December 27, 2021

Looking Up!

I'm pretty sure that I've made it clear by now that December has been an incredibly stressful month for me. I have been trying to sound positive to the best of my ability, but in truth, I've been miserable. It's not been a typical bipolar depressive episode; I'm not depressed. But I have cried many, many tears of frustration, of being totally overwhelmed, of stress and anxiety, and just feeling like I have so many decisions to make but not being able to make decisions in this state of mind. Or making the wrong ones.

The little trouble maker that started this whole thing! ;)

Today is the first day that I really feel like things are looking up! It started this morning when Phoebe paid attention to me while I was feeding the other cats. Since she's been sick, she does nothing but sleep; I have to "force feed" her several times a day (I have a disgusting purée of salmon that I blended with kitten formula--then fed her by using a syringe to squirt it in her mouth). She hated when I had to feed her, but she refused to eat or drink on her own. She's a tiny cat as it is--only 6.5 pounds--and she can't afford to get any thinner.

I put some wet food in front of her this morning and she sniffed it. I dabbed a little on her nose (so she'd lick it off and hopefully discover she liked it). She showed no interest. I put her in front of her water bowl, hoping she'd drink from it. She sat there for a little while staring, but she finally drank some water! It was such a small thing, but I felt SO relieved from it. That's the first I've seen her drink water on her own since she got sick (11 days ago? 12? I don't even remember.).

I gave the cats dry treats and put a couple in front of Phoebe, just in case, and she actually ate a few of them. I was shocked. She wanted dry treats but no wet food?! I then put a pile in front of her, but she was no longer interested. A little while later, I tried these little squeeze packets (it's essentially puréed wet food in a packet that you squeeze slowly while the cat licks it). I was stunned when she actually ate the entire thing. It's not much (the packets are very small) but it was a big start. I've been trying to get her to eat those every day but she's never interested.

I gave her another one a little while later, and again, she ate it. So, as long as things keep going like this, I'm done feeding her with the syringe! The syringe doesn't sound so bad, but it was awful--she would spit it out, getting fish-smelling clumps all over my clothes, it would get on her and make her fur all crusty, and it made her just plain hate me. She was avoiding me and when I would just go over to pet her, she cringed because she probably expected me to pull out the syringe to feed her.

Today, she actually went over to the couch and jumped up on Jerry's lap. She laid there and slept for a long time (she used to do that before getting sick). Each time I saw some of the "old Phoebe" showing, I felt lighter and lighter. The stress is starting to lift.

As far as the other cats: Chick and Duck are 100% back to normal. Duck is back to jumping on the bathroom counter until I brush him, getting into mischief everywhere he can find it, playing fetch, climbing the Christmas tree, "talking" to me all day, and just plain begging for attention. Chick is as curious as ever, always looking for a box to climb in or something to attack. He also does everything he possibly can to sneak and get Phoebe's or Estelle's food (in addition to his own).

Estelle is not back to normal yet, but she's doing much, much better. I don't hear any congestion when she breathes anymore. She's back to climbing on my lap anytime she sees me sit down (if she even suspects that I'm going to sit, she's there before I am, waiting to lie on my lap). She's eating and drinking--not as much as she used to, but I don't have to push her to eat.

So, as far as the cats go, I am feeling a million times less stressed. Seeing Phoebe perk up a bit today was just what I needed. The worst is over.

I missed getting together with my family for Christmas. Brian and Becky invited us to their house for Christmas Eve brunch (along with my parents and Nathan) and I had been planning to go. However, when Becky asked me if we were going because she wanted to plan the food situation, it was a really, really bad moment for me to have to make that decision.

I was super emotional that morning--the cats weren't doing good; my sister had just told me about how I really need to be cautious about the new COVID variant (she works with COVID patients at the hospital); I hadn't been able to work on the gifts I was making for Luke and Riley, and I knew I wouldn't finish them in time; I still needed to buy a few Christmas gifts; I had zero groceries in the house and the kids were asking me what we were doing for dinner; my house was completely neglected because I'd been so busy with the cats; and I was mentally exhausted to the point where I just couldn't concentrate on anything at all.

So I told Becky I was sorry, but we wouldn't be there. Later, when I wasn't as emotional, I wished I'd said yes; but I didn't want to make things more stressful for her if she'd already bought the stuff for brunch. I know she wouldn't have minded, but I also know that it's frustrating when people change their minds after you have things planned.

On Christmas, it was about 50 degrees outside!! It was PERFECT for going out to the garage and working on something to de-stress. I decided to make something much quicker for Luke and Riley for Christmas--a backyard slingshot. (The other project I'd been working on was very meticulous; I'll post about it here later, when I start working on it again.) Here is a picture of the backyard slingshot that inspired me (from Rogue Engineer):

I'm not making it to those exact plans, but it's very similar. After opening gifts with Jerry and the kids in the morning, I spent some time working on the slingshot. I got it all built; now I just need to paint it and add the actual sling part. The good news is that I already had all of the materials to build it. Then I spent the rest of the day with the family. We got Chinese take-out for dinner and watched Christmas movies.

I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of this nightmare tunnel, and I am so glad that I can (hopefully) go into 2022 with a much better attitude and emotional state (albeit about five pounds heavier than last month). I have been thinking about some goals (my favorite part about starting a new year!) and I am feeling more optimistic. It's been really nice having Jerry home from work, too. We haven't really done anything significant, but just having his company has been helpful.

Yesterday, my sister told me that she's taking a short mental health break for herself, so she was only going to be looking at her phone once a day (in case I needed to get in touch with her). Today, she sent me the start of a guest post about her job right now dealing with COVID patients. It's fascinating and it's exactly what I've been really wanting to hear about--I want to read first-hand accounts from people who work closely with COVID patients so I can truly understand what that's like from their perspective.

I told her I can't wait to share it, so she's going to continue to work on it and I'll post it soon as part of the COVID Diaries series I was working on. (And I'd still love to hear from others as well!)

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and is looking forward to the new year :)


  1. I love hearing good news regarding your kitties! As far as covid, I've worked in healthcare as an nurse for 30 years, and also med/surg. I have my license and a lot of experience, and I get offers for high paying assignments, but the stress is too much for me. Driving so far, working long night shifts, and renting apartments away from home has fucked up my life so bad, I can't sleep at night and in the daytime when I want to be productive, I'm tired from being awake all night. I respect all of the people who work in healthcare, I really do, but the stress for me is too much, so I pass up the big money and am a coward hiding away from the that awful lifestyle. They refused to let me leave work the night my husband called to tell me our black lab was dying, and she needed me so bad. It pisses me off so bad. I quit my job that day and never went back. If she was a person, they'd say. go be with her in her final hours, but she's a dog, you can't even leave until you've had your yearly evaluation. Left that morning and never ever went back. Now instead of making big money, I work right in town cleaning motel rooms. I barely make any money, but can't handle that horrible stress. Katie, you said how has it affected your life, and I'm just saying it's affected mine.

  2. Best news ever! Hoping the cats continue this journey to health, for their sake and yours! Second guessing decisions is tough, but you made the decision about brunch with the facts and feelings you had at the moment. Good to hear you were able to work on a project.

  3. So glad the kitties are doing better and can't wait to hear first-hand from a frontline worker. My frontline friends tell horror stories. We need to know how bad it is. I mean, we do know, but still. Hearing it from someone who is right there helps make it more real. Sending lots of love. Oh, and that sling shot sounds so cool! I bet the kids will love it. You are the cool auntie!!

  4. That's wonderful!! Your cats have been in my prayers. :-)


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