William's Study (Diary Of A Hyperdreamer)
Monday 5th October 2009 -- 12:00 pm
Have just been speaking on the 'phone with Emi who is still in Japan. She's been away for 10 days now and there's still no indication of when she'll be coming home. Today is her 61st birthday. It's the first time since we've been a couple that we've not been able to go out for a meal together to celebrate it.
Before she left England, I gave her two birthday gifts. The main one, (a watch), she opened there and then. The second birthday gift was packed unopened in her suitcase, to take with her to Japan, with strict instructions from me not to unwrap it until today. It's a very nice gold and turquoise blue dress ring with a silver dragonfly set on top of the stone. She's now opened it and says that she loves it and that it fits fine. But we're missing each other terribly and the days just seem to drag and drag.
Emi's back problem is still bothering her so she's visited a Tokyo physiotherapist for treatment and has booked another appointment for next week.
Her mother seems to be a little better than she was on Emi's previous visit. I'm told that she is eating and communicating more than before and gives the impression of being a little more positive in her outlook.
But, despite her mother's slight improvement, the general picture out there remains vague. It's a trait of Japanese culture that nothing is as clearly or directly expressed as it would be here in England. There's lots of hinting and reading between the lines but getting a straight answer is hard work. I'm still amazed that anything gets done in Japan at all, so diffused and foggy are the decision-making proceedures. Nothing is ever hit 'head-on.' I know that many western people living or working there find this facet of Japanese culture difficult to understand and often frustrating.
Life here without Emi became even more stressful last week. On Thursday, I returned home from town around 6 pm to be greeted by the sight of Django, (my cat,) in the garden, waving his tail around in a very odd, agitated manner. I sensed something was amiss and as I walked towards him saw that there was something wrong with the end of his tail. It was at a strange angle and when I looked closer could see that the end section of the tail was almost cut right through.
I tried not to panic but, in a state of shock, immediately 'phoned the nearby vetinary surgeon where our two cats are registered. The lady who answered the 'phone said they were just about to close but that I should call their emergency number. This connected me with a different vetinary practice which, from what the voice on the other end of the telephone told me, was in the process of 'taking over' our usual vet's business. I was instructed to take Django to a different surgery which was somewhere over the other side of town.
I put Django into his transport box,which is always a struggle as he hates going in it, (and to the vets), and set off in the car. When I arrived somewhere in the general vicinity of the new vet's surgery, I parked the car and carried Django in his box along the street towards where I thought the surgery was located. My sense of panic increased when, after walking some distance, I couldn't see anything remotely to do with a vet. Maybe I'd gone in the wrong direction.
I turned around and walked several hundred yards along the main road in the opposite direction with Django becoming more and more stressed inside his box. And still I couldn't find the place. I tried calling the vet's number on my mobile phone but got only an answering machine. Eventually, I asked someone passing by if they knew where the vet's surgery was and they pointed me back in the opposite direction, where I'd just come from, but said that it was quite a way further along the road than I'd originally presumed. By this time, I was as stressed as Django, my heart pounding like a drum.
After an about face and further walking I eventually arrived, breathless, at the surgery which was located in an imposing Victorian town house, quite some distance from where I'd parked the car. I was instructed by the receptionist to wait in a high-ceilinged, brightly lit room until the vet arrived.
When he did arrive, he very carefully examined Django's tail, indicating the protruding bone and informed me that it was almost completely severed and could not be stitched together. The only solution was to amputate the latter part of the tail. This would involve Django staying at the surgery overnight prior to an operation to remove the damaged part of the tail the following morning. Meanwhile, the vet gave Django two injections, one a pain-killing solution and the other an antibiotic to try and stop the wound from becoming infected.
I explained how I'd come home to find Django in the garden with the injury and couldn't think what might have caused it. The vet said that it appeared as if someone had deliberately slammed a door on his tail, almost severing it completely.
Now, Django and Tink both spend a lot of time outside. There are fields beyond our garden although we're flanked on both sides by neighbours. That afternoon, when I'd gone into town, Django and Tink were outside in the garden, lazily enjoying the autumn sunshine. Django was perfectly fine with no signs of injury. This was around 3:30 in the afternoon.
Our cats have always been o.k. when I've needed to go out. They'll happily terrorise the local rodent population for a few hours and usually come home when they hear us return, or sometimes a little later when they become hungry. They're both quite independent creatures yet, at the same time, a delightfully domesticated and inseparable part of our family. Both cats are very affectionate and bring a great deal of joy and warmth into our lives and, as readers of this diary know, Django and I have a particularly magical relationship. But I'm at a loss as to exactly what or who caused this injury to Django's tail. I've been deeply upset by it and wish I knew what the cause was.
