“Virginia, I’m surprised at you!”
Oh how I hated those words back in elementary school. When the good nuns said that, it made me want to do something even worse than whatever it was I’d done to provoke their disapproval. It made me feel I was some kind of goody-goody, and what could be worse to a 4th grader’s street credentials?
Well, see this?
This has had me surprised at myself for two weeks. I should have know better.
Little Marble and I were playing with a string. The cat is obsessed with strings. So when I dangled a tantalizing string in front of him, in a millisecond he sprang waist-high and grabbed it out of my hand. Unfortunately, at the highest point of his leaping swipe, one of his needle-sharp claws, punctured my index finger. It hurt, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve been speared in my 40 years of living with cats.
That was Tuesday, the week before last. Witness my thoughts of the next few days
Wednesday: Hmm, this finger still hurts, and it’s kind of warm.
Thursday: Look how red that finger is! I think it’s swollen, and it feels really warm. Is it swelling? I wonder if I should go to the doctor. Naah!
Friday: Man, this still hurts, but it hasn’t gotten any worse. Translation: I won’t call the doctor.
Saturday: Owee-ooch -ch-ch ( Have you ever noticed how many times you hit your finger in the course of a day? I hadn’t – not until it brought forth burning pulsing throughout my whole hand.) Maybe I should have called the doctor yesterday.
I was weighing my options by now.
I really don’t want to go to the Emergency Room………….. I guess I could call the doctor’s office. After all, the message does say “If this is an emergency, press 1.
I was meeting R in the city, for a walk on Manhattan’s High Line and dinner. That would take my mind off my finger. And it did. But I got an idea of how it looked when, from across the dinner table, he asked “What did you do, catch your finger in the car door?”
(Full disclosure: I did take a photo, but I don’t want to sicken you. )
Saturday night’s thoughts: You know I think this is abscess,
I don’t like that blue, black, and purple.
Is gangrene only green?
Sniff, sniff. It doesn’t smell.
Monday’s 36 hours away. That’s not too long.
Sunday: This doesn’t look good at all. That abscess has grown. 23 hours to Monday.
Owch-ee-ooc-chee. @#!!!&$# door jamb!
I had lunch with C & D in the Bronx but I managed to conceal it from them. I knew C would make me go to the hospital.
Sunday night: Only 12 more hours
Well, to make what’s becoming a very long story excruciating. The doctor’s receptionist did squeeze me into his schedule And guess what he did? He took one looks and …………..
SENT ME TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.
So why was I surprised at myself? It’s a double whammy
- #1 Years and years ago, I was a licensed animal health technician in California. Treating cat abscesses was a daily occurrence. Cats fight. Even when they play, they fight. Cat A’s claw punctures Cat B’s skin. The skin closes over the puncture but the damage is already done and bacteria is left behind to grow and fester. So not only did I know all along what was happening, I recalled that assisting at a lancing and drainage was most rewarding since the results could be seen immediately.
- #2 Even though he was a hulking king of whatever neighborhood we lived in, my dear huge boy Fremont incurred an abscess or two from lesser upstarts. And the moment I’d notice a swelling – we were off to the vet in an instant.
So the moral of my story? Do unto yourself as you do to your pets,