Friday, January 27, 2012

The Tale of Poor Thor.

The Mighty Thor, who had a bad day today.  I'm posting this here rather than on Facebook because there just aren't enough characters to properly explain it all.
Thor has the gingivitis.  Ever since I brought him home a little over 2 years ago, his gums have been red and his teeth are tartar stained.  Try as I might with over-the-counter remedies and other such things, his gums stayed red to the point that, at his last checkup, the vet suggested I bring him in for a teeth cleaning and possible (probable) tooth extractions.

This morning I dropped him off.  The tough part about that was that he wasn't allowed to eat anything after 8:00pm Thursday night.  That made Thor an unhappy guy this morning when he couldn't get his regular breakfast.  He whined and moaned at me and wasn't at all excited about being put in his transporter box and carted 10 miles to the veterinarian.  At around 5:00pm I got a phone call from the vet saying that he was "doing tremendously" after his ordeal.  But not without a few complications.

First, and as I had feared, he had a bad reaction to the anesthesia.  He struggled to breathe and it got to the point that they had to insert a breathing tube to encourage him to breathe.  His pulse rate and blood pressure dropped to the point that (even though she didn't say it) I'd guess that he was close to death.  Somehow, I had feared that.  Don't ask me why, but I worry whenever animals are anaesthetised.  It was so bad that the vet said that she doesn't want to ever have to put him under again, and won't unless it's absolutely necessary.

He got through that difficulty and they moved on to the teeth cleaning part.  The gingivitis was so pronounced and advanced that his bones had resorbed the roots of his teeth.  When they went to clean them, they literally fell out.  One after another, until all that is left are a few tiny incisors in the front.  What they anticipated would be a long process took less than an hour, since the teeth gave up on their own.  At this point, he's Toothless Thor.

I told the vet that I'd have dinner and pick him up at around 6:30.  It's a good thing I waited.  About a half hour before I arrived he started pacing the cage and moving around.  Apparently, the activity elevated his blood pressure and his mouth started to bleed.  Not much, but enough that there were drops of blood on his blanket and his lips were coated in thick red goo.  It's better that it happened there than on the ride home and in my house.  I surely would have panicked and been up all night with him.

As it is, he's staying the night at the vet's office and I'll pick him up tomorrow morning.  They think (and I think) it's best that he get his medications and that he be sedated so that he rests rather than get excited about being home and try to do too much too soon.  It'll be lonely here without him, but I'd rather not clean up blood droppings and lie awake all night.

The good news is that he's down to 14.2 pounds (from his high of 20) which is the weight he was when I picked him up in November 2009.   They're very happy about his weight loss, since most cats who are put on these diets don't lose any weight.  Mostly, it's because their owners don't do what they are supposed to do.  Luckily for Thor, I have more discipline about such things than most people.  At some point he'll go on a maintenance diet, but he'll need to get his mouth back in shape before I think about that.

Apparently, cats can survive quite nicely without teeth.  Since his teeth were in such bad shape, it's likely that he wasn't chewing his food anyway.  Most of the time, the soreness from the gums makes cats just pick up food and swallow it.  Come to think of it, I never heard any crunching from his food bowl, so I'd guess that he was probably just picking up the morsels and swallowing them.  I expect him to be able to go back to his regular dry food after about a week of all canned food while his gums heal.

Before I paid the bill ($450, which was actually made cheaper by the fact that they didn't have to pull any teeth) I asked to go in and see him.  There he sat, in his cage with his blood droppings and a mouth that looked like Rocky after Clubber Lang got through pummeling him.  He recognized me and got up to move closer, but I could tell he was in no shape to come home.

The other good news is that he'll get over this trauma rather quickly.  That's the great thing about dogs and cats.  They are quick to forget and ready to move on. It's a shame more people aren't like that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We're getting closer to the end of civilization.

In the trailer for the new film Band of Misfits, the Grant-voiced Pirate Captain lands on a ship demanding gold, but is told by a crew member: “Afraid we don’t have any gold old man, this is a leper boat, see.” After issuing the explanation, the sailor’s arm drops off.
Leprosy groups expressed concern that the scene could increase the stigma and discrimination felt by people suffering from leprosy.
Aardman (the animation company who made the film) has said it will change the scene in the wake of the objections.

Watch the trailer.  The highly offensive material emerges at around the 30-second mark.

First of all, who even knew there were leprosy groups.  Secondly, wouldn't you think that people with leprosy already know there is a stigma attached to their disease?  Apparently not.
Thirdly, making a statement that "this is a leper boat" and having the sailor's arm drop off is hysterical.  I think it's hysterical because (a) I have a sense of humor and (b) I'm not easily offended.  And that's where I become a loser in society.

What, do you mean that people's arms don't really fall off when they have leprosy?  Gosh, I had no idea.  How rude.  When is "Leprosy Awareness Day?"  I'll mark my calendar.
In modern society, the sensitivity of the so-called "special interest groups" wins out because a few people are offended by some joke or comment made by someone who isn't a member of the group.  The people (like me) who find those comments either funny or nondescript will let it go because we aren't sensitive to every gentle wind that blows.  To us, it's a live and let live society, and if people believe something ridiculous, then that's their cross to bear.

Generally, it's a special interest viewpoint that has a narrow-minded view of what they perceive to be funny, entertaining or (egad) appropriate.  When they complain, it would appear that they represent millions of people with a similar viewpoint when what they actually represent is a minority of people who feel that they should complain about things that they find objectionable.

It's the same reason you could never air a TV show like "All in the Family" today.  But I digress...

These things include jokes about sensitive subjects, words, actions and deeds that fall in the realm of what we have come to call politically incorrect viewpoints.  Those viewpoints can expand to odd special-interest groups like those representing lepers and other groups that make advertisers back out of TV shows or movies because there might be something that ten percent of the population finds objectionable.  It's a strange way to do business.

Those of us who find such things entertaining aren't going to take time from our busy day to write e-mail's of satisfaction, so the advertisers are forced to bow to the 100 people who wrote angry letters.  And I'd bet a week's pay that when that movie trailer was shown and that joke came up, the audience laughed heartily.  Nevermind that, the lepers have spoken.

“After reviewing the matter, we decided to change the scene out of respect and sensitivity for those who suffer from leprosy. The last thing anyone intended was to offend anyone and it is clear to us that the right way to proceed is to honor the efforts made by organizations like ILEP to educate the public about this disease,” the statement said.

Of course they never meant to offend them.  That's the point.  What they should have said was, "Up to a day ago, we had no idea there was anything called ILEP, and maybe you should develop a sense of humor."  But they didn't.  They compromised their artistic integrity because somebody complained.  And God forbid we offend anyone with humor.

Oh, and there is a joke about fat parrots in the film too.  Let's see if the International Fat Parrots Advocacy Group (The IFPAG) stages a protest about that.