The long goodbye…

A Blackie update
We had an appointment scheduled for Blackie to be euthanized on Friday the 2nd but cancelled it when she started eating Temptations cat treats. It was a hard call at the time because cat treats aren’t exactly sustainable but she seemed a bit perkier and I wondered if it was a step towards eating. I went out on Saturday to look for something more substantial for her to eat. I’d had a suggestion of Temptations cat food but Pet Valu didn’t have them. What they did have were oh my god expensive BFF pouches, all tuna with another meat added. The cashier assured me the pouches contained tiny morsels of meat, small enough to be lapped up, and she was right. Blackie lapped up about half a pouch then sprawled out on my bed to nap. That was the first time in a week that she’d sprawled, until then she’d stayed crouching in a loaf shape, paws tucked underneath her. And, this morning, when it was time for her morning pouch of food, Blackie marched proudly ahead of all the other kitties, her tail high in the air. She’s not eating an awful lot right now but she’s content and comfortable and that’s what matters.
An update on Blackie
She didn’t eat at all yesterday or this morning so I went to the vet to see what our options are. I got a pill that increases appetite and a can of wet cat food that’s supposed to encourage cats to eat. We also talked about euthanasia, which is $212 and way out of our budget. Apparently the Humane Society does compassionate euthanasia so, if it comes to that, I have a place to call.
I went to Pet Valu after that and picked up cat milk as a treat. I got a tin of wet cat food too called Havana BBQ. Apparently it was just chopped tuna, which is a relief. I don’t think any of our cats need anything barbecued.
The pill went down on the first try and Blackie was very unimpressed with me. I waited two hours, like I’d been told, then got her some of the mushy vet food while Angel got the tin of BBQ. Angel immediately glommed onto the mushy food, which Blackie had sniffed then turned away so I switched plates. Blackie immediately dove in and started eating. I was so excited! But then she stopped after about four bites and went to the bathroom door to be let out. I feed them in the bathroom so the hordes don’t overwhelm them.
So we’re still waiting and seeing. Blackie’s still content to rest. She went onto our balcony today and napped on the bench (despite the cold). She’s wanders around the apartment on occasion and loves being petted. But I’ve got a sinking feeling the end is near. She just can’t go without food for that long.
I’ll update more as things happen.
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It was October 2007. I’d taken two weeks off work so I could go to my sister Sue’s wedding and attend my grandfather’s memorial service and interment. All the family came from around the world. We were surrounded by family for two weeks as we viewed waterfalls, walked on the suspension bridge, and just chatted.

I’d already known something was up before our trip. Our cat Pumpkin was six years old and the internet sites claimed he was senior. I clung to that as an answer to what was wrong. He’d wet outside the litter box a few times. Which was something that was fixed by buying him a litter box with a low entrance. And he just seemed off kilter. Then we came home from our vacation and discovered Pumpkin, who had earned the nickname Plumpkin, was nothing but skin and bones. He’d been his usual weight when we left and was skin and bones when we got home. We took a picture right before we left and another when we got home and he didn’t even look like the same cat. I’d had no idea cats could lose weight that fast. The girl who’d been watching the cats was so upset. I assured her it had nothing to do with her and it hadn’t.

We took Pumpkin to the vet, who instantly diagnosed him with fatty liver disease. He could be admitted and tube and IV fed until he gained enough weight but that was expensive and failed more than it succeeded.

I was waiting at the bus stop across the street from work when my cell phone rang. It was the vet office with bad news. The test results showed cancer, likely liver cancer, and there was nothing they could do, he was too far gone. We took him in to get euthanized the next day. We weren’t supposed to go on the bus without a carrier but the driver took one look at our emaciated cat and our tear streaked faces and let us on board without a word.

A month later we all wanted a new cat. Our searching led us to Pet Smart’s adoption centre. I’d told the woman that we were looking for an older cat and she showed us a couple, hiding at the back of their cages. Then Kait cried out, “Look at this cat!”

The lady’s first response was, “That’s not an older cat, those are kittens” and then she saw which kitten it was and her tone changed.

“Oh you want one of our black kitties,” she exclaimed. “Let me get the catch open.”

