i used to volunteer to read (parts of) the newspaper on a radio station segment for the blind. i don’t know if they still do this or not, but it was a great experience and service.
there were two of us in the booth (we alternated reading). we’d get there an hour before air-time to choose what to read (oftentimes just the highlights: who/what/when/where/why). if a grocery store was having a major sale, we’d let them know about that, too. we tried objectively to choose what we thought should be relayed to them in our one-hour, live, readings. the live sessions were recorded and replayed a couple more times that day/evening. i did this twice a week for over a year, although my booth partner was rarely the same person.
the station manager would give us notes after every session. my only notes were that i needed to stop laughing at the funny articles (pressing the “cough button” to mute my microphone, didn’t always work). i didn’t do it that much, but every so often an article would tickle me 🙂 the blind people who called in liked my humor. they didn’t like, however, that we didn’t read more grocery sales stuff. we only had an hour to fit in all of today’s newspaper articles and inserts, so i’d only pick stuff like “triple coupon day” at winn dixie…or whatever seemed worth the time. any article read about a blind person in the news always got tons of calls.
i can’t recall how many listeners we had, but i remember it was a lot. i went to the center for the blind one time and when i spoke to the lady at the front desk, many heads turned from the people sitting in the big seating area. my voice was instantly recognized. that surprised me, for some reason. at the center, i met a deaf and blind man for the first time (i already new basic american sign language), so we communicated via “tactile” communication. this is where he signed to me and when i responded, i signed back to him but he had to engulf my hands to “read” what i was saying. it was a unique and breathtaking experience for me, all around.
poor tommy has “cat herpes” (non-contagious to humans) and there’s nothing the vet or i can do about it. i wipe his eyes with special wipes every night and give him antibiotic eyedrops about 3 times a year. regardless, he is very loved 🙂
various “my therapist has whiskers” cat shirts, mugs, etc. here. so cute.
butter hasn’t been upstairs in about 2 years (me/vet thinks it hurt him too much to climb the stairs…probably arthritis). today, he wasn’t around when i got up and i searched the house for 30 minutes and couldn’t find him. i thought he might have died (he always comes when i call), but took a leap and checked my upstairs office (the only door that isn’t closed up there) and he’s hidden in the back lying on a bunch of bubble wrap. he won’t leave the spot. i wormed my way in there and picked him up to see if he was in pain, but he didn’t react. i carried him downstairs to the room with the food/water/catbox and he used the box and very, very slowly and immediately went back up the stairs to my office closet. i’m hoping he’s just feeling a little sick and not finding his spot to pass away in. the not knowing is some of the worst parts of this. he could thrive for years or this could be a sign of the end.
i called the vet and told her, but there’s nothing she can do but do a bunch of blood tests. can’t afford them or the treatment if something’s found. he’s not in pain though, he’s just as far away as possible by himself. the office is right beside my bedroom.
my heart physically hurts right now. he’s not “just a cat”…he turned 18 last month and has been my best friend, companion, muse, champion. and so much more. our connection has been unlike any other with a cat i’ve ever had. he’s intentionally tried to physically comfort me during bad times, via various ways. if i was crying, he’d keep putting his nose against my arm…but never, ever does that any other time. he never tries to sit in my lap, unless i’m upset. it’s difficult to explain the reality of our connection. he’s done it with others, too….when he senses any kind of stress (even with a complete stranger), he gets near them and stays a while.
waiting to see what’s going on is the hardest part.
[UPDATE] a few hours later, when i got up from my nap, he came downstairs and used the cat box and drank a ton of water. i’m going to take this as a good sign. he’s staying downstairs in his usual spot, so i may have been worried for nothing. have to admit, it was very unusual behavior and somewhat of how a cat begins to act when he knows he’s going to die.
[UPDATE] acting as normal as ever now. still getting old…skinny, and slow most of the time.
maybe i’ll buy one of those trendy “tiny homes” and make more room in it by getting this 🙂