Unforeseen expenses

Posted May 22nd, 2006 by Penny Wise

I think I need more than Flylady to get my life in order at the moment. I’m convinced I must live in some kind of black hole – so far I’ve been waiting a year to get our house painted, THREE years to get our security lights installed and since before Christmas to get light fittings fixed in the laundry, kitchen and kids’ room so they don’t have to play in the dark. I suppose the only benefit of waiting so long is that at least we haven’t had to fork out yet for fixing them, but it’s getting beyond a joke! I have also recently learned that you have to plan to be ill at least a week in advance if you want to secure an appointment with our local doctor and if you get caught with a pet in a life or death situation on a weekend, you can forget your chances of a vet coming out.

Yes, the last few days have been a bit of a trial and no mistake. First Liam managed to break his toe on Saturday. Not content with facing a team of worryingly large proportions on the rugby field earlier that day and escaping unharmed, he and his best mate Ryan decided to give it another go in the back yard later on. In the midst of perfecting their kicks and dramatic dives, Liam’s toe somehow connected with Ryan’s ankle. I wasn’t too concerned at first; Liam’s nickname is ‘Oscar’ after all due to his award winning performances on school days in his many attempts to convince me he’s sick. However it soon became clear that Liam’s toe was now doing some very un-toe-like things! With no doctor around for miles, we sent an emergency call across the road to Maxine (hooray for a neighbour who’s a nurse!) who deftly taped it up and told us to keep an eye on it for a day or two. For the second time since Mother’s Day, I had to call my Mum and tell her that her special dinner was off and would she mind getting takeaways instead.

Determined to milk the situation for all it was worth, Liam had us all waiting on him hand and foot (pardon the pun) the following day, until we were faced with another emergency on Sunday night. Since her mammoth operation, Ella is technically supposed to have been totally confined for three weeks, with no walks for three months. Unfortunately she seems totally unaware of her condition, escaping to Maxine’s just three days after her op and has been caught red handed several times since thrashing through the undergrowth with a pair of rabbit’s feet in her mouth or something even more unsavoury. Yes, Ella is not the type of dog you can easily confine and like many Labradors she is a garbage guts who will eat absolutely everything. It came as no surprise to find that she had been into the rubbish sack the night before when someone left the shed door open and spread its entire contents over the lawn. However even Noel was worried when last night he spotted Ella wobbling around the garden in a very strange manner. She then began foaming horrendously at the mouth, staggered to her bed and began shaking furiously. The shaking became interspersed with seizures and she was going downhill rapidly.

I was totally beside myself and rang in a panic for the emergency after hours vet to find I couldn’t get through and they had been replaced with an answering service. I was directed to a vet clinic an hour away, which had just closed and no one could be reached. By now we were frantic and ringing every practice we could, begging for someone to come out, but not one of them would help as we looked on helplessly, wondering with every seizure Ella suffered if it would be her last. It took FIVE vet practices before we could find someone who was willing to see her and Noel dashed to his clinic with Ella. The wait for me and the boys at home was terrible until Noel rang us complaining cheerily that his car stank of dog. The vet had treated Ella and she had stabilised in the nick of time. Luckily he had seen her symptoms before and knew what she needed – the cause? Miss Ella the rubbish bag thief had poisoned herself eating mouldy bread. Apparently it’s horribly toxic to dogs, so take heed! Our lot don’t eat their crusts, and I don’t give them to the worms because it encouraged too many other pests so they just get thrown away. Not anymore, I’ll be taking a leaf out of the Vault and making breadcrumbs out of them instead so there’s no chance of it happening again. ‘Bloody typical!’ I thought as we welcomed Ella home ‘We just fork out $1000 to fix your leg and now you try and poison yourself!’ Ah well, the added expense of $60 for a Sunday night visit to the vet was worth it to have our soppy, gluttonous girl back.

She was back to her old self this morning, but Liam’s foot had turned a charming shade of blue and he still couldn’t walk, so off we went to get him sorted. We had already booked a day off school for him due to an optometrist’s appointment, so that was our first port of call. A routine check showed that his needs had changed and would require new lenses. He had also outgrown his frames, so needed to choose some new ones. Liam was most excited about this, but I wasn’t when I saw they cost over $200! The total price of his new glasses was $353. I racked my brains to think of some of the clever ways that Simple Savings members had saved on their glasses (if you wear glasses, go and look in the Vault, you could save a fortune on your next pair!) but for a child’s glasses, there were no alternatives that would really work. The only cheap frames we could find elsewhere in his size were plastic sunglasses! The good news was that by the time he needs another pair, he should be able to wear adult size frames, so this should give us a lot more options – and save us heaps! From the optometrist we headed to the medical centre, then to the hospital for x-rays, then to the Emergency Department, where we waited for ages. Fortunately for us a kindly nurse spotted Liam sitting in the corner in tears, so she summoned the doctor, who agreed to see us immediately. The poor woman thought that Liam was crying because he was in pain, but the real reason for his tears was that he had looked at his watch and realised that we were not going to get out of the hospital in time to go to the Warehouse before we had to pick Ali up from school. After waiting almost three hours as it was to be seen, I was certainly not going to put her straight on this small misunderstanding! We found that Liam’s toe had been broken in two places and due to the impossible smallness of his little toe is unlikely to mend particularly well, but Liam is delighted to score the rest of the week off school and Ryan wins the Best Friend of the Year award for his involvement. I think it’s going to be a long week!

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