Monday, March 23, 2020

The dog was hit by a car, I need help to pay for her medical bills

Really short version:
The estimated total is $7,454.11 to $9,702.30.

The most immediate way to help is by donating money to me on Paypal.  A debit card is linked to my Paypal account, so I can use money in the account instantly.  I already paid $400 the bill that way (and maxed out three credit cards to pay another $4,085.)

One can also donate via a GoFundMe that my sister's . . . ok, I don't think "it's been complicated" is a good description for a relationship.  It suggests that things are no longer complicated and therefore doesn't describe the current relationship in the least except to say "It's not complicated, but I'm not fucking telling you what it actually is!" and this is the fifth?  sixth?  Hell, it could be seventh, time I've been forced to write "'it's been complicated' relationship partner" and I haven't slept decently since Thursday night, which wasn't even that decent, and fuck!  set up.  My sister's that set it up.

The information given fails to convey the relationship the dog has with any human being, living or dead, but the money is eventually going to go towards the dog's bills, so there is that.  This is not on Terin (my sister's that) because, while Terin did the work of setting it up, the information comes directly from my sister in her own words.  (Terin is awesome.  They deserve praise.)

If you can't donate, and I generally assume that no one can, you can spread those links around.  It is my assumption (possibly correct, possibly not) that people who don't know me will trust the GoFundMe more than my page, and therefore signal boosting it will get better results even though, if someone is going to donate, it's better for them to use the one if they can.

This is a picture of Chloe and my niece:

So, the story.

Chloe was never properly trained.  Chloe had puppies in early December.  Something went wrong between Chloe and Terin's dog.  Both were injured, Terin's dog much more severely.  It is conjectured that something happened which Chloe misinterpreted as a threat to one of her puppies.  What the truth is, be it that or something else, we'll never know.

So I got a call saying that Chloe was going to be put down unless I would take her.  I took her.

I'm not on my own right now.  I can't remember if I've talked about how I came to have a housemate here, but even if I have, that doesn't quite cover it.

Given that it's a bad idea to travel from Maine to New Orleans (a trip that should probably be accompanied by a recitation of Longfellow's "Evangeline", for historical reasons), well a bad time to do that if it isn't necessary, house guest is living with me and housemate for the foreseeable future.  He is a fantastic dog trainer.

The prospect of Chloe being trained so that a repeat of the dog-v-dog violence wouldn't happen didn't make my sister actually want Chloe, and it became apparent that Chloe's future depended on me.  Housemate and house guest will help with her in the near term, but long term Chloe would either become my sole responsibility, or she'd need a new home.

I tried not to get attached because . . . well because my depression is the worst it's ever been, because I can't even take care of myself properly, because I'm seriously at the point that, while I don't want to, I wouldn't mind the prospect of dying in the least.  Because I don't know when or if I'll be able to care for a dog.

That was the only reason my sister is still the owner.

* * *

Fast forward to a week ago.

A bit after 11:00 AM Sunday morning, I start writing.  I write for five and a half hours straight.  It's the most promising sign that my depression might be lifting in years.

On Tuesday, I see my depression doctor for the first time in ages because I kept on missing appointments because depression would prevent me from making it there.  It's the last day they're having appointments in person and the waiting room is deserted.  For much of the time I'm the only one there.  When I'm not, which was before that, I was one of only two.  Receptionists calling people about the switch to over the phone meetings (except for new patient intakes, as those require that paperwork be signed) is the only sound.  Others will enter or leave, no one lingers.

With everything in a state of flux, my arrival gets lost in the shuffle.  I'm checked in on the computer, but it doesn't get noticed by the one who needs to.  There comes a point where I know something is wrong.  I'm not yet at a point where I can just get up and say, "Hey, I've been forgotten over here."  I picked a bad place to sit too.  The receptionists have no line of sight on me.

It's an hour after my appointment when I'm finally able to face starting a "someone on your side of the equation fucked up conversation" I don't phrase it like that.  Unless I tap into my Witham family rage reserves (which isn't something one controls, not really), I'm so very . . . meek, I guess.  I know someone screwed up, I know it wasn't me, I act like me even speaking to them is a presumptuous imposition on my part, and I'm so very quiet and deferential.

