Category Archives: cats

Damn, Life, Knock It Off Please – But Don’t Kill Me, Okay?

I am so anxious.

The ankle has been swollen now for, I think, 3 weeks? And it’s been at least 2 weeks since I saw the Nurse Practitioner about it, and she deemed it “cellulitis”, which I am gonna look up now because I really have no idea what the hell that is.

So it’s a skin infection that enters via a cut or crack. Can be caused also by scratching itches. I do not have a cut or crack and have not at all in that area in the past more than 1 month. I have not been scratching my ankle. So, here are the other things it could be:

But feet and ankles that stay swollen or are accompanied by other symptoms could signal a serious health problem, including:

  • Pregnancy complications
  • Foot or ankle injury
  • Lymphedema
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Medication side effects

So, yeah. That looks scary AF, doesn’t it? And yet, no one seems to think it’s a big deal. And no one actually believes that I have any kind of concerning issue – except for the NP at Urgent Care, who said, my unexplained body aches and feverish feeling could be indicative of problems with my heart, and that he tended to believe people who insist that it is not a panic attack, that they know what that feels like and this ain’t it.

Given the symptoms – and in addition the troponin test being seriously flawed/giving false negatives due to Biotin intake – if I were a doctor, I would be concerned. My therapist is concerned. She is well versed in anxiety, and, again, this ain’t it.

Also, I got the flu, unrelated to the weird feverish feeling, which was not accompanied by any flu symptoms. And the flu kicked my ass for nearly 3 weeks, as well.

So okay. Did I mention I am so anxious?

I am so anxious.

I have an appointment tomorrow with the GP, who brilliantly, as I watched him write the Rx for my nuclear stress test, apparently called me “Edith Santos”. And checked the right ankle instead of right knee to be x-rayed, right after he’d told the nurse, no, not the ankle – she needs the knee x-rayed. Does this make me trust in his diagnosis? Not particularly. Then there is the hospital’s lab woman who said, of the FDA report, “Well, I am SO GLAD you have that information” sarcastically, after telling someone else that “SOMEONE told her” – meaning me, I am the “her” in that phrase – about the flaw in the troponin test, and I corrected her and said, hey, it’s not SOMEONE, it’s the FDA. A governmental agency. (Has she even fucking heard of it?) You’d think, even if they did not tell me what test was done on ME, which I have a right to know, I believe, they would have at least a LITTLE concern about the fact that these tests are invalid. That they would want to investigate that further. But, no.

I am fucked [image of Gene Wilder meme]

Nevermind that my blood pressure has been normal my entire life and now I have not Stage One but Stage TWO high blood pressure. And high cholesterol. And weigh too much. And have had three cardiac events preceded by intense jaw pain (which hey, that happens to be a heart attack symptom, how ’bout dat?). And now the ankle. But yeah, I am sure a swollen left ankle is indicative of PANIC DISORDER, which is what they all say – the hospital, the Primary Care Provider, the shrink, for fuck’s sake.

I have an appointment with the shrink tomorrow. I look forward to showing him my ankle and saying, hey, check out the panic disorder in my ankle!

Because panic disorder is so totally listed in that list above. See it? Oh, wait, IT’S NOT THERE.

It is easy to believe that I am not being listened to.

Further evidence of this: my floors are caving in. The floor under the fridge POPS intermittently. That is not a good sign. I read an article about a family whose floors completely gave way, and that was preceded by much popping. The floor in the kitchen has a dividing line between the floor that is slanted downward – which would be the floor under the cabinets, sink, stove, and fridge – and the non-slanted floor. It creaks when you walk on it. It doesn’t not feel stable. The bathroom floor has indentations in several areas I can feel with my bare feet and it is not particularly stable – of course I received a work order about the bathroom floor when I reported it marked ‘complete’ when they didn’t even LOOK at that floor.  Not to mention that the living room floors are also caving in – bended and warped and they do not at all feel stable and one of my dressers tilts forward and cannot be put against the wall, because why? The floor is warped, unstable, and in the process of leaving this Earth.

