Archive for September, 2010

And then I panicked

Lou the cat was 6 years old when she was diagnosed with kidney failure.

She’d always been a healthy cat, “full-figured” with a good appetite and lots of energy, so the news that kidney stones had put her into chronic renal failure was a shock. And, as if it wasn’t enough to find out she had a chronic, incurable condition and that I’d have to start giving her subcutaneous fluids and special prescription food, I capped off the day with a car accident on the way home from the vet.

Good times.

Lou the Cat

If only things could have stayed that simple.

About six months later, one of the stones lodged in her ureter, blocking her right kidney. After a terrifying evening of pitied looks from technicians and quiet but urgent advice from her vet, I managed to get her admitted at midnight to the specialty vet about 30 minutes from my house.

She spent 3 days there. Every day after work, I’d make the trek through Atlanta rush hour traffic (this was back when traffic was really only bad at rush hour in Atlanta, as opposed to now, when it’s bad 24 hours a day) to see her during “visting hours.”

She would always gaze first to me with a bit of a crazed look in her eyes and then to the doorknob, as if to say, “I know that’s the way out! Get me out of here!”

By some miracle she stabilized, and her one remaining good kidney took over for the now-shriveled-up and useless right kidney. I got used to giving her fluids and she got used to getting lots of treats afterwards.

But, as anyone who’s ever had a headache and typed the letters webmd.com into their browser knows, the Internet has made it way too easy to research health conditions – and scare yourself half to death.

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September 30, 2010 at 12:19 am 7 comments

Getting an ‘A’ in Writer’s Block

There it is. Another week creeping by, and the unwritten blog post lurks in my head, but just out of reach.

the brick wall

I know writer’s block. You could even say I studied it in school. Or at least, that’s when I had my first encounter with the psychic annoyance of it all.

The summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I attended the summer session at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. My “major” was Creative Writing. Six days a week, I would be working on writing. Every two days a paper was due.

I actually really lucked out with my class. I inadvertently ended up with the most sought-after teacher from the winter session, an English teacher/poet who was, at the time (and probably still to this day), one of the most generous, passionate, funny and interesting people I’d ever met.

He was the kind of person who would read a line of poetry and say, “Man, isn’t that amazing? I wish I’d written a line that ended with the word ‘leeks.'”

And suddenly you were wishing you’d written a line ending in vegetables, too.

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September 16, 2010 at 12:54 am 1 comment


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