Is it really so strange?

Bury myself in work! Ha ha ha haha......rotfl. Like that will ever happen.

But I have figured some things out. Firstly, I am abombinal to myself. If someone asked me to take care of their child, I would treat it much better than I treat myself. I realized this because I have taken much better care of my cat the last few months than of my own person. While I neglected my own needs, I bought her the best food, took her to the doctor right away, paid for all the tests and everything with my credit card. But, I was unwilling to pay for tests on my ornery uterus. I justified it because my situation is not life or death. Probably. Still, that is perverse. I loved my cat more than myself. Perverse. I also love other people more than myself. That is sinful too. We are told to love others as we love ourselves. So we are commanded to be just as good to ourselves as we are to others. Most people feel more responsibility when someone else has a stake in their actions. One's work takes on more importance if it affects others. How do we justify being more moral to others and less moral towards ourselves?

Does God love you less than your neighbor? What right have you to treat this person that way? Would you feed someone else's child junk food and let her stay up all night watching garbage on tv? No. Would you let her shirk her responsibilities creating problems and guilt for herself? No. Would you leave her alone to wallow in her grief in front of the tv or a book? No--well, this one I'm not sure of. What do you do for grieving people? My mom made casseroles. I don't want a casserole.

Where did the casserole come from? What a strange food! When i was a kid we had casseroles several times a week. My mom made incredible food, she never served us the mayo-corn flake concoctions I've seen. But I think about all the ingredients, the cutting, the shopping, the prep time. Why??? Why would anyone do that to themselves? Is it a Mormon thing or just a middle America 20th century thing?

My parasites and I are working out our differences--did you know we can have them in our sinuses? *shiver* .... Anyway, Ted the tapeworm and I are working things out, the others have to go. Ted says he'll keep me thin as long as I keep feeding him. I'm taking ParaGone which I saw recommended by a number of people. It's some nasty herbal mix, but it makes dead things exit my body. Apparently, most Americans have parasites. You can get them from fruits and vegetables that aren't washed, the water supply, pets, mosquito bites, or touching something that someone else touched....it's a foul and nasty business. But the grey circles under my eyes are going away. And I've had improvements with the digestive system.

Anyway, I have to figure out how to care for this sad 29 year old. Friday I re-learned that hermitism is not the way for her to go. That day, the best thing that had happened that week: my ex-not-boyfriend put his hand on my back in the library. Woo-Hoo!!!! Oh, and I also got a free piece of pizza from the nice man behind the counter, which was nice. Then I went to the movies in Times Square by myself because I couldn't stand the thought of going home to my apartment where everything is sad. I got there early. But it sold out and there was an empty seat on either side of me. This big guy came up and said, "Is anyone sitting there?" I said 'no'. He said, "Well, could you move over please so I can sit with my girlfriend?" I wanted to say, "If you got here on time you could sit with your girlfriend, why should I move because you're butt was late?" But I didn't. I moved over. Then the guy sat on my drink. So I had to throw out the straw. He asked if everything was ok. I just grumbled and started to cry silently. I thought,'Of course everything is not ok! I'm at the movies by myself on Friday night and you just sat on my 4 dollar coke. The least you could do is get me a new straw. But you just enjoy snuggling your girlfriend, big guy.'

What to do for this woman? I took the antenna off her tv. I did yoga this morning for this first time in two months. I cleaned the kitchen sink which has had rotting spinach in it for two weeks. And answered some email. I'd do her laundry but I don't have quarters. I need to get her social life going, even if she complains and doesn't like it. This staying home alone all the time makes her crazy. I need to keep up this third person care-taker voice, it seems to work.

Here's the plan, I take the love I used to give to my dead cat and give it to me. I have to imagine I have responsibility for the most special person in the world to me.


Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Like a hermit crab scared into her shell.

Kitty died on Sunday evening. I was with her. She howled in pain a couple of times. On her last howl she gasped. After that she couldn't breathe anymore. I got on the phone to find an oncall vet, so I could have someone put her down. I asked my mother to look online for me and call back. Mina took a few futile gasps and died within minutes. She died the way she wanted to and looked peaceful.

I don't know what I'm going to do now. Emotionally, I have shut down. I spent the month of June avoiding my life and responsibilities. I cried more before her death than I have since. I don't think I've cried for more than 5 minutes, three or four times. I start but then my mind shuts that shop down; distracting me with other thoughts. The last two weeks, maybe more, my mind has worked like a radio scanning the stations. I think about Mina and start to cry then my mind brings up other things to worry about. When I've tried to think of a subject for a post, I can't get past the first line before my mind moves on. Or, it pulls up memories that I'm ashamed of, forcing me to fight them off, thus losing my train of thought.

It's pathetic and sad, but that cat was my source of unconditional love. She gave me comfort. I've alienated myself from all the people in my life, so now their words of condolence don't help much. Plus, they are all far away, hundreds or thousands of miles away. My friend Barbara is here, she wanted to help and was very sweet. But I feel better when alone. I don't have the energy for other people right now. I don't have anything to say to anyone so I don't make phone calls. Seeing people is not worth the effort. It requires a performance of niceties, giving my reluctant smile, concentrating on paying attention to what they say so I can respond. All the while I wait to go home. Anxious. I leave at the first opportunity.

