The Other Side Of The Door

I’m sitting here on my living room couch, headache chipping away at my last few brain cells, gums throbbing, listening to Murphy’s plaintive and oh-so-repetitive mews echo out from the other side of the hall door. Somewhere in the dark under the couch, nestled in dust bunnies the size of her head, sits Isabel. The only reason I know she’s still alive is the thumping of her hind foot every few minutes. She’s trying to get the bandage off. She’s probably chewing at it right now, but every time I move the damn couch she just moves with it, and now that I’m covered in dust, cat hair, and pieces of whatever weird candy The Man was eating last weekend, I’ve given up.

At least she’s not in any pain, and even if she were, the vet gave me several expensive syringes of pain medication to jack her up on for the next two days. It’s the least I can do in exchange for ripping out her toenail. Argh.

Where to begin with this silly story? The blue sheets that I just HAD to buy at Wal-Mart yesterday might be a good starting point. I’ve had a very rough week. My stomach’s been acting up, my job has been tearing me down, and I still can’t swim, after 12 expensive lessons. So I went to Wal-Mart to look for something I’ve already forgotten, and while I was there I saw this lovely set of peacock blue sheets that I felt compelled to purchase. When I got home, I washed and dried them, but didn’t get around to putting them on the bed until The Man got in for the evening. That’s when the accident happened.

The sheets were on, and then came the blanket. Usually Isabel loves getting between the covers, but yesterday I was in a poor mood, and couldn’t stand to see the wrinkles. When she jumped up on the bed, I picked her up to put her on the floor. Just as I was bending down, The Man flapped the blanket. Izzy’s very jumpy always, and this time when she jumped she gouged a very deep hole in the palm of my hand. I freaked out and rushed to the bathroom to clean and disinfect. It was only after getting the bandage on that I realized Isabel was still hiding under the bed, almost five minutes later.

At first I didn’t realize that she was injured. She was a little scared still, but came out from under the bed to let me scratch her chin, then let me pick her up to take her into the bathroom and clip her claws. When we got there and she was sitting on my lap, I realized that I was covered in bloody splotches. Luckily she’s a very calm little lady, and a quick check of her paws showed me that her back right paw was down a toenail, and bleeding pretty steadily. Off to the vet we went.

Sure enough, her entire toenail had been ripped out in the process of gouging my hand, leaving just a little snippet of nail as well as the exposed cuticle. Last night I cried when they told me she’d need an overnight stay to be put under and have a short operation. They removed the last little bit of nail, sewed up a spot that had torn open, then put her in a silly green hard bandage that she is determined to remove at all costs. She was wearing an awful Elizabethean collar from the time I picked her up this morning until about an hour ago, but as it wasn’t helping to keep her away from the foot (she’s a little yogini) I took it off.

The worse part of the story is that last night, all alone, Murphy cried for his sister. He was miserable all morning long. Then Isabel came home, and for a few minutes he was elated – until he got a good whiff of the vet’s, at which point he went ballistic and tried to attack her. Since Murphy is twice Isabel’s size, he could do serious damage, so I’ve had him sealed off on the other side of the house. I gave them both baths with kitty wipes, rubbed Isabel down in my t-shirt to make her smell more like home, and have tried reintroducing Murphy several times, but each time he gets more violent.

I think he’s also frightened of the ruff, so perhaps next time it won’t be so bad. I’ve also given him a mouthful of this calming gel I feed him while traveling, so hopefully he’ll calm the hell down and stop trying to murder Izzy. The one good thing is that she’s so tonked on pain meds that she really didn’t notice him being angry until he managed to get close enough to bop her, and even then she calmed down pretty quickly and went back to purring and kneading the couch.

Now she’s moved on to the depths of under-couch, thwapping her cast against the floor, thinking whatever it is that drugged up cats think when they’re being stalked by former loved ones. I’m down $150 (but so thankful that the problem was simple, and the vets at Southern Animal Foundation are so compassionate and skillful). Murphy’s scaled up his efforts to escape to the outer realm, and is now not only yodeling but also scratching at the door. Oh, the many joys of having cats for roommates. The landlord has to love us!

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