June 18, 2013

What My Cats Teach Me - Lesson #2 Hope

In the Spring of 2002, one of my colleagues sent out a company-wide email about a family of cats that had taken up residence underneath her front porch. There was a momma and a few kittens but she was worried about one of the babies because momma used to carry her around everywhere and she looked very small.

I had a conversation with this girl and for various reasons - none of which I can actually remember now - I decided I needed to get this kitten to my vet where she probably would be put down (humanely versus starving or being attacked). I picked her up one night after work and, oh my, she was the tiniest little thing I'd ever seen. When I got her home I put her in a roomy crate with food, water and a little litter box. Two days later we went to the vet where it was discovered she had suffered a crushing injury to her lower spine. Both my vet and I fell in love with her and he convinced me to bring her home with me and try to rehab her.


I didn't take long to name her. "Hope", as in "I Hope she learns to use the litter box". 'Twas not to be.

Over the next five years, I replaced my wall to wall carpet with Pergo and spent my time at home washing waterproof pads which were on every piece of furniture I owned; laundered her soiled bedding; and learned to express her bladder and wash her bum multiple times a day. Interestingly though, I loved every minute of it.

She was the most loving cat you can imagine. You know how cats can be demanding or aloof (or both)? Never my Hope. So, okay, what did she teach me? To acknowledge and appreciate when someone is kind to me. To show my appreciation effusively (don't worry, I won't lick your face unless you are Bruce Springsteen or a cast member of True Blood). To recognize how good it feels to improve the quality of another life, be it person or animal. To greet each person I meet with kindness.

The fact that she survived for five years is pretty incredible according to my vet. And she died just as he said she would from a urinary tract infection that just couldn't be controlled. I still miss that little girl and am crying as I write this.

Six down, two to go

Here's a post from 2011 that I found in my Draft folder and for some reason was never published. Interestingly - to me, anyway - I still feel like this.

"The hubby has been in NJ since last Saturday, which means:
  1. I've had the bed to myself for the past six nights
  2. I only have to clean up my own mess
  3. I don't have to turn on the TV if I don't want to
  4. I don't have to worry about cooking a dinner that he'd like
Is it too obvious I like having the house to myself?  A lot? He called earlier while visiting a lifelong friend in PA.  He began the call with, "Honey you have to find a new husband, I'm staying here."

Really?  I *have* to find a new husband? What if I don't want another a new one? Geez, I was single for 48+ years, I think I'll be fine.

Not the reaction he was hoping for I'm sure.  I feel bad sometimes because I think he'd like me to be one of those women who would say, "Oh no, you can't leave me, I can't survive without you!!"  That's not me.  He just doesn't understand what a walloping big deal it was for me to marry him (or anyone else for that matter).  Marrying him was the single most powerful way I had to express that I loved him and had no interest in another man for the rest of my life.  I mean my God, he knows absolutely everything about me - more than anyone else on the planet - and he proposed anyway?  I'm gonna turn that down?  I think not.

The reality is no matter how much I joke about the things he does that drive me absolutely batshit crazy, I am exactly where I'm supposed to be and with the person with whom I'm supposed to."

May 29, 2013

Hey Big Pharma! I'm Hungry!

Drug companies seem to be very interested in getting in front of patients to try and sell their medicine, right? Usually they sponsor a meeting where they share FDA-approved slideshows of FDA-approved data for an FDA-approved marketing dollar amount. In my 18 months as a speaker for one of the pharmaceutical companies, I traveled to most everywhere east of the Mississippi to deliver my own (also FDA-approved) talk about my experience on a particular drug for MS. And most of the people who attended were repeaters who just came for the food. And I'll bet the money in any pharmaceutical company's Marketing budget for all these meetings can support a small country.

At this moment it is time for me to make dinner for myself and my husband and do you know what? I'm exhausted. Pulling out pans and mixing ingredients and serving up a meal is just not in my physical bandwidth right now. Not to mention cleaning up afterward, holy cow! I'm wiped out just thinking about it, really. So, we are probably going to settle for PB&J or a can of Campbell's soup (possibly even just a spoonful of peanut butter and some Saltines). Then something dawned on me.

I think the MS Community as a whole agrees that a proper diet goes a long way toward fighting the ravages of MS, right? So, consider this. You want to be different from all the other MS drugs out there? Think outside the box. Sponsor cooking lessons that teach MSers how to eat as healthy as possible with the least amount of effort possible. Sure, present your dog and pony show, I know the FDA requires that, but take it a step further. Help attendees cook their own meals to eat! Show them handicap-friendly utensils. Or even better, build a network of kitchens to cook MS-friendly meals that patients/family/caregivers can order and either pick up themselves or have them delivered (like, to me tonight). Something like this would definitely call tons more attention to whomever did it.

