Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Defendant

This post is copied from an email I sent a friend earlier, edited only to take away my real name (which is NOT Just Me, big surprise). THIS was my day.

So I got my mail for the first time in a week today. Imagine my joy at a letter addressed to "Defendant: Just Me". Inside was a notice my license was being suspended for not paying the ticket I paid a week ago. I freaked, of course. I had to come home to call because my cell was dead. Finally it turns out that they received the payment and it's all ok, but I had the words "you" and "bond" in the same sentence. EEk!

Then I went to the bathroom in a hurry because I have another UTI and when I have to go I MUST GO. I also shake and I managed to yank the button of my pants so hard the button snapped in half. So I spent the rest of the day with half-on pants. Then I did paperwork and realized my assistants are doing a crappy (other words can be used to fill that gap because I'm about that mad) job because I'm letting them. So I typed up the 15 theses (like Martin Luther if that isn't clear because I think it's not) and in a few days I'm letting them have it. Nicely. But this is getting old because it adds a lot of time to my day that is unnecessary.

I have this oddball craving right now for Arby's. thankfully it's healthy in small sizes, more or less. I'm sure it's got to do with the depression I'm fighting. So I went for my sandwich of the day and they didn't give me sauce. So I walked back in, making them think I was some random person who came in and took sauce from the pumps and left. Then I checked my messages and one was from my old vet updating the records on my 3 cats. Including naming Eli. I hadn't gotten teary in a day or two over him but that wrecked that.

And finally I got to town. We have a small town square with a blinky light, our only light in town. Imagine my exhausted surprise to suddenly have teenagers dressed in black wearing halloween masks jump out toward the car as if to hijack it. (I realize they weren't). It did, however, scare me and set the nerves on jangle. I decided if they were my kids I'd want them stopped because it really was dangerous so I called the cops. The cops called back and couldn't find them but were going to get the sheriff working on it. I sincerely hope that's not one of those people-wtihout-kids-being-judgmental-of-innocent-play. I'm too tired to figure. One day. How was that all only one day....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

From me to you

I know I've been kinda crabby lately. I guess that's just how I handle grief. One of the things I've learned over the years of dealing with people dying is that it kind of builds up and then one day you mourn a lot. I think mourning for my cat is more complicated than just that. And I really miss him. The 10 days since I kept telling him he'd be just fine, that I could SEE it coming, feel like 10 weeks ago. I know that if I could just get my kitten now I'd be better, but that's impossible.

Anyway, I figured I'd share a cooking secret I've figured out recently. I figured out how to make some of the best chili I've ever had. This can be done with any recipe; I make a mild chili but lots more could go into it. Anyway, the 2 tricks are: 1) use tomato juice not from concentrate and 2) add a can of drained black beans. Several weeks ago I had grabbed a can of the unconcentrated tomato juice and when I was halfway through making the chili realized I only had half the kidney beans I needed, so I added the black beans. It makes really, really good stuff. (Keep in mind I LOVE black beans though).

Anyway, that's as positive as I'm getting today. I need to get ready for bed. I don't feel ready to go back to work tomorrow at all.


  • Christmas wasn't my best. I had trouble with noise and actually had to go lay down between dinner and presents rather than help clean like always.
  • My brother made the most insenstive comments of the year. I get angry when I hear people make comments about "oh, that's just so-and-so, off her meds" as a joke. I take antipsychotics and those are the referenced meds and I AM "crazy" without them and I don't find it funny. Maybe if they were easier drugs to handle, but they aren't and taking them means constant side effects and impact on my entire life/health. My mom didn't hear it; she says she would have shut him up, but it hurt. It's not like he doesn't know I take antipsychotics. I quit reading blogs if the blogger makes these jokes and have given up several favorite blogs over it. I wish I could quit relatives.
  • I had to email my doctor for lab orders. It's a bit odd that I know precisely what needs done, but something is going on. I'm drinking 3 times what I was, peeing constantly, and becoming very clumsy. So far this evening I slammed my fist in the car door (blinding pain), twisted my ankle rather hard just walking, and burned myself on the stove.
  • I just tested positive for ANOTHER UTI. I know I was clear between because I tested a few weeks ago and was negative. Dr. Brain thinks they may be a side effect of my tricyclic (read: old) antidepressant causing urinary retention. I'm going to have to hope my doctor will prescribe some antibiotics without seeing me. Or I'll go to urgent care. That's probably the better plan, actually since I can't see Dr. Body until the 8th. I may need to do that as well, but we'll figure that out.
  • I don't want to see him the 8th because I already have the gynecologist (a terribly stressful thing for me, even though she is supposed to be skilled with trauma patients) and Dr. Mind that day. But the 15th is worse because I have the dentist, Dr. Mind, and it's my birthday. So it's lesser of 2 evils time. I suspect I really need to see Dr. Kidney, who I'm not supposed to see until April.
  • I really should change my sheets. But I'm going to be a sloth and sleep in them one more night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A week

