Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hot Shit

I just read this. Apparently if  humans go in for radiation treatment on their thyroid glands, they are instantly sent home, free on their own recognizance, which is legal for "out on their fanny." The reason this is odd is that if your cat goes in for the exact same procedure, she is quarantined for three or four days while her radioactivity wears off. And if anything, your average human is much bigger and more radioactive than any cat, except the jug-butt one down the street that probably has a thyroid the size of a bagel. The real reason they punt out the human patients is it costs five thousand dollars an hour to be housed in a hospital, even if you're in self-wiping condition, and the insurance companies would rather take their chances sending you home on the bus where most of the other passengers are probably uninsured.

They're pretty strict about the cats. I sent my cat Larry in for the procedure after I made her promise to live another three years. It's expensive. It was just under a thousand bucks at the time, and available only in two places in the whole state. I felt lucky we were only twenty miles away from the facility. I imagined the radiation involved a huge machine and the cat would be splayed out and duct-taped down and passed through it while it buzzed and bonged and Dr. House smirked at her from the observation room. So when I came in the door and traded my boxed kitty for a sheaf of papers to fill out, and she was whisked away, I asked when the procedure would be done. "They probably already did it," the receptionist said. Huh? "It's just an injection of radioactive iodine," she said. "It goes straight to the thyroid gland." Nine hundred and some dollars for an injection? "And the boarding," she pointed out.

Boarding means Larry is in a little cage for three days with a camera trained on her so that we could visit her from home via our computer. We studied the grainy image for days. It was the quality of a convenience store security camera. "That's her, all right," Dave said. "She isn't moving."

"She's asleep," I said, hoping that was what she was. The second day a tabby came in wearing a ski mask and made off with her kibble.

They're serious about the radiation thing. When I picked her up, I was given a list of instructions. Her bodily waste was to be considered highly toxic for a month. We got a special bag of lead-pellet litter and sturdy sacks and two-foot tongs and a prayer book. Everything was to be double-bagged for a month and put directly in the garbage can outside. We were to avoid getting close for a week--no lap-sitting. It was unnerving. I listened for a hum from the cat and reminded myself she'd always had green eyes.

Disaster struck immediately. The combination of being shot up and kenneled for days and crated and put in a car unraveled Larry's last tether to sanity. When we pulled onto the freeway, she suddenly cut loose with three days of liquefied radioactive poop. The crate looked like something had blown up in the microwave and the stench could have dropped a moose. Larry kept up a siren yowl while I drove home doing 85mph with my head out the window, mostly in my lane, and once home I held the crate out as far from my body as I could and dropped her on the mudroom floor, still yowling, and phoned the clinic in a panic.

"My cat, crate, and parts of my car are covered in radioactive shit and I'm not supposed to touch her. What do I do? Put her in the alley and open the hydrant?"

They were very calm and instructed me to wash the cat in the sink and clean everything up and everything would be fine, by which they meant the statute of limitations on their liability would expire before I do. I suppose there was nothing else to suggest.

I don't see why people don't get the same treatment. I wouldn't want a camera trained on me at all times, because I'd never get my nose picked, but all kinds of people are happy to, and they end up on magazine covers and the whole country knows them by first name. The people defending the release of radioactive humans from the hospital point out that people can be trusted to follow instructions regarding their own effluent and maintain a proper distance from others, which is not true. Many adults of my acquaintance are capable of filling their shorts at any time. And if Dave came home radioactive and was told to stay several feet away from me, he would rise from his chair and lurch towards me all tilty with his arms out and a zombie leer, just to see me scream and run away. He could do this all week, and never tire of it. This is a fact.

61 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I wonder if they will do this to ME after my thyroid biopsy next month. I promise to lurch over you and scare you if I could ever find out where you really live! Great post, Murr, as usual.

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  2. As a farm kid, my cure for all complicated feline and canine ailments was a 5 cent cranial lead injection. Living in the city for a few years and acquiring a dog or two soon put paid to that line of thinking.
    How radioactive can a cat be with a small shot of iodine? And $900? That is a lot of kitty litter.
    Thanks for the laugh.

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  3. My husband is of the opinion that all cat effluent is radioactive. And keeping a cat off your lap is impossible if said cat wants to sit on your lap -- it's just a law of nature.

