This post was written at 3 am last night.
On Monday our eldest cat, Sam, had to be put to sleep. I’ve talked about her in a previous post. We are grateful to have had her as long as we did, but she left a hole in our heart when she left us. This post is not a memorial to her because she deserves her own blog post. She was that awesome.
We went home from the vet Monday, and Marcus and I sobbed for most of the night. I cried so much I looked like I had just gotten back from a Phish concert. One of our other cats, Mira slept on my chest the whole night. I woke up every 30 minutes, still in my “Sam is sick” mode, and I needed to check on her. I cried each time I woke up and realized it wasn’t necessary anymore. Mira loved on me, and at one point licked, my face to pull me back. I mean, why cry when a Mira-cat needs petting?
When I get depressed and sad, my tendency is to curl up in a ball and go into hermit mode. It’s not healthy, and I’m trying so hard not to do that. The next morning, Marcus left early for a contract job an hour away. I got up and made myself get back online. I tweeted. I worked on the message board we run. I Facebooked. I answered some comments on the BlogHer article I wrote. I wrote some replies to comments here. I looked at a post I had been writing over the weekend and tried to tie up the loose ends. I jotted down some thoughts about our Sammy-cat. I sent one of my friends a text that said “I’m kind of proud of myself. I’m doing everything I can not to hermit out.” It was a struggle, and I was so glad that I had forced through the inclination to hide. I’ve often done that, and my blog has suffered as a result of that. This blog post tonight is also a victory, because I didn’t want to write it, but I knew I had to do.
Marcus and I have been treating Mira for a chronic bloody nose with a pretty strong antibiotic in case it was due to a bad sinus infection. We were more concerned about Sam, because it was obvious she was dying, but we still were worried sick about Mira. The antibiotic had made her queasy, and if there is anything you learn from this post, it’s to NEVER be unconcerned if your cat stops eating. If your cat doesn’t eat for one to two days, get them to the Vet IMMEDIATELY or they could die from liver damage, especially if they’re on the plump side. When Mira quit eating, Marcus and I syringe fed her. I made jokes on Facebook about how if any of our friends noticed that we smelled like turkey, they should not be worried about the fact that we were wearing a new horrible perfume or cologne. It was not a particularly funny joke, but the replies on Facebook and texts we got from our friends showed that they didn’t care. They were just worried about us and wanted us to know they cared. Just knowing that they were thinking about us helped us deal with the sadness and anxiety we were feeling. Marcus and I are so glad we have so many people in our lives that realize that pets are a part of your family. That helps so much.
An hour after I sent that “I’m not a hermit!” text to my friend, I looked at Mira and I just knew something was wrong. She was still walking around, but my gut instinct told me something wasn’t right. A good friend of ours was able to get us in touch with a really great vet. I’m surprised this vet could even understand me, because I was almost hysterical. In fact I did tell her that I might be over-reacting, because our other cat had just died the day before. She asked me how soon I could get there, and I told her 30 minutes. I got Mira in her carrier, got in the car and sat there for 2 minutes making myself take deep breaths. Then I drove, seeing that my iPhone was barely charged and hoped it would keep working, so I wouldn’t get lost trying to find this place. I felt like I was on the verge of losing it, but I knew I couldn’t because I had to drive and stay calm so Mira wouldn’t be scared. Knowing that this vet who didn’t even know us was willing to squeeze us in – the kindness in that gesture – helped make this trip out there easier to bear.
This vet was so kind. She took a full history and said she wanted to get blood labwork done right away because Mira seemed a little pale. Twenty minutes later, I got the results. Marcus had done a wonderful job of staving off hepatic lipidosis. Her liver levels were all great. But she had a horribly low red blood cell count, so low that the vet was worried about her collapsing and dying. There could be a lot of causes for the anemia, but she couldn’t really address those because Mira was going to die if we didn’t do something. And that something was a blood transfusion, and even then, they were worried she might collapse from the stress. I started crying so hard I couldn’t even get out complete sentences. Since my phone had died, she gave me hers and I called Marcus and told him what was going on. Money is incredibly tight right now, but I didn’t know if I could live with myself without giving her a chance at life. Marcus agreed, telling me we’d get the money one way or another. So we told them yes – do the transfusion.
