I may have blogged about this before, but way back when I was struggling at work, quite a few years ago now, my darling cat Tigger developed kidney failure. At first the vet managed to keep it at bay with special food and various dietary supplements, but the time eventually came when the only way to keep her comfortable was to give her daily doses of ranitidine in pill form (in case you’re interested, a smallish cat requires one third of a Zantac tablet a day) and to get subcutaneous fluids into her on a regular basis, “regular” in this case meaning every two to three days.
With this sort of frequency it was impractical to go to the vet every time she needed fluids, never mind once a day to give her a pill. That being so, I had to learn to do both. I could just about face giving her the pill, but the fluids…. The vet suggested I come in and learn how to do it, so we had an appointment and he kindly demonstrated how it was done and then let me try. Tigs, bless her, was sweetly cooperative, a level of cooperation which didn’t carry over to our first go of me giving her her fluids at home. It wasn’t exactly a short sharp struggle but a protracted and irritable effort which ended up with most of the fluids being surcutaneously all over me and very little subcutaneously in her. The next day I had another tussle to give her her ranitidine. Seriously, have you any idea how hard it is firstly to cut a Zantac tablet into three and then to get the tiny tiny fragment into a cat who doesn’t want to swallow it? If the answer is No, then all I can say in response is Lucky you. When I got into the office I had a small sob on the shoulder of a very lovely colleague about how horrible I was finding work and how upset I was about Tigger and how I just wanted everything to get back to normal. My colleague is a wise and lovely person and knew that she couldn’t promise me that things would go back to how they were when I was doing my old job and Tigger wasn’t ill, so she replied “Well, maybe this is the new normal, and once you’re used to it, it will feel just the same”.
At the time I found it hard to believe her, but nevertheless it was encouraging, and it helped me to reach every day towards the new normal. In fact Tigs and I achieved it in a very short space of time; by the time she died, bless her, I could get her ranitidine and a full sachet of fluids into her as part of our morning routine, the whole taking less than ten minutes and causing minimal distress to either of us. Back when I was despairing I would never have believed it.
Which I suppose brings me to where we are now. A few months ago if you’d told me where we’d be now, I would never have believed it. But here we are, and, in my case at least, there were quite large patches of today which felt, if not exactly normal, then at least slightly more routine. Of course, I’m aware that this isn’t how it is for everyone and I am in a particularly lucky position, at least so far. There are many many people for whom life will never be “normal” again. But at least in this small household of three, one human and two feline*, today felt like a better day, a step, even if only a small one, towards the new normal.
In other news, I went under the bed and dug out the tapestry cushion cover which I started when central London phone numbers began 0171. Google tells me that means it’s at least twenty years old, maybe as much as quarter of a century. Maybe over the next few weeks I’ll actually finish it; all things are possible……
More, inshallah, tomorrow.
*Actually for the cats, nothing has changed. They spend their whole lives ‘under lockdown’ and find it extremely enjoyable as far as I can see (senior cat currently snoring softly behind my right ear as I type). A shining example to us all. #stayathome