Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Doctor, Doctor Gimme the News

Some days, you find the adventure. Some days, the adventure finds you. One day, I'm watching my daughter power down mochiae for breakfast and another day I'm staring at a cat's armpit.

Actually, I was staring at a cat's armpit at night, which was part of the problem. I've mentioned before that Consort is a night owl, but I don't think I've impressed upon you exactly how much of a day-person I am. It's not as if I insist that the hours before dawn are the most productive hours of my day-- at least partially because I'm not certain I have productive hours of the day-- but I do function best in the daytime. In fact, an ex nicknamed me Parakeet, because he swore if you threw a black cloth over my head I'd think it was nighttime and I'd go to sleep. And that was back in my twenties, before a child and general physical decay made me very tired. Here in my no-longer-twenties, I can't do Sudoku after five p.m., I can't use an iPhone after seven p.m. and I can't properly use stain-fighter stick after nine p.m. By eleven, I'm furniture with whining capabilities. So at ten o'clock, I was sitting at the kitchen table, girding my loins for the epic trek to the bedroom, when I finally heard Lupac pounding against the back door; three hours later than usual, my liege was home. I stumbled to the back door and let her in. She raced past me to her bowl of kitty-stars on the washing-machine. A second after she ran past, my brain offered up the word "Pink." I waited to see if this meant something and, sighing at its workload, my brain snapped "Pink. On the cat." Being as she's black, the last employee working in my brain for the night had wanted me to know this was anomalous. I sludged to the cat and listlessly looked her over. There, in what would have been her armpit had she arms, was a pink wound about the size of a quarter.

I triaged to the best of my ability. It was open, but it wasn't bleeding. If her relationship with her kitty-stars was any indication, her appetite was fine. Touching around it kind of grossed me out, but didn't seem to bother her at all. I whined for Consort; we both stared at it for a while. Did she need to go to the pet ER tonight or could we wait until morning and see her proper vet? Consort deferred to me because I'm the one who has had pets her entire life. But my brain had been replaced by the usual night-visitor, a toothbrush, and this was entirely too much to ask of me. I called the head of our rescue group and gave her the details. Kindly, she didn't yell at me for calling her but instead reminded me how quickly a cat-bite, if it was that, can go septic. By morning, she could be dying from an infection. Right, off to the vet. Now I just had to remember how to tie shoes. Consort offered to go for me, but my toothbrush-brain rallied and made a compelling argument for this being my responsibility and not his.I stunned Consort into acquiescence, mostly because this was the most coherent thing I've said after nightfall in years. Gingerly, we wedged Lupac into a carrier and I headed off to the pet ER.

The pet ER was empty, and I was glad. First of all, because it meant that we'd be seen before I lost the power of speech, and also because a pet emergency room is a Godawful place, worse even than a human emergency room. Having spent too much time in both, I can assure you that sometimes in a human ER, you get a patient in labor, which makes everyone kind of excited and happy and sometimes you get an especially entertaining unmedicated psych patient. Whereas in the pet Emergency Room is just despair. You aren't sitting there in the middle of the night with your beloved pet rat because he was looking peaked. Usually someone is covered in pet-blood, another person is sobbing helplessly and a third person is shouting into a cell-phone "Just get down here if you want to say goodbye to Mr. Whiskers!" An empty room was good. I filled out paperwork. I got to the part about preexisting conditions and confidently wrote down that she'd had a steroid shot two weeks before because she has granuloma. I handed in the paperwork and the cat. The woman took both and came back out again.

"Granuloma?" The woman asked. "The doctor wants to know if you mean Eosinophilic Granuloma?"

Sure, that one. I was pleased I remembered granuloma and how to touch my thumb and forefinger. She seemed unimpressed. A few minutes passed. My toothbrush-brain stirred slightly.

"Did I write down that she has chronic bladder infections?"

We checked the record; I had not. I scribbled it in. I picked up Details magazine. A few more minutes passed. The toothbrush tossed up another fact.

"Do you need to know she has a heart murmur?"

Again, the paperwork came out. I smiled in a friendly way at the receptionist. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but she appeared to sneer. I scribbled it in. I looked at a TV Guide crossword puzzle: "Television Host ______ Seacrest." I struggled over that one. Suddenly, I remember something.

"Do you need to know that she had a bullet in her pelvis?"

"Being as she's being x-rayed, yes."

Night owls are snotty.

At 1:45, I handed over my credit card to cover the down-payment for the fixing of the wound. I could come back and get her in the morning, but no later than 7:30, because that's when they closed. Being as I was home a few minutes later, I'm guessing I drove, but I can't account for it. If I went into the bedroom I'd probably wake up Consort, being as he is one of those freakish night-people and had only gone to sleep about twenty minutes before. I lay down on the couch and pulled a blanket over me, just enjoying the darkness and the quiet and the absence of sneering, My inner parakeet was pleased. Then, the foster-kittens ran in. They are now not quite four months old and are just about the most darling wonderful girls on earth during the day. At night, however, they are Thing One and Thing Two, the Merry Mistresses of Mayhem. My being on the couch was, it seemed, Christmas come early for them. I was used as feline Pilates equipment for the entire night.

It turns out that I only like early mornings when I haven't seen the entire previous night. Seven o'clock attacked me like a feral wolverine. I crawled to the kitchen where I made myself the tea version of a double-espresso; the green tea was so thick in there it looked like the golf course at Pebble Beach. I drove carefully over to the ER and paid more money to spring her. The doctor showed me the wound, now neatly sewn shut. The bottle of antibiotics to be given for the next ten days thrilled neither of us. They had shaved the bottom half of her front leg to insert an IV and then, for unknown reasons, shaved the other front leg as well. With her nearly globular shape, threatening expression and shaved skinny ankles, she resembled the would-be gangsters I sometimes saw in east LA, with the huge manpris and the incongruously tiny calves covered in white socks. As with the gangsters, I kept my amusement to myself.

We got in the car. I put her in the back seat and glanced back at her. She rewarded me with an epic yawn. I'm guessing she didn't have the night she had planned either. I scritched her head through the grating and said, "Lu, let's get home and take a nap."

And so we did.


Anonymous MidLifeMama said...

This, yet again, made me laugh out loud. I can completely identify with your description of your available brain function schedule. I am almost incoherent by 10pm most nights.

She has a bullet in her hip??? Is there a blog post regarding that?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Char said...

lordy - lupac certainly gets herself in some scrapes...the description of the skinny ankled gangsta cracked me up.

2:07 PM  
Blogger OHN said...

Is it wrong that reading a post about an injured animal made me laugh?

Really. I am not a cruel person.

Also, I completely agree with you. Nothing good ever happens after 10 pm.

2:07 PM  
Blogger badrhinogillett said...

My first fear was that it was another bullet and my second was that this story was going to go the way of Polly the dog and I was going to be sorry I was reading this in public.

Glad neither is true!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous --Deb said...

Thoughtful symmetry about the leg shaving thing. And the line about "the last employee working for my brain that night" made me laugh!

4:25 PM  
Blogger Robin Raven said...

MidlifeMama, there is a blog entry on it. It's here:

Great read as usual. :) I'm so glad the fierce kitty is alright.

I so admire your creativity in blogging. My blog is not going so well. I seem like a bitter, angry person in it. I'd like to think I'm not. haha

4:42 PM  
Blogger Leta said...

Pekoe (my tabby - he's orange, I drink a lot of tea) is a totally indoor cat but one night I was about to leave the house to go to rehearsal, gave him a friendly little pat, and drew back a hand with cat blood on it. Turns out that he had an abcess the size of a dime on his neck.

He was totally sanguine (no pun intended) about it, but I freaked. Two trips to the vet, two debridings, and two rounds of anti-biotics - both pill and liquid - later, he was fine and I was still a bit freaked.

Glad to hear that Lupac is doing okay.

8:44 PM  
Blogger laura linger said...

"Just get down here if you want to say goodbye to Mr. Whiskers!"

That's the bit of hilarity that I needed for my day, which was spent at the DMV. Enough said.

*laughing* It gets funnier each time I read it.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Narya said...

My problem is that I am a morning person, and I can be a night person, too. Afternoon, not so much.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous FurBabyMom said...

"Being as she's black, the last employee working in my brain for the night had wanted me to know this was anomalous." - You have such a great, humorous way with words! :)

Glad Lu is okay now.


6:42 PM  
Anonymous Carrie @ Who Knew? said...

You are a funny, funny lady.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Marta said...

Just noticed the "better than a jar egg" subtitle, HA!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Quirky said...

Oh, I am right there with you about the animal ER visits! Worst places in the world. And for some reason, the 2am desk workers are always snarky. They always tell you to come in, and then they always sneer at what you put down on the paperwork. (Of course, my last reason for visiting read "Cat hasn't pooped for four days", so maybe I had that one coming).

Glad to hear that Lupac is okay!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous josita said...

Cool - your book is on the gift list at Watch your site's hit count zoom!

9:24 PM  
Anonymous joanr16 said...

Seven o'clock attacked me like a feral wolverine.

Oh, how I love that! I am not a morning person.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Heidi V. said...

I just discovered your blog, whilst searching to see if my diverticulitis meds will also ward off a looming sinus infection. Now you've done it. You are hilarious and clearly addiciting and now I am REALLY not going to get my holiday shopping done on time. Thank you?? :)

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having a two year old...I don't know the last time I finished a book. Probably close to two years ago??? I picked up Notes... at the library and I do believe I am going to finish it before it is due back. Hooray! Just wanted to say THANKS for officially cracking me up. I just finished the little ditty about Flaco and the cow heart. Hilarious! Now, off to bed...

9:58 PM  

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