---- — As of this past Satur-day morning, I had nothing to write about. Then the cat bit my wife. I know, a cat bite is nothing to make fun of. Neither was my lung biopsy, but I managed to crank out an entire humor column about that several weeks ago.
Mary Ellen had pretty much forgotten about the feline attack, but that night after dinner with friends, she casually mentioned the redness on her ankle while on the way home in the car. Bob and Cathy, both armed with their iPhones, were in the back seat googling away, entering phrases like: Fatal cat bites; deadly feline teeth; and, lethal kitten puncture wounds. Hey, what’s more fun than surfing the net?
Once Bob and Cathy had convinced my wife that the swelling was either pasteurella multocida or staphylococcus aureus, we headed for the nearest walk-in med center. At that point, three of us decided to make it a fun evening by socializing in the waiting room while my wife was being examined. I know that’s a really dumb way to spend a Saturday night with friends, but with my wife’s excellent health insurance, it was actually a cheaper evening than all four of us going to the movies.
Before she was treated, Mary Ellen had to fill out a form. The first part was titled “Victim Information.” The second section was labeled “If the Victim Was an Animal,” which is either the kind of man-bites-dog story I’m always looking for as a reporter, or if it’s a dog bites dog story, then I want to be there with a news crew when Fido picks up a pen and fills out that form.
The receptionist said there was a long line to see the doctor and requested that Mary Ellen put herself on the waiting list and come back in an hour or so. I told the nurse that the next time my wife needed medical attention like this, we’d try to call about 45 minutes before she planned to torment the cat. Mary Ellen did not think that was funny.
Cats and dogs aren’t the only attacking culprits. In fact, one part of the form provided a list of species that could potentially bite a human. They were in alphabetical order, so the first one on the list was bats, and number two was cattle (which I think would be embarrassing to admit to.) Okay, maybe a mad cow, but how do you let an entire herd bite you? Squirrel is the very last one listed. And there is no mention made of pigs, more proof of just how powerful the bacon lobby is. That’s also probably why the expression: “When pigs bite,” never got any traction.
When we finally saw the doctor, he confirmed the potential severity of a cat wound and suggested that an X-ray be taken to be sure the ankle bone had not been penetrated. Cathy, who was by now the leading cat bite expert in Central Indiana, wanted to know why that procedure was necessary. “Because the cat is now missing two front teeth,” I told her.
By the way, I forgot to mention that two years ago Mary Ellen was at this very clinic after she tried to take a chicken bone away from our beagle. The gash from Toby’s bite required three stitches in her hand. My wife has a way with animals. Which is why we are not getting a cow.