I managed to get the Senior Cat out the door in time for his rather early medical appointment. (A regular visit to Nurse Dracula - as he calls the nurse who takes the blood samples - was also involved.) I was working my way through the household chores and the e-mail load for the day and the phone rang.
"Cat, it's A.... I hate bothering you and I hate asking you because I know you're busy but..."
It was an elderly acquaintance who lives several streets away. She walks a rather elderly dog. I have occasionally dropped things in to the chemist for her or returned library books.
Early yesterday morning she tripped over the dog. She was phoning me from the hospital. An ambulance had taken her there. The neighbour on one side is away in Japan. She couldn't raise the neighbour on the other side. She was worried about the dog. She didn't have her medication with her. They wouldn't give her any at the hospital unless she had seen a doctor and it had been prescribed so....
She offered to pay me to go into the house, get the medication and take it to the hospital in a taxi. "I don't want you running around on your bike..."
All this was said in an anxious rush. I groaned inwardly because it meant other plans would have to be ditched. The Senior Cat arrived home. I told him what I was going to do but it involved putting the trike on the train and going that way because it would actually take less time than waiting for a taxi, getting the taxi to wait for me at her place and so on.
I always feel intensely uncomfortable when people ask me to do something like this. It involves knowing where people keep their emergency keys or what the code is or something. I can let myself into their private space. I feel like an intruder.
The dog knows me. That would not be a problem. It was why she asked me rather than a range of other people. I knew that but I still felt uncomfortable.
I pedalled over - just as the neighbour A could not raise drove in. I told her what had happened.
"Oh. I haven't had breakfast yet. Just let me get something to drink and then we'll both go in the car if that's all right with you."
It was fine with me. I let myself in. I found the medication - thankfully just where I had been told it would be. I gave the dog a drink and some biscuits. I locked the door again. I left with a little shudder of relief.
We went over to the hospital. There she was, still in emergency. She has a nasty bruise on one side of her head and a very swollen ankle - sprained or fractured? It could have been much worse. The neighbour's boys will look after the dog. (They adore it and would like to own it themselves.) The neighbour will now see to whatever else she needs.
I handed over the medication. She was trying to look at it all without her glasses so I took it back. I read through the labels and gave her the blood pressure pill and her thyroxine and suggested she take them now. The other two had to be taken with food.
A doctor appeared. We actually know one another. I passed the medication over to her and told her what had been taken. She nodded and just said, "Thanks Cat."
The neighbour and I left.
"I wouldn't have dared to tell her to take anything," the neighbour told me as we went back to the car.
Perhaps not. I knew it was the right thing to do. A...knew it was the right thing to do too. It was why she had made that phone call to me. She didn't need her blood pressure to go any higher - and anyway, she used to be a nursing sister. She knows about those things.
It was a relief to get back to my own work.