cats · Fun And Games Off Duty

KITTEN TAILS, PART IV

As it develops, when you have a herd (or, is it “a flock of cats”? I am not sure…) of cats, when one develops conjunctivitis, well, EVERYBODY goes along for the ride. Therefore, should your Mark I, Mod Ø Stretcher Ape attempt to medicate the sick cats, well, THAT leaves a reservoir of untreated, and, it seems, soon-to-be-infected cats. Reminiscent of a circle jerk, of sorts.

So, TDW-Mark II came to the realization that, should sick call include all the cats, there would remain no susceptible population to serve as a next stop for the Train O’ Pink Eye that appeared to be making the rounds.

Loyal Readers likely have already recalled the “sick call” nature of such an adventure. She and I would corral a couple of kittens, medicate them, provide canned cat food as a treat, and then open the bathroom door, planning to hunt down, corral, and carry away to the bathroom, the next contestants. There, to medicate and treat (in both senses of the word) those cats, and then repeat until no unmedicated cats remained.

Well, we would open the door, and the most recent contestants would ease their way out, and, par miracle!, two more would saunter in, as if to say, “I say, old fellow: I had heard that there were treats to be had? Could you help a fellow out?”

With this as a backdrop, we had assumed that Reluctant Cat would be cool with his turn at antibiotic-ointment-in-the-cat’s-eyes. You all do remember how to spell “Assumed”, amirite?

Yep. Reluctant Cat abruptly forgot the entire “cooly saunter into the bathroom/clinic” thing, and decided that what I really, really needed, was a venotomy on my dominant wrist. (since he did not have either a IV catheter, nor thumbs with which to manipulate it, he couldn’t have been thinking that I needed an IV, anyway.)

BAD NEWS: I am on blood thinners.

GOOD NEWS: He really had a crappy angle on my radial vein. Plus, in a display of reflexes that I have not demonstrated since I was in my twenties, I snatched my hand away just prior to the letting of blood could really get into full swing. As it happened, I only sustained a couple of fairly superficial scratches, which stopped bleeding after, oh, maybe a half an hour or so.

As for Reluctant Cat, well, HE went into the bag, head exposed, got his med, got his treat, and got shown the (bathroom) door.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Pre Planning Your Scene

Sleigh Bells Jingling, etcetera

So, TINS, TIWFDASL something like 60 northern Un-Named Flyover State miles from home. This was several years ago, of course, when we still had snowfalls (…he said, snarkily!) One night, I got out of work after 12 hours in our windowless ED, to find it had SIFAO. (Snowed….). AND, for bonus points, was still SIFAO. My daily driver was a 2008 FWD Hyundai Sonata.

So, it turns out that, at 45 mph, my typical 1 hour drive approaches 2 hours. Particularly when, SIFAO as it was, I followed the exit ramp, thinking I was still on the expressway.

You start to wonder about that, once the stop sign appears.

I re entered the highway, and plowed my way home, white knuckling it the whole way. I got home safely, the car gave me STELLAR gas mileage that trip, TDW-Mark II worried, and I galumped my crabby ass, along with considerable snow, into the house, unbruised.

Thanks Be To Chthulu.

More thoughtful observers, than I apparently am, might wonder why I simply did not obtain a motel room, and sleep my happy ass away, in the town that I was already in, and thereby allow the unsung heroes of the road commission and the state highway department, to work their magic and clear the roads?

Well, to be honest, that would require more foresight than, evidently, I possessed at that time. One might wonder if I had contemplated the McFee Four Stages of Snow Emergency. I had not.

To review, here are The McFee “Four Stages of Snow Emergency” Scale.

Level 4: wear your damn boots
Level 3: bring a coat, bring a shovel and a scraper
Level 2: do the s#!t you have to do and go the hell home
Level 1: Ermagerd! French toast by candlelight!

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty · Fun With Suits! · Gratitude · Life in Da City!

Snippets Part III

I have a flexible spending account at work, so as to be able to pay my copays, deductibles, and suchlike with pre tax dollars. Late last year, I noticed that the card by which such expenditures were paid for, was getting declined. I assumed that I had spent all the money and thought no further of it.

