This title reminds me of my treasured family pet, Mickey. She was a Siamese cat that my family adopted when I was five years old. Yes, I was allowed to name her. What I lacked in originality, I made up for in love for my dear pet. She was joined with a second cat, Tiny. Again, I chose the monniker of the wee little black kitten. He grew to be quite large, of course: Forever Tiny. Over the years, the two cats were joined by a dog, Snoopy – there I go again! Gerbils. Rabbits. Good thing my parents were both raised on a farm. They
allowed for a lot of mammalian friends in my childhood. Lots of fun and antics.
We moved to a brand new house in a new neighborhood when I was ten years old. Lots of mice. Both cats were mousers. Tiny had the strange habit of only eating the head half and presenting the hindquarters to his masters. Our pampered feline family members enjoyed the privilege of a cat door. The term look at what the cat dragged in was followed by many a good story. Mice alive and dead were common. The occasional mouse would have a run of the place. The cats handled those incidents very effectively. A live magpie flying around the house was pretty dramatic. A bat swooping stealthily over
your head while you watched a movie in the family room created a unique ambiance. It started with, “was that what I think it was?” Next was searching the home thoroughly and not finding it. A little unsettling. Ended with finding it and then the broom/jar technique to return it to the wild. Difficult when all involved were squeamish.
I was once grooming myself peacefully in the bathroom when I spotted with my peripheral vision a tiny black hand moving in a semicircle as the owner climbed up the doorjam: another bat incident. I slammed the door shut. Mistake as then I did not find the wee lad. Days later, his lifeless body was lying on the front door mat. Near lifeless it turned out when I tried to pick it up with a broom and dustpan: screams from both the bat and I. Kind of a sad story… Poor little guy.
One would wonder why we continued to use the cat door…
I guess life can never get too interesting can it?
Now that I own dogs, I have never been inspired to install a dog door. Reviewing this history perhaps explains it a bit. Hard to imagine a dog bringing in some of these wild creatures. I love pets. Cats are my favorite. Marrying a man who was allergic to cats setup the present dog ownership. Even though we maintain separate households, cat allergy is present in one of the kids too. So sad. Would love to get a kitten again. One day…
My Mickey grew up with me. She was so loving. Holding her in my arms like a baby was a common practice. When I would cry, I received great comfort with her licking my tears. Maybe she just liked the salt but in my mind I felt her love. She would snap me out of whatever funk as she gently started licking. Progressively, the licks got more focused. Slowly moving up toward the eye they would creep. Eventually, there was a kitty hunger for more tears and she would aggressively give ‘er right at the source – the tear duct opening. The sandpapering of my lower eyelid would usually make me laugh. Then it was time to break away from the feline love. Aaaah…. all better now. Worked every time.
Fond memory of taking the two cats with us on vacation to a nearby lake. Stayed in a cabin with no running water or electricity – equipped with a lovely hammock and a solar shower. Two dirtbikes, a canoe, two cats, two cousins. One of the best family vacations we ever had. The cats loved it! Mickey was so adventuresome, exploring far and wide. Another memorable experience that trip was coming nose to nose with a large deer. So peaceful… and a little startling. So funny as I tried to reproduce the magic with my own two sons this past summer. It was the lake next to the one of my childhood trip. We had electricity but no running water. Kayaks, sauna, no cellular service… See what happens. The Asian youth, sons are 50% Chinese, did not seem to celebrate it as I did in my childhood. The three of us experienced the withdrawl symptoms of being unplugged. I forgot to bring the family pets. I think that was my mistake …
Mickey enjoyed good health through her life. With only the smallest of mishaps. Before I knew it, I was going to University. Mickey was still there. Easy to please as always. It was quite a shock when it was clear that her health was in dire straights. I found her sequestering herself to a dark corner of the basement. She was clearly unwell. She was not responding to me and her body was stiff. Where did she go? The vet declared that she was terminal with Feline Leukemia Virus. A vaccine was newly available but for Mickey it was too late. Matter of factly, the vet offered Euthanasia. I had not thought too much about Euthanasia before. Now that I had firsthand experience with Mickey, it felt the most humane course of action. My family of four, parents and younger brother, were unanimously in favor of helping our beloved cat exit this grand world as gracefully as possible. She was suffering and we could see no other options. It all happened so quickly…
I will always have great compassion for anyone losing a pet (or a loved one). As much as I accepted it, I felt the loss. It was a big event for me. My perception is that I coped with it well. Not cast aside though, I grieved. A week or two later I was being interviewed by the Medical School Admissions Board. To receive an interview was an almost made it hoop to jump through in the process of being accepted into Medical School. I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Getting in was the goal. There was a big buzz around the process in the circle of company I was keeping. My turn came up. I have always been a talker, reasonably personable. I tried not to think too much about the interview. When it came, it was a stuffy atmosphere. I always hate that. A pretentious affair. The process steeped in history. Although, it seems a good idea that there is this one last checkpoint. You are more than your course marks. It would seem that being human is very important. The official expected questions came and went. Seemed awfully coincidental that the next question to come up was, “What are your thoughts on Euthanasia?” Beware: emotional avalanche. Now I was in full spontaneous mode. I teared up, cried as I told the breaking news about losing my beloved cat. Feeling so good about the decision to end her suffering made me wonder – out loud and for the first time – why we would want to treat our fellow humans with any less compassion. I left that interview feeling absolutely unsure about how it went. I felt pretty out of control – completely derailed. Not left with optimism. Out of my hands at that point. I was feeling like a good Plan B made practical sense.
