Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Friday, April 28, 2006

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Yoshicita

Hot AND spicy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Watching My Independence Trickle Away

After going though cancer treatment all last year a lot of things got put on the back burner. There are so many jobs I want to catch up on like painting my whole apartment INCLUDING the ceilings which is not going to happen any time soon because my right arm is still sore and weak from my surgery. I also have to get rid of my poor decrepit couch to make room for a new one but I don’t know how I am going to get that behemoth down 2 flights of stairs. My car desperately needs to be polished and detailed as it hasn’t been washed in over a year. Basically, I need a boyfriend.

I am a long time standing single gal and for the most part am quite content to be free of the drama and problems that arise within relationships. I have the whole bed to myself and I have 100% control over the TV remote. No pesky whisker hairs in my sink and I never have to worry about a dutch oven when I least expect it. I am able to do most everything that needs to be done on my own and without help but things are a bit different now since my surgeries. It seems I turned into a bit of a useless girl.

DAMMIT!!! Sometimes having a nice strong guy around is mighty handy. Now don’t get all women’s' lib-ish on me. I don’t expect him to do it all while I go out for lunch with the ladies. Only it would be nice to have a bit of help with the heavy stuff or the high bits. A nice guy to offer to take the inevitable face splatter from painting overhead and cart the ladder up and down the stairs. Maybe even give me a back rub after I do all the detail work on my car dash with Q-Tips while he does the scrubbing on the outside. I’d give him one too. If I didn’t fall asleep during mine. I am generous that way.

No guys are jumping out of the woodwork to help so for now I have to live with the chipped paint and the moss on my car. My old couch will linger in the hallway for other tenants to climb over to get to their apartments. My back will remain unrubbed.

But I am working on it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Part 2-Another Long One But Hang In There

So in late 2004 I went to Hawaii for 10 days. I had never left Yoshi for that long. Only for the occasional all-nighter when I had to work. My parents cared for Yoshi while I was gone and she behaved pretty much how I expected her to. She freaked out and yowled for about 3 days and then settled down and was fine for the rest of the time. Kinda like a kid which is seriously what this cat is to me. Keep that in mind as I go on here.

The next day she threw up. Not a big deal as she does that every once in a while. What was different was that there was a little spot of blood in the vomit. About the size of a ladybug. I had never seen that before but knew that cats will vomit blood when highly stressed. But I started to worry. What if she ate something she wasn’t supposed to at my parent’s place? What if she had been acting sick and I hadn’t been there to see her symptoms and my parents didn’t notice the subtle differences? And then I thought I might be overreacting. She was acting just fine. She didn’t appear sick in any way. And then I started wondering if it might be stress from the fact that I had put my empty suitcase right by the door to go back into basement storage which was the exact same place I put my full suitcase several days earlier just before I abandoned her for a long period of time. Hmmmmm. She is a VERY smart cat.

Finally I thought that I would feel better if I took her to the vet for a quick check up and as I had health insurance it wouldn’t be a big financial deal. That is what it is for, right? Of course it was a weekend so I once again bundled her up and took her to the exorbitant 24 hour emergency vet.

I got a different vet from her last visit a couple years before and I explained the whole situation to her. I told her I wasn’t even sure that it was an emergency and that everything seemed fine but I just wanted to rule out major issues. She suggested a series of x-rays to see if she ate anything as well a blood panel to see if she was sick. I totally agreed as I thought this would rule out what I was worried about. So they did those things and everything came out fine. Normal results on everything.

I thought they would just let me take her home but the vet said she wanted to keep her overnight. I remembered how much that cost and how much Yoshi had hated it and didn’t really feel it was necessary and told the vet that. She got really mad and started saying things like “If Yoshi survives the night etc…” And I am like, “Wait a minute! Her tests came out normal, she is acting fine and you are saying she might not survive the night? What is going on?” She said that she thought it might be a good idea to hook her up to IV fluids to offset any dehydration. I said that she had only barfed once and didn’t seem dehydrated at all. I assured them I lived close by and would bring her back if I saw anything wrong with her or if she continued to vomit. Yet the vet INSISTED she stay saying that she just didn’t know what might happen and I thought to myself, “Well, it is all covered so why not.” And I left Yoshi there.

