Saturday, January 04, 2020

So, Here We Are In 2020

It's a very science-fictional sounding year, but haven't they all been, for the last couple of decades? At least for us relics of the 20th century, anyway.

So. I'm still here, obviously. At least right now. I'm dropping the "currently" format, though, I think. It's served me well over the years as a prod to keep me posting at least something, and to open up a topic or two for discussion. But it's all feeling very old and creaky now. I may just check in here once in a while with whatever I have to say about how life's been going. Or I may not.

As for how life's been going right now, well, 2019, a year of considerable ups and downs, ended on a sad note for me. I lost my cat, Vir, right before New Year's. He was 14, and, honestly, I'm not sure I ever expected him to live this long. He's had health problems all his life. His diabetes, at least, was nicely under control, but then he started showing signs of kidney problems, and went downhill very rapidly. A couple of months ago, it was "Hmm, the blood test results are slightly worrying." A few weeks ago, his appetite started to diminish and he seemed slightly under the weather, and the blood test results were worse, so they gave me some medicine for him and told me to come back an have him rechecked in a month. A week later, he'd stopped eating almost entirely and looked very tired. They took him in and treated him with fluids -- a three-day process to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease, including the nausea that must have been keeping him from eating -- and reported after day two that he seemed to be doing a lot better and had cleaned his food dish, and I should be able to take him home the next day. Except the next day, they came in, and he was gone.

To be honest, while it came as a shock how quickly it all happened, it was also a very real relief. I was bracing myself to deal with a long, slow decline that would have been kind of awful for both of us, and for having to make a horrible decision for him at some point, and I'm glad we were spared that. And, I won't lie, on a practical level my life just got a lot easier. Keeping him on the feeding and medication schedule he needed was extremely hard on me, what with my shifting work hours. Not to mention all those vet visits.

But it's very strange, not having him around. This is the first time in over twenty years that I haven't had a cat in the house, and it's astonishing how much emptier the place feels. And it's going to take a while before I'm able to come home from work and not, for a moment, expect there to be an animal greeting me on the other side of the door.

So, yeah. It's sad. Not least because I knew him literally from the day he was born. I saw his entire life span play out in front of me, and thinking about that sort of thing can really make one feel the concept of mortality in one's bones.

One request, after all of this: Please, please, please do not attempt to engage me in a conversation about whether or not I should get another cat and whether I'm in the right mental place to make decisions about it. I have had this conversation enough in the last week that it's starting to make me angry, especially what seems like the constant parade of genuinely well-meaning people who seem determined to believe that I don't know my own mind on the subject. Thanks.

Ahem. Right, well, other than that unhappy news? I don't have much. So I'll just leave you with my traditional link to the list of books I read in 2019. Which is fewer than I would have liked, honestly, but I'm looking forward to more in 2020.

May you all have a bright, warm New Year, one that you will look back on when it's over and smile. I think we all deserve that at this point.