They have known about everything except the bathroom floor since this summer. The maintenance guy said contractors would be out to appraise the situation. But. Has anyone ever come out? Nope. And that completed work order? Said “floor is contractors”. Okay, does that mean that I am supposed to hire a contractor? Because it sure sounds like they are doing nothing about this. To wit: They have been putting lease renewal notices on my door, and they raise the rent each year. It seems to me that they have been in breach of this lease for half a year, because I did not sign a lease that said I agree to rent with unstable flooring. So, they are going to raise the rent, but not fix the floors. They are ignoring the floors. In fact, they have ignored my last THREE emails to them.

And let’s not even speak of the Black Mold that they have attempted to minimize by referring to it as “mildew”. Is mildew black and does it creep through surfaces into other surfaces? Like the picture of my deceased parents which I gave them for a milestone anniversary while they were still alive which they were thrilled by and which was very sentimental to me, and now covered with black mold that traveled through the back of the frame from the wall and further until it is now covering and ruining this picture?

Hi, I’m looking for Horton because I am a dust speck and apparently that elephant will be the only one that can hear me.

By the way – mortality rate on right-sided heart failure, the first thing mentioned on Google regarding a swollen left ankle? Less than a year to five years at best.

For over a month I have been able to count every single one of my heart beats without taking my pulse, because my body throbs in time with them, as if I have just finished an intense workout.

I went yesterday for a nuclear stress test, and after over an hour total, waiting for my doctor to fax an Rx with my actual name on it, I was informed that the insurance company refuses to authorize the test.

At least I got the knee x-rayed on my deformed, turned-the-wrong-way leg from the treatment I received for a broken ankle four years ago.

Also. I have lost five cats this year. Five. Most recently, the love of my life, Milhouse, my smart (though they are all/were smart) extra special guy. Before that, in September, Momo, who I thought would be the last one standing, my also quite special guy. And my heart is broken. I have a mausoleum on my bookshelves of kitty urns, footprints, and the ashes of my parents, representing a huge chunk of my loved ones.

And now I am concerned about Bear. He is not acting right. He is not eating much at all, is suddenly lethargic, seems depressed and not like himself. He needs to go to the vet. So does Tiny – she is a week away from being out of thyroid meds, putting her again at risk for a heart attack due to her sped-up, hyperthyroid-ed out metabolism. And I am a broke bitch. How do I do this?

And all this stress is so good for the heart. Oh, wait…

This is all some fucked-up bullshit, to use a technical term. And I really do not know how much more I can take, frankly.

I have no family to help advocate my cause(s). I am my only advocate. And unfortunately, the fact that my advocate has several psychiatric diagnoses sort of ruins my advocate’s credibility with these people. They just assume that I’m being histrionic, I guess. That is certainly what it seems like.

And. I have not been able to do my work for a month and a half now, because of these health problems and grief issues. So money issues. And big vet bills have been the norm for months now, with most of my kitties dying on me at once.

And ooh, I just noticed that to the right of this rant, there is an article from Science Daily, and the headline reads, “Chronic Adversity Can Dampen Dopamine Production.” Wonderful.

Fuck me running.

I am so anxious.

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After Everything, No Turtle Wax

I have been sick in one form or another this entire month. I’ve been in the hospital. I’ve been to the ER. I will likely be going to Urgent Care today. This is pretty much the first time in a while that I have been able to sit up for longer than a few minutes without just keeling over. There has been a cardiac issue, phlebitis from an improperly inserted IV (confidential to “Mean Eric” from the ER: it’s a vein, not a fucking balloon animal), a bad reaction to a flu shot, a now-you-feel-it now-you-don’t oh-wait-bitch-now-you-do-again UTI, what I’m guessing is an actual flu-shot-tempered-flu – but hey, I have no idea, because I could have become physically dependent on a shrink-prescribed-for-anxiety benzo and the withdrawal syndrome includes flu-like symptoms (if the grand mals don’t get you first) – severe pelvic pain, and headaches so intensely painful, when I try to think of a way to describe them, I just see Glenn with that popped-out eyeball, rasping, “Maggie, I’ll find you”, before Negan brings Lucille down for the final, fatal blow.

