Friday, March 07, 2014

Moscow (Part V - The Day Before)

Click here for Parts I, IIIII, IV.

I woke up very early, especially considering how late I'd been out at the vet, put Wylie in his carrier, and took him to work with me. I was scheduled to spend the day in Kiryat Gat, interviewing new olim (immigrants to Israel), and had to go to the office to pick up the Jewish Agency's car and camera I was to use. Wylie's carrier sat on my desk for an hour while I got myself organized, and a coworker down the hall wondered why she kept hearing a cat meowing. It was a bit strange and a bit embarrassing.

My friends Yardena and Mory Buxner volunteered to look after Wylie while I was away. Yasminah, my new roommate, is perfectly competent and willing to take care of a healthy cat, but an injured one who requires extra care was more than I could ask of a new roommate. 

Then, car, camera and cat all came with me to the vet, where I dropped Wylie off so he could have his wounds stitched up. The vet told me that afterward, Wylie would need to stay in a large cage, the kind they have there at the vet for big dogs waking up after surgery . . . she said they cost about 900 NIS but if I go online maybe I can find a used one, or someone who could loan me one. I was leaving for Moscow in a matter of hours and now had to find a cage. My wonderful coworker, Moran, agreed to search for me on Israeli websites.

Already running late, I drove to Kiryat Gat, a drive of about an hour and half, and met with several Ethiopians who had just immigrated to Israel. I like driving, but running late, and the stress that always comes from the journalistic unknown – would the people I need to interview be cooperative? Would there be language problems? Would they all show up? – was not helping. Meanwhile I texted with Moran about the type of cage I needed and tried to figure out the logistics of taking care of my job and the cat and my packing when I was about to spend the day in Kiryat Gat.

From Kiryat Gat I drove back to Jerusalem. Moran told me there is a pet supply store in Talpiot that sells the kind of cage I need for 200 NIS. Fine. I arrived at the store about 5:30 or 6 pm, where they showed me a picture of the cage, and it was perfect, but the only ones they had in stock were bigger ones for 260 NIS. Fine. Whatever. An employee carried the very heavy box to the car while I stressed some more about how to get the cage and Wylie to the Buxners' while also wrapping up my work projects and packing. I also remembered that I had to call the bank about making sure my new credit card was activated – which it was.

From Talpiot I drove home to drop off the cage, then to work to wrap up projects that needed to be finished before I left for Russia. At about 7:30 pm, the vet called saying they were closing soon and I needed to come get the cat.

So I ran out from work and got the cat, who struggled and fought against the carrier and the cone on his head. The vet said that she'd had to remove a lot of tissue, and hadn't been able to close skin over the entire wound, so he had an open injury on part of one leg. It was bandaged up and Yardena and Mory would have to bring Wylie back in a couple of days to change the bandages. They'd also have to go to the pharmacy the next day to get some pain medication for him. I felt guilty leaving him, and I felt guilty giving the Buxners so much to do. I was also feeling a lot of anxiety because I hadn't started packing yet.

At home, while Wylie struggled, I tried to stay calm and avoid panicking, while getting things ready to bring Wylie to what I was soon to start thinking of as the Buxner Animal Rehabilitative Center. I took the very heavy cage, the heavy cat, and a heavy bag full of cat food and supplies, and put it all in a taxi.

At their house – I paid the taxi driver extra to take the cage up the two flights of stairs -- Yardena and I unpacked the cage, which turned out to be . . . not at all what I'd wanted. It was not a cage at all, but a dog pen, with no roof. It would be a simple matter for any cat to jump out of this thing.  But it was too late to do anything about it – I was leaving the country in a few hours.

Yardena got on the phone and ordered a Nesher van service for me, from my house to the airport, while I put Wylie in his cage and we tried to figure out where to put his litter and food in a way that would create the least mess. It was clear that the pan of litter was not going to be adequate and that Wylie would have trouble eating and drinking with that cone on. He was so, so sad. And so was I. Leaving him in a strange environment when he was injured was heartbreaking.

I got a call from my parents. They and my sister had put a few hundred dollars into my Paypal account, to help pay for veterinary care. They wanted to make sure I had funds to cover the kitty, so that I'd still have the budget to have a good time on my vacation.

I went home and was too tired to pack. The van was coming at 1:45 am. It was now about 11:15 pm. If I slept for one hour, it would leave me just enough time in the morning to shower and pack before I left for the airport.

It had been a crazy day but I'd stayed calm and gotten done the most urgent things that had needed to get done. I felt grateful for my family and friends for all their help, and for the fact that this terrible day was over.


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