Monday, March 4, 2013

Such a bad mother...

Haven't been here in over a month.
That lovely month of mindful writing that I swore I was going to extend.
But I didn't.
I shut right down.
Quit paying attention.
Quit writing.
Every day that passed made me feel more ashamed.
I'd let myself down.
I ran away.

Oh sure, work was busy.
Very busy.
It felt like it was encroaching on my every moment.
And I was resentful of that.
Still am, in a way.
Not that I don't like my job.
As far as jobs go, it's a pretty nice gig.
I work from home most of the time,
and only go into the office one day a week.
I'm left alone for the most part,
to get the work done at my own pace.
I like that.
Hell, I love that.

But, at the same time,
when shit comes up on the weekend,
I have to deal with it.
Which I don't like.
This year, it's felt like a lot of my weekends
have been consumed with dealing with crises.
Man-made ones, of course,
with an emphasis on man.
So yeah, I had a bit of a bad attitude
coz I treasure my weekends.

And then, toward the end of February,
since work was letting up a bit,
there was a crisis of a different kind.
This crisis should have actually inspired
volumes of poetry, or whatever it is that I write.
But it didn't.

I decided to have my cat declawed.
I've never been a huge believer in it,
but she's torn up 3 couches and
I was getting sick of her scratching everything.
Tried scratching posts,
but they aren't nearly as fun as couches,
doors, wood trim, and whatever else struck her fancy.
So  yeah, I made the decision to declaw her.
And, at first, it seemed that everything had gone wonderfully.
I was sent home with antibiotics and painkiller for her.
The first few days were fine.
And then after the painkiller was gone,
I noticed her getting quiet.
She wouldn't move around as much.
She didn't want to be around us.
She stopped eating.
She looked like she was losing weight.
And then, over the weekend,
she really took a dive.
Wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink.
Started peeing on the floor
Wasn't pooping.
Felt cold to the touch.
On Sunday afternoon, she could barely walk.

Monday morning, I rushed her to the vet.
I thought maybe she was impacted.
The vet was wondering if she was having heart or liver problems.
We took blood.
He sent me to another clinic for x-rays to see if she was impacted.
When they brought her out, they told me to go back to the other clinic.
She wasn't impacted.
Her kidneys were "in really bad shape."
So, worried even more, I made my way back to the clinic.
And in the exam room, I got the horrible news.
My Bella, the love of my life, was in renal failure.
Her temperature was only 96.3
Her BUN, creatinine, phospherous and potassium were ridiculously high.
The vet wasn't sure she'd make it through the day.

I felt my heart tearing apart.
How did this happen?
Was it the medicine?
She was fine before she had the operation and I had to give her the medicine.

So, I left her there so they could pump some fluids into her.
I cried and cried and cried some more.
I felt like such a bad mother coz I didn't notice her symptoms sooner.
Goddammit, why couldn't I see what was happening?

Well, she made it through that night, thankfully.
Her temp came back to normal.
So I drove in to visit her.
And I bought her some Fancy Feast, hoping that would make her want to eat.
Well, she didn't oblige me while I was there.
She could barely lift her head to look at me.
But she purred.
And purred.
And purred some more.
And I kissed her and begged her to hold on.
To fight.
To not leave me.

And she didn't.
Wednesday, her blood work looked a little better.
Numbers still high, but not in the stratosphere.
We got them into the same galaxy, at least.
And she started eating.
Oh, hallelujah. She started eating.
And I visited her again.
And I loved on her.
And she purred.
And meowed.
And looked me in the eye.
My baby.

Thursday, she ate some more.
All of a sudden her appetite returned with a vengeance.
What a great sign!
And I visited.
Yes, even though it was 55 miles one way to the clinic,
I made sure I went and saw her everyday she was in there.
I wanted her to know that I hadn't forgotten about her.
I wanted her to get kisses and love.
I wanted to will her back to health if I could.
So I loved on her
and she purred. And purred. And even did a little chirpy meow.

