Bitu's Catster.com Diary
February 23rd 2011 8:24 pm
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My younger human was born with cerebral palsy in the hips and legs, though her intellect is as normal (if not superior in some respects) as anybody else's. She's always been considered a "mild to moderate"case since her balance and mobility are the most affected. She's had her share of trips to the hospital, most of which were frightening and painful owing to the several operations she had on her hips, legs and feet which left both physical and emotional scars. Long before Minnie or I were ever thought of, she thought the last time WAS the last time until within the last several months. She'd been losing blood over several months like an extended period which she wasn't overly concerned about until large clots were coming out along with the blood flow. On top of that, she was losing her breath getting into her wheelchair which was overestimated in the height by whoever took her measurements the last time she needed a new one after the other one was overrun by the bedbugs plaguing the building at the time (the wheelchair was eleven years old by that time anyway). It turns out that she'd gotten down to one-third of the normal blood supply and she could die if nothing was done. In order to find out the cause of this, several ultrasounds were taken to see what could be seen within her reproductive system. Since she'd never had kids, it seemed unusual to my people that something should go wrong there, but the doctor insisted on something being done. It turned out that my younger human's uterine lining was larger than it should be, plus there was something in the uterus that made her look several months pregnant even though she'd never had kids in her life. This brought up the possibility of some kind of cancer, even though my younger human has never smoked. When the possibility of an operation came up, all the things that had frightened and pained my younger human came back - things she could hardly ever talk about. The thing she was scared of the most was having a mask put over her face like all the other operations except for one where she was given a shot in the arm of some kind. They never told her what they used that time, but she was wishing somebody would find it on her records so they could use that stuff again. The first time several years before that was especially frightening. Whoever was the anesthesiologist at the time asked her to blow a couple times on his fingers and said she would be put to sleep with a "magic mask". That night was the first time she rolled her head from side to side before she managed to get to sleep and it took her years to get over doing that. The actual mask looked like the earpiece of a telephone receiver attached to the same kind of cord as the end of the receiver you talked into, but it still frightened my younger human no end. Being in her fifties by now didn't make the prospect of an operation any less frightening, even though this time she had the chance to go home the same day and had less chance of adding to her collection of painful scars. My older human tried to convince her that things had gotten better in later years because he didn't remember having anything put over his face when he had a colonoscopy several years before, even though they never found anything of concern despite the fact that he had a lot wrong with him at once in 2003 - a high fever, dehydration, a rash, pneumonia and I don't know what else (Minnie had been with my people about four months by that time), though my younger human wasn't convinced. When she went to see the doctor for the preliminary discussion closer to the time of the day for the operation, she told him in Spanish that she was afraid and he said there was nothing to worry about (the regular doctor who recommended him thought my younger human would enjoy talking Spanish with him occasionally). She stayed up all night the night before, trying to hold on while she had to hold off eating and drinking until after everything was over and worrying more about the process than about what they might find. It was bad for her too in the sense that the folks wouldn't be there like all the other times because they'd died long years before, or they'd be beside my older human in the waiting room. It was raining by the time my people got onto the shuttle bus to the hospital after getting off the train, and the rumors of snow weren't helping matters, though my people knew that our building wouldn't get snow that would stick unless the freezing level hit the valley floor, though they knew the higher elevations always got it first. They made their way to the Short Stay Unit on the third floor of the hospital where my younger human was checked in and shown to a room to wait out her time, though it helped that my older human was there. They got a real laugh when they heard that the anesthesiologist of the day would be Miles Standish like the Miles Standish of the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - "a maker of war and not a maker of phrases". My older human was worried because they anticipated starting late because of a case ahead of my younger human's case. Because of the delay, my people got somebody other than Miles Standish, even though the thought of him helped to relieve the tension. To my younger human's immense relief, they put something in the IV tube to put her out. She remembered being put on the operating table, then after that she woke up in the recovery room. It was the second time she could remember being in a room like that with other patients, though the other time she was probably the youngest one there. When the nurses thought she was ready, they took my younger human to a room like the one she waited in before, though it confused my older human as to why they would take my younger human to a different room from the one she started at. But he was especially relieved that my younger human had no cancer, though the uterine lining still had to be pared down somewhat. The nurses checked my younger human's reaction to food and drink in her system by giving her some crackers and ice water to see how she could hold them down. Then a while after that my younger human was allowed to get her clothes on again and get back into her solid-seated wheelchair. They tried to keep my people from going back on the train, but since they don't drive, they felt more comfortable being on the train and they felt that whatever they worked on at the hospital wouldn't be adversely affected. So after signing a paper, my people headed back to town and made their way to the Subway booth in the same food court where I missed the opportunity to catch a real-live mouse. They had chicken and rice soup, a foot-long chicken teriyaki sandwich, a bag of Doritos pizza chips, some chocolate chip cookies, several pieces of strawberry-cream cheese strudel, and some Sprite. My younger human managed to hold her food down all right, but she was still so tired that she drifted in and out at home until early this morning. She has to go back in a couple weeks for a follow-up, but that's much less frightening than what she thought would happen at the hospital. Jason Hopper was right - the Big Cat (as he says) came through for my people again.