I've Moved!

My new blog is called Reflections from a Global Nomad, in order to acknowledge that we no longer live in Maadi and that we are, in fact, global nomads, not staying in one place longer than two or three years. Please join me at http://DeborahReflections.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rough Days

It has been a couple of rough days. We had the kittens spayed yesterday. So on Sunday night, we had to take away their food and water. Sunday night I didn't sleep well; I couldn't stop thinking about (1) how I was going to get the kittens safely and comfortably to and from the vet, since Jeff had to work, and (2) if things would go well, since I really have no idea about the standards here for cleanliness, etc., for animal surgeries. So I was exhausted--and therefore a bit more emotional than usual--all day.

It turned out to be easier than anticipated to get a taxi and make the driver understand what I wanted him to do. Even though the driver didn't speak English, I've learned enough Arabic that I was able to make him understand that I wanted him to take me to Maadi Degla, then wait for me for 5 or 10 minutes, then bring me back to where he'd picked me up. My grammar wasn't quite right, but he understood me, and he agreed. So I dropped the kittens off at the vet around 11AM and then came home.

I spent the day trying not to worry. For some reason, I think of Cleo as fragile (probably because she's skinnier and more loving than Isis), so I was particularly concerned about how she'd do with the surgery. I've always been a worrier, and I know that betrays a lack of trust in God and therefore is a sin, so I try really hard not to worry. So I tried to distract myself with a mountain of ironing. When our HHE arrived, I washed all the clothes that had been in boxes for 10 weeks, which meant that I had piles of ironing to do. (I still have piles of ironing, but smaller piles than before.) Then I boiled some chicken to tempt the kittens' appetite. The vet had told me that although they probably wouldn't eat anything, it would be okay to offer them food and water when they came home.

I was able to get a taxi to take me back to the vet to pick up the kittens. I think this driver spoke English, but he humored me and let me tell him what I needed in Arabic. He repeated some words in English to make sure he understood, but I really appreciated that he let me practice.

The kittens were moving in their case when I got to the vet. Cleo was standing, but she was very wobbly, and I'm thinking she shouldn't have been trying to stand at all. Isis was wobbling while lying down, if that's possible. But their eyes were open--although there was no indication that they knew who I was, where they were, or what was going on around them. The vet assured me that the surgeries had gone well and that their behaviors were normal for cats coming out from under the anesthesia. I asked about medicine for them, and he grimaced. He remembered all too well how we brought them to him to give him their worm medication because we couldn't get them to accept it, and that he himself could only get about half of it down them. He asked if I could bring them in for daily shots for a while instead. I agreed, thankful that I wouldn't have to try to force medicine down their throats.

On the way home, one of the kittens started crying. I assumed it was Isis, who always vocalizes during car rides. But when we got home, Isis was asleep. I opened the carrier, and Cleo stumbled out. She was trying to walk, but she couldn't even stand up all the way. She was doing this combination of crawling and dragging herself. She kept falling onto her side. She wanted to get away from Isis (as the vet had said they should, so their wobbling didn't disturb each other and so they didn't mess with each other's stitches), but she was looking for a dark, enclosed space. She kept bumping her head trying to crawl under the buffet. So I took the one remaining box from our HHE, dumped all the contents on the floor, put a towel in there, and let her hide there for a while. She still wasn't content, though. I think it wasn't dark enough. So I set up two separate areas in the hall storage room, one for each kitten. That's where they spent the night.

Isis pretty well slept until at least 8:30. Cleo, though . . . it was heartbreaking. She sat there and cried all evening. I'm not sure if it was because of pain, fear, confusion, or some combination of all three. I petted her when she'd let me, but I couldn't hold her because the vet had said not to, due to the stitches. She wouldn't eat or drink. She'd try to get out of her enclosure, then retreat to a back corner where I couldn't reach her, crying all the while. It was even more heartbreaking because Cleo never cries or vocalizes as a signal for fear or pain (unless it's acute, i.e., we step on her). I sat there and petted her with one hand while wiping my own tears with the other.

But all things pass, and they both were much better this morning. Cleo ate and drank some, although Isis didn't. The vet had said they could be let out this morning, so we set up their favorite basket in their favorite sun-drenched section of floor and created some steps up to the couch, since they can't jump that high right now. We both had to go into the embassy today, but we left them as comfortable as possible, with food and drink available. When I got home late this morning, Isis was asleep in the basket and Cleo was asleep on the couch. Both have eaten some chicken and drunk some water since I've been home. Now they're both asleep again in their favorite spots. I still won't pick them up for fear of hurting them, but whenever they want to crawl onto my lap, they're welcome. I'm hoping I'll be able to get them into their carrier for the trip to the vet this afternoon without having to pick them up. Sometimes they'll go in on their own.

So for those of you who've been asking about the kittens: They're not great right now, but they're getting better.

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