I told her that we were doing everything we could for her
but she had to meet us halfway.
We needed her to eat.
We needed her to poop.
We needed her to show that she wanted to live.
We needed her to care.
And she did.

Friday morning, her bloodwork was so much better.
Still high BUN and creatinine, but manageable.
Close to normal levels, even.
she got to come home.

What I was worried was an impossible dream on  Monday
came true on Friday.
My baby came home.

Yes, she's still not herself.
she's eating.
She's drinking.
She's pooping.
She's purring.

So, even though I feel like a bad mother for missing the signals,
I'm also a happy mother because I gave her the chance to make a recovery.

Now, I've also been a bad mother to this blog
And, it can be argued,
to myself.

Nothing life-threatening, though.
Just a slight case of shame in this case.

Nothing like the shame I feel for what Bella went through.
Oh, and you know what?
Yeah, it was all my fault.
Well, not ALL my fault, but
if she hadn't had the operation,
the renal failure wouldn't have happened.

The culprit?
Remember that name, if you have cats.
It's FDA approved for ONE-TIME USE ONLY in cats. Most times, it's used pre-surgically to handle post-surgical pain and inflammation.
I was sent home with 3 syringes of it.
That is what is called "off-label" use by the FDA. It's not illegal. It's just not recommended.
And you know why it's not recommended?
Because when they tested this on cats trying to get approval to market it for cats,
they tested 320 cats. 105 of those cats ended up with kidney failure, 48 died, and 35 ended up having to be euthanized. Not very good stats, guys.
So, there is where my guilt and shame is - if I hadn't insisted on her being declawed, she would not have ended up getting sick.
And, if I had only asked what was being used. And researched it a bit. If only.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
Those three words are brutal. They will drive you mad.

So, my recommendation?
If you have a cat that needs surgery, ask what painkiller they use.
If it's Metacam, think long and hard about whether you want to play those odds.
Ask them what they used before.
Have your cats kidney and liver functions tested.
If anything, and I mean anything, is borderline - do NOT take a chance.
Bella was in great health.
Think about it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Last Day of the Mindful Writing Challenge

Last day of January.
It's so hard to believe that the Mindful Writing Challenge is over.
Well, it's not really over.
All of us in the group,
or a good portion anyway,
are going to continue the practice
of writing our small stones every day.

This has been so much fun!
I can't even properly express what it's meant to me.

When my friend invited me to the challenge,
I was overwhelmed. Scared. Sure I would fail.
But, guess what?
I wrote something every single day of the month!

Maybe I didn't get them posted every day,
but they were scribbled in my notebook -
sometimes, quite hastily, I might add.

I found a group of like-minded folks
all with beautiful words
wrapped around their small stones.
We read each other's work
and took joy in it.
What a wonderful January it's been!

And, I have my last two stones of the month to post...

From yesterday:

Walking across the soggy yard, 
the ground squishing beneath my feet.
There's a moment when I wonder if
I will sink beneath the surface
and find myself in Wonderland. 

We had so much rain that everywhere I walked yesterday,
I sort of sank a bit into the ground.
Yes, even on the driveway!
It was such an odd feeling
that I had to write about it.
It's that moment when something so very familiar,
suddenly isn't anymore.
There's delight to be found there.
So, it turns out that, at that moment,
I was already in Wonderland!

And that brings us to today.
The final day of the challenge.
Not the final day of this blog,
or of me writing,
or of our Facebook group.
Just the final day of the challenge.
And here is my small stone for Day 31:

A hostile army 
has invaded my stomach.
Cells are dividing and conquering, 
and there is quite a battle being fought.
My greatest wish right now
is for peace to be restored.

I started feeling a bit yucky yesterday afternoon,
but thought it was the chips that I ate.
I thought I just had too many of them.
So I took a short nap,
hoping I would be better.
And I was. A bit.
Yes, I was a bit better,
and I thought I was going to get lucky
and be okay today.
Nope. Not lucky.
Woke up this morning feeling
like leftover crap.
So, it's a lazy day today.