They are massively apologetic.  After talking to doctor, we make a tweak to dosage that might do nothing, or might make all the difference in the world.

I got a cab over, but I walk back.

* * *

The crowd outside the soup kitchen/food pantry disturbs me.  Portland is shut down (because Saint Patrick's day could turn our eight cases into eight hundred or eight thousand.)  Any restaurants that are open are takeout only.  No crowds.  No one gathers in pubs, no one gathers in restaurants, certain other public venues are also off limits, police will enforce.

This is the right decision, though it's only half of the right decision and the other half I haven't heard anyone even mention.  Now more than ever, people need to get paid.  People who depend on tips are incredibly vulnerable.  We just cancelled Saint Patrick's Day.  Why have I not heard about aid to help those who lost their income as a result?

But that's not the point.  The point is that we understand that crowds are dangerous.  The streets aren't empty, but I'm pretty sure they're as depopulated as I've ever seen them (and I've walked these streets in some of the worst whether Portland has to throw at you.)  That's as it should be.

Except for the giant fucking crowd outside Preble.  (Food pantry/soup kitchen/resource center.)  It's not any larger than usual, but that's because it's usually a really big crowd.  Of the . . . well, ok, they're not the most at risk (except for those who are for other reasons) but I'm pretty sure "poor as fuck" puts you at way higher risk than "I, sir and/or madam, am above needing handouts."

"Poor as fuck," by the way, includes me.  Especially with three people here now, housemate's (briefly successful) job hunting shut down by the pandemic, and house guest not even living in this state.  The only reason we haven't gotten food from Preble is we couldn't get the logistics to work properly.

So, like I said, the crowd disturbs me.  I don't have a solution.  I have some off-the-top-of-my-head ideas, none of which are complete solution, and all of which would cost money.  Unless Portland has gotten way more philanthropic than it was the only time I knew details about funding, Preble doesn't have anything to spare.  They fight a losing battle against time yearly because people only feel charitable en masse at and around Christmas.

The crowd of people who are least equipped to deal with getting sick disturbs me, but it's very near the beginning of the walk, other things happen too.

* * *


It was getting to be way too much about me and Tuesday.  We'll come back to it in a later post.  Maybe.  I feel like every time I've said that (or something like that) I've never actually gotten back to it.  (I suck at follow through.)

Quicker version of what was turning into a way too detailed thing:

I shouldn't be out, but it and doing the same walk (for a different appointment) a week earlier, represent the only exercise I've gotten in God knows how long.  I take pictures of the empty streets both to take pictures and because, if I ever get around to sending them to her, my sister might be interested.

Someone asks for change, I give him my last 43 cents.  I officially have no tangible money.  (Unless I find those two twenties I misplaced a week or two ago.  Would be nice if I did, that's a lot of money for me these days.)  I take pictures of things I couldn't take pictures of before because of high pedestrian traffic.  In Longfellow square, which is not a square, I go overboard.  I take pictures until the light starts to die.  I race the setting sun.  My camera runs out of battery.

On the one hand, that was photography was compulsive behavior (though not, I think, on a remotely clinical level), on the other hand, it was also me being a photographer again.  I think, on balance, it was a good sign.

* * *

On Wednesday I get a ride to go food shopping.  This is good, the house is out of food.  Housemate comes with me, she looks like she's going to rob a bank in a western.  She has good reason, her immune system is compromised.

Most shopping is at a buy-in-bulk warehouse store.  Huge sections are empty.  I take pictures, I think my sister will be interested.  Also, taking pictures is what I do.  Pick up a few other things at a regular grocery store.  Neither store had toilet paper.  Still three people in the house, still no toilet paper.  The grocery store had what looked like two or three, four at most, packages of paper towels.  Bulk store didn't have anything within a seven block radius of paper towels or toilet paper.

I'm not sure whether it's when I get back or on Thursday that I see a roll of paper towels in the bathroom at home has been crudely cut in half, and is now two toilet paper sized rolls.  On the one hand, this is useful.  On the other hand, it means I have to be even more careful when it comes to remembering "it's not toilet paper, don't put in the toilet, it can't be flushed."

