Releasing Grief

Last night at work, I made a fool of myself and fell over. I was kneeling behind the games counter helping a customer when suddenly, I felt weak-kneed and dizzy. Over I went, hitting the game cage. Thankfully, none of the games crashed down on the customer’s head!

Nancy comes running over to see if I am okay. How ironic that I work with the kindest human I have ever met and yet she shares a name that brings me pain every time I say it.

I was fine just a bit wobbly and I was sent home. Mike was asleep when I got there- it was only 9:00 but these days, I am lucky if he makes it to 8:00! The cats converged around me offering me their purrs and headbumps. I think they knew I was off kilter and as I fell asleep, I had nine sharing my sleep space.

This morning when I woke up, I still felt disjointed and I knew what I had to do. I had to give a big package of grief to God because it hurts to much to keep carrying it around. It is making me gnarly and difficult to live with and though I have tried to move past the last parental episode, I find that moving past it is not something that I can do- but I do know that God can help me by relieving the burden of all the pain.

So all of it went up to God in a big ugly package. The grief of losing family both human and feline, I just gave it all up. I asked God to help me find my way back to Him, for I have strayed far since the years of Calvary Church, the Fire Escape, Maranatha and Icthus. I need my joy back- I miss smiling and feeling free. And poor Mike, our 24th wedding anniversary is approaching soon and after he witnessed what he did down north, I am sure he is having second thoughts about just what he married! I know I would! He barely talks about that night, although this morning at breakfast he did say that the room was so tense that night he could barely breathe. How did he put it? “So much ugly coming from two people I used to respect.” I know just how he feels.

My cats had a visitor tonight. Nick of the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon came over to pick up his traps and also went into the cat enclosure. I had to laugh- for all the cats I have remaining- there were only three brave enough to stay in the enclosure when the “stranger” poked his head in- Sierra, Rocky and of course, my alpha- Matuse. Nick was impressed with the place where the ferals hang out- even though it was getting dark and one lightbulb does little to show off the true effect of the cat enclosure. There is another neuter scooter coming through in january, but the kittens are still to young to be clipped. I don’t think they do them before they are 6 months old, but I could be wrong. It would be nice to get them neutered by 4 months so they won’t even begin to spray anywhere.

The pups are doing so good. The love it outside and it is hard to get them to come in at times, but to their credit when they are in a situation they need to get out of quickly, they do listen to me and come when called. They had such fun this morning playing while the winds were roaring- 35mph winds- they were chasing bits of leaves and tree branches that were snapping, whileI was having a multitude of heart attacks thinking they were going to get smacked by a branch- but they didn’t.

The Final Goodbye

June 22, 2006 after a visit to one of the shelters, our home opened up to include yet another rescue. Guinevere was an overweight, abused senior who was destined to be PTS because no one wanted to handle her care. She was laying on the floor of a small cage when I saw her and when they opened up the cage door, she crab walked and hopped over to me and settled down in my lap. I was sitting on the floor. Our deal was sealed and she left with us that day.

Since that time, Guinevere has lived on the floor of our bedroom. Her bed was a chaise lounge chair pillow and her security was a large cloth kennel or a quick duck under the bed when something disturbed her.

She loved to be groomed and brushed was impossible to pill and had quite an attitude especially about food. She was so courageous, living through the type of abuse that would simply make you gasp. She endured several controversial treatments from me, including accupuncture as a way of alleviating the pain she was dealing with with her misshapen limbs.

This morning we both said goodbye to this cat of courage. Her recent senior panel (she was 21+ years old) showed she had cancer. Since she has already been through enough trauma to last a lifetime, we allowed her to meet death on her terms with dignity- while she still had her grace about her.

I knew something was up because the litter pan she used had recently started to resemble an olympic sized pool when it came to her urine. The cancer showed up in her kidneys.

I hope this is the final goodbye for the felines here for 2008. I am comforted in that Guinevere now can move about the heavens unencumbered by a reluctant body. She also found a new friend on her journey as my friend Dusty also said goodbye to one of her senior friends. Louie was 15 years old when he met his angels.

