On Monday morning, before breakfast or coffee even, my mom noticed that our cat, Saartje, had blood on one of her paws. When I looked closer, I saw that somehow or other, part of her paw lay open and was bleeding. I immediately apologized for telling her just two minutes ago that she had food and water and should stop her miauwing because she was a pretty lucky cat. (What, you don’t talk to your pets?)
So then we bundled her into her cat carrier and took her to the vet. On our bikes, since I can’t pick up my license till next week and the only car we had was a stick shift, which my mom can’t drive. So on our bikes Saartje went. (Poor thing.)
Then we made it to the vet and sat among three or four humongous dogs. I am allergic, by the way, to both cats and dogs. So that waiting room was not the best place for me to be. But at least one of the ladies felt called upon to deliver a lecture on the difference between golden retrievers and labradors, so I now know that. (The closest I usually get to labradors is a picture on my computer screen, when I get an update every month about the seeing-eye dog I sponsor.)
After an hour, the vet could see us. Turns out Saartje was bitten by another cat a while ago, and that got infected with an abscess as result. The vet gave her a shot of antibiotics and we could go, again. But not before I made a stellar impression by telling him I had once had an abscess. That’s odd, he said, people don’t usually get those.
So just in case you’re still reading after all that blood and pus, let me tell you the story of my abscess. In 2008, I spent the semester at Berkeley. That was the year Barack Obama got elected. You may not know, but it’s kind of customary to travel a bit after a semester abroad, before you go back home. So my friend and I had decided we wanted to be at the inauguration in January in DC. Long story short, we elected to go traveling on the East Coast in January, where we froze to death but had a wonderful time.
The cold is important because it’s how I got my abscess. (Yes, I am getting to the point here.) I was wearing boots a lot and probably nicked myself with my boot zipper, then kept irritating it by wearing those same boots. I figured the spot on my leg was just that, a little scratch that would heal eventually. (Plus, that’s what Google told me.) But it kept bleeding. And then kind of turned green. I was staying with a friend in New Hampshire by then, and her mom took one look at it and took me to the ER. Turns out it was an abscess. Yes, that was fun. Luckily, some heavy antibiotics later I was good to go. Also, some common sense kicked in after that, and it was the last time I trusted Google doctor. My health thanks me for it.