Hidee and the Case of the Laughing Wounded

Hidee: So named because she’s in the house, hiding. (A true story, more’s the pity!)

She doesn’t enjoy being in the house, but she’s just been spayed and we’re ignoring her, in an attempt to habituate her to humans. She knows they’re a good and regular source of food, and half of the cousins are pretty tame now. The other half, including the Three Calico Sisters, have determined to remain non-human-lovers. But she’ll take the food just fine.

Hidee and I had a difference of opinion when I tried to stuff her in the carrier to take her to the vet to get spayed. It was actually the second time around with the carrier.

The first time was painless to me: Out on the patio I stuck a can of tuna in the carrier, waited for a cat and in she walked. I shut the gate on her and shot the bolts home, top and bottom. Then I brought her in and tucked her, in her carrier, in the bathtub. (It was dry.)

Kelly (hubby) said I couldn’t take her to the meeting place because it was too early, but if I’d ignored him and done it, I’d not have caused the mayhem that was done to my hands…

I’ve mentioned that I’m ADHD. ADHD reasoning is different from other people’s reasoning in that pain means nothing. What counts is what I want NOW. Some things I can’t have or do NOW.

But some things seem worth any price, and getting the stinky tuna can out of the cage and out of the bathroom and out of the house seemed to be one of them.

I closed the door to the bathroom as I went in, and that’s the last smart thing that I did that evening.

Opening the door on the carrier, I put my left hand in and moved the cat gently to the side of the cage. She grasped my thumb with her teeth, and the farther I reached in with my right hand, the harder she bit my left thumb until she had put one set of canines completely through the pad, from the side of my thumbnail through the center of the pad. I ignored the blood and pain as I grabbed the tuna can and withdrew it.

Seeing her chance, she bounded out behind my left elbow.

I sat back on my heels to reason out how to get the cat back in the carrier, and this is where the ADHD reasoning came into play, although a tiny, faint voice in the back of my mind said, “Don’t do it….” But it was coming up on the time I had to take the cat to the lady who was taking her to the vet, and the cat had to go back into the carrier now.

What I should have done was sit quietly and calmly, and after a very few minutes, I could probably have eased the cat back into the carrier, it being the only dark, safe place in the bathroom.

But no. Instantly springing into action, I made a grab for the cat, knowing I’d probably pay a price by this action, but not caring particularly how high a price it might be.

The cat scooted out from under my hand. So far, I’d stuck to my policy of using my left hand (I’m right handed). Experience had taught me that if I’m going to sacrifice a hand or a finger, it should be one that I don’t use all that often. A few more empty grabs with my left hand showed me that I’d have to put my right hand into the fray.

We made five or six circuits of the bathroom: countertop to toilet to bathtub to towel bar to countertop to toilet to bathtub to towel bar. . . I was hopping right behind her, grabbing air.

By that time, the cat was wall-eyed with fear, and I was wall-eyed with frustration and the “high” of the chase.

Changing my position and lining up on where she would be in her next jump, I nabbed her right behind her ears, using the “kitty handle”, thinking, ‘Ah, now she’ll calm down because I have her where her mom used to hold her to carry her.’ Faulty reasoning. She turned her head, and we suddenly had each other, although it took her about three tries to realize she couldn’t get a good tooth-grip on the middle knuckle of my right index finger. It hurt for a second, but I dismissed the pain, and took hold of her tail just below her bum, stretching her out in a straight line. At this point, she admitted defeat, having given me a couple more half-hearted punctures above the wrist on each arm.

Then, having cleverly turned the carrier gate-side-up before starting the chase, I simply stuffed her right hand first (face-first) into the carrier, releasing her only after I had the gate to the carrier in my left hand, half closed. I thoughtfully dropped a small, old towel onto her to help her become invisible, but didn’t right the carrier.

Both of us in shock, I wrapped a clean, white washcloth around my wounds and sat in the bathroom until my breathing settled and I stopped shaking. I bathed the injuries in betadine, the iodine surgical prep that I keep around for when I do something that draws blood. I should add that the bathroom looked like somebody had been murdered in there. Something our care giver (Wendy) was quick to point out when she saw the mess.

Kelly didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but I told him about it right away. He’d know sooner or later because his bathroom was a bit disheveled. Upon hearing about it, he went into the bathroom, opened the carrier, and gently, lovingly, and safely pet the cat. He didn’t see why I’d had a problem with her and told me so. I briefly thought about wringing his neck, but my hands were starting to hurt. So I put on my coat, picked up the carrier, and made my transfer on time. Two little sisters, one wild, one a housecat, in individual carriers in the car, and neither one let out a peep. In all my experience with cats in carriers in cars, they howled, mewed, begged, and cried, but not this pair. They were both as mum as melons both on the way there and after their surgery coming home later the following day.

The next day I kept an eye on my bites all day, watching them swell. About midnight, I noticed heavy purple-red lines running from the bites up both arms to well above the wrist. Poisoning. ‘Well,’ I thought to myself, ‘you knew about cat bites and went ahead, and now they’ve gone septic. You should have listened to that little voice that told you to stop.’ So I took myself to the hospital emergency department. Not only were they not busy (it was Sunday night) but the septic marks impressed the Triage nurse sufficiently that I found myself hustled into a treatment room, and an IV (cephalosporin) hung, but not until the phlebotomist had blown a vein on the back of my left hand, leaving a huge flaming red haematoma. The size of a silver dollar. . . I told her not to worry about it because it was not the worst wound I had incurred in the last day or so. Back at home by 3 a.m., I slept the sleep of the innocent.

At noon the next day, I returned to the ER, and again got whisked away to get an IV of the same stuff, and was smacked with extra IV tubing by the nurse, Ed, for not yet filling my prescription for oral antibiotic (Augmentin 850mg). I know Ed from having taken everybody else to the ER over the last ten years. Never me, always somebody else. Again I wondered why they didn’t make Ed shave the backs of his hands, but I kept my mouth shut: I like Ed and really didn’t really want to get bit again. Human bites go septic, too.

Today, 4 days after the bites originated, I was in Julie’s exam room; she’s my primary care physician. She was doubled over laughing till her eyes watered, but patting my shoulder in sympathy. It’s another of those cases where I have to laugh at myself, because the alternative isn’t pretty, and anyway, everybody else will be laughing at me so why not join them?

Oh, the cat? She slipped out of the bathroom where I’d put her and her sister to recover. I swear I laid them out on the floor on my two best towels, but they must have either oozed out under the door, or slipped out before I got it closed.

I had named her “Julie", hoping she’d turn out to be a (tame) "jewel of a cat”. But yesterday, our niece took one look at her trying to be invisible and said, ’That cat should be named “Hidee”, you know, like “Hide-ee”.’ And so “Hidee” she was dubbed and “Hidee” she will stay, until we find a new owner, at least. But not until both of our scars heal. For sure not until then!

Dayonda Stribling
® 14 Jan 2010

Hidee and the Case of the Laughing Wounded


Joined March 2008

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Artist's Description

This is a true story showing how I got my fingers stuck between a cat’s teeth and what happened to both of us afterward. If you enjoy laughing with people who are old enough to know better, this is the story to read. Go ahead, laugh! I can take it!

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