I wrote this post for my blog yesterday.
I don't have the energy to write anything else at the moment.
So you get to experience what I experienced.
Buckle your seat belts.
I'm staying in NY an extra day, though I'd much rather be on my way to Texas than sitting here, feeling what I'm feeling.
Last night, at some time after midnight, Daughter #1's cat made his way into my bedroom, which I almost always keep shut so that he can't come in. I was in the rest room, getting ready for bed and I suddenly heard the window shade make a loud noise. I looked over there and immediately knew what had happened. Jack had come in, jumped up on the window sill and either jumped or fell out of the window. I couldn't see him down there, but a guy was looking up at me, not saying anything or pointing at anything, just looking.
I started praying out loud, grabbed my shoes and my keys and flew out of the door, down the elevator and outside. I looked all over but couldn't see him. Then I started to hear his meow. I couldn't tell if he was in a tree, or down on the ground. The more I called his name, the louder is meow became. I finally dropped to my hands and knees and crawled around and between newspaper machines and parked cars and there I found him ...... underneath a car. He wouldn't' come to me but just kept meowing. I could tell that his mouth was hurt and that he was bleeding. I spoke soothingly to him and petted him as I crawled as close as I could under that car. Then I managed to grab his tail and started gently pulling to try to get him to back out. All four feet were clawed into the ground as much as he could manage, so I had to pull harder on his tail, hoping that I wasn't causing any further injuries, and hoping that he wouldn't turn on me and use those claws and his teeth.
He didn't and I was able to get him out. I cradled him close to me and went back into my building and up into my room. I grabbed a soft towel and wrapped him in it and then walked into Daughter #1's bedroom to do what I dreaded doing ..... waking her up to tell her what happened.
That's when I started crying.
She held him and talked to him while I got on the internet and searched for a nearby 24 hour vet hospital. I called one, left a message and was told that a dr would return my call in 15 minutes. We both felt that was too long to wait so after a few minutes I got back on line and called the next place. A woman actually answered the phone because they really were open all night. So we got the address, jumped into a cab and headed over.
D1 turned Jack over to the nurse who let us in and said the dr would be up as soon as he'd examined him.
D1 and I sat in a small exam room and cried and cried, saying very little to each other, other than the "I'm so sorry" that came out every 5 minutes or so. She wouldn't even meet my eye.
The vet came in pretty quickly and said that Jack's jaw had been broken in several places. Part of the bone under his cheek had broken and it seemed to have gone behind his right eye, which explained the bleeding we had seen there. He said that he didn't seem to have any other orthopedic problems, so that was good. He was breathing very rapidly, which we had known, but that could be due to the pain and the stress and hopefully not a lung injury. He said that there may be neurological damage but that we wouldn't know that for another 24 hours or so. They had sedated him, and given him pain meds, which makes it hard to assess his neuro condition. But at least he was out of pain.
Then he started talking about the cost that it would take to fix him. He was a very, very nice man. He said that it would not be inexpensive, but that there are programs we could apply for to see if we could get financial help for this. The problem with that was the time it would take and he needed help that night. The hospital didn't want to start spending a large amount of money on him if the treatment could not be continued. He said that he'd work up an estimate for the cost for overnight and then we could decide what to do after that.
He also said that, if we could not afford it, another choice was to go ahead and put him down. It would be humane and painless and he'd support that.
I think that's pretty much when D1 stopped looking at me altogether.
The dr. left to go get the estimate, leaving us alone in the room.
And even though we didn't have eye contact I assured her that Jack would not be put to sleep.
I paid the estimate for the overnight bill, we went down to see him for a bit. He was asleep and pain-free, but still a difficult site for D1.
Then we caught a cab back to the apartment and still managed to not look at each other.
I just bought window fans that day. I had installed 2 in the living room and one in my bedroom. The one in my bedroom fits perfectly and leaves no room for a cat to get out. The two in the living room are less fitted, but they seemed secure enough to me to not let a cat over them.
It wasn't one of those windows that he jumped from ..... it was my window that was open about 4 inches.
D1 had expressed her fear of the cat falling when I had told her weeks ago that we weren't going to run the AC when the air outside was cool. It would be too expensive and just crazy. She wanted me to install screens on the windows, which would be astronomical and isn't all that easy to find around here. So I opted for opening the windows a crack, except for in my room, because the cat wasn't allowed in there and the door was always (usually) kept shut.
Then I saw the window fans at Beth's house and thought that those would work. We could have the window open, yet blocked because a fan was set in it.
This morning, after D1 left for work, I removed the fans from the living room windows and went back to opening them a crack. I'm sure that they'll be completely shut if and when Jack comes back.
So hopefully you can see why I completely see this as my fault. As I'm sure she does.
Which is why, when she stopped by the hospital this morning to get the astronomical estimate for what the surgery and after care would cost, I said, "OK."
Because what else could I say?
I haven't stopped crying since this happened. It's unbelievable how much guilt a heart can hold.
But you want to know the kicker? The real heart-splitting thing that I canNOT get out of my head? The thing that causes just as many tears today?
The doctor said this: "We need to wait for the swelling to go down before we can operate."
And though this is in NO WAY the same ...... and very very INSANE ...... those are the exact words I was told 5 years and almost 9 months ago..
And those words are killing me all over again.
It's not about the cat. Or whether or not he lives.
It's about D1, and what this will do to her, and her partner, whom I care for very much.
And what it will do it us.
But more than that ..... it's about Jim. It's about waiting all that damn day before taking him into surgery. It's about not being able to wait, in the end.
And it's about none of that mattering ...... in the end.
Because it was the end.
It's about some things that never end.
No matter how much you wish they would.