My parents' cat is diabetic. The cat is already missing one toe and one thyroid. She has two scratched corneas and a general pissy demeanor. Now, she's missing kitty glucose control. Bummer.
My mom called to tell me about the cat. Dad was working afternoons, the shift he hates the most. Mom was distraught. The cat, a Siamese, is 14 years old so she's been with the family for a long time, so it's understandable why my mom was so sad about the news over the cat.
The cat needs shots, daily. Needs constant monitoring of food intake. This on top of three thyroid pills a day. Maybe specialized food, or other things to keep the cat going.
My mom was telling me all this, clearly sad and not sure what to do. They already sunk about 800 dollars on the thyroid operation. Now more medicine, more expenses. It's tough, for sure. How do you put a dollar amount on something you love, especially something so dependent as a cat?
The options were, simply, try to keep the cat alive with all these extra treatments or put her to sleep.
My mom, weighing both options said to me, "I don't know what to do. Tell me what to do."
Those five words scared the hell out of me. Tell me what to do. Mom's don't ask sons those questions. Or at least they shouldn't.
It cut straight to my biggest fear, and my biggest eventual worry...what happens when my parents get old. I mean old old. What in the world can I do? How can I do that? And it'll be just me. I'll make all the decisions for them. And I'll do it from miles and miles away here in Wisconsin or some other faraway state. How is that done? I'm talking nuts and bolts and existentially. Like, who will take my mom to the store when she needs to go if she outlives my dad? Who will do the laundry? Who will dust, vacuum, fix their plumbing? Who will do anything for them? Me. Right. It'll have to be me. From way over here. Somehow.