Miles – our cat – almost died last weekend. He had an asthma attack last Saturday night, and we rushed him to an emergency vet at about midnight. He was put on oxygen, had x-rays taken, and within 30 minutes was diagnosed with feline asthma, which none of the vets he’s seen since his breathing problems started a few years ago even mentioned checking for. A few days later, we took him back to the vet because he had lost interest in all kinds of food. Didn’t matter what I presented to him, he wanted nothing to do with it. Another $180 (on top of the $2100 we paid to hospitalize him) and some new medications later we came home hoping he would start eating, so he wouldn’t have to be hospitalized again.
He did start eating, and we seem to be on the better side of this.
I went to yoga class after work tonight. I don’t typically put a lot of thought into the “dharma” or themes some teachers present at the beginning of class because I feel it sometimes creates an unnecessary pressure to feel or focus on a particular thing. The teacher tonight was talking about how she was in a situation with friends that is familiar, but she found herself feeling and needing something different. She related that to yoga in that we know the poses, but the experience and feelings that arise are often different.
When she queued Warrior II, I felt an incredible weight. My arms could not stay up. I mean, my arms are often tired in this pose. By the time Warrior II comes around, we’ve been supporting our weight in Planks and Downward Facing Dog poses, and we’ve reached up to the sky in Chair or Crescent poses.
It was more than tired arms tonight. It was like I was holding something very heavy or someone was pushing my arms down, and I was trying like hell to keep them up.
I started thinking about the last week and how difficult and exhausting it’s been.
(If you’re one of those people who scoffs at someone missing work due to the death of a pet or questions why people spend money to heal their pets rather than euthanizing them or surrendering them to a shelter only to then get a new, young, and healthy pet, as if your pet is just property you own for strictly for your enjoyment that does you no good when it’s “broken,” stop reading now, you sociopath. Actually, you probably should have stopped reading in the first paragraph. Why are you still here?)
I felt the weight of the vet bill I had not planned for and the cost of his ongoing care. I felt the weight of likely having to give him medication daily for the rest of his life, and trusting Harrison with it when I’m not home. And what about when we travel? I worried about finding a new regular vet for him and Billie, his sister, because how could I go back to the vet who never considered this problem? I thought about the possibility that he could have died, and he would not be tucked under my left arm with his head on my chest as I type this. I felt the weight of trying to make sure Billie gets equal love and attention that is not in the form of treats because… uh… she fat. I guess that is also a less metaphorical weight. I felt the exhaustion of the sleepless nights when I was getting up to check on him or try to get him to eat.
Fine, they’re cats. Just pets. Disposable for some. (Again, why are you people still here?We will never be friends.) My cats, or any other pets later to come, are likely the closest thing I will have to kids. By choice. Don’t pity me or ask me why. It’s 2019, people. I love them… more than most humans in my life.
I guess this was all a very roundabout way of saying that loving something carries a weight that manifests at unusual times like in a yoga class. Somedays you feel strong and are able steadily carry all of the weight worry of things you hold dear or maybe someone is helping carry the weight, and other days, you feel crushed by the weight, alone. I’m a sucker for certainty with a tendency toward laziness. This shit is hard. But in this case especially, it’s worth it.