Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lunge! Riposte! Touché!

The Manor is in disarray; Marlinspike Hall calls out for my domestic ministrations!

La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, Fred, and the (now) *four* felines -- Little Boy, Marmy, Dobby, and Sam-I-Am -- have all adopted the feckless stare of the spiritless.

(Little Boy is Marmy's brother, and has been living as a stray for the past two years. Uncle to Dobby, he recently attached himself to the lawn around the manor moat, and Fred made a heartfelt appeal to adopt him into the inner circle once his various wounds became apparent. Initially known as Uncle Kitty Big Balls, the boy's tininess inspired a new moniker once his hopelessly matted fur was shaved off by the vet, and... well, once those Big Balls were, themselves, history.)

Little Boy shall hopefully have a name soon. He enjoys relative immunity at the moment, being in such rough physical shape. That is, the fact that he poops with great pomp after every meal in a spot that he relates to The Fredster... this fact is met with forbearance, good humour, paper towels, and multiple cleansers. Once he's named and physically fit? He'd best be pooping with great pomp in one of the containers specifically designed for that purpose.

I've never run across any actual surviving implement, written description, or fine art depiction of what was used in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance to contain cat poop and pee, although why I expect the amenities to be more hygienic than the facilities used by their human counterparts is just basic denial on my part.

Surely the Age of Enlightenment had something to rival, say, the CatGenie, "[t]he only automatic cat box that flushes waste away and, like a cat, washes itself clean."

My working theory is that Little Boy understands the concept of the litter box and will be perfectly compliant once his paws heal. He has a puncture wound on his left rear paw, and a huge abscess on his right rear leg. It cannot feel good to put those tender feet into litter.

Poor little guy. Despite the enormous amounts of food that he is downing, he has lost more weight, something that he can ill afford to do. Obviously a valiant soul, he has a wonderful, loving spirit despite an obvious history of abuse. He looks not unlike Bill the Cat (and on a bad day,too). I believe that when his hair grows back and his wounds disappear and he puts on some weight -- the boy is gonna be the stunning, dominant one among the felines. As it is, he basically suctions up any food within his sight: He chows down what is rightfully his, then elbows Sammy out of the way, eats Sammy's food, meows a few times, then scrambles to the kitchen where he swipes dry kibble from Marmy and The Dobster. And still, he lost a few ounces last week. The vet opines that it is due to fever / dehydration. Getting well is a rough workout.

Did I mention that he loves me? Can't fault him for that.

He kept me company through the night -- last night -- and is now catching up on his rest, though he wakes frequently to redistribute his weight. Those Areas of Ouch are nothing to sniff at. In fact, I wonder why the vet doesn't give him something, even something topical, for the pain.

My own Areas of Ouch, the oft-mentioned World of Pain? My pain management doctor -- who dumped my care to his Nurse Practitioner last year -- is offering me Dilaudid during this period of increased acute pain. I said "no thanks" initially but after nights like this past one? Bring it on. If I understand correctly, the Dilaudid will replace Endocet as the short-acting pain killer for breakthrough problems, leaving Methadone in place for the long-acting agent. Do I sound like a druggie? Fret not. A dedicated druggie, a real addict? They'd not be willing to feel the pain with which I live, with which I dance, against which I feint the parry.

The language of swordplay seems à propos.

Little Boy and I, we are StudMuffins in the battle against pain. StudMuffins, I say.

And so, the Manor will remain in disarray for a good spell longer -- and my domestic ministrations confined to intense cuddling sessions -- wounded cat, wounded person, perhaps, in this beginning. But in our ending?

SnuggleBunny to SnuggleBunny!
Lunge! Riposte! Touché!

Post Script: I decided against switching to Dilaudid.
1. I need to be able to assess this pain as acurately as possible. So let's undertreat it!
2. The memory of not being able to breathe is still fresh. I don't want to risk depressing my respirations. (Although there are moments -- known here at Marlinspike Hall as "Shoot-Me-In-The-Head Moments" -- when I am ready to stop breathing.)
3. I CANNOT SIT IN THE CAR FOR THE RIDE TO AND FRO! It just hurts too much. How is that for insane logic? It hurts too much to go get additional pain medication...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pelosi's Tell

Nancy Pelosi, like everyone, has a tell: her left eyelid twitches when she's weaving her particular tangled webs.

I'd love to point out that the matter hardly matters, but the matter matters. It's the transparency thing, the consistency thing.

I don't doubt that, as a ranking member of the Intelligence Committee back in 2002-3, she regularly encountered much top secret information swirling round regarding terrorism intel and attended meetings during which she was briefed on torture policy. I don't doubt that trying to juggle what should be public now versus what we thought needed secrecy then -- is no easy task.

I'd love to say it is a simple matter of telling the truth, but it is not. In our favorite version of the world, of course, it would be. Still, the question she is being asked -- did she know about the use of waterboarding? -- shouldn't require the invention of yet more revisionist history. While not simple, it's not complicated either.

I support President Obama, and, as an extension, the Democratic Party, in large part because he seems to "get" that the U.S. citizenry has been treated like mental midgets for a long time, and that it is time to exercise all those little grey cells atrophied by studied disuse.

In other words: I can handle the details, even without a spin. I can figure out how information flows, and how its flow is sometimes impeded by extraordinary circumstances. But it is up to me and my various moral codes to decide what Pelosi's apparent knowledge of the actual use of waterboarding requires of her.

