Hamlet at Quest Diagnostics 

So, the Rocky and the Rat (ex-rat) saga continues. Rocky has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection. It is possible he contracted it before he killed the rat, especially since it showed up so quickly. On the bright side, it’s a zoonotic disease, wnich means we can catch it from him. Joy.

Rocky had a blood test to see if he was infected. He was. This means we all need blood tests, as well. Well, the people do. If one dog has lepto, you just treat all the dogs. We may all end up on the same antibiotics.

Leptospirosis has two phases – the first is detected in blood, the second is detected in urine. This becomes important as we progress.

After calming down about Rocky testing positive, the Spousal Unit called our family doctor and said we needed a leptospirosis test. I have a feeling we may be the first people to request this specific test. We may be the first people to request any test. 

His nurse called this morning to tell us the tests were ordered, and we just had to go to Quest Diagnostics whenever we could.

I like Quest. They’re fast, there’s no appointments and they always get my blood on the first stick. So, when the Spousal Unit asked if we should go to lunch or Quest first, I thought we should get the bloodwork done first. How long could it take?

We got to Quest and I got stuck. Two tubes of blood, since the phlebotomist had never heard of the test. Time for lunch!

Then, she handed me a little jar, and muttered something about a urine sample. Warning, Will Robinson!

I should explain. When the Spousal Unit runs errands, she will run two days to six weeks worth of errands in an afternoon. So, there’s no telling where we are going to end up, or how long we will be gone. Therefore, I always pee before we leave.

I really wish someone had mentioned we were going to have to pee and not just bleed. It’s an important detail.

Oh, well. How hard can it be?

Apparently, very difficult.

Into the restroom, prepare to fill jar.

Nothing.

Concentrate.

Nothing.

I told the phlebotomist I needed to come back later.

She said she needed both samples together. I wasn’t allowed to leave. I was a prisoner. 

I wish she would have told me this before she harvested my two tubes of blood.

She asked if I wanted some water, to help the cause. So, armed with my three ounces of H2O, back to the bathroom I go.

Nothing.

Maybe I just need more water. I turn on the sink and there is no cold water. I don’t mean the cold water isn’t really cold – I mean turning the handle makes nothing appear. On the bright side, the hot water works and it’s not hot, it’s lukewarm.

Lukewarm water is not very pleasant. 

I could ask for more water from the phlebotomist but she wasn’t very happy to see me the last time, so I think I’ll just stick with lukewarm. Ugh.

Three cups of lukewarm water. Yummy.

How much water could it possibly take before I have to pee?

More than 14 ounces of lukewarm water, it appears.

At this point, I had been concentrating so long, I was beginning to sweat. Hmm. Would sweat be an acceptable substitute? Spit? Lukewarm tap water?

Three more cups of lukewarm water.

Hysteria was about to set in. Luckily, that’s when the Spousal Unit texted me.

Ping! “Everything ok in there?”

Autocorrect does not like my answer.

Time to find a distraction.

I could read the soap bottles. There’s a small table, but nothing’s in it, not even the magazines guys need for that other sample.

Ping! “How’s it going in there?”

Stop bothering me! I’m busy not producing a sample!

Ping! “I have to pee again. Do you want me to do it for you?”

Hardy-freakin-hair-har. Do I mock you in times of crisis? (Hmm. Question withdrawn.)

When all else fails, try the classics. This is the one time a prep school education pays off.

I hold the little jar towards the sky. I take a breath, and in a deep voice (for me), I intone, “To pee or not to pee … that is the question.” 

Nothing.

I begin to giggle. Then, I begin to weep.

Hey, do tears count?

I’m now trying to push the sweat beads on my forehead back in, so they will find another way to escape.

The Spousal Unit finally asked the staff if I could go get a drink, and I guess if you block one of their two restrooms for an hour, they’ll let you out. Plus, some of them were beginning to wonder if I was still alive, and found it hilarious we were texting.
Stay alive. Don’t text and pee.