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  4. My 14 yr old cat, Apu, (yes, named after the Simpsons Kwiki Mart guy) was diagnosed with diabetes last month. Now I have the privilege of giving him shots of insulin every 12 hours (give or take an hour or two due to my life outside of being a crazy cat lady). I brought him in for his first glucose curve test. He had to stay all day where hourly they wrap him up tightly in a towel and prick his ear. Luckily Apu waited until we got home that evening before the liquid manure started shooting out of him. AND, it was actually in the litterbox!!

    Great post as usual...

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  5. 8:30 am and I'm sure you've just given me the best laugh I'll have today - maybe the whole weekend. Hope kitty does well.

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  6. a friend of mine had this treatment last year and although she was sent home she did have to stay quaranteened (sp?) in another room of the house for a few days. it was very strange. also, when you have a bone scan you take something that means you cannot be around other people or pets for over 24 hours--my daughter had one of these and we had to keep her in the other room by herself--talk about strange! it is a funny world we live in....i had a mastectomy a while back and was sent home the same day--according to one of the doctors it was really minor surgery, no major organs were involved...i'll let you imagine the little conversations that went on in my head about that one ;-) i was fine but overnight would have been good--a mastectomy is pretty traumatizing, even if it is minor surgery....

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  7. OK, so I am wiping the tears streaming down my face. Thank you for this... really. I SO needed this today. You have simply saved my day with your radioactive cat shit.

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  8. I like Dave's sense of humor. My husband would do the very same thing.

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  9. I was totally sympathic till the explosion, then my coffee went everywhere. Things like that are so funny half a continent away.
    I was given one of those radioactive shots many years ago for a thyroid scan and my only instruction was that I couldn't give blood for a month.
    Wonder who all I infected?

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  10. Aww! Poor little Larry. May his little bottom hole recover from the radioactive fallout. I know there's a joke in here somewhere about a nuclear winter and the day after ...

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  11. Fun post. I once took a stinky old tom cat to be neutered. He apparently stood in his cage with his legs crossed until I set him (on the seat) in my car to take him home. It was then he chose to pee about a pint of strong smelling pee in my car seat. Forever after my car smelled like a rolling whore house on humid days.

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  12. Sweet Mother Macree.
    Mary, really, same day for the mastectomy? I'm telling you, it's the insurers who are in charge here.
    Larry has been gone now for four years, but she did give us the extra three she promised. They'd given us the option of the daily shots and stuff that possumlady described, but it seemed more loving to let her go. However, that may have just been for me.

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  13. No cat, or dog, is worth $900 and change. Especially not a radioactive cat. We could feed some African nations for that much money. But the heart wants what it wants, so I understand, Murr.

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  14. I gotta meet Dave sometime. Really.

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  15. Hey, Tom, I got an idea. You could visit. We've got room for both of you. I could hike your fanny all over these mountains.
    MikeWJ, I know. She was a dang good cat. They promised it was a cure and not a stop-gap. Now I just hope someone eases me out of life the way we did Larry, when the time comes.

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  16. Gosh, wonder what happens with a septic tank? Would our septic bed glow an eerie green colour in the dark?

    Our current cat 'voids' in a spectacular flight or fight ballast offloading every time she has to go to the vet. If she needed to be made radioactive it would be pink needle time after reading this, Murr. It's bad enough already, never mind with chemical additives.

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  17. I so shouldn't read Murrmurrs after the turtles have sacked out in the same room. Hee hee, chortle chortle, 'scuse me.

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  18. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a trail back so I could discover you!

    You are brilliant, amazing.....I could go on, but I am too weak from laughing.

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  19. It is refreshing to read your post. I am more of a reader than a writer; when I find a post like this I smile because I have found a real writer.

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  20. Inquiring minds need to know. Did the cat live another three years?

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  21. It's really interesting to read this, today especially. I have a cat with plumbing issues. He gets backed up every couple of weeks and has to be taken to the vet to be vacuumed out. We're trying to avoid any more vacuums (which is really a way of life around here) so today, we're starting him on Miralax. The only problem is the auxiliary cat eats from the same bowl and THAT cat seems to have been reincarnated from a beef-eating truck driver when it comes to deposits in the litter box. (Not that we've ever had a beef eating truck diver leave a deposit in our litter box but you know what I mean.) Anyway, things could get interesting and radioactive around here, too. Glad to know I can just hose toxic stuff off and down the drain into our local water supply should the need arise.

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  22. They used to keep people with radioactive implants in the hospital. Back in the day when I was working as a nurse in an oncology unit I had a worried visitor approach me in deep concern that he had accidently walked into the wrong patient room which had a "Caution, Radioactivity" warning sign on it. (The patient in that room was there for several days with an implant to treat endometrial cancer.) The visitor wondered if he need be concerned. I told him, no, not really, he'd just glow in the dark.

