Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plans Change

St George, South Carolina

We were tired yesterday, and the plan was to hang out at home, remove the love bugs from the front of the motor home, maybe take a nap and watch a movie.

Those plans changed when we noticed our kitty Chattanooga (Chatty) was straining in the kitty pan, unable to urinate.  This is a fairly common thing with male cats. They get little crystals that prevent them from urinating.    I felt his bladder and it was about the size of a walnut.  We’ve been through this before, so it was an easy diagnosis for me.

We got a recommendation for a local Veterinarian and off we went.  When we got to the building, I knew we were in trouble.  It was a new building with a staff of veterinarians.  Yup, this was going to be expensive.

The doctor agreed with my diagnosis. She needed to keep him there a night or two to clean out the crystals and get him flowing again.   He has a catheter inserted….poor baby.

She gave us an estimate of roughly $600.  We almost had heart failure.  We’ve been down this road before, spent a ton of money and didn’t have successful results.   I know how it starts….$600 here $600 there and before you know it you have a $6000 bill and no cat. 

One of Al’s friends is a veterinarian.  He told Al that nowadays in Vet school, they teach them how to make money.  This is exactly what they teach in law school too….how to maximize their billable hours.  They tell the young vet students to treat the pets of the people who have money, and don’t worry about the ones who don’t.  What happened to young people who want to be a veterinarian because they loved animals.  Al has several customers who are veterinarians, and let me tell you…..they make serious money!  

We left him there.  We really had no choice.  He was pretty uncomfortable and it was only going to get worse overnight.   We’re wondering if the stress from the past week brought this on.  He travels in his kitty cage when we’re driving the motor home.  He spent several days in there where he was unable to get out to urinate.  We try to let them out a little while when we stop, but we may not have let him out often enough, and he may not have gone when he got out.   We won’t make that mistake again.  Everybody gets more pee breaks!  Of course we normally don’t travel  like we have the past week.

We got some pretty hard rain yesterday, all associated with Tropical Storm Isaac.   So far we’ve not experienced any strong winds or thunderstorms.  It looks like the next 3-4 days will be rainy.   That’s not the best weather for exploring Charleston.

The plan for today is to try to get a part to change the height of our new Blue Ox Tow bar.   We’re not happy with the height of it.  It looks good when you’re on level surfaces and the coach is fully aired up.   It’s supposed to be as level as possible, but you  can go up to 4 inches, as long the motorhome is higher than the towed vehicle. It’s a no-no for the coach to be lower than the toad.    Before we take off, I always watch to make sure the toad is rolling properly, and I didn’t like how it looked when Al applied the brakes.  When the coach is fully aired up it sits slightly higher than the toad.  When he brakes a time or two, it’s slightly lower.    Diesel motorhomes have an air ride and braking system.  When you park, you let the air out and the motorhome sits low to the ground.  When you run the engine, it airs up until the motorhome reaches drive height.  Every time you brake, you lose a little air.

We bought a 4 inch drop hitch and that is what we’ve been traveling with.  We have about decided that we don’t need any drop at all.  We do need some sort of extension because the receiver on the motorhome is 4-5 inches in (underneath the motorhome).    The toad would be too close to the back of the motor home if we didn’t get an extension. So, that’s what we’re going to do today. 

I don’t think we’ll be doing anything fun today!

Oh….we met an interesting couple. They were parked next to us the other night.  As a  severely  “directionally challenged” person, I greatly admire people who can help me find my way around.  Their son invented MapQuest!   That was one of the first programs I ever used to help me find my way.   I especially liked the fact that you could get it to reverse it and tell you how to get back home!!


  1. Oh bummer, sorry to hear about more kitty troubles. I am lucky here in Klamath to have a small vet office with one of those old fashioned vets who really cares. He has helped me a lot with Jeremy. The vet in California was just like those you talked about. ick. Glad you are settled out of the big storm, and hopefully the rain will let up enough that you can enjoy Charleston. My favorite restaurant there is Justine's Kitchen. Southern food and great place. Pan fried chops, mac and chees, greens, pecan pie...uhoh...not vegan at all!!

  2. So sorry to hear about Chatty's troubles. And the bill. I'm not sure they actually teach that in vet schools and I know that at William & Mary where my daughter went to law school they didn't teach that. But it is something lawyers learn from the firm if that's the route they go. Wish you could have found a small town vet. They are usually wonderful.

  3. So sorry to hear about Chatty. Being a cat owner, I know the struggle you are going through with the cost and the health of your cat. We spent several hundred dollars twice when Bella had bladder stones. We love her but know we have to draw the line somewhere.

  4. It hurt$ in more ways than one when the furry kids get sick. Hope the cure isn't too costly.

    We had to use a drop receiver on our MH to raise the tow bar level, too. I've seen way too many rigs with the tow bar set up incorrectly, an accident waiting to happen.

    We're high and dry NW of Columbia, SC and about 2 hrs from Charleston. Some rain, no wind or floods. Phew!

  5. What an interesting encounter! Hope everything comes out ok with your cat!

  6. Poor Kitty! Don't feel guilty about not letting him out enough. You did what you had to do. I hope he gets better soon and doesn't end up with an infection or incontinence.

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  8. I can relate to Chatty. In those times I would be willing to sign my house away!

  9. Hope Chatty feels better soon. I did not use a drop at all on my hitch and it seems to work out fine.

  10. Hope the cat gets better. No fun when things aren't right..

  11. Vet bills are tough to swallow some times but what are we going to do? Most of us just hope that spending the money will make our pets better. I hope this treatment works and Chatty makes a full recovery.

  12. I hope your kitty comes home with his problem solved and your wallets not too thin. I just hate doctor and vet bills, but like Rick said, what are we going to do?

  13. Sure hope Chatty is feeling better real soon. We feel the same way about vets, the only problem is that sometimes you just don't have a choice. I know that we spent a lot of money on Whiskey but she was worth every penny. Hope you don't end up with an even bigger bill.

    Kevin and Ruth

  14. Poor Chatty! I worry about that with our boys, too. Especially our super-fat cat, Tucker. We feed them wet food and cross our fingers.

    Having six of them, I feel your pain. The truth is, vet school is crazy expensive, and there are very few of them, so they can charge exorbitant tuition. Cornell has a teaching vet hospital, and WOW can you pay for that luxury, too.

  15. Sorry that Chatty is sick. Maybe an overnight stay will be all that is necessary.

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