Fair Warning: If you're not an "animal" person, you'll probably want to skip this one. I'm really REALLY trying to stay in the present but my mind is just racing. Late this morning my best friend (who incidentally is an almost 9 year old orange tabby cat named Copper Kitty) started meowing. He's not exactly a "quiet" cat so I didn't think too much beyond 'stop it already' at first. Then some part of my brain must have registered something 'different' in the meows because instead of getting irritated with him I started responding very compassionately, asking what he was trying to tell me, reassuring him that I was listening, and asking him to show me what was upsetting him because I just couldn't understand. We wandered around the house a little until we ended up in the basement - his meows intensified, he hopped in and out of the cat box w/minimal results - and my anxiety went into overload. Instantly it was 1998-ish and I was hearing the agonizing cries of my late friend Aspen Kitty coming from under my bed upon arriving home one day and remembering all the "signs" I had missed back then. Aspen Kitty had a completely blocked urethra by the time I got him to the vet and needed, what was fortunately very successful, surgery to save his life - he and I had another almost 14 years wonderful years together. Previous experience gave me the presence of mind to call the vet and not under play what I feared might be happening. They gave me an appointment about an hour after I called and I worked really REALLY hard to keep my thoughts in the present - which was NOT easy. I even did something totally out of character for myself and I actually picked up the phone in search of support to help keep me calm - got voicemails on the other end, but I was proud of myself for making the calls. And when my husband returned my message several minutes later he informed me that he was on his way home - without my even having to ask him (which was great because I wouldn't have asked him even though I really would have wanted him too). Really long story somewhat shorter, Copper Kitty was not a false alarm but his situation is not as dire as Aspen Kitty's was. He had a bunch of tests, was injected with antibiotics based on the preliminary results and has to go back tomorrow as a precaution until all the test results come back (likely Tues or Wed). So far he has a severe bladder infection and the vet commended me on not waiting a few days to see what happened - likely what I was reliving in my head earlier. I'm really trying to focus on the present - I know the fear and anxiety live in the thoughts about the future. I keep telling myself to focus on the big orange ball of fur that is currently purring near me and know I'm doing the best I possibly can for him. It's helping a little but it seems that the minute I stop consciously thinking that - the thoughts run wild. It comes as no surprise to me that I didn't feel any physical pain from the minute I dialed the vet until I got home and my husband left to go back to work. The pain isn't as bad as I expected it to be, but it's here and it's not listening. My hope is that putting all this out there in cyberspace will help keep me from storing it all up in my neck and shoulder.