mer: (Doctor Who - 10 in snow)
So, for this year's Christmas special, the plan was that my mom would come down, she would make a Christmas Eve dinner of lovely aloo choli, my in-laws would come over and I would cook us all a giant feast, and then the day after Christmas, we'd visit some friends. Somewhere in there, the house would get clean.

Dear readers, puking tried to ruin my Christmas plans.

Seriously. I'd taken Friday off work. The retrieving supervisor had felt ill for three days prior with a "gnome gnawing [her] intestines," but I'd brushed it off as "She sits pretty far away." I spent Friday cleaning the house and feeling just fine. I got up very early and made it to Trader Joe's by 8:05, to Whole Foods by 8:45, and to MedEquip (to get my CPAP pressure adjusted) by 10:00, then pretty much worked nearly non-stop but for a 30 minute break to lunch and a 45 minute nap late afternoon. All was going sort of well, other than I didn't check in on stepdaughter's cleaning of the bathroom, which I should have.

Cut for bathroom rant. )

I also, as usual, slightly misestimated Time Needed to Clean, per usual, so redistributing the chore load with my husband ended in an epic discussion, but we sorted it. Anyway. Mom arrived. We chatted, we watched 30 Rock, we got ready to eat...

My mom was putting together the aloo choli and I was toasting naan and suddenly I was overwhelmed by nausea. Like, "I DO NOT WANT TO EAT" levels of nausea. And I admitted it, which is not usual for me and feeling bad in front of my mom, because she swings into Full-on Nurse Mode.

Maybe that's why my husband feels I'm a hypochondriac. I know it's safe to mention feeling ill in front of people who aren't my mother, so I mention any twinge that comes along.

Now, Full-on Nurse Mode with my mother isn't like some awesome thing. I mean, Full-on Nurse Mode is awesome to behold, but it's not such fun to experience. She does things to you. Flu? She tries to make you drink hot pineapple juice laced with garlic, then feed you milk toast, and then everything you try to do for subsequent days afterward is met with a sharp, "JUST LIE DOWN AND BE SICK." She does not think well of people who try to do things while being ill. They're just asking for more being ill time in her book, and ultimately making her job harder. She has a highly competent bedside manner; you feel safe with her. But it's a kind of competence and safety that is occasionally hard to bear, especially if you were just feeling vaguely nauseated. She is not sympathetic.

So the fact that I said something and didn't try to choke down any food right then probably, in retrospect, should have been the sign that something was going to happen.

My stomach seemed to settle, and I had a bite or two of food, and a bite or two of naan. And stopped there.

Cut for Vomit. )

I spent the evening being nauseated and considering ways in which not to puke, and having waves of body chills and aches. I fell asleep on the couch around 9ish, sitting up, unwilling to go to bed even though I was wretched because lying down seemed like a bad idea; Dann played video games (Mom went to bed). Sometime past midnight, after I drank some electrolytes and ate some applesauce, I made it to bed.

I woke up mostly okay. I tried toast; toast was a friend. Then I had to start cooking Christmas dinner, which my mom was a huge help with. Every time I mentioned part of the plan that was complex, she nixed it. "Don't make it complicated, you're sick..." Full-on Nurse Mode, right? I hadn't gotten to do any of the prep I'd wanted to do the night before. All I'd managed was to hard-boil some eggs and doing the turkey brine.

So, morning. Turkey in the oven. Mom peeled potatoes. My husband took pity on me and made the bread. (He also did the chocolate pie, but not from pity.) We put together squash and sweet potatoes and broccoli. Everything was humming along. Then Diabetic Cat, Kali, yowled for a few minutes and randomly ran into the bathroom to puke on the rug. I sat down with her for a minute a little while afterward, and noticed she hadn't cleaned the puke off her paw; yet, she was purring, almost uncontrollably while she sat on my lap, not in any sort of cuddling-purring position. Dann and I looked at each other, a little worried.

