One of the few times I leave the house these days is to go on my physio-prescribed walks around the neighbourhood. Seeing as how I live on the mean streets of New Westminster, (we might get turn-of-the-century-small-town-charmed to death), it's lucky that my mom and I have protection during these excursions: my guard cat Mika, who insists on joining us for every single walk. I think it's safe to say that no baby bunnies or starlings will be harassing us while Mika's on patrol.
This is therefore the sight that the good people of New Westminster see as I pass every day: me, shuffling along with my crutches, wearing baggy workout clothing and a pair of stained MaryJanes because they're the only shoes that don't a) give me blisters or b) require the use of a "sock aid" and shoe horn to put on, glasses askew, hair looking like that of a Barbie doll that's spent years in the bottom of atoybox , calling out every once in awhile to my cat to cajole her into coming out from a hedge and reminding her that she's a "good girl." I could not look more like a psychiatric-ward patient if I put on a tinfoil hat or one of those apocalyptic-themed sandwich boards. Step right up, boys. Can I interest anyone in a copy of my post-surgical sex manual? Anyone? Not all at once.
During my first hip replacement, Mika lived with A. I had worried that she would be a tripping hazard or that she would jump up on my freshly operated-on hip and thought it best that she stay with someone who could lavish her with the attention she deserves. This time, however, I didn't have a choice in the matter. And sure enough....Mika's a tripping hazard and jumps up on my freshly operated-on hip. Actually, she doesn't so much 'jump up on' my hip as she does 'stand on me and dig her tiny paw right into my hip in her efforts to reach over my body to drink from my water glass on the bedside table, which often results in me being woken up not only by the pain of having 10 pounds of cat foot on a place that was recently sliced and diced, but also by the clunking noise of Mika trying to free herself from the water glass that she's gotten her head stuck in.
Mika is also making it difficult to keep my hip restrictions. When she comes for walks, I'm always tempted to turn around to see where she is (I do my little turn on the cat walk), especially when she meows at me when I get too far ahead. Turning is a major hip-replacement no no because you can't twist from your hip.Mika also likes to rub her face on my crutches to claim them as her own (uh...you can have them, cat), which causes her to weave in and out of my unsteady feet.
Worse, she's unable to read the "I just had major surgery" memo, so she doesn't understand why I can't reach down to pet her while she's on the floor, or why I can't pick her up or why I take a really long time to shuffle over to the sink to turn on the tap so she can have a drink. It's one thing to be frustrated because you can't pick up your pants from the floor. It's another to have your little cat rolling on the floor in front of you as if to say, "Don't I look cute? Wouldn't you like to just break your hip precautions and risk possible prosthesis loosening and/or dislocation just once by reaching down to scratch me under the chin?"
All that aside, it's really good to have Mika here. There are few things in this world that a purring cat doesn't cure. Okay, actually there are a lot of things that a purring cat won't cure, (gluteus medius detachment, for example), but she is damn good at relieving the melancholy that comes from weeks spent in bed watching reality TV shows about American prisons.