I think this idea has a lot of potential, don't you? If a kitchen in my town would put together some healthy meal alternatives, I'd be first in line, no doubt.

May 02, 2013

Bye, Agnes

So, it's been one week ago today that we sent Agnes The Rescue Kitty on her way to wherever kitties go when they die. I am still amazed and disappointed by anyone who will abandon an animal they've had for the animal's entire life, leaving it alone and trapped in a filthy house.

I've located an address for a family member of theirs and I intend to notify them of her passing. But I'm struggling with how to word it without saying, "Hey assholes, remember your cat who you deserted? The one you told me to put down 3 1/2 years ago? Yeah well, she died. You happy?"

I might come up with an actual obituary-type thing, mentioning all of the funny shit she did when we moved her in with us. I really, really, would like to think these people still have some guilty feelings buried somewhere and, boy, would I enjoy bringing them to the surface.

Vindictive? Me? Yeah, OK, I'll own it.

April 19, 2013

So, let's see

what's been going on 'round here.

Well after being put on a drug holiday in November the predicted (by me) relapse in arrived in early January. Emotional mess, fuzzy vision that became double vision, walking issues that resulted in a couple of near-face-plants into floors and doors, the whole Magilla. One round of steroids reduced the severity of the relapse but didn't totally stop it. Second round of steroids in February finally shut it up but the recovery took the entire month of March, pretty much.

My mother-in-law, the drama queen, managed to scare my husband into making a visit out of state. As usual, his arrive prompted a turnaround. For a day. His next three days were spent listening to her berate him in whatever language she chose to use at the moment (English, Ukranian, Russian, German or a mish-mosh of each). He came home convinced he had seen her for the last time. As it happens, he was right. She'd been working hard to make death happen the past couple of years and finally succeeded earlier this week. Thoughts on that, in no particular order are:

- She can't manipulate him any more
- It sucks that she spent her last few years of life in a nursing home. That was her worst nightmare.
- I get the best, most restorative sleep when I have the bed to myself. Now that there are no more trips out of state to see his mom, my husband has no reason to travel. So, there go my opportunities for an occasional quiet night. Shit.
- It's interesting to me how I can cry at the drop of a hat to TV shows, abused animals and injured children but not to the death of a relative. Maybe because they're older and lived long, productive lives and should have no regrets? Notice I said "shouldn't" not "had no". If you die regretting something you did or didn't do, you have nobody to blame but yourself, don'tcha think?

Well, enough about that.

Agnes the rescue kitty is coming up on her 20th birthday. She's blind as a bat and might have 3 teeth in her mouth on a good day, but she's still an ornery, demanding bitch who still scares the dogs to death. She's amazing.

Next up: Why I Quit My Job as a Gilenya Guide. That's a multi-part post but it still smarts and is really hard to write about. Maybe if I could get my hands on a Valium or two...

I put this together today. My mom and the dogs she grew up with.

January 29, 2013

Nonsense, I suppose

My husband has this really annoying habit of calling people and leaving messages then walking away from his phone. So, when they call him back he's not around to get the call. Kind of makes me nuts, really.

On another note, I've got a couple of friends coming to town next month for a meeting and decided to make little happy gifty things for them. Here's the first one:

All told there will be I think nine of them. Different printed paper and colors for each one. However, each will have a picture or pictures with scenes from Atlanta history. Since I'm the only attendee at the meeting who actually lives here in Atlanta - and I wanted to do a little something for the visitors that costs little to no money out of pocket - I came up with this. Instructions on YouTube!

January 17, 2013

Because It's All About Me

During this recent MS flare-up and subsequent steroid therapy, I've had a lot of time to reflect. Control is a huge thing for me. Don't know where that comes from, it just is. Well, not true. I suspect I know where it comes from but it's not like I need a therapist to "fix" it.

When I'm working on a task - no matter how minor - and I'm interrupted, I get peeved. Which causes me a lot of internal stress. Which peeves me further. 

On the very short list of things I can control there is the telephone. So, I did some digging and found the code to stop my home phone from ringing. At all. Ever. My family, friends and creditors all have my cell phone. Charities, politicians and other people who just want, want, want...don't. 

I'm amazed how productive and relaxed I am without the phone ringing all day.