Anyway, I had to leave Django with the vet and I drove back home alone, feeling shocked and concerned. I'd earlier been given an invitation to have dinner with some good friends who live just down the lane, but in the end I had to call them to apologise and explain that I was in no fit emotional state to be anything other than the most miserable of guests.
That night, I couldn't sleep, worrying about Django's condition and being angry at the thought that someone may have deliberately done this to him. The next morning, I called the vets to ask how things were but they said that Django hadn't had his operation yet but would be having a general anaesthetic soon, prior to the amputation. Around 11:45 am I received a telephone call from the surgery to say that he had now undergone surgery and that I could collect him around 2:30 pm.
I drove to the vets, this time knowing exactly where it was, and informed the receptionist who I was and that I'd come to collect my cat. I paid the £250 bill for the operation and was directed to a waiting area at the rear of the building where, after a few minutes, a lady nurse appeared with Django in his box. As soon as he heard my voice, he called out to me. The nurse gave me some medication called 'Metacam' and instructed me to administer this to Django orally, every day, via a kind of needle-less syringe. I was also told that he must not be allowed to lick his tail and was given a transparent plastic, cone-shaped collar which I would have to fasten to his neck if he showed any signs of doing so. I was also told that he was not to be allowed outside the house for at least ten days.
Now, all of the above conditions are guaranteed to be a form of torture for poor Django. In fact, almost as soon as I got him home, he began his cleaning/grooming routine, something he likes to do at least a couple of times per day. And, of course, his tail is always part of this proceedure. Now though, because of the amputation, his tail is a sorry sight...a couple of inches shorter than before and shaved of fur. The shortened tip of the tail bears sutures and looks sore.
As I expected, Django attempted to lick his wound which meant there was no option but to fix the cone-like restrictive collar to his neck. The result was most upsetting, Django desperately trying to get the cone off by banging it into doors and furniture, walking backwards as if to walk away from it, pawing at it and finally sitting stock-still with a kind of catatonic stare, gazing at the wall as if in deep shock. It was heartbreaking to watch, or at least it was for me. I'm terribly sensitive to the plight of animals and empathise with their struggles...far too emotional I suppose. I'd make a terrible vet...I'm afraid I'd be shedding tears at the first sign of an animal in distress. Pathetic, really, but that's how I've always been.
After the cone collar had been on for a while, Django finally sat by the front door, crying to be allowed outside. As mentioned above, I'd been strictly told that he must remain in doors for at least ten days, so I had to refuse to let him out. He looked up at me like I was some kind of monster.
Well, that was Friday and the situation continues in similar fashion. Django can't get to his food bowl with the collar on so I have to remove it at certain points in the day when he shows signs of wanting to eat something. It's then a struggle to get it back on afterwards, (and another bout of stress for both of us).
On Saturday, I slipped out to the supermarket to get some much needed litter-tray material, (he normally goes outside to do his 'business' but that's out of the question for quite a while). When I got back, he'd somehow managed to get a front leg jammed into the cone of his protective collar and was limping around the house in some discomfort. I freed his leg and tried to adjust the collar a fraction tighter to
prevent it happening again. But even so, he sneaked off into some dark corner of the house and, three times now, miraculously managed to get the collar off completely. Consequently, I need to know exactly where he is at all times so that I can guard against him getting to his amputated tail and causing more damage to it.
Night times are difficult too as he's always enjoyed being 'out on the tiles' (or rather, out in the fields). Not being allowed to leave the house makes this impossible. Instead I've attempted to have him sleep on the bed with me where I can, hopefully, keep a weary eye on him. He sleeps for a while, curled up in the curve of my arm, but then wakes up and, perturbed by the cone, goes on a bender from room to room, trying to get it off. The last couple of nights I've managed but a few hours sleep, and these only at intervals throughout the whole night. I'm feeling exhausted and frustrated by it all, especially as Emiko is not here to help me deal with it. I'm confined to the house along with Django, frightened to leave him on his own for long. Both of us suffering from cabin fever.
Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment to take Django back to the vet for a post-op examination. Inevitably too, the ordeal of the cat travel box once more.
This unfortunate and untimely episode has brought my work, (and just about everything else, including visiting my mother), to a halt as my life now seems to centre around Django's well-being and the struggle to keep his tail from further damage. But he is a rather special cat, and worth the effort.
As I've mentioned before in the diary, it seems to have been one thing after another these last few years. Nothing for it but to just keep going, I suppose....So that is what I will do.
The images attached to this diary entry are:-
1: Bill's Gus G1 midi guitar and his live processing equipment.
2: Just a few of the Nelsonica 09 guitars, backstage in Harrogate.
3: Poorly Django.
4: Django with post-op tail.
5: An early 1980's photo of Bill signing autographs.
6: A recent snapshot of Bill's studio.