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It is Day Three in the Big Brother House, or the plague boat as I prefer to call it. I have been out only on necessary errands and today, although I feel quite a bit better, will probably be more of the same due to dizziness whenever I am vertical for very long. I am attempting to learn new habits, so instead of deciding I am all better and doing a twenty mile hike, I am easing myself back into the swing of things. Also I am a bit feared of falling into the marina and getting typhoid. Self care meant no stretch class with Martin at 6.30, which I was not in the least bit sorry about, and no big walk, which I was more sorry about but is sensible and wise. I’m not saying I can be sensible and wise forever, but I can probably handle it for at least another day.
Derek survived her tooth extraction. So did the vet. With Derek, neither of these things were a given, so we are all mightily relieved.
Our vet has two surgeries. One is five minutes walk from the boat. One is five minutes drive from the boat. Check ups and most tests happen at the near one. Surgeries happen at the far away one, so yesterday was the first time we had been to the far away one. We took her at 8.30 a.m. and picked her up at 6.30 p.m. It was a long and stressful day for everyone involved.
Derek was no more delighted with the far away vet than she was with the near vet, but I was. It turns out that the Practice Manager at the far away vet is a black and white, long-haired cat with a tiny, perfect white stripe running down the middle of his very handsome nose. He monitors the door, letting people in and out and demanding payment in scritches. He also has his photo in a frame on the reception desk, emblazoned with his job title, which is how come I know he is the Practice Manager and not a lowly receptionist, or an escapee, looking to jump into your car and burn rubber getting outta here.
He is super friendly to everyone, including all the animals that wash up in various baskets and receptacles. The surgery was busy both times we were there yesterday, but he was still on duty, checking everyone in and out and investigating all the patients. Not a single patient got upset with him, except Derek, who briefly tried to marmalize him before he was called off to other, less violent duties. Derek is nothing if not consistent.
Derek hates the vet with venom and fervour. She pours everything she has into hating the vet. It burns in her like the vengeance mission of a wronged superhero. Last time she had to go to the vet and stay there I had to pick her up part way through the day because she had behaved so badly that she drew blood and everyone needed a time out. Muzzles were involved. Apparently muzzles are rarely used in the feline world, but they made an exception for Derek. I didn’t tell the new vet that. I thought I’d let it come as a surprise.
In the end she had to have two teeth out, her main fang and a subsidiary casualty that largely fell out of its own accord, which I was very grateful for, because the price of two extractions rather than one and an accident would take your actual breath away. As it was, we could have had a long weekend away somewhere and now we can’t.
We have not been banned from the vet, which is good, but apparently she didn’t take kindly to aftercare. She refused to be looked after, so I think they were quite glad that we came to take her off their hands. Now the aftercare is up to us.
We have to give her medicine for the next three days. We have to feed her soft food and then we have to take her back to the vet for a check up on Friday. That will take place at the near vet, which means I won’t get to see the Practice Manager which I am quite sad about, but Derek won’t be.
The other thing they wanted us to do was to brush Derek’s teeth. The vet, who is young and hopeful and hasn’t yet had all her dreams squashed by living cheek by jowl with a guttersnipe of an animal that is 90% burning resentment, 10% I am the queen and you are the sorry people, put the cat toothpaste on the table and looked at us with optimism.
The vet said: ‘Her teeth need regular cleaning.’ We looked at her with bleak nihilism and said nothing. She paused and said: ‘It can be harder with cats.’ We nodded. There was another pause. She said: ‘How likely is it that she’d let you brush her teeth?’ Another pause and then I said: ‘We’ve had her for thirteen years. She has only allowed us to cuddle her and look her in the eye in the last six months. There is no chance that she’d let us brush her teeth. Literally none at all.’ The light dulled in the vet’s eyes and she suggested that we try to get her to eat the toothpaste instead. We didn’t like to break her completely so we nodded sympathetically and took the toothpaste away with us, where it will remain, wreathed in dust in perpetuity.