A week ago tonight was the last night I'll ever have slept cuddled up with my Elijiah. That day was so exciting because he was finally strong enough to jump up and down from the bed at will, and he spent most of the night tightly cuddled with me. He was soooooooooo happy to be back in "his place" in the bed. And I was happy to have him there.

I'm tired of being sad. There are so many ways I'm ok, but I'm tired of the sad parts getting control for a while. Also, we seem to be getting ANOTHER ice storm and that means carrying Christmas presents to the car is a)not happening tonight like planned and b) will be 12 times harder and will require me to go in and out of the garage a bunch of times (inconvenient).

Gotta finish wrapping so I can go to bed. So tired.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beats 2002

There is a long story attached to my getting Elijiah, the cat who recently died. Basically I was very manic after my other kitten died unexpectedly (Ellie), and Eli was adopted to help fill that gap. When I got him I also fell in manic love with another kitten and that's how I came to have Noah.

When Ellie died I was a wreck. She was very young, less than 6 weeks. She had received a clean bill of health days before. She'd also just started coming around me. She was a beautiful, tiny calico kitten and as she gained trust she was really starting to love me. Then one night I went to the bathroom and saw her laying on the living room floor. I went and petted her briefly then went to bed. I thought her position was odd but figured she was playing. A few hours later I woke up to my adult cat, Anna, freaking out. She'd found Ellie's body under my bed.

I was in no shape to handle anything. I was on lithium but no other mood stabilizers and lithium alone is useless for me. I was very upset. My "friend" (described in detail here) agreed to come and help me handle the body.

Frankly I think my reaction was totally appropriate given the circumstances. I was very sick and this was highly traumatic. At least with Eli I knew he might die. But when my "friend" decided to tell me all the 70000 ways my life was wrong she made sure to make some scathing remarks about my "ridiculous (her word)" reaction to Ellie's death.

This time I was spared some of the trauma because Eli died at my mother's house and I didn't deal with the body or the clean-up. But I'm still upset and freaked out.

The difference though is that I KNOW I'm allowed to feel this way. If I want to cry daily for a while, that's ok. If it makes me sad to wash away the last of his hairs, that's ok. If I feel sorry for myself for a while, that's ok.

And if the answer to being sad is to get another kitten then yes, I'll go back to 3 cats. Because that's ok too. My "friend" very snidely told me that this is unhealthy and blagh blagh blagh. Well, it's not exactly what I planned. I planned to have 2. But I also know that there are relationships that the 2 cats don't provide for one another, even though they do love each other, especially after the craziness since Eli got sick. Noah and Eli were raised as littermates. That won't be true for the kitten, but the kitten will appeal to Noah's playfulness in a way Anna can't because she's too mature (read: old. Almost 16).

I now just need to snap my fingers and have all wrapping done. Actually decorative bagging and boxing, because my vow this year was no wrapping and no ribbons. I get upset trying to handle those things because my hands don't do well and it's messy and I want perfection. So, I quit. But I'm so tired of trying to get things together. So tired.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Better today

I've spent a lot of the last few days grieving, as expected. Today I rested a lot, then moved on to trying to warm my house up.

I've managed to put things together so that I am reasonably sure that my cat didn't really suffer. I doubt he even was aware of more than a moment or two, just enough to jump down from where he'd been sleeping (and most of the blood was), stagger a few feet, and be unconscious. That knowledge helps so much.

I also realized that he had every chance of having a hard life. He was going to be cut off from his favorite window because of too much risk of eating things in that room. He very well might have spent his life looking for more plastic to eat; many animals who start this do. He was so overweight and at 6 his joints were already showing signs of arthritis. He'd probably have had other problems as well. And I NEVER thought he was genetically typical. You'd have had to see him to understand, but he did not appear quite right.

I'm going to get another kitten at the end of February. I'm on vacation in mid-February for 10 days. Most of that time I'll be halfway across the country, but I return on Wed. and don't go back to work until Monday. The cat shelter conveniently is open on Thursdays, so I'll pick out a kitten then and have the next few days to get it to the vet, and acclimate it to my home and the other cats to it.

