It's official. He's been diagnosed with cancer. He maybe has a few weeks to live. The hope is that he can spend most of that time fairly comfortable. I'm swinging between being rippingly devastated and somewhat pragmatic about it. Boy, is he gonna have a sweet kitty life until he dies. Chicken livers, anyone? (Or whatever is the bestest, most gourmet cat treat.) No more dieting for The Big Rain Man.
UPDATE: Rain's in the hospital, and we're waiting to see what's what. The vet wouldn't look me in the eye when he sent me home to wait. I took that to be kind of a bad sign. Meanwhile I'm working from home, and my auxiliary cat is being super-sweet and lovey. He's not used to being the only child.
You know what's excruciating?
Watching your best (feline) friend's health falter to the point that it seems clear that his death is imminent. Today I watched him stand up and then do a violent face plant because his legs wouldn't hold him. He's only nine years old. I laid down on the floor with him and cried.
Last night I was sleeping with him in my arms, and I kept jolting awake because it felt like he wasn't breathing. There may be experiences more disconcerting than feeling like the creature you're cuddling is dying in your arms, but at the moment I can't imagine what they are.
Despite the fact that I got to hear some good music and see my buddy Daryl, it's been a pretty shitty weekend. And of course Rain's dramatic loss of faculties is timed perfectly; I have a paper due for grad school and lots of work to do for my job. Life sucks. And the one who would normally be a comfort to me, Rain, has devolved into a vegetable. Fuck.
words on pages
The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.
This memoir was really good, one of the best books I've read in a while. Right up there with The Time Traveler's Wife as the best books of the last year or more. It was definitely not a breezy read, though. During the first chapter or so I was psyched to read about a childhood that was actually more troubling than my own. I would read a section and go: WOW, that's quite troubling! And much worse than what I went through! That feeling fell away as I came to recognize some striking similarities between the author's family and my own. It's a fascinating read, and marvelously written. Go Ms. Walls, go.
the wobble that changed everything
This morning we had a kitty health reality check, which was a real bummer. As I was getting ready for work, I noticed that Rain (my significant other) had a funny look on his face. I watched him for a sec while I sipped my protein shake, and he vomited. Not too strange... but then he wobbled. A serious wobble. He staggered left, he staggered right. His facial expression was priceless; he looked like the stereotypical drunk guy in a saloon. He fell over gracelessly onto his side, and then with dilating pupils, looked up at me like, what the fuck is happening to me? I had a similar look on my face, and I thought (dramatically) ohhhh....everything is changing...right at this moment.
When he got up to try to walk it off, his hind legs wouldn't work. I thought maybe he had had a stroke or a seizure. This is definitely the weirdest/sickest I've ever seen him. He's a hearty guy. I got on the horn to our vet, who said that they were booked. She asked for his symptoms, after which she urged me to bring him in immediately. That urgency didn't do anything to calm my nerves. All the way to the vet's I talked to him, trying to calm him and soothe him. I postulated aloud that this was all just a bad case of dehydration, and that we'd laugh at my urgency later.
It wasn't dehydration. The vet thinks it was a seizure, and I await his call to tell me what the blood tests may or may not have told him about the cause. I can't tell if Rain's still wobbly or not because now every move his hind legs make seems strange to me, but he's in good spirits. He's sharing my lap with my laptop right now, as he usually does. He's got his kitty valium/anti-seizure meds, and he's got his concerned kittymomma at his beck and call. I'm so glad that I'm working full-time now, because when the vet hands you an expensive bill, you don't wanna be thinking about how many weeks of groceries are sprinting out of your wallet. You wanna be thinking: Bring it. Bring the hundred-dollar blood tests. Fix my baby, because money truly means nothing.
I really don't feel like I can live without him, and it felt like I might lose him this morning. Say what you will; I know cat ladies aren't revered in our culture. Especially single, childless cat ladies. But I am one, and I want my baby to be healthy and happy. Just yesterday I told him and his little nephew/boyfriend that coming home to them is the best part of my day. Every day.
That was such a weird feeling this morning, that feeling you get when someone you love is sick/unconscious and their body is failing them. They go blank for a bit, their "spirit" isn't there, and you remember with a jolt that they're just a collection of cells. That body that contains everything that you hold dear is just meat.
Which reminds me of a funny dead-cat story.
When I was 25 my best (feline) friend died. I had been with her since I was ten. She had seen me through things I literally never thought I would live through. I was, needless to say, distraught. I stayed home from work, I cried for days. She died in my arms at the vet's (on valentine's day, no less), and I couldn't afford the burial process 'til my next paycheck, so the vet, who I was loving more every minute, said she'd let me store my cat in the freezer. With her dog. Her dog had just died too, and she had to put him on ice until she could take him out and bury him. These are the weird little details of life. You can't usually bury your loved ones immediately after they die, so you have to fucking refrigerate their precious bodies until you have a plot and a shovel (and/or the cash). In the end I took my kitty in a Playmate cooler and buried her in the New Mexico mountains, with the best view I've ever seen.
But a couple days after she died my brother paid me a visit to see how I was doing. I was pretty flat, and when I mentioned offhandedly that my cat was being stored in the freezer, he blanched. I, being under the weather, didn't notice his shock. My brother thought I meant that I was keeping my cat in my own personal freezer. Like, next to the frozen peas and the orange juice canisters. I've always been of very sound emotional health and quite together in the face of trauma, and my poor bro thought that I had finally lost it. Cashed in my chips and put that pet I couldn't say farewell to right in the freezer, safe and sound. You can imagine how relieved he looked after he politely inquired further and found out that she was in an industrial vet freezer, meant for just this kind of storage.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent in any way my employer. Or my school. Or even my friends. And heaven knows the views here aren't representative of my family. Ha! This is a personal blog and it only represents me. And on some days, even that is questionable. So there.