Happy Birthday, Oscar!

Today, on the eve of a new year for the world, my baby boy Oscarsito transitions into feline adulthood (benchmarked by the one-year checkpoint).

Even though you are a troublemaking, whining, spoiled little brat, momma loves you and wouldn't trade you for anything else in the world.

Thanks for all the snuggles, the laughs, the purrs, the fetches and the fun. Please, just quit racing around the house like there's a pitbull on rollerblades chasing after you.

Today you'll get some birthday salmon and I'll even let you stick your paw in the fish bowl.


Digital Stimulation

Some people need help. Specifically, some people need help with their bottom systems. Who am I to judge? Lord knows I've had my share of gastrointestinal problems. However, in my case the only living souls who have actually witnessed said troubles were my mom and the custodial staff of the local Taqueria. But if you have ever spent more than five minutes with a elderly individual you are probably able to describe with startling clarity the intimate workings of their colon.
I mean, let's be frank here. There are three undisputed truths in this world: Women can't drive, all black people are criminals, and old people are obsessed with their bowels. And before any of you think of lecturing me on the social repercussions of negative stereotypes, you'd better shut your black mouth and get back in the kitchen where you belong before I commit you to a home and pilfer your social security checks.
Working as a geriatric nurse, I have to hear an excessive amount of information about people's shit, or lack thereof. Of course, there are the standard therapeutic remedies to get things moving along- prunes, stool softeners, lots of water, high fiber diet, hot baths- but certain situations can get a bit extreme. Sometimes the fiesty ones start ordering me around like I'm their personal shit slave: "Get me an enema!", or "I need a suppository!", or worst of all, "Get in there and DIG!"
Which is where the spelunking comes in.
Have you ever forced your index finger into the deep, menacing crevasse of someone's anus? No? Well let me tell you, it's quite unnerving. Somehow, a latex glove just isn't enough protection from the warmth, the moisture, the oozing and the creepy peristalsis. It's like a giant, writhing earthworm vomiting on your hand.

I once had a young quadriplegic patient who, for obvious reasons, was much more seasoned in the art of digital stimulation than the average American. This was a nightly routine for us: me, spending thirty minutes massaging the inner lining of his rectum and he, lying there with a faraway look which in my mind could be translated into, "Hehe, that tickles!"
One day he looked at me and said, "Where did you learn how to do this?"
Briefly, panic struck as I frantically wondered why he would even want to know the answer to that question. "I've been doing it for a long time," was the inappropriate response that popped out of my mouth. "Well," he said, "You're not doing it right."
Dear God in heaven, you mean there's a WRONG way to stick your finger in someone's ass in order to cull feces?! Why didn't I learn this in nursing school? Why didn't I learn this in sex ed?
"Well, it's WORKING," I defensively retorted. Who is this guy to criticize ME while my freshly manicured finger is repeatedly plunging itself into yesterday's poorly digested meatloaf? He proceeded to direct my ignorant finger into a clockwise sweeping circular motion, in order to more effectively "open things up".
I have used his technique many times since. Although the aftermath can be unpleasant (the mess qualifying for federal disaster relief aid), when the job is done everyone can take a huge cleansing breath and say... "Until tomorrow."

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