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Posts Tagged ‘Sick cat blogging’

Angelbait is home and convalescing better than expected. Kamikaze is hissy and I feel drunk. Think mental health reform is contentious? I think the similarities with feline diabetes are about to blow my mind.

The learning curve is steep, a week ago I did not know feline diabetes existed and today I’ve got a handle on the basics of diet, syringes, lancets, meters, ketones, spreadsheets, blood glucose home-testing, and my favorite, how to introduce hyperglycemia during insulin shock, which led to complete meltdown and eccentric 3 AM googling (guess which one is mine, ha ha ha).

Yes, long-term hyperglycemia is bad, but you have to introduce it temporarily during hypoglycemia to save the cat’s life. Oh, ok. Now then, spend 3 days tracking down the ingredients in a can of cat food, because the manufacturers hoard the data. Wonder why? It’s a conspiracy! No, it really is, those fuckers.

The Feline Diabetes Message Board is a wealth of information, award-winning, altruistic, been around since 1996 and more than a little cutting edge, which leads to all the proselytizing and threats you expect from activists who managed to save a life by going against the standard treatment protocol. The most vocal members are understandably pissed about the wrecking mainstream and long passed waiting for the science to catch up with their approach. But I entered in the middle of the plot with all the desperation of the newbie and whimpering hope that the vet will tell me what to do, forgetting for the time that this is health care, after all, capitalism’s crowning clusterfuck.

I had to step back and start over with the “meta” issues in the ever-shifting field and ground. How to assess credibility, sanity, common sense when challenging philanthropists, figure out how to do it without being abandoned, sort out who to trust when I trust no one, because when opinions differ measuring horse-sense is something that needs doing before you even begin dealing with the treatment protocol, and not enough people seem to realize that. No cookies til you prove it. Make me explain why? O god please kill me.

Sitting at my computer these days not even sure if I’m reading about establishment psychiatry or veterinary medicine. A comment I made on the FDMB might ring a few bells for some:

You realize what you all are advising here is very, very hard to take. Let me know you have the self-awareness to get how disturbing is your insistence that I be

non-compliant

with my

vet’s

instructions.

I need to know that you are self-aware, to test your basic RATIONALITY, sorry, but that’s life on the internets.

Testy, no love lost there. Next day:

“Some of us have a theory”, thanks that explains a lot. I’m a health science nerd and total policy wonk, and when things settle down will want to know more about the research base, whether it’s commercially funded or grassroots experimental, and how the model is received by the medical/science community, if it has been denoted as an evidence-based emerging or promising practice. I just don’t have the sense to get into this right now but am sure it will lead to interesting discussions.

Better?

My anxiety has to do with the human element, it’s not that people hide the truth, it just feels that way most of the time and this particular urgency precludes waiting for the truth to emerge the way it does, in stages, as people get to know each other and the conversations deepen. When one mistake can kill my cat I am kind of insane about the discrepancies. They stand out, that’s just me. There is the enormous good work being done, and there are gray areas, that’s just life.

Happily, most of what they advise is adding up for Angelbait. My vet is fantastic and I have been able to ask intelligent questions when his protocol disagrees with the FDMB and so far he approves of the modifications. And there is cross-pollination with the scientific/research community, who also watch and critique the site so I am beginning to relax and act less like a dick.

Any regular readers asking what in tarnation is going on with this blog, looks like it’ll be occupied with cat matters too now, but I’m as exercised as ever about the great downward spiral in community mental health. I just opened last week’s google alerts, almost every one of them calling for outright forced drugging and supervision of people with severe and persistent mental labels. This is how it happens, they’re opening up the Overton Window, it’s frightening, not at all therapeutic, and it’s happening under our noses. Visit a zillion mental health blogs asking every one, where is the pushback, why is NAMI on your blogroll, is NAMI your advocate? Does NAMI speak for you? Yes? No? Am I suggesting NAMI is controversial, not what it seems to be? Do I ask too many questions? Here, have one. Just one, will be my gift to you.

