Pip R. Lagenta|
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Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
|Adventures In The Swamp
The following essay was originally written for an email on Oct. 18, 2005. I have rewritten the essay for inclusion here.I had my first medical exam to check for colon cancer on Friday Oct. 14, 2005. It is a painful procedure that involves stuffing a camera up inside you. It is called a colonoscopy. I asked my medical professional if I should fast before the exam. I was told "no". Just don't take any pain reliever for a week before the exam. Rather, I was to rinse myself out with "Fleet" enemas. Fun in and of itself. But the procedure failed because the "Fleet" enemas did not clean me enough to see what they needed to see. The procedure was rescheduled for the following Monday Oct. 17, 2005 when they would do it to me again! Oh joy! But this time I would have to fast for a day and a half while cleaning myself out with a number of oral laxatives.
Now, it turns out that Monday Oct. 17, 2005 was a busy day on my schedule. I had to drop off the first of my two kittens to be spayed. On Friday I had, at last, acquired the feline trap to catch a feral cat. The black and white kitten, KittyLori, was still mostly feral, so I needed the trap. I trapped KittyLori Sunday night. I took her to be spayed at the SPCA early Monday morning, just after work.
I had started the fast early Sunday morning. According to the doctor, I could have had clear liquids like 7up or broth. But I decided to take nothing but water, and I stuck to that. Well, water and the laxatives.
I actually had two doctor appointments on Monday. The colon exam was set for the afternoon, but I had an appointment with the dermatologist in the morning. I have this growth on my left index finger that the dermatologist calls a "wart". But it is large and un-wart-like. It is interfering with the normal growth of the finger-nail. A third of the finger-nail has stopped growing. Every month, the dermatologist freezes it with liquid nitrogen in the attempt to get rid of the thing. It is quite a painful procedure. It hurts while it is being done, and it hurts even more later. I have to take a lot of pain reliever to get through the day. But wait! I can't have any pain reliever until after the colon exam. What joy.
No food, no calories. Just water for more than twenty-four hours.
I took a shower before the dermatologist appointment because I needed a shower. I took a second shower before the colon exam because they would be looking at places that I wanted extra clean. The first time this was done, on Friday, it was a female medical technician and a female nurse who did the procedure on me. The second time it was done, three days later, it was a female proctologist and a female nurse who did the procedure on me. Four women looking at my ass and there was not a thrill in it for me at all.
The exam was way more painful and unpleasant than you would want to hear about.
So... after this colon thing, I went to pick up my cat, KittyLori. It had been 30 hours since I had any kind of food at all. The plan was to take the cat home, then make myself a pizza (and maybe take a pain reliever). It was a good plan, but there was to be some "fun" first.
Just outside the SPCA, as I was walking to my car, the cage with KittyLori in it came open. KittyLori fell out and ran like a shot into the bushes. The SPCA is very near San Francisco Bay. The "bushes" near the SPCA is actually a swamp. It is a real swamp, with reeds, and brambles, and thick bushes, and a little slow-moving winding stream, and a lot of very deep mud. I ran into the SPCA and told the guy in there that my cat got away and that I needed help finding her. Then I went after KittyLori and into the swamp. I was lucky to spot KittyLori as she went under a fence in the swamp. She had jumped into the stream, and swam under the fence. That is one gutsy cat. The fence ended at the bay, so I went around the fence to follow KittyLori. KittyLori saw me, so she jumped into the stream again, and swam across it to escape me. But there was another fence there that kept her from getting too far. At that point, I was joined by the guy from the SPCA, and he had a net. But the cat was fast, and the swamp was wet. The SPCA guy did not want to get muddy. He left to get more help, but I borrowed his net. I chased KittyLori back under the fence again. She was very wet and not afraid of getting wetter. Once I got a little wet, I thought, "In for a penny, in for a pound". I stopped trying to avoid the stream and the mud. There were a lot of places for a cat to hide in that swamp. I was very lucky that I kept spotting her. I followed behind her through the stream and chased her back to the parking lot of the SPCA. Then I had some good help. KittyLori was hiding under a car and I did not see where she went. But a woman driving away, pointed to where KittyLori was and I was on the trail again. Then four people came out of the SPCA with more nets and joined the chase. A SPCA woman said "There is water dripping from this car." I went over to that car. KittyLori had crawled up into the wheel well of a car and was sitting on top of the tire. Then we had her. With a group effort, we pulled her out. We took her back into the SPCA. They cleaned up her stitches. Can you believe that she had had surgery earlier that day? We put her back in the cage and I took her home.
I let KittyLori out in my bedroom. It was warm and dry there. There was food, water, and lots of places to hide.
I had thirty-three hours of no food, and I was covered in mud. Before I could eat I had to take my third shower of the day. Then I made myself a Pizza.
That was Monday. Most of my Mondays are not quite so... er... hectic.
I left KittyLori alone until the next morning. When I opened the bedroom door, that Tuesday morning, she came out and rubbed against my leg for the first time. She is doing very well. She let me touch her for the first time that day. She let me pick her up for the first time that day. She fell asleep on my lap for the first time that day. She likes me to pet her now. She comes to me so that I can pet her. She meows at me if I stop petting her before she wants me to stop. As of that day, she was a new cat, no longer feral.
I took a thank-you note and some brownies and grapes to the SPCA. The colonoscopy found nothing.
---Pip R. Lagenta