I had been trying to pee for so long, the hospital cafe was closed. Sure, it closes ridiculously early, but still.

Luckily, the Subway one building over was still open. Up one floor, across the sky bridge, and there it was. I went just for a drink, and realized I was starving. Oh, right, we came here before lunch.

It’s 4:30pm. Quest closes at five. Time to slam down a snack and drink as much Mr Pibb as humanly possible.

What a romantic lunch. Subway sandwiches in a hospital. Can I at least take four sips before the Spousal Unit asks if I need to pee yet? 

18 ounces of soda in eight minutes. Then, speed walking back to the other building.

My phlebotomist is gone. That removes some of the pressure. I don’t like being judged.

Retrieved my jar – the only one left on the shelf – and nobody had filled it for me while I was gone. So much for prayers being answered. It’s probably because I wasn’t sure who the patron Saint of pee is. 

I went into the other restroom. Maybe it was the restroom.

Drained the rest of the soda.

Wait.

I have to pee!

Hallelujah!

I have to pee!

Praise the Lord!

I have to pee!

Crap! Where’s the damn jar?

Found it. Filled it. Sealed it.

Well, that was a fun afternoon.

Washed my hands. Oh, look! The cold water works in this restroom.

Headed home at last.

Let all the dogs out. They all peed immediately. The bastards.

I’ve peed twice while writing this. I’m thinking I should be saving it for next time, just in case.

Death Shake

It occurred to me this evening that “Death Shake” would be a good adult ice cream drink or perhaps a dance for heavy metal fans. However, it’s also how a Chihuahua helps dispatch its victims after catching them.

Why would I think such a strange thing? It’s been a long evening.

I have managed to miss almost all of the killings my various pets have committed over the years. I’ve paid for a number of the victims to be removed from various pets’ various internal organs but that’s about it.

Until tonight.

Our Chihuahua, Rocky, takes forever to potty. He will walk the yard, walk the fence line, freeze when there is any noise within a 15-mile radius, and then have to remember why he was in the yard in the first place.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if people were like dogs, and had to wander in and out of every bathroom in the house before finding the “right one” which happens to be the same one every time.

Tonight, Rocky was wandering around on patrol and then by some miracle, he actually peed. So, we were probably half-way done.

Then, the yard patrol commenced again.

Then, he pooped. Victory is ours!

However, I was standing by the bedroom door, and he knows that means he’s going in his crate. He does not like his crate until he is in it, so he avoids the door. He wandered off towards the gate.

As Rocky passed the pile of dead branches and leaves that I have been mentioning to someone who shall remain nameless (but will enter this story in a few paragraphs) to have cleared for about ten years (really, just ask the yard guy to do it), I heard a squeak. I only hear that noise from him when he’s frightened or desperately trying to get outside to chase something. That was my first warning. It was also my last.

Then, I watched Rocky dive into the dead branches pile. It wasn’t a dive, it was like watching a spear flying through the air. He speared something.

He came out of the pile. There was something in his mouth. It was too large to be a baby bird. What else could he have caught?

Oh, Lord.

Rocky ran out, did a quarter-lap around the yard, and stopped, shaking furiously. Whatever he had was getting the life shaken out of it. Literally.

I had always heard Chihuahuas catch rats and then shake them to death, but I figured that was just a legend, like Santa Claus or IBM permanent employment.

It was a mouse. My wife says it was a rat, but I don’t want to have a rat problem around the house, so it was a mouse.

Rocky ran off again, still carrying the victim in his mouth, then finally came up on the patio, and dropped it. This is the first time he has ever dropped anything I’ve told him to drop, so he was probably just tired.

The mouse lay on the patio. “He’s dead, Jim.” There was a small puncture wound on his side. It doesn’t take much to kill a mouse, especially when you get shaken (not stirred) right after a small puncture wound is applied.

