Leftovers, Greed, and how they relate to Veterinary Science on Saturday night
Itís a well known and documented fact that every time Mama goes away all domestic matters have the potential to disintegrate quickly, and previously thought to be improbable events become routine. It was in this context that an activity as seemingly insignificant and ordinary as cleaning out the refrigerator of spoiled, undesirable leftovers, would develop into a major catastrophe.
The wife was gone to her parents to stay with her elderly Grand mother. Thereís a long list of events and/or strange happenings that have occurred in her absences over the years. We wonít go into all of them here for the sake of brevity but a few of the highlights are hitting a deer on the way to pick the children up from the sitters and spending most of one Saturday night searching the woods for a lost hunter. So it is almost a given that every time sheís away something unexpected is going to crop up.
Another contributing factor to this story is her complete inability to grasp the concept of the passing of time. She is an otherwise wonderful person who, like everyone else, has certain limitations. The stories are almost endless regarding things left in the refrigerator for the assumed purpose of later consumption. Under normal circumstances one would assume this to be within the next several days. Iím not aware of any statistics being kept on this, but feel comfortable with the fact that she would be leading the league in this unenviable category. A perfect example is the wild grapes in a grocery sack put in the refrigerator in August for the express purpose of jelly making that were finally thrown out in November. A shriveled up mass of nothing.
The final contributing factor, and the most significant, is canine greed. Although itís not readily apparent to humans, there must be something horrible that would happen in the event that a cat should actually get something to eat. This demented logic might possibly be something along the same lines as chasing a car heís not able to drive. I donít know. We have in our possession yellow lab afflicted with both infirmities. His name is Gus and his mission in life is to rid the world of table scraps and exclude both cats from the consumption thereof.
Now we get to the story. My daughter had taken it upon herself to clean out the refrigerator for the simple reason of being able to put something else in there. Naturally it was a Saturday night and Mama was in Birmingham. The volume of leftovers was staggering. A casserole dish of significant size was filled to overflowing with moldy macaroni and cheese mixed in with assorted peas and butterbeans. Some spaghetti left from a month ago was nestled in with some cube steak that was no longer identifiable. All this was placed outside the back door on the carport for the cats. Gus had been purposely kept inside for reasons previously mentioned. His escape was both unintentional and unnoticed. He had slipped out the front door using the disguise of providing security on a trip to the mailbox. Since the nearest neighbor is half a mile away this ruse should have been transparent. I plead distraction. Since we were home alone I should have been on guard for the unlikely or impossible to occur. He slipped around back and with one unintimidating growl, cleared the bowl of all felines. And because it was his sworn duty he steadfastly consumed the entire contents. The self-feeder half full of dog food three feet away attested to the fact that he could not possibly have been that hungry. I thought nothing of it at the time and passed it off as stupidity.
Two hours later it all became significant. I tried my best to ignore the muscle tremors and shaking. Why do these events always occur on weekend nights when weíre home alone? Maybe heíll quit in a minute. But soon my son Lee noticed it and ignoring the symptoms was no longer an option. There was no arguing the fact Gus had ingested some type of toxin. How much and to what end were the only remaining unknowns. Maybe I can make him throw it all back up. All the tried and true methods that are successful for everyone else yielded no results for us. The tremors got worse and the hour got later. Evidently the Lord was taking care of something in Iraq or was otherwise distracted because prayers of not having to call the Vet at this hour on this weekend night were not answered in a positive way.
Vets are people too and most nights would like nothing better than to relax, unmolested, and watch a movie or whatever.But they also are forced, like everyone else, to reside in a world where the unexpected is commonplace. Locally the vets in several counties have an alternating system of whoís on call on weekends. It was by divine providence that it was our local Vets weekend to be on call but he didnít answer the phone with any degree of enthusiasm. Five minutes later, at 10:45 Saturday night, we presented ourselves at his door. Itís pretty hard to be apologetic and light hearted at the same time so I abandoned any effort at gaiety. The muscle tremors were now more pronounced and hallucinations had set in. Gus didnít tell us he was hallucinating but it was hilarious to watch him watching some unseen villain as it crossed the walls of the examining room.
Treatment was spread out over three days complete with I. V. lines and Valium. When he said he wanted to keep him over night I was delighted and fled before he changed his mind. The entire episode is now relegated to the file of ďfond memoriesĒ. Of course it was expensive but it was not as much as I would have charged him had the circumstances been reversed.
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