Paper towels being flushed cost me six hundred fucking dollars in plumbing.  It will not be repeated.

Definitely on Thursday, I make a lamp out of an orange (which I bought on Wednesday) and canola oil.  Wait, I already wrote this.  Before I decided to talk about my week before Thursday.


Fast forward to Thursday.  I make a lamp out of an orange (not a tangerine, a fucking orange) and canola oil.  I feel pretty good about myself.  Friday I use that as the image for the open thread at Ana Mardoll's.

* * *

Now, attempts by housemate and house guest at cleaning were massively overzealous when it came to what to throw out, so I've been looking through bags of "trash" outside, on the days I can actually handle going outside.  Friday is drizzly, but I haven't been going through the bags as much as I want to, and I can give it a shot in the drizzle.

After all, I've had a pretty good week so far.

I tie out Chloe, as I often do when I'm going through the stuff, and I also bring out Magpie, who I probably should have mentioned prior to this.

Magpie (they/them) is one of Chloe's puppies.  Three and a half months old.  They're house guest's dog.  They're already off leash trained really well.  They're "they/them" most because house guest broke his own mind re:Magpie's sex and gender.  Since dogs can't tell us their gender, we tend to go with sex, and Magpie is a penis-haver.  Magpie's nickname is "Maggie".  These two facts, when taken together, have rendered house mate unable to place Magpie in the gender binary.

The fact that Terin (my sister's [see above]) is they/them may have provided inspiration.  Or may not have.  No idea what house guest's history is with trans* people and knowledge thereof.

Magpie doesn't need to be tied out.  This is good as a) multiple lines lead to tangles, and b) we only have one set up.  The only thing that can cause Magpie to take off is if Chloe takes off, because they will follow mom if she sprints away down the street.

If you don't sense a trainwreck coming on, I think you've forgotten what we're talking about.  Look a the title to remind yourself.

* * *

Attempts to work in the drizzle are met with no success whatsoever, and the dogs are all drizzled out.  It's time to go in.

I have Magpie on my left, I think I'm holding onto their collar just in case.  I have Chloe on my right.  Everyone is ready to go in.  The end of the line doesn't reach to the door, but we're about a pace away from the steps to the door when I let Chloe off the line.

I have done this many times.  Take her off the line, guide her by the collar into the house, close the doors once we're in the house, done.  The distance isn't even enough to justify putting her onto a short leash for the trip from the line to the house.  Just guide her by the collar.

You can't let her go because Chloe has never been properly trained, and running free is fun, and she will bolt.  She did it the night before when her collar was too loose and fell off.  (Magpie is teething, and seems to like their mom's collar.  They haven't broken it yet, but damn do they ever loosen it.)

For some inexplicable reason, I think that, since the stairs are right in front of, she'll go up them.  She won't.  She never does.  I'm not sure if this is a, "Wait, I don't want to go in yet," thing, or not liking stairs, or something else, but without guiding her she never goes up the stairs.

She's being trained out of her bad habits, but I'm under no illusions that that somehow happened overnight.

I just . . . assume that she'll go up the stairs on her own without any guidance from me in spite of the fact she's never done that before.

* * *

I'm a little bit hazy on what I did when she bolted.  That's putting it mildly.  My memories of what happened between when I let her off the line, didn't take her collar for guidance, and thus let her get away and when I saw her . . . let's just call it "the accident".  Between letting her bolt and seeing the accident, my memories are an incoherent mess.

I think that I let go of Magpie to better run.  Then again, I'm not totally sure I was holding them in the first place.  I think when I saw Chloe run off of my hardly-ever-used residential street and onto Main Street I decided to prioritize keeping Magpie from following their mom into danger over getting Chloe out of danger, because if I kept my focus on Chloe there would, for an unknown amount of time, be two dogs in danger, but if I intercepted Magpie it would stay at just one.

Whatever the case, it didn't last long, and what happened sort of overshadowed all the details of everything that came before.

