May 5th, 2015
Fridays are family night at our house. It is the day of the week that my husband returns home from his work site in Northern Labrador and my two sons have no afterschool activities. As a family, we just like to unwind from the week by watching a movie borrowed from the local library or playing a board game. This past Friday went a little differently than normal – thanks to our sweetness, Bailey. It started when Bailey was taken in for her second set of shots now that she was 3 months old. We took a stool sample to be tested for any abnormalities. Bailey behaved perfectly for the vet. I congratulated myself that her weekly weigh-ins there had paid off by getting her comfortable with the place. That was the situation on Tuesday afternoon.
By Wednesday, I had received a phone call from one of the vet’s assistants informing me that Bailey had worms – roundworms to be exact. Her three treatments could be picked up at the front desk and another set would be needed in 2 weeks. Of course, I was familiar with worms being problematic for animals. Even though we did have 3 cats during the last 22 years, they were indoor ones and we had no personal experience with them getting worms. Bailey was our first. All of those memories of getting tongue kisses from her came flooding back to me. The boys did not take the news very well. Could they die? I attempted to reassure them that I had been treated for worms when my childhood cat infected me. Look how I turned out! They did not seem convinced. My husband, being an engineer, went on the web for more information. I can always count on him to provide numerical facts such as “14% of Americans go untreated for roundworms and the majority of people do not show symptoms”. Talking about roundworms is not the same as living with it. Sure enough Bailey’s treatments were ready. After only 10 minutes, I was on my way back home. The family was not so fortunate.
We were advised to get ourselves tested for roundworms. Like many other small communities in rural Canada, Labrador West has a shortage of doctors. Our own family doctor had left in February which left us without one. Our only option was to go to the emergency department of the new health centre. After Bailey’s needs were taken care of including the administration of her first worm treatment, the family headed to the health centre on Friday night. We arrived to a packed waiting room. I quietly whispered for the boys to sit down and not discuss our situation aloud – just the kind of talk that you want going around a small town. My husband and I approached the admitting desk, plunked down all of our health cards and in very low voices, said that we needed to be tested for roundworms. Was that a smirk I saw…? It is humbling to admit that your sweetness is not so sweet. Once everyone else had been processed through the waiting room, plus a number of people who came after we did, it was finally our turn. The four of us waited in a private room and wondered what our treatment would entail. We learned it involved “Stool Collection” made easier with our own individual stool collector bowl to be used at home. We left with instructions to get an over-the-counter treatment from the local pharmacy and our stool collector kits stored away in a non-descript bag. As it was now late on Friday night, the pharmacy was not open and the health centre’s lab would not be open until Monday. We obtained two packages of deworming pills available on Saturday. Everyone chowed down their allotted pills and Bailey received her second treatment with little resistance.
Sunday came and stool collection became the goal of the day. By the day’s end, three family members had succeeded. The fourth member was razzed unmercifully. I guess my remark of running out to the bus on Monday while hollering “You forgot your stool collection bowl for the worms!” was the final “push” that he needed. Monday came with Bailey finished the first set of treatments and our kits dropped off at the lab. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hands washed that we are in the clear. As I finished this blog post, a phone call came in from the lab. Our sample jars were not properly labelled and the enclosed identification papers had already been removed. Could we come back to the health centre today and pick-up new stool collection kits? It looks like we will be taking another family field trip this Friday, courtesy of Bailey. All for one and one for all!
P.S. At 14 weeks, Bailey now weighs 17.4 kg or 38 pounds 6 ounces.