The Cat Who Gave No F**ks

My post-op mileage was up to about two and a half, which is ridiculous because I’m usually good for about four or six, and then the heat hit. Apparently having big chunks of meat scooped out of you screws up your temperature regulation more than I would have thought, because the heat index seems to be the critical difference between being able to knock out the mileage and me calling the Engineer for a rescue because I’m starting to get a big head and a sense that I’m radiating heat, like a two-bar electric fire.

It’s just frigging HOT out.

I know I’ll make it home without a bailout if I can get the home of the Cat Who Gives No Fucks. He or she (a grey tabby, so gender indeterminate) hangs out in the yard most afternoons, more rarely in the mornings. A couple of hysterical dogs, probably littermates, who look as if there’s some Jack Russell in there, live at the same address and can be heard raising the rafters anytime anyone passes the yard, even if they’re inside the glassed-in porch. They have a dog bed which has been strategically elevated to the level of the window sill and  patrol the yard in all directions, losing their shit in the key of C sharp anytime anyone passes the corner of the chain-link fence. If they’re outdoors, they fling themselves against the wire as if they think they’re Dobermans in a movie and Chuck Norris is about to vault over into the secure installation. It would be cute if it weren’t so noisy.

The cat gives zero fucks.

Seriously, this cat, who typically flops on the walk leading up to the house but has sometimes been seen in a decrepit lawn chair under the one shade tree, has absolutely no reaction to all this canine commotion. The dogs are yelping, the dogs are slamming the fence, the dogs are launching themselves like sugared-up toddlers in a Moon Bounce.

The cat does not move.

My eyes are bad enough now that I sometimes can’t see the cat at first, motionless grey cat in dim shade, and sometimes the Engineer has to point it out. Most times I’m by myself, and I lean on the corner post of the chain fence, enraging the dogs, and take off my mask for a moment like someone who’s just got to stop and breathe, but I’m really only looking for the cat. There is something about that cat’s preternatural calm that I envy and wish to be granted. Maybe it can share.

I probably will never find out its name. In my mind the cat is Zerofux, after a great Merovingian war leader.

Last week I actually spotted the cat outside the yard — it looks like it has a few years on it — slinking under the porch next door, the only shade worth mentioning on the block at the hour. Cats are famously indifferent to extreme heat (I’ve had to pull two back from the brink of heatstroke), but even Zerofux had had it.

It’s not just me. It’s hotter than Hell’s boiler room out there. And I still have a few fucks to give, but they’re going fast.

Knowing Your Ass From Your Elbow

HilaryThis sort of news coverage makes me nuts. Okay, Hillary Clinton fell and broke her… elbow. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well, the elbow is not a bone; it would be just as accurate to say that someone fell and broke his or her ass, which while an evocative phrase that I have used often, does not constitute precise medical reporting.

Come on, CNN — did anyone bother to ask? You’ve got a humerus, a radius and an ulna converging in there. Which bone was it? More than one? Are we talking sling only? Jelly cast? Ulnar nerve channel spared? How is Secretary Clinton’s shoulder? Has anyone checked? Inquiring minds want to know.elbow-joint-lateral

Maybe it is just me since I work with busted people all day long and trying to pry out of a client what diagnosis they received on damage to their own bodies that they are walking around in can sometimes be like asking a toddler to repeat a phone message. They have no clue and don’t realize that it matters, or else prefer to believe they are solid inside, like a potato, instead of filled with complicated and icky stuff. CNN itself ran the recent news story which described how depressingly few adults of normal intelligence know where their hearts, livers and other chitlins are located.

Also, I broke my own elbow once. I was nine and running around at dusk, to a children’s birthday party, carrying a nominal gift that kept me from catching myself competently when I tripped on a rusty wicket fence (I couldn’t see for sour owlshit even in those days). I did a one-point landing on a flagstone with my left elbow and chipped the end off my olecranon process. All I knew at the time, of course, was that my elbow hurt like hell and I had better hide it when I got home or the screaming would never stop (we all know about parents like this, I had one, nuff said), but eventually it became apparent that I couldn’t straighten my arm out and I went through the whole miserable trek to the dispensary (as the clinic serving military families was called in those days) and various other medical locations, over a period of weeks.

What nobody did was think through the collateral damage — when you fall like this, your shoulder joint, a loose shallow joint that allows you a big range of arm motion, gets jammed like no one’s business, and the damage lingers, not so much in joint tissues themselves, but the muscles that got strained and torqued when the jolt passed through. Nine years later I had a mean nerve impingement that made my whole left arm feel like it was going to fall off and pain in my left hooter so sharp that I ran it by a gynecologist. It took a fresh-from-school chiropractor to start sorting it out, when no lord-of-the-earth MD could offer me anything more specific than Valium, and after that one thing led to another and today I fix busted people because someone has to.

A little over two years ago my older massage buddy, Sister Age, dragged me to the pool when she was rehabbing her own fractured tibia and made me swim laps with her for 45 minutes, and that was when I finally tore loose the last adhesions from that old fracture. I had to ace-bandage the elbow for about a week, but it finally straightens out at an angle indistinguishable from the other one.

I suspect Secretary Clinton gets a massage and probably from someone good. I hope so. Someone who knows biomechanics, or their ass from their elbow.

Gimme My F***in’ Senior Discount

I had this marvelous lady on the table today, a rugged old Kraut professor whose recovery from a hip replacement has involved timing herself on various walks around local exhibition gardens. She is a rabid fan of gardens and botanically interesting park trails, and has been periodically checking her mileage and elapsed time on all the local ones for years. (I said she was German, didn’t I?)

Anyway she was dead keen on the one she had seen this past weekend, and as she always does, lobbied me fervently to go and see it. She had not been able to do all the loops of the trails until she had her hip fixed, and now she was exhilarated, and anxious to do them in the spring, when there would be a charge but she would get her senior discount.

“What’s the age that you get the senior discount?” I asked.

“Fifty-five, I think,” she said.

I am waiting for that moment less than a year away when the 55-year-old lady says:

thisaway2“Gimme my f***in Senior Discount.”

Oh, this is going to be fun.