by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/03/14 07:38 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/03/14/395177.aspx
Warning -- no technical content!
There is an old story/joke that has many versions, but here is the version I like best:
A man is house sitting for his brother -- feeding the cat, getting the mail, etc. The brother calls to check in. "I’m sorry," says the man, "but your cat died."
"What do you mean the cat died? How could you do this to me? You should have prepared me for the shock," says the man’s brother.
"How was I supposed to prepare you?" asks the man.
"Well," says the brother, "first you should have told me, the cat is on the roof, but don’t worry, we’re calling the fire department. Then the next time we talked you should have said, the fire department was doing everything it could and not to worry. Then the next time I called you can tell me that the cat had fallen, but not to worry -- the vet was doing everything she could to resuscitate him. Then, finally, you could have told me, the cat had died."
"Sorry, I should have thought first" said the man, who was quite embarrassed at this point.
"So anyway, how is the house?"
"Um," says tha man, "your house is on the roof...."
An interesting situation, one where on one level you understand what you are being told and yet on another just don't seem to get it.
I find this story oddly comforting at the moment.
You see, I just found out that my almost 10-year-old cat (Chelsea Antoinette) has cancer. It has metastasized from one mammary gland to several others. I have not heard from the radiologist yet but the veterinarian thinks it looks like it may be in the lymph nodes too.
Now this is a way outside my limited field of knowledge of medical matters, but I know that it has to be pretty big to show up in an x-ray. It is obviously still metastatic if it is showing up in multiple places, even if the X-ray comes back negative.
So why do the X-ray in that case?
Well, I think it is to give the person in my position something to hang hopes on. After all it can mean extra months of life, at least. And then if the results are bad then something to focus on in terms of the severity of the disease.
Yet even knowing this, even having this meta conversation with the veterinarian, it somehow does help.
I tell the veterinarian the story and she smiles, then apologies for smiling. I trll her there is no need for that -- it is comforting somehow to be eased into these things, and to try to smile when you can. =And then I smile. And I took Chelsea home. Now I will await the results and pretend it makes a difference, even if it won't really, in this case.
I went into work Sunday and did not say anything. As if that would make it less likely to be true or something. Idiot.
And Chelsea? Well, she likes the taste of Amoxicillin. And she seems to appreciate that she is getting Fancy Feast out of a can rather than the usual dry food, even if she does not know why.
I have to figure out where the line is drawn so that I can know the difference between being a heartless killer and being a benevolent caretaker. I'm afraid I will do what most people do in such situation -- I will wait, while she suffers. Thinking that there must be a resolution that is somehow moral, and compassionate. In the end it is incredibly selfish on my part, though in a world so backasswards that death can be act of love, a little selfishness in the hope that she won't hate having a little more time seems like more of a venal sin than a mortal one.
In the meantime, I'll keep bringing Chelsea's food up to her, on the roof. And try to keep the house from falling on her....
# Mike on 14 Mar 2005 8:36 AM:
# AC on 14 Mar 2005 8:37 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 14 Mar 2005 8:43 AM:
# Zach Glazer on 14 Mar 2005 10:36 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 14 Mar 2005 10:54 AM:
# Stuart Dootson on 14 Mar 2005 12:54 PM:
# Dean Harding on 14 Mar 2005 2:14 PM:
# Larry Osterman on 14 Mar 2005 3:04 PM:
# Victor Chew on 14 Mar 2005 5:57 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 14 Mar 2005 6:08 PM:
Wolfie on 26 Aug 2011 3:33 PM:
You screwed that Joke up Bad... When the brother calls back he ask's "hows Mom" not hows the house....
Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Aug 2011 4:06 PM:
My version is funnier.
2005/10/06 I ask the cat-goddess Bubastis...
2005/06/24 Seeing red. But in a good way....
2005/06/10 TechEd Orlando: Day 5
2005/04/24 Trapped in Beachwood, Ohio?, Redux
2005/04/09 Feline Update, and See You at the Show
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