She nearly tripped herself in her haste to get over there. Then she opened the cage and Blackie fell into our hearts.

Blackie is our snuggler and the licker of noses. When she wanted food she’d march down the hall, turning regularly to make sure I was still following and giving a scolding meow if I wasn’t following quickly enough for her tastes.

Anyone who has ever worn black knows it can hide a multitude of “sins”, plus she still has her round little belly that sways as she walks. It wasn’t until I ran my hand down her back that I realized how much weight she’d lost. She’s a head scratching cat, not a cat that wants long, stroking pets. I have no real idea of how long she’s been losing weight. I’m leaning towards very quickly though. And, if that wasn’t enough, she started sneezing.

BlackieColin and I took her to the vet last week where she got weighed and checked out. She had a cold and the beginnings of fatty liver syndrome. The vet could do more tests but, since she’s 11, it would cost $260 for a senior’s bloodwork… on top of the check up fees. That was about $260 more than we had. So we got antibiotics and a brief mention of euthanizing. The antibiotics are done but the wheeze continues. Thankfully it’s in her nose and not her lungs. Her nose means a cold, while her lungs are so much more serious. But this cold is kicking her butt.

She’s currently curled up on my bed and she looks peculiar lying there, like half of her is missing. Which it is, she’s gone from 20lbs down to nine. She’s so tiny now, with bird thin bones. I can even feel her collar bones.

One of my Facebook friends suggested heating her food, which I tried with her leftovers last night. I was so hopeful that this would be the solution she needed. I heated her wet cat food this morning in hopes she’d scarf it down again. She followed me to the bathroom then refused to eat. She threw up green foamy bile instead, which, according to Google means her tummy is empty.

I’m hoping she’ll live longer. Long enough to lie in the sunshine on our balcony, while the air wafts delightful smells around her nose. Long enough to gain back some weight, enough to cover her collar bones and spine. Long enough to, once again, lead the parade to the food bowls. But I’m realistic enough to know that’s likely not going to happen.

We’ve had her for ten and a half years so far and that’s not nearly long enough. She’ll be sorely missed when she’s gone. And, as for now, I plan on making the remainder of her life warm, safe, and comfortable.

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Because I’m Fabulous is everywhere!!!

Okay the site’s not exactly everywhere but it’s more places than just here. I have a Twitter account but that one isn’t really worth watching because it’s pretty much just my Instagram pictures shared with Facebook and Twitter. If you’re on Twitter and not on Instagram it might be worth it but, otherwise, skip it.

My more popular one is Instagram. Emma’s not one for getting her photo taken. I’ll throw one up if she’s willing but usually Instagram is photos I find interesting, so lots of cats and nature shots with some unusual shots thrown in. Like my rubber chicken riding a fake security camera. Emma insisted my room needed the camera. I insisted my room needed a blue rubber chicken and there we were. It’s like it was meant to be.

And my most popular one is Facebook. I’m on Facebook a fair bit and share all the positive LGBTQ posts I find (I figure there’s enough sharing of the negative news already). I add each blog post there almost as soon as I finish writing it and share some information and stories about Emma. Also, Facebook messenger is the easiest way to reach me.

my bookLast, but not least, I wrote a novel and published it almost a year ago. It’s called Leaving Hope and it’s a fantasy novel. If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it here. If you’d rather have a paperback version, you can find it here. My Mom ordered it and the book is absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful enough that I want to order a copy and I wrote the damn thing. I know what’s going to happen (but I’m not going to spoil it for you).

Emma insisted I start a Patreon but I’ve only added one thing to it, a short story based of an, as yet, unpublished novel. If people show an interest in it, I’ll write and add more but otherwise it will languish with the one story.

I’ve got my electric fireplace on and Blackie boo is currently snuggled up in front of it. She’s finished her antibiotics for her cold and is sneezing most less now, worryingly enough she’s not eating any more yet. I’ve placed her on wet cat food, which she enjoys, but she only nibbles at it. A friend told me her older cats take longer to bounce back after illness so maybe that’s all it is. The other cats are sneezing too but they’re all eating well so hopefully this infection will pass us by unscathed. And now it’s time to stop writing in here and start writing in my book. I hope every last one of you has a wonderful weekend!

