It was an hour wait before the assistant in scrubs came looking for us. My son had reached his patience tolerance level and was almost to the point shouting how tired he was of waiting to every soul in the room.
I was reading a Birdtalk magazine in the waiting room. There was an interesting article about talking birds and how scientists have discovered that birds actually understand the context of language. They are actually thinking of classifying birds as being more intelligent than some mammals. I could have told them that. My previous parakeet, Buddy, would ask "What are you doing?" at the most appropriate times. Galileo will shout out "Hey Baby!" when I walk past her cage. She will also shake her head and flare her tailfeathers when I yell at her for chewing on my windowsill, as if to say "Yea, and what are you gonna do about it!" They are intelligent creatures.
We both stood as she approached "We don't have any exam rooms free, do you want to sit while I review her aftercare?" I looked her square in the eye and said "No thank you, we've been sitting for an hour". It was enough to satisfy the impatient one's irritation as well as relaying my annoyance. She muttered an apology and went right into what we should watch for and expect. She nervously stuttered a few times, that was almost satisfying to me. Vets charge outrageous fees for their time - is mine any less valuable? There were 4 women shuffling in and out of the front desk admitting new patients and releasing old. There didn't appear to be any kind of system to speed the process along, it was chaos. People that came in after me left before me, it really seemed like they had no clue what they were doing. I also think it's just plain rude when you're standing right in front of them and they ignore you while reading a computer screen. A simple "I'll be right with you" isn't too much courtesy to ask for. I'm glad I had more confidence in the Doctor than the administrative staff.
She was finally brought out in her travel cage, silent and clinging to her perch. My heart fluttered when I got a low wolf whistle at the sound of my voice. I had to ask for the towel that I had brought in covering her cage. My son took her to the car and I could see the relief on his face.
I then stood at the counter waiting for the headless chickens to get it together enough so I could pay my bill. After 10 minutes more it was handed to me, $100 more than the estimate. I scanned the charges and noticed that they had included the charge for the Hystology (biopsy). "I spoke with the Doctor earlier today and she said she was going to have the hystology done but not charge me for it". I quickly got another printout without the charge. The total was $30 less than the original estimate. I wonder how many people actually just pay the bill without reading it over first. I wonder how much money they have literally stolen from distraught pet owners. What a racket. I think I will write a letter: commending their treatment of the animals, but protesting their treatment of the owners.
The cage was in my sons lap the whole ride home. "She's acting funny" he worried. I explained that he would be wiped out and acting funny if he had been deserted at a strange place where they plucked out his tail feathers, put him to sleep, and if he woke up alone and confused with a sore behind. I told him that she would be her old self in a couple days, with more confidence than I felt. She managed to nibble at his fingers and give a few low whistles, though it was much too subdued to ease my sons concern.
As I was cleaning her 'home' cage, my son had taken her out of her travel cage and she flew, hitting the floor much too quickly. I had clipped her wings right before her trip to the vet, she didn't know she couldn't fly anymore. I knew that her landing probably caused her a lot of pain and I spoke much too sharply at my son for taking her out of the cage. I backpeddled and told him why she has to take it easy and be left alone and quiet to recover. "We don't want her opening up the incision, you have to give her time to heal hon". He was excited when she hopped over to her newly filled dish and started eating. Mom could possibly be right.
I uncovered her the next morning to fill her dishes with fresh water and food. As soon as the cover came off an excited chirp filled my ears as she raced to the door and started rattling it as if to say "Let me out!" She was feeling better and decided to launch herself from my arm. With wings flapping furiously she landed on the floor. I could feel her pain. I scooped her up and deposited her back in the cage. She ruffled her feathers and shook as if to say "Ouch - that wasn't supposed to happen!" It wasn't so painful as to prevent her from shouting at me as I headed out the door to work. "Where are you going? I'm feeling much better - stay here and play with me!" I only wish I could have.
I was the recipient of a hearty welcome and a bit of a scolding when I arrived home 10 hours later. She was her old excited self clinging to my fingers with her beak up against my mouth and tickling my nose with her feathers as she chirped and waited for my response. She was even feeling well enough to wrestle with my thumb as I held it up to her face. She feels lighter, maybe it's my imagination. Her tail pulls a bit to the right now because the incision went around her body to her back. At least there was enough skin to close the incision. Hopefully it will straighten out as it heals. I won't love her any less even if it doesn't.