Monday, April 29, 2013

Veils and Needles

Where did I put that needle?

As promised, the rest of a post I deleted back in January.

Before I get to the x-ray picture at top I need to back up the late summer of 2011. Naia tried selling me a turquoise costume at a local bazaar which I turned down for money reasons. I did on the other hand talk her into letting me alter her purple costume and out of selling it.

Jump to some time at the end of 2012. I never have liked veil much, not having the personality for those classic, sometimes cheese-tastic, veil tricks and ALWAYS feeling like I was wrestling the veil more so than dancing with it. So I had made an agreement with Naia that she should choreography and teach me a veil number that I would have to learn and perform. I in turn would choreograph and teach her a drum solo which she would learn and perform. Both of us exchanging knowledge in our strong points for a chance to work on our not-so-strong points. A deal was struck and we began to casually hunt music for our new project.

Come December we were invited to perform in the opening show for the Bellydance Superstar Tour coming to town at the end of January 2013. Our veil/drum project suddenly became a one month crunch to create a duet in time for the show. The time crunch also made costuming a minor issue. Not having the time or money for new matching costuming Naia traded me the turquoise costume for classes, alterations, and other dance related services. I would wear the turquoise costume and she would wear her black (with blue) costume.

Bellydancer "headband" and strap extensions shown matched with beaded gauntlet. Old worn out plastic O-ring removed.


I brought the costume home about two weeks before the show for fitting. The skirt and top were connected by a plastic O-ring that I seam-ripped out and replaced with a metal one. I also added a snap so the skirt would detach from the O-ring and make it easier to get in and out of. I then found an old "Bellydancer" tank that I never wear and cut it up to make matching strap extension turning the original halter into a cross-back. Naia couldn't find the costume's headband so I used the rhinestone-lettered strip from the tank top to make a new one. I fixed loose beads and adjusted the elastic. Last but not least, hemming.

Fitted costume. Can you spot the troublemaker hiding in this photo?

The night of the show I did one more fitting and added some extra elastic to the skirt to keep it from sliding around. Satisfied with the fit I went on to do my hair and make-up. Ten minutes before I intended to walk out the door I heard my husband yell my name with a tone of voice I've never heard him use in the 13 years we've known each other. Fear.

I dropped the hairspray in hand and ran to the dining room to find him sitting in the floor pinning our gray cat, Augustus, on his back holding his mouth open with his fingers. "He swallowed a needle!" I peered in to see a sewing needle part way into his throat and part way still in his mouth. The cat was kicking too much to stick my fingers in to pull it out so I ran for a pair of tweezers.

I failed try after try to pull the needle out while the cat kicked and the Husband Person had a mini panic attack (literally shaking and close to hyper-ventilating.) I couldn't get the needle to slide out so with one last college try I grasped it and gave it a good yank. It pulled loose. The cat failed wildly. The needle fell back into his mouth and disappeared. Augustus swallowed, licked his lips, and acted as though nothing happened.

Stunned is not quite the right word but the Husband Person and I sat blankly, unmoving, mouths gaping, in silence for a comedically long time staring at the cat in disbelief. I've never felt so confoundedly frozen to the spot. Apparently, the needle had stabbed into the roof of the mouth just enough to keep it from being swallowed. When I yanked it free the cat kicked because it ripped the needle out causing pain. The Husband Person called the Emergency Animal clinic while I ran for the cat carrier and my purse and off we drove with cat and needle.

We sat in an examination room while the vet did x-rays. Me in plain clothes with full dance hair and make-up. The Husband Person hands shaking. I sent a text to the show host and told her I would miss the pre-show lighting rehearsal but would make it by show time. As you can see from the x-ray above the needle had safely made it to the stomach. We were instructed to allow Augustus no food, water, or heavy activity. We were to take him to the animal hospital first thing in the morning where they could endoscopy the needle out without it passing through the body.

I drove the Husband Person and Augustus home and made it at the venue in time to change and perform the opening number.




Smiling with veil in hand - a first for Naima. With Naia Abla.

My favorite kind of picture - mouth open, belly out. Mid-tabla stomach pop, with Naia Abal.


A sleepy picture taken right after the show. Please ignore the boobs and notice the newly replaced metal ring and detachable top.


The next morning the Husband Person took Augustus to the animal hospital to an awaiting team of vet and students excited to observe an endoscopy procedure. But alas, after new x-rays it was discovered the needle had passed into the intestines overnight and all they could do was wait. A few hours of observation and one kitty enema later the needle along with a pretty serious hairball were produced. Apparently, the hairball helped to encase the needle making it pass without incident. Whereas the needle helped push the hairball through before becoming another emergency vet visit in itself.

Back from the vet the Husband Person presented me with a small cup containing the needle. I took a quick peek inside and sure enough the thread attached was the same blue of my costume. Augustus had been chewing on the thread, swallowed it and pulled the needle along for the ride. To this day, Augustus has no idea why he was "punished" by stabs to the roof of his mouth, being denied food and water, pokes, prods, and enemas.

The ironic thing is I had just been thinking about doing a post for pet and child safety around costuming supplies. Needless to say, never leave the room without putting all needles, pins, and other pointy objects away in a box or drawer even for just a bathroom break. Learn from my mistake. Think of the new costumes I could have bought with what I spent on vet bills.

The Bellydance Superstars were awesome by the way. And I made it through a veil number with some grace and elegance for once.

~N

Used needle with blue thread and other sundry items $429


6 comments:

tajidancer said...

very nice video!!! cool veil moves. I'm glad your kitty is OK. That must have been so scary.

Salma said...

The costumes and pictures look amazing
I just love watching beautiful belly dancers in beautiful costumes
do you know where can i get one of those

Naima said...

@Salma there is costume info at the top under the links tab.

jadedancer.com said...

Terrifying cat story! That would really freak me out if that happened to one of my cats. But great performance!

Anjali said...

Wow what a story! I am glad for your cat. If i was in your situation I would of been crying. Luckily i have a dog but this story is making me take safety precautions.

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