And, tomorrow?
There will be another small stone.
And another after that.
I will not stop writing.
Not again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More catching up to do...Small Stones everywhere!

Boy, I'm telling ya...
If the rest of this year is like January has been,
I don't know if I'll make it.
It's been balls to the wall all of this month.

Now, don't get me wrong,
I don't mind working.
Not at all.
What I mind is my life being taken over by my job.
I guess it's inevitable in a way
since I mostly work from home
and only go into the office one day a week.

But, there has to be some boundaries.
I have got to quit answering emails after 5.
I have to put the work down and not pick it back up.
I have to do this or I'm going to pull my hair out.

So, once again,
thanks to work taking over my life,
I got behind on this blog
and my posting of small stones.
I've posted in the Facebook group
and even had to play catch up there.

What I just noticed is, that even though I posted my Friday stone
in the Facebook group on Friday,
I never made it over here to post it. Dammit.
Here's my Friday stone:

Friday, 1/25/13

Standing outside myself,
I watch an epic temper tantrum
being thrown by my 5 year old self.
She doesn't show up too often,
at least not like that,
but when she does,
it's a sight to see!
It anyone else was here,
they would have seen a middle-aged woman
acting like a fool.
But I saw the hurt child inside that woman
raging against the
petty injustices of life.

Yeah, Friday was a frustrating day, to say the least. I was hanging on by a thread, and that thread just frayed all to hell. It wasn't pretty. Neither is my small stone. But, it's honest. Brutally so. And I own it.

I checked out on Friday and worked on getting back to myself.
I needed to renew and recharge myself.

Yes, I noticed things. And yes, I wrote.
But, I never made it over to the Facebook page to post,
and I never made it here either.

So, in posting my weekend and Monday stone yesterday,
someone pointed out to me how they all flowed together
in a natural progression.
I hadn't noticed until she pointed that out,
but she's write.

Here are my three small stones, in order, for Saturday, Sunday and Monday:

Saturday 1/26/13

There is really nothing better
than waking up on Saturday morning
knowing that you don't have to work.

Sunday 1/27/13

How quickly weekends fly by...
A blink,
A nod,
and it's gone.

Monday 1/28/13

That sneaky, stealthy sleepiness
that ambushes you
on a Monday.

So...that pretty much told the story of the weekend and it's aftermath, right? Three very small stones - pebbles, really. They don't make much of a splash. Just a little plop. But, there they are.

I also wrote something yesterday
about something I noticed Friday.
It ties in with the three above, but
it never made it to the Facebook group
since it was written after the fact.
No more cheating. :-)
So, this was just an extra little something:

Friday afternoon
and I feel like a cell phone
with a low battery.
I'm here
I look the same as always
I'm just not working so well.
Time to plug into the weekend and
get recharged.

And, I did get recharged.
In the most wonderful way.
Just a nice, quiet weekend
with the man I love.

So, now we're up to Tuesday!
And here is today's small stone:

The advance of a storm front
is creaking it's way through my bones today.
The pounding of my sinuses
tells me the barometer is dropping.
I don't even have to watch the weather anymore -
Age has made me a prognosticator.

No, I'm not the first to bring this up,
but it's a bitch getting older.
Your body, the one that took so much abuse when you were younger
without even a peep,
has stored up every injury and hurt,
and now decides to tell you about them.

I'm at an age where I finally got my head together
and now my body is falling apart.
Fun times.

What to do?
Write, that's what.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let's Play Catch-Up with Small Stones!

Playing catch-up.

Work has got to stop interfering with my life this way!
Buried alive in work
and here I am blogging.
There's a name for this, that I just learned
Positive procrastination.
I like it!

Anyway, fell way behind with the stones again
because it's been another hectic week.

Monday, I finally got around to coloring my hair.
(It was another lovely moment of positive procrastination!)
Hadn't been colored in 5 weeks, and to me, the gray was way too noticeable.
So, of course, that provided a stone for me:

A little bottle, 
A little time, 
No more gray. 

