Good News for Samwise

Our cat Sam sleeps lengthwise down my legs, his head towards my feet, while wearing a baby's onesie after shoulder surgery, taken in October 2019

The vet reported that the cyst that suddenly appeared in Sam’s shoulder was a reaction to his steroid injection so while it will change the way he gets his shots in the future there’s no other underlying issue we need to worry about. He’s healing well from the shoulder surgery and will get the stitches out soon. He’s also healing well from his dental surgery and will be able to enjoy evening treats again, as will the other cats as I’ve put them all on hiatus until Sam can join us once more. Here as he sleeps on my legs he was still wearing his onesie in the early days after surgery but he hasn’t had to wear it for a while now.


Sam rests on my legs while wearing a baby's onesie after surgery on his shoulder to remove a cyst in October 2019

I’m not the only one recovering from oral surgery as Sam went in last week and needed four teeth removed, including three of his front teeth. Making matters worse for our twelve year old, they discovered a cyst in his shoulder they hadn’t noticed on his previous visit (we hadn’t either) so that was removed and we are waiting on results of a biopsy to learn more. He has stitches running behind his right shoulder so the vet suggested we get a baby’s onesie for him to wear at first while the wound was healing. He seemed disappointed it wasn’t adorned with Jedi Knights or Boba Fett but otherwise put up with it tolerably, here he’s resting on my legs.

My Guardians

Our cats Templeton and Scout play in the backyard during their supervised outdoor time, Templeton in the foreground and Scout back by the window under my office, taken at our house in Portland, Oregon in August 2003

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to meet an oral surgeon to get my last wisdom tooth removed, I wish they had removed them all when I was young but it is what it is. The other lower one was removed years ago while we were in Portland and the dentist struggled to get it out, I was laid up for a couple of days on heavy pain killers. What I remember from those days was waking up every four hours or so to change the gauze in my mouth or to take new meds, and every time I woke up a different cat was sleeping on my chest. It may have been coincidence but at the time it felt as though Templeton and Scout were working in shifts, making sure I was alright, and indeed I was thankful for their devotion. Here the two play in the backyard in 2003 during their supervised outdoor time, Templeton in the foreground and Scout back by the window under my office.

Performance Art

A female Gila woodpecker is in freefall after she has jumped out of her nest but before she spreads her wings to fly, taken on the Latigo Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in May 2019

A female Gila woodpecker is for the briefest of moments in free fall after jumping from her nest in a saguaro. It took me a while to notice this behavior, everything happens so quickly when they enter and leave the nest, and took even longer before I could find the right conditions to photograph it. It looks rather unnatural when frozen in time, one foot still sticking out below her while her wings are tucked up tight, but the nest is high off the ground so even though the fall is brief she has plenty of time to put a little distance between herself and her sharp-spined home before throwing out her wings.

Screen Time

Our cat Sam is transfixed atop the couch as he watches a bird video on the television, taken in October 2019

Sam is transfixed while watching birds and squirrels from a YouTube series by Paul Dinning that are designed to entertain cats, hours of birds and squirrels coming to eat seed in front of the camera. At first Sam would go up to the TV and look behind it when the birds flew off-screen, trying to figure out where they went, or he’d sniff the speakers trying to find his hidden friends. These days he’s content to let the mystery be. I was worried it might cause confusion since they’re filmed in England and the birds are all different from what Sam knows but so far the only impact to immersing him in Brittania is that he’s started calling me “Guv”.