Monday, October 26, 2015

At least we have our health.

Japan's motto should be "Japan: You better have a Plan."  More specifically, have a plan multiple months ahead of time.  Because otherwise there will be no space/ tickets/ rooms left for you.

It's like that phrase some people use that's all "if you're early you're on time, if you're on time, you're late, and if you're late... don't bother at all."  I'm not going to pretend it doesn't bug me.  It bugs me.  It amplifies my anxiety surrounding travel by about a thousand percent because if something goes wrong we can't just make a back-up plan on the fly... and then everything will be wrong and the world will implode and everyone will die and it'll be my fault because I forgot to pack a hairbrush.

Which brings us to Christmas - nailing down our plans so we can get ourselves back to the states to see family, take care of all the stuff we need to do while we're in said states.  And of course, making sure Mac and Bubs are well-cared for while we're away.

Japan has a very loving pet culture - you don't find boarding facilities per say, much as you find "pet hotels."  Depending on what amenities you need for your particular critter, there's a whole range of places to look at.  First and foremost we needed a place that was willing to work with foreigner-clients, and willing to communicate with us in whatever way was needed.  For Mac, we found a great place with an owner who speaks a bit of English, where he can play with all the other puppies at the establishment during the day, and at night he sleeps in his own bed in his own safe space.  They post a video each day on their blog of the dogs in their care so you can log in and see that they're happy and healthy. We've used them a few times now and we love them.

Bubba usually stays at home by himself when we go on shorter trips, so we've been in the process of finding an appropriate cat hotel for him while we're on our impending longer trip to the US for Christmastime.  We think we found a place, thank goodness, so that should be all set.  They asked, however, that before we bring Bubs to board with them, that we take him to a Japanese vet for a check up, and so that he has some health record in Japanese for them to reference.  Sure, that makes sense.

A week ago I set off to check "Bubba vet-visit" off the ever-present to-do list.  I, by myself, without a backpack, wearing just a button-down and a pair of jeans (this is important, I promise) wandered over to the pet store and its attached pet hospital.  I used the vocabulary I had looked up just before I made my walk over  to say "I need to make an appointment for a check up for my cat.  He is healthy, but he is old, and I would like him to see a doctor."  I believed, based upon the face of the vet tech I spoke with, that my message was correctly conveyed.  When you speak to someone in a language and you know your skills are poor in that language, your best tool is to watch the face of the person you're talking to because it will help you identify the moment that you lose 'em.  She did not get that "deer in the headlights" stare of terror which would have indicated any of the words I chose were nonsensical.  So when she said "Yes, I understand.  Please have a seat and wait.  We will be with you soon"...

I did just that.  I waited for an hour.  Then I was called back to a room to be seen.  I assumed that I waited this long because they wanted me to schedule Bubba's appointment with the English-speaking vet, and so I had waited for him to be available.  Which was in part true... except then I sat down, the vet came in, started in on his paper work, and then after five minutes or so said "so... where's the cat?"

I think it's important to note what I was wearing, because I wasn't wearing something baggy like a hoodie.  There wasn't a single possible space on my person to have stashed a kitten, let alone a full grown cat.  And I had been out there for an HOUR!? No one on the staff bothered to be like "oh, she didn't bring the cat along.  We should clarify what's going on." So anyway the vet clarified for me that they do not make appointments for pets.  You are seen in the order you arrive/ order of importance (triage style) at the hospital.  I had waited an hour and was going to leave with nothing accomplished.  And thus we concluded that meeting with me apologizing for my misunderstanding.  "When should I return? Is there a good time?"  And his response: "Oh yes, anytime."  "Anytime is okay?"  "Yes.  Anytime."

yes.  any. time.

Except of course, the time I chose to return with the cat.  Which, for those who are wondering, was a few days later around noon.

Here's a fun fact about Bubba:  He used to be a super chill cat.  When we moved from Texas back up to the mid-west, Bubba spent the long drive curled around my neck, snuggled into the hood of my sweatshirt and purring.

But then we moved again.
     And again.
          And then again.
               Yet one more time.
                    AAAAAAAND then we finally came to Japan.  

Over that many moves, Bubba became highly suspect of the cat carrier I had used to get him to and from the car, and eventually we got to the point where he would get too stressed to be able to let him out of the box at all even when we were safely inside and driving and then just fighting him into the box became tantamount to wrestling a bear.  Now he's just sort of always cranky with or without the box being present.  Like the old man who doesn't allow kids on his lawn.

Long story short here, when I do manage to get him in the box these days, usually Bubba protests by immediately horking.  He's not sick when he does this; he simply amps himself up that much about the box itself.  I also slightly suspect he does it as a tactic to get OUT of the box, as I usually immediately take him back out of the box to clean the hork off of him*.

So back to the vet; I have a cat in a box covered in his own puke, who cannot be seen by the vet for 3 and a half hours.  I also got a great bonus when we walked back to the apartment because there's construction across the street from us and being that close to an active jack hammer scared the sh*t of of him.  Literally.  Apologies to the lady who rode up the elevator with us; I wasn't a big fan of that smell combo either.

We got up to the apartment, cleaned out the box and the cat, and then I had just enough time to wrestle Bubs BACK into the box and walk BACK to the vet to wait in line at 3:30.
Whereupon he threw up again just in time for the vet to stuff a thermometer into his butthole.

This poor cat, guys.  A week later and he's STILL mad at me.  I can't say I blame him.  Still, I'd rather we get past the point where he believes I need to be constantly punished for making sure he's healthy.

Do you have a silly story from a trip to the Vet?  
Tell me in the comments!

today's little language lesson:
*brought to you in AUSTRALIAN SLANG courtesy of Kp2
Aussie: Bubba is a champion of the tactical munt.
American: Bubba is skilled at throwing up for a purpose - 
in his case, the purpose of getting out of the box.

Bonus screen shot from my phone that was taken as I put this post together and chatted with Kp2:
done and done.

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