our dreams

Lake District by train, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.
We returned home last night after an absolutely wearying day of travel. It was a day where we where often singled out of for "extra " security checks, where we stood in lines for hours at each transfer point, where the ridiculousness of it all nearly pushed me over the edge a few times. All in all, a good sign that it was time to be home and to return to some semblance of our own daily rhythm.

Waking up this morning in my own bed and the exact time (even w/o an alarm clock) that I usually do each morning...just felt so right! Irvine's humidity is so delicious. the familiar birds chirping outside are my birds," and so forth.


We came home to something so important I'm not even sure that I can write about it cogently (and if this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, you can chalk it up to jetlagged delusion). Two weeks ago, just as we were preparing to leave on our trip, our beloved kitty TobyJoy had a severe neurological incident. So severe that she needed round the clock care. And as our lives were completely derailed by concern for her, we knew that we were also about to leave the country on this trip to England that was so super-important to my kids--both of whom are Anglophiles, and one whose biggest wild dream is to start boarding school in Wales next year. We were faced with this horrible catch-22 situation. TobyJoy needed to be brought to a quiet controlled environment if there was any chance of her healing, because over-stimulation was causing more seizures of the kind that initially caused her brain damage, but she was in such a state that she could hardly be cared for by anyone other than a family member.  Boarding in her in a kennel simply wasn't a good option. It was super hard for us to see Toby so ill (if you've never met her--it's hard to imagine a cat with a more whimsical quirky character), and we were just aching with seeing her hooked up to tubes and so deeply drugged that she wasn't aware of her surroundings. We wondered if it woudn't be more humane to put her to sleep than to continue her medical trauma (and at that point it wasn't even clear that she would ever eat or drink on her own again).

So..as all of these ideas were on the table and I was trying to make decisions, a dear friend who is studying neurology, whose research is specifically on small mammals, stepped in and offered to care for Toby so we could go to England.

She (along with her partner and some other friends), developed a round-the-clock schedule for caring for Toby once she was released from the ER. She ferried Toby to vet appointments, cleaned up after numerous toileting problems, prepared a specialized diet, and administered a dizzying amount of meds every day. All while we were traipsing the British countryside. Our friend wrote daily updates, sent videos, and worked with our vet to troubleshoot problems.

When we came home last night and met Toby, we found a kitty that's still suffering from occasional seizures, but recognized Catgirl, held her tail high as she explored, vocalized pleasure at being around our family again, and now remembers how to use the litterbox. In short, she seems happy. Certainly a bit different than before, but happy.

As I tried (and failed) to express to our friend just how much it meant to us to have her care for Toby, she simply replied, "Your family had this summer planned where you were all out pursuing your dreams...I wanted you to be able to do that..."

Anything I try to write now, can't even touch the goodness of that gift.


catbonny said...

I am so glad you found her happy- and that she recognized Catgirl and that she spoke to you guys. How exciting.

jana said...


She has gotten much better than she was even a few days ago. Last night was was rubbing hard against Catgirl, "chatting" and exploring with her tail up in the air--a HUGE change from when we last saw her, and probably a big change from when you last saw her, too. Apparently the pheno takes about 2 weeks for the body to adjust to it. Toby's about 10 days into that 2 weeks now, so we can expect that her behavior might even more "normal."

EmilyCC said...

What a happy story and a lovely/loving gift to your family.

G said...

so very very happy this has all turned so well. and continued well wishes for toby's health. (you guys have amazing friends)

Erin G said...

What a lovely entry! What a lovely friend!

Caroline said...

I know that awful feeling of watching a beloved pet so sick. I'm so glad your friend could do that for you.