the bill was paid.
Going on 10 hours of waiting, I was losing my patience big time. After another 15 minutes, the receptionist went back to physically retrieve the vet because I’d been skipped in line–twice. Another ten minutes, and he came out, gave me test results, told me Hermes ate something he shouldn’t have (highly unlikely; he’s not that kind of cat), gave me a tiny bottle of $80 medication “just in case,” told me to feed him pumpkin, and sent me on my way. The entire conversation took less than 30 seconds, and left me with more questions than answers.
I was livid when I left. They finally brought out Hermes, who was grey with dandruff from being so stressed. When I got home I found inconsistencies in his blood work that were never explained. When I tried to ask questions of the vet, they were brushed off.
Hermes is happy to be home. We’ve been giving him more of his regular wet food (which has pumpkin in it), and he’s feeling a lot better. Honestly, he found the vet worse than the bleeding. But his coat is back to normal now, and he’s once again glued to my side. He’s not happy about the antibiotic (neither am I), but I am thrilled to have him back home, and I’d like to tell that vet exactly what he can do with that $980 bill, the testing that told me absolutely nothing, and the fact that Hermes had no food from the time I brought him in at 11am until I brought him home at 8pm the next day. I won’t be going back to that vet any time soon if I have a say, and it was not a good day to be doomscrolling on Twitter.
But at least my purrbaby is home and recovering.
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