Then, I began to get messages from the administrators of the account. Finally rousing myself to speak to them, I learned that the card had been frozen, because, I was informed, they required hard copy receipts for 3 or 4 of my expenditures. This included purchases from my optometrist for, oh, gosh, GLASSES, as well as at the podiatrist, for TDW-Mark II’s ingrown toenail.

It puzzled me, Visa, nor Mastercard never had such issues. I assumed that, just like the commercial banks, that the electronic billing that led to the vendor of, say, my gasoline, getting paid, had all the information required, kind of like a grocery store receipt.

Perhaps I was wrong. Or, perhaps, somewhere in this favoured land, folks go to their podiatrist, or their optometrist, when they feel the need for hookers and blow. (I wouldn’t know, myself, and Hunter Biden was not available to comment on that possibility) So, I guess, I will have to remain puzzled.

@@

Occasionally, I am humbled. Just the other day, I had such an opportunity. The lady bringing the pre school aged children in for whatever their complaint that day, was approximately my age (and, I am by no means of child rearing age. Hell, my youngest grandchild is already in primary school!) She reported, in the course of the conversation, that “My husband and I both got them when they were very, very young.”

Just, matter of fact. No inflection, dry fact.

As I was charting later, I noted that the parent was identified as the grandparent.

So, let’s contemplate that. Some of us are anticipating retirement, with few responsibilities, plenty of free time, and no pressing concerns.

Others, around us, are raising a SECOND family, at our ages, and not flinching.

Some of us are facing demands of duty, and stepping up to those demands, and in doing so are protecting, and nurturing, the most vulnerable among us.

@@

So This Is No Shit (TINS), There I was Fighting Disease And Saving Lives (FDASL), long, long ago and far, far away.

Well, okay. REEEAAALLLLYYYY!, I was shopping in Farmer Jack, in Da City, on one of my off duty from EMS days. I was pushing my shopping cart down one aisle or another, occasionally consulting my shopping list, and a fellow approached me.

He greeted me. “Hey! I know you!”

I did not just recently develop my aversion to Humanity. I spent years perfecting it. “Uh, no, you don’t, sir.”

He, on the other hand, was undeterred. “No, I know you! You work for the fire department!”

“You have the wrong guy!”

“No, really! I remember you  You saved my brother’s life!”

“Yep! That’s me! That’s how I spend my days! How is your brother?”

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty

A New Episode, Wherein I Get The Rona

So, This Happened: Overnight, the other night, I awakened feeling overheated. My go-to assessment in that sort of scenario is that The Darling Wife had turned the thermostat up, and so, of course, I arose to investigate this possibility. I noted that the thermostat remained where it had been the previous day, which pushed that explanation way, way down my differential of why I felt hot.

I returned to bed, awakened, and went through my usual pre fighting disease and saving lives routine. I then drove my happy self to work, completing the pre work checklist which “screens” us for (shudder!) Da Rona!.

On this day, I acknowledged that I had felt sort of feverish the preceding night, and had a worsening of my baseline, Live in The Un Named Fly Over State In Winter, cough. Being a diligent doobie, I phoned my supervising physician, and appraised her of these data points.

Reasonably, I next was the object of a rapid coronavirus test.

Now, y’all get where I work, right? So, it is no surprise that I have, indeed, been exposed to Da Rona, every working day of my life, since Rona first began to get “popular”. Therefore, it was not a surprise that the test read positive for Da Rona. The only surprising element was how trivially ill I felt.

My explanation of THAT , was that either I had already contracted Da Rona, and my residual immunity served to attenuate the effects of the virus upon me, or that the solitary shot I received of the J & J vax, protected me from getting more ill than I otherwise might have gotten, or that I contracted the omicron variant (or, whatever greek letter presently is up-to-bat) and that, not to put too professional a point on it, it ain’t shit.

Or, some combination of the above. Who knows?

Bad news? I missed two days of work, burning up 2 days of PTO. Good news? TDW-Mark II and I spent a lovely week bonding together. Kind of a dry run for retirement. Bad News, Part II? Staying home is not particularly central to my vision of retirement. Yeah, that’s nice and all that, but, once retired, I anticipate more camping and less screen time than this past week featured.