Yoshi was not happy to be left and made her displeasure known so I told them that she could be a bit “difficult” and that she behaved very well for me so if they had ANY problem with her at all just to call me and I could be there in less than 5 minutes and hold her and make her behave. They agreed. I also said that they should call me if there was any medical change or if they wanted to do anything more than give her IV fluids. I said I was not crazy about putting her under anesthesia as she has had issues with it in the past when she was fixed (Siamese are like that sometimes) and asked them to let me know ahead of time so I could make any decisions around that issue. These are things I expressly talked about.

I went home and really regretted going to the vet. Not because of the cost but because I knew Yoshi was terrified and I wasn’t exactly convinced that she really needed to be there. I sorta felt bullied a little into letting her stay there. A thought about it for a couple of hours and decided to drop by the vet again to visit her and check on her status. I called and they said it was fine for me to come in.

I walked in and there was Yoshi in her cage. She was hooked up to an IV and had one of those funnel collars on. She could hardly keep her poor eyes open and her third eyelid was all droopy. Her eyes had watered all over her face and her fur looked terrible. When I left her she looked fine and now she looked like shit. She let off this sad little meow. I asked what was wrong with her and they said she had resisted them when they put in the IV so they had sedated her with anesthesia to calm her down. I immediately started to cry and ran over to her cage and took her out and cuddled her. Then I got PISSED. I told them I had expressly asked them to call me if this happened and that they had done exactly what I asked them not to do. They totally blew me off saying it was no big deal and she was just fine. Maybe she was but she didn’t look fine and they had gone against my simple instructions. If they had called I am sure I could have calmed her down. If not I would have ok’d some sedation. I never got that chance. I asked if I could take her home and they said I shouldn’t as it wasn’t a good idea since she had been under anesthetic. FUCK!!!! Now I couldn’t take her out of there even though I wanted to. She was stuck and so was I. Of course there were extra charges for anesthetic and use of the funnel collar and even a charge for extra time as she had mangled her first IV when they were putting it in. This visit added up to $1400.

I made arrangements with them to come at a certain time the following day to assist them in removing the IV. I held her and they took it out and Yoshi made the most horrible freaky howling noise and they were a little freaked too. But no anesthetic was needed which made me happy. I paid my bill, took her home and she immediately ran to her dish to eat. She was totally fine. And I felt like a prize asshole for putting her through it all. I had asked one of the vet assistants if she thought Yoshi was in any serious health crisis and she said absolutely not and that it was most likely stress. Exactly what I suspected it was. She hadn’t vomited once her whole time at the vet.

Looking back I really felt like I had been emotionally manipulated into keeping her overnight with that, “Not making it through the night” comment. I didn’t feel good about any of the treatment she had except for the initial tests. I just felt it was a really negative experience. While the visit was covered by health insurance I am responsible for a deducible and that wasn’t a minor amount. I just didn’t think that many of the things they had done to her were necessary and the whole situation had escalated out of control. I also felt relief that Yoshi was home and ok. I vowed never to go on holiday again. Her vet bill added up to more than my whole vacation cost in the first place. Pretty ironic.

Then 10 days after her vet visit Yoshi came down with a lovely case of fleas. And I thought, “For FUCK’S sake! And they give her fleas on top of it all. Talk about adding insult to injury!” I called and complained and they once again totally blew me off saying that they had no control over the flea status of their patients. I said that in light of what had happened at Yoshi’s visit it would go a long way for customer relations if they would comp a $10 dose of flea killer. The receptionist asked her boss and told me that they wouldn’t do that but I was welcome to come to the office and buy a package of 6 doses for $65. I declined and went to the SPCA and bought it there for $45. I still have 5 doses left. Being an indoor cat she never has had fleas since.

I am so glad there are talented and caring vets out there. If I wasn’t so squeamish I would have been a vet myself. I know with absolute certainty that most vets are ethical and honest people. I know it is always better to err on the side of caution and completely agree more tests that can be done on a sick or injured animal allows for a better diagnosis. However I also think that pet owners have to be savvy consumers and ask for clarification and information about what they are going to be paying for. Unlike many other businesses you still get charged for services rendered even if they don’t work or the outcome is not what you were expecting. Veterinary medicine is a calling but I also think it is a business. I have heard of many stories where owners have been offered care for reduced prices or for no cost whatsoever. Personally I have never experienced that but I know it happens. Vets have to freedom to adjust their services if they so wish. They also have every right to charge whatever prices they want as well. I don’t think anybody should feel bad for shopping around for better prices or for a vet they feel more emotionally comfortable with. Even with insurance finances are considerations and is part of the whole equation no matter how much we all wish they were not. If I ever had an emergency situation with Yoshi I would definitely take her back to that 24 hour clinic because they are very good and qualified vets but I would totally stand up for myself now if something didn’t sound right to me. I know Yoshi better than they do and I have to trust that.

