Monday, January 31, 2011

Cat Stories

Medical Emergency Part 2

I called my sister at work; did she want me to put Frequency down? “Wellllll, no, maybe not. She didn’t start out great, but she’s become a nice cat now. You know they’re going to want $500 to fix it. Why don’t you just get her some antibiotics and we’ll see how she does?”

The vet wasn’t keen on the cheap fix, I suppose, and haughtily told me that it would be cruel to leave the cat in this condition without repairing the damage. She said if the cat didn’t die in agony, we’d end up bringing her back to have her put down anyway and have to pay for another office visit.

I can’t prove it, but I think she bumped the price of the antibiotics up to $35, and of course, tried to push pain killers on me too for $20 more. When I conveyed the message to the sister person, she shouted at me, “Thirty-five bucks for cat antibiotics? What are they; gold plated?” I listened to the decision making process on the other end of the line, “Well, you know the aspirin will work fine. We don’t need the fancy pain killers.” She himmed and hawed a minute, then said what I knew she would, “Buy the stupid antibiotics and I’ll pay you back.” Then she muttered to herself, “Eighty-five bucks for a cat. I’m getting soft.”  
I took Frequency home and in two weeks she was fine and yelling to go back home to her trees and flowers. We never did find out what she had done to herself. My sister guessed that a dog chased her up a tree and managed to get a good chomp on her backbone before she escaped. As they say in the Tootsie Roll ® commercial, the world may never know.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cat Stories

Medical Emergency Part 1 

My sister and I have come up with a favor asking code. When we need a favor that’s small and easy to do, we call the other and say, ‘Um.’ “Would you pick up some milk for me while you’re at the store? Can you drop me off at the mechanics to pick up my car?” If the favor is somewhat inconvenient, we are expected to say the ‘um’ guiltily. When one calls the other and says, “How’s my favorite Sister?” we know we’re going to be doing something like going to Detroit, tonight, in a blinding snowstorm. 

When Sister called me early in the morning, on a work day, and asked how I was, I knew my day was shot. “There’s something really wrong with Frequency; she can’t use her back legs at all and they’re shredded on the inside. Can you take her to the vet?”

Mentally I groaned. My house was trashed, and this is about the only time this week I could do my shopping. But one of the cardinal rules of family hood is that one does not refuse to do a sister favor, nor take care of a hurt pet, especially not to go shopping. She told me, “I don’t want to spend more than about $50 on this cat. If she takes more than that, just have them put her down.” 

Poor Frequency was in so much pain, I couldn’t pick her up without hurting her. Though vets always tell you it can kill cats, I popped an aspirin down her throat, and it did seem to lessen her pain. 

The lady vet was rather snippy about the $50 limit, but said she could take one x-ray for that amount. She came back shaking her head, “Somehow,” she told me, “this cat has managed to snap both leg bones off where they meet the spine.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cat Stories

Sorry, sorry, I’ve done it again; almost a week since the last posting. I’ve actually started several posts, but my brain just doesn’t want to finish them. So, I’m going to cheat again; upcoming is actually three separate cat stories that I’m going to spread over the next week.


A half-grown, half-starved kitten once showed up at my front door, looking for a hand-out. My sister felt sorry for her, and so took the cat home, a decision she soon regretted. It turned out this was a fanatically clean cat. Before she could sleep, Frequency had to be pretty well sterilized, which required a good hour or two of licking. And, of course, while she is sleeping, her coat would get messed up again, so…

How did she end up with a name like Frequency? Well, my sister has never been the most patient person with unnecessary wake-up calls at three in the morning so that a cat could primp. At first, she just dumped her off the bed. But F would simply wait until Sister went back to sleep, then jump back on and continue her bath. Sister was willing to let the cat get used to her new home, but when it went on for several nights, enough was enough. She finally picked the cat up and tossed her out the door onto the grass. Frequency spent the rest of the night delicately yowling to be let back in. It took about ten times of spending the night outdoors before she finally decided to take her bath in the living room. All this happened before my sister had actually named her. When she told me of her cat troubles, I said it sounded as though this cat was becoming quite a frequent flyer, and the name sort of stuck.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pain Relieving Workshops

On Friday the 28th, I’ve asked several friends to critique a dry-run of a workshop I’m setting up to teach people how to relieve their own and each other’s muscle pains in the shoulders and neck. I’ll also be teaching them how to get rid of headaches, how to wake themselves up with a good head scrub, and how to calm themselves down with a good head rub, and yes, it does mess up hair. Last, I’ll teach how to relieve hand pains and foot pains using a little rubber ball, and yes, you have to take your shoes off for the foot part.
Note that I said ”relieve” and not “cure.” These tricks are meant to help people get through the rest of their work day or perhaps a long car trip, and the results can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days, depending on how badly people are damaging themselves. 

A person can’t relieve their own muscle pains anywhere near as effectively as somebody else can, even somebody who’s had very little training. On long car trips, I’ve asked perfect strangers at rest areas to do “the elbow trick” on me, and they’ve picked it up in about thirty seconds. 

This is a dry-run among friends so that I can work out the bugs, and instead of them paying me, I’ll be bribing them with promises of chili. My teaching style is much like my blog writing style, and much like my stand-up comedy style, come to think of it. I like to make things fun and tell lots of little stories and really connect with my audience, along with teaching them an extremely practical skill they can use for the rest of their lives.
So far, two and possibly three community organizations, one beauty salon, and one church has “expressed interest” in having me teach this workshop to their people.  And I’m really excited about that, because it is so very satisfying to watch people sort of melt into this smiling heap of humanity, just from doing one (on each side) elbow trick on their aching shoulder muscles. 

The plan is to schedule at least two workshops per month, and I have a friend who has agreed to design and print my advertising posters for me for the price of the printing ink. I’m also working on a fact sheet about the workshops to hand to churches, organizations, businesses, etc.