Feb. 15, 2008
It all started with a cough on Wednesday morning. And this wasn’t your ordinary cough. It was a dry, nasty sounding cough. Sounded like an angry goose. Occasionally, the end of the cough was accompanied by something that looked like the head of a cappuccino. Matilda was sick. She’s my first dog and I was scared that if I left her at home to cough and gag all day, I might come home to a dead dog. At 7:42 a.m., I called the vet in a panic. She agreed to see me at 8:00. My vet is 20 minutes away in Easton. Suddenly, my decision of what to wear to court that day became trivial. I threw on my stand-by black pants and a purple cardigan set, grabbed Matilda, her bed, her leash, my coat and bag, and ran out the door. Not the best day to forget to put on deodorant, but thankfully, I had a stick stashed in my desk drawer for just such occasions.
And we’re off – at 70 miles per hour, at least. Thank goodness the troopers that patrol the area know my car. I was passed by two of them that morning.
The coughing was the most painful thing I’ve ever heard. And it was persistent. “Lord, please don’t let my dog die in this car. Don’t let her throw up or choke. Lord, I am thankful that she’s a dog and not a child. Thank you for not sending me a child yet. I couldn’t handle it. Not by myself. I’m freaking out because my dog is sick. I can’t imagine if this was a child. Please keep my dog alive, Lord.”
In the moments between the coughs, I was all about the logistics. “Okay,” I thought, “If we get there at 8:00 and they see us by 8:05, I’ll be outta there by 8:30 at the latest. I’ll drop off Matilda at the office and then get to court by 8:45. I’ll only be 15 minutes late. No problem!”. The best laid plans….
We get to Easton at about 7:58. We’re on the bypass because my vet is on the side of town that’s furthest from my house in Cambridge. With about a mile to go, we get stopped by a traffic light. Once it turns green, I put my foot on the gas and nothing happens. And of course, the coughing begins again. For whatever reason, I didn’t panic. I pushed the gas pedal to the floor and my car maxed out at 25 miles per hour. I calmly put on my hazard lights and began to pray – again. “Please, God. Please just let us get to the vet safely. That’s all I’m asking right now. Please just get us to the vet safely”. Oh, did I mention that it was raining?
There was one more light we had to get through before we got to the vet. “Please, Lord, let the light be green.” And it was, but I needed to turn left. There was one oncoming car, that I’m sure was speeding, but got out of the intersection before my car completely died. We were able to get through the intersection and pull into the vet’s parking lot. We coasted into a parking space. It was 8:03. God is good.
I scooped up Matilda and ran into the vet’s office. They called us back within 3 minutes. After an examination, they determined Matilda has kennel cough – it’s kinda like the croup or bronchitis for humans. It’s transferred from dog to dog by a virus. She got it when I dropped her off to be groomed a couple of weeks ago. I will never take her to that place again. They prescribed an antibiotic and told me that if the cough got too bad, I could give her Robitussin. Who knew dogs could take Robitussin? Chris Rock’s daddy was right. The ‘Tussin will cure anything!
We left the vet, and I thought that maybe, miraculously, my car would start. And it did! But it wouldn’t hold the charge. I called Ellen, and she came to pick us up. While I was waiting for her, I called the only auto shop that I knew in town. They told me they would come to tow the car later that day. Ellen arrived about five minutes later. I dropped Matilda off at the office, grabbed my files, and ran down to District Court. It was 8:50 when I arrived.
The day only got better when the auto shop told me that they wouldn’t be able to look at my car until the next day. And the piece d’resistance – I started my period a day early.
Thursday begins with the coughing. Still pretty bad, but she’d only had one dose of the antibiotic and no ‘Tussin. I picked up some generic Robitussin during lunch. It’s actually called “Tussin“. Hilarious. By 4:00 that afternoon, I still had not heard anything about my car. When I called them around 10:30 that morning, they told me that my car was scheduled for the afternoon and if it was the alternator, like I thought it might be, they would be able to fix it the same day, no problem. When I called at 4:00, they told me it was not the alternator, but a lack of pressure in the fuel pump. Somehow, their schedule got backed up between the morning and the afternoon, and now, all of a sudden, they wouldn’t be able to begin work on my car until Monday. Uh, I don’t think so. So I started calling around to other shops that people in my office have used. I found one that could fix my car on Friday. Hallelujah!
Today is Friday, and after an unexpectedly contentious morning in court, I called to check on my car. It had just been towed from the first shop to the second. Within the hour, they called me back to say that the first shop correctly diagnosed the problem and quoted me a price, including parts and labor of $508.62. I’m now waiting for the call that says, “You’re car is ready, ma’am.”
Oh, and for the record, dogs don’t like the ‘Tussin.