Saturday, January 06, 2007

Around We Go

Right this very second there’s an abominably fat red-breasted Robin sitting on a dismally gray tree branch directly outside my window. She or he or it, whatever you’d like to call it, has been there for a good ten minutes. We’ve been having a staring contest of sorts, all while I figure out exactly how pathetic and melodramatic I’d like to sound. And I think, or I hope, that we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really no cover up for my patheticness, but there’s a distinct possibility I could tone down the melodramatic blathering. Our agreement was sealed with a flutter of his tail feathers and the drop of his multicolored poop on my neighbor’s lawn furniture.

Two mornings ago I took my new cat Josephine to the vet for the third time. She’d been coughing and wheezing and these are just not things that cats should do. They should sleep in the sun and curl gently on your lap. Eat tasty morsels of lunch meat that get “accidentally” dropped on the kitchen floor. Shed ridiculous amounts of fur so the cat-mom has a reason to run the vacuum every Saturday. And sometimes on Wednesday, if she’s feeling productive.

But this time was serious. Even I, with a lack a stethoscope, could hear the fluid rattling gently in her lungs with each labored breath. My stomach was in knots during the drive over because this cat had already become my favorite. She liked to cuddle and roll on her back for a nice tummy rub. She liked to crawl on my side while I watched late night television, turning in circles until she found just the right combination of soft belly and hip to make a bed.

You see where this is going, I’m sure. I wouldn't have this dramatic of a lead-in without some terribly sad ending.

The vet drew blood, took x-rays, ran tests. When she called me back to the examination room, she had the kind of look you see on the faces of actors during weekly viewings of ER or Grey’s Anatomy. The look that says I have bad news, but I’m going to take twenty minutes of your time to get to it, not counting commercials.

She explained the blood work, snapped x-ray films up on the wall and flicked off the lights. “See here?” she said. “Nothing but fluid.” My options, Josephine’s options, rather, were slim. She would never get better, not permanently. So it was drugs to combat the pain, or the option for which Dr. Kervorkian is sitting in a jail cell.

“It’s very quick, no pain, only sleep,” she said.

Josephine was brought back into the exam room wrapped in a towel. They’d already sedated her. I gave her a final kiss on the nose and told her I was sorry and I hoped she forgave me. I had no right to play God, but here I was, signing away the life of a living, breathing thing. I told her she’d been the perfect cat, the perfect companion and I was so very, very sorry. So unbelievably sorry.

I cried when they shaved her arm, I cried when they found a vein for the needle, I cried when the hand I’d left resting on her belly no longer rose with her breath.

6 comments:

ella said...

thank you - for just making me cry! it felt good, i needed it. i apologize so deeply that your loss benefited me in some way. but i hope you accept my apologies as offerings of empathy and understanding. life can never come or go easily.

thank heavens people like you exist to put these thoughts and feelings into words. the work you've done to overcome the human condition allows the life that once brought you joy to live continually. you inspire me.

and such a hottie too. "just the right combination of soft belly and hip?" oooh la la...

Greg said...

Well, this was a heck of a day to start reading this blog! What a sad story!!

I read some of the other posts, and I've cheered up enough to say I like your blog. Keep it up.

duckie said...

holy shit dood! I'm so sorry. That is way too much shit to handle in a short period of time.

Truely, I'm sorry.

Be well.

duckie said...

by the way, word idemtification is like some evil eye test I have to take on a daily basis. I'm usually wrong on my first attempt, promting the word verification Gods to pitty me and give me an easier "word" the second time. It's almost like they know I'm a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

I cried when I read your post.

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I know you said you had no right to play god but i'm sure it was for the best in the long run.

my cats are like little people to me... i seriously dont know if i could function if something were to happen to them.

sending hugs your way oxox

deb
http://www.paintingwithlight.typepad.com/

Carl from L.A. said...

Wow.

Sorry.