Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

In the continuing saga of weird and improbable injuries, I'd like to introduce you to my latest downfall - my cat, Taz.

Oh sure, she looks harmless enough. But, like many felines, inside she is a scheming ball of potentially homicidal impulses wrapped up in a decidedly psychotic sense of humor.

All of that, however, has no bearing on what happened because what happened was one of those freak accidents that couldn't be replicated if you held a gun to my head.

You might remember me telling you how two years ago I gave myself a severe concussion by vacuuming under the dining room table and midjudging my exit. The E.R. personnel didn't believe my story. I had phone calls from concerned parties wanting to know if I was safe in my home.

Of course I'm not safe. I'm still doing housework.

Anyway, a few months later, I gave myself another head injury by knocking loose a can of shaving cream from the shower caddy and failing to move out of the way before it collided with my forehead.

I didn't even bother going to the doc on that one. For one, I wasn't hurt that bad. For another, I really didn't want the local police to open a file on my hubby and his poor addled wife who, apparently tiring of the old "I-fell-down-the-stairs" story, was resorting to blaming innocent household objects - like vacuum cleaners and shaving cream bottles - for her injuries.

If you don't count the day last month when I walked into a tree, the category of Strange-And-Slightly-Unbelievable-Injuries-For-$200-Alex has been relatively empty for a while.

Taz fixed that two nights ago.

She sleeps on me. And by sleeps on me, I don't mean she sleeps beside me or at my feet...I mean I lay on my side and she drapes herself across my body like a 12 pound throw rug. She stays there until around 4 or 5 am when she suddenly comes to life.

I call it the Witching Hour. Or the Hour of the Pest. Or the "I-swear-if-you-knock-one-more-item-off-my-dresser-I-will-lock-you-in-the-linen-closet" hour.

Take your pick.

She's a devious, conniving little thing and she watches me the whole time she's knocking things around or rustling paper. The second I give in and show any sign of wakefulness - rolling over, opening my eyes, flinging a pillow - she quits whatever she's doing and jumps on me again. Only this time, she demands attention for ten minutes or so before finally letting me sleep again.

Those of you currently rolling your eyes and thinking that I should just take a firmer hand with her and stop this vicious cycle clearly have never owned a cat.

Two nights ago, I was asleep, facing the middle of the bed when the Witching Hour began. Only this time, there was a flaw in Taz's plan. Taz, being a cat and completely uncaring about anything in my realm that doesn't directly affect her, didn't take into account the fact that I'd taken Tylenol Cold before going to bed.

Tylenol Cold knocks me flat and keeps me groggy for hours.

I didn't hear anything she did. I saw the evidence of it in the morning - a pen knocked off the dresser, the lamp cord partially pulled out of the socket, some paper strewn about in an obvious fit of pique - but I heard nothing.

I did, however, for reasons that remain unclear due to the foggy nature of my brain at the time of the incident, decide to roll toward the side of the bed.

Taz took this as a signal to join me and get some attention.

I usually know I've sent this signal and compensate for the impending arrival of 12 pounds of cat.

I may have mentioned the Tylenol Cold...

I failed to compensate because I truly didn't realize Witching Hour was upon us.

I rolled toward the side of the bed just as she launched herself from the dresser toward....the exact same space.

Having failed miserably at Chemistry, I was never given the opportunity to try my hand at Physics but even so, I understand that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Also, there's a law about momentum. And about opposing forces. And about everything being fun and games until one loses one's eye.

I rolled. Taz leaped. And in a scene fit to make Murphy proud, her sharp, bony nose collided full force with my left eyeball.

Not my eye socket.

Not my cheek bone.

Not my forehead.

My eyeball.

We hit so hard, it knocked her to the floor.

For those of you feeling the least bit curious at this point as to what it would feel like to absorb the full force of a 12 pound feline's forward momentum with your eyeball, let me assure you that it hurts.

Hurts as in capital H-U-R-T-S hurts. I felt like I'd been punched. My eye watered and burned and even though Taz recovered with enviable quickness and began her quest for my attention, she was disappointed.

Two days later, it still hurts to put my contacts in. Hurts to rub. Hurts, on rare occasions now, to blink.

I was worried I'd get up in the morning to a black eye and be forced to come up with an "I-walked-into-a-door" story just to get the suspicious medical officials off our case.

Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.


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