While my children are most caring and attentive, and though I lie here prostrate, a ridiculously high pile of pillows supporting the operative knee, none of them has rubbed my belly, or scratched behind my ears, or offered a brusque yet loving chuck beneath the chin.
Addie gives me a knowing glance, flicks a paw and begins the ceaseless licking that rocks the bed as though the mattress were filled with water. Not to be outdone, I too flick my paw, er, wrist and study my hand, marveling at how little bruising I have where the IV was inserted. Rather than lick the back of my hand directly, I lick the tip of my right index finger and gently rub at a bit of particularly stubborn adhesive. When her seemingly inexorable cleansing ceased, her purplish pads land her silently on the floor and she scarpers off to the kitty box. I draw the line. My orange-stained leg stumps along, swollen and stiff with puckered sutures erupting in tufts in an isosceles triangle shape and blue marker lines giving the knee the look of a hurried football game maneuver.
She descends the stairs with the poise and elegance of a ballerina. I grip the banister with one hand and palm the wall with the other, taking it one slow step at a time, not unlike a toddler and am relieved to have made it to terra firma without a humiliating and painful prat fall.
With an alacrity only attributable to felines and Olympic hurdle jumpers, Addie leaps from a standing position to the kitchen counter, landing silently and flicks her tail at me in a, there, now you try it. Even with a running start of twenty feet, I couldn’t land atop the counter – well, perhaps head first, and certainly not with the grace that Addie showed. And, I remind her, I am under doctor’s orders not to run.
She knocks back a few ounces from her water bowl and I slug from a bottle of water. She swats at her catnip toy and I down another pain killer. Together, we slowly mount the stairs for the sanctuary of my room where, presumably, we’ll have some groovy dreams.