I called the vet at 7:07 AM this morning and much to my surprise, someone answered. Remarkably cheerfully, too, considering how early it was. He gave me — well, not quite an appointment. But the information that the vet would be in at 9.
By 9:05, maybe even a little earlier, they had Bartleby in the back on oxygen and an IV. Oxygen is remarkably expensive considering how readily available you’d think it would be. By 9:15, they’d upped the time that they thought he’d need to be on it from an hour (billed in 15-minute increments) to an open-ended “let’s see how it goes,” also adding a slew of other charges to his bill. I don’t even care.
I really thought I was going to be all grown-up and responsible about the economics of having a dying dog and an uncertain income, but nope. If they said, “It’s going to cost $1000 and give him another month of good life,” I’d hand them my credit card without another word. Emphasis on the good life, though. Another month where he struggles to breathe and turns away from his food will break my heart on an hourly basis.
And, of course, they really can’t know what that $1000 would buy and neither can I. But two days ago, B was still wagging his tail and kissing my face, and last night, he was willing to gobble down some chicken even if his regular food didn’t interest him, so today, it’s oxygen and x-rays and medication and whatever $$s it takes to give me a chance of some more snuggles and tail wags.
The other day I looked up the difference between worry and fear. It sounds like something I should know, right? It sounds like the difference ought to be obvious. But I wasn’t sure it was. Because I’m not worried — I already know the outcome, how can I worry about something that is inevitable? — but I am afraid. Afraid that I will make the wrong choices, that he will suffer more than he should or live less than he should. The internet let me know that fear is involuntary, but worry is a choice. So I am choosing not to worry, to trust that I will make the right decisions, that I will know what to do when the time comes. But I am still afraid.
And very, very sad.