January 28, 2015

This and That

I am long overdue in offering my profound gratitude to those who made donations in response to my post about my wonderful Cyrano. I'm more grateful than I can say, and I was very touched by many of the personal messages people sent.

And Cyrano is still with us! I'm very sorry I haven't offered an update about his condition before today, but I found it very difficult to write about him. I love him so, so much. And, although I know it sounds completely stupid, part of me was afraid I'd jinx things in some way if I wrote to say that Cyrano was better. He didn't get a lot better, but he did seem to gain some strength in the few weeks following my earlier post. I got some medicine to help him with intestinal problems, which was the only symptom that had been readily apparent. I skipped the several hundred dollars on a battery of tests (I was already spending close to the limit I could manage), partly because I most likely couldn't have afforded the expense of ongoing treatment (and still can't) -- and also because I might well have decided to skip treatment for cancer (as just one possibility) even if I could afford it. I don't see the point in subjecting an almost 16-1/2 year old cat to unpleasant treatment (and perhaps very unpleasant treatment), only to possibly gain a few more months.

Without the benefit (if any) of test results, the vet said that Cyrano is probably suffering the usual symptoms of old age -- failing kidneys and so on. Weight loss is very common for old cats, of course. It tears my heart apart when I pet Cyrano now: he used to be a big boy, not fat, but very good-sized and strongly built, and these days he's a much too skinny, bony guy. He still manages to get around well, but I think that will begin to go soon. Oh, God. See, these are the kinds of things I can't bear to write about.

But Cyrano was somewhat better for several weeks. Now he seems to be fading again, not eating very well and so on. As I've now done with several cats in this last stage, I offer Cyrano a veritable banquet of foods -- lots of different varieties and kinds, hoping to find something he will chow down. And for those several weeks, it worked. It's not working so well now. Later today, I'll order some chicken from a delivery place. He loves that chicken. I hope he'll eat a big plateful, as he has in the past when I've ordered from them.

I still found it too difficult to write about Cyrano a few weeks ago -- but I finally felt that I could write a few essays. I hadn't written anything substantive in quite a while, so I was full of doubt (more than is usually the case) about whether I could write at all. It seems I still can, which is an enormous relief. (You may think that sounds crazy, too -- but honestly, sometimes I glance at older pieces, particularly ones where I felt I did a decent or better job, and I wonder: How in the world did I write that? Did I actually write that? Was I in some kind of trance? I realize such feelings are fairly common among writers, but it still can feel awfully weird. And sometimes when I'm writing, and often particularly when it's going well, I do actually feel that I'm in a sort of trance. I could explain much more about all that, and maybe I will someday, although I'm not sure how many people would find it all that interesting.)

So we're all still here. Sasha has been a darling through all this, and she and Cyrano both spend much of the night with me in bed. They both like to sleep right next to my face, but Sasha gracefully cedes that place to Cyrano when he comes to claim it. So Sasha moves down and sleeps against my belly. It's truly blissful when we're all curled up together.

Unpleasant usual announcement: thanks to the generosity of some regular donors, I have just enough to pay next month's rent. But I have no more than that -- nothing for other regular monthly bills, and nothing for food, including food for the cats. (And as you may have gathered,the cat food bill is far higher than usual at the moment.) So if anyone can manage a donation of any size, it wold be most gratefully received, as our little band slowly continues its journey.

I'm working on some new essays and hope to complete a few of them very soon. So more new pieces should be published in the near future.

Many, many thanks again to all of you. And additional thanks to those who sent such lovely messages. I read some of them to Cyrano, and told him that it's not just Sasha and I who love him so much. Lots of people love and care about him. He tried to act nonchalant about it all, but he didn't fool me. He was very moved, too. He's a real softie.

Ta for the moment.

P.S. Oh, I wanted to mention a TV show I watched recently, primarily because of a funny coincidence. About a month ago, I read an article about "Black Mirror," a British futuristic, sci-fi-y kind of show that's available on Netflix. I watched the first two episodes of the first season (there are four additional episodes I haven't seen yet). The first one is deeply bizarre and very watchable, and also quite disturbing. (With a nice twist at the end with regard to the perpetrator of the deed that is the core of the story.)

The second episode -- "Fifteen Million Merits" -- is very interesting, for reasons I won't explain (don't want to spoil it), except to say that immediately after it was over, I thought: "Hehe, it's 'The Glenn Greenwald Story'!" I must add, however, that the actual Greenwald is not (and never was, in my not at all humble opinion) anywhere close to as genuine and admirable as the protagonist in that episode. But Greenwald does share the protagonist's ability to pursue dull, boring, plodding, repetitive work day after day after day. You'll have to watch it to see what I mean.

The coincidence: just a few days after I'd watched "Fifteen Million Merits," I saw it mentioned in a tweet from Sassy. From the comment he offered, it seemed he may have had the same thought I did, or a very similar one. The show is well-done, not exceptional, but good and interesting, so you may want to give it a look.