Sometimes writing a monthly column seems like putting together my life, chapter by chapter. I have even had more than one person suggest all the columns be put together into a book but who knows if that will ever happen.
Regardless, it is the one way we get to share some more personal anecdotes with readers, something to write other than the latest council meeting or police case. Each of those has its place but the column is the only spot where we newspaper people can be ourselves and share our own thoughts and feelings instead of ‘just the facts.’
So it is always interesting to figure out what and how much to share each month.
When I last left you, my daughter was closing in on the end of her senior year in high school.
It is finished.
We enjoyed a successful graduation day with family and friends, cheered her on from our place in the stands (I went to graduation as her mom, not a reporter, yay!) and celebrated with an afternoon gathering/barbecue the following day. This, after plenty of photos post-ceremony and working at her Sober Grad Night. Since I cover Escalon schools, I have volunteered at the EHS Sober Grad for many years, I enjoy seeing the graduates, most of whom I have photographed in sports, clubs, academic events and more over the years. I never dreamed my daughter would want me at hers; but I was more than happy to oblige. There were plenty of senior parents working the event and it was also fun for me to re-connect with those students my daughter has been friends with since grade school, having gone from kindergarten through senior year in Oakdale schools. Seeing kids she played softball with, did talent shows and choir concerts with, fellow soccer teammates, it was just a fun (though long) night. I was proud to wear the Disneyland 2014 shirt she brought back for me from her Senior Trip and was the envy of many senior parents, who reported their child was not so thoughtful in bringing back something for them.
We also have been dealing with a cat recuperating from what could have been a devastating injury. Yoda, one of our two previously indoor cats that became outdoor cats when we moved (our new housemate is allergic, so our two cats joined her three outside) was accidentally backed over in the driveway. For some reason, he didn’t move like all the cats normally do when a vehicle is started. So the unthinkable happened and he was injured, the accident breaking his pelvis. There were only a couple of options presented to us; first, several thousand dollars’ worth of surgery that may or may not fix the problem or, second, putting him down. My first thought was to put him down, if he was in too much pain with no hope of recovery. My daughter wanted the surgery – but I had to tell her we didn’t have a few thousand extra dollars around, and if we did, she would already have her own car. She in no way was in favor of putting Yoda down and frankly, my heart was breaking over that possibility as well. So we asked for a third option, which basically was sending Yoda home with us, with several days’ worth of painkillers and antibiotics, along with instructions to keep him enclosed in a kennel to limit his movements and hope for the best.
We didn’t know what to expect. His back legs were essentially useless when we got him home but he seemed to adjust well enough to the kennel living, as if he knew it was best to keep quiet and relatively still. We brought in puppy pads and placed them as a layer of protection over the towels put down on the kennel floor for padding. He didn’t like the medicine but he accepted it. We put his food within neck-stretching reach and watched and waited. We celebrated like crazy the first time he went to the bathroom, happy that his insides were in working order. Within a couple of weeks, he was able to get into a standing position and soon after, started using a litter box we placed in a corner of the kennel. About three weeks out, I came home from work and opened the kennel door to get his food dish and he literally vaulted himself out of it, making a brief escape out of the room and into the hallway. We have wood floors and it was a little slick, hard for him to get traction, so he didn’t get too far.
But he was on all fours, back legs working.
Obviously, option three was the way to go.
We have just passed the one-month mark since the accident. While we aren’t returning Yoda to outdoor living just yet, he now navigates the wood floors throughout the house pretty well, is able to jump from the floor to wherever he feels like napping (couch or bed) and, except for losing some weight (which he really needed to do anyway) and limping slightly on his back right foot, you wouldn’t know he had ever been injured at all.
I am not sure how many of his nine lives his recovery took, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter. Recovery has occurred and we are blessed.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.