I spent that summer studying French at the Université de Montrèal. Fun times! Connected with a French boyfriend – the first and only in my long life that shared my ancestry. My Mémé, grandma, was pretty happy. I found a Plan B. I registered at McGill University and planned to move to Montrèal … unless I was by some sideways chance accepted into Medical School back in Edmonton. It was with a heavy heart that I received the news that I had been accepted. Definitely not in the first wave but accepted none-the-less. Au revoir my summer love! He wrote the most beautiful handwritten love letter as a goodbye…in French…complete with drawings. Mmmmm…. la lune masqué par des nuages… That is all I remember now. The language of love. Yes.
P.S. – In case anyone was wondering what happened to Snoopy, I will disclose that traumatic story. This one shares a spot on the top two parenting fails list for my lovely procreators. Not even sure there is a number three so I am grateful. I love my parents but…I hated it when they lied. They rarely did.
My parents went out of their way to please my brother and I. Over time, I have come to recognize how much I took for granted. My parents were young, energetic, eager to please, adventurous, not afraid to try things, intelligent, kind, money felt abundant. Everything you would want in a parent. When I asked my dad for a motorbike, it was not long before the Honda 50cc arrived in the shed to park next to his own dirtbike. I was 10 years old. Thanks daddy!
Roll back a few years. “Mummy and daddy, can we have a puppy?” Sure thing. I was about six or seven years old. Sweet little black cockapoo was adopted. The two cats were a little slow to warm but before long they were all cuddling in together: adorable. We lived in a fairly dense neighborhood.
Our dog, Snoopy, became the dog of the entire block. Many kids would come over to visit him. The gate was left open by accident on many occasions.
Unbeknownst to me, one fateful day, Snoopy was caught in the act with a purebred breeding poodle. Big problem… The bill for the abortion was handed to my parents. Snoopy and our family were well known in the neighborhood. He was recognized. I found out as an adult, much later, …when I gave my parents a hard time about getting rid of him. He dug many holes in the yard was the party line that was towed in my childhood. I felt a weird energy about the stories – they did not hold water for me. My parents were both busy through the day. Mom went to University working on a degree in Social Work. My Dad worked as a Carpenter. A second home for my brother and I was found a few doors down. We were babysat by a neighbor so we would go visit Snoopy often. It was probably us who left the gate open, who knows. Etched into my memory was being taken to go swimming, yeah! When I got home, I asked, “Where is Snoopy?” He was gone. What? Many words, no truth. Parents: There is no cure… I jest. Not long after, my brother and I saw a dog, Snoopy, being walked by somebody else. Snoopy tugged at the leash but the owner did not allow us to visit with him. I felt super betrayed by the feeling of being tricked and not told the truth about Snoopy finding another home. First world problems to say the least. If that is one of my more memorable disappointments, I would say I have done quite well. I am a strong believer in telling kids the truth though. Even at that tender young age, I had a penchant for truth. I had and have no patience for falsehoods. It was the lack of transparency that traumatized me. OK, stronger use of words than may be required. Exaggerate much? The number one parenting mishap for my set was the Santa Claus ruse. I wrote “Do You Believe in Christmas” about it. I will publish it in the season.
