I had ambitious goals for what I could “to do” on a long weekend in February, but I accomplished little and was a wreck by Monday. I want my money back.
Friday night after work, I happily curled up in my chair to watch Netflix with a fizzy drink, corn chips, and guacamole for a great start to the weekend. But early Saturday morning, I woke up with some lingering effects of the ocular migraine I’d had the day before. Although Saturday was pretty much a write-off, it turned out to be the better part of the weekend.
My sixteen-year old cat, Greta, declined rapidly leading up to Sunday night when I really believed she was getting ready to pass on.
So here it was: Friday night while I was watching Netflix, Greta wanted to jump up on my right side for a snuggle but there wasn’t enough room and my other cat was in my lap. I encouraged her to go to the other side, but she left and I went back to watching Netflix. I TOOK FOR GRANTED that I’d have another opportunity to snuggle with her—and now it was looking like I never would.
While trying to make her as comfortable as possible, my mind focused not on all the positive actions I had taken recently for my two aging cats but all my faults as a caretaker. Old guilt came up regarding other relationships and the dominant thought was: I know better than to take this time together for granted … so how had I not learned this lesson yet?
I took her to the emergency vet Monday morning expecting the news to be grim and preparing myself for a difficult decision that would be made in her best interest, not my own selfish guilt-induced interest. The benefits of my Buddhist contemplations on aging, sickness, and death as well as non-attachment might not have been obvious to anyone who witnessed me crying all over the place. The diagnosis? While there is known stuff going on related to her kidneys, the big thing was a urinary tract infection and dehydration.
I have been trying to prepare myself for when she is ready to pass on from old-kitty kidney disease, but she wasn’t going down by a UTI on my watch. She spent a night in the feline ER with a little IV bag for hydration and antibiotics and will be on meds for a while, but is home with me now looking and acting like her normal self.
I didn’t give Greta a second chance—she’s given me one.