The waiting is hard. Friday someone asked me if I had pets and I had to answer "two cats" and about choked on the answer. I want the kitten to help me move on. Kittens are, of course, known for being funny and I need this. Nothing will replace Elijiah, and I know that. But this is a 3 cat household. Cats are the only "children" I'll ever have, and so my connection to them is greater than even most people's connection to their pets.

So, moving on because that's the way things have to be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


My cat died overnight. His platelets were very low last week and must still have been because he bled to death. He seemed to be doing so well. Yesterday he was well enough to be able to jump up on the bed and down by himself. He'd been far too weak for that. And he was so happy the last few days. I was so sure he was going to recover.

He was so shy I don't have a good picture to put up here, but he was a loving, beautiful, sweet boy. I miss him so much already.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This post is mainly for my own benefit because I want to remember these interesting days of tube feeding my cat.  Also, I know I've appreciated every drop of information I've found, so maybe this will help someone someday.
As a brief summary, my obese cat ate a bunch of plastic which blocked his bowel.  He stopped eating and lost a lot of weight, which causes metabolic issues in cats that are often fatal.  He lost about 1/3 of his weight in a few weeks, even with syringe feedings.  As a last resort a tube was placed in his neck that lets us inject liquid food with a syringe for several weeks until his appetite returns.
At first this was a disaster.  The tube had a broken part that kept coming off and the tube had a kink in it inside the cat so that every feeding required 2 of us and food flew everywhere, including in hair, on glasses and in my mouth.  The walls also were thoroughly decorated.  The vet tried to fix it but it just broke again.  Finally the cat scratched the tube and the kink released.  So now feeding him takes about 5 minutes and is very easy.  Flush with water, squirt in food, flush again, put cap on, release the cat.  It's especially easy since we figured out that he does better sitting on a card table on some baby blankets.  We also keep cat wipes and baby wipes handy for rapid cleaning.
Cleaning the cat also has been a huge issue.  All the time he was sick he didn't do much for hygiene.  Then he got an enema and that was really cleaned up either.  He was horribly smelly for a while.  I wound up cutting the hair around his butt and some at his mouth where food had built up. 
After just 3 days of the tube working he's gaining weight, pooping (for the first time in a month), and showing a bit of interest in eating.  He's becoming social again, which is the best part for me.  I think this is going to work.  It's not easy, but I think we'll succeed.  If it doesn't he'll die.  Which may kill me.
So, I think things are going well.  I also was reminded of this very old forward, from back when forwards were sometimes worth reading/keeping. 
Cat Bathing As A Martial Art

 A. Know that although the cat has the advantage of
 quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have
 the advantage of strength.

 Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.
 Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force
 you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom.

 If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend
 that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding
glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)

 B. Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to
 remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect

 I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army
 helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.

 C. Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)

 D. Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo.

 You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.

 E. Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded.

 Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too much.)

 F. Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans
 generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined.

 In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through.

 That's because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg.

 You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to
 encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach
 down and dry the cat.

 In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about
 three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you.

 He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

 You will be tempted to assume he is angry.

 This isn't usually the case.

 As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide
 to give him a bath.

 But at least now he smells a lot better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't live at home anymore

I can't access my own blog (for fear of giving away its existence), so I have no idea how much of this I've written about.  Long story made short:  my sick cat became very, very sick last week and had a feeding tube put in on Thursday.  It has not been exactly easy to feed him with this, as the tube has a bit of a malfunction.  So I have been home only 35 minutes since I left for work Friday morning.  Thankfully the tube is working much better now, but my presence is still needed.  So I don't know how long it will be before I'm home for long.
The good news is that he is doing well.  He's had a tiny bit to eat prall of his own accord, he's pooped for the 2nd time in a month (aside from the enema induced mess), he is feeling soft and clean again (thanks in part to my mom's cat who spent the day with him and cleaned him, and thanks in part to many, many cat wipes and my attack of the grossest areas with scissors).  Things are progressing.  I can tell he feels better today.
But as for the blog, I can't look at what I have written.  I can't respond to comments.  I can't post easily.
So, I'll be back when I can be.  Just know I'm trying to save a life.

