Friday, February 12, 2010
Took Blake to the vet today, and long story short: he weighs twenty-five pounds!
But, since when do I leave anything at just the short story?
Even before I knew Blake's official weight, I expected to get a chastising from the vet. Surprisingly it never came. He agreed I need to make a better effort to get some weight off (I brought it up myself; why bother waiting?), but he said his blood work was "Excellent!"
The vet showed me the report from Blake's blood work, and every single value was within normal ranges except the one that means he was very slightly dehydrated. Nothing alarming, he probably just didn't get to the waterbowl that morning. Such a good report from the Doc was exciting, but still frustrating. The whole reason I made the appointment for Blake was because I was convinced something was wrong. To hear there is nothing wrong gave me mixed feelings. Relief--duh--but frustration too because the last thing I want is to be faced with a puzzle that takes weeks (and oodles of money) to figure out.
Here are the clues that led up to taking Blake to the vet: for about two weeks he's been vomiting intermittently (but copiously)(ugh), he's been eating hair, and pooping the normal amount (that's a non-symptom)(I was asked three times at the vet's if he had diarrhea--no one could believe that he didn't). But his coat has gone from soft, fuzzy orange to greasy, dandruff'y . . . uh, well of course it's still orange. I couldn't decide if I thought he was moping; how much does he normally lay around? (Lie around? Does anyone actually know--or care?)
I've spent the last two weeks stressing about what on earth could possibly be wrong. I couldn't even decide if thought something was wrong. Back and forth, merry go round and round and round. Finally I couldn't stand the circus in my head anymore, and decided I would take him in to get some peace and quiet. Like in a cheesy horror film, I could hear a music box that sounded like it needed to be cranked. Every time I looked at Blake I could hear a flat doomsday harmonica.
And today at the vet's office, in addition to the slow whine of the music, I also could hear, over and over, the cry Blake did when I was stuffing him into his cat carrier this morning. He didn't want to go, he was scared and technically it's too small for him, but I had to get him in. His claws gripped the carpet so I had to push on his rump pretty hard. That's when he cried out and I let go. Of course he ran to the other side of the room, and I did a little weeping myself.
It doesn't matter when you know you're trying to help. Bully on me that I knew he needed to go into the vet, for a moment I just wanted to hold him like a child. But cats don't want to be comforted, and I had prophylactically closed the bedroom door so he wouldn't be able to escape. I pulled myself together and somehow managed to get him in. But his cry stayed in my ears the rest of the day.
At the vet I explained why we were there, and that was when the he suggested blood work. I could still hear Blake's voice echoing in my ears, literally because he continued to cry in his carrier, but also in my imagination from the morning. The fact that the vet ordered blood work validated my sense of wrongness. An ominous feeling clung to my skin like the stink of onions; they told me to wait until 3 to call and check on him. I heard them tell four other customers before me to also call in at 3 to check on their pets. Great. I'm sure that will speed things along.
I didn't bother calling at 3; they only have one phone line and I knew it would be pointless. I started calling at 4:15 but didn't get through until 4:45. They left me on hold for five minutes and when they came back to the line I was told that the vet wanted me to come pick Blake up and he would talk to me then. My heart raced and my palms started to sweat because at first it felt like I was in trouble. Like I had to go to the principal's office.
That was when my mind started playing tricks on me. Horrible, awful fears started creeping into my head, whispering together and drowned out only by the memory of Blake's frightful cry from the cat carrier incident. Spooky swishing whispers like in a scary movie, and I could see Blake's face--his eyes!--looking through the holes in the sides of the cat carrier as he stared at me, pleading and begging for me to make the fear go away. He trusted me to help, felt betrayed that I wasn't doing anything, had no idea that when the lady took him away it was all going to be okay. He didn't struggle but I could see his paws, stretched so wide he looked like a duck. Webbed duck feet, with claws.
He must have sensed that I didn't know if it would be all right either. I tried to reassure him, kept saying "It's okay, Blakey!" but of course I didn't know if it would be okay. My stomach felt hollow when I walked out of the vet's office with my empty cat carrier. I spent the day in a fog of imagining the worst, which didn't lift until I went to pick him up. The clear, fogless day revealed the truth contained in a bottle of kitty laxative pills.
You're probably wondering why I'm recounting all of this, and you know . . . I don't really know either. But I think it's something to do with the impulse we all have to tell someone when you have a nightmare--to bring the monster into the light. To purge yourself of demons by talking about it and sharing the burden. I hope you don't mind.