Monday, August 01, 2005

Bad poem material

Domestic cats suffer from hyperthyroidism. Since the thyroid concentrates iodine, a standard treatment for serious cases is a single dose of radioactive iodine. (Cats have duplicate thyroid glands, one of which is turned off, so the diseased functional gland gets zapped and the good gland gets turned on.) Because of (probably paranoid) health concerns, the treated cat is isolated for five or so days until the hot iodine decays; in fact, it's kept in a lead-lined box. If you want to visit your cat during that time, you have to do so through a glass wall.

A friend, hearing the above, turned to me and said, "Sorry to say this, but that sounds like the subject of a bad poem."

There's a good poem by Elizabeth Bishop called "Large Bad Picture", but admittedly for the most part bad subject matter makes for bad poetry. Or is that a tautology?

Here's some sure-fire bad poem material: a bird that sings with its wings. Be sure to check out the videos on the left. (In further fascinating bird sound news involving the same ornithologist, the ivory-billed woodpecker observation I noted here has been [following some controversy] accepted after skeptics heard recorded calls and rapping.)

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Anonymous Le chien sale said...

They also do this radioactive iodine zapping to human thyroids. They don't put the humans in a lead box, and I would presume it is a larger dose, most humans being larger than cats.
So I presume it is paranoia.

3/8/05 23:43  
Blogger rilkefan said...

The point with humans as I understand it is that they can be trusted to excrete the iodine in a controlled way. You can't tell a sick cat to urinate in the toilet and flush twice.

Also we don't have the extra thyroid so the zappees have to take supplements for life.

4/8/05 08:00  

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