It looks like my car is totaled, which would really be the best case scenario since I don't think it could ever be the same. I'll know on Monday when the adjuster comes, but the good news is that I won't have to feel guilty about driving this gas guzzling SUV any more, that I had only bought because of all of the kids we had living with us at the time, that and the hope that I'd eventually need it to tow the Airstream I wanted to buy to take to Burning Man.
Since Mom is the gatekeeper and key master, (Did you see Ghostbusters?) of all things financial in my world, and has been particularly anxious and fearful lately, it didn't look like I was going to be able to work out getting a new car for a while. She's being nicer to me now that she thinks I nearly died. Now I can take the money I get back for my car, which was in excellent condition, had the premium package, and super low miles, (cross your fingers for me), and put this down on a hybrid. I won't have to feel like a selfish war mongering environmentally destructive SUV driver any more, and maybe the hippie kids with the vegetable fueled bus will like me. Hey, at least I'll be able to pick up Beau from his very green school without having to skulk around in the parking lot out of fear that someone I respect will see my car and scold me for it.
Funny thing; I was just at my Mom's hair salon last week. We were all going to go together to get Beau a new guitar so we met up there. The guy who runs the parking lot was in a bad mood and seriously hassled me about my Ford. No one ever actually hassles me about it, I just think they will. But this time this guy came right out and said, "What are you doing driving that big God damned thing around for? You're going to leave that here for me to park aren't you? Don't you know how much you're spending in gas? Why the hell don't you sell it?" I was kind of shocked because he's parked my car dozens of times before and he's usually really friendly, but this time he was so vehement and well, angry. And I'm always so nice to this guy. He charges two fifty to move our cars around in their tiny little lot, and I always double that with the tip, so I was definitely surprised that he went after me like that. It doesn't sound as bad as it felt. Now I'll have something to tell him when I see him again. He won't have shit to say when I'm getting eighty miles to the gallon instead of three.
I'm debating about whether to break this up into two different entries, or if I even want to share this because I'm so touched by your kindness and I don't want to overwhelm you with all the endless drama over here on my end of the computer. I've been meaning to post cheerier things, the rest of my diary entries from our trip to Hawaii, pictures of the latest Peggy Hunt and Jeannette dresses I've collected, but then this came up.
I seem to be in the midst of several personal disaster cycles and because I believe things tend to come in threes I'm worried. I injured my elbow pretty badly when I smacked into a parking meter sign thing a few weeks ago, and it hasn't been right since then; terrible bruising, (wish I'd taken a picture of that for you because it was so badly bruised it was the color of an eggplant, but I did think to take pictures of my air bag burns and you'll see those in a minute, if you dare,) lots of squishiness, and screaming pain if I set it down on anything. My doctor, who hasn't sent me for an X-ray, thinks it was just a bad injury that broke a blood vessel and will clear up slowly, but I don't know. I have another good bruise on top of the old one from the car accident. Injury number two came when I tried to twist off the top of a shattered jar of baby food and sliced open my index finger. Now this. So that makes three in the injury department and perhaps I can put all of this silly hurting myself to rest for a bit.
The thing I haven't wanted to tell you, I haven't written about for several reasons; 1.) We have a lot of pets and when you have more pets you will obviously have more pet loss, and I keep losing pets. I don't want to make people sad, or have everyone think that they have to keep posting condolences here. I can't possibly write back to all of you, and it makes me feel as if I look like I'm fishing for attention. I don't mind being attention seeking when it's done on purpose, or in a way that's at least entertaining, and isn't so grim and depressing. I hate being, or seeming to be, self pitying, so I leave things out now and then, and 2.) I'm worried that people will judge me, or that writing about the illness and death of my cats will endanger the rest of them, if some ignorant busy body stumbles in to my journal and reads about this without knowing the full history of the genetic and viral troubles of our sick kitties, and 3.) When you've been doing rescue work for as long as I have, and you have a lot of animal friends, it is really sad and upsetting when one of your beloved friends dies, but not as sad as the loss of a pet is for those of you who only have one or two and have had them since you were a child.