Odd. Dann's parents and brother arrived. Back to the kitchen. We were achieving controlled chaos. It was noted Kali was drooling. Then panting. K. came home as I was looking up "diabetic cat panting drooling" online. The suggestion was not low blood sugar, but "symptoms of cystitis." Hm. But time to go to the vet, the website suggested--and hurry.

When I went back to the living room, Dann was already looking up the emergency vet's info. I sat with Kali a minute. Her pupils were wide, and she was strolling into unconsciousness. I almost went to get corn syrup to rub on her gums, but I wasn't sure that wouldn't hurt her more. Dann was back, I was calling the vet, they were saying come in, cars had to be moved, Dann and the cat were gone, K. was on the couch being comforted by her grandmother.

All I could think was that the last time there was a pet health crisis, Dann had had to deal with it alone, and it had been so hard on him, and I'd promised he wouldn't have to do it again--but there we were. I thought K. might feel better if she were there, that if we had to do the hard thing, she might prefer the chance to say good-bye, so I asked her if she wanted to go. She nodded, miserable and crying, and thirty seconds later I was saying, "You're in charge of dinner" to all available parents.

It was a long drive to the vet. Inevitably, on Platt, there was an old man driving ahead of me, who kept staring at the garbage dump and going 5 miles below the limit. I thought about how people regret chances they miss by minutes instead of by longer periods of time. I thought if the cat died while we were en route, it was going to be hard not to hate this old man.

K. and I held hands and sniffled silently the whole way there.

We got in the door to find Dann calmly filling out paperwork. A wretched few minutes later, the vet tech came in to say that Kali's glucose had been 31 (down from the 150 which would be considered normal-managed for a diabetic cat), and she'd been given dextrose and was perking up. We did the medical history of the cat, which nearly took all three of us anyway.

They wanted to pump her with fluids and monitor her for a few hours. We were let to go see her. The vet and the tech both told us about how when she was given the dextrose, she certainly seemed confused, like, "How did I get here???!?", coming out of her half-conscious fugue state. She meowed at us to let her out of the damn cage when we came in, as we each took a turn petting her. Only towards the end of the petting did she try to get up and come out, but we pushed her back down.

I texted my brother-in-law that the cat seemed stabilized, after the parents failed to figure out how to operate the landline phone; then said, "We're coming back in 20 minutes." He texted back, "With or without cat?" which I didn't get until I got out of the car. So we came in announcing that the cat was okay. Or, K. did. She's getting to that point where she thinks of these things.

We went home, opened presents, had Christmas dinner, opened more presents. It was slightly subdued, but much the cheerieer for having avoided the worst result. We had alternating bouts of self-recrimination for not figuring out what was going on with her earlier, and being glad we got her to the vet when we did. Or I did. I'm not sure about Dann.

The turkey was fantastic, if I do say so myself. That recipe is solid gold.

At some point, the vet called to say Kali's sugar was up and down and weird, and they wanted to observe her overnight. The cost was... high. Dann and K. went to the vet's to say goodnight to her, and to give the vet her food and insulin (and pay the deposit). Mom and I cleaned the kitchen...

Life went on... Folks-in-law went home, while we here watched a lot of 30 Rock and ate stocking candy and I fondled my new books.

Dann and K. picked up Kali this morning. She was better, and deeply pleased to be in their company on the car trip home, from all accounts; normally, she despises the car.

Today, got news from a friend ([ profile] iuliamentis) we were supposed to meet up with that her husband had a puking migraine. So that was the third way that vomit iterrupted this festive weekend. Three pukes in three days! We did head on over to [ profile] splash_the_cat's to exchange some presents, after a trip to the non-emergency vet for glucose testing and advice.

And... that was the holiday. I'd like to plan on a pleasant and easy-going five days to round out 2011, but I'm not counting these eggs before they hatch.
mer: (Default)
Lost Cat is now Found Cat.

Found Cat spent the whole night lying beside me, alternately chirping demandingly when I stopped petting him, or popping up and scratching his head.

Found Cat has fleas. (Or maybe ear mites. I'm hoping fleas. Fleas can be gotten rid of without a trip to the vet.)

