A Vigil For Martha
The vigil has begun.
Our Martha is in her final days.
One might reasonably assume she is in her final hours, except that she seems most unwilling to let go.
Recently I observed that she was no longer drinking as much as she had been and her urine clumps were smaller and less frequent. Based on the absence of stool in the litterbox, I suspected about a week ago that she was no longer eating. On July 1, I counted 25 pieces of food into her bowl and turned off the automatic feeder. That way, if she ate even one tiny snack we’d be able to know.
Today, four days later, no food is missing.
Our hearts are breaking.
Meanwhile, I continue to make medical and behavioral observations of Martha. Somehow, on a week-long empty stomach, she continues most of her routine. She sleeps with me all night. She drinks water. She sits on the loveseat in the bay window, watching the birds and squirrels. That has always been one of her favorite places.
She has done a couple of odd things.
Martha rarely misses an opportunity to sleep with me. On the Fourth I got up early (before the crazies appeared on the water) to fish. By the middle of the afternoon, after an excessively-large lunch of Mexican food, I felt a nap coming on. I suspected Martha lacked the energy to jump onto the La-Z-Boy with me, so I picked her up, positioning her carefully for our nap together.
She jumped down.
This morning she failed to appear for an event I can’t recall her ever missing. When Brenda and I have our morning prayer together before I depart, Martha likes to sit with us. She likes it so much that she begins asking for access to the room where we pray ten minutes before time.
Today, however, she just stayed on the loveseat, paying no attention to her everyday schedule.
I took that for a bad sign.
Still, she does things that say she is enjoying life, such has drinking and feeder-watching. Today she was watching the squirrels more intently than I’ve ever seen.
Amazingly, she is in no distress.
So, we enjoy all the time we can together.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.