I picked up McDonald's for the kids last night. Ya know, they say it's not good for you but honestly, last night, I was happy to give it to them. Here's the looooong reason why:
About 10 days ago, I mentioned in my blog that self-pity was useless. But yesterday, at least for a few hours, I felt like total shit and dare-I-say, pitied myself a wee bit. I know there are waaaay worse things in the world but when utter frustration takes over and when with every step forward you are thrown far back, sometimes you just can't help it.
I had to take my doggie, Two, to the vet. She's been a fixture there since September. Here's a run down:
March '08 - I adopted the sweetest puppy in the world, three and a half months old.
Sept. '09 - Said puppy started limping on one leg. Within weeks, she couldn't even walk. After an emergency visit to the vet on a Sunday night at ten pm, Lyme disease was ruled out but X-rays were needed. Yay to the yay.
Oct. '09 - After sedation and x-rays, both the poor girl's knees were deemed busted up. She needed ACL surgery. Within weeks, knee #1 was done. Cost: oh, I don't know. Between x-rays and surgery and meds, let's go with somewhere near three grand.
Three weeks after said surgery - My dog couldn't use her tongue. She was drooling like mad, had breath that could kill small animals and/or humans. Seriously. She chomped her water instead of lapping it. Many phone calls and visits to the vet later.... Vet was stumped. I was instructed to roll her food into balls and put them in her mouth. Dog dropped from a slightly overweight 72 pounds to a skinny 60. Ol' Forty was at her wit's end. Suggested plan of action from Vet, (who had been fabulous, sympathetic and even tried to discount me where she could, bless her): take her to the neurologist.
PLEASE NOTE: If at this point you're reading this and saying that Ol' Forty has got to be kidding and she is a fucking idiot, please move along and click back to your Facebook/MySpace/Twitter account. For all the animal lovers out there and for those who want to believe there's hope for human kindness in the world, I hope you continue...
Somewhere between November '09 and December '09 (I can't even keep track but whatever): I took Two to the neurologist. Hours later:
Dr.: "Your dog, Two's, tests seem all fine. She's not banging into walls or staring into space, is she?"
Forty: "Noooooo! She's perfectly normal except for smelly drool and a dead tongue.
Dr.: "Well, let's do an MRI. It's around $2,000."
I paid my consultation fee and blew outta there.
January '10 (ok, now I'm just pretty much guessing with the time frame but it's not the point): My dog's licker got its ticker back. Slooooowly but surely. But then she got all kinds of ear infections. Oh, and she was still limping and wouldn't sit down. I started walking her, trying to at least strengthen her knees. I fed her anything that she wanted. If she had wanted to, say, eat my cats, (both Almost Eighteen), I would have let her have them, too, at that point. I was desperate for her to be normal again. Leaving Eight in the room at dinner time was questionable as she is small, probably chewy and most def delicious. Anyway...
Things started seeming better for awhile. I mean, after what....almost four thou later, they'd better be. So, recently I decided to let Two play with her old dog pals, just to see how she'd do. She played, she was happy and so was I. But then I noticed her ear was missing hair. WTF?, said I. Then itchy, scaly lumps appeared. Fuck. After about 2 weeks, Ol' Forty became suspicious. I refused to believe Two could have another ailment. Two is... only fucking two for God's sake. "Let her have some good health, damn it! Please! She's just a baby!!!" I yelled up to God. (ok, I really didn't do that but it certainly would have been fitting).
But no. No, no, no...
I Googled "lumpy, scaly, dog ears" then I took Two to the vet yesterday for confirmation. Hell, she needed her shots anyway. So, since my suspicions were most likely correct, Vet scrapes the ears to do cultures and let's me know not only does Two have an ear infection, but it's yeast and bacteria. And the other test for the ear scrapings will come back in 4 weeks but to get the antibiotics in case. I drag my sad, sorry, completely self-pitying self to the counter, dig out my hot Visa and recoil when I'm told, "$550. Oh, and you have one more RX to fill at CVS." It's grand to be me! I bet you're all jealous.
When I dropped Two off at home, I tried to rationalize how it wasn't her fault for being a lemon of a dog health-wise, but Forty-Four's instead just because he picked her out. I went to CVS and handed in my 'script. When I saw a look of fear in the pharmacist's eyes, I said a prayer for my kids. I knew something horrible was coming and that when I got home, God, help them if they even blinked too loudly or if they looked at me wrong.... I knew my mood was going to change.
Pharmacist: "Five hundred dollars.Generic."
Pharmacist: "Nine hundred for name-brand."
I called Vet, got a "cheaper" ($132) 'script and then cursed all the fucking way to McDonald's to pick up Unhappy Meals.
(Just shut up. I know this is long...)
So I'm in McDonald's, spewing to the man behind the counter how I just spent a shit load of money on my pathetic dog and while he's smiling politely, I figured he was probably really plotting to over-salt my fries. I move over when I'm through assaulting his poor ears with tales of animal and wallet woe so that two really old ladies could hobble up to the counter. I watched them, thinking that maybe McDonald's was an exciting Friday night out for them yet they looked so happy. One of them turned to me and smiled. There's nothing like the smile of a baby or an old person to melt my stupid heart and I couldn't help but smile back. The one lady and her even-older looking, really-struggling-to-walk chum ordered their burgers, fries, Diet Cokes and apple pies together. They shakily took out crisp bills from their wallets, and waited for the man to give them their change.
McDonald's Man: "Here you go, Sweetheart."
He placed his hand under the one woman's hand and held it, carefully making sure she wouldn't drop any of the coins.
McDonald's Man: "Why don't you go find yourselves a table?"
She smiled at him and then smiled at me, asking if there was even an empty one around as she slowly turned to look. I pointed two out to her and looked into her old, truly sparkly eyes. I looked back at the McDonald's Man, who was hurrying about trying to get through the dinner rush. How nice, I thought. Really, when do you see people slow down, speak so warmly to the older folks, making sure they don't lazily hand over change so that it falls all over the counter or floor? How many times do you hear people call a complete stranger, and not even condescendingly but with utter sincerity, Sweetheart? Who ever takes the time to act like they give a shit about other people? I rarely come across a counter-person or cashier who is pleasant.
After such a crappy, pitiful day for me and Two, it was witnessing the tiniest, simplest act of human kindness and respect that left me feeling all gooey inside.
McDonald's ain't so bad for ya, now, is it?