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Don’t cry in my mask? I’m crying everywhere now

After my last post, relating to crying on the pavement outside the vet’s whilst wearing my mask, I have sadly had occasion to repeat the experience. This time with Mr J alongside me as we had to make the heart-wrenching decision to have our lovely cat put to sleep. 

We have spent the last few weeks, since she was diagnosed with a tumour in her gut, feeding her the loveliest food she has had in her entire life and administering steroids and gentle cat-laxative. Which had seemed to have encouraging results, and she had mostly been quite a happy lady.  I had convinced myself that she was actually putting on a little weight (she wasn’t) and that she was not in pain (we think I was right on this score at least), but she didn’t have much energy. We had hoped our children would see her again at Christmas at least.

She still managed to climb up the trellis onto our garden shed, so she could survey the nearby gardens. She would still hassle me for the fish or chicken I now miraculously prepared for her. 

But on Monday, she stayed in her basket at breakfast time. When she came out eventually to find me, I was rehearsing on Zoom with my singing group. I scooped her onto my lap and petted her whilst singing. She purred a lot. She would normally not have stayed long, but she clearly didn’t have the energy to climb off.

We realised she could not eat. She licked some fishy water from around the sides of my latest offering of coley. (Her brother thought it was his birthday as he wolfed what was left.) She could only walk a few steps at a time, and looked a little confused despite her purring. I called the vet – could we bring her checkup forward? We discussed options over the phone. Fear of internal rupture. I was able to discuss with Mr J and we hugged that poor old cat in the knowledge that we would probably not be able to do it again. On the very short drive to the vet surgery, the cat didn’t cry. That was a first – she hated car journeys and always gave us a running commentary.

The vet was great and gave us options, but also gentle advice. All of it out on the street, with our masks on and other pet-owners in a queue behind us. We made the right decision and came home with our lovely cat wrapped in a shroud in her carry-basket.

We were not allowed into the surgery while the vet did the deed. Having experienced this before inside the consulting room, I am in two minds as to whether this was better or worse.

Once the mask was off at home, I cried for the rest of the evening apart from a half-hour when I dragged myself out for a walk. Strange – it is normally out on the walk that the eyes get watering…

So, now we are a one-cat family. 




Don’t cry in your mask

This seems to be the second in what could become a series of ‘What not to do in your mask’.*

In this case, it was prompted by an unhappy visit to the vet with one of my two ageing cats. She’s been getting thinner and more withdrawn, and she’d started leaving us daily pools of vomit on the kitchen floor. I steeled myself to do something about it.  

Due to Coronavirus measures at the vet surgery, we have to remain outside in the tiny car-park and notify the receptionist of our arrival, then go round to the busy road at the front of the building and wait there at the appointed time with our animal. The vet takes the basket and its occupant indoors (we can’t manage to squeeze into the basket so we remain outside watching the traffic), and then returns to explain what she’s found and what we could or should do.

After the second consultation, there was a conclusion. Palliative care only. I was on my own outside this time and the vet took me just around the corner, to a pavement a little away from the worst of the traffic noise, to tell me and to discuss how we can look after our lovely cat until the end.

How bizarre it seemed. Trying to hold it together, two metres apart, both wearing masks so our voices needed to be slightly raised despite wanting to be gentle about all this. My fabric mask was soaked from the top and the inside by the end of it. I suppose I was aware that some of my worse grimacing was at least partially hidden throughout. Of course, the resulting nasal congestion made it almost impossible to breathe whilst the soggy mask remained in place, but it had to stay put until the vet had retrieved the cat in her basket from inside the surgery and I had wobbled back with her to the car-park. 

A few minutes to sit and ponder, bare-faced at last. At least the breathing was easier, and I could remove the residual snot from my face.

Then to realise that the car-park really is very small, I had parked forwards in the only remaining space and no-one had yet moved (where the hell were all these people? I had been the only visible ‘patient’) leaving me no easy way to get out.

Days later, I am still hugely impressed that I managed to manoeuvre my now seemingly pointlessly large car, and eventually reverse through the high-gate-posted entrance/exit – all whilst still gently weeping. I suppose it gave me some mental focus, a type of distraction therapy.

I hope they get some fun from watching on the CCTV. It is perhaps therapy for the poor vets as they try and clean up their own masks too.

*Previous What not to do in a mask –  Don’t run in your mask 

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