We are always nursing sick kitties here. Several years ago we rescued quite a few purebred cats who were seriously inbred and things got worse from there when we ended up with a few accidental pregnancies. I know that must sound hard to believe, because it seems super irresponsible of me to have allowed this to happen, but I hope you'll just believe me that we meant well and it was accidental, because I'm still kind of woozy and dizzy and don't have the energy to write too much more about this, you'd have to go back in my journal and read the whole story to understand. Anyway we ended up with a lot of sick kittens because we could only place out the healthy ones.
Despite excellent support and veterinary care, that has nearly bankrupted me, our cats keep dying -- at least the ones who are related. We've sent them for autopsies to various specialists, we've even sent tissue samples to UC Davis and no one can give us an answer other than to guess that it's some kind of genetic problem that makes these dear cats more susceptible to viruses that other kitties can fight off.
Last week Rook, one of our favorite cats, the little grey one in the midst of the sea of black ones on my info page, took a serious turn for the worse, and I had to have him put to sleep. I was a wreck but I just didn't want to write about it. I couldn't. I thought we'd be able to save him because for years we've been bringing these guys back from the brink, but despite subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics, vitamins, the best food money can buy, and everything else we did, he started to slip away. We learned that his kidneys were completely shot after we ran a final blood panel and it was then that I knew I had to let him go.
I took him outside and lay on the grass beside him, let him look up at the sky and watch the birds for a while. I didn't put him in his carrier, but wrapped him around my neck for the ride to the vet instead, because he loves that. Then I took him to the vet while trying not to cry, but when we got there the vet wasn't ready for him and we couldn't keep him in the car because of the heat, so we had to put him in a cage. I went in to the adjacent pet store, bought him a bed, and a big bowl of water because ever since he was a baby he liked to play with water, and in those last few days it seemed to be the only thing that brought him any kind of comfort. I would get a large bowl, then set it in the tub, and he would sit beside it scooping all of the water out with his paws. After much cuddling and petting I left him there in that cage. He had enough strength to sit up and scoop at the water, but anyone who saw him would have known he was barely hanging on.
When it comes to "putting cats to sleep" I am a coward. I can't do it. I mean I can't be there with them any more when the vet gives them the injection that knocks them out before they give them the meds that stop their heart. But I believe that I should be there, and I hate myself for not being able to do this. I used to, but there was this one time, that was one too many for me, and for my sanity I've had to decide not to any more. As I said, I truly hate myself for this cowardice because I really believe that I owe it to them to be with them to comfort them so that their last moments are as stress free and happy as possible.
The morning of my accident Esther called me from home and told me that our little Lilly, (Lili-u-okulani, the last Queen of Hawaii, who has always been very tiny, and along with her sister Ruby has been sick off and on since birth), had also suddenly taken a turn for the worse and looked as sick as Rook had the week before. I couldn't believe it. I mean we might lose two cats a year at worst, but two in two weeks with one more looking poorly is unheard of. I was dreading coming home because I knew what I would find when I got here.
After the accident, after the tow truck driver brought my smashed car and me home, after I limped up the stairs and dropped all of my stuff off, I looked for Lilly and knew she wasn't going to rally, but I hoped she would. The next morning I called my Mom and asked her if she would take my two little black cats and me to the vet and she kindly said yes. But unfortunately, because my Mom is a very practical and unsentimental person who doesn't feel a particular fondness for my many cats that have cost us so much money, she was all business like she always is about pretty much everything, while I was just trying to hold it together.
We got to the vet and parked in the shade. Mom wanted to hear the whole story about my accident again. After I finished she sent Rosa, (her housekeeper), off to buy her some bon bons. She's not supposed to eat chocolate but she's like a little kid, maybe a little like me, and Rosa certainly isn't going to stand up to her. I got out of the car and picked up the cats and showed them to Mom. As I was walking towards the vet, my Mom called me back. I turned around to see what she wanted and she said, "Be sure to ask for that collar back." She meant the collar Lilly was wearing. She wanted me to make sure that I took the collar off of my dead cats neck because, hey, why waste a good collar? I don't know why, because I know how she is, but this one callous thing coming from, of all people, my own mother, hurt so much, and I crumbled. I limped into the vet's office on my glass filled foot in tears.