One of my best friends just moved to California. He had a farewell party in early June. I got as far as the Port Authority. Once there, the lights and noises and people made me so nervous I felt sick. That, and the thought of being at a party, even though I'm friends with all the people there. I called him to say I was too sick to go then turned around and went home with much relief.

I've changed a lot in the last year and a half. My bad qualities have grown like cancer and taken over my whole personality. I had hoped it was caused by over consumption of Aspartame in the liter of Diet Coke I drank daily. But the Aspartame is gone. My head is more clear but nothing else got better. I'm killing my yeast and parasites. So I have more physical energy. But the motivation, passion, ambition, competitiveness, humor, and all accompanying social skills have gone the way of the cassette tape. In previous depressions, I kept all those things. That's how I was able to get a B.A. and and M.A. and get into a doctoral program. It got a lot harder to pursue my goals but I always cared.

Working has helped a bit. I have done a few hours of work this week. More than I have done since the fall of 03. I think I should go with the shut down and just try to bury myself in work. It's hard when I can't muster the energy to care. This isn't grocery-store variety Depression. There is something terribly wrong with me. I remember my life two years ago, I remember what I was like when I moved here:excited, loud, very social, flirty...(for me anyway) and I don't understand how this degradation of self has happened. I don't know how to fix it. I have a new doctor who says she is going to change my medication. That's a nightmare I'm not looking forward to. If I had insurance she'd want me to get ECT. (Yes, they still do that. And it's still scary.)

Wow. I just re-read the draft of this post. It clearly shows my fractured mind rushing from one subject to another. No amount of proofing can fix this post. So here it is, as is. Welcome to my confusion.


Believe it or Not: Wonder Kitty

I'm not surprised, but maybe I should be. My cat didn't want to die. She refused to go. I gave her the tranquilizer my vet gave me to put her permanently to sleep. I gave it to her at 1 am last night. Then, she reminded me how much she hates tranquilizers. They make her mad. Years ago, I tried giving her one for a long car trip but it was horrible, her eyes got squinty, she kept meowing and trying to stand in the passanger seat but then she'd fall over. That went on for the few hours the pill was supposed to last. She did the same thing last night.

I gave it to her. Then she growled at me and went to the corner of the living room. Then she got up and stumbled toward the couch. So I put her on the couch. But then she started dragging herself to the edge so I picked her up and brought her to my bedroom. It seemed like she wanted to go under the bed so I put her there. She kicked and dragged her body around under there. I tried helping and she moaned at me. After an hour and a half of this I tried going to bed. I felt so sick.

I thought I had cried enough but I did some more. Then I started feeling guilty. Clearly, this wasn't what she wanted. When I stopped crying, I could hear her thumping around under the bed. She had almost dragged herself out so I put her on my bed. She didn't want that either. First she flopped herself off the pillow. Then she dragged herself to the windowsill. She kept moving around until she finally lunged forward towards the floor. I started to suspect this might not work. Mina is the most willful and stubborn cat I have ever seen. She'll go when she's ready to go and she'll die her own way thank you very much.

My sister calmed me down. That's when it got really pitiful. Kitty pulled her body forward across my bedroom as I talked on the phone. Then she crawled into my study. 15 minutes later I heard a big flop in the litter box. I got up and looked. I saw her curled up with her face in the litter. ohh. She didn't want to relieve herself on the floor. I picked her up so she could stand. When she put her paws on the edge of the box I helped her to the floor where she fell.

This cat doesn't die by the litter box, I put my hands around her middle and pulled her up again. By this time we had a system. We did a wheelbarrow, I held her back end up because it seemed completely paralyzed, while she pulled herself forward with her front paws. That way she could choose which way to go. Back into my bedroom. I put her down on the floor next to my bed. I thought this had to be the end. It was 4 am. I tried to sleep.

I woke this morning with a lovely dream about going SCUBA diving with a bunch of people I know, one girl had magical powers and she showed me how she could make the wind do things to the ocean. The first dive was for couples only. But I didn't know that. So I dragged this sad looking guy out of the dorms to go diving. I forgot my forms. When I heard that it was only for couples, I got scared and ditched the dude. (Totally something I would do in real life.) The phone rang.

I pulled myself to consciousness, "Hi Mom." I told her what happened. I could hear 'I told you so' resounding inside her head, she had told me to spring for the housecall vet instead. Since she got my email, she has gotten better at holding her tongue. But I knew she thought it. When I got off the phone, I looked for her. Under the bed she lay. Looking quite dead. But. I called her name a few times. Her tail flopped up and down. No way! I called her again. Tail wagged. Unbelievable. It totally didn't work. Kitty has willed herself to live.

She's been walking around. Hung out in the kitchen and the living room. Last I checked, she was sitting in the bathroom in her favorite spot, leaning on the toilet. Ok, Kitty has spoken. She can die her own way.

