March 29th, 2018. 10:30 PM
I stood at the entrance to the guest bathroom covered in sweat and my short hair tied up in a mess on the top of my head and rocking a sports bra and leggings on my far-from-athletic body. Our cat, Bear, had made a total mess of it while she adjusted to life with three legs post-op. We had set her up in there in order to keep her someplace safe that would be easy to keep clean.
I chuckled to myself when I realized I was scrubbing literal shit from the tiles on the wall while slightly drunk. I’m still not even sure how it got there. Bear was always mischievous like that, I guess.
I had spent a good part of the day sleeping and crying. I was woken up by the expected update call from the vet…..Obelix was definitely dying. The tests confirmed that he very likely had FIP and he was still not eating on his own. While I had the choice to have him put down today, I asked if he was stable enough to come home for a couple of days so we could say goodbye without causing too much stress.
The vet said she’d be happy to get him set up so we could tube feed him at home, enabling us to say goodbye without him starving while we do it.
Sounds really fucking morbid, honestly.
But that’s my reality and right now I’m giving the bathroom a bleachy baptism and somehow it’s therapeutic. I have spent all week wallowing in how shitty life was at that present time and somehow scouring the bathroom helps ease the strain a bit. I don’t know. Maybe it was just the fumes.
The rest of the house was an uphill battle. I had let my housekeeper go (things were going missing) and before you start in on some “oh that’s elitist” comment- having the extra set of hands helped me cope quite a bit. I was juggling depression, being overworked, and trying to maintain a house when no one wanted to work with me on resolving some organizational issues. I was in the midst of also tackling a lot of projects in the house to get it updated and redone when we were robbed. I was having a hard enough battle with my lack of motivation by that point that there were tons of clean clothes that never got folded or spider webs in areas I never thought to look.
Short version, I felt overwhelmed when I realized what I wanted to do versus what I had time to do. I didn’t have time to spend entire days scrubbing everything when I also had full-time work and trying to write a novel. Then, the robbery happened.
By now I’m sure I’ve droned on about it so many times, and I appreciate the people that bear with me as I try to work through this process. I feel these bouts of being mentally crippled and unable to push through simple tasks. Taking a shower became an increasing chore, so once I would get through one I’d just slide into whatever cozy clothes and sometimes just go back to bed until it was closer to whatever time I’d start work that day (if any). I’d start each day so hopeful and so eager to do something and then I’d backslide into this slow-moving quicksand while grasping wildly for something to get me out of this mess.
It’s often at these times that I’ve hit a low. I can’t recall the last time I’ve hit THIS low, but it’s been brutal. As hungry as I was for some fucking normalcy, things just kept happening. My health got worse for a while and I had to sit scared because I still don’t have health insurance. My boss was being really hard on me. All of these things were starting to compact into something awful that I didn’t know how to fix.
Somehow, the freshly bleached bathroom gave me a bit of solace. It wouldn’t last long, but it helped.
March 30th, 2018
Roland and I stand in the vet’s office. It’s still as magically gleaming as the last time I had gone there (the place really is amazingly immaculate) and I felt my heart jump into my throat every time I tried to speak to the receptionist to ask a question. I hated “the look”….you know when someone knows you’re in a bad way and trying to hold it together and it’s this “aww” look that sometimes comes off as mildly patronizing. Like someone who knows they should be sympathetic but has to fake it a little. It’s hard to explain.
Anyway, I got the nerve to say that we were there to collect Obelix and then immediately asked what hours are available for when we decide to have him euthanized. As soon as I started to ask the questions, however, I started to crumble. It was almost this physical experience. Roland knew I was becoming useless and took over, arranging the payment of the fees so far. I asked whether or not we’d be able to bury him at home afterward and they told us they can only offer cremation…either with other animals or alone so we can take his ashes home.
That’s pretty much when I cracked, though it didn’t show right away. I was just trying to “look” normal as I felt tears forcing their way out anyway. A male vet that I hadn’t met before came downstairs and asked us to come up and fetch him. I had a faint thought that the clinic was a lot more forgiving about people who pick up their pets without a carrier. I had brought a pet blanket I bought for Lexi when she was nearly dying of Parvo (she’s now a very healthy, stocky, bouncy adult) and some part of me was hoping it would have brought him luck.
Then the vet mentioned that Obelix had decided to eat solid food without the feeding tube and I felt that quick and futile thump of hope in my heart before he maintained that Obelix wasn’t going to come back from this. He led me around an entrance into a glass-walled room and I took one look at Obelix and realized this was it. I was going to have to say goodbye, and it was clear it was going to have to happen the next day.
Roland and I took him home and I stayed with him while he fetched his son and later went to mass for Good Friday. I don’t think I stopped crying until I fell asleep with him feebly on my chest as I reclined on our couch. I woke up with a start and panicked for a good ten minutes while I searched the house for him and calling his name. Then, I remembered that he was not really responding to it anymore. I worried he got out of the house or had even died already somewhere.
I realized the one way he’d always come out of hiding. I went into the kitchen and shook the dry food bag before pouring some. Bear came hobbling from the hallway and I saw Obelix slink out from behind the thick curtain he was hiding behind. He was trying to lie in the late afternoon sun which hit strong through that window. Roland had pointed out that he didn’t have direct sun for nearly a week and he was probably enjoying it quite a lot.
As my heart rate subsided, I watched him for several minutes as he just looked at the food and didn’t actually eat it. He kept walking up to Bear and watching her eat but not having any. He later had some of his soft food and seemed to be interested in the yellowtail I made for dinner….but I finally realized then that we really were losing him. He was just going for the food out of habit as he had done his whole life.
I wavered in and out of crying spells the whole night. Obelix took turns moving between Roland and I and Bear joined in. Soon after, little survivor Lexi was asleep between my legs, Bear on my lap and Obelix on my chest.
Nothing was ever going to be the same.
Later on, I had to put Bear into her recovery room and decided to try to have Obelix go in there so he’d be safe while I worked for 3 hours. After drinking some water he looked over to Bear, touched noses, then went to lie next to her like a raggedy furry ying and yang.
March 31st, 2018 (12:50 am)
Here I sit, wet-eyed and with a runny nose while I dread the next ten minutes passing (because I had to work, which involved talking to people when I’m a mess). Everyone is in bed. I didn’t want to separate the sleeping cats….but I will be cuddling the hell out of him once I’m done. I won’t be able to let go until the time comes.