I have something I need to forget. This story has a happy ending, but it is an ugly story, and it scares me.
I was giving Mecca her morning pills, got the first one down, need to remember to bring the accent book, when I was trying to stuff the second one down her throat when she didn’t open her mouth. Jesus, she’s getting tough, I thought. I tried again, and was about to take another course of mouth-opening action (like what, yeah?) when I realized she wasn’t breathing.
I choked my cat. She made a little strangled noise, the kind choking people do, when I brought her to the floor, panicked, immediately aware that my little kitty was not breathing. I patted her side once, then again, harder, trying to pat the pill out of her throat. I squeezed her tummy, hoping to make her vomit or something, anything, just make this go away, when she collapsed. Her legs slid out from under her like her body was boneless, and I could feel no bones, her soft fur and slim muscles bagging on the floor. Terror raised, and I thought I had broken her, like those mothers who shake crying babies only to realize serious irreparable damage has been done. Then I saw a pool of urine spreading from behind her, and I screamed. Then: Doctor. I rushed to the back door, mind full of the image of my kitty I killed, the kitty I choked with my hard-ass take-this-pill attitude. I looked for the cat carrier on the porch, the chair flying from under me, I guess I knocked it away. There was no cat carrier. She is still not breathing.
No cat carrier! What do I do? Doctordoctordoctor, I live so far away, I watch ER I know what is happening, slow brain death from lack of oxygen. My kitty. My baby. Tony!!!
Memory slaps me and I realize the cat carrier is in the house. I barrel inside, slamming the glass door, looking for the bathroom she still has not left. Cat carrier on couch, push hissing kitties out of the way, run and grab still-boneless Mecca. Is she breathing? God, yes, I think so, get her in the carrier. Swipe a towel from the kitchen, poor girl, soft light bag of kitty, drop her in, where’s my fucking phone!?!
Purse, phone, money, cat! Shoes, door, stairs, car. Toss her in (sorry girl, maybe it will dislodge the pill), think of Pamie’s cat dying in her arms. Is she warm? Is she stiff? No time to worry, drivedrivedrive. Susan! Call Susan! My class starts in 20 minutes and my baby is dying…where do I go? What’s the quickest way? Tollway? Don’t be ridiculous, not at this time of day, oh shitfuck, don’t get killed or she’ll die for sure.
SUV, cyclist, call Tony. Vanvanvan, Maxima, where the Hell am I going? Oh shit, not that way, that’s the old vet. Policeman. Do I turn my hazards on? Drive so fast that I get a ticket and lose her last breath as Officer Dude is writing me up? No, speedlimit, don’t speed.
I arrive, doctor is not here yet, Mecca is in here crate HELP ME!!! Oxygen tank, wait in a little room, say something, what am I saying, when Amy says, “How many traffic laws did you break getting here?” I make up some answer, and laugh a bit, Mecca is still not standing up, I broke her back. I killed my girl.
Long wait, an hour, I’m not bored, I’m not even here, I’m at home where it happened. I can see my leg moving slightly with every beat of my heart, hands shaking.
Dr. Carver comes in in his street clothes, telling me she will be OK. That she gained a whole pound in this last week. We’re doing good, I did good bringing her in in this panic. He’ll keep her overnight, what meds did she choke on, what did she not yet take? “You have had a hard morning, haven’t you?”
I need a hug. He is so kind. I’ll go home, I can’t eat, but my baby is standing, she is breathing, mewing Can I go home, too?
No, baby girl, not yet.
I hope writing this keeps it out of my nightmares, out of my consciousness, out of my day. I hope this takes the teeth off the demon.
But I’ll never forget it, not ever.