Auto-immune hemolytic anemia. Knowing what it is doesn't make it much better, other than we know what's going on. We brought him into the emergency vet and they tested his blood. Then they said they weren't certain how he was still functioning. A cat's red blood cell count is supposed to be up around 40, from what they said, and his count was at 9 percent. They also said if a cat dropped that far from blood loss, they'd already be gone. So this has happened over time, all the time he acted like himself his body was actually attacking his bone marrow.
We knew something like this could happen, but it still hits like being kicked in the stomach. I wanted to write this while Grunty is still here, instead of after he's gone. Because in a way I think if even a stranger read this now, they could remember him too while he's still alive.
The good thing, the best thing, is that he isn't in pain. Pain robs of joy, and if there's one thing Rothko still has it's his own sense of fun. He's using the fact that we're being lax on rules because of his condition to be a kitten all over again, getting everywhere he's not supposed to be.
Andy came home the other day and couldn't find Rothko anywhere. He searched for fifteen minutes. Everywhere. And then the sound of purring came from the inside of the kitchen cupboards, where Grunty had fallen asleep on our paper bag pile. He cuddles with us more, sleeps by our pillows or, like last night, balanced precariously on top of Andy. He spends his time in his box on the shelf in the closet, or by the front door, trying to get out of the apartment when our hands are full, something he'd never been interested in before. He is just as much of a troublemaker as ever, and has us well-trained. At least he's stopped eating his litter, now that we've switched litters. Except now he must be carried to the box to use it, otherwise he stores it up like a camel. Just tonight we came home and he was perched on top of the stove, laying on one of the coil burners like it was a completely natural thing to do.
For being anemic, for being sick, he doesn't act ill. He seems tired, understandably, but he still looooves food, especially since we've switched over to wet food which is like the best thing on the planet. How much he loves this wet food is proportionate to how disgusting it smells, by the way.
No one knows how long it'll be before he's gone. The vets were amazed he's made it this far. But that's sort of how life is anyway. We never know when we're going to go, we don't know how or why or when or where. That's just sort of life. And even if you know it'll happen eventually, it doesn't make it any less shocking. At least, it was shocking at first. I'm still sad, and I'll cry over him a lot, and already have. But it could be days or weeks or months, and really Grunty doesn't want to be coddled constantly.
So the hardest part isn't waiting, it's acting like you're not. Even though I knew he had this virus, and the implications on his life span, I wasn't waiting before. Now I'm waiting and expecting an outcome, and it's easy to lose yourself to expectations, to lose hope and forget.
All you can do is love, and give it unconditionally, with open arms and no expectations and no waiting, and just let it be. Let it be.
Love you, Grunty.