It’s funny how different sums of money can affect you in different ways. You’d think the larger the sum, the more distressing it would be. I’ve found it be to be just the opposite lately.
When I first took Twinkle to the vet, her initial treatment and the blood test they wanted to do was $280 or so. That made me grumpy. That was eating into what I would, and wouldn’t, be able to do in practical terms over the next few weeks. It had an immediate abridging affect on my lifestyle.
Later, when I had to have her admitted to the hospital, and the admission and first transfusion were going to cost $2500, it was a real slap. That was a sum of money I could understand on a personal level... it was an amount of money I could envision saving up for several months; it was the equivalent of, say, a really good computer, or a good laptop. And the idea of suddenly having to spend it was kind of a shock.
But later, when we started getting into much bigger numbers, the shock began to disappear. When we were getting up around $8000, crossing over $10,000, and so on, the numbers began to take on a theoretical sense. These were numbers outside my daily experience. They were “occasional” numbers... things you deal with a few times a decade, buying cars and the like. These were long term numbers, amounts of money I found I was automatically resigned to thinking of as things to be paid off over years. They lost their immediacy, and in a weird way, they were more settling. Today I’m making the second payment on the $14,000 I spent on Twinkle. Two years from now, I’ll still be doing this. It seems unfair that I won’t have Twinkle two years from now to show for it.
Today also finds me dwelling on the forked timeline... the difference between what is, and what I expected, or at least hoped for, by now. Today, in reality, I’m a day away from two weeks since Twinkle’s death (has it only been two weeks?). But in my mind, I had expected by now to be seeing some real signs of Twinkle’s recovery. By now, I hoped, even faintly expected, that her red cell count would be stable and over 20. By now, I’d been seeing her taking an interest in things again and, while still easily tired, wandering around, maybe beginning to get back up on things like the couch and chairs. By now, eating a little on her own again, or maybe even only getting her meds through the tube. What I mean is, I really thought that by now, she and I would be working out the “new normal”, as I’ve called it, and adapting to her long term needs. I didn’t dread it. I was honestly looking forward to helping her get there, and feeling good about it every time I looked at her for years to come, and wondering if, in some little way of her own, she might understand and feeling something like gratitude, or love, or whatever it might mean to cats. I’ll never know. Sitting here today without her in my life, that seems really wrong to me. It should have been. We did the right things. It should have been.