Intersectionality and pink hats…

Dreadlocks. The style that White people have been wearing since the 1960’s. I’d never really thought about them other than vaguely wondering if they got mildewed in the centre after being washed. But now I was being informed, very strongly, that these clumps of hair were deeply offensive to Black people. Why? Because Black people were punished at work and at school for wearing dreads and braids and even just their hair in natural poofy curls.

I can understand intellectually that it would be frustrating and unfair to not be allowed to wear your natural hair style to work while Johnny gets to wear the same style. Although I fail to see how Johnny cutting off his dreads is going to make things more equal. It seems like an everyone loses situation.

Then there was the little girl who wanted a Japanese Tea Party for her birthday. People instantly cried out “cultural appropriation” and “racism”. At least up until Japanese people stepped up and said it certainly was not.

Cultural appropriation can be a real thing but it can also be incredibly hard to sort out. A big company took Native patterns, without payment, and put them on a t-shirt. That’s definitely cultural appropriation. But what about the average person who picks up a shirt or other garment while traveling? Is it cultural appropriation to wear it? Most of my friends agreed that if someone was given a garment it’s safe to wear but how is anyone supposed to know it was a gift? The shirt looks the same whether it was a gift or not.

The other part of cultural appropriation is the judgement. There’s no knowledge of what the individual is like or what they believe but they have beaded braids or an embroidered shirt so they’re guilty of racism. Sentenced and judged without even knowing.

And as more people learn about cultural appropriation, the tighter and more ridiculous it becomes. First it was fighting against corporations then individuals who wore certain clothes or styled their hair too similar to what a┬áPOC would wear, then it moved onto words White people can’t say and emojis that White people can’t use.

That Facebook emoji has black skin so you can’t use it.

Even yoga’s come under fire. I refuse to believe that every single White person who’s ever done a downward dog is racist.

Last year we had the pussy cat hat, made as a symbol of protest against Donald Trump, specifically a reference to the comment he made of “grab em by the pussy”. It wasn’t a protest against trans women or women of colour, although it definitely ignored them. The worst that could be said against the protestors was they were tone deaf. And, honestly, nothing was stopping a single woman of colour from making a hat in any colour she wanted. I know someone who knit one in the trans flag colours. There were free patterns online and they could be knit in brown or black.

As we enter another year I’m noticing more and more the dislike of White people, especially cis White women. Lots of “where were the cis White women when there were Black issues to be protested”. I don’t know. But I do know that this is not the first time cis White women have protested and I do agree that there should be people on both sides standing up for each other.

I’m looking at the States from Canada and see a president sowing dissent among his government and citizens. I see cuts to health care and children’s food programs. I see LGBTQ rights crumbling and I see people up in arms about a knit hat on a statue. Yes, she is a very important figure who made an incredible difference. She’s also dead and is unlikely to care. The statue was not disfigured, the hat is not permanent. And there are so many other issues to worry about right now.

Facebook is suspending accounts for complaining about White people because it’s “racial prejudice” to the point where people are calling White people “yt people” to get around the scans. There are police disproportionately killing POC or arresting them. Judges are sentencing POC with long sentences, much longer than White people. Black preschoolers are suspended and expelled for minor issues that White children get a time out for. Black children are seen as older than their age and they’re given less pain medication when they’re sick and in the hospital. All these are more important than a hat.

I think the hardest part of the cultural appropriation issue is it leaves people feeling there’s no room for dissent or criticism because as soon as you disagree, you’re obviously racist and being judged by your friends. Most of my friends on Facebook are introverts and this is the bulk of their social interaction. Being ostracized on Facebook becomes a big deal.

I’m a firm believer that people own their own body. That means they have the right to say no (or yes), they have a right to wear their hair the way they want and the right to wear the clothes they want. It’s not my right to walk over to someone and tell them their hair is cultural appropriation. It’s hair. They’re not stealing sacred artifacts out of burial grounds. Can we please focus less on cultural appropriation and more on human rights? There’s enough of them at risk right now.