I don't think the car was up to speed.  That would imply the light had recently changed.  It was, however, at a higher speed than it could be if the light had just changed.  So if the "light recently changed" hypothesis is accurate, it definitely wasn't the first car in line.

Chloe was not run over.  She went up.  She flipped over in the air.  Then she came back down.

At this point I wasn't moving anymore.  I was staring in shock or horror.  I was too far away to see if she was . . . I thought she might already be dead.

Then she sprang up and ran back toward the house, me, my street, and so forth.  At least one leg wasn't working remotely right.  That didn't even slow her down.

She collapses.

Blood is coming out of her mouth, her breathing isn't right, and I think I see some blood coming out of an eye.

I don't know what to do.  I don't know if she'll live long enough to get help.  I don't know how to get help.  I don't even know how to comfort her, not really.  Magpie comes.  I grab onto their collar like all of our lives depend on me never letting go of a dog again.

Other hand is reserved for Chloe.  Not knowing how to comfort her doesn't mean I can't try.  I call out for help.  I'm screaming in the middle of the street.

The world is empty.  It's me, two dogs, my screams, and buildings.  Nothing else.  No one else.

* * *

Eventually someone does come.  Couldn't tell you much about them.  Mask and gloves.  Unlike me they're dressed for a pandemic.

They ask what they can do to help.  I have them take Magpie and lead her back to the house while I carry Chloe.  This, for the record, is stupid.

My training might be intended for humans and long expired, but you don't move someone after something like that without a good fucking reason.  I do not have a good reason, fucking or otherwise.

On this street, we're safe.  For someone to hit us on this street they would have to make a conscious effort to run me down.  She was just hit by a car in a street, I'm not leaving in in a (completely different) street.

I put her down in the front hall, thank the helpful and prepared person, and send them away.  I think I indicate that I have some kind of plan.  I have no plan.

The order of events is unclear to me at this point.  I spend a while at Chloe's side.  I spend a while on the phone.  I have no idea which I do first.  At some point I start alternating between the two.

Before we get to that, my exercise induced asthma kicked in.  I think it was carrying Chloe that did it, but even the part where I ran after her could have potentially set it off.  So at this point I'm breathing like I just ran a marathon I was in no way fit to run.  It never even occurs to me to use my inhaler.

The only proactive thing I can think to do is make phone calls.  Breathing isn't going well.  (Not dangerously badly, but still.)  So, that's fun.

Setting Chloe down didn't go as I'd hoped.  She tried to stand, which was a no-go, and ended up laying sphinx style, which didn't look comfortable in her present condition, but I was worried that if I tried to rearrange her I'd cause more pain than I'd alleviate.

* * *

The first person I call is my mom.  She's always been the one to deal with vets.  Even though she doesn't live around here anymore, she's the one most likely to have a phone number, or know where it's written down.

That works insofar as getting the number.  The number is out of date.

At some point . . . wait, I know when.  I'm on the phone with my mom, don't know which time (a lot of calls get made) but it is, at least, more than, "At some point..."  I'm on the phone with my mom, it's after the first call because getting through to a vet has failed.  I ask her to try to get through to someone because I'm afraid that Chloe will die alone while I'm right down the hall making phone calls.

This is when alternating between phone and dog starts in earnest.  Chloe poops in here too.  Pretty sure it wasn't intentional given that she didn't move at all.  I can't see it, and don't actually know it was her and not Magpie yet, but from here on out the aroma of dog shit is in the air.

In this whole mess, my sister calls up with a suggestion: Call my dad.  The reason for giving this suggestion was wrong in all possible ways.  It turned out to be vital none the less.

She said she was pretty sure he was at home.  As previously established, this was Friday.  My dad is not at home on Friday unless it's the beginning or end of the day; it is neither.  The call gets the expected result:he's not at home and can't help transport the dog.

Then he calls back.  He has a suggestion: call animal control.  It's their job to move animals, they'll know what to do.  If that doesn't work, ask to talk to the canine unit, they must know what to do when their dogs are seriously injured, but mostly: call the police, ask for animal control.