Short, sweet, and to the point.
I like it. :-)

But, that little pebble wasn't the one that I posted in the
Small Stones Facebook group.
This is my 'official' small stone from Monday the 21st:

The soft snores of
two cats & a man
provide the background music
to an unexpected moment of bliss.

That was Monday evening, after dinner.
Other half was in a food coma,
cats were just in their regular coma.
I was sitting at the laptop, just listening.
And feeling that everything was right in the world.
For that moment, it was.

Tuesday was another hectic day, in a series of hectic days.
Brain was fried from a meeting with accountants
speaking accountant-speak.

Mind buzzing,
whirling around madly,
trying to figure it all out. 
All I figured out was
I'm tired.

Pretty clear, huh? LOL

Moving on to Wednesday, and, you guessed it,
another hectic day!
If the rest of the year is like January has been so far,
I think I will scream. And cry. And have temper tantrums.
Fair warning.

Driving home, 
traffic on the highway reminds me of
gnats buzzing around my head.

The imagery is pretty apt
since everyone here in the Indianapolis area
swears they are driving in the Indy 500.

And that brings us to today. Thursday.
Still buried in work.
Still finding ways to not get started and get it done.

Woke up this morning to a bit of a surprise...

Like a thief in the night,
winter came, 
stole my green grass
and left a white blanket behind.

I don't know why I was so surprised -
the weather forecast did call for a chance of snow showers.
But, they also said there would be no accumulation,
not even enough for ground cover.
Ok, so they were right on the 'no accumulation' part, but
not so right on the 'ground cover' part.
It amazes me how often the weather forecast is wrong
and yet I still believe them!

Looks like I went into the wrong line of work.

Speaking of work, I can't put it off any longer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small Stone, Day 20

Day 20 of the Mindful Writing Challenge already!
11 more days to go.
But, I think I may just keep this going after the month is over.
It's good practice to write something every day.

Lord knows I've missed writing.
It tortures me, at times,
but it's part of who I am.
I've been doing this all of my life.
Off and on.
Bursts of mad creativity
followed by extremely dry spells.

I think this challenge has actually helped me though.
It used to be that I could only write
if something was on my mind,
or if something was eating at me.
But, I'm finding that by just paying attention,
I can find something cool to write about
no matter what my mood or the circumstances.

That, to me, is a huge breakthrough.

So, we'll see if I can keep this going.
It would be a shame to have started this blog and
then let it wither and die after January is over.
That's the plan, then.
I'll just keep writing.

Today's small stone is tiny.
Just a moment's awareness
that crystallized into words:

Monday hovers over
this Sunday evening
like some overbearing lover
you can't get rid of. 

Doesn't that say it all?
I hate how Monday rears it's ugly little head
and invades my Sunday evening.
Pushy bitch.
You can't come in yet.
Go away.
It's still the weekend.
It's still MY time.
You are not welcome on my time.

Can you tell I really don't like Mondays?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Catching up on Small Stones

Wow, I'm such a neglectful mother!
This blog is my baby, and a newborn, at that,
and yet, I've let real life (translation: my job) take me away from it.

Schedule has been unbelievably hectic lately.
I've even skipped days for my mindful writing challenge,
which makes me feel guilty and somehow 'not good enough.'

I sit here and berate myself for letting work take over my life,
and yet, right now, I can't get away from it.
Hopefully, after this week, things will calm down a bit.
It does spring eternal, after all.

So, my last post was for days 13 & 14.
The 15th was a 'lost' day - no small stone.
It's not that I didn't have 3 minutes to stop and pay attention.
I had the 3 minutes,
but I couldn't pay attention.
My mind was all over the place
and it just would NOT settle.

So, the 15th was lost.
But here is my small stone for the 16th:

Water has receded slightly;
The freeze has arrived
and cornfields have morphed 
into ice skating rinks. 

It's a very small stone, indeed.
But, it was something that really captured my attention and wouldn't let go,
so, I had to throw it into the stream, so to speak.