Join me

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Today was my psychiatrist visit.  I got some answers for some of my recent health maladies.  Well, more I got some guesses as to potential causes, but it's better than "well, sometimes these things happen".  They are not supposed to all happen at once! (says me)
My UTIs may be because of urinary retention from my antidepressant.  They started when the dose was increased and this is a side effect.  I'm on a tiny dose but the side effect may be additive from other meds.
I already knew my tooth-grinding may be med-related.  This she couldn't find specifics on, but it also may be from the higher dose of AD. 
I also got confirmation that my feeling excessively sedated for my needs probably is true.  I already knew that I get to come off meds (trial at least) in the spring, after SAD is over.  But I've been doing this to make my depakote less effective at sedation and she's ok with that because she agrees I'm on a lot.  I was secretly hoping she'd say I could just decrease the depakote, but she didn't so I guess I have to wait those last few months. 
I'm so happy with how things are turning out.  Me, decreasing meds!  3 years ago when this blog was started I was in such bad shape that I went 2 years with every appointment involving increasing or adding something, literally just trying to keep me alive until the right med came along.  Seroquel XR (this specifically) is it. 
Now I just have to get the AD down so the UTIs stop........

Join me


Today was my psychiatrist visit.  I got some answers for some of my recent health maladies.  Well, more I got some guesses as to potential causes, but it's better than "well, sometimes these things happen".  They are not supposed to all happen at once! (says me)
My UTIs may be because of urinary retention from my antidepressant.  They started when the dose was increased and this is a side effect.  I'm on a tiny dose but the side effect may be additive from other meds.
I already knew my tooth-grinding may be med-related.  This she couldn't find specifics on, but it also may be from the higher dose of AD. 
I also got confirmation that my feeling excessively sedated for my needs probably is true.  I already knew that I get to come off meds (trial at least) in the spring, after SAD is over.  But I've been doing this to make my depakote less effective at sedation and she's ok with that because she agrees I'm on a lot.  I was secretly hoping she'd say I could just decrease the depakote, but she didn't so I guess I have to wait those last few months. 
I'm so happy with how things are turning out.  Me, decreasing meds!  3 years ago when this blog was started I was in such bad shape that I went 2 years with every appointment involving increasing or adding something, literally just trying to keep me alive until the right med came along.  Seroquel XR (this specifically) is it. 
Now I just have to get the AD down so the UTIs stop........

Join me

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some things never change, others don't stop

I've been reading my archives and discovering how incredibly much I've changed in the almost 3 years this blog has existed. I've been through so much, and come out so much better than I dreamed possible. Even now, I'm feeling much more down than usual, but I'm surviving. And I've got plenty of reasons to feel down.

In the latest cat news he got a feeding tube today. This is a more or less last ditch effort. He's developing a liver issue cats get from not eating and without treatment it is 90% fatal. With treatment (the tube) he has a 70% chance of survival. The trick is that over the next weeks we feed him through the tube until he no longer feels sick all the time from his liver breaking down and then let him start eating. This may take a few days or it may take months. From my limited diagnositic skills from the internet I think we started the treatment early, which is good. He wasn't nearly as jaundiced as pictures I've seen online. Nonetheless it's breaking my heart. He's such a good boy and I can't imagine my life without him.

Work is extremely busy, hence the low posts. Welcome to healthcare in December. It's typically one of the busiest months and so far is true to form this year. I've had overtime every day for the last 2 weeks I think. Too bad I don't get paid time and a half until I've worked 8 hours over (because I'm a 32 hour employee) per week. But they hired a new assistant yesterday and she'll make my life a lot better.

I don't know if I mentioned it but my antidepressants got really messed up in the chaos of the weekend. I was waiting for them to come in from an order and one of the things I was going to do when I wrecked was pick them up. So I got back on those yesterday and hopefully will feel all better in a few more days.

I love small towns. Yesterday they called to warn me my water was to be shut off if I didn't pay in the next few hours. I'd already left for work and got the message when I called in from my cell. I called and explained and they let me drop the check off late at night and left the water on. Nice of them. Really, really nice.

Probably I should go to bed now. I took a nap and now am not as sleepy as I should be. But soemtimes naps just are needed. I had a very bad night of sleeping Saturday after the accident, and then again Monday night because I was upset about Tuesday's dental appointment. (Where he couldn't do anything. My tooth is probably cracked to the bone and is likely to have to come out. I'm going to try a nightguard first and that will be ready next week. I will have the extraction with twilight anesthesia possibly (depends on how much it messes with psych meds) and that means it won't happen until late January when I've got sick days.

One more day this week!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stupid weather channel

So we were supposed to get a couple inches of snow late this afternoon with out any really bad weather. Ha!

We got ice starting this morning, and a lot of snow. My mom came up to help me work on de-plasticating things for the cat, and told me she hit some black ice.

