It’s Sunday night, and I’m in my bedroom, getting ready for bed. I look down at my teak wood floor and see Mr. Lucky, laying on the ground.
Odd, since that isn’t his normal behavior.
I scoop him into my arms and place him on the bed. He tucks his little orange and white paws under his body, and lays his head flat against my mattress.
Something isn’t right.
I try to cajole him … but he is listless.
Something is wrong.
Panicked, I call my boss and tell her. She refers me to a 24-hour emergency vet. Then, I call my friend, Ae, and ask her to please take me. It is 11 p.m., but she agrees.
As I am preparing him for his ride, I look into the litter box. Blood. Poop covered in blood.
No. No. No. No. Please. No. Something is very, very wrong.
My little rescue cat, with four lives already gone, is now pooping blood and not really moving. Tears fall from my face and when Ae arrives and we drive to the vet, I can feel the dread beginning to sweep in.
Just hours earlier, I had walked from my house to the gym, about a 45-minute walk. Then, I did 20 more minutes of cardio and a grueling 90-minute yoga session which resulted in my hair being plastered to my face. And now? Now I am bordering on a complete breakdown as I cradle Lucky in my arms and the vet tells me he has distemper.
Hooked up to an IV, I leave him for the night. Feeling hopeless. Helpless. Devastated at the complete turn of events in such a short amount of time.
The next morning, I walk to the clinic, about a 30-minute walk, and go to see him. The doctor reports they gave him a tiny bite of food and he has not pooped or vomited blood since the night before. There’s something not right about this clinic though, so instead, I decide to take him to my normal vet, Dr. Nook.
Once again, Ae comes through and picks me and Lucky up, takes me home to get my other cat to make sure she does not have distemper, and then takes all of us to Dr. Nook’s.
After an examination of Lucky, she runs another test and he doesn’t have distemper, but thinks he has another highly contagious virus. She escorts us out, instructing Ae to take me to Tesco and get bleach and for me to disinfect my house.
I go through the morning in a daze. I barely eat. I clean like I have never cleaned before. At night, I return to the vet and take my other cat home (with a clean bill of health), and then try to eat dinner.
The next day, it is much of the same. I got to the vet two times — the second of which I am informed Lucky now has a fever and his white blood cell, red blood cell, platelets and hemoglobin have all dropped below an acceptable level and he is now being treated for blood parasites — and then dinner.
More daze. Even when I am sitting with Simon (who changed my life on the Adriatic years earlier) and his girlfriend, I can barely eat the pizza I normally love.
While Lucky is sick, I get sick. And, I skip my workouts because I am too sick, and too worried about Lucky and going to the vet every night to get his blood results and hold him. And, right now, all I need to do is eat comfort food.
Because in this moment, food is the only thing I can control.
I don’t think about the gym. I don’t think about my mission to not be the fat girl in Thailand or The Comfort Zone Project. All I think about is how worried I am about Lucky, how sick I am, and what the hell I can eat to make me feel better
I devour a pizza. I dump a bottle of malt vinegar over fish and chips. I inhale a chimichanga. But, I don’t do my normal escape route: I don’t get drunk. I have a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner twice, but then it is over. And I let myself be in my reality. My stressed out reality. I want to feel, even though feeling in the moment is terrible and painful.
When I finally am able to bring Lucky home, my need to control everything begins to wane. My health begins to get better. I finally let myself breathe again.
While I skipped the gym last week, I didn’t give up. I didn’t let the week set me back to the point of quitting. Because I’m not quitting on The Comfort Zone Project. I am not quitting on me.
Yesterday, I returned to the gym and did 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of legs and a 30-minute ab class, then had a healthy dinner, drank some water and went to bed.
It felt phenomenal. The endorphins that had been absent last week radiated through me.
Sure, it was a bad week. Yeah, I didn’t eat well. But, I didn’t go into old D mode and freak out, get drunk and cry. Instead, I allowed myself to be present. To feel what I was feeling. To do what I needed to do.
It’s back to game on this week.
I’d like to give a very special thank you to Dr. Nook and her team for saving Lucky’s life.
This post previously appeared on d travels ’round.