Operation Oysterhood: 10-14 July

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

On Saturday, Salieri was admitted to a 24h veterinary clinic, with her liver barely functioning – it turned out that she had a horribly adverse, very rare, reaction to her thyroid medication. She responded to the drip treatment, but very soon after admission refused to be force-fed (essential part of recovery). The vets and nursing staff of the clinic phoned me to ask for permission to feed her by tube (an additional invasive procedure that would have caused her even more distress – at that point, she hadn’t spent more than a few hours outside of her home during the last twelve years). Before they proceeded, they very kindly allowed me to attempt feeding her myself. Fortunately, she let me, and until Tuesday lunchtime I went in every few hours and fed her with a syringe. The clinic gave me a permit to travel after curfew. They wrapped my polar bear suit around Salieri while she was in her cage to make her feel a little bit safer. They allowed me to spend time with her and love her. They were all kind and accommodating, doing whatever was possible to treat and save her. And although they were all strangers, they comforted me like friends (I was mostly in tears, not being able to contain my feelings of utter helplessness and despair any longer).

Getting into Topolino on Tuesday morning, I was weeping once again after the morning feed when I saw the most beautiful rainbow above the clinic. I made a wish.

At lunchtime, the clinic released Salieri into my care. She ate on her own within two hours of coming home. I wept uncontrollably with pure relief. She lost more weight, she is limping a little bit because her paw is sore from the drip, she has a few shaved patches on her body (scans, blood tests, drip), her nose and gums are only gradually turning pink again (jaundice receding), she manages the litter box, but sometimes is still too nauseous to eat on her own and I feed her a special formula. She takes her liver medication. She sleeps most of the time, but her feistiness is returning. From the moment she got home, she started rubbing against my legs and purring her little heart out. We spend a lot of time together, recuperating together.

Ahead of us is a very difficult decision. Because she cannot take the medication to control her hyperactive thyroid, she will have to be operated on it, but in her present condition, it is not recommended. We have to find a path forward that will allow her to return to health and regain a good quality of life. What that path will look like, I do not know yet, but I will try to navigate it as well as I possibly can.

In moments of despair in the past, Salieri used to settle on my back while I wept on my bed, and she purred until I stopped crying. I want to be there for her the way she has always been there for me. She is my family.

My love and my family and friends have been supporting me in all possible ways. I cannot afford to pay Salieri’s bills, but I did not even have to ask – my love made sure there was enough money in my account to settle the impossible amounts. ‘She is my family, too,’ he said.

The past few weeks have been too much. I am a complete mess. On Monday, I phoned a counsellor and asked for help. I saw her on Wednesday for the first time. She was pure kindness and I feel safer now. Fortunately, there are savings in my own medical aid account.

I am on leave until the end of the month.

Salieri is home.

The counsellor asked me to do something special for myself every day. I picked up my crochet needle for the first time in a long while yesterday.

And the world around us has ignited and continues burning, lives and livelihoods lie in ruins. I am taking it in, but I am too numb with personal pain to process any of it in any meaningful way.

I registered for a Covid-19 vaccine last night. The feeling of relief is overwhelming, but I cannot help thinking about all the people my age for whom the possibility of a vaccine came too late.

The Springboks won last night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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