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I am overwhelmingly pleased and relieved to announce that Rips is home and absolutely well. Ben reports that she is 100% recovered, barring the clumps of hair she lost while sick. She is demanding to have her belly rubbed whenever he comes home, she is demanding to be fed exactly “on the sevens,” and she is demanding whichever side of the couch that Ben happens to be sitting on at the moment. In other words, things are back to normal.
All of her tests came back fine – the vet said that dehydration was the main problem (caused by her vomiting) that led to a downward spiral that she wouldn’t have recovered from without a trip to the hospital (the bad vet that we took her away from, if you recall, recommended that we didn’t hydrate her until we found the root of the problem). Whatever caused the vomiting will remain forever a mystery, although the two best guesses are that she got a stomach virus similar to the one that shook me and Ben to our foundations that same week or that she ate something bad that her system had to work through.
I am so, so happy that I can stop worrying about her (and start worrying about the exorbitant vet bills, which I will pay with a smile) and start to enjoy Christmas and my time off from work. The simple fact that she has eaten a single bite without throwing up – or that she’s once again energetic and vocal – makes me want to jump up and down. Ben called me late last night and said, “I know that it feels weird to call you and announce this, but I think you should know that Ripley just used the litter box!” Hearing that was kind of like seeing man walk on the moon for the first time.
Thanks for all of your comments and emails and calls – I felt less stupid after hearing about Buddy, Sammy, Firestorm, Jake, Jesse, and other kitties that are just as much a part of your families and hearts as anyone. Sure, this incident cost me my new laptop, but she’s a pretty great (and warm) lap-top as any. According to my calculations, she has a solid seven lives left of her nine.
Oh – and I’m feeling much better too. I’m still a bit weak and delicate after my traumatic flight and gross sickness, but all’s well. Although I will say this: never, ever go shopping for clothes in the days after recovering from the stomach flu. I was in the dressing room, trying on size 2 pants and midriff shirts and thinking, “Why am I SO hot today? Why does everything I put on make me look SO MUCH like a supermodel?” The answer: because all I’ve been doing is vomiting and eating saltines for three days. Just like supermodels.
Ripley has gone from bad to worse – we took her in to the vet yesterday morning after three days of her throwing up. After initial tests, the local vet had no idea what’s wrong with her. Both Ben and I didn’t like the vet – do you know that generally smarmy feeling you get around some people, even if you can’t place why? – so we rescued Ripley and found a better place, even with the vet insisting that she stay with him and that we were making a mistake by taking her somewhere else.
Now, this was all happening while I had to catch a plane in two hours to my parents’ house in North Carolina. Ben, who is the best man on earth, got in a cab with Ripley and rushed her to a real, actual animal hospital in Manhattan where the vet wasn’t just going to recommend procedures that would make him money and not help Ripley. The new vet immediately rehydrated her and gave her an ultra sound – since she might have swallowed a foreign object. Ben spent hours of his time talking with the vet and, heroically, gave them his credit card information.
Knowing that she was now in good hands, I booked it to the airport. By the time I got there, I was feeling… spacey, like I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Ben called and I could hardly put two words together to tell him how I felt. I thought it was just stress from worrying about Rips, but I found out soon enough that it was actually the stomach flu, which Ben had two days before and which has been sweeping New York this week. I’m 90% sure than having the stomach flu in an airplane is the worst, most embarrassing thing that could happen to a person – and all while crying about Ripley. I’m just endlessly thankful that I had an aisle seat and that the person next to me slept through everything. And that I’ll never see any of those people again.
After a night of vomiting and shivering in bed, my fever broke and I feel much better – “much better” meaning that I feel like I got hit by a train yesterday – physically and emotionally. I’m glad to have my whole family around me and am looking forward to a few days of relaxing and spending time with them. Ben is calling each time he talks to the vet, and, again, I can’t believe he’s taken that burden onto his shoulders while I’m gone.
I know that its silly to be so worried about my cat – there are people with much worse problems in the world – but I am. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to simply not know what the source of her problem is. It seems so much more difficult than when a human gets sick – Ripley is unable to communicate to us what she did or how she feels. I hate to think of her alone in the city, not knowing why she was taken away from her home or why she can’t seem to eat.