This week has just been an absolute crush of events and stressors and there's no sense putting them in chronological order. I'm going to start with the most important one and it is about our pet rabbit Sunshine and how I ended up screaming ``DIE IN A FIRE'' into a phone at 11:30 pm.
So remember how last week after my third day of trying to find someone who'd do an echocardiogram on Sunshine, I found someone who'd do an echocardiogram on Sunshine? Yeah. So.
At 11:00 last night --- not a typo, but two hours after the last minute you could telephone someone for a non-emergency reason --- Emergency Veterinary Services of Ann Arbor called us. I thought it was a routine reminder about our appointment set for Noon on Friday. But no, the message they were leaving was something about ``unfortunate'' and ``not willing'' and such. It was hard to be sure as the caller's voice kept fading out. I jumped onto the phone.
So the woman tried to explain how instead of bringing Sunshine to their office Friday to get an echocardiogram we ... were free to bring her but they won't give her an echocardiogram. And I tried to ask why this was and just got told they don't do rabbit echocardiograms. She suggested I might try a clinic I'd already tried and who refused us. She then suggested another that I'd already tried and who refused us. She said she would try to find someone who could see Sunshine and call back.
So for about twenty minutes I paced around the house. And bunny_hugger came back from her late-night walk. I asked if she were ready to hear absolutely infuriating news. She assumed I meant someone had sad something dumb on social media. Not so. She couldn't believe what I was telling her.
About 11:30 they called back. And explained that, you know, it's very hard to find someone who'll do a rabbit echocardiogram, as though I were not aware of this. The person from Emergency Veterinary Services said we were welcome to bring Sunshine in and they might have someone who could evaluate her. But she couldn't answer what the point of that would be if she weren't getting the diagnostic our vet wanted. And was not willing to explain why they accepted an appointment to do a rabbit echocardiogram if they weren't willing to do a rabbit echocardiogram.
This all went downhill as the woman calling me scolded me for being angry. I understand that she does not wish to be yelled at. And that perhaps it was an unproductive choice of word to ask why the clinic ``lied'' to me in making this appointment. However, telling me that if I don't stop yelling she won't help me? When the point of her call is that she refuses to help me? That's not just someone who's been trained out of empathy. That's someone who's been trained out of hearing the literal meanings of the words she says. And yes, when she declared that my attitude was so bad that she was ending the call I did holler ``DIE IN A FIRE'', a declaration that sent bunny_hugger cringing out of the room either at my temper or at the datedness of my invective.
So, in more fury, I phoned Cedar Creek, our vet. And left them a voice mail explaining this whole mess, holding back from demanding to know why they weren't finding a specialist who actually did the test instead of sending us on an eight-clinic-long goose chase.
Friday morning one of the veterinarians --- not the one we'd seen earlier --- called, having heard our message and looked up Sunshine's file. She's got doubts that this is a cardiac issue, and agrees that we should give up trying to find an echocardiogram. We're to keep Sunshine on the heart medicine she's got --- Lasix, of which we just got a month's supply yesterday --- but bring her in on Tuesday for a re-examination.
Sunshine continues to breathe rapidly, about four times what a rabbit should be breathing. But her appetite is good. We think her energy levels are down but can't be sure that isn't just the heat. We've had her in our air-conditioned bedroom for the current heat wave and, like, last night she got out of hand several times trying to get into non-rabbit-proofed areas of the room.
So we have that, we hope, to look forward to. Also my sending the Emergency Veterinary Services an angry letter about all this. I'm not sure I shouldn't also send a letter to whatever veterinary organization oversees professional standards in Michigan because straight-up lying to us about an appointment like that is cruel.
Trivia: Medical literature in the 1860s debated whether reading while travelling by railroad was particularly stressful or fatiguing to the eyes. One contributor to an 1866 medical congress conceded that while it might be bad, it was also unstoppable: ``no matter what one says or does, reading will remain the most natural occupation of railway travelers, in this new form of locomotion that has so profoundly altered the traveler's relations to each other''. Source: The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Wolfgang Schivelbush.
Currently Reading: Lost Sagendorf: Spur Line, Bud Sagendorf. Editor Stephanie Noell. She got newspaper copies of Bud Sagendorf's forgotten 1954-55 railroad comic strip put together in a zine. Sagendorf would write Popeye comic books and comic strips for decades. It does have a strong Thimble Theatre vibe to it, have to say. I get why he might have been hired on to the main strip from this.