– Contributed by Big L
A few weeks ago, the most common word in my vocabulary was “then.” Spoken aloud and in my head, it appeared a lot. I’m going to do this, then that. Then I’m going to make that phone call. Oh right, then I’m meeting so and so for coffee. I then have to send that estimate along.
Thanks to a near-death experience with our cat Bunny (well, actually, no thanks, but it happened anyway), “now” is becoming my favourite word instead. Right now, this is my priority. Right now, this deserves my attention. Right now, this is what I need to be doing. Right now is the most important moment.
Here’s how it went down:
On December 6th, Bunny visited the vet for routine dental work. Her teeth were gnarly, but her blood work and pee test suggested she was in perfect health. When she first came home, you’d never know she’d been under aesthetic earlier that day and even had one little tooth removed. She was darting around as usual. Until December 9, when she threw up, sans fur ball (and on Wee C’s boots, oops), and continued to do so every day for four days. She hid in the shoe closet for 48 hours.
On December 13, I brought her to the vet for her scheduled check up, told the doc something was very wrong, and within 45 minutes, I was being told that Bunny had acute kidney failure. She would need to be hooked up to a 24/7 IV of fluid, starting right now.
For the next four days, we drove her back and forth between the vet and the overnight emergency animal hospital twice a day, so she could be under constant watch. I walked around with a pit in my stomach, on the verge of tears. I couldn’t stand the thought of my little peanut – who jumps if you sneeze too loud – being in a cage with wailing cats and barking dogs around her, some of whom were living out their final moments. I saw a couple of other pets come and go on the same schedule, I saw a devastated Mom being told it was probably time.
It was emotional and I struggled to go about my business that week. Fortunately (and in a strange coincidence), some of my client work got postponed until the new year, freeing up what was supposed to be a jam packed week.
The evening of December 16, Bunny’s blood work showed she was no longer in failure and we got to take her home. We also got instructions for how to inject 150 ml of fluids under her skin twice a day, every day, and what to watch for. Her nursing care was transitioning from the vet techs to us. I was overwhelmed and scared. My familiarity with hospital stuff is nil. Pumping my cat twice a day was a big, giant deal.
I went home and cried. Bunny threw up shortly after we got there – a big danger sign we were supposed to watch for – and I cried more. We decided to hope it was motion sickness and give her the night. When she spent 8 hours straight under our bed, we knew it wasn’t.
On the morning of December 17, I reached the tipping point.
I didn’t getting any definitives from the vet when I called and I was losing it. I cancelled my two appointments that day, including a Meet ‘n Greet with a new business contact I had made, and I realized: Right now, my priority needs to be her. Right now, all I care about is being a good Mom to my fur baby. Everything else can wait.
My Mom and I carted Bunny off to the vet, again. Hunny left work and met us there. We were nervous and terrified as we sat there waiting for blood results, again. We weren’t supposed to be back for 7 days, but it had only been 16 hours.
The results weren’t great, but they weren’t disastrous either. We took her back home, this time with anti-nausea medicine and more clear instructions for what to look for.
When we got there, Hunny and I basically entered a 72-hour quarantine. We left everything else on the outside – our plans, commitments, should dos and would like to dos – and did nothing but stay home, comfort each other, and take care of our Bunny. Our adorable little fur baby, who is less than five pounds, timid, a little forgetful, full of energy, talkative, and plays with everything. (One of her favourite things to do is to find a rogue Kraft Dinner noodle on the kitchen floor and play with it until she loses it under the fridge or it disintegrates.) She brings light, laughter and love into our home every single day. And right now, all we want is for her to be OK.
I skipped an event that would’ve been a great networking opportunity. I skipped yoga. We skipped Hunny’s work Christmas party, an overnight shindig that we’d been looking forward to for weeks. We gave fluids and meds twice a day. We wished, willed, and believed. We slept little, napped in shifts. We decorated gingerbread houses.
We took notes on Bunny’s every move. 9:30 p.m. fluids & meds. 10:45 p.m. pee. 11 p.m. eats.
Instead of doing prep work for big changes happening in my business in 2011, I watched Home Alone, The Santa Clause, and Garden State. Instead of keeping up with my Reverb 10 posts, I finally watched the last few episodes of The Amazing Race. I tried with every ounce to just be. Sit, breathe and be.
The first 14 days of being at home – which end on Dec. 30 – are the most telling and the most critical. Although we’re not out of the woods yet, we’re feeling better, and so is Bunny. She is improving little by little, day by day. Her most recent blood work looked promising.
With Christmas only two days away my only wish is for her to get better. And I’ve realized, the best gift I can give myself (and others) is to embrace what Bunny has taught me about replacing “then” with “now.” Not just today, not just while she’s sick, but always. Because right now is really all we have, isn’t it?
I realize I didn’t answer one big question: why did this happen? We don’t know for sure, but our vet believes she had a highly unusual reaction to the three days of pain meds she was prescribed after her dental work. The drug is safe and commonly used – she was probably in that fraction of a percentile to experience severe side effects.