So, I picked Rocky up, mainly so he wouldn’t attack a corpse, and noticed there was mouse hair sticking out of his mouth. Now, I have a pretty strong stomach, but that kinda grossed me out.

I pulled the hair out of his mouth. Now, I had blood on my hands. Literally.

At this point, I called for backup. Unfortunately, the only backup was my wife, who tends to freak out about freshly dead things just a wee bit more than I do.

So, I’m holding a Chihuahua whose still cooling down from the kill, a woman who hates rats is trying to figure out if she can save the dead one on our patio (the pet rescue force is strong with this one) and I just want someone to take the damn dog from me so I can wash the blood off my hands – especially since I’m not really sure if it is dog blood or rat blood.

Well, this was a fun evening. What shall we do next?

So, I’m worried about rabid rats – mainly because this Chihuahua is crazy enough while he’s not rabid. My wife is worried about the death of a poor, innocent animal (“Honey? It’s a rat.”)

I’m secretly proud of Rocky because this rat is smaller than he is, but he whacked it good.  I’m pretty sure I can’t admit that out loud. I pet him, slyly.

We put the rat-mouse in a box. Well, I put him in a box. I was told that was cruel to leave him to die, but he was already gone, and I didn’t have a rat euthanasia kit handy. I suppose I should have checked to see if “he” is the proper pronoun, but I didn’t have the time. If I had, my wife would have just asked if he had been neutered.

I would bury the rat, but that would just give Rocky a chance to dig him up and kill him again. Zombie Rat Apocalypse, anyone?

So, corpse removed – sort of, it’s in the garage – crime scene secured, now we tend to the perp.

I carried Rocky into the house, so my wife could wash his wound with soap and hydrogen peroxide. She had to stop and get the dog shampoo. In the middle of this ministration, I finally said, “CAN I WASH THIS BLOOD OFF MY HANDS?”

So, witness cleaned up, perp cleaned up, victim removed, crime scene secured.

Time for dinner.

Medium-rare steak. Hmm. Not the best choice after just washing blood off a witness and a perp.

Maybe I’ll have a salad later.

So, Rocky will go to the vet in the morning, to check the small cut on his lip and make sure he didn’t catch anything while murdering an innocent. He will be walked on a leash for a while, to avoid killing off the rest of the mouse family that is probably now in mourning. (“Has anyone seen Steve?”) I’m not sure what will happen to the victim. I personally could probably use some therapy for this, but I got 1000 words out of it, so I should be fine. Eventually.

Rocky is disappointed there isn’t a cool chalk outline on the patio that he could show the other dogs.

Job Search Updates

The job search is ongoing. My manager said this morning that he’s been told to start the separation paperwork, so I should get some emails next week. I guess the divorce is about to become final.

So, no job, but a couple of prospects on the horizon.

I did update my resume, and that has started calls from some recruiters, so I recommend take a resume course if you’re looking.

I also accidentally discovered the fastest way to find a new job – become a recruiter.

I got a call from a woman in Houston yesterday at 2:25pm. She had a perfect position for me and wanted to discuss it at my earliest convenience. I was in a meeting (ironically with another recruiter), so I missed the call, but I sent her a polite email and said I’d call today.

I called at 11:34am this morning, asked for the recruiter, and the receptionist said, “She’s no longer here. Could someone else help you?”.

I said, “No longer with the firm?” and the receptionist said, “She decided she wanted to follow a different path.”

So, my recruiter found herself a new career and left the firm in a little under 22 hours.

WTF?

I guess if you read job requisitions all day long, eventually, you will see one, and say, “Screw this! I could do this job!” and just send over your resume instead of your client’s.

I wish her good luck in her new career, whatever it may be. I hope she’s not a presales software engineer, as I really don’t need the competition right now.

In the meantime, the receptionist found my by my phone number, found the job requisition in question and gave me the name of my new recruiter, who had just left for lunch. She will call me.

I should have asked, “Are you sure she’s coming back from lunch?”