I think owning a pet is a privilege and one I don’t take lightly. While I do bitch and moan when I spend large amounts of money on Yoshi I grumble about spending large amounts of money on myself or anybody else. I don’t have a lot so when it is gone it is sorely missed. However I never begrudge that money because that is part of the bargain I made when I took responsibility for her. I would love several other animals in my house but I don’t have them because I know I don’t have the funds to take care of them as well as I think they deserve.

So when I took Yoshi to the vet for her bad breath and got pitched for a rabies vaccination I decided to trust my gut and decline. I don’t have a fireplace and chances are no bats will ever get the opportunity to attack Yoshi. If it did happen I would absolutely have her treated. In a heartbeat. What bothered me was that this vet knew she was allergic to shots and suggested it anyway. It sounded to me like I was being up-sold. Like when you buy shoes and they encourage you to get protector spray for them or point out that rack of earrings that are on sale. Maybe up-selling is part of the business practices of some vets in my city (and they have the right to do that as I have the right to decline) or maybe it was just that this vet thought the risks of a bat attack outweighed the risks of a vaccine reaction and possible cancer at the site later on. I decided not. And I am The Momma.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Further Thought

Just last week I wrote a post about veterinary care and a recent experience I had with it. I got a few very interesting comments both agreeing with me and disagreeing as well. All were muchly appreciated. My post even spawned other posts on the same topic offering opinions and observations. Too cool.

I probably should have explained my opinions a bit more and how I have arrived at them. I have a point of view that may not be shared by others as well as some unique circumstances that would affect my thoughts on this subject.

Obviously finances come into play whenever a pet owner has to get veterinary care for their pet. Some people are fortunate that they can adopt a very aggressive treatment plan for their animal and be able to afford it. Some people use credit to handle their vet bills while some have to evaluate very carefully what they can and cannot afford to do. Whatever your finances are when your pet is hurt or sick that time is very emotional and scary. In that kind of heightened situation sometimes you do not make good decisions or ask good questions or even understand what is going on. You may have feelings of guilt and anger about how your pet ended up in the vet. It is just not a good time.

I have to admit I am in a very enviable situation as I have health insurance for Yoshi. This is not unlimited insurance and in this day and age my maximum paid amounts can be reached very quickly but this policy allows me certain freedoms a lot of other pet owners don’t have. I know that I work contract jobs and am chronically under employed so I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn’t afford to get Yoshi treated. This insurance has saved my and Yoshi’s ass a couple of times.

When I evaluate Yoshi’s vet care I have to balance what will be of the most benefit to her balanced by how stressed and upset I know she will be getting these treatments. Yoshi is a very emotional cat. She hates everybody except for me and my parents. And she only kinda tolerates my parents. Time and familiarity does not change her mind. She is a Siamese and therefore a bit of a freaktard. When she is in familiar territory this hatred manifests itself in hissing and yowling and bad behavior. When she is away from home and in unfamiliar territory she is absolutely frantic with terror. It breaks my heart. So while money doesn’t play largely into her receiving veterinary care her emotional wellbeing definitely does.

The first time I used Yoshi’s health insurance it was because she ate one of my antidepressant pills. I was taking one out of its container and dropped it. I swear before it even hit the floor Yoshi had run to snap it up out of the air. I was shocked as she never really was one to be nosey about stuff like that. It was Saturday night about 11pm so I bundled her up and drove the 3 minutes to the emergency 24 hour vet. This place is staffed 24/7 and their prices reflect their extraordinary availability. You know when you take your pet there you will be paying. A LOT! It is an emergency situation so you suck it up. This clinic is staffed with really good vets and I totally trust them. They do one thing that pisses me off though. They charge a $50 walk in fee. You have to pay this for walking in before they even take your information and have your pet seen. This is an extra fee on top of the exorbitant regular fees you can expect to pay. I think this is just adding insult to injury and a bit of a cash grab but what can you do? You are in an emergency situation and at a disadvantage to be picky. But I still think it sucks.

