Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Girl in the Red Velcro Splint

She weighs four pounds nothing, is as white as fresh coconut, has bright blue eyes that no longer see anything, and clean pink ears that no longer hear anything. And she's more than twenty years old. Every night for more than a year, we've stuck a needle under her white fur and through her skin, to infuse her with fluids, because she also has kidney problems and would die without the daily fluids.

Last week, as very old folks sometimes do, she broke a leg for no discernible reason. Her old bones are brittle, of course, and she probably has osteoporosis.

Of course it was Saturday evening. We waited until Sunday, but finally bundled her up and took her to the emergency animal hospital. X-rays verified it: broken front leg.

"The worst part is, it won't heal," said the doc. The kidney problems, apparently.

Next day, we took her to the hospital she's used to, to have the leg splinted. The doctor there, who knows Buttons very well, said, "Well, the problem is, it won't heal. We'll give her pain meds, but. . . ." And she carefully splinted the tiny leg and wrapped it in a bright red Ace bandage, extra small.

We gave her pain meds that night and she slept soundly. Next day she ate as usual, which means about every two hours, voraciously. She didn't seem in pain, really. Just slept in her sheepskin nest. Used her box a bit when we put her in it. We skipped the pain meds that night; she slept fine anyway.

Two days later, as we watched, she hobbled determinedly from her nest to the futon (which she cannot see, but apparently smells, or maps out on an internal GPS) and leaped up to a second nest there, which is heated. That day, she climbed into the nest at will, and out when she was too hot.

Yesterday we took in her for her quarterly blood tests. An hour later the doc phoned, excited; "Her blood tests are normal! Her BUN [kidney tests] are better than they've been in a year!"

And today, when we returned to the house, she was at the door to greet us, which means she had jumped down from the futon, landing on the splinted leg, or on one wing and our prayers. She stumps around the house, eats, drinks, smells the deli chicken slices in my noonday sandwich from twenty-five yards out and comes to demand her tithe. And purrs. She has always been an Olympic purrer. For volume and beauty of tone, I'd match her against a puma.

Today, at the senior fitness center, I felt a little fatigued after my paltry few laps of slow walking around the track. About to call it quits for the day. Thought about the girl in the red velcro splint. And kept walking.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Amazing, how much life wants to live. As long as there are deli slices and one is able to smell them, that is something.