Friday, July 18, 2008

A Tablet of Tylenol and a Tonkinese

My parents live about two hours away, across the Pennsylvania border and well into the gently sloping hills of the Pocono mountains. Having my aging parents within a quick train ride away was a strong pull in my decision to move north. After having spent my adolescence watching my mother travel back and forth between Atlanta and Cleveland to care for her aging and oftentimes sickly parents and the endless amounts of grief it caused her, I felt much of my sanity could be maintained by just being near them. Near enough to get to them quickly in case of emergency; far enough away to maintain some autonomy.

But I can't deny the wonderful creature comforts that having my parents, especially my mom, close provides. I feel I am in college all over again. When Manhattan becomes too much I escape to their little sanctuary in the mountains and I revel in their centrally air-conditioned, cable TV, hot-water for hours home. I bring laundry home and forget about it in the dryer for hours only to find it magically folded and set on the stairs for me to carry up to my room. I once again have my mommy crutch, because she will always be there when I need her.

By Monday, as the bf and I approached two straight weeks of having house guests and as the temperature was rising, I could feel my blood pressure and temper rise with it. So before things became explosive, I ran away--over the river and through the woods, literally--to mama's house. I stretched my cramped city legs, breathed clean air into my exhaust filled lungs (and promptly coughed), gorged myself on treats that my father continues to buy much to the dismay of my mother who has chronically been dieting since 1995, and caught up on all the bad TV that I have been denied.

Thoroughly relaxed to the point of anxious boredom I deemed it necessary to return to my home in Harlem with my mother in tow. I arrived home to find my cat (my wonderful cat who has progressively made his way up the East Coast, from Florida to Georgia to New York, who has dealt with a million apartment changes, a hundred different roommates and their cats, and a handful of different boyfriends, and who, most of all, loved me unconditionally regardless of my flightiness) had blue lips and a blue tongue. He looked as though he had gotten into a blue-raspberry popsicle. As I panicked and quickly began Googling the potential causes for a blue cat, my mother immediately entered mommy-mode and started to list off non life-threatening causes for blueness to assuage my fears. After repeatedly finding blue cat=dead, I called the vet, herded Butters into the kitty carrier, hopped into my mom's car and rushed to the NYC Veterinary Specialists.

Twenty-four hours and twenty-four hundred dollars later, I brought my kitten home in his normal pink, not blue, state. According to the wonderful Dr. Davidson at NYC Vet, it is probable that Butters ingested some form of acetaminophen (Tylenol) while I was away. Thankfully, I was sufficiently bored and decided to come home and bring my mother along, otherwise my colorblind bf ("He really doesn't look blue to me. Are you sure its not just a shadow?") may have never noticed that my cat was discolored until well after he was dead. And thank god for mom who held the cat carrier on her lap in front of the car AC to try and get Butters air as I frantically navigated the streets of Manhattan trying to find the best way to get to 55th on the West Side and who never complained even as Butters lost consciousness and control of his bowels.

We aren't completely out of the woods yet. He is breathing again but the vet is worried that his liver could still fail if he was, in fact, poisoned and if it wasn't acetaminophen toxicity then it is likely to be some form of heart disease. I can only hope that it was the acetaminophen. I survived all of college without ever having debt, I didn't even own a credit card, and now, in the span of 24 hours, in order to save my kitten from imminent death, I find myself worried about how exactly I will be paying August's rent. If this is anything worse than poison then I have resolved to let Butters live the rest of his days at home and as comfortably as possible, but without further medical procedures.

Oh, and aside all the drama and anxiety, I learned something from the NYC vet specialists: Butters is a Tonkinese. After five years of having everyone tell me that he looks a little off, perhaps like he has fetal alcohol syndrome, or maybe Down's (but kitty versions), I finally learn he is not a tabby, he is a special breed mix from the Indochina region that is characterized by very long legs, a triangular shaped head and wide-set eyes. Now, when someone comments on his appearance ("Oh he looks a little like an alien", "I think he looks like a praying mantis") I will swiftly and proudly reply, "He is a Tonkinese, and the best Tonkinese in the whole world at that."

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Mom would love you calling her aging - tell me she doesn't have this link...