I feel a bit surrounded, but I find breaches in the murk. I am staying home from church, the third week in a row, too nervous about both of us being gone for over three hours and leaving Coolidge alone. Coolidge is in the stage of life in which no one, much less an exceedingly precious companion cat of 17 years, should be alone for more than three hours, while dealing with medication side-effects on top of multiple debilitating conditions. Next week the antibiotics will be out of his system. The UTI is gone, but his kidneys will continue their advance from failure to shutdown. Accepting the reality of his decline is hard, too hard: one of the hardest things I have ever done—and one of the hardest that I would never not do.
The usually inspiring view of the Palouse-bounding basalt plateau we see through picture windows along an entire side of our house is muted in a disheartening haze. Forest fires burn in every direction. We are safe; we are under no watering restrictions, and we are not in a forest. The grass is dry, but a fire station is nearby; and in any case, people have so far been sensible and careful.
This morning I took a video of Coolidge drinking his water from a pretty periwinkle Fiesta bowl. He makes an enchanting “nyar nyar” sound when he drinks. Mostly, I’m thrilled at his motivation to stay hydrated. We also give him weekly subcutaneous fluids. He is considerably less exuberant receiving fluid through a needle inserted in the skin of his back than he is when drinking water on his own. But he can’t drink enough to keep his kidneys functioning even marginally.
I had a World History teacher in high school who always described any cataclysmic event as “the usual floods, fire, famine, rape, and war.” The snippet does seem to have urged perspective throughout these ensuing decades. Almost everything could, truly—and justly—be so much worse.