I look up the numbers and find the direct line to animal control.  They're not there.  I call the police.  They don't need to transfer me to anyone.

The hard part is to get across that I'm not trying to report the dog getting hit, I just need it to get medical help.  Honestly, my focus was so very much on the dog that the driver could have turned around and come back and I wouldn't have noticed.  I don't think they did, but that is neither here nor there.

* * *

It's at around this point that I-- no, it was during that.  That was two calls and my memory jammed them together.  Anyway, I discover that I still haven't gotten the hand of understanding heavy sleepers.  I made the same mistake when my sister was run over.  In case of emergency, open the damned door and verify whether the person is there or not.  Don't just yell really loudly.

See, the thing is, I forget a lot of things.  Not just things like the police thing being two calls.  Things like, "Hey, Chris, I'm going to [X] and I'll be back in [Y] hours."  It is entirely plausible that I might be alone in the house without realizing it until I attempted to talk to the other person or people.

I once again assumed that because noise had gotten no response, I was alone.  It was once again false.

Housemate is having an emotional breakdown because she'd been getting sick of the bad habits Chloe needs to unlearn and said . . . let's say, "unkind things."  She didn't mean them.  Chloe is bloodied on the floor, barely able to keep her eyes open (and they're only open half-way anyway) with difficulty breathing.  The guilt housemate is feeling is irrational and inordinate.  That doesn't make it any less devastating.  Feelings of guilt don't operate on logic.

House guest is more able to face the situation.  Both of them have smartphones.  I order them to contact everyone they know until they find someone who can transport a dog.  At this point the plan, insofar as there is one, is to bring the dog to the vet and, due to us not actually getting in contact with them . . . freak them the Hell out, I suppose.

Or maybe it was to contact the vet after we had a person to get us to the vet.

The police were going to call me back, so I was trying to leave the house phone open.  I spent the time comforting Chloe (there were only two smartphones, both in use.)

When I got called back, I had house guest take over comforting Chloe (housemate very seriously can't, not in the state she's in mentally and Chloe is in physically, so it has to be house guest.)

Somewhere in here something happens that overshadows the details of where we were in the saga of getting police help.

* * *

House guest is describing what I've described to him.  I'm reliving the whole thing, but spoken in third person.  I am not up for that.  I tell him to stop.  He does.  Then he starts again.  I tell him to stop far less politely.  There was probably a "fuck" or a "fucking" or some variation in there, but diction is the last thing on my mind and I don't remember.

Part of that rudeness is basically trying to shame him for not spending every second trying to get someone to transport Chloe.  One doesn't need a play by play of the exact details of an accident to know whether or not they can come to us, put the dog in their vehicle, and go somewhere else.

The person on the other end won't let him hang up.  I somehow realize it's my sister.  I could have been told, I could have heard the voice coming through house guests phone more clearly, I don't know.  I do, however, know what my diction was for this one, "Tell her to fuck off and hang up."

That's not good diction.  The first part, "Tell her to fuck off," is perfectly fine.  It's clear and concise and basically everything one could want in communication.  The "and hang up" is a problem.  I meant that I wanted house guest to hang up after telling her to fuck off.  The entire point was that I wanted him to hang up no matter how much my sister tried to keep him on the line.

Trouble is, the way I said it could be construed as telling house guest to tell my sister to hang up, which leaves control over whether the call ends in precisely the place I don't want it to be: my sister's hands.

As one might imagine from this description, I was not happy with her right then.  First off, she'd already called up to say literally nothing during the period when I was trying to leave the line open and had refused to hang up then too.  Then after I said that I couldn't emotionally handle a play by play of the accident right now, she ordered house guest to give it anyway.  Then she refused to hang up again, this time on a different phone.

Everything other than the calling up to say nothing was while I was on the phone with the police trying to get a Chloe transported to a medical care.  As I said, the episode with my sister overshadowed the details of the conversation with the police.

