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Bursitis, Fate, and the Cat Formerly Known as Petunia

Imagine for a second that you have a semi-deflated balloon. Now, before you ask any questions, I don’t know WHY you have the balloon. You just do, so use your *imagination*. Picture the balloon in your hand, your fist closing around one end while the air rushes to the other side. No matter how hard you squeeze, it won’t pop. With a tight grip on one end of the balloon, you poke the other end. It’s not the feeling you’ve grown accustomed to experiencing when poking a balloon. Your finger barely makes a dent, but any more pressure and you know the balloon will finally give in and pop. This is how my hip has felt every day for the last month and a half.

After a quick diagnosis of bursitis, my doctor provided me with some options for treatment, medication or a cortisone shot. “Choose,” she said. I looked around nervously. Was this a game? Would the decision I make now affect the rest of my life? Does someone have to suffer the consequences because of a choice I made? Ah, who cares. “The medication, obviously.”

The medication was great!... that is until it started making me dizzy and lightheaded. I ended up quitting it, mostly because when you drive, you’re “supposed to be safe” and “not have distractions.” I’m not sure if being dizzy or lightheaded is, you know, considered a distraction or not, but I thought I’d better not take any chances.

Without any medication to ease the pressure on my hip, I started feeling even more worn out and sad than normal. I couldn’t walk let alone workout without experiencing more pain. It didn’t feel worth it to try to do much on the weekends, especially anything that involved much walking as that is most likely what caused my inflammation in the first place. I spent a lot of time in bed. I’ve watched two and a half seasons of Elementary on Hulu (highly recommend if you enjoy a good Sherlock Holmes story), listened to too many episodes of my favorite podcasts, and cuddled with my cats. Yes, I said cats. Hello, I am your sorta friendly neighborhood cat lady.

When I first moved back to Omaha, I adopted my 1-year-old Torbie, Winnie. At the time, she was nine weeks old and severely malnourished, but good ol’ Aunt Cathy with nothing else to do nursed that little kitten to health. Winnie, once a two 1/2lb soaking-wet orphan cat has grown into a 10lb majestic floof with a huge personality. Many people have told me that Winnie is the feline version of me, meaning that we are both smart, sassy, independent ladies who don’t want humans within 10 feet of them. She quickly became my soul sister, but something was missing. I wanted a cat who was affectionate and loved to cuddle when I was sad. Two months ago, I decided it was time to bring home another little roommate. Well, not a roommate since neither of them pay rent or do anything helpful around the apartment, but you know what I mean.

I walked into the Humane Society and instantly fell in love. Truth be told, however, it wasn’t with Luna. Instead, I fell in love with a dapper little gray floof named Smokey. Unfortunately for me, the people ahead of me in line adopted Smokey before I even got to pet him. The next cat on my list was a 12-week old kitten named Petunia. At first, I was shocked. I had taken to calling Winnie, 'Petunia,' among other things. I decided maybe it was fate. The universe was yelling, "THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE KITTEN YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!!!" Okay, fine Universe, I'll look at her, but like, next time can you just find me a man, so Grandma Dorothy will stop praying for me to get married? I added her to my list, mostly because she was the only other kitten available besides Smokey, and because she had been on TV that day competing in a Cat Olympics with the rest of her litter. I never figured out whether or not she won, but judging by her “abilities,” I would be surprised if she lost.

Petunia was quiet when I looked at her in the cage. My inner pessimist immediately decided Petunia didn’t like me because she didn’t purr or excitedly jump around the cage as she had done for every other human that stopped by to look at her. Still, I went to the room of claustrophobia that really should’ve only housed one human and one cat, but today held two additional adults. Petunia slinked around the small room. She didn’t necessarily dislike me, but she was trying to be as far away from me as possible. The HS employee gave me her medical history and spent quite a bit of time telling me that putting two female cats together is usually stupid for a beginner but that because of both her and Winnie’s ages, it should be okay. I wasn’t listening to him. I was noticing everything about this little Petunia. For starters, she had short hair. I’ve always preferred long haired animals. Next, I noticed that her -ahem- tuckus was clearly visible at all times. Petunia had razor sharp claws and teeth that she used to “play.” Everything that happened in this room told me to put her back in the cage and wait for the next round of kittens, but something was pulling me toward the little furry terror. Before I could process it all, I was signing the papers, and she was placed in a box that was much better suited for a guinea pig.

Petunia. It was a cute enough name for a cat, but it wasn’t really me because obviously it’s all about me and has nothing to do with the cat herself. But hey, if I’m paying for something, I get to name it. That’s just how the rules go, and I didn’t make them up. Soon, the cat formerly known as Petunia became Luna and she was officially mine.

After the days of continuous hissing and growling from under the door subsided, Winnie and Luna became fast friends. Winnie took quickly took to her new motherly role, just as I expected she would. Luna turned out to be the biggest cuddle obsessed kitten I have ever encountered. It doesn’t matter who you are, what position your body is in, or whether or not you’re awake. Luna has already picked you as her next thing to cuddle, much to my excitement. On the other hand, she often chooses to cuddle with my face when I’m trying to sleep, and me being who I am, always wakes up with a cat tuckus in the face. Not only is Luna a cuddler, but she’s also quite the jungle cat. She always needs to be moving, climbing, terrorizing the greenery, catching bugs, digging in her litter box, ripping up toys, making messes, etc., while Winnie is a bush cat who loves to lounge, sleep, and occasionally enjoy a neck scratch. They are complete opposites, but these girls know how to make endless trouble for their human.

This leads me back to my bursitis. Even though these two little knucklehead mcspazzatrons love to make my life a living nightmare 87% of the time, they’re also very intuitive. I remember the first time I brought Winnie to the vet, and I spilled all my emotions out in the examination room. “I’ve never had a cat before! What if she hates me?! What if she destroys my apartment and I can’t live anywhere in Omaha again?!” The vet tech picked Winnie up and put her in my arms after the examination. She immediately started purring (Winnie, not the vet tech because that would be weird and uncomfortable). “She seems to like you, so I wouldn’t worry about that part,” she said with a smile, “did you know that the frequency of a cat’s purr causes the human body to kick start healing processes? Supposedly it can even help bones heal faster!” Okay, strange lady, I thought to myself as I slowly backed out of the room with Winnie and made a beeline for the front door.

Here we are a year later. Winnie still seems to like me, although I would say slightly less since I brought Luna home. With the pain in my hip getting worse every day, I finally decided to get a cortisone shot. If you have never read my blog before, hi, welcome, please go back and read my first post about acupuncture and all shall be revealed.

In the days leading up to my shot, I felt that I had thoroughly prepared myself. BLOOD!! TERROR!!! ANXIETY!!!! PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! It turns out it wasn’t that bad at all, aside from a colorful bruise the size of a kiwi and the fact that my hip still isn’t 100% better. Every day gets a little better, although I still have to hold my hip in place when I get up, so I look the way I feel inside, which is 87 years old.

Although cat purrs couldn’t heal my aging hip, I do find that a little kitten purring on your chest while you’re sleeping is pretty relaxing. Well, it’s relaxing until they turn around so their butt is in your face or they wake up and push things off the counter or bring you ratty old toys or start attacking each other or find entertainment in clawing at your closed eyes.

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