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.
Every day that passed made me feel more ashamed.
I'd let myself down.
I ran away.
Oh sure, work was 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
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 some more.
And I kissed her and begged her to hold on.
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 looked me in the eye.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.