Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Karma chameleon

I have to take my cat Charlie to the vet later this afternoon. (He's been throwing up, poor baby.) I'm worried about what might be wrong, of course, but more immediately, I'm worried about actually getting him there. Charlie is...not so good with the carrier, let's say. Charlie actually doesn't care for being messed with in any way. He's a total freak, is what I'm saying here. (But he's MY freak!) I'm sitting here going over various scenarios for tricking him into the carrier, and hoping that maybe my own excellent behavior as a child will net me some good karma.

No, really. I was, in many ways, the BEST kid ever. (If I do say so myself.) Going to the doctor or the dentist, getting a shot, taking a pill...no sweat. I never really saw what all the fuss was about. And fuss there was--from my brother and sister. I remember my mother hiding pills in applesauce, smashing them up in orange juice, cleaning up the inevitable vomit when a laborious attempt to swallow a pill without choking went awry once again. I watched it all, and I thought, pragmatic little four-year-old that I was: WTF? (Okay, I probably didn't ACTUALLY think the "F" part; I was way too well-behaved to curse, even if I'd known that word.) But seriously, I'd put the pills in my mouth, swallow them quickly down and get on with my life. Ten seconds, done, and I'm off to play or watch TV while my siblings wasted an hour of their lives. Fools!

Same thing with needles. Hold still, stay calm and it's over quickly. Kick and scream and fuss, and the experience just lengthens. Why couldn't my brother and sister learn from my excellent example? But they never did.

A co-worker was telling me last week about her young niece, who is so freaked out by the dentist that they actually had to hospitalize her to do dental work. I remember my own family dentist (truly a family member, actually--the husband of my dad's cousin)--and his particular method of dealing with children. This was back when getting gas at the dentist was practically unheard of, when we ALL got cavities that had to be filled, and shots of novocaine were standard procedure. Bill would have you close your eyes, and start scratching your gum gently with his fingernail. "You feel the scratching? I'm just rubbing your gum with my finger." Then, having distracted you with that, he'd slide the needle in and give you the shot. Well, he never fooled me. I knew he was giving me a shot, but I didn't see the need to freak out about it. I was somewhat puzzled by the whole "I'm scratching your gum" thing, though, and once asked my mother about it on the way home from an appointment. "Why does Bill always do that scratching thing before he gives the shot?" Screams arose from my brother and sister in the back seat: "HE'S GIVING US A SHOT?!?!" Hee. Sorry, Bill. Didn't mean to tip your hand.

It's a good thing I was (and still am) very calm in the face of physical ailments and injuries, since I was (and still am) the most accident-prone person on the planet. My mother once said to the doctor, as he stitched my fingertips back into their proper place on the ends of my fingers after a particularly heinous pizza dough roller accident (in my mid-20s), "It's a good thing she has such a high pain tolerance, since she's the one of my kids always getting hurt." "Maybe she has a high pain tolerance BECAUSE she's always getting hurt," he replied. Huh. Good point.

Concussion and scraped face from a bicycle accident, broken arm from a horseback riding accident (nurse: "I can't believe she's not screaming, they always scream at this point"), shredded face and broken nose and nearly ripped-off ear from a car accident, gashed nose from a bottle-throwing incident (good story), whiplash from a tornado-related car accident (also a good story), nearly melted sinus cavities from a sort of but not really drug-related incident (that's a REALLY good story), broken arm from a lawnmower accident, cracked rib from yet another car accident...you get the picture. I am always calm. Fix me and send me home, please. Thanks.

So really, some of the karma of those years of being calm and easy in the face of impending medical intervention ought to come home to roost, wouldn't you say? Charlie should go obediently into his carrier and let the doctor do what she needs to do, right? Right. I won't hold my breath.

And, okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that, while I was, as a child, incredibly calm and easy-going in the face of medical intervention, I did have my quirks. Ask my mother about the socks with the "wiggles" tantrums sometime and watch her start to laugh. I did NOT, for the record, LIKE MY SOCKS TO HAVE WIGGLES. And while I thought that "my socks have wiggles" was an incredibly descriptive telling of my woe (for a 4-year-old), my mother had NO idea what I meant. I meant that those annoyingly thin, lousy with frills and lace anklets all the little girls wore back then would slide down inside my shoes and wedge underneath my arches in a MOST disturbing way. (For the record, I still hate that feeling.) So I refused to wear them. Loudly. Finally my mother, having realized that though she might never exactly understand the "wiggles" angle, she perfectly understood the "refusal to wear them" angle, went out and bought a bunch of nice, stretchy bobby socks, which stayed obediently where they were meant to, and that's what I wore with all my dresses, style be damned. Let all the other little girls have their anklets--I was wiggle-free!!

Okay, so I was a bit of a freak. Charlie must take after me.


Noelle said...

My cat screams bloody murder when I have to take her somewhere in the cat carrier. But, she loves to hang out in my gym bag, getting all her histamines all over my gym towel. Last time I had to take her to the vet, I just zipped her up in the gym bag (don't worry, I left an air hole!) Result: cat gets to vet. Cat never goes near the gym bag again.

Sparkling Cipher said...

You know the seam that goes across the top of your toes? I had huge screaming tantrums over that seam as a kid. I hated it. She couldn't find any seamless socks, so my mom finally gave in and stopped forcing me to wear socks every day. But going to the doctor was an adventure. They had whole jars of popsicle sticks!

My dogs are the same way. They don't wear socks, but they are excited to go to the vet. ;-)

don't call me MA'AM said...

My youngest daughter had the same issue with sock seams... she's 14 now and still won't wear socks.

My chihuahua also refuses to get into his carrier. He's freakishly strong, so I just gave up. I bought a doggy seat/seatbelt combo thing for the car. He rides in it when we go anywhere, so he hasn't equated it with just "going to the vet's" yet. ;-)

Stinkypaw said...

I have the same issue with my socks, to this day!

Tobi will gladly go into his carrier but once at the vet's office will NOT come out. Last time it took 3 of us to pull him out!

And what's that saying again: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"? If funny, as I write this I think that you should be the one "falling". Hee. ;-)

Mousse said...

I'd love to read about the "shredded face and broken nose, nearly ripped off ear from a car accident" story, as well as the "gashed nose from a bottle-throwing incident"...okay the whiplash and nearly melted sinuses cavities also has me curious, care to elaborate ? :-)

NancyPearlWannabe said...

My Mom's cat throws up every meal he eats, yet still manages to be overweight. It's the bulimia conundrum, I suppose, but still: annoying. He also HATES being in the car and will meow so constantly that his poor little lips turn blue. Did I mention he also has asthma?

Yeah, he's a bit messed.

lizgwiz said...

noelle, two problems solved in one fell swoop! I used to work for a vet, and we had one client who always brought her cats in a pillowcase. Whatever works. ;)

spark, I can see how the seam would be annoying. I guess I was too distracted by the wiggles to notice the seam. Hee.

dcmm, the sock manufacturers obviously need to get to work on a seamless sock! My 90lb dog LOVES to go anywhere, including the vet, luckily. ;)

stinkypaw, I can't wait to tell my mother so many other people have sock issues, not just me! And oh yes, if there is "falling" to be done, I will do it!

mousse, I guess I'll have to do a freakish accident post soon. ;)

npw, awww...poor little blue-lipped kitty. My guy does seem to be losing some weight with his bulimia, though. Not that he couldn't stand to drop a bit, but not through an eating disorder. Maybe I should have him join me in my workouts. ;)

karen said...

i have the same problem with my two cats when its vet time! once i get them in the carrier, they turn into screaming banshees all the way to the vet!

Tony B. Loney said...



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