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The Longest Months

May 8, 2020

It seems unreal how much things have changed.  On February 7th I had my hair done for my solo show opening at the McGuffey Art Center.  That night I saw many friends and mingled with many people.  No thought of a mask or hand sanitizer.  The end of February I went to a creative people convention in Lynchburg.  First news of COVID-19 had started to filter through and I noticed EVERYBODY in the bathroom washed their hands.  Still no masks and many face to face conversations.

I met a copywriter there and made arrangements for her to write descriptions for my website being sure to note that I needed them done in time for my first show in May (which didn’t happen).  I went to the dentist the beginning of March where the hygenist mentioned that there was a single case in Spotsy (Spotsylvania).  I made an appointment for the end of March for replacing a filling.  Worry is starting to creep in.  I had an eye appointment for the middle of March.  By this time there were cases starting to crop up in my county.  I cancelled it at the urging of my husband.  I was a little shocked when all I had to say to them was “I have asthma”.  I was expecting to explain.  They understood just from those three words.  Then the dentist called and cancelled my appointment.  I had been thinking about cancelling it but was a little surprised when they did.

Then my elderly cat got sick.  He suddenly looked very fat and his belly was hard.  The vet didn’t think it was serious at that point since I had been feeding him extra in an attempt to get him to gain weight.  I cut back his food and the next day the vet closed due to exposure to COVID-19.

In the meantime I’m on Facebook with my artist groups and we’re all discussing how to safely do shows.  I learned how to set up Square to not need a signature and threw a container of Clorox wipes in the van.  I ordered a mask on Etsy.

Cutting back food for Tank was having no effect although he was still acting normal.  I noticed my vet was going to be back open on April 6 so I made an appointment through an app.  They called that night and said they thought it was serious now and I should make an appointment with a vet they recommended that was open.  It was a Friday.  Saturday I called and made an appointment for Sunday.  Sunday I called and cancelled it.  Monday morning I looked in his eyes and I knew he was in pain.  I called at 10:00 and they gave me an appointment for 11:00.  Just enough time to pick him up, put him in his carrier, and go.  I have my hair pulled back, a washable hat on my head, long sleeved shirt, a washable jacket, a bandana and rubber gloves.  Just a month previous I was at a convention and just made sure to wash my hands well.

The vet was very kind.  I was terrified that he would have to be put down without me with him.  I was hoping for a miracle but I knew that Tank had already lived longer than most Bengals and he had been going slowly downhill for the past year.  He was my very favorite cat of all of them.  He had slept with me all his life.  All his life he had stolen my hair ties and knocked things off my dresser and sat in my lap while I worked.

The vet called and offered more tests but said yes, that he was in pain, and yes, it was time.  I asked if I could be with him and they made arrangements for me to come in through the back door.  Tank was put to sleep wrapped in a towel by people covered in plastic with kind eyes.  But I was able to hold him and tell him how loved he was and that I would miss him.

It is the beginning of May now.  Shows up until the end of July have either been cancelled or rescheduled for the fall.  I will probably end up dropping out of the one the end of July but I have decided to wait to decide until June to make the decision.   It’s a balancing act.  If they cancel I probably get my booth fee back.  If I cancel I don’t.  I’ve seen how quickly things can change but I think it’s going to get worse for awhile.

I realize I’ve never written here about Tank.  You can read his tribute at https://serenityscenes.com/pages/tank

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