Should I keep giving her the anitbiotics? She's starving herself so should I let the infection take over her body too? Is one better than the other? Unbelievable. I'm exhausted. Honsetly, I was looking forward to the relief of not worrying about her anymore. I'm really sorry I tried to do it.


Goodbye, My Friend

This shadow dwells in our home. It came a few months ago. It landed on you, my dear.

It steals. It started by eating your flesh, slowly. It made you nervous. You didn't like me leaving you upstairs. You'd cry in the hall so the sound would echo down to the kitchen. If I didn't come back soon enough then you'd come down to get me. You're rotund body looked so funny going up and down the stairs, like a roly-poly. You've made me laugh so many times.

But not these days. You've wasted away before my eyes. You tried to get better. A few days ago it stole your purr. When did it steal your restful sleep? You only lie restless, agitated. That's when you stopped eating, I think. Leaving you to lust the food and drink as you sit beside them on the floor. Your sad eyes are tinged yellow with jaundice.

I can't believe my beautiful, dignified friend is inside that pitiful body. Shaved patches mock you under your chin and belly and legs where the doctor took your blood. He left a little bruise. You've been very good at tolerating the weekly vet visits. I know it terrified you. The medicine I've struggled to feed you has caked on your cheeks, chin and feet. It won't wash off even though I have tried.

Death won't wash off either. His hands hold your frail skeletal frame, squeezing. It was too hard to see the inevitable. Because you stopped lying in the closet all day I thought you were getting better. But your bones got more and more pronounced through your dehydrated skin. Even though you sat with me in the living room and purred on the couch. And last week you woke me up in the morning. I'm sorry to have dragged this out and put you through this. I thought there was hope. I know you tried. Thank you.

Friday morning when I saw you drooling like that I panicked. We went to the vet again. He gave you some fluids and told me to make you comfortable. I decided to start giving you the extra antibiotics I hadn't been. And to force-feed you. The vet told me to do it last week but you were eating on your own so I couldn't. Friday after we got home, you didn't leave the carrier because you couldn't walk. I put your favorite blanket under the chair and made myself comfortable to sit with you. I knew that you were dying. I wanted to stay with you.

I told you then that you could leave, you didn't have to stay here for me. But I lied, didn't I? I fed you late at night when you started shivering. Then, when your breathing grew ragged at 3 am, I took you to the hospital. They wanted to put you to sleep. I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave you in a cold hospital with your last memories being forced into a cab, urinating on yourself and having these strangers poke you. I took you there so they could give you something for pain, to make it more comfortable. They told me they couldn't, I should end it instead. I considered it seriously. At 5 am, crying in that little room, I wished I wasn't alone. I couldn't think straight.

I hadn't slept in two days and neither had you. I wasn't prepared to make that decision like that. It felt like throwing you away. Not like that. She tried to talk me into it. She showed me the 'waiting' room. She gave me pamphlets called, 'Goodbye my friend'. I cried and cried and tried to process what she told me. Too many choices: euthanasia, more tests, put you in the oxygen tank, steroids or chemotherapy. Wha? She told me they couldn't fix you. And all I knew for sure was that I didn't want you to die there, like that. I wanted to take you home and get someone to make a housecall.

So they gave you some shots and I brought you home. "Against her medical opinion." You were glad to be here. I knew it was right when you started kneading your afghan. I made a place for you to sleep under the bed but you hopped on top and curled up with me. We slept for the first time in two days. You went back under the bed later. When I woke up that afternoon, I was afraid to look for you. But there you were, still breathing, without struggle. The shot must have helped you.

But now you can barely walk. Your eyes look so sad. Despite it all, Death hasn't stolen your dignity. You still sit with your head proudly displayed, as you should. But you can't do it for long. It's been months and you are still fighting. You poor girl. I wasn't as good to you as I should have been. I couldn't see how bad you were getting because I couldn't bear to face it. I thought you could beat it. You rallied and seemed to improve. But, not this time.

I called your doctor today. I asked him if he thought it was time to put you to sleep because you had gotten worse. He said that was the kindest thing to do. I asked if he was sure you weren't getting better. He said he knew it the first time he saw you, he's just been trying to prolong your life. If I had known that I wouldn't have put you through all this. I'm so sorry I've been forcing you to take the medicine. It made me sick to do it. Twice a day, I have chased you and held you down and forced your mouth open and pushed the pink liquid down your throat. You tried to spit it out. It broke my heart over and over to put you through that torture. But I wanted you to get better.

I'm going to the vet's office today to pick it up. I asked him if we could do it at home and he said he could give me the pills to do it myself. I'm going to put you to sleep, put you out of your wretched misery. Because I love you.

This has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. It must be hell for you. Watching you wither away hurt so much. And then the hope that you were getting better, then the disappointment that you weren't . . . I didn't know if I should keep treating you or let you be. The overwhelming guilt that I wasn't doing enough or I was negligent. And you loved me through it all, your pain and my torture. You've been the best cat ever.

This is the right thing.

Goodbye, my beloved friend.