Welcome to Wheel of Symptoms, the game show with no consolation prize.

Having been unable to do anything income-generating for the entire month of October, my finances are completed fucked. I have to break in here and laugh bitterly at the use of the word ‘finances’, as that word sounds so high-rollin’. ‘Finances’ seems like a word you use when you can afford things like regular haircuts and transportation. Nonetheless, ‘finances’ it is, because ‘schmoney’ doesn’t really convey the gravity of my dilemma.

Is my failing health because of the black mold overtaking my apartment? Is it the aforementioned possible benzo dependency?  Is it all the stress on my shoulders? Are all systems failing because I am in the process of dying? Is it that fucking statue Greg found on the beach in Hawaii? A combination of all of the above? I consulted Dr. Google, as well as the Magic 8 Ball that I programmed while learning Basic Javascript, but surprisingly, came up with no definitive answers.

Meanwhile, it appears that I may be truly and sincerely fucked.

You see, on top of all this “supine on the broken futon of ill health” fun, I have seriously failing dental work, thanks to the growth of something called a “bony tumor”. This will require surgery to remove as it is unseating my dental situation and eating has become extremely painful. Fixing this is going to cost around $5K. I don’t think I have ever even SEEN $5K. I have heard that this number exists, but it sounds kinda suspect.

If I don’t get this dental situation fixed, I can not only kiss eating goodbye, but say adios to the structure of my face as well. Which is going to lead to wonderful treatment by others, I’m sure, because you know how awesome our society is to unattractive people. If you don’t, allow me – with my lifetime of experience in that department – to clue you in. They are not. If you don’t meet a particular standard of appearance – which does indeed include possessing teeth – it’s a fast track to a Freaky Friday-type situation with Gregor from Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which is to say you have the lovability factor of a fucking cockroach, and about as much chance of not being squished in disgust.

Three cats need blood tests. One cat needs his bottle of insulin. I sure as fuck could use a medical marijuana card to deal with my PTSD and all of this stress (this last thing, though, is a luxury, something to ease my ailing mental state. Currently, I’m sober as a… um… well, we can’t really complete that sentence with ‘judge’ anymore, can we? My point is, though, I’m not blowing my meager funds on The Pusher Man. Slumlords always get the first entry on the dance card. This is an important rule to follow, as homelessness makes it a bit more difficult to complain about your miserable life on the internet).

I’ve been up since 3 a.m. talking myself down from the ledge. It is now 7:12 a.m. I’m too drained, my brain is too scrambled, and my throat is too sore to tell if this has actually worked. There is a handsome cat who has insisted on holding my hand under his paw as I sleep for weeks now, because we are telepathic together and he knows I’m going through it (he is the one who needs the insulin – why the fuck is insulin over $300? If I were Carrie White, man…  the Dangerous Mind Power Carnage would be a sight to see around Lantus Town, trust).

So okay. Time to sleep, until another “you have to pee” nightmare wakes me up, an hour from now. The last one featured Susan Sarandon performing solo sex acts in a Walmart in a manner so horrific that it actually did not even get close to qualifying as a Sex Dream but instead sped like a bat out of hell right to Bad Dream classification. I don’t remember what department she was in. I’ll guess Ladieswear? Whatever. She’s on the Dream Grudge list and I’m never looking at her the same way again.

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That’s Life

SO.

I had a heart attack. I’ve got phlebitis – an inflammation of the vein – from the IV. I’ve missed half a month of work already. Two cats need vet visits ASAP. My apartment has toxic black mold, failing floors, and unconcerned management. I have no idea how I am going to get my cats to the vet or pay my bills for the month (except for rent, which is thankfully already paid).

