With my heart in my throat I reached down to pet his tail. Relieved to find it warm, I lifted it but it flopped back down like a weighted rope. My panic increased as I kneeled so I could reach his head and shoulders under my desk. With one hand under his thighs and the other under his shoulders, I began to lift him as I called his name and several nicknames--Mers, Mr. Wizard, Merlinsky, Mer Mers, Nutter Butter, Baby...
That's when he finally lifted his head and opened his eyes.
Filled with relief like helium, I paused giving him a chance to move himself but he just let his head fall back to the floor and his eyes closed. So I lifted him to my chest. He was limp and so light. He opened his eyes again but only halfway or less. He was minimally responsive. His ears and paws were cold.
I tucked him inside my vest and zipped it halfway to make a pouch for him. He stirred enough to poke his head out. But he didn't struggle. He has never cooperated with my attempt to get him to settle inside my vest or jacket like my Gremlyn, who crossed the rainbow bridge in 2007, did.
|Merlin in the Mirror|
Ed texted back from his cell phone saying he was waiting on the bus across town (Medford OR) and it would be over an hour before he got home for our vid chat. I told him I thought Merlin was dying and was hoping he was back already so he'd have a chance to say good-bye. He replied Oh no! Then I gave him the play by play of the last half hour for me and Merlin in brief bursts of text. He replied before my last two messages, that the bus was approaching and that he would hurry as much as he was able.
It was well over an hour--close to eleven-thirty--when he messaged from his computer. Meanwhile I had not stirred from my chair and had moved about as little as possible so as not to irritate Merlin. Even though I'd not gone to the kitchen before coming to my desk and hadn't eaten for over 14 hours. Even though my water jug and tea mug were running on empty. Even when my bladder began niggling and then screeching.
Merlin stayed put until our vid chat was ending an hour after it began. During the chat I took off the headphones and held them around Mer Mers head so Ed could talk to him. A few seconds into it I felt his purr, which had been spotty, restart and rev up.
As Ed and I were saying our goodbyes Merlin started pushing himself up and out and I let him. He climbed down off my lap and began lapping up the water in the peanut butter jar lid I'd put down for him last week after he leapt up and grabbed my arm with both paws while I was guzzling out of my 2 liter water jug.
|Merlin: More Please?|
Look how skinny he is. He's been loosing weight steadily since last fall even though his appetite seemed good right up until last Friday. Holding him is like cuddling a fur wrapped skeleton.
He finished the second lid full and then headed for the door. I followed him out and down the hall and into the kitchen where he passed by his food dishes without a glance or a sniff and kept going. I followed him through the kitchen and into the dining room where Bradley's food dish sets beside their water bowl.
|Merlin Drinks, Bradley Eats|
He drank for a long time. I never saw him use the litter box or found a spot on the carpet either so I'm not sure where all that water went.
From the water dish he turned left and headed into the living room and directly to the scratching post in front of the window and leapt up on it.
|Merlin on Post.|
He seemed inclined to settle there so I took advantage to get some things done. (See 3rd paragraph under Merlin in the Mirror above)
Every time I checked on him over the next half an hour he was still there.
That's when my sister came in having been informed by Mom that I thought Merlin was dying. I told her I'd just dragged him out from under Mom's desk. She asked if she should bring his crate upstairs. Thinking of needing to fix lunch soon and thus unable to keep close tabs on him I nodded.
When I went in to fix lunch I put the gate on and took the crate with me a put it under the dining room table so I would know if he started fussing.
After lunch I returned to my office with him and when he indicated he wanted out I opened the gate. Then I closed Mom's bedroom door and the stairway door to limit where he could hide or make a mess and let him roam while I started work on this post.
Ed and I had our evening vid chat between five-thirty and six-thirty and in anticipation I had Mers inside my vest again. I gave Ed another chance to talk to Merlin who again started purring as he listened.
This was my Tuesday Duty day so I was on for dinner as well. I'd left the room briefly after vid chat and when I returned I found Merlin asleep on my desk chair. I'd planned to put him back in the crate while I fixed dinner but hadn't the heart. So I left him there.
I fixed salmon patties and Normandy veggied mix for dinner. While I was eating with Mom in the living room Merlin jumped up on the couch beside me and arched his neck over the edge of my plate. Back home I'd been in the habit of feeding him off my plate while I was still eating but this had offended my sister so I broke him and I of that habit.
But I couldn't stick to that rule this time. He was interested in food! I broke off small slivers as fast as he could eat them until he turned away. He probably took a quarter teaspoon.
Such hope in that moment but I've not seen him take another bite of anything since and I'm wrapping up this post Wednesday evening as I was unable to get the photos ready last night and today has been similarly wrapped up in Merlin.
I had intended to put him in the crate at bedtime too as feared him going off to hide in the many caverns, caves and nooks in this house and then having to locate him by our noses in several days. But when I got back from reading to Mom he was sleeping on my chair again and I hadn't the heart to disturb him.
In the wee hours of the morning he joined me in bed snuggling next to my heart.
He has been more active today but he hasn't taken a bit of food and I've not seen him drink water either. My sister said she saw him drinking tho. But we've each found wet spots in the hall with no odor that appear to be vomited water.
So it seems certain Merlin will leave us any moment.