It does not require the twitching of an eye.

A small part of me is glad that she is such a terrible liar.

UPDATE: 14 May 2009
Under fire from Republicans for what she knew about harsh questioning of terror detainees, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday acknowledged that she had learned in 2003 that the C.I.A. had subjected suspects to waterboarding, but she asserted that the agency had misled Congress about its techniques.

At a tense press conference, Ms. Pelosi said for the first time that a staff member alerted her in February 2003 that top lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee had been briefed on the use of tough interrogation methods on terror suspects.

But she said the fact that she did not speak out at the time due to secrecy rules did not make her complicit in any abuse of detainees. She accused the C.I.A. and Bush administration of lying to Congress about what was actually transpiring with the detainees.

“I am saying that the C.I.A. was misleading the Congress and at the same time the administration was misleading the Congress on weapons of mass destruction,” Ms. Pelosi said.

Ms. Pelosi said she was told at that briefing that waterboarding, one of the most controversial of the harsh techniques employed, was not being used.

The C.I.A., reacting to Ms. Pelosi’s remarks, said that agency records declassified last week and cited by congressional Republicans show that Ms. Pelosi had taken part in a September 2002 briefing on interrogation techniques was “true to the language in the Agency’s records.”

A tempest in a teapot, but only if, in her transparency, she can refrain from shrill tits and grating tats.

Rock me on the water

From American Idyll, TW's blog dedicated to the river and the canyon, to his loves. There is no rhyme or reason to *my* selections below -- whereas he carefully presents his pictures, narrates them, knows where they're from.

Water drove me.

It gives, it's velvet; It endures, it grinds us down, rock to silt. It blesses and tickles and soothes us. It swirls and does what it wants, following and breaking the rules.

I miss him, not knowing him.
(Also, every other permutation.)

Oh people, look around you
The signs are everywhere
You've left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care
You're lost inside your houses
There's no time to find you now
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning
I'm going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow

The road is filled with homeless souls
Every woman, child and man
Who have no idea where they will go
But they'll help you if they can
Now everyone must have some thought
That's going to pull them through somehow
Well the fires are raging hotter and hotter
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister will you soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water
I'll get down to the sea somehow

Oh people, look among you
It's there your hope must lie
There's a sea bird above you
Gliding in one place like Jesus in the sky
We all must do the best we can
And then hang on to that Gospel plow
When my life is over, I'm going to stand before the Father
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister will you soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water, maybe I'll remember
Maybe I'll remember how
Rock me on the water
The wind is with me now
So rock me on the water
I'll get down to the sea somehow
--Jackson Browne, Rock Me On The Water

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THE HOSPITAL BILL: 4 nights/5 days at the spa

MED-SUR-GY/PVT - 1,560.00
ICU - 4,010.00
PHARMACY - 7,157.40
IV SOLUTIONS - 2,056.00
IV THERAPY - 55.00
IMPLANTS - 2,948.00
CHEMISTRY - 3,624.00
HISTOLOGY - 1,119.00
RADIOLOGY - 293.00
DX X-RAY/CHEST - 1,800.00
CT SCAN/HEAD - 1,862.00
CT SCAN/BODY - 2,907.00
OR SERVICES - 11,035.00
ANESTHESIA - 2,243.00
CARDIOLOGY - 1,444.00
RECOVERY ROOM - 3,239.00
EKG/ECG - 456.00
EEG - 569

TOTAL CHARGES - $60,523.15

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pain, Fever, Infection -- Oh My!

I'm depressed. And febrile. And in beaucoup pain.

We spent over three hours at the ID doc's posh place.

He wants me to do another full 6 week course of vancomycin, so we will carry on with it. Every 12 hours. No matter that we don't know what we're treating.

But you can't argue with explosive, virulent, stanky pus in zee bones!

I feel very sick, kind of afraid. I expressed this and was told that fear was appropriate.

He is going to do a "search of the literature." I almost started laughing-crying. He's also going to get ideas from some sort of ID doctor meeting of such-folk citywide.


My poor darling Fred is so tired. I have become nothing less than a burden (replete with explosive, virulent, and stanky, stanky pus in zee bones). What every man wants in a woman.

Hands Down

Ick Cheney, a walking, talking turdescent worm. Rush Limbaugh? Why should I break a sweat when Margaret and Helen are on the case?

Oops, is my microphone on? Did I say that out loud? (No, Wanda Sykes did not go too far. She barely touched the surface... and I hope she was wearing gloves.)

I thought Obama was fairly funny at the White House Press Corps thingy. Cheney's memoirs are tentatively titled "How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People." Okay, so I didn't bust a gut laughing or snort milk up my nose. Someone needs to explain to the President that real humor requires incongruity.

Ever reticent, Helen Philpot notes: "These morons have nothing left to offer. There are no solutions for peace. Instead we must always be ready for war. There are no solutions for poverty, instead we must carefully protect the wealth of the wealthy. There are no solutions for the environment, instead we must simply put our heads in the sand and pretend that life goes on forever – unchanging and without consequence. No wonder these guys look bloated and constipated. They’re full of shit, and lots of it."

Why don't we all just relax? Have a second cup of coffee, toast an english muffin. Treat the cat's ear mites.

Laughter is, indeed, the best medicine. It turns out that my O2 saturation rises into the proper 90s when I laugh! Here are some clips that ought to oxygenate your brain, too! Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. (This is how it is done. Obama, Sykes -- take note.)