    I am really not a very nice person.

    Larry was so lucky to have you. And I'm sure vice versa.

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  23. You can add this information to "acts of terrorism" by home-grown terrorists. Our country really is in need of health reform...

    A couple of summers ago our special cat friend was bitten by a copperhead snake. The cost to this retired, on-a-pension cat lover was $2,000, which was my entire month's income. However, it was worth every penny. I can understand buying 3 years of life, for a friend.

    Right on, Murr!

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  24. This explains why I couldn't have a cat. Derby is a nuclear free city. I'd be breaking the law. And I am such a rule follower.

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  25. Mme. DeFarge, keeping it on the straight and narrow for greater Derby.

    Thanks, Shaatzie. My cats are/were strictly indoor citizens, due to my prior commitments to the wild bird population, and if they're in danger of copperhead puncturings in here, I don't want to know about it.

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  26. The vet bill issue and the responsibility a person takes on aren't always considered when people decide to get a pet; and yes, it can mount up--two months' salary last year for the first two months of the year for one of the fifteen turtles in my study group. Then everybody got wormed at $29 per. Then expensive enhancements to the safety and lighting of the lab, and now it's time for exams and new UVB lights. It all goes with the territory. Animals aren't throw-away commodities. As Shaatzie says, they're worth it.

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  27. I think or thought this was a funny post. Torn between being serious and then funny...I liked it.

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  28. LOL! You're funny! Thanks for the laugh! I recently finished and am still recuperating from 42 radiation treatments to my throat, and it was more or less as you imagined it for your cat! That's why I laughed. I was bolted down to the table by a mask,ugh! Hope your kitty is well after the treatments!

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  29. Once again, I gave in and read "just this one" blog post (yours is one of only two that can do that to me) before running out of the house to be almost late for something. Chortled about it all day long. I remember my grandmother having radioactive iodine treatments back in the late sixties or early seventies----she thought she was going to make all her grandchildren sterile if they got too close to her.

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  30. So sad - and so funny! Love the zombie pics. A friend of mine was treated for thyroid cancer with radiation. They didn't even let her out of the hospital room for a few days, then everyone had to avoid her for some time after that.

    She understood what was going on, but still felt lonely, so she let her dog come sleep with her when she came home. The dog was sick for days after that, puking and such.

    Sometimes I wonder about "modern" medicine.

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  31. Possumlady, the cat that I grew up with has been diabetic for about 5 years (he's about 14 now) and the very expensive, twice-daily insulin shots (and thyroid pills) have been well worth it to keep him around. However, my mom tells me that recently, inexplicably, he has begun to repay her ministrations by shitting on her bed. But we can overlook that small detail...he's such a charming boy otherwise!

    Also, Murr, your story of driving down the highway reminded me of the day I adopted a pet mouse (dubbed "Major Tom") from an adoption event about an hour away, and he chewed his way out of the cardboard box as I was zooming home on the highway. I was able to stay "mostly" in my lane and navigate to the shoulder by braking VERY slowly (he had of course skittered under the pedals.)

    I think many of us have pets because we are secretly adrenaline junkies.

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  32. At first I thought blog to be amusingly whimsical. Then I tended toward seriously funny. Now I'm leaning toward insanely hilarious. Keep up the good work :)

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  33. This post is SHIT HOT!

    That's fighter pilot lingo for AbFab.

    I think I'll pass this along to my senator, who needs all the education he can get when it comes to healthcare and insurance. SC Rep. Sen. Lindsey Graham--you good with that?

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  34. What we won't do for the love of our animals. Radioactive cat shit though... That's a new one.
    Larry was a beautiful cat. Funny post, my friend. Thanks for picking up my spirits for the day.

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  35. You are hilarious. Oh my. I wrote a post about Miracle the Cat called "Cats Flying off the Roof of my Car." That is seriously the preferred method of cat transport at my house.

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  36. Hi Murr: I came over via your hilarious comment on my friend, Renée's blog (Life in the Boomer Lane).

    I've checked out several of your posts and have subscribed..."Snortworthy!"...definitely truth in advertising...

    Wendy

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  37. As far as cats glow -- I mean go -- Larry was a keeper and lucky to have allowed you two to live with her (in your home, of course). I understand completely!

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  38. To make matters even worse, historically several people (and not just Bruce Banner) have turned into a Hulk after being bombarded with radiation, but I have never heard of any Kitty Hulks. The vets reasons just aren't sound. I say buy them a copy of a Marvel Hulk anthology and force them to release the kitties.

