As I sit here writing this, one of our cats, Wasabi, watches me from a metal crate. Following a serious operation this weekend where he had a limb amputated.
What has struck me about this whole affair as we have wondered and waited for enough information for us to make an informed decision, is how incredulous and upsetting it has been. When I brought him home on Saturday, the wound so glaringly obvious, I was struck by how significantly different he now was. He was smaller, however he seemed so much smaller. For context, Wasabi is a Maine Coon, one of the largest breeds of domestic cats.
Even though recovery rates are good and quality of life is assured, I felt so distressed seeing him, not being able to be himself that I struggled to see him get up and move around. Over the last two days, he has climbed up next to me on the sofa, gone outside and rested, climbed into Hiro’s bed as he used to whilst Hiro lies beside his own bed. This morning, I saw him led down at the bottom of the stairs, moments later my wife called out that he had managed to climb up. All very brave, however traumatizing for us as we worry about these stiches.
His character has always been adventurous, jumping up onto 7ft fences and walking along them to sit proudly on the shed, and now, his body traumatized, and him seriously limited, he finds a way of adapting and coping. It’s incredible to see him just carry on. When I think of the difficulty I feel with my dodgy ankle, when it aches, and here is a cat with three legs able to climb up on the sofa like he did on Thursday night.
The ability to grow and adapt to your surrounding and find a way to overcome your limitation is overwhelming. Whilst he may never climb the 7ft fence or sit proudly on the roof of the shed surveying his kingdom. I struggle to think he won’t recover from this, already within 48 hours he has exceeded my expectations as he adjusts to this new normal for him.
Perspectives and limitation can cripple and reduce us emotionally and physically. I once learned, many years ago on a pilgrimage, whilst waiting at the airport and helping the person I was supporting toilet himself due to his physical disability, that perspective can help people over come limitations and limitations can very much depend on our own perspectives. As I helped him go to the toilet, he asked me, “Are you okay with this?” I briefly thought about this, how this man, a stranger had no choice in letting someone help him go to the toilet and replied “If you can manage to have to put up with this every day of your life, then I’m sure I can manage a week.”
As we go into UK schools half term, the media rail against the government due to worry and concern over children not being able to access free school meals at a time when parents are furloughed, unemployed and losing their work as cities, and countries go into localized lockdowns called firebreaks. People criticize and politicians argue at the changes, embroiled in the uncertainty. There is fury and anger and frustration and fear. The impact on peoples lives financially, socially and emotionally is growing exponentially. Yet as I watch Wasabi, I hope that we can adapt, and that our perspectives can change to this evolving environment.
Take care of yourselves,
Sincerely Yours, Paul