This morning I took Pavlov to the vet and she had The Talk with me.
The Talk amounted to this: If at any moment after today I look into his eyes and decide he’s had enough she would support my decision.
So. My old friend’s life is in my hands.
I am giving him double the insulin and double the fluids I was before. He has three kinds of food he can choose from. He gets a massage/brushing every day, a laxative to keep him from becoming constipated, and antibiotics for a persistent respiratory infection. Apart from that there’s nothing I can do.
He spends his day crouched on the Polo beach towel by the door to my office. He still eats, drinks and poops but that’s about it. Sometimes he will visit me on the couch but he always retires to the floor behind the stereo.
From a human perspective that’s not much of a life, but for a cat it may be exactly what he wants right now.
I don’t think he’s suffering. He doesn’t look like he’s in pain. But I can see he’s tired, maybe too tired. I don’t know.
Once before I said I’d give him a week. Sure enough he bounced back. But the news today suggests he may have used up all the reservoirs of strength he’s been running on.
We’ll see how he’s doing at the end of the week. I’ve got to give the insulin a chance to work.
If it doesn’t, however, then I guess I will do what a friend would do.
About the author:
Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”
Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.
As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.
Contact Del at email@example.com. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .