hampered and hobbling after hamsters

Sept. 5, 1994

I was making a phone call when my daughter urgently beckoned me, “Mom, come quick.” I dropped the phone, turned quickly and started towards the door when something snapped in my leg. I gasped at the pain, winced and hobbled the rest of the way to the door. By the time I got there I was too late for the crisis. Since I was already on my way out, I headed for the doctor’s office.

The doctor poked, prodded and flexed the foot while I scowled and mumbled a lot of unusual blessings on his head. Finally he said, “I think a blood vessel broke. Go home and direct your kids to do the work while you keep off that leg. It should be better in a few days.”
Actually I didn’t have to say anything to my children about helping out I think it had something to do with the shock of seeing their mom hopping though the door and collapsing over the edge of the couch onto the cushions. I really convinced one of them when I realized it would be easier to crawl than hop back to my bedroom.

I didn’t have to tell them to make supper. They made hamburgers. The pain, however, wasn’t so cooperative when I went to bed. I did not sleep too well for a couple of nights.
By the third night my leg felt better. With my still aching leg propped up, I was actually sleeping through the night.
The sleep did not last. In the dead of the night, I woke to a skitter, scampering and sliding of half turns of little feet across the carpet.
The hamster had escaped from its cage again, and the cat was chasing him towards me. In our house, the first one to notice a hamster on the loose corners it – including the cat.

Strange cat. She will catch and eat birds, mice and moles, but has never touched any of the hamsters that managed to escape from the cages, even when she had them cornered. Mostly she tracks them as noisily as possible until the creatures either squeeze under some furniture where she stand guard or a human sees the chase and grabs the escapee.

The one time I missed a hamster the cat had cornered, I swear to you that cat gave me the most disapproving look. Absolute, total disdain.
So when the two thundered into my bedroom at 2:30 a.m. I didn’t stop to wake anyone else up. As the tiny white body skittered past me, I grabbed a pillow, tossed it on top of both of them and turned to scoop it up in. I was too late, By the time I cautiously picked up the pillow to make the capture, it was gone.
Favoring my sore leg, I hobbled off to look for them. I found the hamster was headed, full speed for our overflowing hall closet with the cat in full pursuit. I hopped and skipped as fast as I could, intercepted him before he squeezed under the door and carried him back to his cage.

I looked at the cage but could not figure out how he had escaped. I shrugged, opened one of the ventilator lids and pushed the resisting critter back into its plastic hotel and restaurant.
The stupid hamster will try again next week. The smart cat will be waiting. And one sleepy mother will wonder when she is ever going to get a full night’s rest. At least by that time my leg should have fully recovered and I will be ready for my next middle of the night chase.