Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Today, the unspeakable happened. Today, in the blink of an eye, Leo's beloved Flat Cat had the most unfortunate encounter with the vacuum cleaner. Unbeknownst to me, Flat Cat was taking a nap beneath the area rug in the boys' room. Before I even saw her, I heard a terrible noise and smelled a horrid stench of burned fur-- uh, rubber. Frantically, I switched off the vacuum cleaner and stared in horror at the yellow lump tangled up in the brush of the vacuum.
Upon closer inspection, I knew this scene was not for the faint of heart. Urgently I called out, "Jeff, I need you to come up here, alone." Mercifully, Leo was thoroughly engrossed in his Matchbox cars and didn't notice Jeff's departure nor the despair in my voice. "What have you done?" Jeff asked when he saw the carnage.
Deftly and skillfully, Jeff got straight to work. "Kelly Clamp," he requested, holding his hand out in anticipation. I slapped the clamps in his open palm, and he wasted no time. Flat Cat was in capable hands, that much was certain. Finally, finally, after agonizing minutes, she was freed from the vice-like grip of the vacuum. Nurse Jeff held his breath as he surveyed the damage.
In short - Flat Cat looked more like roadkill than ever before. His final assessment -she suffered third degree burns on approximately 20% of her body, with lateral lacerations in her lower back and abdomen. She is currently "para-tail-legic" meaning that her lower quadrant and her tail have suffered major trauma, yet her upper body and cute head remain perfectly intact. Luckily, Senior Surgeon Susan Seehaver will be making rounds tomorrow and is confident that much of the damage can be reversed, with a little help from some new fabric and a zippy sewing machine. (Please note - Senior Surgeon Susan has already provided cosmetic surgery to young Flat Cat, replacing old, cataract brown eyes with bright, happy pink ones. The two have a familiar, nearly filial affection for one another.)
After some gentle kisses, Nurse Jeff laid her in bed to rest as friends gathered to her bedside for comfort. And then, it was my job to break the news to poor Leo.
The boy took the news quite well, all things considered. He asked "Why did this not happen to Flat Lion?" and was very worried that he himself would get burned by Flat Cat. He would not hold her, yet gave her one small kiss on her head. I apologized profusely, and his tender, loving heart offered its forgiveness. (In all sincerity, I was quite struck by how forgiving Leo was in that moment, even when he was obviously distraught by Flat Cat's appearance. I felt so awful about it, I was near tears myself. His forgiveness was a lesson today.)
At the time of this posting, Flat Cat is resting and recovering in the LICU (Lovey ICU); the road to recovery is long, yet we're confident that better days are ahead (or rather, a tail, a back, and two legs....)