Whatever god there be—or spirit, or entity, or faceless multinational or computer program—or is it Robert Heinlein’s Time Corps that watches over little orange tabby cats?
All I can say is “Thank you.”
This is the day he wasn’t supposed to be here, and he’s sitting on the bed with his feet propped on my leg. His fur is soft again, instead of matted. His eyes are no longer sunken into his head. He runs instead of walking. He jumps instead of waiting to be placed on a chair or bed.
Day 2 – Back to Work
Lazarus woke me up around 5 this morning, wanting to go out. He seemed fine, and I figured he just needed the litter box. Of course he’d already had diarrhea on the rug. No blood, at least. And it means everything is working in his digestive tract, which is huge.
It also means that we now have two aging cats who aren’t always using the litter box. In the other room, Oreo, who had become somewhat incontinent, had urinated on Ethan’s bed.
As we were getting ready to arrive at the 911 Center to begin a week of fairly stressful testing of new technology, Renee settled down onto the bed, shaking her head. “I cannot take another thing.”
She was right. It’s been almost too much. We were both feeling pretty broken.
After a late Saturday night, it was not easy to roll out of bed at 6:30, but Dr. Hutt had told us that one day of hospitalization ended at 8:00. We’d spent about $2,600 so far, and knew we would need more as the days went on; so we wanted to be sure to get Laz discharged by 8:00.
It was not a good morning. I will not go into why, but, frankly, I had no patience. When a family member is ill, possibly dying, even if it’s a four-legged family member, it puts things in perspective. It also drains your emotional resources. I was in no mood to take responsibility for anyone else’s feelings. My own were too much for me.
Anyway, we got to the vet and they brought out Lazarus. He had a Fentanyl patch in a shaved spot on his back. It seemed to make him walk like a drunken man. That worried me, because the patch said it was applied at 11PM, and Dr. Hutt had said it took 12 hours to kick in. Would this get worse?
Ethan, Jess and I got to my book signing with about five minutes to spare. We have an amazing used bookstore in Howard County, in Glenwood, called “Books With a Past.” Recently, the owner, Erin, branched out and opened another location in Savage Mill, an actual textile mill that’s been turned into a shopping and dining venue, plus art studios. The new store is more focused on new books and book-related knick-knacks, and Erin says science fiction does better there. That maybe because the Family Game Store, of which my old friends Laura Burns and John Cmar are part-owners, is next door.
I spent the next two hours texting back and forth with Renee, and trying to be upbeat. Fortunately we didn’t get a lot of customers. That’s an awful thing to say, but, if we’d had hundreds, I don’t know if the stress might have broken me. In text messages, I learned that Lazarus definitely had pancreatitis, and that that could be caused by Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS. So we were testing for that. After that, he needed to go to the ER for at least the rest of the weekend, and Renee would drive him there.
My very brief post two days ago hit the low spots of a couple of very bad days, but, as these days are still going and their events are foremost on my mind, I’ve decided to share them with you. Not a happy story, and I don’t know its ending as I write this. But it’s a story, and the characters in it are special to me. So here goes.
So I’m sitting in the family room, having just dragged myself out of bed on a Saturday morning. I’d planned to take it easy. I’d been going and going with house renovations and work, and I decided, before my 1PM call to sign autographs at one of our local bookstores, I would just eat breakfast, talk to my wife and get my books ready to sell.
Lazarus shuffled into the room. Lazarus does not shuffle. Lazarus waltzes with grace and purpose, looking up at you only enough to let you know that he has arrived, and he is now in command of the operation. Today he shuffled, and he didn’t look in command of anything. He moved tentatively toward a square of morning sunshine on the floor, but didn’t seem particularly enthused about it.