I sat with Mira for about an hour and a half. The vet needed to deal with a few horse patients but left me with her personal phone in case I needed to call anyone or they needed to reach me. I called my dad and asked him if he could pick me up because I didn’t think I could drive home. Poor Marcus had to drive home from his contract job, get changed and go immediately to a job interview.
I wrapped my arms around Mira and kissed her and loved on her. Tears dropped onto her black and white head, and she kept rubbing on my face like “Girl – you need to chill”. I told her that I really wanted her to fight this, but if she felt like she needed to go, that she could do that. I would miss her horribly, and it would really be nice if she wouldn’t be bitchy to Sam when she saw her.
My brother came in, sat with me and Mira until it was time for her to go back to get the blood transfusion. I gave the vet a DNR order and said that if she did collapse, I wanted them to stop what they were doing and have someone pick her up and cradle her and tell her that she was loved. And then I gave her to the vet tech to get started. The entire ride home (about 30 minutes) I cried gut wrenching sobs. My brother sat next to me and patted my shoulder the entire way home which helped so much. As soon as I got home I noticed the porch cat that doesn’t seem to care for her house and likes to hang out at mine waiting for some food. And then a big cat out of nowhere took off after her and started attacking her. My brother and I rushed over to break it up but couldn’t find our porch kitty anywhere to see if she was hurt.
I got back inside and sobbed for another half hour. My brother kept giving me hugs and doing routine things like feeding the other cats, so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. I was just rigid, waiting for that phone call that said she had died. My husband called, and I asked how his job interview went. His words? ”I was fucking awesome because I am in complete fucking denial”. After he called, the vet called to say that Mira has started the transfusion and the riskiest part was over. That if something went wrong, they’d call but otherwise they would call us in the morning. Marcus came home and my brother left. I started sobbing again, while Marcus hugged me. The whole time I got texts from friends, phone calls from my mother, and twitter messages from people letting us know that they were thinking of us. When the hurt feels so raw, it’s hard for anything else to permeate that sadness but those people reaching out to us, telling us they cared, kept us from slinking off into the darkness.
I found out later that the vet we originally saw sat with Mira and petted her while she got the transfusion. I sobbed for 30 minutes over that kindness. At some point my husband asked me if I had eaten any supper, and I realized that I had eaten nothing but a bowl of oatmeal at 8am. I have never been one of those people that when they get stressed or depressed, they stop eating. I’m the opposite. I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS. During a bout of food poisoning, I would throw up and moan “I’m so hungry. I want french fries” while my husband called me a freak. But that night, I wanted nothing to eat. Marcus ran and got some frozen pea pods and a rotisserie chicken and made sure I ate some of it.
I knew I needed to get a blog post up today. I got a heads up from a friend that I needed to be on my game with my blog because of opportunities that could be coming up. So I tried to suck it up and finish that “Food Trends in 2013″ post I had almost done. The only problem is that I’ve lost my funny. I feel like I’ve lost my ability to even think clearly. My mind feels like I’m pushing through sand. So I asked for help from all my snarky, funny, food invested friends to help me finish up the last part of the post I needed. The vast majority rose to the occasion and gave me great suggestions. I even laughed which was amazing. This is one of the reasons I’m grateful for the food blogger community that I’m a part of. They’re more than just food bloggers; they’re friends, even the ones I haven’t met in person yet. The helpful ideas, the absolutely so horrible they’re funny replies to my request for help meant so much to me.
I sent my post off to a wonderful friend of mine who is a professor of English. She often saves you all from my grammar errors. She is teaching me how to be a comma ninja. She sent back some great suggestions but also mentioned that the post seemed a little forced to her. Very funny but not exactly “me”. And then she said this:
I’m here to help as needed. Take whatever advice helps and leave the rest. And trust yourself. I know it’s hard to be funny right now, so my other suggestion is to write what you feel. Your posts when you do that are amazing. But write even if you don’t post it till later. The beauty of your writing is that you share the way food and pain and food and happiness and food and community come together. How they become expressions of things we share and understand. You are as profound as you are funny (and often the two are perfectly married in your posts), so trust your voice wherever it leads you— unless it’s to cake pops.
