August 11, 2021

Gratitude isn’t Always the Answer.


“Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.” ~ Anonymous

This week started out pretty well.

In fact, it was spectacular until I figured out on Monday that our cat, Lucky, hadn’t eaten all day and had mastered the feline upchuck.

He was sick Sunday, but it was a silent upchucking. But by Monday, it had turned into the one that comes with the yowl that sounds like the world is coming to an end. Yeah, that one. I honestly thought it was pretty impressive—until it wasn’t.

By Monday afternoon, I contacted my vet’s office to make an appointment. Turns out, lots of folks are freely spending money on their pets. They were booked until Friday.

By the end of Tuesday, with Lucky not eating, me not sleeping, and my daughter away for work for several weeks, Friday felt like a long way off. I checked on Lucky every other hour. He, in turn, seemed afraid to sleep. He kept changing his location—always on the floor, always somewhere soft.

Wednesday morning, the vet contacted me advising they had a cancellation and could I bring Lucky today. Could I? Not only was I there, but I was there early.

Here comes the crazy. Our first bill was 261 dollars. They decided to keep Lucky to see if what they saw on the X-ray would move or pass. Of course, it didn’t. Thursday morning, I got an estimated bill for surgery: 1,205 dollars.

Now, I love my cat—but honestly, that’s ransom money. Especially since I haven’t paid my mortgage this month. After speaking to the vet about having a radiologist review the X-rays—another 186 dollars—we found out it would have to be surgery after all. Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but it would be cheaper to purchase a purebred something than to pay my mortgage for my cat.

My daughter was devastated and said the cat could have her whole check—really? I can’t ever remember either of my children offering me their whole check, but this is about the cat and how pissed I am this week.

In the midst of all this, I forced myself to attend Elephant Journal‘s monthly writer’s forum and heard one of the writers discuss the importance of gratitude. I also drew the “Have Faith” card this week. I thought it was an in-general message, not a warning that I would be in an existential crisis. After all, how many times can I see daylight, only to be knocked down again? How many times do I claw my way back to financial solvency to have it ripped from me for the most ridiculous of reasons?

My immediate response to the gratitude message was, “Easy for you to say,” because it is easy to say, but quite difficult to do.

Ultimately, our vet fished an inch-long piece of rubber out of Lucky’s stomach. I strongly suspect it was from a pair of crocs I use as my outside shoes. He started attacking those shoes earlier this year. We will see on the morrow, but I am positive those shoes are the culprit. They are now in the trash.

Lucky will be home today, provided I find his ransom money. Right now, I see nothing positive coming. Not a single thing. All I feel is sick to my stomach because not only is this not money I wanted to spend, it doesn’t practically help me or my life in any way. There is no light on the horizon. All I see are bills, bills, and darkness.

Could things change? I guess they could. Do I think they will? Nope. Do I feel they will? Not yet. But I will take the weekend to relax, recharge, and figure out what else can go wrong—or right—with this last month of summer.

Here’s hoping there are no more challenges (yeah, right), at least not this month. Because not only am I not up to the task, but I really don’t want to have to be.


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