A Thousand Cuts

The dermatologist does a volume business, so the surgeon cuts deep, to cut only once and be done — he can see many more patients this way. Mohs surgery is designed to leave a minimal scar, particularly when removing a cancer on the face invisible to the naked eye, as this latest one (unseen by the dermatologist, diagnosed by me) was. But it takes time to remove the cells a few layers at a time, examine the cutting under a microscope, scrape a little more if needed. In a volume practice you simply cut down to the cartilage of the nose, examine the cutting under a microscope to verify you got the whole thing and you’re done.

As the patient, if you don’t want a deep scar, you can pay out of pocket to have your nose cut again, differently, stitches put in, etc. Or you can stop being a crybaby, this is the fourth or fifth scar on your nose anyway. Every other Mohs surgery you’ve had took hours, with this one you were in and out, after having the wound cauterized, in about thirty minutes.

You learn new words as you get older. Nocturia, waking at night to urinate. You hope to wake, anyway (so far, so good). Crepitate, the cracking sound your arthritic knee makes when you get up from a chair or the bed, the snap and pop accompanying the pain. Venous ablation — the process of inserting a wire into the veins of your leg to cauterize them from the inside to allow normal blood flow to return and reduce the odds of a stroke from pooled blood in the lower legs. Hematuria, blood in the urine, sometimes dribbling out in a dark brown stream, before the clot can finally be pushed through and get spit out.

Sometimes this shit just seems to come in a flood. You get up for nocturia, crepitate with a wince of sharp pain, feel a throb from where the next vein needs to be ablated, et voila, gross hematuria, a thin stream of prune juice and an impressive clot in the toilet bowl. Then you break a tooth.

These things can have an effect on your mood, like angry people claiming that because they love you they can do whatever they want to you and you just have to accept it — Ahimsa Boy. Especially hard to take as you watch the suffering of tens of millions, the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands and the embrace by tens of millions of a brazen, partisan denial of this suffering. Things being done to solve massive, societal problems, things supported by 3/4 of our citizens, are countered by lies and irrelevant talking points told to undermine every effort to ameliorate mass suffering. The proposed budget for pediatric psychiatric services in the American Rescue Plan, for aid to suffering children during an unprecedented (in a hundred years) pandemic is countered by a snarl of “cancel culture” when a private publisher decides to stop printing books with a few hilariously racist characters in them [1].

Then we throw this deep, cunning cut into the mix, just to complete the picture mood-wise:

This feral cat’s affectionate, fierce mother, Mama Kitten, died in October of an undiagnosed disease. It took a few months after her mother’s death for Little Girl, her mother’s shadow, a good hunter who had always been second in command to her dominant mother, to get comfortable in her new role as the alpha cat. In time she became almost as trusting and affectionate as her mother had been. Her coat is silky and she loves to be scratched and petted (when she feels like it, being a cat). She and her sister Whiteback are the only survivors of the litter with their brothers Whitefoot and Turtleback.

Lately she has shown the same signs of approaching death that her mother displayed before she died. A curious asymmetrical thickening of her abdomen (similar to her mother and older sibling Grey Guy right before they died) and a loss of energy, appetite and status. Her dopey little sister Whiteback recently stepped up to take her food the way Little Girl had done to her mother right before the end. Little Girl took to the same warm, insulated box her mother stayed in before she died and she didn’t come out for meals yesterday.

I offered her a treat, which she declined. I reached in to pet her and she reminded me she is a feral cat, giving me a nice long slash on the thumb with her sharp claws. Sekhnet was more persistent, and more persuasive, and she spent a long time petting and comforting the doomed cat, virtually immobile in her warm box. As fate would have it, it was frigid last night. We both expected to find a beautiful little corpse this morning.

Sekhnet sent me the picture above, from earlier today, reported that the cat who hadn’t eaten yesterday was very happy to eat a new kind of fish shaped cat cookie, as well as some sardines. “Her last supper,” Sekhnet said fighting back tears.

Later I went out to the garden and saw Sekhnet, comically bent in half, Little Girl lounging on Sekhnet’s back, one of her favorite places. Little Girl was massaging Sekhnet’s back.

As a kitten she’d often perched like a parrot on Sekhnet’s shoulder as the human went about her work in the garden. As Sekhnet maintained her bent pose and tried to resist crying I petted and scratched Little Girl for a long time. She inclined her head to indicate the angle she wanted her face massaged from.

She seemed happy for the attention and showed no inclination to leave her comfortable spot on Sekhnet’s back. After a time I lifted her to a nearby perch where, after revealing how wobbly she was on her legs, she had a few more fish-shaped treats and drank some water.

It appears there will be another feral cat funeral very soon. I hope I’m able to carry her to her final resting place after my fourth goddamned venous ablation tomorrow.

[1] fucking politics:

What does one thing (helping people in deep jeopardy) have to do with the other (“cancel culture”)? FUCK YOU! The so-called facts of an organized, well-funded months’ long campaign to convince Americans of a lie, that Joe Biden was elected by massive fraud, with the collusion of countless Republican traitors in several states, are met by a cry that Biden is the fucking liar and a tool of vicious radical N-word terrorists! Irrationality is just as valid as so-called rational analysis! In other words: FUCK YOU!!

You have a brazen zealot like Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, who insists it wasn’t Trump’s people who ran amok in the Capitol after months of Trump fomenting a lie, after the “Stop the Steal” rally was shown an incendiary propaganda video blaming thieving, violent libtard cucks, inflammatory speeches delivered right before the riled up mob headed to the Capitol to “stop the steal”– the angry mob had every right to be angry, first of all, because they truly believed a fucking infuriating alternative fact– and second of all, it was leftists, posing as Trump supporters, who smeared feces and attacked cops on January 6th.

Prior to party-line passage of the American Rescue Act Johnson somehow was able to force hapless clerks to read the 628 page Democrat [sic] aloud to an empty chamber, until the wee hours of the night. A clever leftie (Sarah Lazarus at Crooked Media) will observe of this kind of stunt:

Senators finally began debating the coronavirus-relief bill on Friday, after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) forced a handful of innocent clerks to read the full text out loud to him all night as a stalling tactic. Democrats immediately made up for the lost time by shortening the debate from 20 hours to three hours when no Republicans were there to object, but hopefully Ron had a nice time at his tyrannical, coronavirus-themed slumber party!

source

And then we learn that the GOP managed to extend the “debate” to 24 hours of bipartisanship anyway. To demonstrate that you can win an election, by a signifiant margin, and still be regularly pantsed by the minority party, a unified, lockstep party with no compunction about justifying anything their mad leader says or does, no matter how wild, insane or demonstrably false. Many people I know tune out politics because, it only aggravates us and there’s nothing anyone in a democracy can actually do to hold anyone else accountable for anything.

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