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As many people know, furry family (AKA: dogs and cats) can be a much-needed balm on a troubled mind. I have suffered from PTSD and severe depression for several years. Part of this package includes cycling through different medications; but I have yet to find the right mix for my brain chemistry. While the medical industry figures that out, I take solace where I find it. I truly believe the unconditional love of fur babies can leave pawprints on your heart, and heal a great deal of sorrow. I have two such furries, a small terrier named Pumpkin, and her very best friend, a Cat named Nemoy. When I moved from Southern California to the City of Chicago, my treasured pets came with me to live with my very best friend, Daniel.
On a frosty winter day, during a snowstorm that obscured your vision three feet in front of your face, I remained at home to begin a new prescription regiment. There is always apprehension of this, as side effects are often at their worst during the first weeks of a new med. My pets stayed glued to my side throughout the day. They took turns sitting in my lap and laying on the backrest of the couch near my face.
What I first thought was anxiety began to manifest into intense stomach pain. I spent most of the afternoon and half the night being sick.
When Daniel got home from work, he thought I ought to go to the hospital. I have a bit of an aversion to hospitals, having spent entirely too much time there, and argued I should just call my doctor in the morning, as that would likely be the ER’s suggestion anyway.
I finally managed to fall asleep around two in the morning, with an alarm set to call my doctor first thing.
After three AM, I was jolted awake by a feeling of wrongness. For anyone who has never experienced this, the closest explanation is the feeling right before you know a roller coaster is going to drop, and you see there is no harness. Except I was lying in bed, in the dark, with nobody around- nobody except a snoozing Nemoy.
I got up and went to the bathroom, in case I was going to be sick again; I never got there. In the hall, I felt a wave of dizziness. In the split second before I lost consciousness, I tried to sit down. I don’t really know if I managed or not.
I’m not sure how long I lay there. What brought me around was something soft poking my face. I opened my eyes to see Nemoy, my sweet kitty, tapping me frantically in the forehead with his front left paw, mewing at me. His eyes were wide as saucers. As soon as I opened my eyes, he darted toward Daniel’s room, meowing louder and more frequently. Daniel, unbeknownst to me, went to bed fully dressed on top of his covers. He always tells me I am too stubborn, and he knew I would need care. Perhaps that is what defines a best friend.
After the fact, Daniel told me Nemoy ran up and down him and the dog, meowing insistently, claws out.
At first, he shushed the cat, and nudged him away.
Nemoy ran back to me, tapping me in the face (claw free) making as much noise as possible.
When I heard Daniel’s groggy admonishment, “Nemoy, shush!” I tried to call out.
“Help!” I cried, but my voice was so horse from being sick all day it barely came out as more than a croak. Just turning my head made me pass out again, so I had to lie very still on the cold wood floors, dressed only in my nightgown.
Nimoy ran back to Daniel. This time, Daniel got out of bed to see if the cat needed water. It was then that Nemoy tried to trip him, leading him away from his water bowl and over to me, lying on the floor.
Finally awake enough to sense a problem, Daniel followed the cat. He found me on the floor, and immediately began trying to rouse me.
Nemoy had brought the help I so desperately needed. Having done his job, he sat by my side while Daniel got me a blanket, and called 911.
Because of the snow, the ambulance took a while to get there. Daniel talked to me to keep me awake, and Nemoy and Pumpkin both lay with me, no longer raising alarm. Though I was frightened by what was going on with my body, their presence kept me calm, and helped me focus on staying conscious.
At the hospital, it was discovered that my new medication had elevated my liver enzymes (that’s bad) and messed with my blood pressure. I had convinced myself my reaction was standard side effects, but to be fair to myself, I wasn’t entirely in my right mind.
But Nemoy knew, and he protected me.
A kitten, abandoned in my parents' yard roughly a year before, found his way into my home, and gave me something to love and care for.
But he grew up to be so much more than that.
My rescue Kitty rescued me.