It still wasn't clear to me whether they were going to give the dog a damned ride, which was why I still wanted house guest to be trying to find someone else, but beyond that I'm not sure.  Not really.  I think that part of the problem was that I couldn't pay attention to my phone call while my sister was making house guest put on a performance of "the terrible brutally emotionally painful thing that chris the cynic just lived through" in the background.  But I'm not sure.  I could have been on hold, because the details really were lost beneath the weight of:
*HG gives painful detailed account.*
Me: I can't take hearing that; stop.
*HG stops*
*HG resumes*
Me: I told you to stop; end the call.
*HG tries to end call politely, can't*
Me: Screw being polite, just hang up.

Obviously that's a paraphrase.  You know that I don't know the words from time two, I'll add that I don't know the exact words from time one, and you know the exact words from time three, which don't appear in the paraphrase.

Regardless, soon after it was established that the police would in fact transport Chloe to emergency care, and a car was on its way.  The tyrannical rule of chris the cynic --she who makes you contact everyone you know to ask, "Hey, can you move a dog?"-- ends.

* * *

I'm back on the floor in the hall with Chloe.  Magpie, who had initially been completely oblivious to the gravity of the situation (tried to play with me and, to a lesser extent, Chloe) is moved.  I have no clue where Magpie was between the earliest part of Chloe being on front hall floor (when the attempts to play occurred) and this point.  Don't know where Magpie was afterward either.

I send houseguest to the porch to watch for the cops.  Housemate is presumably with Magpie.

Initially there are two cops, based on what I overheard, I think one happened to be in the area free to roam and came over, and the other was the one that was sent to us.  When they come in, Chloe becomes animated again.  At the time, I think it's because of new people.  Then it becomes clear that, whether it's a staggering coincidence or somehow related to to the new people or not, she's actually moving so she can poop.

The time has come to discuss dog feces.

Dog shit isn't particularly pretty and it doesn't smell very good either.  That's completely expected and, unpleasant as it is, not unusual when you spend enough time around one or more dogs.  The stuff that came out of Chloe, though, was on an entirely different level.

I know nothing of dog digestion, but I'm pretty sure that that intensely literal shit wasn't actually supposed to come out yet.  It was sort of like some grotesquely malformed dog shit prototype.

I do have a reason for talking about this: right before we leave the house, the thought in my head is something along the lines of, "They say your bowels empty when you die, right?"

Now, while my focus is on not retching again (the first time was unavoidable) cop number three showed up.  I honestly have no idea why we had three cops, but it is into cop number three's car that we put Chloe.  We put her in the driver's side.  We're asked if anyone is going with her, I say I am before the question is fully asked.

* * *

House guest asks if I want to clean up first, and I just realized I never talked about the blood on my arm.  Like I said at the start, I've told this a bunch of times.  It can be hard to keep track of what I said where.

Two things I left out here:

The first time Chloe's breath hitched in the front hall, I thought she had died.  Again.  First time when she landed after being hit, second time right then, when her breathing stopped in the front hall.

It wasn't a particularly long hitch, but the way she was breathing made you feel like every breath could be her last.  While I didn't think she died on later hitches, I was still terrified each time, because knowing it was probably just a hitch in her breathing didn't change the fact that until the next breath came, I didn't have any proof it was just a hitch in her breathing and not the end of her breathing.

The second thing is that at some point she tried to lift her head, and I gave her support.  Not actually holding anything up, just taking some of the weight off her.  That result was blood smeared on my right forearm.

So I look down at the blood, I'm covered in sweat, and my clothes are probably dirty but I can't even tell.  I focus on the blood.  I say I'll do it when we get there.  I get into the passenger side door, and discover that Chloe has crawled into the middle of the back seat and left a puddle of blood on the passenger side where I was planning to sit.

I decide not to sit in a blood puddle, and go through the car to the driver's side.  There's a lot of space back there; it's easy to do this.  I'm not actually sure this was the right decision.  I can and do pet Chloe, hold her, and talk to her, but she can't see me.  She's facing away and is in no condition to turn around.

Once upon a time my sister got a ride from a friendly cop, and since she thought it would be cool to ride in the back like she'd just been arrested, she learned something: it's most comfortable if you have your hands behind your back.

