It was very hard to leave my house.
My husband, bless his heart, said, "Go to Washington, I support you!"
But of course, I was the one who arranged for someone to care for the horses and dogs in the middle of my husband's work day; I figured out where my son would go when he got out of school at 3:15 and I wasn't there to pick him up....
And then one of the (5) cats got terribly sick, like she was going to die. She was a young cat, not yet three years old, and of course, she was one of our favorites. We should have named her Busy, because she's always busy investigating things. She makes me think I should look in the dryer one more time before pressing the Start button to make sure she didn't sneak in there.
But we didn't name her Busy, we named her Cuddles, and we call her Medium Fuzz.
By Sunday it had become obvious that she couldn't hold down food, so I took her to the emergency veterinary hospital where they X-rayed her abdomen for a possible obstruction. By Tuesday, we were at our local vet's, and we still didn't know what was wrong with her. We were re-inflating her daily with subcutaneous fluids. She wouldn't touch food, and hadn't eaten since Sunday morning, when she threw up. The vet sent us home with anti-nausea meds, anti-pain meds, antacid meds, appetite enhancement meds, prednisone, and everything we needed to re-inflate her daily with subcutaneous fluids.
It was a lot to carry.
At home, I wrapped her up in a towel like a burrito so she couldn't scratch me as I pried her stubborn little jaws open and popped tiny pieces of drugs (a quarter of this, a half of that) down her throat one at a time.
There were a lot of them.
My right pointer finger got stabbed and pierced by her needle-like incisors. (It started to swell--my finger. I feared the onset of cellulitis.)
I was sure MedFuzz had swallowed, but she spit the life-saving drug out, and I picked it up, or got a new one, adjusted the burrito, and tried again.
This when on for some time.
By Wednesday morning, exactly 24 hours before I was scheduled to drive to the airport, MedFuzz was acting more like her busy self. I fed her, and she ate!
The prednisone worked! I knew it would. I have great faith in prednisone. It had cured one of our other cats, Big Fuzz, of another indeterminate yet lethal disease.
But something smelled very funky. It reminded me of the veterinary hospital--of animal anxiety, medical chemistry, and the full complement of hastily sanitized spills and drippings.
I wasn't terribly surprised that my house smelled like this.
But then again, it was awfully pungent.
Yup. Now, my patient had uncontrollable diarrhea which she had already smeared over most of the house.
I eyeballed the bag of subcutaneous fluid application supplies hanging from a kitchen cupboard.
I knew it was too much to ask...
Somewhere in an comprehensive etiquette book, it says: Diarrhea or subcutaneous fluid injections; never both.
I felt sheepish when I called to explain that I wouldn't be going to Washington. I was pretty sure my mother would have packed that cat up then and there and surrendered her to the Great Beyond.
But I just wasn't ready to give up on her yet.
Maybe she would never successfully digest anything again.
Or, maybe she was just leaking, like a water balloon, which she had effectively become.
I set up the dog crate with a litter box and a soft towel for a bed. I put MedFuzz in it. Then I went about cleaning up the house.
Whether or not I would go to Washington depended on two things: Whether, at the end of the day, there was a reasonably solid poop in that litter box; and whether, at the end of the day, MedFuzz was able to keep her bottom clean (I had already washed it off once).
I said to myself, this is beyond my control. Whether I go or I don't, that's up to God. Or the cat. Or the prednisone. But definitely out of my hands.
That evening, not only was her bottom clean and her poop solid, she no longer required subcutaneous fluids.
MedFuzz was completely able to nourish her young and curious body without mishap.
It was like a miracle. Not like when the sun came out on Trump's inauguration day just in time for his speech, because that didn't actually happen.
MedFuzz's solid poop actually happened.
I had to wonder about the stories of all those other women extricating themselves from their lives to gather en masse on Washington to champion Equality for All.
My sick-cat story couldn't have been the worst. It probably wouldn't be in the top 10 percent of personal conflicts and sacrifice.
And I was lucky, as I said, to be able to fly to DC and have a place to stay. Tens of thousands of women took overnight buses on Friday, arrived on Saturday morning, championed Equality for All, then filed back onto the busses and drove all night back home.
(If I were You-Know-Who, I'd shit myself.)
Apparently, hundreds of thousand of women (and men--there were lots of men there, too) will stop what they're doing, make all kinds of complicated arrangements to see to the care of the ones in their charge, forfeit their comfort and convenience, and haul ass half-way or all the way across this beloved country to gather in defiance and unity.
It meant so much more to me than I could have ever imagined. It raised my spirits and renewed my strength--knowing we can do this--all of us together--on such short notice--with so much devotion and love and caring about the world and each other...
We can gather such an army of warrior women from every corner of the earth.
And you know what else? People brought transparent backpacks. We read the directions on the Women's March website. We brought small bags, snacks, water bottles. (500,000+ women left Washington DC cleaner than they found it.)
We didn't bring normal, opaque backpacks, because we were told that we wouldn't be allowed to bring them into the gathering/marching area.
You know what was really surprising? No one checked our bags. No one. There was no one checking bags. There were people directing us to go this way or that, but there were no security check points, like at the airport.
Frankly, I could have been packing heat. (Honestly, I wasn't.)
It was as if Trump said, Whatever! Screw them. If there's an incident, that's their problem.
I got a little nervous, encapsulated in that immense crowd, keenly aware that we constituted a very large and very soft target.
What if a concussion grenade went off (as had so many on K Street on Inauguration Day)? Would there be a stampede? Would people be trampled?
What if a gun was fired...?
How could I not think about these things? There had been tear gas and concussion grenades the day before, young men in an agony of tear gas exposure, sick and temporarily blind, smearing white stuff on their faces (was that baking soda?).
Nothing happened. It was peaceful. A vast army of peace.
People seemed to feel genuine concern for one another. Strangers smiled at strangers and talked to one another like friends.
(I saw people wearing cheese-head hats--we high-fived.)
There was a tolerance for ideological differences--but then, practically everyone was wearing a "pussy hat," (including some men), so...that brought us ideologically closer.
The Women's Protest Army (it wasn't called that--it wasn't really an army at all--not yet--but these are alternative facts) was way, WAY bigger than the number of people who turned out for the Inauguration (not counting protesters).
Across the world, millions of women dropped what they were doing (arranged for child care, used their limited PTO time or did not get paid, rode all night on buses...)
And in the final analysis, what does it mean?
It means we can very quickly become an enormous army of peace all over the world.
It means our voices are heard.
It means we care about each other. We're looking out for one another.
It means hope.
It means we are committed.
We are united.
We are strong.
We are powerful.
We are on fire.