I finally gave up on the elusive thought of good sleep about ten minutes ago. Arthur sat up, scratched his head, cursed me for the grody stuff I put between his shoulderblades, cursed me even louder for stopping with the petting!, then gave up on me and found a sunbeam.

Merlin? Utterly peaceful all night. Though really angry when I put the anti-flea stuff on him.

"You'll be glad when your head starts to itch," I told him.

He just blinked sulkily and went back to staring out the window.

He's still my hero.
mer: (Default)
To recap:

Woke up Wednesday morning to find a screen out of a window and a(n indoor) cat missing.

We were supposed to leave on vacation on Thursday night. Granted, it was just vacation to the cottage, not a thing with tickets and reservations and hullaballoo, but still, vacation, plus out-of-state relatives, that sort of thing.

After combing and recombing the neighborhood and emailing and posting on craigslist and calling and weeping and gnashing teeth, we left Friday, saw the fireworks, and I drove back today to visit the Humane Society and to wander around and to get up at 3AM and do "cat vigil."

Before bed tonight:

I left the garage door open about a foot, and left the door to the laundry room open, since this is the only room in the house you can both sequester and leave open to the outside. That was one of the several tricks for luring home lost cats that you all told me.

I left food out front and out back.

I set my alarm for 3AM.

And I fell asleep for about half an hour before MERLIN came PESTERING ME. Like, seriously, TIMMY IS IN THE WELL, MOM. I thought, "Really? Can he have seen Arthur?" So I went downstairs and there was no food in the front dish. I put more in, rattled it good--and proceeded to summon the neighbor's cat, who was like, "Hey, what? You mean the buffet comes with conditions?" Neighbor's cat stalked off. I despaired. What if all the missing food was just her dining out?

And I think I maybe mumbled some curses at Merlin and went back to bed.

Who, within ten minutes, was tap-dancing on my head and chirping. It was a lot like his usual demands for affection, but he wouldn't settle down and get petted. So I got up again. Nothing in the front, nothing in the back. I said, rather pointedly, to Merlin, "LOOK. I set my alarm for 3AM. I will go find your brother THEN. Okay?"

I got another half hour of sleep at that point, before Merlin was back. TIMMY, MOM. IN THE WELL.

I went downstairs, checked the laundry room again, and this time, I decided to lie down on the couch. And by god, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, Merlin calmed right down and started this very dutiful patrol: stand at the back door and peer out. Trot off to the front door. Come sniff the laundry room door. Perch on the couch arm above my head for a minute. Back to the back door.

Now, earlier today, on one of my patrols, Merlin sneaked out the door as I was coming in and ran all over the yard before I finally caught him and brought him back inside with stern warnings that I was not losing two cats in one week. At the time, I didn't know if he'd just gotten his taste for the outdoors back with our foolishness on the leash the other day, or if he thought he was going to find his littermate, but now I think it was the latter.

I dozed, while Merlin patrolled. The other two cats were kind of just doing their usual thing--they'd look out the back door sometimes, but mostly just to watch moths and I think a vole (something small and fast). Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit now, but there was no pattern like with Merlin. I woke up when Merlin's tail drifted down on my forehead during his intermittent perching, and when the other cats got excited about the vole.

And when I heard the thumps in the laundry room.

I swear to god, Merlin and I looked at each other. I feel like I'm anthropomorphizing this cat, or at least imbuing it with dog-like qualities, but we did look at each other, and then he crouched to stare at the laundry room door, ready to squirt through. I shooed him back, muttered, "Please don't be a raccoon, please don't be a raccoon," and opened the door a smidge.

Guess what?


I slammed the door shut, waited ten seconds, looked again. Raccoon was on his way out. I slammed the door to the garage shut after him, but decided I'd wait 'til morning to lower the big garage door, because lord knows I don't want to shut the raccoon in.

Back to the couch.

I was dozing again, when Merlin chirped. And there was a rattle of the food outside the back door. I opened my eyes to see--unmistakably--Arthur! I jumped up and ran outside, slammed the screen door shut after me (because Merlin was ready to pounce on his brother), and scared him straight into the bushes.