The seats are made with the assumption that a fair number of the people stuck sitting in them will have their hands cuffed behind them.  I doubt that comfort was the first priority, I presume it's a side-effect, but they definitely are shaped to accommodate hands cuffed behind one's back.

I do not make use of this knowledge, because my hands are busy trying to make Chloe comfortable and, if at all possible, reassured.

* * *

When we get there, Chloe is taken in by two people.  That's the last I've seen of her, not that I was expecting anything else.  I think the difficulty in finding a way to transport Chloe kind of demonstrates that getting a ride isn't the easiest thing in the world.

I wash my hands and forearms in a bathroom which is, mercifully, located right next to the door and outside of the waiting room.  Why mercifully?  Because I honestly don't know if I was told to wait outside the building, or it was a "No, you can't go where the dog is going, don't even ask," kind of thing.  When I'm washed, and sanitized, and have sanitized everything that I touched (especially what I touched before getting sanitized), I come out just in time to meet the person bringing me paperwork.

Oh, another thing that I left out of this account (I should merge the information from all of them someday) on the ride in the cop car, I promised Chloe that if she got through this I'd take her.  Not for a while; forever.  I'd figure out a way to make sure my depression didn't leave her neglected, and she'd have a permanent home with me.

So, paperwork, on the one hand, I really wished I could have put myself down there as the owner.  On the other hand, it was a lot easier to explain why I had so little of the information they asked for when I could say (something along the lines of), "Her legal owner is still my sister, who still has all her documentation, and she hasn't been living with me for that long."

I didn't fill out the paperwork in the waiting room.  I didn't wait in the waiting room.  The only time I spent in the waiting room was the time it took to walk through it on the way in and on the way out.  There's a pandemic; precautions are being taken.  So all of my waiting and all of my paperwork time and so forth was in an empty exam room.

And it was in there that I made a decision.  Or at least formally announced to myself that I'd already made a decision.  (It can be hard to tell sometimes.)  I've had a lot of pets die.  None of it prepared me for what happened to Chloe.  I was going to spend whatever it took to . . . not even to keep her from dying like that, to give her the chance to survive, even if it were slim.

* * *

As it turned out, they couldn't tell me if it was a slim chance or not.  It was too early to give so much as a guess as to her chances.  The ride home was the first time I rode Uber.  I'm not sure if I can say that I used Uber, because all of the business was done by others.

I alternated between closing my eyes and looking out the window.  The driver softly sang something to himself.  I tried to lose myself in the music I didn't understand.

Not far from my house, police car/suv/things were blocking a lane of traffic.  There were people in sort of khaki colored uniforms.  The uniforms were not identical from person to person.  On the back of a vest one was wearing it said (if I'm remembering correctly) US Marshals.  Someone in a not-khaki uniform I couldn't make out was patting down a guy who was smoking.  It looked like he already had his hands cuffed behind him.  The driver stopped singing as we passed that.

The last thing I noticed of them was the gun one was wearing.  It was a big fucking gun.  The kind of rifle that belongs in a war, on a firing range, and nowhere else.

Soon after we were at my house.  I asked the driver what he'd been singing.  The most important word didn't make any sense to me, but I didn't expect it to.  After I compared the sounds I remembered to a list of words it might have been, I think he said it was a Chewa song.

* * *

Now, the emergency vet people have a policy so that if they do work they know they'll actually get paid.  As near as I can tell that policy is, "Halfish of the high end of the estimate up front."  The high end of the estimate for stabilizing Chloe was over four thousand dollars, which worked out to needing two thousand eighty five before they got started.

I gave their number to house guest, because he's in constant contact with my sister, and told him to get her to give them Chloe's information.  Then I collapsed onto the couch, did I don't know what, and waited.

The call I got wasn't the one I was waiting for.  My sister didn't want to give them any information whatsoever until she knew she wasn't going to have to pay.  Apparently she had once brought in an injured stray cat to an emergency veterinary place (possibly the same one), it had died, and she'd had to pay, even though a) it wasn't her cat, and b) she wasn't told that up front.