I’m searching for remote jobs but most require specific experience in those fields and all want a sparkling resume which I would assume does not include involvement in the adult industry. Most also require a quiet space from which to work that has no interruptions. With the cats ailing, I am interrupted quite frequently for feline emergencies. I do not have a sparkling resume because I am a crazy person. I have skills, I can see where I could be ‘valuable’, but proving that on paper is, well, let’s say it’s a challenge, in the same way teaching a hamster quantum physics is a challenge. And of course, I lack specific experience. My experience is general, and apparently useless.

So. No idea how I’m going to get cats to the vet. No idea how to get the bills paid. No idea how to not let this angst and anxiety and feline heartbreak translate into ‘no stress’ for cardio reasons.

Bright side: I will get back to you on that.

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Of Innards and Angels

I lost two of the most special and amazing creatures that ever existed in two weeks. Heartbroken and shell-shocked and weirdly numb in the places where I’m not totally destroyed. And inanely smart-mouthed in some sort of misguided manic attempt to put on a good face. Just one of the numerous shitty parts is that I did not have enough money to save either of them. To have to watch the ones you love die because you can’t save them, because you FAIL to save them, it is a bitter fucking pill to swallow. Which is kind of an odd expression because you’d WANT to swallow the bitter pill, get it away from your taste buds. You WOULDN’T want it lingering under your tongue, where it would be pumping out little particulates into your saliva streams and flooding your mouth innards.

Oh – and “mouth innards” is mine – don’t steal it. It’s too GRACEFUL a phrase to just let go. (Yeah, I can wax sardonic as a cover-up, but it’s like my concealer. Caked on and obvious.)

The thing about tragedy is that it forces you into a new space, a new energy. You shed skin, at least if you’re doing it right. If you are the kind of person to go through major life events without changing at least a LITTLE, well, I don’t know how to know you. Things definitely feel like they are – different. Some of that is obviously terrible. Some of it is okay. The okay stuff doesn’t change the fact that I miss my kitties. It doesn’t change how it feels like part of my heart has been ripped right out of my chest and my stomach is taking a ride in a elevator with snapped cables.

Animals are the purest creatures. I mean, babies are nice and innocent and sweet and all, but think about this: a baby will also smack the shit out of you and then laugh about it. There is that. My cats didn’t slap at me, but if they did, they would not be laughing in their paws about it. They were literally the sweetest souls I have ever encountered. And in the world the way it is today, there is something profoundly disturbing, beyond the obvious issue of losing that which you love so very dearly, to watching that purity extinguish. It is a heartbreak on several levels, and one of those levels belongs to humanity. It’s a weight on the soul, the heaviness of watching angels die.

I don’t know what to do with the ache. You never do. Grief is like that. You just have to learn to live with it, and bear it as it gets a little duller each day. It will never go away completely, but then, neither will the love. And that is the strength of this world. The brutal force of mortality will ultimately rob us of everything we hold dearest to our hearts. But the love, that’s the thing it can’t touch, can’t change, can’t steal. It’s sappy, but it’s true. Love endures. I will love my cats forever, whatever the concept “forever” ends up meaning. I will take my love for them with me to my grave – which will probably be a cardboard cremains box for the indigent, but hey, you get what you get. Whatever the case, the fact is that the love endures. It’s like an endless echo made of memory and will.

It’s traumatic playing God for a beloved pet. Especially when ‘pet’ seems awkward and ‘cat child’ would be a more apt description. “So they don’t suffer” still feels like selling them down the river. I should have been Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment”, for fuck’s sake. I shouldn’t have just given in, given up. I should have been ready to raise hell and crack skulls, but instead, I listened to the damned vet. “You should go ahead and put her down now,” she said. And maybe it was the kindest thing, but I just keep thinking, that cat TRUSTED me, and THAT is what I fucking did.