So they took Yoshi and gave her charcoal and an emetic to make her barf. I waited there for a couple hours but she just wouldn’t hurl. They thought she might be too stressed and intimidated to do it in the vet so they let me take her home to see if she would relax and urp up the pill there. I happily shelled out about $600 for that visit and took her home.

And then she puked. AND puked. And wouldn’t stop. No eating and no drinking just hurling. All night and all day. I called the emergency vet and told them what was happening and they said that they did give her a lot of emetic and that her poor stomach was probably messed up and that I should bring her in for IV fluids. So another walk in fee later, as it was Sunday and I still couldn’t take her to a regular vet, they hooked her up to IV fluids and kept her overnight. Do you know what they charged me for her overnight stay? I am not talking her treatments like IVs and such but just the act of keeping her overnight. 900 bucks. That is the charge. Holy SHIT!!!! But I was happy with her care. They were honest with me that they thought she would pull through but that nobody could know how much of the medication she absorbed. They offered me hope in a very scary situation. I paid about $1600 for that trip and was reimbursed by insurance. That entire episode resulted in 2 trips to the ER vet along with 4 days of all day vet care at her regular vet.

While at the regular vet I was “encouraged’ to keep her overnight there for about $125 per night. I would have been happy to do that if I had felt it offered Yoshi good benefits but I didn’t believe that at all. First of all the vet was completely unstaffed from closing at 9 pm to opening the next morning at 8am. Yoshi would be all alone in a small cage overnight in a strange place for 11 hours. She would not be receiving any treatments during this time. Just sleeping. I decided I wanted to have her at home with me where she would be more comfortable and where I could watch her. I knew I lived 3 minutes away from the emergency vet if anything happened and I was willing and able to return her to the regular vet office first thing in the morning to hook her back up to IV fluids. I cannot tell you how I had to fight to do this. It seemed totally logical to me and yet they were very disapproving. I am SOOOOO glad I did keep her home as she was so weak and full of fluids that she almost immediately peed her bed. Poor booby couldn’t walk to the litter box. If at the vet she would have laid in her own cold wet piss ALL NIGHT LONG. That is not ok with me. Clearly she got better care with me overnight than alone at the vet. Yet I really got a guilt trip for taking her home where I stayed up all night and cuddled her making sure she was safe and comfortable. This REALLY pissed me off.

A friend of mine just recently went through a similar thing. He is a professional breeder and is very emotionally attached to his dogs. Clearly it is not just a "business" to him. One dog had just had a litter of puppies while another dog had mysteriously lost her puppies just prior to birth. It was a very emotional time for my friend. He was so happy but so devastated at the same time. One of the puppies, coincidentally the one he was planning on keeping, got very sick one day with a fever. He rushed the puppy to the vet and they were very discouraging about the puppy’s chances. They thought the puppy would die. They gave her antibiotics and IV fluids and were just hoping for the best. That night I talked with my friend who said he was thinking of bringing the puppy home for the night. He thought that if he had to choose between having the puppy die alone overnight in the unstaffed vet or at home with him and the momma dog and her puppy siblings where he could watch her he would rather have her at home. He even was willing to stay up all night so she could keep the IV in that they were just going to take out at the vet’s office. However they totally insisted the puppy stay overnight at the vet and employed some very heavy handed guilt tactics to keep her there. He finally relented and was very upset and didn’t feel like his wishes had been heard. Fortunately the puppy survived and he got to take her home the next day. If that dog had died alone overnight I know he never would have forgiven himself. I just think this is wrong. He had no complaints about the cost of the care but that his opinions were not considered.