I had to leave for a haircut and to get a prescription. It should have been no big deal according to the forecast. In fact, there shouldn't have had anything on the roads according to that.

I left and it was slick in town. There are 2 ways to go to get to the same place and I picked what I thought would be better. Instead it was really slick. There is a place where you go around a curve, cross a railroad track, go down a slope and stop for an intersection with the main highway. As I approached this there were flares and a car that had gone off the road and hit a guardrail head-on, accompanied by a patrol car.

I started to slow to stop and my brakes didn't do their thing. I saw the guardrail coming for many feet before I hit it. I was fortunate; my car was just starting out of the slide and I slid at a relatively good place in the curve, so that I got scrapes and a small dent, but nothing major. No damage to me. There was another man waiting for the cop too; he had actually been the first in a series of 10 accidents at the rural site, most of which the people just left. He let the other person go first because she had a baby with her (both unhurt, but the car was totaled).

I had to leave my car and stand where it was safe(r). Given that we knew of 10 accidents in 2 hours and people were sliding everywhere and my car had to be left more or less in the middle of the road (no shoulder) I was sure I'd get hit. I didn't, thank God.

I have windburn and haven't been able to get warm, but those are minor. And of course I got a ticket, although the cop actually apologized.

Nonetheless, not easy to deal with. I've got so much money output right now, and that's another. (Cat surgery and many vet visits, root canal(s), fillings that failed, COBRA, whopping psychiatrist bill because my insurance quit paying for her because I had too many psychologist visits).

The worst part really is that I'd run out of antidepressants last week. I tried to fill it but nobody had the mg I take (it's a really small one and then I take a lot because I'm on a bizarre dose (75 mg is the start dose; I take 70 mg because 75 makes me manic). So I got a partial that only had 10 pills. I knew I'd havfe to stretch it 2 days because I couldn't get the pills until today, so I divided it in half. Well, I didn't exactly make it to the pharmacy today. So I'm bottoming out and am crying at the drop of a hat. And I won't make it tomorrow either. So I'm a crybaby for a while....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I give

I am so frustrated by my own body. Something has to be wrong here.

I'm on my 3rd UTI in a month (or the same one that doesn't heal). This time I didn't even go to the doctor because it hit on Thanksgiving; I used the refill that was on my last round of Bactrim, assuming that's why he gave it to me. (One of those healthcare worker courtesies I get from him sometimes. Plus, this many UTIs and you learn the symptoms).

I also had that infected tooth with the root canal 2 or 3 weeks ago. Well, guess what? I'm almost 100% sure that I'm going to be getting another one next week. I know for sure from experiencee that I have a toothache (had to be taught that toothache and soreness are different critters) and that I have all the same signs of infection I had before. So I'm on a huge dose of amoxicillin for a week or so. And then we decide what to do. I can't get in to see the dentist before that as he's closed for some reason or another Thursday and starts late on Monday and Wednesday. (I think he's easing into retirement, something I dread the idea of because he's good).

And, to make it better, amoxicillin generally upsets my stomach. I am not excited about this high-dose thing. So, if I'm quiet for a few days I'm sick. Plus I'll have to figure out a revised work schedule to give me Tuesday off if they think I'll be having something painful done.

One thing I never thought bipolar could possibly make challenging beyond the whole sensory issues thing and auditory hyperacuity is dental work. But it has a unique challenge, one my dentist is sensitive to and which I make sure to be prepared for, but which is not easy: the lidocaine shots they use to numb you have a hefty dose of epinephrine in them. It's an important ingredient in getting the shot to work apparently. For most people it isn't a big deal. For me, the hit makes me shake, get agitated and almost short of breath, and generally is a really bad sensation. Of course this makes sense when you consider that not only is epinephrine more likely to trigger this kind of reaction in a bipolar patient who is more susceptible by nature, but I have not had any caffeine in 16 months. My body is not used to this at ALL. Since the psychologist pointed this out I've realized that even being slightly upset (natural epinephrine release) makes me react strongly. But anyway, those minor numbing shots mean immediate dosing of 1 mg of ativan, so even fillings make me sleepy.

And now, the million doses of amoxicillin begins......

Monday, December 01, 2008

Did someone break a mirror in here?

Seriously, something is jinxing me. And I don't even believe in that stuff.

But guess what I had to do today? I got to get up early to take my cat (the same one that had emergency surgery 2 weeks ago to remove most of the contents of my house) in to the vet for an enema.

Let's just say 1)cats don't like that and 2)I'm really glad I didn't have to watch.

Oops, late for meds. Gotta run.