My Brave Patient
I do know that there are more important losses and traumas in the world. I'm such a cliche of the privileged, neurotic, middle-aged spinster with her cat!
But I do love this critter dearly.
I brought her home the first week I moved to this new church, and she has shared the happiest years of my life, or at least the most contented.
She has been the one I called to when coming through the door at the end of the day, and the one I kissed goodbye when leaving in the morning. I believe that we should say "I love you" many times a day; that it's good for the soul. So I made sure to say it to Erm when I had no one else to appropriately say it to.
Every sermon, article, paper and essay I've authored over the past five years has been the product of our work together: her sleeping on the desk, my typing furiously away. There's a lot of mingling of life force in that. Her lush striped body has been part of the visual background for most of PeaceBang's blog entries.
Her purring is my blood pressure medication.
Her pristine white paws (I call them her debutante's gloves) and deep Egyptian eyes never failed to fill me with jealous admiration, and we once discussed the option of my tattooing my entire body in stripes just to join the tribe. She scoffed at my lack of a tail but loved me anyway.
Her warm body pressed to my side during anxiety attacks has been a silent coaching to breathe, breathe, breathe. It hurts my heart to think that she who has nursed me to health during these attacks is herself having trouble breathing. Did she soak in too much of my breathlessness? Was it somehow contagious? Is there something toxic in this house by which I was poisoning her without knowing it?
She has been my Sabbath and my silence, and the one to whom I could always say, "Don't we have the best life? Aren't we lucky?" She always agreed, busy watching Cat Television (aka watching birds out the window).
When I stopped to eat a sandwich at the kitchen table, she went to her bowl of kibble. I can hardly eat without listening for her accompanying crunching.
This house has been hers for as long as it has been mine. It just feels so wrong without her here.
I visited her for two hours tonight at the hospital. She came into the visiting room wrapped in that afghan and looking wonky-eyed and disoriented. It took her about 20 minutes to fully realize who I was.
She seemed okay, but not great.
An hour into the visit, though, we were into heavy petting, and she purred for me. An hour and a half into it, we were curled up asleep on the floor both dreaming of home. When we woke up after a literal cat nap, she was happy and relaxed and soft-eyed, licking me and purring to beat the band. When she gave me Le Grand Belly Flop onto her side, I knew she was going to be okay no matter what happens.
I told her about all of you and your many prayers and your love, and we did a little review of her life and all the fun times we've had. I talked the special baby talk to her that she loves and she listened very carefully to every word, flexing her paws while I cuddled her. She even forgot for a moment about that stupid bandaged paw of hers with the IV port all taped to it.
The doctors and technicians are treating her like she's on Death Row, so we just don't know yet. She is breathing outside the oxygen chamber, and they've got her on every medication against infection they could think of. If I can get her out of the hospital I'll take her for a second opinion.
Thank you so much to you all.
I don't know why I'm so distraught by this. Perhaps because she's so young. And perhaps because ...
Good Christ. Something just fell off the tree for no reason at all. Ermengarde's not here, so what could have caused THAT??