I am going to break this up into two parts and tell you tomorrow about another experience I had with a vet that might further illustrate how I have arrived at some of my opinions. This post was to show you how when I made a decision for my cat that I felt was best for her and me I was discouraged and contradicted even though the vet could not show me that Yoshi would be any better off in their care. In fact I could clearly see that she would be better supervised and monitored in my care overnight than alone and afraid in an empty vet office. I do truly believe that these vets had Yoshi’s best interest in mind and I think she got excellent treatment while in their care but the only reason why I could see the regular vet would want me to keep her overnight at their facility is for monetary gain. A vet clinic is a business and I am not so naive to think that they would not try to suggest expensive options if they could. Keeping an animal overnight could be a better option for some who might not have access to transportation or be home to look after their cat or dog but I was both mobile and available to be there for Yoshi and even though it basically caused an argument I was glad I stood firm and did that for her. I don’t think I should have been argued with or guilt tripped. It should have been my decision. And it was a decision that had no basis in money but it could have been and that would have been valid too.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Can Smell My Visa Burning

I took Yoshi back to the vet for a follow up appointment after her course of antibiotics for her heinous breath. While she was on the drugs her breath was absolutely odorless yet I can detect a faint stink creeping back since she’s been off. Not nearly as bad as it was but no longer like angel farts. The vet thinks she has chronically inflamed gums and might need to be periodically put on antibiotics. The tartar on her teeth is so minimal for a cat her age that they do not think a cleaning would help at all. Ok. I can deal with that.

I have found through my various visits for Yoshi’s dramatics that many vets I have encountered are a very negative bunch. They “Tsk Tsk” a lot and suggest all sorts of expensive tests that don’t always have an appreciable benefit. I don’t know if they are covering their asses liability-wise or if it is common business practice to try to inflate a bill but it is not uncommon for me to wonder why they are being so pessimistic. **TWISTED UTERUS-Maybe you can tell me what you know about this. Is it taught in school?”** I understand that our precious boogies cannot tell us what is wrong but is there really a need to make me freak out that if I don’t get Yoshi’s aura cleansed she might die? Ok-I am kidding here but I am sure you know what I mean. Now I will say that not all vets are like this and I have encountered lovely vets who offer a ‘conservative-wait-and-see’ course of treatment along with a ‘no-expense-is-too-much’ approach and explain the benefits and risks of everything. I appreciate that as I think there is nothing quite as terrible as watching your beloved pet suffer through a treatment that does not offer significant gains AND then face financial ruin at the end of it all because you didn’t know any better.

Let me tell you what happened to me at the SPCA vet office the other day when I questioned the vet about a couple tests she suggested for Yoshi.

They did a blood test on Yoshi and a couple levels were slightly elevated. And when I mean slightly I mean only one point above normal range. The vet said that these elevations could indicate early disease or a stressed cat. Well, after Yoshi attached her body to my neck and left nail furrows in the back of my leather jacket I decided to go with the “stressed” diagnosis. However, I was willing to listen to her logic and go from there. She wanted to do a Feline Leukemia test as well as a Cat HIV test. I didn’t think it was necessary as Yoshi is an exclusively indoor cat with absolutely no exposure to any other fur beast that could transmit such things. But she said in light of possible chronic/long term infection in her mouth and the fact that kittens can get infected from their mother it might be a good idea. I agreed and they did the test and I did not begrudge the cost at all as I could see her point. Yoshi is negative for both. I credit the condoms I give her.

The other thing she wanted to do was a urine test for kidney function. The whole rigmarole to get a clean pee sample leaves a lot to be desired (you know how cats are) so I got the supplies and if I can get the pee I will take it in. If not then no biggie. I am not going to fret about it too much. Stress is Yoshi’s middle name; not mine.

As I was getting Yoshi all tucked away into her carrier the vet flung one last idea out there for me to consider. “How about a rabies vaccination?” Yoshi is terribly allergic to vaccines and it is on her chart that she should never get them. She is at an increased risk of cancer at the needle site and as a single indoor cat at very low risk for contagious diseases. Also she had been fully vaccinated (including rabies) three times in kittenhood. I think those immunities still stand and recent research agrees with me. So why she would suggest a vaccine was puzzling. Especially rabies for an inside cat. I asked her why. This is the answer I got.

“Well, what if a bat flies into your house and bites the cat.”

Honestly, I looked around expecting to see a camera crew and a jokey video show host jump out at me with a big cheque. No such luck. She was shit serious. Yeah, and I guess monkeys could fly out of my butt and bite her too. I have never seen a bat in my area nor have I EVER heard of a bat flying into anybody’s house. I have screens in my windows too. God.

