Sunday, May 13, 2012


I love my patio so hard. Here’s the view from where I sit:

(Not pictured: the smell of the honeysuckle, the taste of the cappuccino, and the ant creeping up my leg.)

New things …

Our 17 year old cat, Moth, died. As pet deaths go, it went as well as it possibly could. He stopped eating or drinking but seemed comfortable; still purred when petted. I was sitting by him when he breathed his last. I cuddled his soft body and cried while HB brought me tissues, then TH held him, then HB. We buried him out here in the patio, his favorite place. HB said, “Oh! Wait!” and ran and got a rubber band (Moth’s favorite thing to play with) and had TH tuck it in with him. That was when TH cried. Then we all sat on the couch and petted our other cat (the one pictured above) and cried a little more and talked about the good times with Moth. HB got out a box of Thin Mints he’d been saving and we all had some. It was practically a Cosby episode, the kind that makes you roll your eyes because of how unrealistic it is.

He even peed his last time IN his litter box.

Our leftover cat was utterly bereft. I’ve never seen a cat grieve so. He spent his days and nights glued to me. We were soon to take a trip and I realized I couldn’t leave him alone, so I went on a hunt for a Moth-like replacement. When I got Moth, he was 7 years old, abandoned at a shelter because his family “moved.” He was doing a terrible job of selling himself compared to the cute kittens – hugely fat, wild dilated eyes, fur flying off him as he shedded from stress – but something about him spoke to me. I stuffed him into the too-small cat carrier and staggered home. With diet and exercise he lost 7 pounds and was a svelte beast the rest of his days (slimming down a cat is not hard to do, by the way). We had our ups and downs – turned out he detested infants – but one thing he taught me was how to savor the smallest things. He was an outrageously happy cat.

So I came across a cat being taken from his owner because she’d overfed him to past 30 pounds (she herself had an eating disorder in the opposite direction). Incredibly sweet, but almost at the point of not being able to walk. I hauled him home in a dog crate. We’ve had him 3 months and he’s lost 7 pounds already and can now turn over, walk, run, jump, and, thank sweet heaven, clean himself. Below is a comparison picture I did for his 2 month anniversary. We named him Foosa, after the fierce cat-like creatures of Madagascar. Our other cat was back to his old self almost immediately.

What else … my job is vastly different since January. I ditched many of my clinical duties (including weekend rounding!) for a much larger role in two huge medical education projects, and it’s a wild ride. Stressful, of course – I don’t do mellow – but in a good way.

Running is great; no Nana drama to speak of; HB is often wonderful and sometimes horrid rather than the other way around and is finally willing to have play dates; and cycling season is in full swing, but I’m pretty used to it.

There are some tough things. A big one is that I’ve got some [drops voice to an old-lady whisper] sex problems that go way, way back but I’m only just acknowledging. I wish I could be all out there, loud and proud, but I am a sex talk wimp. I have never discussed them in detail with anyone, EVER, and just mentioning it here makes my pulse and blood pressure rocket. Maybe I’ll be able to put it down here at some point; that would likely be very helpful, but I can’t promise it. (As if it would be some kind of treat anyway! Probably not something most people want to read.)

One other big event: TH shaved. He’s had a very long goatee for some ten years – not quite ZZ Top or Gandalf, but dramatic, and that plus his shaved head made him look a little scary and a little old. Now he looks sweet-faced and about 15 years younger, which disorients me and garners me some well, well, look who robbed the cradle! looks. Almost everyone tells him he should never grow it back, but I liked it. And not just because it kept me from seeming all Demi.

I so love hearing from you about your running successes. Don’t forget to go slow and go every OTHER day. I am right as usual.


OMDG said...

Poor Moth! It sounds like he had a good life though. I love the names you've given your cats, and that you rescue the morbidly obese ones...

Your patio looks like a small piece of paradise. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

It sounds like you gave Moth a great life.

I'm glad HB is less H these days.

Margaret said...

So sorry about Moth. Losing an animal is so hard.

I ran my first half-marathon! My goal is to run a full marathon before I'm 50 and I've got another 7 months to up my mileage. Though, (imagine me speaking in a whisper) since I don't have the deadlines looming over my head, I've been lazy and only done a couple of short runs since the 29th.

Anonymous said...

Delurking for the first time everrrrr to say thank you for posting! Missed your posts in a ridiculous way these past few months. I'm a former track/cross country runner who finally got off her arse (15 years later) to start running again, thanks to your blog/advice/inspiration. Anyway, you were missed. I think I already said that. More, please. --Ashley

winecat said...

So sorry about Moth. He sounded like a wonderful cat. Glad you were able to adopt another needful cat and made your other cat happy to boot.

Great to hear from you. I always miss you when you're gone.

Congratulations on the "new" job.

Anonymous said...

I'm not good with cats. Very happy you're taking up the slack for me. Back trying to build up fitness again after nearly killing myself with an extensive double pneumonia. (ER doc, "how the HELL were you able to stand upright and walk in here?") I want despartely to go back to racing. I've been told easy for 3 months. Any experience or words of wisdom in this area? V.

