Anxiety and Attitude

We took Olive Oil to the vet today. She just needed a check-up so we could continue her usual dose of anxiety medicine for another year. Yes, she needs anxiety medicine because things like other cats severely upset her, and our usually lovable, sweet cat becomes somewhat aggressive.

Taking her to the veterinarian entails of lot of anxiety– mine and hers. Chad is very positive, so he manages to keep me calm while I stress about the whole ordeal the entire week leading up to the appointments. It went as expected: she was very stressed about leaving the house in her carrier case, driving to the vet, and then sitting in the waiting room, smelling all those other pet smells. A couple minutes after we arrived, a staff member helped another pet-mom carry all three of her cats in their carriers out to the waiting room right in view of Olive Oil. I leaned over to Chad and said, doesn’t this feel like one of those cosmic jokes? You know, Olive Oil doesn’t like other cats, so not one but THREE are brought out to sit in front of her? And by cosmic joke, I mean life seems to give you the most challenging of circumstances way too often, doesn’t it? This is when I start to wonder if God has a warped sense of humor or is just trying to strengthen our resolve and our spirit by constantly challenging us.

Anyway, by the time it came around to actually examining Olive Oil and drawing blood, she wasn’t having any of it.

Enter the anesthesia. She gets a little bit of anesthesia now each time she goes so that a thorough exam can be done. And I wish it weren’t that way because I know that anesthesia isn’t always the safest option and it’s more expensive, but I am glad to know that Olive Oil can sleep through the visit and that the vet and staff can trim her nails, take some blood, and do a general exam without fear of hurting her or getting hurt by the feisty little fuzzball.

But here’s why I’m writing: this vet staff is amazing. When we first got Olive Oil we took her to another vet, who was great. But then that vet had to take a leave and the staff that took her place were not patient or understanding. When Olive Oil’s anxiety started, I needed to find a place where we could take her that would be compassionate about the situation, and we did.  The doctor we saw about her anxiety, along with the reception staff and techs, were so patient and empathetic and genuinely wanted to help.  When I teared up because I felt like Olive Oil was getting the help she needed, they didn’t make me feel foolish for crying over my cat. They just handed me a tissue and told me they were going to take care of her.

Even today, when the vet came out to the waiting room to tell us that Olive Oil had torn through the towel they tried to use to restrain her and so now they were going to administer anesthesia, she was upbeat. She didn’t complain about Olive Oil’s behavior, or insinuate that we have a bad cat. She didn’t give up or guilt us or brush us off. She just let us know the plan and asked if we wanted them to examine anything else while they had her sleeping.

Life is hard in so many varied ways, big and small. It’s just really nice when the people around you are compassionate and understanding and supportive. And these moments of high stress and loving people remind me of how important it is to be understanding, to be patient and kind, to give the benefit of the doubt, and to do your best to keep a good attitude. Because life is already hard enough, we should be looking for all the ways we can make it easier on someone else. And sometimes that just means taking the best possible care of someone’s cat, despite her I-Hate-All-People-Right-Now-Including-You attitude. Sometimes it means sending your wife flowers or fruit when you’re away in the army for a few weeks. Sometimes it means reaching across religious lines to take care of those who are fleeing persecution. Sometimes it means simply paying for a stranger’s order at a Starbucks’ drive-through.

I just want to be one of those people who starts out every day looking for ways to help or support or cheer up someone else. Not all days are going to end with the same attitude, but that’s okay, because those are hopefully the days I will find others helping or supporting or cheering me up instead.

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