I said that I thought I would take my chances and deal with a bat bite as it happens. She nodded and said that was certainly an option as well. Of course with a foreboding tone of voice implying that I am a really shortsighted and neglectful owner.

Ok. I can live with that. In fact I’ll go one step farther. If Yoshi gets rabies from being bitten by a bat that has flown in through my apartment window (or out of my ass) I will jump out at the vet with a big cheque and a camera crew.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sad Days

I have spent a few days thinking and wondering and wrestling with conflicting thoughts and ideas. I am asking questions with no real answers. I am exploring doubts with no clear resolutions.

On Thursday a terrible thing happened. Nikki, a friend and fellow blogger, lost her life in a car accident. She, a talented doctor, was in Cambodia to help others. This is yet another devastating event for her family as her partner, Sarah, lost her life to cancer last summer.

Nikki and the SWLF Sisters were exceptionally supportive of me during my cancer treatment and have also been incredible cheerleaders to others facing this disease. It is all through their own grief and sadness that they maintained such a positive presence in my life and the lives of others. I am so thankful and grateful for each and every one of them.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year I can’t tell you how many hours I spent wondering how this could have happened to me. I was not brought up in a particular faith so over my life I have had to find my way through established doctrine and alternative faiths in order to create a belief system that makes sense to me. I have wondered if The Universe has a plan for us all and how could my plan include cancer at such a young age? How did that happen? I thought about dying young without fulfilling all my dreams and was very sad and scared. I wondered if I had deserved this fate due to a negative previous life. I know I haven’t been a bad person this time around but maybe I was supposed to be better and that is why I got cancer. Do people deserve the bad things that happen to them? How did that apply to my situation?

I wanted to believe that there was some sort of Divine Justice. I hoped that everything Happened For a Reason. I thought about Destiny versus Freewill. I talked with a minister who is a breast cancer survivor herself and got her thoughts about these questions and this is what she told me.

“Life is not fair and there is no justice. Bad things happen to good people all the time and good things happen to bad people as well. The vast majority of people do not in any way deserve the terrible things that happen to them. This TOTALLY sucks.”

I am paraphrasing most of that but the “sucks” part is verbatim.

So I decided that there is the possibility of experiencing a little bit of everything in The Universe but absolutely no guarantees it will work out how you think it should. Maybe you will get to see Divine Justice occur on Earth in some situations but maybe that judgment happens in another realm out of our view. Or not at all. Maybe some things happen for a reason and maybe some things happen for no reason. Maybe you don’t see the reason right away or you don’t like the reason and block it out. I think EVEREYBODY is destined to have something terrible happen in their life. Some things are worse than others and some people get more than what seems fair but nobody is immune. The freewill part is how you deal with your tragedies. You do have a great deal of control over how you do that.

I admired Nikki so much as she chose the deal with her sorrow by helping those who needed it most. She and The Sisters spread love and support as a way to celebrate Sarah’s life. I saw and learned about grace and generosity from these women and their families. I saw them endeavor to accept what they couldn’t change and do amazing things with what they could.

As time has gone by I have come to realise that if not for my cancer I never would have met Nikki and The Sisters as well as all of you. While I would never think of my cancer as a good thing, good things have come to me as a result of it. It would be foolish for me not to accept and celebrate these aspects of my own difficulties. Maybe they are good reasons for my cancer. Maybe I will see more reasons as time goes on. Maybe not.

I have been eating chocolate in Nikki and Sarah’s honour. I have been thinking about them being together again and this helps a little. Mostly I have once again been made aware of how tenuous life is. How what time we have with the people that we love is such a gift.

I wish so desperately that this accident would have never happened. There is so much I wish I had control over that I don’t. I will shake my head and resist the brutal unfairness of it all. I will question and argue and try to make the puzzle pieces fit in a way that seems logical in My Universe. I will be angry and sad and bitter. For a while. Deep down I know that I have to eventually acknowledge the futility of this and concentrate my energy on things I can change and control. Remain open and receptive to any lessons. Exercise my freewill in a meaningful and powerful way.

