Years and years ago, I remember watching a documentary about pets. I think it was about pets. The only part I remember was footage of this big, middle-aged man chasing a tiny white poodle around a nice apartment. He finally snared her and placed her, dejected, onto the counter while the voiceover said something like "John goes through this routine with Fifi every day. Fifi is diabetic. John must inject her with insulin twice a day or she will DIE! Fifi hates it.
And I said to my nineteen-year-old self: "That's ridiculous. Why doesn't he just have Fifi put down out of both of their miseries and get himself a healthy dog?" And then I justified this further to myself by thinking of all the healthy dogs out there who needed homes and all the sick children who probably needed insulin. Insulin which poor Fifi was trying not to take from them by bolting at the sight of a syringe. But Bad John was selfish and cruel. Bad, bad John.
Sometimes, I think documentaries were just put on our tellys so that the Universe can come back and laugh at us 20-odd years later.
George, my cat is diabetic. His condition was managed well on special food for awhile, but he began to show some worrying signs. I took him to the vet last week, and sure enough, the special food isn't cutting it anymore. George needs insulin.
(Yes. He used to let Grace wheel him around the house in a doll's stroller. Then he got too big for it.)
John has been chasing Fifi rather constantly in my mind's eye since last week. I have been hearing my nineteen-year-old self in my brain too. And I don't completely disagree with her. But she wasn't in my position then. Back then, it was all simple and theoretical. Now it... Well, now it ...isn't.
First off, I mispoke when I said George is my cat. Cats aren't really owned by anyone, except for purposes of fiscal responsibility. Cats are more like little boats who can sail where they will, but they generally choose a certain person and moor themselves to them.
George moored himself to my son Joe. Joe, who -on a molecular level- does not subscribe to bonds of affection, went and moored himself right back. They are bonded. George waits for Joe to come home from school and hangs with him while he does his homework. George keeps Joe company playing videogames. If I allowed it, George would sleep in Joe's room. Joe seeks George out when he is happy. Joe seeks George out when he is sad. However, Joe kicks George out of the room when he is angry, because he doesn't want George to accidently get hurt in the rampage.
So I thought I knew what I would do if presented with a diabetic pet. And maybe if circumstances were a bit different, I woudl do it. However, at nineteen; I had not factored an Aspie child into the equation (who does?). And so I came home the other day with a bottle of insulin, a box of syringes and an unhappy cat, who had been practiced on with saline.
And now I inject George with insulin twice per day. Sorry, George (although he doesn't seem to mind). Sorry, poor children who need insulin. You can't have this one. Sorry, healthy cat in the shelter. We won't be needing you now.
And sorry to John and Fifi. I thought I knew what I would do in your position, but I thought it in a judgy way, hadn't thought it through and hadn't factored in ...many things.
I know better now.