In August, I noticed that Ella was walking funny. The problem was with her back legs, which seemed unsteady. I considered taking her to the vet, but she seemed untroubled. My house is all stairs, and she was up and down them all the time. She was still eating and playing and jumping up and down from all the places she likes to go. I’ve worried about her on and off since then, when I’d notice her stumble on an uneven surface, but, still, she seemed happy.
Then last Wednesday night when I got home from work, Ella wasn’t putting any weight on her left back leg at all. Naturally, I went straight from that to the obvious conclusion, that she had some kind of horrible leg tumor and I should have taken her to the vet forever ago and now she was going to die and I suck.
The vet’s office was closed, so I had to live with that for a day.
Of course, when I went to put Ella in the carrier to take her to the vet the next evening, she kicked her way out of my arms and ran like she never had anything wrong with her leg in her life. I got to wondering if I had imagined the whole thing and almost called to cancel the appointment, but then I got Ella in the carrier and we went.
What she has is arthritis. She’s 12 and has some grey hair; I guess it goes with the territory. We put her on some medicine.
The thing that struck me about all this was how content Ella remained. Judging from the yowling and going boneless and slinking around, she found the carrier and the car and the vet traumatic. When we got home, I had to shove a pill down her throat, a new and unpleasant experience for us both. She could have scratched or bitten or growled at me. She could have run and hid. Instead, once she swallowed the pill, she settled herself in my lap, started purring, and fell asleep.
And then Benny went into the kitchen and knocked Ella’s pill bottle off the counter.