It Was the Best of Fams, It Was the Worst of Fams

About a month ago, the vet’s office where I work received a fax from the regional animal emergency clinic about one of our patients.  It seems that our patient, a young cat about one year old, had been attacked by a dog and had ended up in the emergency clinic.  In the morning when I get to work, there might be paperwork on the fax machine from the emergency clinic regarding a patient that had a visit there.  Most times, the emergency clinic opens at 6PM, and closes the following morning at 8, unless it’s a weekend, and then it’s open just about all weekend.

This particular morning, there was a fax regarding the extensive injuries to this nice cat.  By the time we opened, the owners were there with the cat for a follow-up exam.  The owners ended up leaving her with us for observation for the rest of the day.  When the woman came in to pick up, she commented that her partner had told her the evening before that the cat had been attacked, but that it wasn’t very bad, and he thought the cat would be fine.  She had been driving home from her job as a nurse, and when she arrived home, and saw the cat, she knew that the cat needed immediate attention.  There were large tears and puncture wounds on the body of the near-lifeless cat, and she couldn’t believe that her partner thought the cat would be okay without treatment.  I asked her, “Did something bad happen to him when he was young?”  She replied that his father had died of cancer when her partner was in early elementary school, and that he himself had been in an accident that led to a coma, and then she stopped herself, and looked me in the eye and said, “Why would you ask me that?”  And I told her about something that happened to me when I was young, and how it shaped my life, and how I’m good in a crisis, and how I tend to gloss over stuff and say, well, that’s not so bad.


You know what I’m talking about.


And into every fam, some rain must fall.  I thought that my family had a little bit of bad luck, but I didn’t know until I was an adult, like last year or so, that my family had issues.  When I was about eight years old, my mother broke her hip.  She was at the beauty shop on a Saturday when my dad took the phone call that she had been hurt. 

My mother was thirty-eight when I was born, and I wasn’t even the youngest child.  Almost, but not quite, the youngest.  My dad was almost forty-three when I was born four days before his birthday.  My mom was a stay-at-home mother who felt sorry for herself.  She had a wicked good sense of humor, but most of the time she was depressed.  When she broke her hip and spent a lot of time in the hospital, she was put on prescription pain-relievers, like Darvon.  I spent my childhood being quiet because mom was resting, not talking back because mom got upset, and just generally being good so that I wouldn’t be a disappointment. 

I thought that her bad times began when she broke her hip, and things didn’t heal right.  I said that to my BigBroBob once, and he said that she had problems years before when it was her back.  Apparently she was needier than I knew, but my vision of my family was from inside my bubble, not outside.

My mother was gloom-and-doom, and I knew I didn’t want to be that way.  I also knew that I didn’t want to take medicine.  Even today I don’t take any meds.  I’m a great believer in mind over matter, but then I don’t have anything seriously wrong with me, certainly nothing that a big dose of Ex-lax won’t cure. 


The cat had to have several Penrose drains inserted when she was stitched up, and there was a worry that one of the puncture wounds had nicked her intestines, and that her intestines might start to spill out contamination into the body cavity.  Fortunately, for the cat and the owners’s pocketbook, the intestines were fine, she began to heal, and she recuperated. 

So, if you’ve had a life-altering experience and it has warped your perspective, don’t fail to get a second opinion.  Hey, leave a comment, even if it’s late at night.  I’ll probably be up, spilling my guts on the internet.

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5 Responses to “It Was the Best of Fams, It Was the Worst of Fams”

  1. Sharon Says:

    It is most interesting to ask siblings (if you have them) about the things we remember as children. The perspectives on the same events can be dramatically different. There are times when I have felt we might have not had the same mother, but then there are pictures as proof.

    You most likely gave the woman insight to her partner that she would never have obtained alone. The help that will be is invaluable.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Sharon, yes! I read once that siblings grow up in different families. The explanation was that the first child creates the first family dynamic, and the family is a trio. An additional child adds a younger sibling with a whole new perspective on the family. I put myself into my older sibling’s shoes, and I can’t imagine having me as a little sister.


  2. Becky Says:

    I believe you were probably ten years old when “it” happened; I remember telling Mrs. Williams, my third-grade teacher, about the accident. Yes, Mother was doom and gloom, and I recall many times tippy-toeing on that hardwood floor to keep the peace. I had rose-colored blinders to a lot of it, though. It was the mid-90’s before the anger I was unaware of came rearing its ugly head. Nice that we get the gift of time to work through that stuff!


  3. ruthrawls Says:

    I think that you are right about my age. It’s kind of muddled up in my memory.


  4. gueule de bois Says:

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    at the same time as browsing for a similar topic, your website came up, it
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