Sunday, 4 September 2016


As far as evenings go, yesterday was shit.

It started with me cancelling a trip to Prince Charles Cinema to watch my favourite, much referenced sci-fi film 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of (Chaka) Khan', as my labyrinithis had suddenly kicked in, making me feel like I was going to fall to the floor.

I’m surprised the vertigo-like condition I regularly suffer from hasn't reared its ugly head sooner, what with it being aggravated by stress, tiredness and feeling generally run-down (all clear byproducts of an EdFringe show). For whatever reason, the Gods of Balance decided yesterday was the day: perhaps they’re not fans of Ricardo Montalban.

So it was that, instead of catching the train to London, I went to my sister-in-law’s flat to dog-sit with my wife for a friend; there’s a sentence to savour. This led to a few hours of watching Strictly, tweeting along to it over a couple of cups of tea and the odd stolen biscuit; this was the calm before the storm.

We left Tess (the Jack Russell terrier we were babysitting) at around 11:00pm; returning home for an early night. We’d only been back a few minutes and were saying hello to our cat when things took a darker turn: she suddenly became very disorientated, and lapsed into a fit.

It was very distressing. My wife dug out the vet’s phone number, while I did my best to calm Millie down. She’d have moments of lucidity, before bending herself into a horribly contorted shape, her head moving side-to-side in an unnatural, jerky manner. It felt like it would never end. My heart pounded and my head spun (my labyrintitis suddenly in its element) as I tried to sooth my little sweetheart of a cat.

Thankfully, we managed to get hold of the out-of-hours vet, who suggested we take Millie to them as soon as possible, so they could assess the situation and treat what could be the result of a neurological problem, such as an epileptic seizure or a stroke.

Some non-pet-owners would probably tut at our panic, but any that did would have no heart. A pet is a part of the family that you love and care for. When they suffer it’s upsetting, as you can’t rationalise with them and tell them what’s wrong.

Thankfully, she settled pretty quickly in the carrier in the car; her seizure beginning to pass. When we got her out in the surgery, her back legs didn’t seem to function properly, which was worrying. The vet told us the best course of action was to check her blood pressure and run a series of tests to assess her general health, both physically and neurologically. After that, he’d either keep her in over night, or send her home with us, if she could manage it.

Spin forward an hour or so and we had the results. Her blood pressure was very high, though this could be partly down to stress. The other tests showed evidence of kidney damage, which would have to be treated with daily tablets and a change of diet. He told us we’d have to take her to our usual vet on Monday, so they could run more tests and keep an eye on her, to make sure there weren’t any more serious implications.

By the time we got her home and settled, it was about 3:30am. She curled up on a blanket on the floor while I slept on the sofa, so I’d be nearby if she took a turn for the worse. Thankfully, she didn’t. Today she’s been a little dazed and confused, which I’d put mostly down to tiredness and stress. There's one very positive sign though: she’s asleep on my lap as I write. Call me soppy, but she’s precious and I love her. Whichever Egyptian git first domesticated cats all those years ago has a lot to answer for: if I meet them in the afterlife, I’ll shake my fist in their face. 

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