Is there a doctor in the house?

25 Jan
Image Source: https://www.recruiter.com/i/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CURIOUS-INTERESTED-CAT-DOCTOR.jpg

“What seems to be the purroblem?”

 

I’m sick. I think there’s a chance it might be the flu, but I get irritated by people who self-diagnose incorrectly, so I’ll just tell you my symptoms and let you decide what I have:

  • Fever ranging from 102 – 103.5 for 24 hours, then in the 101 range for a day, now back to normalish.
  • Achy, like someone worked me over with a ball-pein hammer while I was sleeping, including in my ears, across my temples, in the back of my neck, in my hips, and in my ribs.
  • Sneezy, snotty nose and nagging, hacking cough
  • Splitting headache, exhaustion, fatigue, lack of appetite

Oh, and it seems that everything I read/watch/listen to makes me cry. (Don’t even try to tell me it’s PMS. It’s not.)

Now that we have that covered, here are a few snippets that capture the last few days of ceiling-staring:

Musings of the Ill…

ONE: Nurse or Saber-Toothed Death Watch Attendant? 

Miss Moneypenny makes a good nurse… I think. At least, she’s made a point of staying within arm’s reach (either on my lap if I’m upright or snuggled next to me if I’m lying down)  since I started feeling crappy. This could be seen as sweet, but because I’ve heard one too many stories about cats who live in nursing homes and have an uncanny habit of sitting watch for people who are close to death, I’m not entirely sure what to think when I wake up and find her gazing at me. Some part of me does wonder if she’s silently willing me to die.

TWO: Call and Answer

The acoustics in my apartment building are a bit challenging. Built in the early 20th century, I’m convinced the walls and floors are only one fiber more solid than paper. As a result, I can stand in my kitchen and hear my neighbors end-of-day debrief while they cook dinner. (Lately it has included a lot of f-bombs and the word “idiots” when the guy describes his co-workers, so I suspect he’s not long for that job.) And the two year-old below me? I know when nap-time is just not going to happen based on the tantrum that wafts through my floorboards.

This week I’ve been on the other side of it, broadcasting coughs and sneezes for the masses. I hadn’t realized how out of control it had gotten until – after a particularly gripping hacking jag – the silence that followed was met with a neighbor yelling, “Thank God!” No idea which neighbor, but since there wasn’t a key sporting event on TV, I’m pretty sure his words were for me. Upside? If I get into trouble, I know I can summon a neighbor if I shout loud enough.

THREE: Ethics Exam

We are forecast for a major storm this week. I have not left my house since Wednesday. I am down to one roll of toilet paper. Do I:

  1. Try to persuade Alan (who is also sick with the same symptoms) to come to my house and bring a package of toilet paper.
  2. Use InstaCart and pay $8 for what should be a $4 purchase – assuming stores even still have any in stock, given the forecast.
  3. Muster enough energy to go next door to Starbucks, purchase a tea, use their bathroom and take a roll of toilet paper to get me over the hump.
  4. Stop eating solids.

FOUR: Things I Have Actually Googled

  1. How do I know if I have the flu
  2. Dangerously high fever range
  3. Death watch cat
  4. Shows like Downton Abbey
  5. How much Tylenol in 24 hours
  6. Can pets get the flu from humans (answer: yes, apparently)

FIVE: It’s called “Zoonosis”  

On that last point… while Miss Moneypenny has been a great nurse, zoonosis (transmission of human diseases to animals) might explain why I’ve woken up to the not-so-calming sound of her barfing every morning since I got sick. I like to think of her as an overly committed professional, kind of like Marie Curie. “It’s not worth it,” I tell her when I hear her starting to rumble in the mornings, “You’ll never win a Nobel Prize.”

In other news, anyone who owns a vicious dog might want to consider naming it Zoonosis so you can trickily both accept and deflect blame if it ever kills another animal. Imagine how it would play out:

“Your dog killed my chinchilla”

“ZOONOSIS killed your chinchilla.” 

“No, your DOG killed my chinchilla.”

And repeat.

 

Back to bed for this girl. Here’s hoping you don’t get what I’ve got. If you do, blame your pet.

PS: I don’t have the energy to proofread or spellcheck this, so if there are errors: you’re welcome.

New year flashbacks.

1 Jan

Image Source: http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2012/galleries/dick-clark/dick-clark-660.jpg

Happy new year, everybody!

For the first time in a long time, I was awake when the ball dropped last night. If you weren’t able to make it up that late, here’s all you need to know to participate in the water cooler talk in your office tomorrow: Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy hosted; there was significant discussion (on our part – not on air) about Dick Clark’s status (dead or alive); the only conclusion we all agreed on was that Casey Kasem is, in fact, dead.

You’re now up to speed. Go forth and discuss.

We celebrated at some friends’ house, and their kids emerged from their bedrooms around midnight for the ball drop. It reminded me of one of the most infamous new year’s eves of my childhood, when my parents left my sister and me home with a babysitter.

Alicia – who was in middle school at the time – was allowed to have a friend over, and my parents told the babysitter that we could stay up to watch the ball drop. I’ve always been a sleepy person, however, so I called it a night around 8pm, wishing everyone a good night and pulling my door shut on Dick Clark’s smiling face.