If it was the same place, they've changed since then, because they were very upfront about the "this stuff costs money" aspect.  So I got my sister to give the them the information, and waited for them to call me about the two thousand eighty five dollars.  I still didn't get the call I was waiting for.  I got my sister saying the figure I'd already known in tones of, "It's not worth paying."

So I called them.  And I paid.  On, as I think I mentioned, a credit card.

* * *

When I was ready to go to sleep, my sister showed up with three children and two puppies.  As is often the case, the presumed-autistic child (Terin's, not one of my sister's) started off  perfectly fine and nice and calm and generally exactly what you'd want from a child save for words, but it was not to last because sensory overload turned him into a screaming crying wreck.

He and I, it should be noted, were on completely the same page.  I mean, I'd probably rock back and forth while rubbing my sternum or cover my ears, close my eyes, and suffer like that, but the principle is the same.  Unfortunately, I am contractually obligated to be the adult in the room (especially when I'm the only adult in the room) so that wasn't an option.

It was sound and motion and pain.

When it finally ended, my sister asked me if I wanted to go to a party.  "Last concert before the apocalypse" and it was at a house that was "trans as fuck".  That second part does sound rather affirming.  Terin is the only trans person I've met in Maine outside of a sort of support group thing that I think I attended all of two meetings of.

That said, my sister is the person who invented the term "Brister" (Brother-Sister) rather than call me her sister.  (Though, to her credit, when under oath she calls me her sister)  I'm am very much not convinced that going to a trans as fuck place with her as the person I know best is a good idea.  Terin is, I think, causing my sister to become better regarding trans issues.  That's good.

But the truth was, that wasn't even a factor because I was out at "party".  I'd just been attacked by noise, and Noise, and NOISE and she asked if I wanted to go to a p that's not accurate.  She tried to convince me to go to a party.  I wanted to go into isolation.  Darkness, silence, and a comfortable thing to lay down upon would have been heavenly right then.

* * *

Before house guest headed off with my sister to go to said party, I realized something disturbing.  I hadn't seen the cat all day.  Yes, there was a huge thing involving a Chloe getting hit by a car, so I may not have been the most observant, but she makes herself be noticed and it wasn't like her.  Not when there are people in the house.

House guest and housemate hadn't either, so it wasn't that she had come in and gotten her fill of humans and houses for the day while I was away, and departed before I returned.  Shortly before I went to sleep, I had an unsettling thought.  What if Chloe had run into the middle of Main Street because she was chasing the cat?  Chloe came back onto my street on her own.  I never went to the site of the accident.  I certainly never looked around there.

If the cat had been hit by a car too, I'd never have known.

I didn't think it was true, but I had to check.  No sign of the cat, or anything else unusual, at the scene of the accident.

Somewhere in all of this I did some halfhearted shuffling and drew three cards.

XVI Tower, Reversed XIV Temperance, Reversed 00 The Fool
What does it mean?  Presumably nothing.

The shuffling I did wasn't enough to add any decent randomness.  The position of the cards on Thursday, if not before (whenever I most recently shuffled it), would have played the largest role in determining which sequences of cards were possible.  Which sequence was actually chosen would depend solely on Friday, of course, but the same could be said if the only thing I'd done on Friday was cut the deck.

I got to sleep so late, and then woke up at four AM the next morning because a blood transfusion had to be authorized.

The cat showed up, completely fine, not long after.  No idea where she was on Friday.

* * *

I think I'm gonna pass out or something if I try to type much more, so just be aware that later in the day on Thursday we got to the point where it was time to start the rest of what Chloe needed which is supposed to end with her being able to come home soon.  Needed another $2400 to get started.  $1,000 went on the same card as before, but I knew that put me near my limit (less than $200 away) so I needed to get the rest from elsewhere.  Maxed out two card that had been paid off, $500 on each. (The limits on my cards don't follow any particular patterns.)

At that point, if not for donations, I'm not sure what I'd have done.  I could have found the remaining $400, I'm pretty sure, but I'm not sure how I would have.  Thankfully, donations to Paypal + Debit card.  That $400 is the only part that's going to start generating high interest debt if not paid off, because it doesn't need to be paid off, it was paid for before it was spent.

I go to sleep.

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