Good News, Part II? I was about as ill as any other cold that I have had, with more “Ermagerd! Der Roner!” as seasoning.

Never lost my taste (jokes about my plebeian penchant in, well, everything aside…), fever was a kinda-sorta-maybe, nothing fever. No breathlessness, not really much of anything. So, my assessment, 6 days in, is a resounding “Meh?”.

May you all have a similarly underwhelming experience, yourselves!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

KITTEN TAILS, PART THREE

Our Cat Farm grew, as Momma Kitty joined us. One autumn day, TDW-Mark II observed Momma Kitty come onto our porch, and eat the dry cat food we had been placing out for her. TDW opened the kitchen door, on this pleasant autumn day, and verbally invited Momma Kitty to enter, and get acquainted.

Much to our surprise, she promenaded into the kitchen. She next sat herself in one of the windows, and we could not convince her to move. TDW then retrieved our travel crate for the one dog, opened it, and Momma Kitty simply walked in, settled down on the dog bed, and looked at us as if to say, “Well? Do you think you are done?”

We secured the door of the crate, and realized that we now needed to find, and retrieve, her latest batch of kittens.

TDW (perhaps, by now, y’all have realized who is the brains of this operation. And, it’s not me, apparently.) had observed the dogs lingering over a particular potion of the porch, as surmised tha the kittens would likely be located underneath.

So, we accessed the underside of the porch, TDW entered, and passed out the two kittens she found therein. The first kitten, now know as Oliver, was a wee bit, and appeared to have a lesion of some sort on the back of his neck. (this later was identified by our vet as an abscess) The second kitten, now know as Trixie (due to the black and white, “cow camo” pattern of her fur, reminiscent of TDW’s pet cow from her childhood), appeared to have some sort of mucoid material from her one eye. We wondered if the litter had been larger initially, and suspected that the stimulus to bring Momma Kitty in might have been some predator (we have raccoons about) might have attempted to clean out the litter, and these two, and Momma, survived.

We cleaned them up, as a start, and arranged for vet assessment. Oliver got an antibiotic, and his abscess resolved. Trixie was another story.

The vet could not visualize her one eye, and voiced concern that this might be a viral conjunctivitis, and have a corneal ulcer associated with it. She wondered if this would, in fact, heal, or if, once healed, she would have no vision in that eye.

So, we became cat nurses. Trixie got her eye ointment twice a day. After several weeks, she improved. And, since curveballs seem to be my lot in life, one of the other cats appeared to develop pink eye as well.

Since conjunctivitis is wildly contagious, unsurprisingly the other cats developed it. To my surpirse, only 7 of our ten cat herd did so: the three oldest appeared to miss that fun. So, we drew a kitty MAR (medication administration record), and began twice a day sick call.

The bad news was that the biggest of the kittens Was Not Having the medication administration. That led to Sumo Cat “Parenting”, which is every bit as much fun as it sounds. Particularly for those of us who bleed freely. And do not have hind claws. Fortunately, TDW, wise in the ways of Catdom, determined that should we profit from the old aphorism “letting the cat out of the bag”, and place Reluctant Cat into a sack made of two retired pillowcases, his paws and claws would be neutralized, I could immobilize his head, and she could administer the eye medicine.

To Reluctant Cat’s credit, he either did not realize that he could readily gnaw the shit out of us, or else elected to let this insight pass by, unacted upon. In either event, he improved.

The good news is that, soon, we would corral Reluctant Cat, and his escape artist sister (previously referred to as the superball, or the furry bottle rocket), and medicate them.

That task accomplished, we would administer treats, in the form of canned cat food, which they seemed to very much enjoy. Then, we would open the bathroom door, to release them and seek the next contestants, only to find that there was a feline line up, and next two would walk in, apparently unworried.

We would shut the door, medicate (and chart) these two, and provide their reward/treat. Opening the door, those two would saunter out, and the next two would meander in. Shut the door, medicate cats, treat/reward cats, chart meds, open door, those two exit, and the next one would enter and be medicated, rewarded/treated, easy-peasy.