And that line of thinking is what you call Counter-factual thinking, and it is part of Denial. “If Only” counts as Denial. I did not know this before my World Grief Tour (2012-2018) but it’s true. Sitting there going over and over what you could have done differently is absolutely part of Denial. As far as I know there is no organic way it stops – you just have to willfully say FUCKING STOP to yourself. You have to tell yourself, Look – the person/animal is gone now and all of this thinking will NOT bring them back, it’s just going to put YOU in a hole you will never get out of. And you have to will yourself to stop it. And you will suck at that at first. But you will get better at distracting yourself. You will get better at distress tolerance.

And I will, too. Or I will be forced to beat the living shit out of myself.

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RIP

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to another one of my kitties. I am heartbroken.

 

Rest in Peace, Ticaboo
5/17/03-2/3/19

 

 

 

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The Impossible Dream

My eldest cat, who is eighteen, is blind. She screams all day. I say “screams” and not “meows” because it is usually not her standard meow, but instead a howling caterwaul that sounds like how I sometimes feel when I post to this blog. It is blood curdling and, frankly, nerve-fraying. I do my best to soothe her. I make sure she isn’t hungry or thirsty, I make sure she doesn’t have to use the litter box. I pet her, talk to her, sing to her, kiss her on top of the head. Any fix I try lasts for approximately 10 seconds. And then it’s right back to Scream Time. So basically everything I am doing lately is with this backdrop of abject feline misery.

If that’s not enough to make me feel not so good at the life thing, clips are not doing well at all this month. I mean, generally speaking I am not pulling in much from them, but every little bit helps and some months are better than others. I am pretty sure that other people doing this are better at it in one way or many and make significantly better bank than I, because I don’t see anyone besides myself doing this for long without much reward. Why then do I do it for not much reward, and for as long (excuse me, fucking long) as I have? It takes a long time to recover from a psychotic break, first off. Secondly, systems are not set up so that one can easily be weaned off of them, particularly when said systems are set up only for subsistence and not for leveling up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Spending every day scrambling to do better sucks up a lot of focus.

Not that this will stand in my way. I am stubborn. And though some may believe that hope is a pipe dream, I still see value in it. It is the fuel that keeps me going. The hope that with enough focus, enough effort, even with the bullshit obstacles that stand between me and the serious improvement of my situation, I can overcome. Some may say that my hope is directed toward something ‘too good to be true’. That it’s overshooting to imagine that I could go from what I do now to what I want to do. To that I say, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t have a choice.

I got started on this road because I lost my job due to mental illness, which violates the ADA – but I didn’t know about the ADA, and I didn’t know that I could apply for Social Security Disability. At that time, I had enough credits. I was absolutely eligible. But my husband, who loved letting everyone know what a Socialist to the Nth Degree he was, didn’t bother to tell me about these two things. I just figured, well, I have to do something to earn a living. And so I did. I I pulled something out of thin air, rather than get assistance from the government. Who knows, had I pursued the idea that the government could help me, what might have happened had I applied for SSDI at that time. I would have gone down a completely different road. I would have had access to needed medication, I would not have worked in jobs where I got no SSDI credit, I would not have met the person who put a gun to my face and who would eventually hold me against my will and assault me in numerous ways. A lot would have been different. A few things might be much better. A couple of things would be missing from my life though, and the people that I now treasure, I would not know. So you know, it evens out. In fact, interpersonally, I come out far ahead. I am lucky, and grateful for that fact.

But, because I worked instead of applying for disability at that time, I am now a “lifer” on a much lower, less survivable form of disability assistance. That is, unless I can pull off the rabbit in the hat trick. Some may think it’s not feasible. But some didn’t think it was feasible that I would be able to rehab myself to the point I am now at, post-psychotic break. One therapist even went so far as to say, “You will never be happy. You will be lucky if you are able to function at all.”

