If you haven’t yet figured it out by reading my posts, I can be a bit cynical. Okay, truth be known, I can be painfully cynical. My rather dim view of politics, human behavior and the corporate culture resulted from years of exposure to dozens of situations that have forever colored my thinking. I did not merely draw my conclusions from circumstantial evidence or a singular event; my cynicism stems from the school of hard knocks—from being repeatedly kicked in the chops. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek, but how many cheeks do you have? And for all of you smart alecks, the answer is two, not four.
But, once in a while someone extraordinary comes along and renews my tainted spirit and reminds me that there are a few saints still walking the Earth. Not to embarrass her, I’ll call her Candy.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I met Candy and her husband through several church-related functions. We talked a bit, exchanged very brief autobiographies and got to know one another. My wife and I mentioned that we had a 16 year old cat that was suffering from chronic renal failure and went on to say that we encountered several unpleasant situations with charlatan veterinarians. We also mentioned that we spoke to several cat lovers who had prior experience with kidney failure and gave us an alarming prognosis.
As luck would have it (is there really such a thing as luck?), Candy told us that she had had four years experience dealing with a cat who also suffered from renal failure. She went on to explain how she had administered a treatment called subcutaneous injections which helped greatly to manage the disease. We told her the horror stories we had heard about this treatment and said that we did not want to put out cat through this torture.
Candy had been administering this treatment for years, and she convinced us that properly done, our cat Alex would easily tolerate the treatment and benefit greatly from it. Friday evening, Candy, with a bag full of medical paraphernalia, came over to our apartment to show us how to administer this treatment. Now bear in mind that this isn’t just popping a pill down Alex’s throat or massaging her kidneys. This is an invasive treatment where you hook up an IV bag to a 20-gauge needle and stick it in the scruff of the cat’s neck and let 150 milliliters of fluid flow into her body. Once absorbed, the fluid hydrates her organs and helps detoxify her kidneys.
When Candy arrived, she wasn’t in a hurry to leave. She spent more than an hour trying to get to know Alex, relaxing her and making her feel comfortable. She not only delivered a detailed narrative of how to administer this treatment, but step by step she showed us exactly what had to be done, how to do it, what not to do, and she stressed the importance of sterilization and how to be sure that the needle could be inserted without causing the slightest discomfort.
I sat on the bathroom floor and held Alex while Candy gently yet authoritatively inserted the needle into Alex’s skin. Alex didn’t even flinch. She sat quietly and let Candy and I stroke her silky fur. Five minutes later, Alex walked out of the bathroom 150 milliliters heavier than when she entered. She was perfectly content.
Candy came over Saturday and did the same thing. And then came over Sunday and watched my wife administer the procedure. She compromised her entire weekend to help little more than strangers.
Where do people like Candy come from? Why aren’t there more Candy’s in the world? Here is a woman we barely know and she went out of her way to help our sick cat and help us find a way to extend her life and improve her quality of life. It’s people like Candy that renew my faith in the human condition. Without people like her there would be no hope for the world or humanity. Nor would there be a prayer that a cynical guy like me could ever find redemption. Love you, Candy. Alex loves you too.