HeatherLiz said...

Love your posts!
I am determined to run my first marathon before 45 but I have to finish that BSN first. No time for the long runs now. My goal this year is just.don't.stop.running (usual pattern= 6 months on, 1 year off).
Not to sound prurient, but please, do share as much as you're comfortable with. I would happily share sex talk on my blog, except that my main readers are my mom, and teenage son who is mortified by most things about me anyway these days! Maybe best not.

DoctorMama said...

V - this is one where you let your body be your guide. Exercise does nothing but good for your lungs, but if you are coughing too much to keep going or if you can't breathe, stop. The 3 months is a made-up number. Could be longer, probably will be a lot shorter. "How the hell were you able to stand upright and walk in here?" DUH - because you're way stronger than the average person, BECAUSE you exercise.

Anonymous said...

I'm going anon only b/c the person I'm about to talk about would be furious and mortified if she ever found out I'd publicly talked about it. So. My mother has vaginal prolapse. I, um, saw it. I was in my early 20's, and could not comprehend what I was seeing and had to have it explained to me. My mother's had a pessory for over a decade now, and while I'm pretty sure she hasn't had sex in even longer than that, my point in telling you this is that when a few family & friends found out about my mom, people came out of the woodwork to say "me too." I was SHOCKED. So, whatever your sex problem is, you are not alone. Please push through the awkwardness of dealing with it - once you do, you'll wish you hadn't waited so long.

NH (not the state) said...

In part because I read your blog, I've been using one of those Couch-to-5K apps for about six months (a couple of oral surgeries made me unable to exercise for a bit). I just turned 40, and now can run farther than I have since college. And I look forward to it, which totally astounds me.

Nikki said...

I am so sorry about moth. Losing a pet is hard.

I found your blog a month or two ago and read the entire thing...then went and bought a new pair of running shoes and hit the road. I tried running, once, 8 years ago when I was a student and was dating a runner. Got a wicked case of PFS, ran through it, eventually reached the point where I couldn't walk...and stopped.

Now I'm married to the runner, have a toddler and a baby-who-will-be-a-toddler-next-week, work full time and then some, and holy crap is it hard to fit in exercise. But running - I can do that after the kids go to bed, and still spool down early enough to get myself an ok night's sleep. I LOVED the first four runs. But the fifth - oh, the knee pain. I slowed down, and slowed down, and slowed down...but no luck. And I limped for days. So, off to the physiotherapist, who is taping my knees and getting me working on my good ol' VMO, and I can run again!

So - a long-winded way to say, thanks for getting me running again. It's 30 minutes every other day that are entirely about me, and wow, is that ever a treat. I really appreciate the push.

Unknown said...

Oh Sweet Jesus, that poor overfed cat! Thank you for helping him! He probably weighed 30+ pounds and his owner 85. Sick! Torment your own bodies with eating disorders but leave innocent children and pets alone!!!!

Dan Metcalf said...

So sorry for your loss! It's interesting that you could see such symptoms of grief in your other cat. I've never thought about pets displaying that emotion, but certainly they are smart enough for it. Congratulations on saving the life of your new pet!

myblog said...

Any opinion about "mid-foot strike" running and these "barefoot running" shoes? I have been sidelined for almost a year by a nasty plantar fasciitis and am slowly getting back to the road.

pastamama said...

Dr. Mama, I am a huge fan of yours and total lurker. I found your blog about 6 years ago when I was also doing IVF and all that--fortunately those issues are far in the rear view mirror. I'm a doctor and a runner and a mom and I agree with EVERYTHING you say on all those topics. And I rarely agree with anyone on anything! Yours is the only blog I read.

So would you please talk about your sex problem? I can only assume it is the same as mine (since we obviously have parallel lives) and I could use your courage and insight on it.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, just checking in. I found your blog just before your last post, have read all the past entries. Hoping you, and your family are doing well and enjoying the summer. Looking forward to your next post!

JP said...

Hello. I found your site last week though Tertia who writes So Close.
I have tried running clinics and iPhone apps - and I like them, but they haven't turned me into a runner. I have had varying degrees of fitness throughout my life. Right now, I am working on getting back to fit. I have been doing a boot camp since July 9, and I love it, but it's not sustained cardio.
After a particularly grueling day this week, while taking medication that is not compatible with alcohol, I decided a stress relief of running was in order. Having recently read your first Maggots post - I just took off - SLOWLY. I ran for an entire mile without walking (just under 15 minutes). And I didn't hate it at all. In fact, I am planning to go again today. Most of us have been walking since we were babies; therefore, walking faster doesn't occupy my mind enough to satisfy my need to get out if it for a while. Running does because I have to work at it and concentrate on it. That's why I want to be a runner. Thanks for the great advice, motivation, and website.

winecat said...

A bit late to the post here but wanted to comment anyway.

Sorry about the loss of Moth it sounds as if you gave him a wonderful life. Cudos for adopting Foosa as an adult cat.

Glad to her HB is mostly wonderful now.