I sat down, and started calling softly to Arthur and rattling the food, and eventually, he came back. Circled around, in fact--I was looking left and he came in front the right. He chirped a little, and ran past me. Chirped again, came closer. Let me pet him, skimmingly, three or four times. Wouldn't eat the food off my fingers, which I thought was odd. He doesn't look any skinnier, but we have been leaving food out. Finally, he came close enough, and I grabbed him and tossed him inside.

Kali growled and hissed and took a swipe at him.

Merlin ran around like he was doing a victory lap.

I cracked open a can of wet food, petted the heck out of him, and came up here to email my husband. And write this, of course.

I bet now Merlin will let me sleep.
mer: (Default)
All other things being equal, it is the *perfect* night to slather mah self with bugspray and go peeking under neighbors' porches at 3AM.

Of course, all other things aren't equal, and it is really hard to shake a visit to the Humane Society. All those lost kitties looked so expectant when I came in...

And the yellow lab puppy they strategically placed by the door? There's soul-sucking evil in that placement. I don't even like labs much (too jolly by far; give me a herder any day, a dog that thinks)--at least, not to own--but I was hard pressed to walk out without that puppy. He was gamboling around his cage, grinning like labs do, and like puppies do, and like lab-puppies do extraordinarily well...


Want cat back.

(I spread litter semi-strategically around the yard; I have no idea if it's enough. I left the garage door up a smidge with a can of cat food open inside. I've done everything everyone has suggested, and the 3AM sitting on the porch plan is all set to become the 3AM "Let's Hope Everyone Within 50 Yards of My House is a Heavy Sleeper and Doesn't Own a Gun" crusade.)

Hope they're done with the damn fireworks by 3, or I'll never find the cat.

Also? Looking for a black cat, at night, underneath porches...

I've had better ideas.


Jul. 4th, 2008 07:55 am
mer: (Default)
Day three of absent cat.

Thank you to [ profile] captainblack and [ profile] redmomoko, who offered to come help look for the kitty... though as Dann pointed out, Arthur is so skittish, he'll run from us. Someone on craigslist posted that they'd found a small black cat not far from here, but that person won't get back to us. Humane Society doesn't open until Saturday, with the holiday. We are currently planning to drive out to the cottage to see our family there, and one (or both) of us will journey back on Saturday to haunt the shelter.

In (my) desperation, I put the cat leash and collar that we never use on Merlin and took him outside. Merlin spent a lot of time lying down underneath bushes, or trying to leap away from me and hide underneath the neighbor's porch. Merlin, he would like us to know, is not a bloodhound sort of cat. I don't think it was totally futile, though; he marked up a lot of trees and maybe that will let Arthur know he's home, should he get this far. Merlin's antics lightened my mood a little, even though in the middle of the night, when he comes storming up to us for purrful lovings, I think he's missing Arthur--because he doesn't often bother us in the middle of the night. I think he's used to getting affection from his littermate, and now he's coming to us more. He used to be extremely affectionate to us--now he's insatiable.

Time to change the litter boxes. The other Kate at work suggested putting a little of the litter outside, so Arthur would know this is home. I'm desperate enough to try that...
mer: (Default)
When I went outside to putter in the garden this morning, I saw a screen was off one of the windows.

I went to check inside, and sure enough, a cat was missing. (Arthur.)

Almost 11PM, and he's not back yet.

To add fuel to the fire of self-loathing that seems to be one of my stages of grief, I realized I never wrote Stanford back about lost book charges. When they emailed my boss's boss about it. And mentioned my not replying back. Twice. Never mind that I'm not actually the lost book charges person. Somehow this is on my lap, and I knew it was there, and I never effectively got it off my lap.

To go with my self-loathing? At the beginning of the summer, I actually thought about checking all the (admittedly upstairs) screens to make sure no cats could fall out of them--and didn't. Didn't think about the downstairs screens, though. Not that it matters. If I'd checked the upstairs screens and hadn't done the downstairs ones, I'd be just as loathing.

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