Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holidailies -- Catching Up

Day 12's prompt: Pets and the holidays - share your stories.

In the 1980s I had a wonderful, skinny little calico named Wilma Dean. She was a wild woman, not unlike my Reynaldo in the energy department, but she was scary-smart and therefore lower maintenance than he is. She could amuse herself. And she was very much my companion, more than my "pet." She was my buddy.

Two days before Christmas, her personality changed radically. She showed no interest in food and was lethargic. Overnight her eyes got glassy and she started throwing up. That morning I rushed her to the vet, conveniently located across the street. I didn't have an appointment and the receptionist -- the vet's daughter-in-law -- told me condescendingly that "Doctor" wasn't in yet and besides, I didn't have an appointment.

Please! I matched her condescending tone by reminding her that I lived across the street and I saw his car pull in. And Wilma and I were very content to sit and wait for "Doctor" to be free. I don't recall if there were other patients in the waiting room but it wouldn't have mattered. Wilma Dean was getting sicker by the moment and she needed care.

The vet took us promptly -- because, after all, resistance was futile -- and the news was surprisingly good. So good, in fact, I didn't believe him.

He said she had the flu. Garden variety flu. He gave her a shot of something to help curb the vomiting but warned me that diarrhea may follow. But, since she had no fever, he was certain that she'd be fine in 24-48 hours.

"And if she's not? Then what? Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Will you be here?"

He explained it would take time for the bug to work its way through her system but promised me that, if on Christmas Day, she needed him, he would come in to treat her. He reiterated that he was certain she'd be fine, though.

I didn't believe him. She appeared sooo sick and, as he predicted, the vomiting had given way to runny diarrhea, which made her cry in pain. I couldn't leave her alone, so I brought her with me for our Christmas Eve celebration at my mom's. I set her up in the den. She was sick, possibly contagious, so it was important we keep her tucked away from my mother's cats. We'd open a present or two, and I would excuse myself to check on Wilma Dean. If she was asleep on the sofa, I'd cover her with my jacket. It was scary and upsetting to see her so still. She was either sleeping soundly, lapping water from her aluminum foil travel bowl or whimpering in her makeshift litterbox. I was certain she was dying.

When I went to sleep on Christmas Eve, on the sofa in the den at my mother's house, my last thoughts were not of sugar plums or Jesus. It was of how most definitely I was going to hold my vet to his promise to come into the office for us on Christmas Day.

It wasn't necessary. I was awakened, pre-dawn, by paws raking my hair. Wilma Dean was hungry and bored. Just as the vet had promised, the bug had worked its way through her system and she was fine. Bright eyed and happy. My Christmas miracle.

I guess I needed this

I have really done nothing to day on my day off but sleep. I had a lazy morning, took myself to brunch and when I got home, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept for three hours and if I could, I'd lay back down now. But my self loathing would be ENORMOUS if I didn't do anything productive today!

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