When I woke up the next day, I quickly was brought up to speed. Apparently while I slumbered, quite a little drama had unfolded. The babysitter had made Alicia and her friend go to bed early as well, and once they were in Alicia’s room with the door closed, the babysitter called her boyfriend and invited him and some friends over.

I’m not sure if Alicia was upset about the babysitter breaking the rules and having boys over, or if she was simply pissed that she’d been relegated to her room and missed the ball drop, but she wasted no time in telling my parents how she’d spent HER evening. I’m not sure how the situation was addressed with the babysitter, but I’d have to imagine it was awkward since she was one of my dad’s students. I can only imagine she wanted to crawl under her desk for a good portion of the next semester.

And so on that note, I wish you a happy new year. If you left your kids with a sitter, I’d suggest interrogating them to make sure no one threw a party in your house. Or maybe they can at least tell you if Dick Clark is still alive.

The next time you feel like judging: A cautionary tale

15 Dec
This is what #winning should look like in yoga - if at all.

This is what #winning should look like in yoga – if at all.

The other night I went to yoga. I know it’s not supposed to be a competitive sport – it’s all about you and your edge. In fact, most teachers encourage you to make modifications so the practice is your own. That said, for a Type A person, it’s hard to not look around the room and judge assess people.

As shameful as it is to admit, my thoughts are often along the lines of:

  • Bet I’m stronger than her.
  • Wow – bold move wearing those shorts!
  • Eww – no pedicure? Hope that’s not a communal mat!

Tacky, I know, and I’m constantly working to turn off the judgmental voice in my head.

The other night was a good reminder. I was one of the last people to show up, so I tucked my mat between two women who were stretching before class. I began stretching as well, and in doing so, noticed that the woman to my right had an incredibly hairy shin. Hairy enough that I did a double-take on her face to make sure she wasn’t a man.

Indeed, it was a woman.

Once I confirmed that, I thought, “Well, it *is* Movember. Maybe she’s not shaving as part of the whole prostate cancer solidarity thing.” (If you’re not familiar, that IS a real thing. Check out this link.)

And to be fair, I’m lazy so my legs are lucky if they see a razor more than once a week. Even so – let’s note that I felt totally fine judging a stranger for her leg hair. (I am really a horrible person.)

So class starts. We do our sun salutations, our downward dogs, our vinyasas.

And from the corner of my eye, I’m watching my mat-mates, confirming that I’m executing the moves better than they are in some way. Building myself up because I’m the best in my row. Because yoga is a competitive sport, as it turns out.

About half-way through class, our instructor shifts gears and we go into balancing poses. “Tree,” she announces, and everyone shifts on to one leg, lifting the other to demonstrate balance.

The hairy-legged woman to my right drops to the mat and relaxes in child’s pose, not even attempting tree. Feeling victorious, I balance and extend my arms. Then – doing what I’m not supposed to do – I shift my eyes away from their “fixed point.” This move is guaranteed to make me wipe out. But I can’t help it, because I’ve just noticed something as my mat-mate shifts from child’s pose into her own version of tree: she has one leg.

Yes. I’ve spent half the class competing (in my own mind) with a woman whom I’ve judged for not shaving – and now I’m realizing that she is missing part of her leg and has a prosthesis lying on the floor next to her.

Image Source: http://images.elephantjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Screen-shot-2010-12-14-at-10.42.34-PM-500x346.png

OUCH. I’m such a dumbass.

While it was fresh in my mind, I was quick to write down a few lessons:

  • Careful how you define “winning.”
  • Question your motivation to compete in the first place.
  • Ask yourself if you’re putting others down to boost yourself up.

Oh. And never forget the old adage that you can’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Or on her prosthesis. And also? She was clearly better at yoga than I was. 

Giving thanks for humility this year. Thanks, universe, for reminding me we’re all One.

 

 

And now we wait…

7 Dec

Image Source: http://gooddogcoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/xmas-cat-w-ribbon.jpg

When your *best case* scenario relies on hoping for your cat to shit out three feet of Christmas ribbon, you know some poor choices have been made somewhere, by someone.

In my case, I can’t decide if I’m at fault for pulling out green curling ribbon when wrapping a birthday present for my friends’ baby. Or if Miss Moneypenny – who suddenly decided that curling ribbon looked DELICIOUS – is to blame.

Regardless, one minute I was sitting there listening the Christmas carols and wrapping a present. The next, I was online googling “cat ate ribbon” and finding that I probably needed to rush her to an emergency vet.

Nevermind that it was 9pm on a Saturday and it was pouring rain outside and I don’t have a car. And the vet is located up near Maryland. Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong – I did consider just riding it out and seeing what would happen. After all, Miss Moneypenny didn’t seem to be distressed. In fact, she seemed oddly sated – and newly obsessed with curling ribbon.

Let me back up.

After wrapping my friends’ baby’s gift, I decided it would look better with a wee bit of ribbon on it. So I pulled out a spool of thin green curling ribbon – ribbon that I’m pretty sure was out frequently last year during the holidays and that seemed to have escaped Miss Moneypenny’s notice at the time.

