Saturday, March 18, 2006
Want interesting, meaningful conversation? Put your rescue name on your clothing.
I delivered Rocket to her new home in Syracuse, and my sister was still in rehearsal with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, so I decided to stop at the MmmmaaaaalllLLLLL. (OK, in my search for the link for the Carousel Center, which is an alarmingly eye catching building, I found that totally boring webpage. What are they thinking? Someone build them a real webpage! Get that building front and center!)
Mostly I stopped for "people watching." There are stores I refuse to step foot in, and stores I go into hoping they might have something on sale for a size 12 female. In a mall, if you are size twelve, you are crap out of luck. There are clothes for the little things, and clothes for the size 16 pluses. I saw some cool cargo pants I really really wanted, but there was only about eight inches between the crotch and the waist. I couldn't wear that kind of low-rider when I was seventeen and 116 pounds. I surely can't wear them now.
I stopped in one of those outdoorsy stores that isn't really outdoorsy. I was greeted by the obligatory salesperson (male; appearance did not enter my sensory perception areas at that point.). I gave the faint smile, nod, and "nothanksI'mjustlooking" response.
The cute t-shirt with the leaf embroidery on the right shoulder and left hip was 39.99. Too much. I'll have to stick to standard T's. On the way out, the "obligatory salesperson" outright stopped me and said "so what's that about on your jacket." I was was a bit startled and started in on a polite brushoff when the Civilization Alarm went off.
The Civilization Alarm is that tiny part of me that tries to remind me I am part of a Larger Community and if someone asks a question, perhaps they are someone I should take the time to listen to and get to know. The obligatory salesperson entered my sensory perception area. Male, brown-haired, young (25?) . I politely mentioned that I was involved in cat and wildlife rescue. "Around here?" No, down in Spencer. I was slipping into polite brush-off mode again. He mentioned he "used to be" a vet tech and I almost answered with distant politeness again, when the Civilization Alarm sounded a second time.
Ask The Person About Himself. It's Not All About Me.
He mentioned some cat people in the area, whose names sounded familiar, but whom I did not know personally. I then asked "So, why aren't you teching anymore?" I mean.. really. Vet tech to mall salesperson? What's up with that?
Pseudomonas is what's up with that. After a bad cat scratch, he was vaguely ill for months, then became critically ill, to the point of requiring a respirator. Unlike most people who seem to like to talk about their illnesses, he seemed slightly embarassed, as if he'd rather not be talking about himself but felt he owed an explanation to a fellow critter-person about why he would give up an animal career. He was even accepted to Cornell's vet program.
I mentioned that he could get killed in any job. Someone could walk in tomorrow to his store with a gun and a bad attitude. Sure, I could joke, but this guy obviously had experienced something I hadn't....a life threatening illness. I was absolutely not going to try and talk him out of a decision that had certainly been difficult to make, but it was such a shame. He so obviously would be great with animals, and the vet profession needs more men who are good with animals and people. But damn...he almost died. He didn't say that, but you could see it in the way he mentioned...but didn't mention...how the illness progressed.
We talked a bit, and I mentioned that his education and his experience with animals, even if he chose never to work with them again, was going to serve him well throughout his life, and that working in a vet clinic probably taught him more about people than any human-related experience might have. He laughed and agreed with that, and I moved on.
When I came home, I looked up pseudomoniasis and didn't find a whole lot about the disease in humans. In addition to the link above I finally found very interesting PDF by Charles River Labs (Charles River provides lab animals for research). In this article at least, it sounds like the bacteria is common in hospitals, dental offices, and...vet offices. So it's possible that this tech didn't get the infection from the cat per se, but from the environment in the hospital itself.
This of course wouldn't change his wariness toward teching, since it might even cause more alarm to know the bacteria is all around you in your job, rather than in cat claws and teeth. The article also mentioned that there were no known animals-to-human transmissions of the bacteria, but were known transmissions of humans-to-animals (in lab animal colonies). I'm betting, since he's the one who had the infection, he's done a lot more research into it than I have in my single evening. He knows what he knows, and doesn't need me to fill him i
If anyone comes across any other good links on this bacterial infection, please send them along. With the lack of instant web info, this post will likely end up getting hits from Google searches, so it would be nice to have more.