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  39. Amazing what we do for pets. Radioactive shit baths...ugh! Speaking of the disparity between animal and human doctoring, my dog can get Xanax for storm phobia much easier than my friend who is either nursing, bailing out, or hauling around to various appointments, the passel of crazy/sick/dying/or just plain mean relatives in her life. HER doctor says she needs to go to a psychiatrist instead.

    I say, get a dog with storm phobia.

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  41. Giggling as I type because I've had many a radio active test for cancer and heart. When it's over and they send me off they tell me it will be gone in about 48 hours. HOT PISS cause that's how the body dumps it! LOL

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  42. They did give me a small dose of radioactivity after my thyroids were removed. I was told not to hold my granddaughter and given a letter for the airport since I was going to be leaving for Hawaii and could potentially set off the security things, I guess.

    Thank you so much for your visit. What a fun blog you have.

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  43. Amazing what we do for pets. Radioactive shit baths...ugh! Speaking of the disparity between animal and human doctoring, my dog can get Xanax for storm phobia much easier than my friend who is either nursing, bailing out, or hauling around to various appointments, the passel of crazy/sick/dying/or just plain mean relatives in her life. HER doctor says she needs to go to a psychiatrist instead.

    I say, get a dog with storm phobia.

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  44. Hi Murr: I came over via your hilarious comment on my friend, Renée's blog (Life in the Boomer Lane).

    I've checked out several of your posts and have subscribed..."Snortworthy!"...definitely truth in advertising...

    Wendy

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  45. This post is SHIT HOT!

    That's fighter pilot lingo for AbFab.

    I think I'll pass this along to my senator, who needs all the education he can get when it comes to healthcare and insurance. SC Rep. Sen. Lindsey Graham--you good with that?

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  46. LOL! You're funny! Thanks for the laugh! I recently finished and am still recuperating from 42 radiation treatments to my throat, and it was more or less as you imagined it for your cat! That's why I laughed. I was bolted down to the table by a mask,ugh! Hope your kitty is well after the treatments!

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  47. I think or thought this was a funny post. Torn between being serious and then funny...I liked it.

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  48. Mme. DeFarge, keeping it on the straight and narrow for greater Derby.

    Thanks, Shaatzie. My cats are/were strictly indoor citizens, due to my prior commitments to the wild bird population, and if they're in danger of copperhead puncturings in here, I don't want to know about it.

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  49. Inquiring minds need to know. Did the cat live another three years?

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  50. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a trail back so I could discover you!

    You are brilliant, amazing.....I could go on, but I am too weak from laughing.

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  51. Hey, Tom, I got an idea. You could visit. We've got room for both of you. I could hike your fanny all over these mountains.
    MikeWJ, I know. She was a dang good cat. They promised it was a cure and not a stop-gap. Now I just hope someone eases me out of life the way we did Larry, when the time comes.

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  52. Gosh, wonder what happens with a septic tank? Would our septic bed glow an eerie green colour in the dark?

    Our current cat 'voids' in a spectacular flight or fight ballast offloading every time she has to go to the vet. If she needed to be made radioactive it would be pink needle time after reading this, Murr. It's bad enough already, never mind with chemical additives.

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  53. Fun post. I once took a stinky old tom cat to be neutered. He apparently stood in his cage with his legs crossed until I set him (on the seat) in my car to take him home. It was then he chose to pee about a pint of strong smelling pee in my car seat. Forever after my car smelled like a rolling whore house on humid days.

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  54. I like Dave's sense of humor. My husband would do the very same thing.

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  55. 8:30 am and I'm sure you've just given me the best laugh I'll have today - maybe the whole weekend. Hope kitty does well.

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  56. As a farm kid, my cure for all complicated feline and canine ailments was a 5 cent cranial lead injection. Living in the city for a few years and acquiring a dog or two soon put paid to that line of thinking.
    How radioactive can a cat be with a small shot of iodine? And $900? That is a lot of kitty litter.
    Thanks for the laugh.

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  57. Ooooh, I wonder if they will do this to ME after my thyroid biopsy next month. I promise to lurch over you and scare you if I could ever find out where you really live! Great post, Murr, as usual.

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  58. I sent my cat Larry in for the procedure after I made her promise to live another three years. It's expensive.

    LOL! Now that's funny. PS: My husband's name is Larry too, but he's a boy... and probably secretly radioactive. We have so much in common!

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