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Distracted Much?

I’m going to go out on a not-so-surprising limb and say that distractions are the creative suck of any writer’s life. They are there, and while their singular purpose is not to derail you from accomplishing successful completion of projects, they do a pretty good job of it as a byproduct.

My opinion? Distractions are subversive havoc-wreakers, cropping up to gnaw away at your day, regurgitating their kill into the mouth of one’s tiny internal procrastination monster. That monster happens to have a bottomless pit for a stomach.  Not that I’ve pondered this much. Cough, cough.

Yes, I realize the irony of this following my blog post three months ago about creative resilience. Obviously I failed at that endeavor, despite my optimism, resulting in a severe cut back on the number of posts I was producing. Hey, you get divorced, make mandatory renovations (damn ice dams), prepare, list, and maintain a house on the market all while dealing with the emotional issues of children, cats, yourself, and everyone else effected by your divorce. The good news is, we all made it through.

Let me provide you with an example of how mayhem (yes, go ahead and think of those commercials) can disrupt the creative flow. If you let it. Which I did.

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it, but I am the mother to two Siamese cats, half-brothers through their stud of a father. They are ten years old. I say mother because they both think they are human, will vocally argue the validity of their opinion should you confront them, and who am I to argue? I talk to them like they are, therefore it’s my own fault.

In the midst of all the house renovations during/after my divorce, the more nervous of the two brothers developed all the signs of kidney disease. I happen to be unschooled in the signs of feline kidney disease and did not recognize anything was amiss until he started losing weight. Three pounds of weight, as it turned out, in about a week and a half. That is 30% of his mass for all you math people. As you read this, all the math people in my life are completely impressed I just calculated that number. They are also wondering what the initial weight was because they doubt the accuracy of those calculations. They know me well.

My cat’s renal blood work was off the chart, not in a good way, and the veterinarian went from a possible kidney disease diagnosis straight to one of complete kidney failure. The only option was to put my kitty boy into the hospital and flush him with intermittent IV fluids for 48 hours at $800 a pop. That visit would have to be repeated as necessary. The possibility that it would be unsuccessful and only prolong death was high.

This heartbreaking news came one day after my ex-husband served me papers regarding yet another modification request with the court, causing me to retain my attorney for $2500. Okay, technically the sheriff served the papers to one of the construction guys working for me. I wasn’t home and I’m not sure that’s legal. The work crew and I had a good laugh about it though and the foreman offered to go in my place since he was technically the one served. I should totally take him up on that offer.

Simply put, I couldn’t afford to save my cat’s life in the hospital. Nice.

During that nightmarish call from the vet, she suggested the option of getting a medical credit card, something that prompted internal conflict. Of course I wanted to do everything possible to save him, but was it irresponsible to place myself in future financial jeopardy? I am pending a change of residence for my daughters and myself post divorce and that doesn’t come cheap. Having left my employment to become a writer eight months prior, would I qualify?  Then the vet revealed a third option. “Well, I suppose, if you’re comfortable, you could come in and we could teach you to give him daily doses of subcutaneous IV fluids.”

Subcutaneous, as in “under the skin.”

Now, being a speech language pathologist by trade, and having worked in several rehabilitation facilities, I am comfortable around medical situations and equipment and have made some pretty significant medical decisions on behalf of my patients’ best interests— that doesn’t mean I’ve ever stuck anyone with a needle. Um, Speech doesn’t do that.

But guess what? Faced with my cat’s demise, I found myself saying, “I guess I’m coming in to learn how to give IV fluids. I’ll be there in an hour.” And I did it— You don’t even want to know how long the needle was. I was provided an IV bag, just like you see in the hospital, no miniature sizes for cats. There seriously should be— less scary, for me and the cat.

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One week after my emergency IV lesson, I had to bring my sick boy back to the vet’s office. Still bony, close to a walking skeleton compared to his previous form, my mind wanted to believe he was a little peppier, a little meatier— that we wouldn’t lose him.

The vet knew what tests to run having narrowed the preceding blood work to the area of concern. Focusing on kidney function, they extracted blood to run his numbers and the wait went on, and on, and on. The vet tech called me to the back room, one I hadn’t been in before, and asked me to wait for the doctor. My heart was already swimming in bile at the base of my throat.

“I can’t believe it,” were the words that made my head snap up and look at the doctor as she came through the door. “Completely within limits except one level that is single number above the norm. You’ve done a phenomenal job!” I stared blankly at her. I’d done it? He wasn’t going to die as I’d been subliminally preparing my daughters. Stunned. Numb. And then, elation.

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I continued to administer subcutaneous saline for the next month, downgraded to every 2-3 days, and now he is completely off extra fluids. What’s important is that he’s alive, gaining weight (and subsequently is his lard ass of a brother who steals his food if I’m not watching), and our smaller family unit, human and feline, is going strong.

Procrastination monsters are losing their feeding source, and therefore, havoc is decreasing and I am managing distractions. I’ve joined a writer’s group on MeetUp, and, totally unrelated, summer has arrived. Expect the blog posts to increase.

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