The Cone of Shame

Our new kitten, Biscuit (name by Owen), was recently fixed. She’s about 8 months old and the time for the removal of her ability to reproduce was upon us. With the surgery complete and her in good health, I broke out the Cone of Shame and installed it around her wee neck with minimal struggle.

The vet’s promise that she was an angel in her cage at the clinic, not once touching or licking her stitches, wreaked of BS when I picked her up and so the Cone of Shame was purchased. And rightfully so; the moment she was out of the box her tongue couldn’t have hit the wiry stitches fast enough. Bugger.

She’s been wearing the Cone of Shame for a over a week now. I’ve watched her with it on. Her movements. Her gestures. Her overall demeanor in the Cone of Shame. She’s not herself. She’s not the Biscuit we’ve come to know and love, but a parody of a cat we sometimes recognize, but who’s personality has been stunted and contained. She’s clumsy. She’s annoyed. She’s not able to express herself properly, and she smells (her wet food gets lodged in the Cone and I have to wiper her down with baby wipes after each meal, and she licks at it so much that her saliva coats the inside most of the time).

I wear my own Cone of Shame.

There are moments in my days where I most definitely experience the Cone of Shame tunnel vision, the inability to fully see everything, I can’t properly touch everything. I strain to reach outside the cone to make a connection to feel some sort of physical sign that I’m communicating properly. I like to think I overcome it, but I’m not entirely sure I do. And so I lick, I pull at the Cone, I struggle against its constraints of shame, fear and uncertainty. I try not to let it win, but sometimes all I can do is heave a huge sigh and sink further into it, finding comfort in its shelter and familiarity.

I’ve also seen Biscuit do this. Give a final large lick, sigh forlornly and collapse. Exhausted from the struggle. Spent from the effort.

I see the way Biscuit looks at me from her Cone of Shame. Resting her plastic-sheathed chin on my arm or thigh she stares at me, willing me to reach out, longing for me to scratch her head, rub her belly or remove the Cone entirely; free her from the shackles that are holding her back from showing me the love and affection she wants to and also desiring the full potential of adoration I could bestow upon her.

I know I’ve had that look before; that desperate need for my Cone to be removed. I’ve needed and desired that chin scratch, that reassuring hand on my back, and desperately longed for the Cone removal. It’s agonizing. Even if the plastic is clear, see-thru, it’s utterly blinding.

Often she licks frantically. Over and over and over and over again. She knows the result. She knows the outcome. It’s been 9 days now. She’s not dumb. She’s licking the same spot in her Cone, yet she’s going through the motions as if she were cleaning herself, doing what comes naturally.

That’s what my life feels like at times; licking the same spot on my Cone over and over again with no actual results, never actually accomplishing what it is I set out to do, yet I continue to go through the motions because that’s what you do. Because that’s normal. Because that’s right. And maybe, just maybe, if I keep licking, keep moving my head and I stretch far enough, I’ll make contact. I’ll reach that patch and actually fulfill that need.

Biscuit’s Cone of Shame comes off on Tuesday when her stitches come out.

My broken bits, all the little pieces of me that broke and those that fell off and left holes to be filled in, are still healing. My stitches still exposed. And if I scratch at them, pick at them, keep disturbing them, they’ll never fully heal. I’ll never be the full, complete person I know I can be. The one I want to be. So I keep my Cone in place. I’m the one who put it there, for my own well-being, for my own safety.

I know it’ll be a while yet before my Cone comes off, and I’m not entirely sure I’ll be the one to remove it. In fact, I hope I’m not.



~ by drivingmsmiranda on March 28, 2015.

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