Yesterday, Starman and I went to Philadelphia so that Starman could see a doctor. No, he's not sick. He's just the victim of the insanity that is the health care system in the U.S.
Short version: He's British, so when he came here, they (the immigration folks) wanted him to undergo a medical. This involved a chest X-ray, which showed some shadow. Three months later, he had another chest X-ray, and nothing had changed. (He's also quite healthy, i.e., no symptoms, so there's really no reason to think he's got lung cancer.) Nonetheless, the radiologist's report said, "get a CT scan for more information." When Starman applied for a Health Savings Account, he was turned down -- repeatedly -- because in the underwriters' eyes, he has failed to follow doctors' orders. We finally added him to my Cobra coverage just to get insurance to pay for the CT scan and a doctor to say, "No, this man is not sick." This way, maybe we can get proper insurance.
Okay, so we took the Meemster with us. She's actually a very good car dog -- relatively quiet, attentive, well-behaved, and pleasant to be with in the car. She was also very good in Philly; we rang up Hub 1.0 (we had parked in the shade near his office building) and he came downstairs to meet her. [Evidence that we're all WAY too old: I wanted Hub 1.0 to take a photo on his camera of him and the dog so that his secretary could see it. None of us -- and believe me, there's brain power to spare when you get all three of us together -- could figure out how to do it. Sorry, Katrina! We tried...]
And when it was time to walk over to the doctor's office, Mimi settled onto the back seat and slept peacefully for a couple hours. [Here's the necessary reassurances for all you pet-lovers out there: the ambient temperature was under 80 degrees, we left all four car windows cracked open, Mimi had gotten a fair amount of water to drink before we left her there, and the car was in full shade. Believe me, we would not have done this if there was even a chance she'd be uncomfortable.]
We were really reassured by her composure and calm during the day. Of course, that didn't last when we got home, so Starman took her out for a long twilight romp on the lawn to burn off some of her barky energy, but after that Mimi was much calmer. I'm overdue today to get her outside, but she's snoozing -- and snoring -- peacefully, so I'm not too stressed.
FedEx is due to deliver eight (count `em, EIGHT) new outdoor toys for her. She's actually gotten fussy -- I pulled out the red rubber Frisbee (or, to honor Hasbro's trademark, I'll just call it a throwing disk) yesterday, and Mimi looked up at me like "I don't think so," and then went over to the white 5-gallon bucket where her outdoor toys get stored, as if to see what her other options were. Uh, okay, dog. Let me see what else your majesty might like...
On Tuesday, Starman walked Mimi along the dirt track that trails along the south side of the valley we're on. The track eventually opens up, and then evolves into a dirt road named the same as ours but for "South" where ours is "North." What we hadn't appreciated was that there are houses on South Widget Road. Houses where dogs live. And one house where the dogs are allowed outside all day. Untethered. So I get a cell phone call where all I can hear is multiple dogs barking, and Starman saying something. It took multiple calls before the reception was good enough for me to figure out where he was and how I could get him and Mimi.
We were concerned that Mimi not get a complex about these dogs from this encounter, so we both went back the next day. The two dogs in question are a 9-week-old hound puppy (very unstable energy!) and a calm chocolate lab who will obey direction, but if unchecked will act as the wingman to the puppy's attacks. Mimi alternated between being nervous, submissive, anxious, and aggressive. Luckily, another set of neighbors was there, and they were able to explain about the puppy (named Pepper!). The Morgans got leads for Lily and Pepper and took them back to the owner's house. But I still think it was good for Mimi to go back. In a few months' time, if Pepper's owner gets some of the territorial aggression resolved, Mimi could get along okay with those two.
That was less than 24 hours earlier than our time in downtown Philadelphia, and certainly Mimi showed no evidence of having issues, so that's good.
Anyway, it's time I get her outside.