Yeah, she probably should not be a therapist.

There are still some speed bumps, even if the road turns out to be mostly smooth, which is a big even to throw in there. I am still inconsistent in a lot of things, though I try to work on this fact daily. I have a lot of ups and downs and bursts and dearths of energy. Sometimes my brain is a really scary place in which to hang out. And sometimes I get stuck in the past, because there is just so much of it that was traumatic and hurtful and confusing, and because I am trying to unravel all the wrong things I learned and replace them with correct things.

I read a tweet yesterday that nearly knocked the wind out of me, it was so resonant. It was about being just intelligent enough and just high-functioning enough for people to glance over and assume that any sort of difficulty a person was having with things like organization or going places or communicating or what-have-you was not due to illness or disorder – in this case ADHD, which I also have – but to be difficult out of spite. I can’t even tell you how many times that has happened to me. How many times people have summed me up incorrectly and figured, “Oh, well if she can do THAT, then she can also do THIS, and she JUST DOESN’T WANT TO.”  In fact, shortly after my psychotic break – which lasted four months before anyone even thought that maybe my bizarre behavior was a sign that something had gone terribly wrong in my brain – my mom said to me, “That stuff was all just because you were mad at me, wasn’t it?”

She wasn’t saying that out of any kind of cruelty or anything, she just did not understand, having been born in the times of Walk It Off or Be Lobotomized. She listened when I explained that it was mental illness, not spite, that caused me to behave as I did. But a lot of people don’t listen, and they don’t believe. Some of these people are actually doctors. But present as high-functioning and you can be easily labeled as attention-seeking or worse, a malingerer.

Whatever, though. In the end, all of this is a bunch of words, and I will be aided mostly by action. And that action is learning to code. I have achieved a total of seven certificates so far, but only one of them recently – the first six were from a false start two years ago. Still, this one cert is a big deal for me, and now I am trying to figure out something I was never taught – how to set goals, and create a logical daily plan of steps to achieve them. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime, I am doing the best I can as I can grab time to focus on it. It can be frustrating, because sometimes the free site I am using leaves important info out and then gives you a problem to do that utilizes the info they left out and it feels like you are expected to just magically “know” it. It is really easy to say, “I’m not cut out for this”, but the thing is – I am.

I am cut out for this. I believe I can do it. I do not know how long it will take. I do not know if it will result in my super-hoped-for goal of a really good job. But I am finally using my mind again, and that feels so amazing, and so right.

There is a place within each of us, no matter how stressed, no matter how crazy, where the judgement of others at long last falls away, and we feel most ourselves. The trick is finding out how to access it.

What can you do today that will help you access that place?

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The Awful Truth, Part Two

I didn’t talk about what I am doing to try to change things. I am definitely doing something to try to change things. It is just that it is a long-term plan, and in the short term I am floundering and failing and starting to fall into a major depressive state, which is REALLY counterproductive. So counterproductive that it could completely fuck me for good. But I need to step away from that thought.

What I am doing is, of course, what I have mentioned here recently before: learning coding. I have been on this Every. Single. Day. Without fail. I am serious AF about this. Studying hard, taking notes, and going for certifications. I want to be a full stack web developer.

That is the hope I’m hanging my hat on.

I just wish there were some way to not drown in financial stress and intense depression and untold levels of worry while I am doing this. I am afraid I’m going to end up “without a pot or a window” before I can complete this course of study, which is not exactly an easy one. It takes a lot of focus, focus which is getting fragmented. I’m fighting, though.

I am fighting as hard as I can. I just do not know if it will be enough. I guess all I can do is keep fighting, and see what happens, see what I can MAKE happen.

I hate doing this but circumstances compel me to do so, because I have a cat who will die if I don’t. Milhouse needs a $300 bottle of insulin. I can’t afford it. If you can please help, this is my paypal link: http://paypal.me/annievox  Any amount at all is helpful. Thank you.

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