Dusty said that she thought she was okay with it, that it was “time.” I told her if you EVER are okay with it, then that is when you walk away from rescue because you have lost the compassion that drove you into rescue in the first place.

Bye Guinnie- thank you for all the lessons you bestowed on me- You take with you a large piece of my heart in your leaving

A Break in the Clouds

Muddy and Chilkoot both tested negative for distemper! I am so relieved and elated. They were vaccinated against both distemper and FeLV and although they are still battling ringworm, they were pronounced in good shape!

Guinnie has an allergy so I just gave her a bath and she did remarkably well for what I feel must have been her very first bath in her lifetime. I hope the special shampoo does the trick for her and she will be flea-treated tomorrow safely with Advantage.

I treat with the large dog size Advantage and break it down so I can flea treat the entire crew at a lower cost. I found the breakdown on a cool website called lisaviolets cathouse. You can google the name to pick up the URL or visit the page here: lisaviolets’s cathouse

Temperature plunges

An ice storm has swarmed in and has hit with surprising ferocity. I should have known last night when I got off work as the cats were restless and active and running through the tunnels and leaping around the enclosure as if they were after invisible mice. This morning, the pipes broke in the house and we were without power for a few hours. I know that we got home from my parents at just the right time, because I talked to my sister and they have been stranded in the house due to the snowfall for a few days.

Tomorrow is my day off and I make yet another trip to the vet with Muddy and Chilkoot and Guinevere. Guinnie has an unusual outbreak around her entire neck- scabby nasty sores that I hope is ringworm, but she doesn’t light up like a Christmas tree under the black light. Last time I saw such sores was on Twirl right before they told me she had cancer. I hope that it is a minor irritation and nothing major because I do not think my heart can take yet another loss.

Mike asked me this morning how many cats have survived this feline distemper thus far. The resident cats seem to be okay (knock on wood) and although matuse and toots are still sneezing the URI seems to be drying up.

Our survivors are: Rocky- Sierra-Taylor-Cole-Matuse-Oliver-Charlie-Trump-Everest-Chaplain-Dash-McKinley-Muddy-Chilkoot-Toots-Guinevere-

If Muddy and Chilkoot test positive for distemper, I will put them down without hesitation. It is a horrible way for a kitten to die as it does so much damage inside they have to be in excruciating pain. The virus even splits cells! :( If Guinnie has cancer- she too will be met by the angels. She is 19 years old, she has had a good life and I will not allow her to suffer not even for a moment. She suffered quite enough in the hands of her previous owner who intentionally ran her over and denied her vet care. Then, I vow never to rescue another kitten or cat again. 35 years and I have had enough pain this year to make me walk away from this calling. I will be glad to help others save their feline friends, but this house is closed for rescue as of right now. Besides, the damn virus lives for 2 years so any cat brought in here is at risk to get this horrible disease.

The bookkeeper will be glad to hear that I am leaving rescue. I am sure she wants to throttle me every time she makes out the billing. I don’t even want to think about how much I owe my vet right now.

Onions has been spayed and she is back with her previous owner. None of her kittens survived. :(

Keeper of Secrets

I am back after a exhausting and emotionally overwhelming visit. Mother has double pneumonia and was hospitilized pending treatment. She was perfectly coherent when we arrived (it was a 570 mile journey) but we couldn’t talk to her because all she would do is cough.

Early Weds morning, the phone rings at 1:21 and the nurse tells me they are having problems with my mother. They had to move her from one room because her roommate was developing an infection and it was after that move that mother became confused and combative. My prim and proper mother who keeps an immaculate home went into a rage and threw a pan of urine at the nurse! She tried to upend the bed table, threw her water and pitcher on the floor and so they called to see if I might come down and help out.

In a move, I will always live to regret. I asked the nurse if I should bring my father, and she said she would rather I came alone. So I woke up Mike and we rushed to the hospital to see what was going on.