The stone from the 17th is, right now, one of my favorites:

The twinkle in your eyes
sets my heart aflame.
Your smile
lights the corners of my soul. 
Those little moments
aren't so little - 
They are everything.

Yes, they are. And it's nice to be reminded of that.

The 18th, unfortunately, was another lost day.
Work stole another one from me.
Spent all day at the accountant's office,
cleaning up the books.
Came home and hurriedly made supper.
Fell asleep after supper for a short nap
that morphed into six hours of dead sleep.

So, here I am, doing laundry at 5 in the morning,
after playing around on Facebook for the last 4 hours.
But, laundry presented me with my small stone for today:

Washer is grinding away - 
sighing loudly...
I think it's terminal.

Yep, I think my washer is dying a slow and painful death.
And I sit here feeling bad.
It's been a good washer -
a rebuilt off-the-scrap-heap Maytag,
that gave me almost 6 years of faultless service.
I will mourn it's passing.
I'm sure I will mourn how much a replacement will cost me, too!

So, yeah...
this week has been challenging.
I find that I don't have enough time to concentrate on the things I want to do.
And next week promises more of the same.
Which has set me to thinking about what I can do to change that.

I'm sure that will be percolating in my heart, soul, and mind for the next few weeks.
Or month(s).
Won't be years, though - something will click into place.
I'll make sure of it.

Until then, I'm hoping for no more lost days.
I've been enjoying this mindful writing exercise too much.
And while my stones may not be colorful or elaborate,
they've got me writing again.
That is a huge victory.
I have rediscovered something I thought I'd lost.
My voice.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Double Whammy Small Stones, 13 & 14

Yesterday was an interesting day.
We've had a shitload, and I mean a shitload, of rain.
We had so much rain Saturday afternoon
and overnight into Sunday morning
that it flooded everywhere.
Luckily, we are on higher ground
and not awfully close to any streams or rivers,
so the area around the house is good.

But we went out to breakfast yesterday morning,
as is our habit,
and I decided to go toward Interstate 70 and take that route
because I believed that the back way would probably be flooded.

Just driving up to 70 was a revelation.
The one creek or stream was almost up to the bridge,
cornfields were partially flooded,
and water was lapping at the road.

Once we got on 70, it was even more dramatic -
the whole northern side next to the highway was
nothing but water.
It was wild.

Which inspired yesterday's small stone:

Minor flooding
sounds so benign, 
until you see water 
covering the landscape
and transforming it into
an alien planet. 

Once we went to breakfast, there were parts of the route that looked okay,
so I was convinced by my partner to go the back way.
Not such a great idea. LOL
We got to the place that usually floods and, of course, it was flooded and closed.
So I turned around and went down a road I didn't know trying to find a way around it.
Got to a t-intersection and turned left.
Yeah, should have turned right.
That was totally flooded too.
He tried to convince me to drive through that, but
I didn't know the road, so I couldn't gauge how deep the water was.
Nope. Not chancing it. Not in a Prius!
So I finally got out of there and realized that I better go to the store for a few things
because I knew I probably wasn't going to be able to go anywhere for a few days.
So I headed up toward 70 again.
The road I had traveled a couple of hours before now had water covering it in a few parts, but it wasn't deep.
So, nervously (because I'm a chicken shit,) I drove slowly through and made it to the store.
On the way back, it was even more flooded.
I came around the curve and there was an SUV just sitting there, wondering what to do.
So I slowly made my way down to where the water was and drove on the opposite side
of the road because it wasn't quite as deep there as my side was.
The SUV followed me for a few feet until it saw me going through the water.
I looked in my rear view window to see him turning around and
getting the hell out of Dodge!
In the midst of the nervousness I felt,
that image made me laugh.

So yeah, I figured it would only be worse today
and I was right.
No way could the Prius make it through that lake,
which inspired today's small stone:

When you can't go to the store
because the road is flooded, 
that's when you notice
what you need from the store. 
This humorous moment 
was brought to you by 

I imagine it will still be flooded tomorrow, but it may be down enough that I can get through.
We shall see...