Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Christos, Max, and We

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Demetrios has spent the past two days taking care of people, principally his brother. He found him a good dentist and a good gastroenterologist, and made appointments with both. First there were X-rays of the teeth, and while they were at it, they had a bone scan done. Christos has lost 45% of his bone mass (!!!) and has two collapsed vertebrae. I could have guessed the former, because I noticed him recently clutching his thigh, and he had his fingers almost the whole way around it!

Next, to the dentist, who will adjust Christos’ dentures so they fit properly and don’t hurt. Then he should be able to eat more things. There are two natural teeth holding those dentures, which we will try to preserve, but they aren’t in good shape.

The gastroenterologist did a gastroscopy and found nothing worrisome. Christos doesn’t currently have ulcers, although he has them chronically, and has bled from them 14 times in his life. Probably a colonoscopy will follow. Poor Christos has never been in good health. He has never been inclined to look after his health, either.

We’ll be back in September, God willing, to make medical appointments for him and make him keep them, and to be sure he follows through with doctors’ orders instead of saying, “I tried those pills for two days and they didn’t help, so I threw them away.” So much for coming here to try to gain some emotional distance from sickness and death in the family.

I spent the day grocery shopping, cleaning out the refrigerator, and sweeping and mopping all the floors. Also trying to give away this kitten.

I took him downstairs to our tiny park and the children there all crowded around. I got to meet their mothers and/or grandmothers, sitting on the park benches, watching over them. None of the grown-ups wanted the kitty, although they all wanted to pet him. I explained I had to give him away, as I lived in America and was leaving Greece in about 12 days. (So little time! I can’t believe it!) And I was enormously flattered when one of the women asked, “Have you lived in America many years?” She actually mistook me for Greek!!!

“What is his name?” asked a little boy named Stephanos.

“He doesn’t have a name,” I replied, in Greek.

“The cat has no name,” he said, in English. Then, in reply to my unasked question, he added, “Frondistirio,” which is a place where you can get tutoring. He was taking private English lessons.

“That’s very good, “I said, “Bravo!”

Another little boy, Antonios, pointed to the cat and said, “Max!” So that, apparently, is my kitty’s name now.

I had a lot of fun chatting with the children. I don’t need a huge vocabulary for children, although of course theirs is still vastly greater than mine.

After that, I walked, with the kitty on my shoulder, all the way to the pet shop, about a mile and a half away (even without Sylvia making me!) and asked about 20 people, coming and going, if they wouldn’t like a free kitten. I asked women carrying shopping bags, men sitting at sidewalk coffee shops, street sweepers, anybody who looked even vaguely friendly. One of them said, “When it is a kitten, it is a joy, but when it becomes a cat, it’s ‘Panagia mou!’”

(“Panagia” means All-holy, and is a title for Christ’s Mother, so it’s an exclamation something like, “My God!” but taking her name in vain instead of His.)

I also left at the pet shop a hand-printed notice: “Free, Kitten. Small, very, very friendly. Male. “ Plus my telephone numbers and first name. I asked the customers in the pet shop if they wouldn’t like a kitten, but of course they were there because they already had cats or dogs or both.

I left my little notices, all hand-printed, at other places, too, the butcher, two greengrocers, Nikoletta’s general store, Demetra the veterinarian, and Nektarios at “Nek-Net,” his computer store.

KONSTANTINA, surely you want a kitten, don’t you??

Demetrios also took Leonidas to his doctor today. I only heard that the results were good. But afterward we met him and Ianna at a taverna owned by one of his countless nephews. Mena and Kostas came, too, so we had a jolly good company.

Near the end of our meal, a thunderstorm came up, very unusual, with driving, pelting rain, strong winds, and the kind of thunder that is so close you jump. We were outdoors, but in a covered area. We just moved our table another foot inward and were fine.

Then the lights flickered two or three times, and the next moment, everything around us was blacked out. I don’t know if it was the whole city or only the neighborhood we were in.

The proprietor brought two or three candles to each table and we continued our fun, uninterrupted and glad for the cool brought by the storm.

It was after midnight when the rain finally stopped so we could go home. Mena drove us to our house.

Kitty was dry, in spite of having been banished to the balcony during our absence. Demetrios had lowered one of the awnings all the way. The litter box, with brand new litter in it, also stayed dry.

Kitty was extra happy to snuggle up to my chin tonight, especially when the next line of storms passed through, thunderously, a couple of hours later.


Konstantina said...

I happen to be very allergic to cats. And besides I see enough of them every morning and evening at my front door. About 10 of them wait for the woman on the third floor to feed them. (She even lays out the food on other people's cars! Yuck, cat food.) I think I currently meet my cat-quota.

elizabeth said...

Christos in on my prayer list. Glad you are able to help him.