What happened that night will forever be imprinted on my heart. Even after my father arrived (I sent Mike back to fetch him) after I couldn’t convince my mother that the nurses weren’t trying to kill her, and the holes in the walls weren’t from bullets but rather from someone taking down a peg board. But that night, I found what it was like to venture one toehold into hell and I watched two people do battle in a hateful, hurtful way- and no, I was not spared any of the pain as plenty was dealt in my direction as well.

Mother was out of her head and my first thought was what the H* kind of drugs are they giving her? But as the night wore on into morning and the battle continued, I watched two people who I have known for a very long time that they don’t love each other- confirm that very fact.

We left spent and breathless with mother still in a chair, refusing to go to bed, and lamenting the fact that I didn’t go to the truck and give her a bowl of dog pee so she could have ammunition. I kept telling her that we left the dog at home but she didn’t believe me and kept insisting I was “in on it” and they had brainwashed me. She kept talking about a certain movie- 76 men? And that the whole staff was out to kill her. The oxygen they supplied her with was discarded on the bed hissing away, because she was convinced it was a noose and they were going to hang her. It was all very sad and scary.

When we got back to the house, Mike very carefully blocked my father’s car in the garage with our truck. He isn’t supposed to drive, he surrendered his license awhile back and he has trouble seeing and hearing. But he wanted to go to mother’s side and wouldn’t allow either of us to drive him. The fights that night between us were incomprehensible. He was yelling and screaming, and just as my mother had, he said things to me that were hurtful and hateful. He didn’t want us to drive him, by golly he was going to drive there. At one time he went out of the house fully dressed with jacket and cap and vanished. Mike wanted to jump in the truck and go drive to the hospital as he thought he might walk the entire way! But I stopped him. I had a feeling he was hiding in the back of the property waiting for us to do just that so he could jump in the car and go to mother. He wasn’t on the road anywhere as I hunted with a flashlight and when we went inside to call 911 he appeared as I was on the phone and came back into the house.

So much happened that night and now that I am home, I wonder if it was all a bad dream. But Mike, who was right in the middle of it all tells me it did happen. In the morning after the fighting, I called the vet to find out the results of the tests on Dawson only to find out it is feline distemper. I knew then we had to go. That coupled with the fight and the 64 years of hatred I saw between my parents in that little room, and the fact that two bad storms were advancing, I knew I had to get the heck out of Dodge. I woke poor Mike up at 2:30 in the afternoon where he was sleeping in a recliner and we were packed and ready for travel in 15 minutes.

We got home at 1:00 a.m. this morning only to find to our great sorrow: Hailey, Lazarus, and Aitumn showing full effects of distemper. They met the angels at 8:00 a.m. With the exception of the two youngest adults in the house, the rest of the clowder is free of the URI that plagued them when we left. Mudslide and Chilkoot might still have a chance to live and I moved them down into the bedroom.

It has been a really sad time both here and with my parents. My heart was shattered many times over during that long combat period and the one-on-one with my mother showed her true hatred of me. I just had to get out of there. My father wouldn’t let me tell my sister who arrives tomorrow what happened. He said because he doesn’t want to worry her, but I know better. I have been the keeper of secrets in this family for a long time. He doesn’t want anyone to know what happened, and because it was me in the room during the battle he can always just say I have an over-active imagination and made the whole thing up.

But it has been on my heart since I got home and I had to put the hurt somewhere. It was so overwhelming that even when I laid the kittens to rest in the forest, I couldn’t cry for them. I had already shed all my tears on the long ride home.

Personal Emergency

Won’t be blogging for a week. Leaving for my parents my mother is ill and I need to be with my parents. Kittens are recovering slowly- thinking now (hoping) this is not distemper. Will update when return home- please pray we have safe journey going into snowy passes not fun driving.

Loss

On the way to the vet this morning, Dawson died. I was doing in some places 80 mph trying to get her there before she passed. I will know by Tuesday if it is distemper. Lazarus is showing similar symptoms and has been isolated now.