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I have been consumed with feline diabetes the last few days, as I should, it’s complex as it gets and the knowledge base as demanding as that of informed mental health patients. Angelbait will need me to test her glucose 4 times a day, before and after I give her the shots, that means pricking her ear and getting the reading on a monitor. She will need prescription food and I have to figure out how to do things like get the insulin from the vet to my house in 100 degree heat without a car, the insulin has to be kept refrigerated. This home-based disease management will cost about 150 a month, the only way that will work is if I quit smoking. And I have to figure out how to do all this when the legislature is in session, and bills are passed at 2 AM, when I’m at the Capitol 18 hours a day.

Sometimes the glass is half empty. I just found an Austin blogger who accuses my vet of killing 2 pets.

He killed my cat.

I don’t know if she’s right or wrong and based on her post, neither can you. All I know is Angelbait is in this same man’s hands, at that clinic still, right now, and I feel powerless. Am I? What would you do? I don’t know where to go from here. I talk to the vet, he says all the same stuff to me he said to this blogger, I went and saw X play last night and stopped crying for the first time since Sunday, thinking it’s going to be a long hard road, but if I keep my shit together Angel will make it. I can’t sleep from the hundreds of rules to learn and remember, and I stayed up to research the vet and found that post and this 2006 reprimand by the Licensing Board for violating the “PROFESSIONAL STANDARD OF HUMANE TREATMENT, by failing to begin treatment for Sarcoptic mites, even with an initial negative skin scrape when confronted with symptoms of crusty ears, generalized itching, non-responsive treatment protocols, and a human rash. Disciplinary Action: Informal Reprimand.”

Should I see red flags? Are reprimands common with vets who have been practicing long? All I know is he examined the older cat Kamikaze twice and agreed to let me administer the shots at home and he gives me a break on the price. I asked him 2 years ago if the cortisone would shorten Kami’s lifespan and he said “probably, yes, it’s likely. But it’s either that or letting her suffer like this.” His candor appealed to me, the Animal Trustees non-profit recommends him for low-income pet owners, he is a nice man, and with Angelbait he will allow me to do home-based glucose monitoring. That is a big plus in his favor, according to the progressive feline diabetes community.

I would be remiss to leave out the impact these readings are having on me. I read that post and disciplinary action and went into conversion disorder for the first time since I wrote about standing up and falling down on troublewaits. I would like people who don’t believe in mental illness to see what conversion disorder looks like, you fucks, and deal with the fact that it was a certified psychiatrist what taught me how to deal with it. (“Talk to people, express yourself; hysteria is caused by over-control and stoicism, which is contraindicated due to your trauma history”.)

Contraindicated: he was recommending I let myself fall apart, validating my craziness as the way things are supposed to be, bless you Dr. Oppressor. I’m calling him up inside my heart and going over the protocols for these times. He said you will probably have falling down spells for the rest of your life when overwhelmed by emotion and you will get through them because you have so far. I asked how I can *share* like a human being when my speech goes garbly and I drop for no apparent reason, how can I talk when I can’t form words. He put his thumb and forefinger together with a fraction of space between them and said “This is how much understanding you’ll find out there. But it’s either try or suffer in silence, and silence is why it’s happening.” He said at first the speech and falling down will be TEH SUCK, but “once you start talking everything smooths out.” I’m not telling you this to stick up for him, but to share my disdain with the antipsychiatry dickstains who feel welcomed here for some incomprehensible reason.

I have not followed my old shrink’s advice, am reclusive, have no one I am close to, the only person I talked to about Angelbait said I should prepare myself to put her down. Well-meaning betrayal stings less, but that friend is off my helplist. That’s how he escaped his certain fate, as luck would have it. I need help, some support or perspective.

UPDATE: I called the licensing board. My vet has 2 reprimands, one informal the other formal, only 2% of vets get reprimands of any kind. 98% do not get one. Angelbait is undergoing intensive regulation treatment, I asked the licensing board rep if moving her in the middle of the process would kill her. He couldn’t say. All my questions are unanswerable, I guess but they are warranted aren’t they. Should I call a philosopher?

