In a Fix

I haven't written in a while because I've been busy. This past week, Dianne went in the hospital to have a radical hysterectomy. She was supposed to be in the hospital for 3 days. I had planned on taking some time off of work to help her through the rough time of recuperating. Knowing I was going to be home, I planned for Swiffur, the ever-increasingly destructive cat, to be neutered and declawed that same week. I wasn't sure I wanted him neutered or declawed. But an old friend gave me a talking to, and insisted that I get it done. She referred to him as a teenage boy whose goal was to destroy my furniture and he must be stopped. Or at least that's what I heard her say. I wasn't sure if I wanted to stud him out or not. He's so beautiful to look at and would have beautiful kittens. But I guess the thought of him spraying all over the house brought me to the conclusion that indeed I did not want him to mate. And ripping his claws out seemed so inhumane that I was undecided about that too. But after talking with the vet, she made me feel okay with it. She described the procedure and how they used to do it, and it seemed less cruel than in years past when they would declaw by guillotining the first knuckle of each toe. Seemed barbaric to me. But after talking with the vet, she said that the way she did it was more of a surgical procedure, using a scalpel, etc. So I decided to go forward. This way, if I was going to be home taking care of one patient, I could take care of the other as well. Or at the very least, they could commiserate and help keep each other company while working their way back to health.

Dianne's surgery went well, but her hospital stay didn't turn out to be 3 days, but rather 7 days. Swiffur's surgery was already booked so I went forward with getting that done, but it wasn't as convenient as I had originally planned. But all went well.

At some point during the week, it became painfully obvious to me that everyone around me had gotten "fixed". Now, this may seem funny to some, but there are definite drawbacks to this.

If you have kids, or maybe you remember doing this as a kid,
do you remember Venn diagrams? A Venn diagram is taking two circles that intersect. You take a subject matter and write all the commonalities of that subject in the middle where the 2 circles overlap. Then you write in the outer parts of the circles the things that are not in common. I would like to do this exercise here. This is what would be in my Venn diagram:

The Subject Matter: Taking Care of the Fixed

Things in Common Between Dianne and Swiffur This Week:

They both needed to be transported to and from the hospital at unreasonable hours. Dianne had to be at her surgery in Hartford for 5:50 a.m., which meant we had to leave at 4:50 a.m., which meant we had to get up at 3:50 a.m. Absurd! Later in the week I had to drop Swiffur off at 8:00 in Norwich, which normally would have been fine, but being exhausted from the rest of the week of going to work, dropping Rachel off at school, driving back and forth to Hartford to see Dianne, 8:00 may have well have been 3:00. (Side note - How does one get their friend to the hospital in Hartford for 5:50 in the morning and get their daughter to school by 8:00? Good friends who are willing to help out at the very last minute, that's how! I was definitely in a fix. So a big shout out to the Geragotelis/Carty Family for stepping up when I needed them. You guys rock!)

Both Dianne and Swiffur had surgery preventing them from pro-creating. And both seem to be okay with that. Although, last night Swiffur got right in my face and meowed and I swear he said, "whyyy?...WHYYYYY?". I did the only thing that a good pet owner COULD do. I rolled over and pretended to be asleep.

Both patients are walking funny, post-surgery. (You would too if you had your nuts clipped away! Poor Dianne. LOL!)

They both were given drugs for pain...not necessarily to ease their pain, but rather mine.

Both sleep a lot. What's cute is when they fall asleep together, next to each other. Priceless. That is, until Swiffur wakes up and decides to walk over Dianne's stomach to get off the bed. Not so cute then.

Neither of them got stitches. With Dianne's surgery, they used glue to hold her together. (Side note- Are cat whisker stitches a thing of the past? How will we determine how severe a cut is now? "Man, I had to get 32 stitches". All sympathy was based on that number. What will it be in the future? "Man, they had to use 3 droplets of super glue." Doesn't have the same impact, does it? No more having to go back to the doctor to have your stitches removed. So much for suture scissor companies. If doctors make a mistake, will they be using Gumout? Anyway, someone must have thought it was unsanitary to use some other cat's whiskers to stitch up another cat's ball sack. Actually, as it turns out, they don't need stitches for that procedure. As the vet surgeon assistant explained, "We made a little slit, pushed his testicles out, snipped the veins, then hold the sack together at the slit for a few minutes and it just sticks together." No stitches. No glue. For $430, I could have done that!)

Back to the list.

Both have that same look of determination on their faces when having to go to the bathroom. The "I don't know if I can do this" look.

Both the Hartford Hospital and the All Friends Animal Hospital had others that had less than happy results with their experiences. On the floor that Dianne was on, all the patients were women who were either having the same surgery as Dianne, or had difficult, problematic pregnancies. Upon one visit, I passed by a family who was wheel chairing a woman in her 30's out of the hospital. She was crying. Her family members trailed along side and behind her, crying as well. Her husband, I presumed, was carrying the baskets of flowers that people had sent to her, all with well wishes. But seeing this family, I knew the well wishes had not come true for them. I found myself tearing up for whatever their misfortune may have been. Not everyone that comes out of the hospital is better than when they went in. My guess was that she either lost the baby or was diagnosed with cancer. Either way, they were devastated. With Swiffur, upon leaving the vet's office after his surgery, they had forgotten to give me the Yesterday's News Kitty litter that I was supposed to use so his paws didn't get infected. I had driven down the street and remembered I hadn't received it. I turned the car around and went back in to get it, telling Rachel to stay in the car with Swiffur. When I went back inside the office, there was a family of three, sitting in the waiting room, petting a cat inside a pet carrier. The cat had a towel on it and was very still. The young girl, I would guess she was about 14, was sobbing. The girl's mother was wiping tears away from her own face while petting the still kitty. The father held the cat carrier and looked like someone had punched him in the stomach. It was obvious that their cat hadn't made it. It was remarkable to me that the vet's office did not give these people a room to grieve in. Although, seeing this, made me appreciate that my Swiffur was alive and made it through the surgery.

