Grieving Sense (or, Wholly Crazy at Whole Foods)

>> Wednesday, June 20, 2007


“Do you have any vitamin supplements for cats -- you know, some sort of cancer-curing vitamins?”

Yes, that came out of my mouth. Yes, I was sincere. I realized how absurd it sounded just before the question mark. I went to Whole Foods seeking something to heal the wound on Exene’s cheek; something to reduce the redness and swelling in her left eye. But as I started asking questions, I realized I was seeking a cure.

Her wounds aren’t going to disappear. Exene didn’t get them from a cat fight or from licking a discarded can of tuna fish. She has cancer. Now, today, I realize how powerless I am. When our pets are wounded, we douse their scrapes with antibiotic sprays, we cover them with ointments, we affix bandages to them. Naturally, seeing her wounds, I did what common sense told me to do: I tried to fix it.

But I just can’t.

This morning I was like a child. Driving to work, I thought about Exene’s decline. I worried about the possibility of feeding her through a tube. Already she resists the tiny steroid pills I pop down her throat. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to force-feed her.

“I don’t want to feed her from a tube,” I stated.

Michael and I sat in silence, thinking about that possibility. When we got to work, I persisted. “I don’t want to call the doctor, either.”

“But if we don’t, what are we going to do?” Michael responded. I shrugged and pouted. I didn’t want to deal with this anymore. Nastily I said, “Well, if the doctor says we have to feed her from a tube, you have to do it!”

He came up to me and looked me in the eyes. “If he says we have to feed her from a tube, then we’ll both do it -- together. This is our little girl.”

Sometimes I try to forget I have a heart. It would be a lot easier if I was cold and disconnected. It would be a lot easier if I was mean. But when I’m on the verge of being an insensitive monster, Michael is there, ready to hold my hand and show me where my heart is.

The Whole Foods lady was very nice. She tried to give me answers and hope when really non exists. Regardless, I walked out with three vitamin supplements, and antibiotic ointment for Exene’s cheek, and a container of cat grass.

Cat grass? She can barely eat liquified cat food, yet I purchased cat grass. That’s nuts. What on earth possessed me to do that? But when I take a deep breath, I guess the answer is simple enough: because Exene likes cat grass.

I called the doctor. Using ointments and antibiotic eye drops will reduce inflammation and perhaps make her more comfortable. Good. He sounded iffy about the supplements, though. However, I’ll give Exene the vitamins because it will make me feel more powerful. That may not make logical sense, but it makes grieving sense.

I have this crazy thread of hope that the vitamins will restore some of her energy. Perhaps they’ll make her a little stronger. Perhaps they’ll reduce her pain. And then maybe (just maybe) she’ll be able to enjoy the cat grass one more time.

See. It all makes perfect sense to me.




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