Mar 25, 2009

So many things

Keli truly had quite a personality and character unlike any other pet I have ever had.

She was my best friend for nearly twenty years.There are so many things I enjoyed about her, like how she would come and balance herself on the edge of the bathtub and drink the hot water while I was in it, even just 2 weeks ago!

I think she truly had a great sense of herself.

She was such a comfort to me so many times when I was sick.

The 15 year old kitty I adopted last summer, the "fire cat" (I call him that because he was rescued from a local forest fire) Jeffery, was to be her companion while I was away at doctor appointments. She was getting lonesome while I was gone and gave me the yowling and biting treatment for leaving her. So, Jeffery was a good diversion for her and she stopped a lot of that behavior after he came along.

Last August she was so sick, I almost lost her then, but was able to nurse her back to health. But this time I couldn't help her enough. Last week I had surgery and it kept me from giving her the personal attention she needed and she faded quickly. I was very tempted to shave her belly and put a whole bunch of fentanyl patches on her, but she was in so much pain I would not have been able to shave her without major clawing and biting. Besides, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I called around to find the cheapest vet. fifty five dollars to walk in the door to have the cat "looked at", a thousand dollars or more to have her treated (long story there) and no guarantee she would survive the treatment at her age, and $300 to have her euthanized, cremated and disposed. More if I wanted to take her ashes home in a box. I would have wanted that.

I went to the vet to at least get an opinion, and explained my finances and my plan to do the fenanyl. He explained all the if's and's and but's about why it might not work and could cause her more suffering and hurt her more. He also explained the treatments that would be needed with her being hospitalized for them all.

One thing I appreciated, he handled her tenderly as if he loved her as much as I do. There was no grabbing her by the scruff and manhandling her the way I have seen some Vets do. I cried as I explained the finances and I struggled with putting charges on my credit card How could I pay it off? Well, I could and I would even if it too a long time. It would be worth it to me to have Keli be well. He explained there was no guarantee that she would survive the treatments.

The possible damage from when Terry's dog attacked her, could have had something to do with all this, and if that was the case, the damage wouldn't be reparable. He kindly waived the higher charges and provided euthanasia while I held her. It was 88 dollars and he did not charge the 55 for the intake exam.

I cannot even go into the details of what that was like to look at her then in those last moments. Maybe some other time.

One word of advice: NEVER take a sick animal to the vet by yourself!

Driving home hysterical is challenging, to say the least. At least I got to bring her home with me, though I couldn't bear to look at her or touch her or I would have gone off the road.

The vet gave me that price with the understanding that he is "looking the other way" to my not having her body disposed of legally. You cannot bury a pet in the ground in city limits or maybe it's county limits, I forget)

I brought her in, wrapped in her blankey and laid her on the bed. Next thing you know Jeffery was up there sitting beside her. It totally flabbergasted me. It's not like they were the best of friends, more like roomates, okay they kept each other company, but he was more grumpy than she and often greeted her with hisses if they met in the doorway. So, for him to sit beside her closely like that.... sitting shiva. maybe he cared for her more than I knew. Grumpy old man.

I waited quite a while to see if he would get down but he didn't, so I got on the bed, which I had intended to do in the first place, and I just held her and petted her while he stayed beside us. Then I laid her back down and called my housekeeper and asked her to call her father in law who sometimes does gardening for me. They came over right away and she translated while I explained how I wanted the grave to be dug and where. Before they left she took the trash out for me.

I stood in the doorway and a neighbor cat from two blocks over came up to the door. Esther picked it up and put it in my arms. Cinnamon let me hold her like a baby and purred. It's the oddest thing. I haven't seen Cinnamon in about a year. Her and Keli used to hang out in the garden together. They were real girlfriends. Kitty telepathy? Was Cinnamon over to pay her respects? It was so odd.

I had texted both Kats and Xavier and asked them to come be with me. Xavier was in conference all day and never saw my message til the next morning. Yes, even game companies have real business to take care of... who woulda thunk it?

Kats couldn't get off from work until after 7:30pm and had to drive from Palo Alto to Sunnyvale to get home, then over 17 to get here. He probably wouldn't have been able to show up til 9 or so.

I got crazy.

I knew if he came that late he would have to turn around immediately in order to get back home to sleep and get up at 430 the next morning to go to work, and I remembered that he had not slept well the two nights before. He's no spring chicken anymore, and I worry about him.

I took Keli, still wrapped in the blanket and drove with the intent of beating him home. By about Aptos, he called to tell me he was on his way. I told him No, that I was coming. He argued with me but I was like a maniac. NO NO NO, I kept telling him.

He firmly told me to go back home and he would be there soon. and hung up. Kept calling him back over and over til he answered (sounds so childish now) and insisted that I would meet him at the summit. By this time knew that I had my mind made up. We both arrived in the parking lot at the same exact moment. We spent some time together. He petted her and comforted me, which, selfishly, was what I needed the most. Not just so he could say goodbye to Keli.

It is a good thing after all, that we met where we did. His car was overheating and smelled like the engine had blown. At least he could coast it down the hill to get back home. (next day he took it for repairs)

I headed home. this time I was able to pet her all the way without driving off the road, or feeling like I wanted to drive off the road. At home, I wrapped her in plain cotton flannel, torn from a sheet, and used plastic grocery bags and put her in the freezer until we can actually bury her Saturday. My son is coming up then. He was just age 11 when she was born.

I am totally ashamed of myself, but I can't seem to help it. When my parents died I did not have this much grief. When members of the group die, I have a lot of grieving.

But this is tearing me up pretty bad. I physically feel like I have been beat up. Everything hurts from head to toe, I feel like I am walking through wet cement, that is, when I can get myself up an moving. I feel like I am carrying a huge rock on my head it hurts so much. Not a headache, just pain. Don't know how to describe it.

Everywhere I look I am reminded of her, and just want to curl up and die with grief.

Thank heavens Desiree came over the next day when I told her not to. I asked her to take my rocking chair out of the living room and put it in the garage. That was where Keli spent most of her time these last few months. On the rocking chair, with the heating pad, the foam pad, the sheepskin and the blankey. Queen of the house, with her little pink step stool so she could climb up there. I grabbed the stool and put it away in the back room only to regret it later as I found it and crumbled like a deck of cards last night. I cannot comprehend that I am actually going through all this emotion. Like I said, I am ashamed of myself. It was my cat, not my family member.

Kats said "Are you going to react like this when I die?" His Japanese-ness just wonders how I could feel this way. I told him I would be worse. He was surprised. Oh how I wish I were Japanese right now. And could be all Zen and free from the angst.

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