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What are the odds of that?

My cat almost died this weekend. I blame myself because it’s my fault. She is at the vet undergoing diagnostic tests but that’s just a formality, she almost certainly has advanced diabetes. I won’t go there yet. This post is about life in the digital age, the building bricks of our modern revolution. How this technology is creating the democratization of all that is designed to keep us unequal, ignorant, dependent and enslaved to the rules of hierarchy.

By now it should be apparent: I haven’t slept in 3 days, not since I decided I couldn’t keep treating Angelbait for what I wanted to believe were behavioral issues. I hit the Web Saturday morning to get business-like with her symptoms, read non-stop, and by Sunday morning knew I’d fucked up beyond belief. By midday she was in catastrophic decline and it seemed the only answer was to kill myself and take both these sick cats with me. I have little money, no car, no infrastructure, no plan beyond the moment, no long-term goals and strategies, I’ve learned to live without these things, they elude me, they’re out of reach. I can always, always, always kill myself. That’s what keeps me going.

I kept seeing this support board referenced in the websites I was reading. Cat owners from around the world coming together to proactively regulate their pet’s chronic disease. I visited it a few times, unable to make heads or tails of the science and medical knowledge aeons beyond me, while knowing if my cat is going to make it I’m going to have to be someone who talks just like that a week from today. In 8 years living daily on the toobz, this is the hardest post I ever wrote:

Please help, walking on hocks, I missed everything.

And just like that they took it off my shoulders with the spirit and focus of a 1940’s auto mechanic, totally on it. Step up to the plate. They gave me an assessment, the data-based directives and they gave me hope.

Within two hours there was a person from that support group in my trailer with ketone strips and a glucose meter. She took the time and went the distance to show a complete stranger how to gain control again. Think of the risk, the sense of mission that begins with a keystroke. We’re not in MYSPACE anymore, but ahead of the curve, or even back on track, in a climate of consumer-directed, informed choice based on common standards, clear purpose and unconditional positive regard. I got information, lists, a vocabulary and instant connection with a hundred new friends and teachers. I was splitting off, crossing over to “I don’t care what happens anymore and this isn’t even happening really”, then smart nice people just talked to me on the Internet and everything shifted and I began to re-assimilate stimuli. I didn’t follow but I knew what they were telling me was relevant information I could present the emergency vet and be taken seriously rather than dissolve in a puddle on the floor.

At the end of the day I was able to rent a car, cry in public, snap back at the humiliating ER vet who seethed observations at me “This is advanced diabetes. Neuropathy doesn’t happen until they’re in late stage. This had to have taken at least six months.” Is there a question there? Not really, because that would mean talking to me, which to him would be slumming. No question, but the accusation, demand hanging in the air. It’s not like I was hysterical enough. What do you want me to say? I do not ignore my pets, I did not understand what was happening to her and was treating what I thought were behavioral issues. There is no way I could have talked back to him like that, no way I could have left my house or even know what’s going on without the help from the people at the FDMB message board. They are all about talking back to the veterinarian, which is going to be a whole new medical authority for me to resolve my shit against.

This pro-social use of the Internet comes as a revelation, that things get done here, and maybe I’m the only one who’s finally noticing that but I don’t know. It seems so much like words on a screen, disembodied, we are in chairs typing. It is a lot to overcome. There are risks to take and trust to assume. Right. Well. No wonder the Web looks like so much shit. It’s hard to be open and receptive, harder all the time. All intent is missing because it’s so random, how many tabs are open in your browser right now? Where are you going, where have you been, and when the computer crashes, you lose all the open websites and have to start all over from scratch, then you know, right? Where was I? Was there a pattern? And I am acclimated to this? I don’t know what I’m talking about but right now I have six tabs open, and yesterday one of them saved my cat’s life. There are visionaries. I want to tag along. Nothing stops anyone, this climate we create is the true great equalizer, open, everyday at our fingertips, clay to make of what we will. People out there will bow my head.

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