Two steps forward…one step back


If there’s a God, I think that I must have done something to really piss him off. Every time it seems like my life is getting back on track, something happens to derail all my plans, and put me in a worse situation than before.

That’s what happened with teaching. I moved out of the house I’d lived in for five years, and went to live in a shitty, red-neck town in the middle of nowhere because it was the only place I could find a job. I knew it would suck, but I thought it was worth spending a year there  to get a career started. Things didn’t work out at all so I moved back to the town I’d been in before, only to find myself living in a shit hole with landlords who never fix anything. Worse still, I came back more in debt than ever before, and with more relationship troubles (my husband couldn’t find a job in the town we lived in, and he resented moving there).

If anything good came out of my aborted teaching career, it was the knowledge that I do not ever want to fucking try to teach again. It’s just not for me. If I hadn’t had that awful experience, I would probably have moved to a different state and tried teaching there, which would have been a huge waste of time, money and energy.

In some ways, I landed on my feet when I arrived back in town. I found a job in a large company which is, as far as these things go, a good, fairly relaxed place to work. I’m currently a contractor, but I will be interviewing soon for a full-time position there and, if I get hired, it will mean, of course, more job stability and a few hundreds more a month. It’s not much but it’s something.

Things were finally starting to look up!

Until last Saturday that is. That was when one of my cats decided it would be a really good idea to jump into my neighbour’s yard where, unbeknownst to her, there were two very large dogs waiting for her on the other side. What were you doing letting your cat out unsupervised, I hear you ask?! Well, ironically, my husband and I were fixing our fence that day to make it harder for the cats to get out. Since we were busy working on the fence, we just didn’t notice the cat leaving our yard. Ha! Also, our cats hardly ever are allowed outside.

Do I really need to tell you what happened to my cat? She’s nine pounds and the two dogs must have been around fifty to sixty pounds each. MM scaled the fence as soon as we heard all the commotion and pitiful screeching sounds coming from my cat while I – to my eternal shame – stood in my yard for a few seconds, not wanting to follow him because I was too scared to imagine what I might see. I eventually went over the fence, and helped my husband get the two dogs off my cat.

Miraculously, she survived but she was pretty fucked up – three broken ribs; punctures wounds to the fat pad on her stomach; internal bruising (although thankfully nothing was punctured) and an open wound on one of her legs. I am now $5000 poorer. Yes, you heard that right – $5000. She was in the cat version of intensive care at an emergency vet for two days, and then she was transferred to a specialty hospital where a vet operated on her stomach to remove flesh that was rapidly becoming necrotic.

I made the mistake of telling my colleagues about my $5000 vet bill, and  I could practically smell the judgement pouring off of them, not to mention the ridicule. It’s safe to say that most people wouldn’t spend $5000 on a pet, especially $5000 they don’t have. They think I’m absolutely fucking bat shit crazy. I don’t regret my decision, though. This cat is a member of my family, and what was I going to do? Let her die? I don’t think so. I would never spend lots of money on an animal if all I was doing was prolonging an already miserable, painful life to make myself feel better, but the cat had a good chance of survival, and I just could not put her down.

I’m delighted she’s still alive (way to go, cat! All nine pounds of you took on one hundred pounds of dog!), but I have no idea how I”m going to pay this bill. I’ll be using CareCredit to pay for it initially but this company is such a rip off. I have twelve months of interest free credit for the emergency vet bill of $2000 (so, about $170 per month) and then I have only six months of interest free credit for the specialty clinic bill  of $3000 (so, $500 per month). Somehow I have to come up with $670 extra per month. If I don’t, the APR is something ridiculous after the promotional period ends.

Someone recently commented on my furry family (I have eight cats and two dogs) and said that it’s never good to be too extreme in life – whether with religion, politics, drugs/alcohol or animals. He said that if my animals stop me from doing what I want to do in life it’s no good. I guess I agree, on some level, but my animals are my family, and I care for them deeply.

On the other hand, I am now going to have to spend so much time working (whether overtime at my regular job, or escorting) that there’s not going to be any time left over to work on the things I want to to improve my life.

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10 thoughts on “Two steps forward…one step back

  1. Judith November 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm Reply

    Good grief! $5000 is highway robbery. Is there any way the vet can charge you in increments so you can extend your CareCredit?

