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fall 2010

Howdy Folks,

You remember Shirl’s medical problems that I described in the last newsletter? Good news. The facial surgery to remove the basal cell cancer (the one that required about thirty stitches) healed perfectly. About five months later and not a scar to be seen. It’s really quite remarkable. I simply could not believe that a five-inch wound would not leave a mark, but it hasn’t. That’s good in a way, but I was sort of hoping that she would come out of it looking like Jill St. John. But then, I’ve always thought I would win the Power Ball, too.

The severe concussion that Shirl received earlier in the year has cleared up pretty well, also. You could never tell now that her brain was rattled about in her skull like a bean in a gourd. Who could? The Redhead always has been strange, and you'd hardly notice the tongue lolling out of the corner of her mouth. Kind of looks like an Irish Setter.

Anyway, we got those calamities cleared up only to encounter a new set. Our friend Pam in Colorado had to have yet another back surgery, so Shirl went up for a week to play Nurse Ratchet. She did it a couple of years ago, too. Some people have a thing for plastic surgery. With Pam, it’s back surgery. About the only person alive who has been under the knife more than Joan Rivers is Pam Voit. Every time the woman passes the meat counter at the market the knives quiver in their block.

These nursing sessions are never easy, but this one was worse than the earlier one. They had given poor Pamela some super high-powered (and obviously yummily addictive) pain meds. Mostly, Shirl says, Pam was quite loopy, but when she didn’t get her dose of yummies when she thought she should get them, she got a bit testy. On one occasion, when Shirl said that it was too soon for more medication, Pam snarled, 'Oh yeah, President Clinton will hear about this!' When Shirl got back home, she slept for the biggest part of the next 48 hours, mumbling in her sleep: 'It not time for the Oxy, Pam. No, Pam, put that down for god's sake. That's Draino!'

I am glad to report that, at present, Nurse and Patient are both recovering nicely. Thank the Lord I wasn't there.

No, I was home nursing our little black cat, Inky, the one Shirl refers to as her "little bitty pretty one." We took him to the vet on June first for his usual vaccination shots, to which he has now apparently developed a violent allergic reaction. The next day he blew up like a beach ball, filled with fluid. Our vet referred him to a specialist (good grief! a specialist for cats). This guy wanted to open him up and peer into his innards, to which we said no. Instead, he gave us a script for prednisone. So for about five weeks now, I have been poking prednisone and pepcid (the steroid upsets his stomach) down his throat.

And of course, I have had to coax him to eat. The steroid gets rid of the fluid and shrinks the swelling, but it kills his appetite as well. In normal cats, it increases their appetites. Shirl's little bitty pretty one is a perverse little sucker. I have bought cans of virtually every type of cat and human food made, except tamales, and have pleaded in soft, soothing tones: "Inky, you lousy, rotten, little flea bag, please eat your nummies for daddy before he stomps you into paste." But the only chow he'll touch is Purina Cat Chow and that only in erratic-sized servings. The little guy is now fluid free. Although he is a rack of bones, he is beginning to eat more and definitely on the road to recovery, so I am slowly cutting back on the steroid.

Good thing, too, cause Nurse Jim was about to reach for the can of Draino.

Take care,


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