I cried a little more after I read that.
I’ve always made a promise to myself to be honest with my blog readers. That doesn’t mean I tell you everything about my life, and small details or names are changed to protect people’s identities. But it does mean that I post what I really think or feel. I’m not interested in creating a drama filled train wreck of a blog for people to follow, but I also am not going to pretend that my life is full of whimsical moments where my witty husband constantly brings me flowers, and if there is a lesson in the post, it’s always wrapped up by the end of it in a neat little package tied with baker’s twine. Those posts always used to make me feel so inadequate until I realized that the majority of them were bullshit. Life is messy. It’s complicated. It’s full of wonderful things. And it can be a shit sandwich sometimes.
Putting out a snarky post about 2013 food trends would be a lie right now. It’s probably the smart thing to do – building on the post that brought so many of you here. I might be bumming my new readers out with all the sad stuff lately. But I’m not going to throw up a post that isn’t me and gloss over what is going on, because this is my blog and my life. And it’s going to stay that way if I have 10 readers or 100,000.
I’m taking my friend’s advice for the most part. I agree that I need to keep writing from the heart. But my heart’s on lock down right now, because there’s too much pain to feel all at once. I’m trying to crack the door open a little bit right now by writing this post tonight.
Today, we went back to the vet and held our Mira-cat. She was pissed at us for about a minute and then forgave us, rubbing our faces and purring up a storm. She was thrilled to be out of her cone and spent the next 30 minutes loving on us and trying to bite at her IV line. She even ate a little food for us. The vet told us she seemed perkier and was “talking” more. That’s Mira. She takes after her mom. She also ate last night, and that’s encouraging. She said that there’s a chance that even though we treat all our cats with Advantage, Mira had some flea dirt on her, and that can cause anemia or other diseases. That’s our best case option. We’re desperately praying for that one. The other options mean we’re probably going to lose her. And that’s all I can say about that right now because I can’t let that door swing all the way open. It’s too much. I drove my car home this afternoon, managing not to sob but with tears dripping down my face the whole time.
Last night I wanted a bowl of homemade tapioca pudding like a dying man in the desert craves water. It was a pudding my mom made for me, and while some people find the tapioca disgusting, it tastes like home and comfort to me. But I was too tired to make it and while my husband would have made it in a second, he didn’t need that added to the load he was carrying.
Again, tonight I felt like I needed tapioca pudding in my life. I knew I could tweet my friends and someone would find me a good, easy recipe for tapioca pudding, because they would have loved to do something to help. But my eyes still sting, my back feel like it’s made of wood, I have rash marks on my cheeks from crying, my heart feels like a cheese grater has been taken to it and my stomach feels like I’ve done 500 crunches. I know that cooking for ourselves or others is often how so many of us food bloggers find comfort. But I knew I could not cook tonight.
We got in the car and drove to Trader Joe’s. We bought nothing that contained any nutrition, and as I walked past the dairy area, I saw it. They sell tapioca pudding. I bought it. I know it’s so gauche for a food blogger to buy ready made pudding, but I didn’t care. Some day I’ll get my mom’s recipe, try a few others and post the most delicious tapioca pudding recipe I can find. But I can’t do that tonight.
I’ll make my snarky post later this week, and I’m working on a post about surviving middle school through the power of my mom’s brownies. It will even have an actual recipe in it!
Tonight I ate a dinner made up of complete crap and had a bowl of tapioca pudding. It was not my mom’s recipe, and it wasn’t as good. But for store bought pudding? It was tasty, and it was what I needed.
Send prayers, vibes, juju, naked forest chants – whatever you think might help Mira. And send Marcus and I a little love so that we can make it through any hard choices we have to make tomorrow.