On Sunday, I met with a friend of mine who is also involved with the refugee ministry (and is far more hard-core than I am). She and I have a lot in common; we both have family in the same small town in Iowa, and we both have a passion for trauma recovery and psychosocial health. She's compassionate, selfless, and someone I look up to; when I picture "success" in my own life, I imagine myself doing what she's doing.
So, early that afternoon, we met at the Crescent Moon Bakery on Central Avenue to talk shop.
Winner of the 2011 "Official Best Of" Ethnic Pizza in the Twin Cities Award, and the First Annual 2012 Rachel Forde Godawful Web Design Award.
It's a small Afghan-owned pizzeria and bakery on Central Avenue, about a block down from the Holy Land Deli. We ordered a football pizza, and it was every bit as good as advertised. Imagine a thin-crust supreme pizza with gyro meat and spicy tomato sauce, with ketchup bottles of green and red chili sauce to douse it in. I'm serious about how good the pizza is at Crescent Moon--this was the best I've had in a long time. Not only that, but the place is less crowded than the Holy Land. Holy Land also doesn't have a TV playing Arabic music videos all day, which are always entertaining even if you don't know what they're singing about (usually some unabashedly sappy paean to an unattainable woman.). You can get the standard kebabs and pilaf if you want, but really, why bother when there's Afghan pizza to be had?
It's reading week at Bethel Sem, so I didn't have class on Monday like I normally do. Izzy was acting strange all morning, pacing back and forth and straining like she was constipated. She did eventually poop, but it didn't seem to help. I decided to wait and see what happened, and left that afternoon to go on a walk downtown around the Stone Arch Bridge. Here in Minnesota, we basically skipped winter this year, and it was 46 degrees outside so I had no excuse to be in the apartment all day. I did some homework, got dinner at Lund's on Central, and started home once it got dark.
Izzy had not improved. She hadn't peed all day, wasn't eating, wasn't drinking, and paced anxiously around the apartment, her tail lashing, pausing occasionally to strain. This wasn't at all like her, and there were so few symptoms leading up to this to that whatever it was, it had hit her suddenly, and hit her hard. I did some research on the internet and started to panic--what if she was blocked? What if something ruptured, or she got renal failure from built-up toxins? I called the vet and tried to set up an appointment right away, but even I was able to get her to the vet, I myself would have no way of getting home besides calling an expensive cab, so I made the appointment first thing in the morning.
I hardly slept at all last night, terrified that I would fall asleep and wake up the next morning with Izzy laying dead on the floor somewhere. I kept kicking myself for not setting up a vet appointment sooner, especially since she seemed like she was in so much pain, but I was also terrified that it would turn out to be something horribly expensive that I couldn't afford, and that I'd have to face the shame of telling a veterinarian that I can't give my animals the care they need. Heck, until recently, I couldn't give myself the care I needed--I have a stress fracture in my left foot that I've never seen the doctor for, epilepsy that I can't afford medication for, and weird headaches that are probably stress-related, but still disconcerting. I can be stupid with my own health, but Izzy can't set up her own vet appointment, or say or do anything in her own defense if her owner chooses to be negligent.
Needless to say, Izzy was alive the next morning, and we boarded the bus first thing to go the vet. I left her in the care of Banfield Animal Hospital down at the Quarry Shopping Center, and spent a good hour just pacing around Rainbow Foods, staring blankly at the turnips and bins of bulk cashews, praying that God would be merciful to Izzy, and that He'd find a way for me to afford the vet bills on top of everything else. I went home, did laundry, vacuumed my apartment, and went back at about 3:00 to pick her up.
The bill was huge. I'm going to have to shuffle some bills around to pay it. If I quit eating out and getting coffee every dang time I transfer buses in Minneapolis, I should be alright. The most important thing, though, was that Izzy was peeing again, on an antibiotic, and feeling much better. The tranquilizers certainly helped:
Dude...I could eat, like, a whole cow right now.
So, we'll see how it goes. I'm teaching myself not to be so anxious, and to realize that there is almost always a workable solution to any problem. It's what I admire about refugees and what I hope to learn from them as I spend more time working with them--how not to be so blinded by the threat of catastrophe that you miss the many small blessings and answered prayers that fill our lives and give us hope.