Autism: At the Vet

10 Mar

The cough has been bothering me for a while. What do I do when I don’t have a job, yet my babies depend on me to help them get well? He has always (well, since we got him at age eighteen months anyway) had trouble breathing when he gets excited. That always worried me, too.

I hate that animals get sick. It is like with children – so little, and defenseless, and it seems so wrong for them to experience such pain. But that is the world we live in, and all of my hate over it will not make them well.

A few years ago, his cheek swelled up. That required an immediate trip to the vet. He felt much better once he had 7 teeth pulled (poor puppy!) and I was really thankful to have a job so that I could afford it. We also learned at that time that his trachea had scar tissue (he was in 5 homes before we got him, and not always good ones.) That was the reason that he struggled to breathe when he got excited.


It helped to know, and it calmed me to believe I had the money to take care of him. That is really important to me – after all, they are my family.

Then there was last year. I brought him in for his shots, and he was (thankfully) healthy at the time. I was advised to keep brushing his teeth every night – and we (Gryff and I) have gotten really good at remembering to do that. But I also had to bring in my Puss-girl (I didn’t name her.) Her teeth were bothering her, and I said, “take them out – make her well.”

It was very expensive. I guess going to the doctor for us would be, too, but we have to pay for our “free” health care whether or not we go – so while we complain at the rates, we don’t avoid going to the doctor because of them. In fact, I probably go more often now that we have to pay so much for it. Still, it helped Gryff, and I had every hope it would help Puss, too.

But then she got a respiratory infection. I brought her back, and they gave us medicine, but she never recovered – and she died last summer. And it broke my heart. It always does.

And then I – well, I didn’t lose my job. My doctor took me off. It isn’t the same thing, and in fact, the people I worked for wanted me to stay, and called me to come back some months later – but my doctor said, “no!” Nevertheless, I was out of work, and my income on disability is a whole lot less than I was making at work.

So when Gryff started coughing, there were competing thoughts on whether to take him to the vet or not. We haven’t the income for it. Despite the money we spent, it didn’t save Puss – what if it doesn’t help Gryff, either? But then, he is my dog. More than that, he is my baby – and how could I leave him like that?

Well, his cough didn’t go away in time. It didn’t exactly get worse, but it always sounded bad. During one of his coughing fits, my husband suggested the vet, and I agreed. So we took him in today. It was certainly a surprise to him to find himself in the car (he doesn’t like car rides, but will agree to them if he has the choice.)

He cried the whole way down, and then became very excited at the vets. He likes it there, with all of its smells, and other dogs. He was very excited, but also very well behaved as the doctor looked him over.

I was grateful to have such a kind and knowledgeable doctor, who obviously likes his job, to look at him, and explain things to us. Unfortunately, we found our dog has a heart murmur, which might require a lot of follow-up care. We were sent home with medication as a primary diagnostic tool. And even for that, I was thankful.

My dog is important to me. All of my “little ones” are. And we will do what we can to take care of him. In the meantime… I really need a job.

In highschool, I was told that I couldn’t be a vet, because when it came time to euthanize the animals, I wouldn’t be able to do it. They were absolutely right – just… I wish they weren’t. It is even true that I could never have made it through the biology classes. I couldn’t even take a regular science class in the room after the biology class, my severe sensory issues made the smell of formaldehyde too overpowering (I failed that year of science for that reason.) I could have learned the theory – but as always, the practical would have been beyond me. Still, at times like this, I feel it would be a very useful occupation for me to have learned.

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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Autism: Out in Public


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