    • petrichoric November 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm Reply

      Well, I have two separate bills. One for $2000 (for the emergency vet who looked after my cat for two days in “intensive care” essentially) and then I have the $3000 bill for the surgery etc. The way CareCredit works is that it’s up to the vet clinic (or provider of services) to determine the lending period. Both vet clinics only offer 6-month interest free credit, after which the interest rate is something ridiculous like 25% if you fail to pay back in time. If you don’t like that option, you can opt for 12 months, 24 months or 48 months of interest free credit at the “affordable” rate of nearly 15% APR. The first vet clinic finally agreed to extend the interest free period to 12 months, but the other clinic absolutely will not – and I begged.

  2. I HAVE CAT (@ihavecat) November 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty and all your troubles. Thank goodness she survived and you are a great person for doing the right thing and getting her the help she needed. Some (most?) people really don’t understand the animal-thing…how we can love them so intensely…..I know there are certain folks i can talk to about these sorts of things and others I don’t even bother with. But we all certainly need some support in our lives – emotionally so we can have help in these circumstances….
    Tamar
    xo

  3. xul November 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm Reply

    Ugh! Poor kitty! I hope she pulls through after all of that. And poor you! What a straight rip-off those vets are! They are just as bad as lawyers. I’ve yet to see one who didn’t pad the bill.

  4. vicariousrising December 1, 2011 at 2:42 am Reply

    Yah, that’s the same deal as my CareCredit plans. I don’t have a pet unless you count the stink in my son’s bedroom. But I have dental bills out the wazoo that I’ve used CareCredit for. My NJ dentist was awesome about using the longer term interest free period, but the people I use now in NY use only 6 months.

    I wonder what makes a provider alter the interest periods. They must get some sort of kickback. I can’t imagine that they would otherwise be concerned over when you pay the credit card company. I mean, if you were charged $2000, shouldn’t they get back $2000 no matter how much interest you pay and when you pay it?

    When the interest rate kicks in, it really does suck, but it is nice to have a grace period without accruing any.

    I hope your kitty gets to feeling better. I’m with Xul — what the heck costs that much for a vet? I had two fairly major surgeries in the past 2 years, and they each were around $10,000 (insurance coverage for all but copay, thank god), but each also included over 3 hours of actual surgical time. I’m not sure the $5 box of tissues was a good-faith price, but the actual doctor time and OR fees seemed alright given I was splayed open.

    I’m really glad you love your animals so much. We need people and pets to open our love up to, especially when we’ve been deprived of that in our early lives. Let those judgie people judge. It’s one thing if they would not choose to spend their own money on their pet that way, it is another to look down on someone else who greatly values their pet.

  5. marjorie December 3, 2011 at 10:46 pm Reply

    I believe you did just the right thing. What is money if you don’t have anyone or anything to spend it for?
    Don’t make the same mistake I did. I wasn’t even able to say goodbye to the dog I’ve loved a couple of weeks ago (that lived in my mother’s house) because of my self-absorption in recent months. Now I’ve got a lifetime to regret it not to mention the misery and guilt that will haunt me for eternity.

  6. lifeismisery December 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm Reply

    Hey, I just discovered your blog and even though it’s often kind of depressing, I enjoy your insights and your sense of humor.

    I’ve been finding I relate to a lot of to the way you see things, the problems you have, and the feelings you have. And it’s comforting to know that there are other people with the same thoughts as me.

    I really like your writing so I hope you achieve your dreams someday, or at least find some sort of stable happiness. Maybe people like us are just destined to suffer our whole lives, but I sure hope not.

    • petrichoric December 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm Reply

      Hello, “lifeismisery”. Thanks for reading and for the compliments. I certainly hope that we are not destined to suffer forever!

  7. lifeismisery December 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm Reply

    Hey, also this might sound a little weird, but I was bored and ended up reading your blog for a couple hours instead of doing any work.

    Listen, if you would ever want to try out writing a screenplay, I’ve had this idea for one for awhile and I think you’d be perfect to collaborate with on it.

    If you’re at all interested let me know. I have this other screenplay I’ve written that I think is pretty good. And if you’re interested I could send it to you and you can see if our sentiments gel, and that I’m not just some schmo wanna be writer.

    I’m not expecting anything, but I think it’d at least be creatively fulfilling. And once I tell you my idea, hopefully you’d like it and second you’d see why I’d want you to collaborate on it. So uh, let me know whether you’re interested or not.

    • petrichoric December 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm Reply

      Hi again, “lifeismisery”. I’m flattered that you would think of me to collaborate with but, to be honest, I have a hard enough time getting out of bed these days, so I don’t think that I could fully commit to your project.

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