Eat, Pray, Poop

3 Sep



Rusty Thomas

I don’t really have a good excuse for why I haven’t posted in so long, but I do have excuses. I’ve been working 50+ hours a week. I’ve been traveling to the beach. I’ve been playing soccer. I’ve had some time-consuming summer romances. I applied to post-bac pre-med programs (fingers crossed, fingers crossed!). I’ve read some good books (Cheryl Strayed is my hero). The memory card on my phone is corrupted, and it makes taking pictures extremely difficult. So when I finally put myself in front of my laptop to write a little something, my browser magically opens to Netflix, and I find myself drifting to sleep while watching either “Law and Order” or “Intervention.”

Like I said, no good excuses.

I will say, though, that I have written a number of posts in my head, taken a number of pictures for said posts (that become corrupted, damn you technology) but it just never made it on here. So I’m sorry. That’s that.

This post I’ve been thinking about for a week, when this cat came in. Rusty Thomas. I’m completely a dog person, but this cat stole my heart. He really is a special animal. All owners say that when they bring their pets in, but Rusty Thomas, he’s…different.

He came in as a new patient, he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. We ran a bevy of tests on him, but nothing obvious seemed to be wrong. So our new doctor, Dr. L, admitted him for observation.

It turns out that the woman who brought him in, Iris, is actually the owner’s aunt. The owner of the cat is a teenage girl whose father died two years ago. Before he passed away, he gave his daughter this cat. Iris told us that they could not lose the cat. It would be too much loss for the family to take. We had to save Rusty Thomas.

Iris is an eccentric woman, and at first, we all thought of her as a high-maintenance client. She brought in toys and blankets for Rusty T to have during his hospital stay, but she also brought a boombox with a Meditation CD. She claimed that while she did yoga and meditated, Rusty T would likewise meditate, and she requested that we play it for him.

Rusty Thomas continued to not eat. So, we were forced to insert a feeding tube into his esophagus, and four times a day, we make a paste like food and insert it slowly through his feeding tube. During this time, I like to take him out of his cage and place him on the main treatment table. He’s a good cat that just sits there while I prepare his feeding. I turn on the meditation tape, and we listen to a rather monotone woman talk about breathing, about letting go of thoughts and emotions. Rusty sits still, purring away, staring off into the distance. Our feeding time together is so peaceful.

He quickly became a joke around the office. Some started referring to him as the “yoga cat,” and Dr. S will holler with pent-up rage if he hears the meditation tape playing.

“If I have to hear that woman’s voice one more time, I’m going to break that boombox!” he’ll bellow. If anyone needs to get in touch with the Buddha, it’s that man.

But with all that mocking, this cat has had a noticeable effect on the office. Last Wednesday, I was doing his feeding, listening to the tape. The woman was telling us to breathe deeply, to focus on the breath, to feel the breath. I looked up to see everyone in the room quiet, not just quiet, but they were all breathing deeply, all in sync with each other and with the meditative instructions of the woman. The only sound was the rumbling purr of Rusty Thomas.

So we found a way to feed the cat, the only problem now was that he wasn’t pooping. We were waiting until he had a nice BM before we sent him home. At last, it came. And you have never seen a group of people happier about a cat pooping than our office on that day. He could go home to his new-age family that loved him.

He was discharged yesterday afternoon, but I fed him in the morning. It was 8:30AM, and the office was quiet. I was exhausted from working so much the last week. Since I was alone, I told Rusty Thomas how much I was going to miss him, and how happy I was that he was finally pooping. That fat cat curled up into my arms while I pushed a slurry of cat food into his tube. I put my head against his back and listened to the motorcycle-like thrum of purring. We breathed in and out together.

Oh, Rusty Thomas, I hope everything works out well for you in Yonkers. Namaste.


One Response to “Eat, Pray, Poop”

  1. wiseone September 8, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    So happy to hear that Rusty Thomas is well. I know that he left behind some lessons in mindfulness and loving kindness. Good little cat.

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