I have no way of knowing if this makes sense to anybody reading thus far but I want to close with this; I feel very lucky and blessed to have known Nikki and I will miss her.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People

Tonight I watched one of my favourite shows, America’s Next Top Model. When I watch this show I always start thinking about beauty and how confusing it is to me. You can’t help but see how society holds external beauty in such high esteem. These female contestants all look beautiful in their own way but as the show goes on and you get to know them a little bit better you really start to see that some of them don’t think themselves beautiful at all. Or that some of them have such ugly personalities that you no longer see their outside beauty either. Yet in that instant that a photo is taken they are able to convince you that they possess every good quality a person can. They inspire you to buy a product and fuel dreams and wishes to become and own what they are and have. They incite desire and envy. They hold power over us.

Right after this show I changed channels to watch a show called The FaceMakers. This is all about a team of plastic surgeons who specialize in facial and cranial reconstruction. I watched stories about a six month little girl who was born without a lower jaw as well as a four year old girl who has such a rare condition there is only twenty cases in the world. Her skull was so deformed her brain was bulging out of her forehead. And my heart broke a little.

All the competitions on ANTM seem so silly and shallow compared to the challenges facing these kids. A good twirl just isn’t as big a deal as being able to eat and breathe properly no matter what Tyra says. With these contrasting situations it was even more glaringly obvious how these models perpetuate an unrealistic vision of what beauty is. I have read that the human race’s view of beauty is the result of an ancient biological urge to produce healthy offspring. You seek a “good looking” partner as those qualities seem to signify good health and wellbeing. Yet how does that make sense in recent times when you can go out and buy beauty? Those surgeries don’t change your genes. We have managed to fool nature. And ourselves.

I don’t have anything clever to say and am unable to end this post so that this whole topic is wrapped up like a pretty gift. I cannot reconcile it all. It confuses me. I think and rant and wonder about it. I get angry at myself that I buy into it and then feel anger at others who buy into it as well. I have my own issues with how I look and how I am perceived by the opposite sex. I am still fooled by beauty into thinking a certain way about a person or a product even with the knowledge that it is all meaningless. I know that a person can be super gorgeous but if they are mean and nasty they will eventually appear ugly. So, yes, beauty is more than superficial features. So why is there so much emphasis on it? How can these two opposite concepts exist in my mind?

Damn you, Tyra!! Damn you and your forehead. I sat down to watch frivolous TV and ended up in mental anguish over an established societal paradigm. Crap.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Being Parents

Well, I drove my folks to the airport to go on their annual trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. I am a little bit envious as a nice warm beach sounds really sweet right now but I am really happy they are going. They stay at a beachside apartment that belongs to family friends. I stayed there for a week just before my cancer diagnosis so I know exactly how great it is. Picture an ocean view and being kept awake at night by crashing waves. It is THAT kind of great. They didn’t get to go last year as they stuck around to help me through surgery and chemo. I felt like such a ratbag about that. I hope they have a fabulous time.

Well, I am managing to get Yoshi to take her antibiotics without too much drama. And they are totally working! I actually sought out her yawns for a sniff test and they totally passed. Her breath smells like angel farts.

She is not absolutely free from future vet intervention, however. The SPCA called this morning and a couple levels on her blood test came in a little low. They want to check her kidney function with a urine test and they need a sample. I asked how the flipping hell I am supposed to catch cat pee. I had visions of trying to slip a plastic container under her butt when she was taking a slash. It wasn’t a pretty visual. Basically I have two choices. I can leave her overnight so they can put a needle into her bladder and get pee pee that way. Um…NO!!!! Or I can get plastic, non-absorbent litter and then clean and sterilize her cat box and then collect a sample and run it to the SPCA ASAP. Guess what I will be doing this week?

I doubt there is anything wrong with the little shit as she is happy and full of beans. Her coat shines and her appetite is good. She is the picture of health and is full of purrs. But the vet just wants to do this simple pee test to make sure there is nothing wrong and after neglecting this bad breath issue for so long (BAD MOM!!!) I feel like I should go a little farther with the testing just to make double sure she is TOTALLY healthy and fit. I just hope this whole bad breath thing wasn’t some painful or uncomfortable condition as I would feel terrible that she might have suffered because I didn’t fix it right away. I don’t think so but you just never know. Is this the kind of doubt and guilt moms feel with their kids? Torture!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Crusher

Yoshi got weighed at the vet yesterday. She has gained a whole pound over the last couple years. Now she is the crusher. I'd better watch my step.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Meanest Mom EVER!

