I was musing on all the things I’m dealing with at the moment, and realized it’s a lot. Rather than try to fit all this shit into a tweet or a tweet-thread, I decided to indulge myself and fill the vasty white fields of a blog post with swarms of words. I have an awesome mechanical keyboard, let’s bang on this thing.
(CW: Pet health, needles, harsh language)
Feel free to skim the Herzog paragraphs- there is a bullet list at the bottom detailing the other mountains in my range of Recent Anxieties.
(Author’s Note: Once I was done with this emotional barf party, I dithered on whether or not to even post it since it’s a few thousand words of just BLAAAAAAHHHHGGGGHHHHH. But I decided to go ahead and post it – let things that need be said, be said. At another point in the future, I will do a post about all the things I am looking forward to, in order to voice to the positive as well as the negative.)
So first off, Herzog.
Long-time readers know that Herzog is my cat. If you wish to know more about him, I’ve written about him at length here. He’s my precious treasure and I would fight bears for him. He’s a 12-year-old gray tabby with a little white locket on his chest.
Admittedly, my precious treasure got a bit spherical over the summer, but then he started losing weight and eating very little. He felt bony and diminished. I thought I bought the wrong kind of food so I got another bag of a different flavor, to no avail. After one vet appointment which involved bloodwork, X-rays, a fecal exam, and four Benjamins, he was diagnosed with Type 2 feline Diabetes Mellitus, which is quite common in senior or overweight cats. He was weighing in at 16lbs and change, but since he’s big enough to reach the surface of the dining room table from the floor, his weight is very well distributed. At the appointment, we found he was down to 13.8, a significant loss.
He’s eaten Blue Wilderness dry food his whole life, and although I’ve offered him wet food he didn’t seem interested. I almost NEVER give him people food; if I do, it is a piece of unseasoned meat, OR the daily ration of 2 spinach leaves he has insisted upon since kittenhood. No vet has ever been able to explain what that’s about, but it Must Happen or the house will not know peace. Sometimes he gets a crumb of bacon, or a tiny dab of mozzarella cheese (NEVER blue), but these are things that happen a handful of times a year. He’s never been a picky eater, and he does eat things he shouldn’t if I am not fast enough to stop him, but so far we’ve never had a problem.
The New Normal in the house involves much less dry food, available throughout the day, a bigger water fountain, and a serving of wet food at both 7:30 AM and PM. At the same time as the wet food, I also administer an insulin shot. The latter goes better than I would have thought – most times, he sees me holding the shot and lays down on his belly so I can pinch up the skin of his shoulderblades for the injection. Once he ran, but not too far. He’s eating a little more, drinking from the new fountain, and doesn’t feel so bony. We have a follow-up appointment to identify his glucose curve on the 8th, where he will spend most of the day at the vet’s.
Although we have a plan and the vet is optimistic about the possibility of remission, I am still not okay. There’s the nagging worry that diabetes isn’t the problem (What if it’s pancreatitis? What if it’s cancer? What if he’s at home in pain, dying, looking for you to hold him while his heart beats its last RIGHT NOW? are the types of things that occur), that he’s not gaining enough weight, that he’s still mostly nibbling his food rather than finishing the bowl. Last night was particularly bad.
I woke up to find he wasn’t with me in bed – I found him asleep in my office. Once in a great while, he does this, no idea why. I brought him to bed, he stayed about an hour, then got up again. This time he was in the armchair in the living room. Because it was 3AM I assumed he was finding a comfortable place to creep away and die and so I sat on the floor next to him and sobbed uncontrollably. ‘Ugly crying’ is a cute description and doesn’t come anywhere close. I decided that if he needed to go, going peacefully in his sleep, in a comfy chair, was the absolute best case scenario. I lay down on the couch for a bit, then decided he could go in my bed, where he’s slept almost every night of his life. I woke up all night long and checked his breathing, letting my limbs fall asleep rather than disturb him. He usually moves in his sleep, or wakes up enough to reposition himself. Last night he didn’t move at all.
I can’t describe to you how relieved I was when my alarm went off today and he let out his daily ‘maawww’ in protest. If I won the lottery tomorrow and also discovered I had sprouted wings in the night and that magic is real, it would be mild excitement compared to what I felt when he yawned and raised his head.
Friends with diabetic cats have shared stories about their pets’ long and healthy lives, stories of remission and hope, and that definitely helps. Losing Herzog is a life event I’ve long dreaded, and all this has helped me realize how unprepared I am for that eventuality – but for now, all I can do is take the best care of him possible.
All The Other Shit
Here’s a list of all The Other Shit I am currently worried about:
- Environmental events – species going extinct due to global warming; whole landmasses desiccating as rainfall patterns shift and cause mudslides, flooding or forest fires; climate change blowing past the point of no return; thinking that sorting my recycling is helping when really 75% of the shit goes into a landfill anyway; ice caps diminishing; sea levels rising and causing devastation due to storm surges and erosion; intensification of significant weather events like hurricanes, snowstorms, etc.
- Political stuffs – I am in Florida, a state whose governor is in denial about the dangers of COVID and shilling some bullshit remedy. School boards around the state are battling in order to adopt mask mandates, at the risk of losing funding. It is straight fuckery. Meanwhile, the state health department is hiding real infection rates among children and the unvaccinated. Public schools are especially endangered- everyone knows the GOP think public school is icky and kids should go to expensive private schools. And that’s just the local shit – erosion of abortion and voting rights are also happening across the country.
- Family Stuffs – My Mom apparently sleeps all day and stays up reading all night; also she and my father might have health problems they aren’t sharing with me. They aren’t taking COVID19 as seriously as they should and the only thing that’s kept them safe is the extremely low infection rates in their small, rural town. I think my Mom is depressed but they both keep insisting not.
- Life Stuff – My job is fully remote now, and I can move anywhere, which is exciting but also – I CAN MOVE ANYWHERE and I have no idea how to decide. Traveling to places to check them out is risky due to infection rates, and is complicated by the fact I have to give my cat meds twice a day. I’m vaccinated, but Delta breakthrough infections happen. It’s a wonderful thing I’m too freaked out to enjoy. My lease is up in April so I have time to plan, but no energy or enthusiasm. Also my Mom likes to say things like ‘Well, I guess you can move away, but we won’t be around forever and might die soon [long, sad, sigh],’ so that’s super helpful.
- More Family Stuff – I want to start a family, and while I am open to adoption and fostering, those options will always be there. The window is closing on my ability to have a child biologically (I’m 42). I can’t do it now because my house is tiny and I would literally have nowhere to put a child, so moving is necessary. I’m planning to be a single parent.
- Book Stuff – That is a whole other post.
As I mentioned above, barfing all this shit into words has helped me center on the important things, and reflect on what good things are happening. That will be another post, but for now, I thank you, reader, for making it all the way down to the bottom of this long, neurotic post. And I wish you only good things.