As the kittens became integrated into the pride, one adopted our older cat. (I told of Henrietta and Max in a previous note) We were surprised to see that, once Oliver was in the pack, he appeared to adopt Olivia, from the previous litter, as if he was her “pet kitten”.

The cuteness mounts!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

KITTEN TAILS, PART II

With regard to the three kittens, Momma Kitty, and their transition from feral cats to indoor cats, well, as you may expect, it was a bit of a tale. TDW-Mark II had determined that the kittens were in another of our window wells, and, judging that they had been weaned, figured that we ought to bring them in, before Momma Kitty drove them off to seek their own fortunes, elsewhere. So, my wife removed the window from one of the window wells, reached out and grabbed Kitten Number One, and placed this kitten into a pet carrier that she had staged nearby.

She reached for Kitten Number Two, and placed that cat into the carrier as well.

So far, so good.

It wasn’t until she reached Kitten Number Three, that it all went wrong. This cat developed into an avatar of Shiva, Destroyer Of Worlds: Bantamweight Division. Exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws, Number Three escaped TDW’s clutches, and caromed, cue ball like, about the basement.

And, it was on! TDW attempted to corner the kitten, only to discover that in some kitten academy they teach moves only seen in Kung-Fu movies. Number Three levitated, twirled, and spun away, !!JUST!! out of reach, only to come to rest (relatively speaking) beneath some appliance or another. Once, she had figured out how to access the kitten, she (the kitten) would bolt away, leaping, gazelle like, over another appliance, and then jet around like some furry bottle rocket.

Fortunately, kittens do not have tremendous stores of energy, and therefore, after more swearing and running around (on everybody’s part), Number Three slowed down, just enough, for TDW to throw a towel over her, and wrestle her (the cat) into the carrier.

We settled the kittens into the upstairs bathroom. We figured that accustoming the kittens to our presence would Do Good Things such as reduce the furry superball impressions that they enacted for our benefit, each time we attempted to handle them.

THAT took some time to show any effect. One of the kittens, subsequently named Olivia (due to her peaceful- think olive branch-disposition), rather quickly noticed the humans=food correlation, and even would purr when cuddled, and petted, in TDW-Mark II’s lap. Her twin, named Henrietta (after the chickenhawk character in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons), soon followed suit, purring up a storm when she was petted and cradled in TDW’s (or my) lap. This, in keeping with her namesake, followed Henrietta’s looking at us, and emitting a kittenish snarl, as if to remind us, “I’m Bad!”

The third kitten, due to her exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws whenever one of us approached her, was named “Dynamite”. Dynamite slowly warmed up to us, even, eventually, sleeping on our bed.

That, however, followed our gradually introducing the kittens to the rest of the Cat Farm. We would place them in a wire travel crate, and then settle the crate (and kittens) into one corner of the dining room, where TDW-Mark II and I commonly spend our time. There, we could supervise and, occasionally, referee, the developing acquaintance of the kittens with the rest of the menagerie.

One of the older cats decided that he would wander over to say hello (or whatever cats say in such circumstances). He plopped his large self down near the wire, and spent time looking at the kittens, occasionally reaching in their direction with one paw.

Henrietta, true to her namesake, remonstrated with him, snarling with all the kittenish gravitas that she could muster. Which is to say, nearly silently, and not so very intimidating.

After several days of this, we opened the door of the crate, allowing them (the kittens) to wander. The older cat, Max, appeared to take upon himself the role of mentor/uncle, as, for example, Henrietta would burst into loud purring whenever she had the opportunity to curl up next to Max. He (Max) would play with the kittens, occasionally cuffing them as if to underscore his point of, say, “you are playing too rough!”

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Kitten Tails

So, TINS, TIW, NOT FDASL, at home. As it turns out, I am a cat lover. Indeed, my Darling Daughter has wondered out loud “…Dad? Are we going to have to arrange an intervention?” We had three cats, early in the spring. Then a stray, known around our house as Momma Kitty, decided that our window well would be a nice place to deliver, and nurture, her litter. I learned this as she was in the midst of moving her litter from one window well to another, and appeared to have left one kitten behind.

I came to this realization as I heard plaintive meowing from the window well. I investigated and found one forlorn NOT weaned little kitten, and no mother in evidence. I scooped this furball up, and contacted our vet, he of the “Wrecks” story .