So I took Yoshi to the vet today because her breath is so bad it burns my nose and makes me cry. I really thought they would just blow me off with the suggestion I get her teeth cleaned but that was not the case at all. The vet ordered a blood panel and a course of antibiotics in case there is some sort of mouth infection that she couldn’t see. Apparently her teeth are in great shape for a cat her age so there was nothing obvious wrong. Good news but if the medication does not fix the problem then they suggest putting her under and doing a dental check. I have kitty health insurance but it doesn’t cover anything dental unless they actually find something wrong. So here I am kinda hoping they find something wrong which is sick and mean. And cheap. I am not to keen on putting my little Yoshi under general anesthetic for anything that is not absolutely necessary. We will have to see.

Yoshi is such a sassy little shit at home but when in the car turns into a spaz. The noises that come from her body are somewhat alarming and pitiful. They are also quite funny. Siamese are particularly vocal and are able to pull off some quite surprising yodeling effects. I laughed my ass off the whole drive. She only yells on the way over and knows that the second ride means we’re homeward bound and is nice and quiet for that part. Smart AND freaky.

I use the SPCA vet for routine visits as they are the cheapest way to go. I have read tales of veterinary woe on many blogs and have discovered that my city is heinously expensive for animal health care. My little visit today was $200. I can kiss my new leather jacket goodbye. L But that stinky fucker is worth it. And not being jolted from sound sleep into full nausea when she yawns in my face will be nice too.

Smell was the theme of the day as when I was in the treatment room a dog patient crapped all over the waiting area. They cleaned it all up by the time I had to wait there while they shaved my pussy (Yoshi, you sickos!) to draw blood. I am exceptionally squeamish at the best of times and the lovely olfactory combination of dog doo and disinfectant was more then I could bear. To cope I had to stand in the doorway and mouth breathe my way past my gag reflex. I am a delicate flower.

I felt so bad about taking the cat to the vet as I could totally relate with everything she was going through. Poor thing was so terrified she tried to shred my jacket and climb into my armpit. I think I might have done that to my mom at a couple of my cancer clinic appointments. Anyway, everybody at the vet office loved her because she is so cute. The lady that took her blood kissed her head. Yoshi was so good to me when I was sick with chemo so today I gave her lots of kisses and love and cuddles when we got home to try to make it up to her.

Now I have to go and give her more of her antibiotics. Let the hating begin.

The chilliest of cold shoulders...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Those Magic Words

Absolutely fantastic news, everybody! Debutaunt is officially cancer free! She kicked cancer's ass! Go on over and say Woo!

Monday, April 03, 2006


Today’s Mrtl’s Motif Monday theme is One Million Dollars and What You Would Do If You Had It. This is a topic I can write about as I often attempt positive visualization exercises in my goal of winning the lottery. I have thought long and hard about this subject and the sad conclusion is that One Million Dollars is simply not enough to do everything I want to. Not even close. Not in Vancouver.

Here is how I would spend $1,000,000. (I am going to consider this in cool US cash so that would work out to be $1,174,090 CAN)

  1. Buy myself a basic two bedroom apartment at aprox 900 sq feet-$450,000
  2. Buy my parents a basic two bedroom apartment at aprox 900 sq feet-$450,000
  3. Gift my brother and his wife something towards their staggering mortgage-$100,000
  4. Pay off the last drabs of my stupid student loans for my education that qualified me for no jobs except working in the film industry or folding sweaters at the GAP-$11,000
  5. Corrective eye surgery-$3,500
  6. Fabulous Karmen Ghia convertible-$15,000 (conversely I could get my 92 Jetta detailed and polished for about $400 but that is not nearly as much fun)
  7. Spanky new camera-probably Nikon. And yes, that would be including a shwack of groovy lenses-$7,500+
  8. Christian Louboutin boots-Oooh la la! $1,000+
  9. Opening my own business-$100,000 (details to come)
  10. Paying for my cousins’ university educations-$30,000 x2
  11. Exciting travel opportunities like this, and this and this and this. And especially this. $$$$
  12. Something small and understated for Yoshi.
  13. Private fitness trainer
  14. Personal chef
  15. Spa trips
  16. Laser hair removal
  17. Shopping sprees
  18. I could go on and on but I know I am over budget already. DAMMIT!!!!!

See what I mean?