As is generally the case in the Fyfe household, we weren’t in the market for a new pet.
We weren’t saying, “Hey, we haven’t adopted a new cat in ages” or, “You know, we need more cats in the house”, and we weren’t looking around online or in the newspaper.
I was merely at work at Clark Fork Veterinary last Monday and heard some buzz about some Good Samaritans. It was getting towards the end of the day and I knew I had snowy roads to drive in the dark so I wasn’t really listening. I didn’t even know if they were discussing a dog, a cat, a pig or a goat. Just some people found some animal off the Interstate and they brought it to us.
And then I walked past the cat kennel room making sure to say something cheeky to the spicy clinic cat, Tabasco.
That’s when someone else caught my eye.
Sitting in the crate above Tabasco was a seal-point Siamese kitty doing her best to get my attention with her mewing. She looked so much like Sport, the feline extension of my own body for the last 20 years that I had to take a step back.
And then I stepped forward and reached in to pick her up.
What the???? (Monday, seconds after seeing her)
I put 2 and 2 together and snapped a picture to text to my husband while trying to pay more attention to the discussion going on in the treatment room.
The kitty needed her right eye removed and that would cost a few hundred dollars. Some of our staff rent or they live with their folks or they have big dogs so not everyone can bring home a one-eyed waif. Many of our staff have young kids at home, too, so a few hundred bucks just days before Christmas wasn’t in the cards.
I pretty much announced right then that kitty would probably become a Fyfe (Alistair texted a few minutes later and added his own seal of approval.)
The next day, despite it being really busy, our surgical team led by Dr.Betsy got kitty prepped and ready for surgery (enucleate this!!!!) At one point we thought Dr.Chelsea would be doing the honors, then her clients showed up so then it was back on Dr.Betsy’s books. I had done the pre-surgical exam with my technician, Jessi first thing that morning.
Kitty was very active that morning. Crawling all over us, the exam room, the counters… she climbed up onto my shoulders and thrust herself off my chest towards Jessi who, thankfully, has quick reflexes. She nested in Jessi’s hair, she tried to leap up onto the counters from the floor, she wriggled and wrestled me and my stethoscope and was just a general psycho.
Her right eye was icky. Yeah, that’s a medical term.
It smelled, too and I’m sure it was a source of pain. We aren’t sure what happened to the eye because she was found in the snow next to the Interstate. The smell and the drainage told us the injury wasn’t brand new but its anyone’s guess as to what led to the damage. Thankfully, the rest of her check-up was unremarkable (once we got her to stop the loud purring so I could actually hear her heart.)
And, just like that, the eye is out.
And I drove through the snowy night later than normal to bring her to her new world at the Fyfe Farm.
And Alistair got to bond with the cutie patootie under the Christmas tree.
Alistair, himself, is still not 100% post Covid. Its mostly just stamina-issues he faces but he did get to come back to Montana post-quarantine for a week.
And he got to help a little kitty get a new lease on life, albeit with one eye.
Interestingly, since she’s been home, she hasn’t been psycho anymore. I’m wondering if she was just in that much pain that it made her agitated and crazy.
Or, maybe she somehow appreciates already that she’s found herself a couple of Siamese-loving suckers who don’t really have a lot of rules at their house.
Other than my main one: donate your reproductive organs at the door and get along.
She is also battling a lovely upper respiratory infection right now, likely brought on from stress, surgery, stress and more stress. While moving into Fyfe Life is great, its still a lot of changes. Good stress is still stress!
The reproductive organ thing will happen soon enough. And the getting along? Jockey and Martini have already slept on either side of my leg through the night. There isn’t any hissing or growling, either, so I think Jockey figures the little cyclops isn’t much of a threat.
We haven’t met the ferrets yet because once we knew Alistair tested positive for Covid we whisked them off to their other home with Joel, Jeanette, Ivan, Fallon and Panzur. I got to visit with them yesterday on Christmas Day and it was an absolute blast.
The Bee Gees will stay there for another couple of weeks while more flooring will be happening around them in early January and we need them breathing clean air through their teensy noses. It just gives Maurice more time to horde socks and intimidate the year-old German Shepard in the house.
If you’ve been following along you’ll know that I am ready to put December in the rear-view mirror. And yet we are wrapping it up with a one-eyed Siamese cat that I like to imagine was sent to us from Spirit of Sporto. One of the toughest days of my life last spring was putting him and Bebe down the same morning and it has taken me a long time to reconcile that, even though it was absolutely necessary.
And I had some tough moments as a veterinarian, a realtor and a wife, not to mention a solo gal on a snowy ranch at the end of a long driveway this month.
And I watched an almost-recovered husband head down the driveway Friday morning to begin the onslaught that is his job on the front lines again today.
He texted me “65” after 3 hours of work today.
That’s the number of patients he had seen already.
And its not sustainable and they are short staffed and the staff who are there are pissy and that’s to be expected and with the holidays most other clinics are closed and they have no windows and he isn’t fully recovered but we also haven’t dealt with how Covid has taken a toll on his mental health the past 6 months and another partner tested positive yesterday but he’s asymptomatic and Omicron is spreading like wildfire and I’m here and he’s there so I can’t force him to eat well and who has the time to eat well when you’re seeing 65 patients in just over 3 hours and your wife gets to live in the mountains with the cute new one-eyed kitten and there honestly is no end in sight and the real estate transaction is still happening but I’m not holding my breath but I’m cool even though I probably have to go and plow more snow when I finish this blog.
I probably won’t blog again until 2022.
That’s kind of neat, actually.
I’m choosing to remain the optimist I always have been (even if it borders on naivete.) I AM in the beautiful mountains with a cute new companion and I’m fortunate enough to have the kick-ass ’96 Ram with the guts and strength to move snow from here to there.
I have friends and family who have had my back through thick and thin when I’ve put myself out there this month.
I’ve shared because I sometimes feel like my life is one big teachable moment but also because its one more coping mechanism I posses.
I use words.
Here’s to Martini Uno Omni iCat Winkle Fyfe and everyone who sent in name suggestions! Here’s to Good Samaritans and to excellent veterinary team members.
Here’s to every like, e-hug, and comment everyone sent me this month.
And here’s to 2022. We got this.