Several times during this ordeal I have wondered if the vet is just making shit up. When Nika is bounding around the house and tearing through the forest, it’s hard not to think she must be perfectly fine. Is it possible? Maybe this is all a hoax. Maybe the oncologist is fudging her test results so that we’ll keep forking over the cash. Maybe the nurses are in on it. Maybe in a few weeks they’ll pronounce her saved, and she’ll go on to live a long and happy life and we’ll tell people what a miracle she is.
I wouldn’t mind being the victim of such a scheme if it meant that ending, but on days like today the illusion is untenable.
I get home and catch an acrid whiff of vomit; her bed cover is clacking around in the drum of the washing machine; she doesn’t explode off her bed to greet me, propeller-tailed, ears peeled back like pink moons. She barely lifts her head.
“She not doing well today,” Luke says. Vomited several times. Won’t eat. I smooth my hands over her face and she looks up at me.
We try to tempt her with some roast chicken—yesterday she would have tap-danced around the apartment for this, today she can’t seem to abide the smell of it.
Yesterday and today. That’s been the story for months. Yesterday she was doing great! Today she’s in emergency. Yesterday she was in remission! Today her tumor is back. I sent my parents a video of her jumping up for a treat yesterday. Today she can barely walk.
My sweet girl. She eats a tiny cube of chicken from my hand, just because she loves me, not because she wants it.