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Friday, April 21, 2006

Bubba Goes to the Dentist

The house is quiet. I keep thinking I hear the rustle of Bubba getting down from the love seat in the sunroom, where he spends his time sleeping, or the click of his claws on our hardwood floors, but it's always my imagination. I keep thinking I should check on him, but then I remember that he's at the vet's office, and that someone else is looking after him today.

On Wednesday we went to the vet for his monthly acupuncture treatment. We knew he had a tooth that was bad, but we'd put off doing anything about it. In addition to his kidney problems, Bubba has a congenital heart murmur, and at his age, any procedure is a concern. And yet, it doesn't seem right to allow him to suffer the agony of a toothache, an agony I know well, just because I'm afraid of the what-ifs. So this morning I dropped him off for a tooth extraction and came home to await a late-morning call from the technician saying I could come get my cat.

I was surprised and more than a little apprehensive to hear the doctor's voice on the phone instead of the tech's, though his first words were reassuring: "Bubba is doing fine now." Now. Now? "But we almost lost him." Ah. His breathing has been a little rapid since Wednesday's vet visit, which could have been due to pain. But it could also, the vet said, be due to some pathology in the lungs. As in, this could be It. Or the beginnings of It. That's so hard to contemplate, even though Bubba, at 21 1/2, has already lived a very long time.

But there is some good news. The pre-surgery blood work showed that Bubba's creatinine level (an indication of kidney function) is at the same level it was nearly two years ago, slightly over normal, amazing given his age and health. He's on IV fluids and in an oxygen chamber, but he's alert and stable and in a few hours I should be able to go get my cat and bring him home where he belongs--for as long as we have left together. Because I promised him I'd come back for him. That I would always come back for him.

Afternoon update:
They've taken Bubba off the oxygen and capped his IV, but left it in, in case they need to administer more meds. And they want to keep him for a few more hours. Just in case.


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