Goodbye Daws- I am so sorry I failed you-

Voicing my fears

Dawson went to the vet today. When I saw Ben, I told him I didn’t know if God was testing my patience, or I was testing Ben’s! He laughed.

Daws tested negative for the common diseases. Ben said he thought that Dawson was coming down with the URI and it was particularly hard on him. I disagreed, but, I am not a vet. He gave me more pills for the crew as well as some ringworm medication and gave Daws a penicillian shot.

Tonight, after watching Dawson I am afraid that Ben was wrong and this is not a URI but instead, I have a sinking feeling it is distemper. The reason I feel this is because Daws started going over the water bowl and hanging his head over the bowl without drinking. :( Two diseases cause this rabies and distemper (also cancer)so three diseases cause this symptom and none of the diseases are good. Mike is going to take her back in the morning for me and ask them to test her with the canine parvo test. He will call me with the results. If they are positive, I shudder to think how many more kittens will fall. Lazarus now has the exact same symptoms and both the kittens are in large kennels covered in the bedroom. God please don’t let this be distemper.

The Domino Effect

I sit here helpless, watching as one-by-one the kitties fall like a row of dominos. Vibrant, full of life one minute reduced to just a whisp of a kitten barely able to lift its head. Antibiotics may just as well be kool-aid for all the good they seem to be doing.

I cry to my mother in emails and she responds with “You are strong, you can get through this.” I look deep inside for this supposed strength but instead, all I find is a well of tears.

Next week the oldest kitten will reach the age where she can be tested and she will be taken quickly to the vet for the test. I am thinking FeLV although some of the symptoms do not fit.

To what end do I keep these kittens alive? The torment they are enduring are mirrored in their eyes. They avoid my gaze as if they just want to check out and dammit, I don’t want to authorize their travel pass! Unable to breathe, unwilling or unable to eat they slowly reduce down into just a bare whisper and then they are gone. Eyes puffy and rimmed with red, swollen with pus, noses thick with discharge, bleary-eyed they survey the room and I wonder what must they be thinking? Autumn bless her tortie rebellious spirit will still try to flee from me when time to medicate arrives.

“God hear my prayer. I am so tired of being surrounded by such sickness and death. The Bible says You are a God of Life and I ask You to please spare the rest of these angels. Please grant me the wisdom to understand the right way to travel, the courage to take that path so at the end, the kittens can be whole again and give someone here on earth a wonderful companion. Right now you have a lot of my kitties in Heaven. Let others have the joy of their companionship and their love… Amen~”

As for me, I also have the urge to climb into the lap of a mall Santa and ask for two things. Complete return of health for all my cats and kittens and no more vet debt……. In a perfect world I guess and so I will continue on in my imperfect one.

Sick Journal

Need to keep track of the cats progress (or lack thereof) as we experiment with the new drug: delta albaplex. This afternoon, I started the following cats on the drug. They get two a day- so I am hopeful I will still have my fingers after this round is over!

Matuse-Taylor-Cole-Sierra-Everest- Mercedes- all of these are older resident cats who sleep with me, so I have had the joy of having cat snot sprayed in my face in the middle of the night! (Not something I would highly recommend)

The kitten room makes me cry- so I started all the sick kittens on the drug- they get 1/4 tab twice a day:

Mudslide-Perch-Chilkoot-Autumn-Hailey

Something is now wrong with Dawson and it doesn’t seem to be the same thing the other kittens have. She has stopped eating, won’t socialize and is now hiding. I am hoping it is just the puppies that have upset her. I don’t think she got stepped on as she seems to move okay. But it is strange how she is acting. She may just be coming down the URI early and responding to the lowered immune level. I hope she kicks it. The ONLY healthy kitten at this time (knocking on wood furiously) is Lazarus. Of the cats, Riley, Squirrel, Toots, Dash and Chappy appear to not be affected……….yet…….