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Ben Franklin's bifocals August 3, 2005

Cat Scratch

It had been a hell of a week. She had the surgery yesterday, and I had not slept enough over the last several days. I finally brought her home from the hospital, and she went into the bedroom to take a nap. I lay down beside her, sleep-deprived, and the cat, (never one to pass up the opportunity), curled up between us. I was almost asleep when something startled him and he took off, well, like a scalded cat. My left hand was in his exit path, and he was not careful about sheathing those sharp claws of his. I felt one of them go into my left index finger.

Oh Great, I thought as the pain started, the first chance I have to really get some rest and the stupid cat has to ruin it. I was about to get angry at the cat, followed shortly by the rest of the world, when I heard the little voice. It said, "Just a minute, William." "Haven't you learned anything about cat scratches?" It seems I had.

The pain was already there. The Body Perimeter Integrity Violation Alarm was ringing off the hook. You can fight it and try to smother it, but that almost never works. You can, however, also embrace it. I decided to wrap my arms around it and give it a hug. Wow, I thought, after all these years the defensive sensors of my body are still so finely tuned that even a trivial wound like a cat scratch can set them off. I opened my eyes and looked at my left index finger where there was a tiny puncture mark with a single drop of blood clotting on the surface. What a marvel, I thought, that the body has already reacted to this intrusion and dealt with it.

The next thing I knew I was waking up from a long nap feeling more refreshed and relaxed than I had in some time. There was no pain anywhere in my body, and no need of any.

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