Once Furball had been examined, our vet advised that this kitten, well shy of being weaned, needed to be fostered, and likely our local Humane Society could hook us up.

We contacted them, they accepted the kitten, and promised to let us know once he was weaned and adoptable.

Weeks later, Momma Kitty wandered up on our porch, in company of three other kittens. TDW-Mark II noted that they appeared to hole up beneath our porch, and her observations suggested that they were accessible. She, as well, had observed the kittens eating from the dry food we had been placing for Momma Kitty, suggesting that they were weaned, or nearly so.

After an adventure that I might describe later, TDW-Mark II had retrieved all three kittens, although Momma Kitty escaped our clutches.

We had the kittens vaccinated, and quarantined them for a while, both to he;lp assure that they would not transmit unknown Dread Cat Disease to out three incumbent cats, as well as provide an opportunity to try to socialize them to life as housecats.

As they matured, we arranged for two of them to be neutered, and have their front claws removed. It seems that TDW-Mark II does not like her furniture shredded. Well, to be honest, neither do I.

We brought our two post op cats home, and observed them carefully. A couple of days later, one of the cats appeared to be bleeding. Closer inspection appeared to show that one of her paws had a skin flap, and this appeared to be the source of the sluggish bleeding.

Out came the medic bag, and I attempted to dress and bandage the wound.

It turns out that your average cat is not a fan of the entire wound cleaning/dressing/bandaging thing. Bad News: the entire experience is reminiscent of wrestling with a tiny fur coat full of razor blades. Good News: Olivia The Cat (for it was Olivia who was bleeding post operatively) is a very, very placid cat. Yeah, she let me know that she had hind claws and fangs, but she never once broke my skin. She would occasionally take my hand or fingers in her mouth, teeth resting on me, but hardly any pressure. Her hind feet, claws extended, would contact my other hand, and push me away, but with a gentle pressure, not with a rapid or forceful motion.

With the able assistance of TDW-Mark II, Olivia was dressed and bandaged, and I carried her to our bed, laying on top of the covers, cat cradled beside me, holding the bleeding limb elevated somewhat. She began to purr, and lay with me for nearly 40 minutes before she had Cat! Things! To! Do!, and got up, galumping around the house.

Me? I had work in the morning, and went to bed. TDW-Mark II informed me the next morning that Olivia had untangled her bandage, and slipped the entire mess down her leg, just like a sock balling up around your instep in boots on a wet, cold wintry day. So, TDW-Mark II re dressed the wound, and rebandaged it, this time using veterinary Co-Ban.

This was a much more satisfactory arrangement (well, for us at least….), and lasted until our vet could unravel things and provide some expert analysis of affairs.

A day later, Olivia returned home, and we all lived happily ever after. (well, THAT’S my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

Fun And Games · Fun And Games Off Duty · guns · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

THE WISDOM ASSOCIATED WITH HINDSIGHT!

So, the other day, My Best Man and I went to the range together. He had recently acquired a Garand that he had not yet shot, so, by way of introduction, I brought mine, along with some other guns that merited airing out. A good time was had by all, as range time = good times. “Group therapy”, so to speak.

My friend is a bit of a raconteur, so the stories never end. He told several tales regarding the CEO of his employer, and these stories revealed a soul steeped in the tradition of leading from the front, and taking care of your people = taking care of business, which equals, in our line of work, taking care of patients. Well. Taking care of them, well.

From him, with our history, these were tales of high, high praise, indeed. (He is the originator of the observation that “Little Mary Sunshine is *NOT* a force multiplier!”)

Eventually, we had shot everything that we had brought along to shoot, and noted that it had clouded up, with occasional rumbles of thunder to draw our attention. Therefore, we safed the weapons, packed up the ammunition, cased the firearms, and paraded to our vehicles.

Once everything was settled into our vehicles, well, the skies opened. We were at my conservation club range, and so I got the opportunity to exit my vehicle, unlock the gate, open the gate, exit the gate, and relock the gate. This, of course, required that I exit my nice, warm, dry truck, wade through the slough that our driveway had become (soaking my feet in the process. I *HATE* cold, wet feet!), fiddle with the lock, fiddle some more with it as I fail to correctly recall the combination, fiddle with the damned thing YET AGAIN, finally opening it. In the downpour.

