I had only lived a mere fifteen years when they diagnosed me. The emotions that swirled within my blood seemed to freeze as they told me the extent of my condition. My once warm smile was now an obstacle in the pathway of my hot and salty tears. My mother tried to comfort me, to embrace me in her arms and tell me everything would be okay, that the doctors would fix me. But I knew she didn’t understand, didn’t understand the terminology the doctors were using to regard my condition, to my favourite sweet, when she’d bring the wrong one in to surprise me with.
I lay entangled in jungle of clinical white sheets. Their paleness blinding me every time their colour caught the horrific shine of the concentrated light. I turn over and over in the space of the small ashen bed, thinking and trying to remember how I got here; what was actually wrong with me? All that comes to mind is a ball of fur, and the memory of sitting in the centre of my almost forgotten bedroom, cutting hundreds, if not thousands of pictures, all of the same thing. But when I try to remember what the image was of, a blurry kind of filter is added to my vision, and then comes the routine pounding in my head, like I’m the special guest to an African drumming performance, and I’ve been allowed to sit centre stage. My hands go straight to my head as I try to remember where my nurse button is positioned. A small framed lady with ebony hair and lips red as blood touches her milky skinned hand to my cheek. She sits by my side and assists me in drinking a cup of cool water, the droplets easing the pain in my head. I turn to face the nurse with my hands slightly shaking. I ask what the name of my condition is called, my eyes wide, eagerness coursing within them.
“Ailuromania” her voice was short, warning me not to ask any more questions, but I simply couldn’t help myself.
“And what does that mean exactly?” my voice was cautious “Is it… terminal?” I looked her straight in the eyes, tears threatening to spill out. A small smile creped upon her face, then a wide grin, and finally she let out a hearty laugh I would never have associated with her small size. I stared in shock as she laughed on and on in my face, my hands balling into tighter fists as each second ticked on. Just as I was about to explode in a fit of pure rage, the laughter was cut short. She looked at me and stood up, straightening her outfit as she did so.
“It means you have a passion for cats, in your case, quite a serious one. We’ve decided to increase the dosage of your tablets to six times a day instead of three. The most common treatment for this sort of disease is to just get you a real life cat, so you wouldn’t have to keep pretending anymore, but because of your mother and her allergies, your parents can’t actually provide you with one.”
Memories flooded my brain as I remembered multiple conversations about my disease with this same nurse. She seemed to see the realisation across my face, as she started talking once again. “You and I have had this conversation a whopping twelve times, remember? The medication is slowly erasing your love for cats, but in the process, some of your other memories are getting the sack as well. We’re doing the best we can, just hang in there kid.” I felt her inject something into my left arm, directly into my blood stream. The pain shot through me like a strike of lightening, before a cloud of drowsiness settled above my still aching head. All I could remember was the nurse smirking as she left the hospital room, and the wanting to hug something small and fluffy…