Photo from A Mighty Girl

 

 

Autism in the news…

I’ve recently become aware of a website, Healthline News, which has printed several articles on autism. Which is good because they are the second largest health information site that’s aimed at regular people, not medical professionals. They have an audience of 60 million readers, which is almost twice as many people as there are Canadians. Their articles span a variety of issues, not just autism, but I’m focusing on their autism spectrum articles today.

One article that’s interesting is an article which looks at white matter in the brain in comparison with the severity of autism and ADHD. Another looks at both the employment rate of people with autism, which sucks by the way, and how autism is portrayed in main stream media, which is improving. They also have a list of phone apps that can help teach young children and can help busy parents stay on top of appointments and therapy sessions. I could have used several of those apps when Colin was little, that is if we actually had smart phones back then.

Searching their site brings up over nine hundred hits for autism so you’re sure to have a variety of articles to read and information to peruse when the kids are settled down and not interrupting you every 3.5 seconds. Plus there’s many other articles on a variety of topics, from sex to cooking to improving your memory.

So, if you’re looking for a free website, with more articles than you could read in a year, this site is for you. Enjoy!

Reality is just a word…

I woke up this morning feeling discombobulated. Well actually I woke up feeling like I had to pee but as soon as that got sorted out I felt discombobulated. Like the rest of the world took a step to the left and I misread the instructions and took a step to the right. Everything looks the same but there’s something off. Chances are it’s me. Meanwhile life goes on, even if it doesn’t feel quite like my life. As if I’m running after normal… kind of like when I was a kid and tumbled off the wagon at the apple orchard. Running as hard as I can and hoping someone will reach over and help me back up.

My eleven year old cat Blackie has lost a bunch of weight, like half her body weight. I didn’t notice at first because she’s fluffy and has a big round tummy. Plus I usually scratch her neck and chin. But last week I ran my hand across her back and felt backbone. I did more rubbing and found her collar bones and her breast bone. I’d originally called that her keel bone but that’s in birds and I’d have to take another step to the right to get that far from reality.

Last night I sent Colin out to get wet cat food and he came back with Whiskas Duos. My plan was to get a small plate and open the tin in the bathroom. Colin pulled a Oprah instead, snapping off cans and handing them out willy nilly. Here’s wet food for you, you, and especially for you. They all loved it and, most importantly, Blackie immediately started gobbling it down. Then I looked closer and realized she was only eating the broth, not the chicken bits.

This morning, Blackie was sitting by the electric fireplace, just relaxing, so I got her a container and spooned it out on a plate. And today she started eating the chicken pieces. I don’t have a “way to go you’re eating chicken bits” award but if I did, she earned it. Then I made the fatal mistake. Smudge likes to lick peanut butter off my finger while I eat breakfast. She’d been there before I served Blackie but wandered off.

“Smudgie… Smudgie-pants… I’ve got peanut butter for you!” I called.

Smudge ran over, sniffed my finger and walked away. Behind her came Lara, Angel, and Oreo… while I blurted “I didn’t call you”. Soon they were all crowded around Blackie. I went from eating breakfast to turning into a cat bouncer. And all the while, Blackie gobbled away. When she stopped, Angel (our 12 year old) was the only cat left so I let her have a shot at the plate. Ten minutes later, the sounds of retching filled the air. I followed the sound to the bathroom, where Angel was busy vomiting.

“It’s okay baby. Sometimes food is like that,” I assured her as she gagged. It didn’t come back up last night so I’ll give it another chance, maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe she took a step to the right too. Maybe the food’s different here. Whatever it is, she gets one more chance with wet cat food, otherwise she’s staying 100% dry.

I don’t know what time Colin went to sleep last night but I woke him up at noon and just now, at 12:40pm. Hopefully he’ll stay awake now because I want to clean up the living room today and all the mess consists of his computers and two chairs which he insists we need and I insist we don’t need… especially in the middle of the floor.

One weird thing I’ve noticed is I don’t rock when I’m typing. But today I’m rocking all the rest of the time. Maybe typing counts as stimming? Maybe that only works a step to the right?