First world problems: the only kind I have ever experienced. I am Grateful…
Wrote August 1, 2014. Was wondering about squeezing my Med School interview story into Doctor Heal Thyself. Opted against it. Ode to my childhood pets organically resulted. Love that the universal topics of Euthanasia and Abortion manage to find their way in there…
Ah, the Simple Life. It has its Deep (Blue) moments. Deep Blue is the name of the song by Scott & Brendo featured in the linked video … of dogs in slow motion.
November 15, 2014
Youth In Asia title. I call it a sense of humor to use this homophonic play of words. Many tangents have I taken in my speech and writing. So many are left unexplored. I have to pick and choose.
Little hobby exploring the various symptoms that I have displayed, and continue to display, that have been labeled Bipolar Disorder. Found this little definition for tangential thinking in a Mental Health Dictionary I found online:
Tangentiality: Inability or unwillingness to focus on an idea, issue, question, or theme of conversation. The patient takes off on a tangent and hops from one topic to another in accordance with his own coherent inner agenda, frequently changing subjects, and ignoring any attempts to restore discipline to the communication. Often co-occurs with speech derailment. As distinct from loosening of associations, tangential thinking and speech are coherent and logical but they seek to evade the issue, problem, question, or theme raised by the other interlocutor.
Am I the only one who laughs after reading that? Hardy har har.
Never before heard or seen the word interlocutor. What does my dictionary.com app have to say about its definition?
1. a person who takes part in a conversation or dialogue. Simple. Nice.
2. the man in the middle of the line of performers in a minstrel troupe, who acts as the announcer and banters with the end men. What?
Discipline in a conversation. Hmmm…
1. training to act in accordance with rules, drill: military discipline.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct, behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army
I cannot deny my tangential thinking. Disabled Angel website incriminates me over and over again. Does everyone think this way? Appears not to my experience. Discipline is in the mind of the beholder. Development and indoctrination are just two of many synonyms. Does the tangentially thinking mind serve the individual or the collective in some special way. I don’t know. I will ponder.
Recently introduced to the word pathologize. Pretty big word in the Integrative Psychiatry world. It is not even present in my dictionary app.
1. the science or the study of the origin, nature and course of diseases.
3. any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition.
Way back when in history, a judgment was made about tangential thinking. Never alone but occurring with several other symptoms it was deemed abnormal, diseased. Assumptions were made with the best knowledge of the day. Now that it is the year 2014, we have the opportunity to reflect on what we have pathologized. Variation in normal is a term I loved using as a Doctor. Almost every trait you can name sits along a continuum. Height for example. Discernment of our Medical community has chosen not to pathologize the very tall person or the very short person. We accept that human height varies from one individual to the next. Live and let live. Love the ring of that. Sounds easy in relation to height.
A healthy, normal or efficient condition. Beautiful concept. Judgment was exercised in the remote past about what that looks like. I think you could host a weeks long conference discussing this today. Present day thinking is quite reluctant to change its mind about many things. Assumptions are just way easier … for some of the people. I am not fixed on the idea of right or wrong. I believe there are a multitude of rights we have access to. Stodgy (look it up yourself – ha!) connection to the way things have historically been considered, limits understanding and innovation. Our language is built on conformity: the words normal or sane for example. Words can limit possibility all by themselves. The definition is the box.
I see an alternative explanation of almost all of the definitions described in the Mental Health Dictionary. Took an extra long look at this one:
The mistaken conviction that effects and events in the external world are caused or prevented by one’s thoughts, words, or actions – frequently in defiance of the laws of physics and formal logic. It is normal in early childhood but pathological thereafter when it forms part of personality and other mental health disorders.
Only normal in early childhood hey? Pity … Beware assumptions. Who is in the best position to discern? Mistaken (conviction) or not mistaken? The million dollar question.
Things may not be what they seem. I call it the Physics of Consciousness. That is all I have to say about that … (for the moment).
I find it funny how I put this together. For the record. Insight? Heaven only knows. I do have friends in high places after all. I entertain myself. Joker’s Wild: a title looking for a story.
Happened to see a play, The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, that showed an emotionally evocative human version of a story similar to my dear Mickey. Only matters were taken into the hands of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her Plan B was beautifully thought out. The audience only knew the plan. It was not depicted. One daughter forbade the act while another supported her mother’s decision. I was deeply moved.
I have an addition to my Bible in a Nutshell: Die and let die. To follow live and let live.
Freedom is a Beautiful Truth. Love conquers all. It is my sense that we all want to be masters of our own domain. Am I right?