Monday, 27 April 2015

Time to say goodbye

My heart is heavy as I write this post, it's the one I've been dreading for several months.  After watching Cameron carefully for a while, and making it through a particularly rough night on Saturday, I've decided it's time to let him go.  He has lost a lot of weight, appears to be in a moderate amount of pain, and his appetite has dipped to a point where it is difficult to get him to eat enough wet food to take his medication.  I've also hit my breaking point, where it's become too much to come home to such a sick animal everyday after being stressed out at work all day (did I mention I lost my shit in a staff meeting last week?  Yeah.  Super professional.).  It's time to make that difficult phone call to the vet to make arrangements to have him put to sleep before things get out of control.  It's going to be the hardest phone call I've ever made.

I won't regale you with endless stories of why my cat is the bestest cat in the universe (I've probably already done that), but I do want to share one reason why I love Cameron so much.  I've gone through two major depressive episodes in my life.  The second was the worse of the two and took place when I was 24.  I didn't know how bad my situation was at the time, but it's quite clear in hindsight that I should have gotten help far sooner than I did.  I went to bed after my final recital at school and basically didn't get up for 2 months.  I stopped eating, skipped rehearsals, lessons, and classes, and spent most of my time hating myself for no apparent reason.  I also had a few scary nights where I felt like I wasn't present in my own body; I floated around my tiny basement apartment, watching my physical self from across the room.  During one of these episodes, I took all my painkillers and allergy pills out of their bottles, laying them out on the bathroom counter in an organized manner.  I looked at them calmly, trying to decide if they would be enough to kill me if I took them all at the same time.  Should I get more?  The pharmacy was just around the corner, and the liquor store was down the street.  I could get more pills and something to wash it all down.  I was considering all of this carefully when Cameron wandered into the bathroom.  I had adopted him the year before from a local animal shelter.  I brought him home with the intention of taking care of him as best I could; he deserved to have a great life.  It occurred to me that if I checked out, I wouldn't be doing what I pledged to do when I signed those adoption papers.  He needed me.  Clearly, I needed him too.  I put the pills away, and we went to bed.  I made an appointment with my family doctor soon after and started the slow climb out of that dark hole.

Cameron has been in the right place at the right time on a number of occasions, but that was his most important save.  He has no idea how vital his presence has been in my life.  I'll miss him so much but am grateful to have shared part of my life with such a lovely animal.  He really is the bestest cat.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bunnies, Madonna, and some other stuff

I love Easter weekend.  Not only is there chocolate (Creme Eggs were on sale at the drugstore today...) but I get more time off work than I do at Christmas.  And the weather is nice.  It's good, I enjoy it even though I have no real connection to the holiday itself in terms of spirituality or tradition.  Cameron enjoys it too: we had no fewer than 12 cuddles yesterday.  It was one of those days that I would have liked to put him in a Snugli so I could get a bit more done while we were being affectionate.

In a weird but somewhat characteristic move, I managed to schedule a music discussion night at the library right after Easter that could be considered ill-timed or timely, depending on who you ask.  We'll be listening to and discussing Madonna's 1989 album, "Like a Prayer," on Wednesday evening.  You remember that one: it really stirred the pot, thanks to its tantalizing mix of religion and promiscuity.  Who could forget those burning crosses?  We were all going to go to hell for watching that video (although all I really noticed as a young person was that Madonna had really fabulous hair in that video)!  I didn't schedule this music club subject to fall after a heavy Christian holiday on purpose, but I find it amusing nonetheless.  I've been pushing a regular library patron/Gallery committee member to come to a discussion night, as he kept saying he'd show up one of these months.  He was delighted to hear we'd be doing Madonna and then told me I should dress up for the evening as Madge did in her video for "Dress You Up."  I'll leave it up to you to decide if it suits me, watch here.  I could certainly dance like that.  ;)

I do my first presentation at a library conference in just over a month and started to put it together today.  I was immediately reminded of all the presentations I did in library school...ugh.  I'm in a much better place mentally now than I was during that whole mess, thankfully.  I should be just fine getting up and talking in front of people, though I suspect the difference between library school and professional conferences is that people might actually be listening at the conferences.  Hmmmm.  I'll plan accordingly.

So, I got myself a new doctor and went in for a physical last week, like the diligent person I am (usually).  It was all going tickety-boo until she read my lab report and told me I might have kidney stones.  Um, excse me?  I'm one of those people who has, in the past, taken her complaints of pain and discomfort and weirdness to the doctor, only to be told that there is nothing wrong.  Blood tests, CT scans, and ultrasounds never show anything even though I hurt, so to be told that a test came back funky (too much calcium floating around in my body) was a bit mind blowing.  I've had some pain under my ribs on one side and in my lower back, but decided to ignore it because there isn't ever anything physically wrong with me.  I suspect that if there is a problem, it stems from not dealing with some sort of uncomfortable emotion, rather than a crappy lifestyle choice, so I only have myself to blame for not taking the advice that I give so many other people.  I will not stuff down my emotions, I will not stuff down my emotions, I will not stuff down my emotions.  I am, however, enjoying not stuffing down spinach right now (doctor's orders).  I'll have more answers in a few weeks.