Monday, July 25, 2011

Fears, Distractions, and Going with the Flow

The plan today was to continue sharing my Florida experience and experiment of going with the flow with you, but I can't concentrate on that right now. We'll return to that program tomorrow. That said, I guess this interruption is in a sense another exercise in going with the flow.

Meme eyeing her new bed...

Today, my cat, Meme, is having a full mouth teeth extraction. My heart is aching. I miss having her jump on my lap and knead the hell out of legs leaving me looking like I have little pin pricks all over my thighs. I miss her meowing just to let me know she's in the house. I miss her pushing my keyboard away from my hands, so she can sit on my lap. I miss her jumping on my desk and swatting my screen. Okay, yeah, she's my naughty, self-centered, little diva, but I love her for it.
Meme on my desk searching for treasure
If you're reading this without knowing the story, here's the background. Ever since Meme came to live with us as a kitten, she's had problems with her mouth. Infections, refusing to chew, bleeding from her gums, terrible breath, etc. She pushed her mouth against things including my hands in odd ways. She dug at her mouth with her claws. She refused to clean her butt and didn't groom herself well. Eventually, we figured out it was because her mouth hurt. After antibiotics she would groom like a normal cat, stop the incessant digging at her mouth, etc.until symptoms of infection returned. After going through several attempts at treatment for various things, our vet, Dr. Eric Glaze, a the Albany Animal Hospital diagnosed her with a genetic condition that means she would continue to be in pain and have frequent infections in her mouth for her whole life. The only treatment is a full mouth tooth extraction. We sought a second opinion from a specialist. She agreed with Dr. Glaze. We discussed the implications of her no longer having teeth. We watched her improve slightly on the meds but not enough to have a normal life. We tried desperately to find another option but couldn't. So surgery it is.
Now, Meme is in surgery having all her teeth removed.
I fear, irrationally, that she will see this as punishment or will hate us for it. I fear she'll lose that "me me me" attitude that earned her her name. I fear she'll not understand that this is to make her feel better and improve her health and quality of life. I fear she'll miss having her teeth. I fear I'll do something to mess up her recovery. It occurs to me that I'm playing all the "what ifs", and that sometimes "what ifs" are simply fears that drive us to distraction - and perhaps a little crazy.
Then I stop for a moment and remember. This is a cat who wakes me up every morning with hugs of a sort. She pushes her head under my hand for pets over and over. Then presses her little face against me and looks up at my face not once, not twice but repeatedly. If I try to get out of bed before she feels her snuggle time is over, she gently places her paws on me and pushes. She knows exactly what she wants and she's never afraid to go after it. You have to admire her tenacity.

Todd grooming Meme
 She and Todd, one of our other cats, came to live with us at the same time. I noticed today that he's looking in all her hiding places. He took me to her feeding place and meowed. He demanded to be let in the garage where of course he saw me take her and then come back without her. I can't seem to get him to understand that she's at the doctor and will be home later today. Go figure!
Meme and Kit Greeting One Another
She and Kit, our oldest cat, have a bit of a love/hate relationship. What do you expect? Two females fighting for dominance. Yet, on occasion, I catch them being nice to each other and even sleeping in the same general vicinity.
Funny how quiet the house seems today. Yes, Meme is a bit of a talker, but it's something different than that. It's like the energy in the house is somehow quiet, subdued. Maybe that's just my mood reflecting back at me...
So as I sit here trying to write about Florida and going with the flow, my thoughts are on Meme, her surgery, and her after-surgery care.
I've already called to check on her once and am resisting the urge to call again. I know they'll let me know when she's in recovery and if anything goes wrong. Still, I hate not being able to do anything. That's the control freak in me screaming for attention. I'm trying to quiet her.
Occasionally, a few doubts arise. I'm sure we did the right thing, but tooth extraction is not reversible. Once this is done, it's done. And, even as I write this, it's too late to turn back. I have comeplete faith in my vet and his staff, so my doubts have nothing to do with them. It's just a reminder that some decisions in life can't be unmade...ever...

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