Thoughts 10 Months In

I have a great vet, although he sold the practice to a couple of younger vets and is only “vetting” part time. Teddy and I were lucky and Dr. Crawford was our vet today. He is the vet who came to my house to put down Dusty. He was Bear’s first vet and Teddy’s first vet. From the very beginning, he made a very big and positive impression on me because he loves animals, is soft-spoken, thoughtful and kind. Here on my living room floor as we prepared Dusty to go to the Enchanted Forest, we talked about euthanizing dogs and he said, “You must love this dog very much,” he said, “I made a big mistake with my old dog last year. I just couldn’t let him go. He suffered because of that.”

I did love Dusty very much. I loved him so much that I (usually) cheerfully accommodated his behavior problems that stemmed from his having been pushed out of a truck on the freeway, kicked and left for dead as a puppy. When I adopted Dusty from a shelter in Bonita, CA, when he was 4 months old they said, “He’s not adoptable,” but Dusty really did want to be my dog. Dusty was complicated, but he loved Dr. Crawford. When Dr. Crawford knelt down on the floor and lifted Dusty’s leg to put in the catheter, Dusty sighed in relief. Dr. Crawford also put down my last husky and he did it with tenderness and understanding of THIS woman who did NOT want to let that dog go.

So, today, Teddy and I got lucky.

I spent more time at the vet’s today than I’ve spent in any public place since the pandemic started. I wore my mask and stayed away from other people as much as possible. It’s frustrating because I LIKE the people who work at my vets and I’ve known them 7 years now. But there it was… I’ve learned that people recognize me partly by my smile and now no one can see it.

Dr. Crawford took Teddy back to rectify what he either did not do last week or that Teddy had undone. Dr. Crawford wasn’t sure. I get that. All our brains are addled right now. As I waited, a little kitty who lives at the vet came to play with me then sit beside me and purr while I scratched her ears. Before we left, she kissed Teddy on the nose inside his cone.

When Dr. Crawford came back with Teddy, he sat down beside me, physically closer than anyone has been except the kids hugging me in the alley, and looked me in the eyes. “You have the sweetest dog there,” he said. “He’s a wonderful dog. Congratulations.” Then he told me that Teddy will wear the cone for two weeks and we go back next week to have the dressings changed, a week later to have the staples taken out.

It felt very strange to be so physically close to someone, to look into their eyes and spend the time it took to hear the whole message. It’s only been a year, well, nearly a year, it felt longer as we spoke to each other.

Since then I’ve been thinking about what it was like BEFORE. I purposely have not done that, but marched stoically forward to some other time (whatever that will be). I thought of summer walks in the evening and talking to all the neighbors. I thought of houseguests and spontaneous laughter in any random place, the grocery store, wherever. I don’t know.

My “group” is scheduled to be getting vaccinated on February 8. So far here in the back of beyond the vaccinations have gone pretty well. So, by March I should be good to go (which is what I imagined all along). I don’t think I like wearing a mask. The kitty did something this morning that awakened me to that. She reached for my mask with her little paw and tried to pull it down. I guess we will still be wearing them, though.

As I was leaving the vet’s, a tall and very handsome young farmer came in with his little girl. They were getting big bottles of medicine for their cows. He wasn’t wearing a mask. He smiled at me with all the interest, radiance and even love a human face can show. I have no idea why other than he was just a truly happy man. I liked it.

During this time I’ve seen the full faces of my neighbors, Elizabeth, Bob and Karen, my mailman, the kids. That has really been it. I feel a little right now like Miranda in The Tempest having seen human beings other than her father, Prospero, and Caliban, their “monster” slave, for the first time. “O brave new world that has such people in it.”

17 thoughts on “Thoughts 10 Months In

  1. Haha — I often think that people recognize me now for my white hair rather than my smile that doesn’t show behind the mask! It’s hard not seeing the full faces of people! I hope Teddy isn’t quite smart enough to figure out that his two front paws interact and he could pull the bandage off with the other paw! Otherwise it sounds like a very positive visit to the vet’s office!

  2. I think that masks will be around for a long time at least until everyone who wants it has been vaccinated. Of course there will be those that won’t want it so you’ll probably have to wait till you are really sure there is none in the places you normally go but maybe in the end it will only be in busy places.

    • I think masks are here to stay, too, though there might not be any mandates about wearing them. I don’t care, really. This whole nightmare has changed my perspective on life forever, I think.

  3. I’m so glad the return visit didn’t break the bank! Teddy looks resigned to the cone so at least he isn’t fighting it. Smiles are a rare sighting and one that used to make me happy. Now days smiles make me nervous. I prefer the “smiling eyes” and a fun mask! I wore a mask today that garnered the usual compliments but one made me smile – a big rough guy was leaving and as he passed me he said, “Cute mask!” It was incongruous and unexpected. It made my day… Dr. Crawford sounds like a gem!

  4. One scary thing after another! Poor Teddy – those cones are never popular, but hopefully it will do the trick for healing once and for all. Yes, to see smiles and full faces is more special than I think we ever realized before. Although, I admit, it initially makes me reflexively nervous. I’ve had my first vaccine dose. Halfway “there.”

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