June 09, 2011

Wonderful Cats, and Awful, Awful Men

First, a report on what's up with me. I almost called this a "progress" report, but, eh. You be the judge.

I continue to be in pretty terrible shape. Since I can't access the traditional medical care my crappy heart and related problems require, I've begun exploring some "alternative" remedies, or what purport to be remedies. One of them is helping a little bit! I feel somewhat better, but, you say (as I might have said, too, especially in bygone days), that's all in my head. To which I suppose one might reply, with some justification: So what? If you feel better, you feel better. This is a problem? But more than that: a few of the symptoms I've had for years have almost gone away entirely. I'm talking about quantifiable shit, here. Hey, that looks like progress!

I still don't feel "good" precisely. But better than I did a month ago. So, "good," with an explanatory footnote.

The cats. With a multitude of thanks still another time for the extraordinary generosity of readers, the cats and I have shelled out close to $500 to our friendly vet. Something is still going on with Wendy, but she, too, seems to be getting better. The sweet darling has suffered from very bad diarrhea off and on for a couple of months now. So they ran tests on her stool (no worms or parasites), and on her blood (no indications of kidney, liver, or other organ problems). Wendy's blood tests alone cost almost $200! No wonder I can't afford any human care for myself. Criminy. $200!! At least we eliminated the possibility of a certain category of problem. As a result, it appears the problem is one with her digestive/intestinal system alone. (Well, probably.) So Wendy's diet is being changed entirely. No more fish! She loved her tuna (I mean, crazy for it), but that's history now. She seems to like lamb with rice and some new dry food that's non-fishy. She also loves her "nutritionally complete" chicken treats. And her diarrhea seems somewhat alleviated.

The vet also prescribed an anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal liquid that I have to administer orally. Which I've tried to do, but Wendy resists it mightily. (I mean, mightily. Half the apartment gets destroyed in the attempt.) And the few times I've managed to get it into her, she throws up. So I'm letting that go for a little while. I'm hoping the diet changes alone might do the trick. I'm keeping a very close eye on her, and we'll go back to the vet in another week or so if we need to. (Maybe the medicine can be given to her in some other form, if the diarrhea continues.) But her stool seems to be slowly getting back toward normal, and -- important! -- it doesn't stink to high heaven the way it did for a few weeks. I'm not talking about a little stink here: I'm talking lethal stench. Horrible beyond description. That's gone away almost completely. (I've been burning a lot of fragrant candles.)

But we'll almost certainly need to go back to the vet at least once more (for a followup at a minimum), and maybe more than that. So, with profuse apologies for using Wendy as a begging cup, if you have any spare change jangling noisily in your pocket, we could use it! I have very little money left for vet bills.

Cyrano, my big orange furry angel, is our rock. He's wonderful, and in fine shape. He's lived with me since he was eight weeks old, and he'll be 13 in August! He continues to be magnificent in every way. Even his hairballs are magnificent. So large and shapely! That's part of the price of longish fur. But he gets his Laxatone regularly these days, and that cuts down on the problem a lot. During the times when I feel absolutely awful, I sometimes forget to give it to him. But it's part of our routine now.

I mentioned "cats" going to the vet. I've been looking after the cat who lives with one of my neighbors while the neighbor is away for a few weeks. The cat is a darling little girl named Sasha. My neighbor has been urging me to adopt Sasha for quite a while, because she's almost never home. And since I'm feeling a little better now, I think I'll do it. Sasha is only five and is generally in excellent health. And if something happens to me, she can go back to the neighbor if need be. Last week, while I was spending time with Sasha one afternoon, she climbed onto my chest as she likes to do, and took a little nap. While she was lying on my chest and licking my face (awwww! I love it :>)), I noticed that her right eye was very irritated and red, and that she was barely able to open it. So she went to the vet the next morning. The vet concluded it was some sort of virus infection and prescribed a solution to be dropped into her eye a few times a day. It's almost completely gone now. And the vet examined her very closely, and said she seems to be completely fine in all other respects.

I understand all the objections that might be made to my making a home for Sasha with Cyrano, Wendy and me. Given my health, it might seem terribly irresponsible. (And I myself have made the argument that it's very irresponsible for me even to keep Cyrano and Wendy given my own problems.) But since I'm feeling a bit better, I'm beginning to believe that I just might not die in the near future. And as I noted, Sasha can easily go back to the neighbor if circumstances change. But I think that Sasha joining our little group will be a lovely vote of confidence in the months, and hopefully years (a few of them, at least), to come. And she truly is an incredibly lovable and loving little lady. (She is a very small cat, weighing only 8-1/2 pounds.) I have hopes that she and Cyrano might become an item. Awwwww. (Wendy is a very independent type, except for her attachment to me, which is wonderfully close. She sleeps curled up next to my head every night, with my arm around her, while Cyrano curls up on the other side. We'll see what new arrangements are arrived at with the addition of Sasha.)