The vet looked at both of our little black kitties and said that Lilly looked like she wasn't going to make it but that we could run a blood panel to be sure, and take her home to nurse her through the night, just in case. But late that night she was hemorrhaging and in the morning I took her back to the vet and had her put down. My little Lilly is gone, and we all love her so much. I can't believe it, not two cats in two weeks! I don't even know how I'm going to bring myself to tell Beau. He was completely stoic about Rook who he named and was always one of his most favorite cats. He refused to spend any time with him before I took him to the vet. He wouldn't say good-bye, wouldn't go with me to the vet, and still can't talk about it. Now I'm just waiting on Ruby.
So, you see why I haven't wanted to write about this, it's all just too sad. I know for some people who don't love cats like I do, this won't seem like such a big deal, but if you've ever had a cat for a friend, I know you'll understand.
I still have a lot of cats who I love dearly, even though I am afraid for them. I survived a bad car wreck. I'm alive. People I love are alive, and that's what counts, but I am sad, and I am having trouble comprehending the loss. But here's how I handle these things, I draw on my faith, the faith that I was born with and that was nurtured by the incredible women at Marymount who were my teachers and friends as I grew up. I see it as this beautiful grace note, that I can survive things that are hard, and come out smiling, because while some of you might find this spiritually naive, I truly believe that there is a source out there who loves me and that everything that happens, even the saddest things, are happening because they are meant to. It's all part of this complex plan that I am way too tiny to understand from my limited perspective. So here I am, I can cry and still feel hopeful. I can be angry and grateful at the same time. And that's about all the energy I've got left to write with tonight.
I am going to try to go back and write to everyone who was kind enough to comment on my last entries, but my whole body hurts, I'm dizzy and weak, so I don't know how long I can hold out. I just want you to know how much your kindness and friendship means to me. When the paramedics asked me who they could call for me and I didn't have an answer for them because I only have three family members, none of whom were available at the time, (I knew that Scott would be at home sleeping and had to be up early for work, my Mom is too elderly to risk worrying her with a scary call in the middle of the night, and Beau was away at camp), I thought of all of you, and that's why I stayed up taking and editing photos and writing an entry, instead of laying my weary body down, because I knew you would be kind, and I knew I needed the support. I can never thank you enough. I hope that someday I can return the favor. Scratch that, I hope you will never need me to return the favor.
And now for the really creepy part. Here are today's pictures of my arm. The skin is literally melting off of my forearm and like I said yesterday me no big fan o' air bags. This is definitely not for the squeamish but might be fun for voyeurs like me. I think I'll also head on over to the TMI community, I'm serious, and post them there as well ; )
Big super grateful hugs,
PS: I have to head back to San Diego for Beau's concert on Saturday but I can't drive so Scott is going to go with me and we'll be back on Sunday with pictures. The name of Beau's band this year is, Infected With. I think it's a heavy metal band and he's not too happy about that. He confused the counselors who assign the band groupings when he listed The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jack Johnson as two of his musical influences. The default category for these disparate musicians must somehow wind up being hard rock. I wonder if someone said they liked Megadeath and Madonna they'd get assigned to an Umpapa band.
PPS: If you'd like to send prayers, Reiki, healing of any kind, or light candles, forget about me, I'm fine, but please help our cats. Little Ruby is the worst off right now. For visualization purposes just picture a tiny, little, black, kitten-sized cat with a black rhinestone collar and green eyes. She has a stuffed up nose and her kidneys and liver need healing.
Are you sure you're ready for this? Okay, I warned you...
I took these for insurance purposes and thought, "Hey, I've got an idea, I'll share these with all of my pals on Live Journal and put them off pizza for a loooong time." It's actually worse than it looks because the skin keeps coming off, and that really raw part that you see on the bottom there? It keeps getting bigger and that's pretty much what the whole thing is gonna look like eventually. The white stuff all over my burn is just a cream, a really great cream called Silvadene that keeps open burn wounds covered up and protected because these kinds of things get infected pretty easily because hey, we need our skin ; ) Are you sorry you looked? Or is it better than you thought it would be?