11 June 2008

A Precious Good Day

When people get to know me, it doesn't take long before they hear me mention Copernicus. I'm not talking about the great astronomer; I'm talking about my cat.
A flame-point Siamese, he's been part of my household for almost 19 years. As you might imagine, he's not old, he's venerable. And his health, though delicate, is proof that you really can treat diabetes and live. He's mostly had a good winter and spring. But last Monday he didn't eat. Vet appointments ensued. Assorted medications were prescribed. To his already extensive regimen of two pills each day, two insulin shots each day, fluids every-other day, and another special pill every third day was added another pill each day, two more shots, and fluids daily. This Monday, he still wasn't having a good day. His weight had dipped to a mere eight pounds, when it should be at least twelve. At the veterinarian's office, we both came to the conclusion that he is nearing the end of his days. Decisions were made not to continue certain medications. Forget the diabetes, he can have whatever food he dang well pleases. Keep him comfortable. Enjoy what time you have left.

I now understand why people bring casseroles to those who are grieving. Grief ruins an appetite. But if somebody brings you a casserole, they've put in enough work that you feel guilty if you don't at least try it; and you have to get rid of the food so that you can give back the dish.

So I cried frequently through most of Monday evening and all day Tuesday, as the grief set in. And then a strange thing happened. Copernicus had a good day today.

Last night he did not follow my husband and me up to bed. But about 3 AM, there was Copernicus, on my pillow, stomping on my head, and purring loudly for attention. I got up and relinquished my pillow. I sat there in the dark and petted him for more than an hour. He purred the whole time. A little after 4 AM, my husband got up to go to work. I told him to keep and eye on Copernicus, and I went back to sleep. Copernicus ate some breakfast. I went off to my Wednesday morning knit-along -- we're making the Fiber Trends felted clogs and reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander -- and came home after lunch. Sophia, our Russian blue, greeted me at the top of the stairs. But Copernicus got right out of his hidey-hole and came over. And he ate. He went back to the hidey-hole and then came back into the kitchen. And he ate again. I managed to get a little more into him tonight during a telephone conversation with my mother.

I don't know if this will last. So often, both people and animals take a hopeful bounce right before the end. But at least I can say that today was a precious good day.

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