Where are the Nitro Pills?

Since Fresca the Wonder Dog’s diagnosis of congestive heart failure last week, I’ve been wrapping my head around the thought of her mortality and the need for daily heart meds the rest of her days.  It’s been hard to believe, most days, that this scrappy, feisty little thing could have a problem but I can’t deny that her persistent cough has really improved since we started her on the meds.

Today we had the consult with the veterinarian heart specialist.  They had predicted freezing rain overnight and it was pretty foggy and misting this morning so I gave myself plenty of time to go up and over the mountain to this remote vet clinic.  The staff had stressed the fact that I needed to arrive 15 minutes before my appointed time.  I made it there with 15 minutes to spare.

I’d never seen an animal hospital where they had separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs.  I guess most of their clientele have bad tickers so they try to minimize the stress as much as possible.  Luckily, any animals already there were in examining rooms so Fresca and I had the waiting room to ourselves.

She was pretty quiet until she spotted several men approaching the front door.  She must not like the typical “Perry County” look because these fellows personified it, meaning they looked like they had just set their rifles down while out hunting critters and taken a quick side trip to the clinic.  They soon left and we were back to Fresca shaking on my lap.

Suddenly Fresca perked up and gave a low growl.  Pretty soon I heard the clicking of canine nails on the linoleum and a BIG but ancient black Lab bounded around the corner and came right for me.  Now he wasn’t acting threatening in any way.  I think he planned to lick me to death.  But Fresca perceived him as a threat and I managed to grab her in mid-launch and mid-snarl while the Lab’s owner came around the corner.  The poor old guy (the dog, not the owner) looked like he’d just lost another year off his lifespan as he faced my 15 1/2 pounds of “white death”, struggling to have at him.  Wisely, his owner got a better grip on the dog’s leash and took him out to her car before heading back in to pay the bill.

We waited some more.  By now we were an hour past our appointment time.  Fresca the Wonder Dog is no chihuahua.  My legs were beginning to get a little tired.  Finally we were brought back into an examining room and the technician said the doctor would be with us soon.

The minutes ticked by.  Another hour came and went.  It wouldn’t have been so bad but there was a big sign on the wall that said cellphone use was not allowed because of the sensitive equipment used in the building.  I couldn’t even read my Kindle on my iPhone. There are only so many ways to read the canine and feline anatomy charts before you start to go stir-crazy.

Then the doctor arrived.  One blood pressure reading, one EKG, one echocardiogram, one set of xrays, one blood work-up, two sets of new meds, and one exam later, and I was standing at the counter waiting for the receptionist to give me the bill.  She did and, if I’d had some nitro pills, I would have been reaching for them.  I almost had a heart attack myself.  The diagnosis?  Fresca has severe mitrovalve disease, high blood pressure, and Blepharitis of both eyes.  My diagnosis?  Severe poverty.  Oh, no…wait.  I mean, I’ll be eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese until the next payday.  Luckily, I enjoy both.

And that’s how I came to find myself at my local pharmacy this afternoon handing over a prescription for one of the heart meds.   The clerk asked me for my insurance card.  I said, “It’s for my dog.”

“Which dependent is that?”  she asked.

“The white, furry one,” I answered.

I’m now on their Super Saver Plan which means we’ll get the meds at a very good price.  Since Fresca doesn’t know how to write, they’ve got me down as her “designated human” and I can sign for her meds.  Boy, do I need some chocolate!

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Fresca looks like a larger version of my little Bear! I don’t think I realized that until I saw that first photo of her on this post. My dogs are all American Eskimo (cross).

    I know what you mean about costs. I keep telling folks “If I didn’t have dogs, I’d be rich” – as I dish out more money each month on my dogs’ medicine and food than I do on my own.

    But I’m glad the vet has figured out a regime that will give Fresca some more good years.


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