When the vets emerged from surgery room, I was standing with my great expectation overhanging my shoulder. Cannot do anything but try to keep floating in the ocean of uncertainty, tugged between hope, and worry; it was suffocating.

I knew the surgery was a success; otherwise all those faces, framed by green caps, half cut by masks would have looked completely different.

There were three stitches. Stitches? The wires that connected one side of Grey’s jaw to the other were larger than staples. They looked like something out of a horror movie; something a completely twisted kind of psychopath will do.

Actually, those were to save his life; those were to give him the chance to be the cat he should be: the sunshine that always peek through his cloudy fur colour. The merry-making dude who burst out like firecracker and pranced like Quatorze Juillet.

However, the primary concern for the surgery – since the beginning – was not the wiring itself; it was everything surrounding the surgery. His health condition, with that lingering calicivirus that wouldn’t go away because of his depleted immune system, yet the immune system won’t go back up because that broken jaw hindered him from getting the nutrition he needs. The two seizures he had during his hospital stay. The vets suspected concussions that he obtained when he was hit by vehicle, the one event that destroy his jaw (and his future), but there was no way to be certain. There was no way to find out whether it was minor or major, whether it was reversible or the other, and there was no way to find out how it will affect the surgery. There was a way, though, but we would have to get Grey for a CT Scan, which no one has here or out of town, and even if we can get one out of town, even if we amass thousands of Dollars to bribe one or two officers so they will lend some human CT Scan, there is this ongoing pandemic that makes everything so God damned freaking difficult it’s as good as impossible.

So the most important part of the surgery was not the procedure itself, but waiting for Uncle Grey to come out of sedation.

To wake up.

Under normal circumstances it will take at least two hours (often less). Some take half a day; some cats will sleep the whole day out. Uncle Grey: stable, calm, and fixed, slept until today.

That suffocating feeling being tugged between hope and despair is creeping back. Like a psychological thriller. Like being stalked by something surreal, or sinister? Sinister is more like it. Some eerie feeling that haunted me all day long, even as I shake it off my head from time to time, running away by taking care of two other cats who themselves need surgery, plus one blind kitten, five babies Sheilla took from a box floating in the river, ten babies and two mothers stranded in the cemetery with nothing to anchor their lives onto.

We just keep running, keep stacking things, pushing questions away, just keep swimming, just keep working. We are like a maniac in a bout of madness, because being drowned slowly in despair is worse, because thinking about it out loud or in silence won’t produce anything other than more worry. Running away to other work at least brings good to the others.

In two days, we’ll be waiting three days too long; though in these three days too long, we see the vets try everything. In this three days too long we are giving our best, though giving our best is mostly just prayers. It will be ultimately annoying, tragic, unsatisfying, whatever the term available, to end Grey’s remarkable journey by pulling out the plug. He went so far. So far!

Still it will be cruelty to leave him longer than it should. It will be the ultimate crime to deny him his right for our own selfishness. It will be unforgivable to rob him of the bigger plan or the better place. If he wakes up, Grey will undeniably still have to endure a long and arduous recovery anyway.

So I will be rubbing him one more time, now, as I end this piece I have been writing by his side. I wish that by the time I am back on his side tonight, I will see him looking at me, or better, swatting me for ever thinking the worse.

Most of all, though, I wish him the very best.

~ Josie

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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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