CH took him to the hospital the Saturday before the accident, and he was diagnosed with some respiratory illness and tongue ulcers. He was on a steady diet of meds, but by Tuesday night, he was still refusing to eat and had started wheezing through his mouth on top of everything else, even after we cleaned out his gunked-up nose. Plus, he smelled horrible, because he was unable to clean himself. Poor Brian.
So Wednesday morning, I got up early and took him to the Gateway Animal Clinic, which though first come, first serve, was still way faster and efficient than any human medical center I have ever visited. I actually found myself thinking, "Lucky dog."
The vet, who I had never met before (CH usu. handles the vet visits) was really lovely. He petted Brian, even though he smelled horribly, all through the consultation. And I felt reassured after he took Brian away to get rehydrated and told me to pick him up at 5pm.
When I came back out to the lobby, there was a family, waiting there: A mom, a dad and two small daughters. The mom's eyes were red from crying, and the youngest daughter was being comforted by her father. The oldest daughter (she was about 7) though spent a few minutes trying to peek into my cat carrier, until finally she asked, "What's in there."
"It used to be my cat," I answered, "But he's inside get fixed up. He's sick."
She nodded and sat back in her seat. A few minutes later, the mom asked her if she wanted to go back and say goodbye to their cat before they put her to sleep. "It's your cat," the daughter answered. The mom nodded and didn't say anything else.
I know kids are what they are, and most of the things they say cannot be held against them. But I wish that little girl had been nicer. My actual Alec Baldwinesque, sleep-deprived thought was, "You're a little shit, and I can already see that you lack compassion, that you're going to become one of those horrible adults that lack compassion."
I was tired. I hope that isn't true. I hope she grows up into a perfectly nice woman who doesn't remember saying to her mother, "It's your cat." Just like I don't remember half the mean stuff I said to my mother. It's easier that way. Cycle of life and all that.
I was reassured by my visit the doctor's office, but overwhelmed. I already had to go home, get CH showered and dressed, drive him to work, get the rest of my work done and then get back over to Atwater to pick up Brian.
I thought I appreciated everything CH did beforehand, but much like my love after he nearly got hit by that car, my appreciation of his efforts seemed to super-quantify* that day.
I didn't understand how I had managed by myself all that time before him. I didn't understand how single mothers do what they do.
This is one of the many reasons I am such an avid supporter of gay marriage. Some of us are naturally independent, but most of us need another person in our lives, to help, to love, to balance us out -- to pick up the slack when the other one falls.
Pairing up is a basic human right. And I seriously don't see how any of us could deny that right to any other human being. It's the equivalent to saying, "It's your cat" to your crying mother. That's all.
*yeah, i'm not sure this remotely means what i want it to mean in that sentence. but it sounds so perfect. please forgive.