“I read online that you can give them stitches.”
The veterinary assistant let out a tiny yip. I had forgotten she was even there, because she was hiding quietly in a corner behind the computer, taking notes for the doctor.
“Yeah that would be an option if part of it was still attached.” Dr. J smiled at me, and wrote ’12 lbs’ underneath Calamity’s name on the whiteboard. He had very large, brown eyes and curly dark hair. I wondered where he was from, but it probably wasn’t a good time to ask.
“But since it was a clean drop, I’d say all we can do is keep everything disinfected and wait for it to grow back.” He was still smiling. Wow, his teeth were very white. I immediately felt better about accidentally ripping the tail off of my sister’s iguana. I felt like I did a good thing, actually, because it led me to the mouth of this beautiful animal man.
“Rad.” I said. And it was. It was super rad that the tail would grow back. But I immediately wished that I had said something more like ‘wow, what an amazing creature,’ or even just ‘sounds good.’
I felt awkward, so I turned to the vet tech to use her as a buffer. “Cool, huh?” I asked her. She nodded quickly. She was very nervous. I think she may have been about 20 years old, and this was possibly her first interaction with a tail-less iguana. Dr. J had noticed this too, and so we decided that I would help hold her during the checkup. I found the iguana repulsive and vicious, but after I accidentally pulled her tail off so that she would stay out of my closet, we had grown much closer.
“What do you think, Miranda? We don’t get many lizards in here.” He was trying to make her feel better, which was kind, but I kind of felt like he should be talking to me instead, because I was the one who was, just mere hours ago, scream-crying and holding a severed, twitching lizard tail in my hand. So technically I was the traumatized one.
“Do you get like, mostly dogs and cats?” I asked this very dumb question while he held Calamity’s mouth open and looked at her teeth.
“Oh yeah. Plenty of those. This is a rare treat. I love reptile visits.”
I was just about to lie about how much I loved animals, when the receptionist gave a little knock and then suddenly my sister, Paige, was in the room, in tears. Legit weeping. This did not surprise me. She used to take Calamity to get dialysis like two years ago so she’s definitely invested in this thing. But if she had done the research like me, then she would know that tail loss is totally normal. Like balding, only better, I would argue.
It was pretty alarming though, the little exposed stump with all the bones and muscles coming out of it.
Then before I knew it, I was kicked out of the room. It was all a blur. I thought if anyone would get kicked out it was Miranda. But nope, it was me.
I waited in the lobby for about 15 minutes, wishing I had accidentally grabbed the tail, so I would have an excuse to go back in.
Paige came out without Dr. J. Calamity was on her leash, and had a small pink cast on her stump.
“Everything okay?” I asked? And then more importantly: “Does the doctor need to come back out or anything?”
“Nope. We’re all good.” She was very clearly upset with me. The bill was about $1,500.
I let her pay this time. Because the second that thing grew back, I would be pulling it right back off.
Either that, or I was going to get a dog. That might be faster.