I’ve got a prescription to give to my pharmacist. My psychiatrist does not like the sheer number of pills I’m taking a day, which would be ten. I just counted. So he’s switching out the clonazepam for another pill that also works as an antidepressant and will continue to drop and modify my prescription with each appointment. He also knows my blog address now. I don’t know if he was just reading it that once or if he’s checking in every once in a while. It was probably just a one time thing but, just in case, hi Dr. K.

With any luck, Colin will be willing to drop off my prescription today. Otherwise I’ll have to do it tomorrow. I’m not going out feeling like this. I have to cross an intersection of two fairly big roads and I don’t feel connected enough to my body to do that. I’ll stick with dishes and standing in the living room saying, “I’ve got half a computer tower here. Where do you want it? No, the centre of the living room is not an option.”

But maybe I’ll cuddle with Blackie-boo first.

Winter Blues…

For anyone who is thinking about giving up because they have nothing to look forward to.

Winter is a horrible time to make decisions like this. Depression lies and winter just eggs it on. Wait. Just wait.

spring blooms1Spring will come with new leaves and flowers and baby bunnies. Wait for the lilacs to bloom and the sun to fall, warm, across your cheeks. Wait for your first chance to head outside and go for a real walk, one with trees arching above you and flowers opening through the brilliant green grass.

Wait for that first gentle breeze. The one that drifts smoothly across your arms and wafts the smell of green and growing things past your nose.

Wait for the sound of tiny frogs peeping in the ponds and the singing of -spring birds. They aren’t quiet but every sound drips into your heart, relaxing it, telling you that all is right in this world.

Wait for every colour known appear in gardens and meadows. For bumbling bees to come out of hibernation and bobble along, wiggling and dancing into and around the flowers.

Wait for all of this to happen, then decide if you have anything to look forward to.

If you want help, this link includes a list of a variety of help lines from around the world.

Creeping out of hibernation…

The kittens were wild things all morning. I had to lift them out of the storage container cupboard, pull them off the hutch, and coax them out of the fine china. After that Smudge went on a major grooming spree while Lara chased her tail in the bathtub. Then they proceeded to chase each other all around the apartment and over the other cats. My senior cats were decidedly confused.

Colin stayed in his room offering commentary on different videos, interspersed with his braying laughter. I miss the giggle he used to have. Meanwhile I made vegetable soup then retreated to my room to chat with friends on Facebook and to try and calm down. It’s been two weeks since my schedule changed for Christmas break and I’ve come to realize I really need one. A schedule, not Christmas, although I could use another of those too. My anxiety has been revving up and it’s hard to concentrate or get anything done.

If you want an idea what anxiety is like, picture yourself in a car driving down the road. You go around a corner and there’s a transport truck right there in your lane! The crash is imminent and you can’t stop yourself from saying “holy hell, we’re going to die”. Except there’s no car, no road, and no transport truck. There’s just that “holy hell, we’re all going to die” feeling. And it keeps coming as waves washing over you. It’s been like that for me pretty much all day. And, yes, I’ve done my breathing.

It’s been much too cold to go out for any length of time. The temperature has ranged from the -20’s to -30s. We went next door on Thursday to help a friend and, on the way over, I thought my eyeballs were going to freeze. I didn’t even know your eyes could get cold. It felt really weird. The weather is rapidly rising today and it’s supposed to be 2C tomorrow, which is a decent temperature for a winter walk. Emma’s school starts tomorrow too and my groups start up again this week. I even see my psychiatrist and I’m planning on showing him my list of questions.

Up until Christmas break I’d been either walking to or from my groups. Thanks to the weather this week, I should be able to continue with the walks, hopefully indefinitely, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another cold spell. Disappointed but not surprised.

I was too anxious to go outside today but Colin had some things to buy and went out instead. He needed a battery for starters as our smoke detector’s battery failed last night. Why do they only fail at three am? I don’t think I’ve ever, in my whole life, had a detector start beeping at 8pm. Colin needs a box of envelopes too because it looks like he’s getting reimbursed for the money he was scammed out of. Which is amazing.

And now the sun is slowly setting and Colin’s back home, bubbling over about his purchases and how he got a Steve Jobs movie just to see what they got wrong. And it’s time for me to make dinner. Tomorrow’s another day and, hopefully, a warmer and better one.