Although I joke around to make light of things, I am truly blessed that the outcomes of both these events were not the same as these poor people that brushed my path ever so quickly, but their presence was enough to reinforce the point, never take anything for granted because it can be taken away.

Okay, those were the things that they had in common. Now for the things that were different.

The Outer Circles of the Venn Diagram - Things NOT in common:

Swiffur had surgery to remove 2 grape-sized organs; Dianne had a tumor removed the size of a grapefruit.

Swiffur had to wear the "cone of shame" (from the movie "Up") so he didn't try to lick his incisions; Dianne had no stitches (glue) and does not have the flexibility or bendiness to lick her incision. (Although under the influence of percocet, I think she believes she can do anything, even that. If I catch her doing it, I WILL put that cone of shame on her!)

Removing Swiffur's manliness, he has become much more calm and loving now; Undergoing a radical hysterectomy put Dianne into instant menopause. So calm and loving? Um, not so much.

Swiffur had his front claws physically removed; Seems Dianne's proverbial "claws" got sharper. (How long does menopause last? Is it the same as PMSing? Like a week, max? Right?)

Swiffur couldn't care less what the temperature of the room is; Dianne is constantly cold or hot, and there seems that there is no in between. I stopped trying to accommodate her 3 days ago. Useless to try. That may seem slightly cold or uncaring, but in all honesty, there is nothing I can do for her. Shutting up is my best course of action at this point. Which, if you know me, is an act of kindness on my part.

One of them had their butt shaved. I'll leave it to you to decide which one.

Swiffur is content eating his Iams dry cat food every day; Dianne has special requirements to facilitate nature's course. Like a pregnant woman with cravings, she beckons from a reclining position, "I need ice cream, but it needs to be chilled to 17.5 degrees Fahrenheit, must have 1" size uncooked cookie batter in it, with 10 choc chips. Not 9, not 11, but 10". OK. Got it.

Swiffur is very happy when I give him a Pounce treat. He even purrs and climbs up my leg to get it, rubbing himself against my leg for more; I brought ice cream to Dianne while she was in the hospital for a treat. She immediately cast it aside with all the other Saltine packages, fruit cups, and unopened tea bags, on the hospital tray, that were banished to the land of misfit foods that wouldn't be consumed. Or at least until she was ready...which was 5 minutes later. But it had to be on her terms. (Say a prayer for me, will you!)

Swiffur, at 8:00 a.m., needs an oral injection of pain meds. Thank God it didn't come in pill form. Ever try to get a cat to take a pill? Not easy. Thankfully, they gave me his medicine all measured out, in syringes and I just needed to put him on my lap, open his mouth and spray the liquid into his mouth. No worry of taking it on an empty stomach or any post nausea. Piece of cake. Dianne, on the other hand, "I need graham crackers now to take my pill...I need cranberry juice to take my pill...I need ice cream so I can take my pill." See the trend.

Remember the aforementioned "I don't know if I can do this" look regarding intestinal movement? Well, when Dianne "performs" or "produces", there are news flashes that go out all over North America (her peeps live in Canada). There is cheering that can be heard across the continent. Confetti falls from the bathroom ceiling and "She's a Jolly Good Fellow" plays in the background. When Swiffur accomplishes his goal, he pretty much just shoves a few Yesterday's News kitty litter pellets around the litter pan and walks away without any fanfare. Sometimes it's not fair to be a cat. But I do tell him he's a good boy, to encourage him to keep up the good work. Which is something that Dianne does NOT get from me.


My Kaneclusion: I joke about all this now, but for the last few weeks I have been on a roller coaster of emotions about it all. I am happy to report that in Dianne's case, the pathology results came back negative and she does not have cancer. (Insert some celebratory Hoorays here.) I welcome the day that we can go back to laughing and she doesn't have to double over in pain, yelling at me not to make her laugh. Something I'm not good at curbing. And Swiffur is out of pain meds so he's gingerly walking about, trying to adapt to jumping up on things and sliding off like Teflon. I have managed to keep them both alive for the last week, and considering I can't keep tomato plants from dying, I think this is a major accomplishment.

Here are some pictures of the patients:

Swiffur, wearing the Cone of shame

Dianne, sitting back having a drink and toking on a bong.

Me, taking care of the patients...

(Nurse Diesel from the movie "High Anxiety" played by Cloris Leachman.)

P.S. I used poetic license when writing this article. Dianne doesn't really have her claws out and has been very nice through this event. "Ok, Dianne, NOW will you put the gun down?" Ha! KIDDING!

1 comment:

Cheryl Musca said...

I am disappointed I thought for sure you would be nurse ratchet...the rest of the patients deserve a O (round of applause) for all their hard work...In my most valuable opinion I think poor Rach has to be the biggest trooper of all...
P.S. How go the quadrants??? LOL