Yesterday I came home from work to find this adorable bundle of fur unable to breathe. She couldn’t purr or meow either, and could barely move. When I called her vet and was told that they had no openings, I rushed her to the emergency animal hospital, only to be told that she had little hope.

They told me that she was high risk to enter into cardiac arrest and that she needed immediate treatment, but I couldn’t afford it seeing as how I had JUST lost my credit card on Friday. Since all of my money is either tied up in my IRA or immediately taken out of my check to pay outstanding healthcare bills, of which there are many, I was running out of options. I couldn’t even afford to get xrays.

A worker there helped me apply for a CareCredit card, which I would have never applied for on my own seeing as how I don’t want another card, and I was so worried that I wouldn’t get approved because my credit is only “okay” since I fell behind on doctor’s bills. I thought, ‘Oh God, Oh God, I can’t do this, I’m going to have to let her die and I can’t do this right now…’ while waiting to see if I was approved, and for some incredible reason, I was.

After taking the x-rays we found that there was fluid in her lungs and she needed immediate surgery. They warned me it might not be worth it. They said she could die in the oxygen chamber. They said she could die being transferred to the anesthesia chamber from the oxygen chamber. They said she could die in surgery. They said she could die after surgery. They said if it was caused by a certain type of virus, even after removing the fluid, it would come back and everything would happen again.

I thought for a minute about all this, but ultimately I made the decision that they should do whatever they could that might save her. I know fiscally this was not the best choice, but I couldn’t ignore just how much she means to me.

Over the past 11+ years this cat has always been there for me. I live a life of constant pain, and she has always tried to help purr it away. It sounds stupid but, every time I lay twisted in my bed, unable to move because of the splitting migraines, the uncontrollable back spasms, menstrual cramps, chest pains, etc, she has jumped up to lie next to wherever I was hurting and curled up close. I remember after hitting that guardrail going 95+ mph and having my concussion, the next day vomiting continuously from the morphine they had given me at the hospital, she was there, comforting me.

Maybe our connection with animals is trivial compared to the ones we have with humans, but it didn’t feel that way to me when I was thinking that the pain would stop if I ended everything, and maybe I should, but then where would Artemis be? Sure she’d adjust, she’s a cat, but she’s MY cat, and I made the choice to attempt responsible pet ownership. She’s certainly not the only reason that I changed my frame of mind on my life, but she helped.

After giving the go-ahead for the procedure all I could do was wait. I sat in the waiting area for almost five hours in total, my head in my hands, crying until my nose bled and thinking, “This CAN’T be right. I KNOW she’s supposed to live longer than this. I know I’ve had visions of her with my child.” I wondered if they were just dreams, delusions of someone who never gets a proper sleep and thinks too much of what she wants for the future.

The only thing I was eventually able to do was turn on my kindle and read Psalms until I actually achieved a sense of acceptance and calmed down. I cried until I fell asleep in the chair, and thought that maybe it was all over, until a vet tech came out and astonishingly told me she was alright. Overall they removed over 200ml of fluid from her lungs. To put this in perspective, that’s a cup of liquid, and Artie is the runt of the litter – only 6 pounds at her heaviest.

I’m not so stupid as to think that this successful procedure is a happy ending to her story. The fluid buildup could be from a tumour, which means she’d have to have another surgery. It could be from a virus, meaning there is no treatment. One day she will leave me and I will have to deal with that. I’m also more in debt now that I dropped over a grand on treating her. (I guess that’s where my tax refund is going.) However, there is hope that she only has a bacterial infection, meaning that after she’s done getting antibiotics she should be alright. We won’t know until the test results come through.

Obviously the greatest part of this is being afforded more time with her, even if it is short. Monetarily, there is a benefit to having the CareCredit card as I can also use it for my own healthcare, meaning that I can finally afford one of my needed surgeries. I can’t help thinking that this whole thing is a sign that not only do I need to take better care of things, but also that I may have the ability to take care of my own health needs… Maybe that’s selfish; I don’t know.

Ultimately the entire thing only reaffirms my unyielding faith. I don’t see a justification for me being approved for that credit card, with a higher limit than my other one, with the debts I have. It was incredibly unlikely that she was going to live at all. Yet both happened after I prayed and prayed and prayed. And I’m not going to stop, because she still needs this to be bacterial and I still need to work my tail off to pay off healthcare bills… But it’s easier knowing that I’ll be listened to. God is good, you guys. God is good. (And so is the staff at the Montgomery Emergency Animal Clinic!)

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise the more and more. Psalm 71:14

This was originally written on April 6, 2017.
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