And the Beat Goes On ...

My ears are still ringing, my waist expanding, my memory fading, my patience waning.  Life carries on.  And the beat goes on ...

Some days are harder than others.  In Doha.  Anywhere.  Just harder.  Sometimes it feels like your heart can't take it anymore.

My coach skipped on tonight's workout session.  I found out a cherished colleague is being transferred.  

And our 2-year-old kitty cat may have had a stroke.


I'm sitting in my back yard, playing it cool, keeping it together, sipping on wine, blogging, smoking cigarettes.  Keeping it together, keeping it t o g e t h e r, keeping it t  o  g  e  t  h  e  r  , keeping it t     o     g     e     t     h     e     r.

(Perhaps 'slightly' falling a p a r t .)

Smilin' Vic and Kiddo brought our kitty cat to the vet's.  Called every fifteen minutes to keep me to keep me posted.  She's been kept for two days observation.  So far, no real news; we're still in the dark.  But the beat goes on.

I'm trying to stay positive.  I'm contemplating a lot of stuff.  Like how on the whole I'm one of the luckiest people I know.  I have a family I love, a family who loves me.  I have a job I love and work with the most amazing, fun team ever.  I'm not the most out-of-shape 44-year-old on the planet.  My brain still sends out an occasional spark.  My heart still beats.

But tonight I'm so, so sad.  Focused on the sad rather than the good.  Thinking about how Smilin' Vic and I got home tonight at the end of a long week, ready for a good sit-down and weekly recap over a glass of wine in the garden.  As we stood in the kitchen starting the weekend ritual, we watched our 2-year-old cat walk by on visibly wobbly legs.  

At first I giggled, and said she must have had too much to drink, or maybe her leg fell asleep.  But then I noticed her tilting her head, obviously off balance and disoriented.  And Smilin' Vic noticed too.  Something was off.  We stopped laughing as quickly as we'd begun.  Smilin' Vic walked over to her, waved his hand in front of her, and she was having a hard time focusing.

Something was wrong.  She seemed to pick up after a moment, and seemed more with it, but she was tired, and slumped down, her eyes closing, but not in sleep.  Smilin' Vic gathered her up, put her in her kennel, and headed off for the vet's with Kiddo in tow.

The prognosis isn't great.  We know this because we had a full work-up done on her.  Her blood was clotting before it entered the syringe, so blood work wasn't possible tonight.  She's on a heparin drip for the night, under observation at the clinic.  Her pupils didn't dilate when a light was shone in them.Her x-ray showed an enlarged heart.  There's a murmur.   

And I'm finding it really hard to process.  I'm not the biggest animal activist, but I love animals.  For 6 years in Doha, Smilin' Vic and I stood firm on our decision to not have a pet.  ''We travel too much, we work too much, we need our freedom, we don't want to pick up poo or dust up hair, ...'' - all the typical excuses to remain a pet-free household.

Then two years ago, at Christmas, that all changed.  I saw an ad on the office online market, Smilin' Vic went and checked out the lead, and on Christmas morning 2012, when our kitty cat appeared under the Christmas tree, we became a family of four.

That kitty cat has put a spark in our life in Doha.  She sits in her perch by the front window every day waiting for us to come home from school, from the office.  She cuddles with us every night on the sofa.  She jumps on top of the dishwasher when its running to revel in the warmth and vibration.  She watches Smilin' Vic run on the treadmill.  She sits on the edge of the bath when I shower.  She sleeps with Kiddo every single night.

Life as an expat isn't easy.  And you really do learn to appreciate the little things and cherish the big.  Our little kitty cat has put this incredible rhythm in our step.  Her frail, failing heart beats so strong for us, and makes us smile every single day.  And the beat goes on.

This isn't a big fancy post.  I don't have it in me.  I can't explain to you that after losing my Dad last spring, the thought of losing that kitty cat heartbeat is simply unbearable.  I can't find the words to describe the helplessness and powerlessness I feel right now. 

For the first time in two years, I don't have to close the screen door as I sit outside to type away on my laptop.  For the first time in two years, I've not got two glowing eyes peering out at me as I pound at the keyboard.  For the first time in two years, I don't have to tell Kiddo to ''brush her teeth and bring her cat upstairs, it's bedtime''.  And yet somehow the beat goes on.

I think of our kitty cat in her kennel in the dark tonight and I'm so, so sad.  Is she missing Kiddo, is she in pain, will she be ok?

I don't know.  But tonight I hope and I pray that her heart beats strong, and that it beats on.

Kiddo's bed would feel far too empty tonight, so she'll snuggle up with us.  And we'll likely all dream of that little kitty cat with the spark, and hope she's ok all alone in the dark, and hope that her frail, failing heart holds on through the night.  

And the beat will go on ...