I cut a four foot section of ribbon and draped it over the back of my chair while I returned the spool to its drawer. When I turned around, the ribbon was on the floor, Miss Moneypenny was sitting on top of it, licking her lips – and only a foot of it remained. I was baffled.

“Did you just eat that?” I asked. By the way she attacked the remaining foot of ribbon, it was obvious that she had. If I hadn’t moved quickly, that last bit of ribbon would’ve been down her hatch as seamlessly as a snake swallowing a tiny mouse. (This, from a cat who is super picky about her REAL food.)

Immediately, I thought of my childhood friend’s dog, Toby, who had once eaten an entire spool of dental floss – all 25 yards of it. My friend’s family had returned home to find the plastic dispenser hanging out of his mouth, and were able to pull about three yards of it out before it seemed to stick on something. They took Toby to the vet, where a chunk of his intestines were removed. Apparently that’s common when an animal eats an excessive length of a linear object.

I did what everyone does when faced with the prospect of bundling up their animal for a weekend/late night ER trip. I a) posted a query on Facebook, hoping my cat-owning friends would tell me I was over-reacting and could just stay home, and b) googled to see if the wider internet community could offer some reassurance that cats regularly ate three feet of curling ribbon and lived to tell about it.

Sadly, on both counts the response was, “Better get to the vet.”

I made one last attempt at avoiding the vet by calling the emergency line and asking if I could just monitor Miss Moneypenny and bring her in if she seemed distressed? Answer: No, get thee to a vet.

So we did. Thank you, Uber, for making that relatively easy. And the animal hospital was surprisingly well-staffed at 10pm on a Saturday. There must’ve been at least a dozen people working, and they were all really friendly. Fortunately, it was also a quiet night, so there were only two other people in the waiting room: one was a woman whose Labradoodle was having an allergic reaction to his vaccines, and the other was a man whose two daschunds had gotten into a tin of pure cocoa and needed their stomachs pumped.

Explaining that my cat had just ingested 2-3 feet of curling ribbon made me feel like they might send us home with a Darwin Award.

Instead, they sent us home without treatment and instructions to just monitor her for lethargy, vomiting or any other evidence that the ribbon had created an intestinal blockage. (I’d like to point out that that was the plan I’d originally proposed, and which they’d shot down over the phone.) There’s a 50% chance she’ll be able to pass it on her own, and a 50% chance we’ll need to go back for emergency surgery.

“Was there nothing that could be done NOW?” I asked, hoping to head-off both the possibility of surgery and having to monitor her litterbox for evidence that it had passed. I also didn’t want this trip to the vet – which would end up costing $200 – to be in vain. “Can’t we pump her stomach and make her puke it up? Or do an endoscopy and retrieve it before it works into her intestines in the first place?”

Apparently the answer to both questions is, “Not unless you want to spend an even crazier amount of money” – at least at 10pm on a Saturday night when their Surgical Internist is home in bed.

So I packed up Miss Moneypenny and we returned home.

Side note: The Uber driver on our way home puzzled me. He seemed to really like animals and was awesome about letting me bring a cat into his cab, but had some questions that indicated a lack of familiarity with cats. To wit:

Driver: How often do you need to cut her hair? 

Me: Cats don’t really need haircuts.

Driver: I take my daughter to PetSmart to see cats get their hairs cut. But there are never any cats. Just dogs.

Me: Yeah, I don’t think cats ever really get their hair cut.

Driver: How long can their hair get though? Very long? 

Me: No, it stays a pretty set length. You know how they have a winter and a summer coat? Maybe they just lose all their fur frequently enough that that’s why we never see it grow past a certain length.

Driver: Do you shampoo her? 

Me: No. Cats do a good job of grooming themselves.

Driver: What does the groomer do then? Just cut their hairs? 

????

So now we’re home. I’m monitoring her. And while I certainly don’t want to return to the vet for emergency surgery, I can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing that three feet of ribbon resurface.

My friend Andrew reminded me that he had an equally distressing situation some years ago when his doberman ate a box of dryer sheets. How’d it work out? According to his roommate, who witnessed the entire thing: “He looked like a tissue dispenser for about 20 minutes.”

At least dryer sheets smell nice.

A holiday Latin lesson…

29 Nov

Image Source: http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/funny-unicorn.jpg

Thursday we were all loaded up in Alan’s car, heading over the river and through the woods with his kids in the backseat, on our way to their Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.

His son, who is in sixth grade, was playing a game on his phone. “Oh no!” he exclaimed. “I just killed a unihorse!”

“A unihorse?” Alan asked. “Is that a single horse or a horse with a small horse coming out of his head?”

“No,” his son corrected, “It’s like a unicorn but it’s called a unihorse.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Alan continued. “Because in Latin ‘uni’ means ‘one’ so technically that means one horse.”

“Yeah,” his son agreed. “It sounds funny, but when I was younger, I used to think unicorn meant one corn.”

“Well, that kind of makes sense,” Alan offered, “Because in Latin, ‘corn’ means ‘horn.'”

After a five second pause, his son said, “Well, that certainly gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘corny.'”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 656 other followers