The Horror of Impermance

I had three cats.  Now I have two.

It’s been about a week and a half since we had to put Zophia down.

Two days after we put her down, Dylan got sick.  We rushed him to the hospital for a battery of tests.  We found out the next day that he had pancreatitis and that resulted in a five-day hospital stay.  Now that he’s home, he needs to have regular subcutaneous injections.  His health is clearly improving.  He’s not 100%, but he’s active.  He’s eating more and he’s drinking more.

After everything that has happened and with everything that is still happening, I’m starting to feel better.  Dylan is sleeping peacefully on his cat-tree.  Basil has put on some weight, but he seems ok.

Today, I was able to get Dylan to eat and drink a little for lunch, but it took a lot of effort.

I can’t describe the terror I felt when I thought that I was going to lose two cats instead of one.  Zophia would have been 16 in December and her health had been declining for about six months.  We (my husband and I) were both dreading something that felt more and more inevitable as time went on.

Over the past six months, we’d been to multiple vets and had tried multiple treatments.  There is one guy that I don’t think should be practicing medicine.  He was one of those paternal types that pretends that he has everything under control and displays so much confidence that as a desperate pet owner, you can’t help but hope that he’s truly offering a solution.  Zophia took a turn for the worst after him.

Once again, I learned that I must be more questioning and skeptical of doctors, especially the ones who seem too sure of themselves.

Anyway, Dylan is only 12 and had never had any health issues.  Zophia had been sick most of her life, but Dylan was the opposite.  Dylan’s check-ups always came back clear of any concerns, so his sudden illness was a blindside.

With Zophia, even if we had an inkling, we still found her loss devastating.  She’d been part of our family for 15 years.  Because she’d required so much care, she was a constant presence in my mind.  I checked on her a lot, especially in the last few months.  It’s weird how empty life can feel when you’re no longer checking on someone all the time.

I think that it’s very likely that the stress of Zophia’s illness and death is what brought on Dylan’s pancreatitis.  I’d always worried what would happen to him after we lost her.  They were best friends for so long.

Now, he and Basil seem to be much closer.  They have been hanging out together and sleeping near each other since Dylan has been home.

We’re still working on making sure Dylan eats and drinks enough, plus, we give him subcutaneous injections to keep him from getting dehydrated.  I am not sure he needs it.  He seems to be doing well enough with his eating and drinking.  Our current vet is much more cautious, though, and I don’t think she’d recommend the injections if she thought they could be harmful.

So, now, I’m trying to get back to my regular life of reading, writing, and youtubing.  Like most personal tragedies, this has caused me to think about priorities and gratitude.

The things that I had thought were important, suddenly seem less important.  I hope I maintain a shift in my priorities because I spend a lot of time worrying about things that are insignificant when put into the context of my entire life.

With gratitude, it isn’t so easy to cultivate, but the meaning of impermanence has made itself known to me.  I had one day between Zophia’s death and Dylan’s hospitalization.  During that one day, I did not appreciate what I had.  Reflecting upon that, I believe that our only weapon against the awfulness that is the impermanence of life is gratitude for what we have when we have it.

Dylan and Zophia

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