Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dental, and other, adventures

I don't think I mentioned that Dinah had to have dental surgery, too, this week. I had taken her in the weekend before last for her bi-monthly anal gland expression, and while she was there, the vet looked at her teeth and said that she really needed to have something done. Every time I take them in, he says they need to have their teeth cleaned, but I just say, yeah, yeah, I know, and don't do anything about it. For one thing, it's tremendously expensive, because they have to put them under to do it.

Usually both of the cats let him mess with them and, while it doesn't make them happy, of course, they don't put up a fuss. But this time, when he just barely touched her gum, she struggled and jerked, and would have bitten him if his assistant hadn't a good hold on her. So I said, okay, let's do it, and made an appointment to take her in this morning.

And maybe I was feeling sympathetic because of my own tooth pain.

So I took her in early this morning and picked her up tonight, and wrote a check in an amount that Bob said I shouldn't divulge, because people would think we were insane (or that he was, I guess) to pay so much for a medical procedure on a cat. I disagree, though. I think people (or at least I do) would think he was compassionate. I do believe that when you take an animal into your home, you take responsibility for them, and you don't get rid of them when they become inconvenient or expensive (within reason, of course).

It seemed like this would be a good thing to do for her, and I think it will make her feel better. One of the signs of painful teeth, he said, was finding that the cat had vomited food that obviously hadn't been digested or chewed at all, and we've been seeing that, so I do think we had some concrete evidence that she needed it.

In any event, it's done, and hopefully she'll feel better.

Yesterday just wasn't a good day. I was thinking about having to get up early and get Dinah to the vet by 7:00 (I always hate to get up early), and thinking about having to leave work early to pick her up, and having to pay so much money. And then I called CompUSA to ask them about my computer; I'd waited until Wednesday to call, giving them a few days after the promised week, and taking into account the holiday.

It turned out that it hadn't even been looked at. It had been there 11 days. Turns out that the Mac technician had been on vacation. I don't have anything against someone taking vacation; everyone needs time off. What I object to is that no one bothered to tell me. And, when I called, the technician tried a hard sell on me to buy an external drive to back up my data on, without even looking at the computer or having any idea whether it would be necessary.

I realize that it's my responsibility to back up my data, not theirs, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. He said that if I wanted a data back-up, I would have to purchase an 80 GB drive, which would be $100, plus a case for it, at $35. When I asked him if he couldn't just back it up to a drive that they had, and then restore it, he said yes, that that would be $70, and that they really recommend buying the external drive because then the customer (that would be me), has the ability to do their own backups in the future.

It felt like he was "teaching me a lesson," and I didn't like that. I also didn't like the fact that he said he would have to do the back-up first, before he did anything else, and that basically he wouldn't touch it unless I told him that I would either purchase the backup, or give him the okay to erase everything on the computer. When I took it in, I talked to the department manager, who said that it might be a simple hardware issue, in which case the necessity of doing an OS reinstall wouldn't come up. He said he would put a note on the paperwork that if a reinstall became necessary, the tech would call me and I could decide whether I wanted to pay for a backup.

Anyway, I just didn't like the attitude of the guy, and I wasn't pleased with them sitting on the repair for nearly two weeks, so after I thought about it, I called them back and said to please not do anything, that I was going to come in and pick it up and take it somewhere else (the Apple store). The only reason I didn't take it there originally was that CompUSA was closer. A bad decision, I now see, two weeks later.

When I went to the vet's office to pick up Dinah tonight, the vet came out and talked to me about her surgery and what we need to do for her, and we got to talking about dentistry in general, my recent dental experience, and his. He said that he had recently had a porcelain filling to replace an old amalgam one, and he said that the porcelain was thicker, and it changed his bite, causing his jaw to hurt.

When he said that, a lightbulb went on over my head. My tooth/mouth has been feeling fine when I get up in the morning, and I feel pretty good all day, but by the time I'm heading home, my jaw is aching. I just realized that it must be because I'm trying not to chew on the "bad" side; I'm favoring it, and obviously that means that I'm holding my jaw differently, thus pain at the end of the day. I guess I'll just have to live with it for a few more days until I feel comfortable putting pressure on the spot where the tooth used to be, but at least now it makes sense.

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Liora said...

Sorry you're having such a hard time lately. Everything always seems to go wrong at once, doesn't it?

I've had similar experiences with Best Buy. Somebody definitely should have called you! Did you complain about that to the manager? I sure would have. Crap, as much as we use computers now, it really puts you in a bind to be without yours for even a few days, let alone weeks.

Take care, Willa. Things will be looking up soon. I'm glad you're getting Dinah's teeth taken care of. It's one thing if they're just nasty and not bothering her, but another when it hurts to eat or even have that tooth touched. You did the right thing.

Willa said...

Yeah, I just thought, we can't let her go on with her teeth hurting her, and making it hard to eat. Especially since I've been having the same kind of trouble!

As far as the computer, at least I have the laptop. Otherwise I would be bereft!

Val in IN said...

Last November we paid $1800 to have a stone removed from our cat's bladder. That's what I got for an anniversary present! The cat had symptoms for months but The Husband ignored them - so now I am of the opinion that earlier is always better when it comes to cats, symptoms and trips to the vet!

lisa said...

One or more vets have urged me to have my cat's teeth cleaned, as well. It's an expensive procedure in my area too - Brooklyn,NY. I wouldn't want to endanger my cat's welfare by putting her under general anesthesia(I'm not being critical of your choice - it worked out for you) unless it was really necessary - something unrelated to teeth. I may be wrong, but my take on teeth cleaning for cats is that it is another way for vets to make money.

I would've been pissed at CompUSA too if they left my computer sitting there for two weeks and didn't tell me that the guy was on vacation. But that's the wonderful world of capitalism!

Willa said...

I always felt like the vet's encouragement to have the cats' teeth cleaned was a money-making scheme, too, but when he showed me her inflamed gums, and when it was obviously painful to the touch, I was convinced that it was necessary.

That said, I'm sure not going to do it every year. ;)

Sharon said...

Willa, I'm so glad that you and Dinah are feeling better.

After reading what you wrote about Dinah throwing up undigested food, a light bulb went on in my head. Our cat, Heckle, has been throwing up undigested food alot and the last time we took him to the vet, he said Heckle had a tooth that needed to be pulled and that may be what is causing the throwing up problem.

He also has a fluid pocket right on top of his head. It doesn't seem to be bothering him, but it's really bothering me. The vet said it can be drained, but it would probably come back. He said the only way to really get rid of it would be to put him to sleep and surgically remove it. He said otherwise, if it's not bothering him, to just leave it alone. But, it looks so awful on his head and he looks really pitiful. I really hate to have him put under for the procedures, but if he has to have a tooth pulled anyway, maybe they could remove the fluid pocket at the same time.