As my partner exited the gate, I ran to my own truck, entered it, and realized that I had a poncho therein. I donned the poncho, and attempted to close my door.

As it developed, my truck will *NOT* exit park, and move, until the driver’s door is secured. That required me to remove the poncho from the door, and attempt, several times, to close the damned thing. Finally succeeding, I moved my truck through the gate, and re entered the cataract in order to re lock the gate.

It occurred to me, right about then, that donning my poncho (as well as, oh, I dunno, FREAKING BRINGING MY FREAKING FIRE BOOTS) might have gone a long way towards allowing me to open the gate, close the gate, lock the gate, and then return to my vehicle, without being, you might say, soaked to my damned skin.

Ah, the wisdom associated with hindsight!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude

Dad’s Blood Infusion

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©…well, while This Is (indeed) No Shit, I was NOT, in this tale, Fighting Disease And Saving Lives. Rather, years ago, I was in The Un-Named Eastern State, visiting the Momette and my father. Dad had had a cardiac arrest something on the order of a year and a half prior, and had, miraculously, recovered entirely intact. Subsequent to that, he was found to have cancer, and THAT had NOT had a miraculous outcome. He had undergone several surgeries, and finally had been referred to hospice.

Let me say this about hospice. These folks, in this corner of that state, were a Gift From Heaven. No shit, honest-to-God, straight up. If I were to be found to have a heart, they certainly warmed it.

Today’s lesson concerns one of Dad’s surgeries. I had taken some time off, and was in The Un-Named Eastern State. Dad had come out of surgery, and we were there to visit him: Mom, My Brother The Accountant, and myself, who, at this point (yeah, my stories sort of jump from one point in time to another, don’t they?) was an actively licensed paramedic, as well as an RN, and nursing supervisor. I had been an ED RN for something on the order of 5 years at the time of this story. In anticipation of there developing a need for me to make a longer term presence in my parents’ home, I had obtained a Nursing license in the Un-Named Eastern State.

So, we were standing at Dad’s bedside, and I noted that he had blood running. As a nurse, we all learn, early on, that from the time that the blood departs the blood bank, until the last drop of hemoglobin rich goodness leaves the bag for your patient’s veins, no more than four hours must elapse. Anything not infused at the four hour mark, will still be in the bag as it is returned to the blood bank.

Idly, I observed that the bag appeared to be half full, and dropping sluggishly. I looked at the blood bank tag, which documented, among other things, the time the infusion had started: approaching three hours previous to my inspection thereof. I inspected the tubing, looking for closed clamps, kinked tubing, or other impediment to flow. On Dad’s hand, just upstream from the IV catheter, I observed a tight bend, something resembling a slight kink in the tubing.

I released the tape, opened the loop a bit, and re taped it, and gave things another looking over.

My mother reproached me. “Reltney, I don’t think you should mess with that. You should call the nurse.”

I was surprised. “Mom, I *AM* a nurse! In fact, I’m even a nurse, in *THIS* state!”

She replied, “Oh, you know what I mean!”

Fun And Games Off Duty

Mocking Spammers

Now, I am by no means any sort of authority in such matters, but, I cannot help wondering if, oh, I dunno, READING ONE ENTRY OF THE FREAKING BLOG might help you avoid appearing to be a (poorly programmed) machine?

Because, those of you who have read a single one of my posts likely know that they do not have word one (at least, not salutary word one) about “computer systems”.

Following is a “comment”:


Freebies
7 hours ago·www.cravefreebies.com/freebiesUser InfoSpamTai Chi: You’re Doing It Wrong!

I have seen loads of useful things on your site about computer systems. However, I’ve the judgment that notebooks are still not quite powerful enough to be a wise decision if you often do projects that require a great deal of power, including video enhancing. But for net surfing, statement processing, and the majority of other prevalent computer functions they are just fine, provided you may not mind the small screen size. Many thanks for sharing your opinions.

Reading and comprehending. It is A Thing!