the Baby's seizure
Monday, December 9 2013
We had a bit of an ice storm happening this morning. That ice glazed the pine trees and made them droop like ghosts. I spent the day indoors working on that Lightroom plugin that has haunted me since August.
At some point I heard Gretchen coming up the stairs and yelling that "the Baby" (the unofficial name for our elderly cat Marie) was having a seizure. Gretchen had the cat in her arms and sure enough the poor thing was twitching and convulsing exactly the way people do when they have a seizure in a movie. I've never actually been in the presence of a creature having a seizure before, but I've heard a lot about them. My mother used to teach at Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind and the mentally-challenged blind kids in her special education class would occasionally have seizures. In the universe of seizures there are two kinds: grand mal and petit mal. While it's possible to overlook the latter, the former always makes itself obvious. The Baby was having a grand mal seizure. Gretchen put the Baby down on the Laboratory ottoman and let her and struggle as the seizure did what seizures do. Gretchen was terrified and momentarily started sobbing but then recovered, not really knowing how to react. Within a minute or two, the worst of it was over. The Babie's pupils were enormous and she tried to get up and walk, though she seemed to have trouble coordinating the movement of her hind legs. Once she'd given up on trying to move, I pointed a flashlight into her eyes and confirmed that her pupils still dilated. At least she wasn't blind. Eventually we tucked her in on a nearby dog bed and let her sleep.
Gretchen said that she'd first become aware of the seizure when she'd heard a strange noise coming from the dining room. The Baby had evidently collapsed beside a dining room chair and started kicking it rhythmically like something out of a David Lynch movie. Now that the seizure had passed, we had to wonder: was this it for the Baby? If she couldn't walk or eat, it probably was. We certainly couldn't go on a trip and leave her this way.
But then, some couple hours later, the Baby rose from her slumber and started walking around the laboratory almost as if nothing had happened. So I took her down to the dining room and gave her some wet food. She still had an appetite.
Later the Baby returned to the laboratory and demanded to get into my lap. From her perspective, she'd passed out in the dining room and awaken comfortably in the laboratory, and this seemed to completely reset her habits. Up until her seizure, she spent most of her time in the king-sized bed in the upstairs master bedroom. Now she only wanted to be in the laboratory. It's hard to work with a cat in my lap, so I closed the laboratory door and she grudgingly went back to the bedroom. But the next time she came through and saw the laboratory door open, she came on in and either jumped into my lap or jumped into the empty chair in front of my computer.
It bears mentioning that the Baby is very old. She was said to be "twenty" when we adopted her from a crappy animal shelter more than seven years ago. Since then she's had a series of health problems, culminating in a failed attempt at euthanasia nearly a year ago. But she always bounces back and keeps on going like a battery mascot. Her recovery today was unusually swift, though the seizure could indicate serious underlying problems. The mysterious mass growing in her abdomen may have metastasized to her brain. Or perhaps her kidneys have failed and toxins are accumulating in her blood. In any case, as long as she eats and sleeps comfortably, we're happy to let her keep on doing what she does.
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