The neighbor won't be back until next week. So I'll wait a few more days before bringing Sasha up here. I want to make sure her eye infection is completely cleared up so that no one else catches it, and I also hope that Wendy's situation will improve further. (All the tests indicate that Wendy's problem isn't anything contagious, and as I said, Cyrano's been fine throughout.) I'll continue to reevaluate the situation each day. And I might still conclude that it's better to leave Sasha where she is. But she truly does love having company, and as it is, she spends endless hours all alone. So we'll see.

Now, a brief word about the travails of the repellent Anthony Weiner. Consider this a short introduction to additional, lengthier remarks (which I've already started writing; look for a new article in a few days). As is often the case, my perspective is very different from that of many writers, including some writers with whom I'm in agreement on other issues. For reasons which connect to some broader underlying themes that I intended to return to in any case, I think that most people have missed what I consider most important.

Here, I want to mention one narrow point. I don't consider this the most significant issue about this business, but it's still another occasion on which the idiocy of "leading progressive" bloggers makes itself known. Consider these jaw-droppingly hideous comments from Mr. Atrios:
I'm curious what the Weiner coverage would have been like if he wasn't married, when the story would have literally been about nothing other than a dude flirting online with women who, as far as we (I? haven't paid all that much attention) know weren't complaining about his behavior.
First lesson: when you're a rabid political tribalist of the Atrios kind, your "feminism" isn't worth shit.

Note the requirement for "coverage" being urged here -- and, more importantly, for concern generally: if the person you claim might be harmed in some way isn't "complaining about his behavior" herself, it's nobody's damned business. If female "progressives" are making this argument, don't tell me about it. I would be angrier than would be good for me. And this is such a prototypically male argument. But then, as I've observed: "Christ, Men Are Awful." I mean, Jesus God, people. It's a staple of shows on the stupid teevee that battered wives/girlfriends (as one example) won't press charges against their abusers because they're too afraid. Every third episode of the "Law & Order" franchise involves that storyline in one variant or another. Is Atrios so ignorant/stupid/unaware/use other descriptors as indicated, that this phenomenon has escaped his notice entirely? Is it so difficult to imagine that the oh-so-lucky recipients of Weiner's communications might have been deeply upset or angry, but decided not to say anything because: a) they didn't want attention drawn to themselves in such a matter; b) they thought no one would believe them because Weiner's an "important" person; c) they were too frightened to do so because of Weiner's position; d) all of the preceding, plus other similar factors?

But Atrios is a notably dedicated Democratic hack, so all that passes him by. As I said: when you're a rabid political tribalist, your "feminism" isn't worth shit. It's worth repeating, because a lot of people seem incapable of grasping this point.

For the contrary view, see Kirsten Powers as excerpted by Reclusive Leftist:
Just because a woman “likes” your video on Facebook doesn’t mean you can send her a picture of your penis. This is textbook sexual harassment. It may not be illegal, but it’s definitely unethical. He is in a position of influence, and many women—especially a 21-year-old—would be afraid to report a congressman doing that to them because he holds so much power. Also, he claims none of the women he contacted were underage, but how could he possibly know that?
Well, even if they were underage, so long as they're not complaining, who gives a damn, right? I'm a gay man, who also happens to be very poor. If I devoted my energies to "complaining" about everything in the world that upsets or enrages me with regard to those two aspects of my existence alone, I wouldn't have time to do anything else at all. So here's a fucking news flash, buddy: The fact that someone isn't "complaining" about a particular action or attitude doesn't mean that your shit doesn't stink. Or that it isn't shit. Moreover, for the purposes of meaningful analysis, whether someone happens to "complain" is completely irrelevant. The fact that no complaints are being offered might well be an inextricable part of the problem. It is a monumental failure of understanding that this point is missed by so many.

Okay. As indicated, I have much more to say about this Weiner shit, and most likely it's not what you're expecting. Until then, I'll leave you with this thought, which I will soon be exploring in detail. I'll put it in bold and set it off by itself, for I consider this a vital issue, and one that is far too little understood:
To the extent that your time and efforts are devoted to "saving" or "reforming" the existing system, you are necessarily and inevitably reinforcing the system as it is presently constituted.
In case the implication escapes you, let me state that, too: Once a system has passed a certain point, such efforts are necessarily doomed to failure. We in the United States passed that point decades ago.

Does that mean you should despair and give up? It means that only if you think of what is most important in life -- in your particular life, that is -- as involving politics in a significant way. Why would you do that? See "Passing on the Sense of Wonder" and "Cultivate Your Sense of Wonder -- and Live Ecstatically" for more on this.

I'll explain more of what's been on my mind next time.