After steeling myself, arrival at the vet is a reverse gutpunch. Can’t bring the cat out because she’s eating. Some time later the cat comes and acts like she’s normal: purring, active, looking in the eye. She curls up in my lap and purrs for an hour. I don’t want to believe it to risk the illusion dissolving, or my waking up. The vet comes in and we talk. The plan is to send her home at 8pm, six hours away.
So an afternoon I expected to spend grieving is spent in an emotional bubble that I don’t want to risk or contaminate with hope or relief. I have a great friend with me which is a great relief and also a healthier distraction than I realize. After six we are wasting time on basic cable. The Exorcist is probably not the best thing to watch. I can’t call. What if she’s thrown up again? I have to call. Forward is the only way. I call. The phone has a distracting echo, but the vet says she’s fine, come down to get her.
A woman in near tears brings in a little dog while we wait, her bearded, shuffling husband fumbling for the time, recounting the day’s chronology of what happened when. She did the walk just like normal, at her treats. When did she start not being able to walk? A tech brings out a lumbering happy monster of a dog. I go out to the parking lot to answer a text from someone apologizing for not getting back to me and admitting things not going well for them. My friend calls and the tech is there with a giant bag of medicine and instructions.
I am at home now. I have been home a little over two hours. The cat is not what she was during the Reader’s Digest afternoon: lying in the corner, distant. She isn’t as bad as Thursday when I took her in, I don’t think. She is not well. I call the vet hospital. The tech won’t reaffirm her earlier statement that the corner had been turned, but emphasizes the doctor says there’s no real concern. She may need time to adjust. This is stressful. Leave food out and call in the morning. I say I’ll call.
Now the cat is sitting on a blanket. Her tail flicks a little. I am exhausted. Is this what it’s like to have a child? I feel as if my only friend is in front of me but unreachable and unaffectable. I am exhausted. I am something–disappointed, resentful, angry, selfish–that another friend did not call back. I feel alone. Maybe it will be better.