15 January 2011

The waiting is the hardest part

I am waiting for the phone to ring.

Milton is in surgery. He deteriorated again over night, vomited blood in the morning. I called the vet, stifling panic. He reported that the bloodwork came back perfect; the cat couldn't be in any better health where his blood panel was concerned.

So x-rays. An obstruction, seemingly, in his little goatish gut. Driving back home, we laughed a little about what they were likely to find: his toenails, I suggested, embedded in wads of fur with some Christmas tree needles and a fragment of purloined french fry for good measure.

"He's got a bezoar," I told the son. "We should ask the vet to save it, so I can sell it on eBay. 'Magickal Feline Bezoar.'"

And we laughed a little more.

Whistling in the dark.


The vet called.

"He did great," he boomed over the phone. "He's looking at me right now while I'm talking to you. He's on painkillers and he's comfortable."

"I'm sure you're his new best friend," I observed drily.

The cat won't appreciate it, but I am grateful for this man's kindness, his willingness to describe the process at length, and answer my questions, his promise to check on Milton tomorrow, though the clinic is closed.

Of course, my mind still spins off in unwanted directions: infection, the potential for a tear in his intestine, recurrence.

I try to think instead of how he curls, kitten-like, soft and relaxed, in the sun, or the warm weight of his sleeping body stretched along my legs, or the clean smell of his fur, or his tiny surprised sneezes.

Go listen to some good music: "The Waiting" from the album Hard Promises by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. My family was none too pleased to discover me at 6 am this morning, atop a stepladder, hauling the cat off the top of the 8-ft bookcases...

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