Friday, December 31, 2010

The saddest thing I ever read

I want to adopt a cat
I take a lot of peels that make my immune system very weak
So I get sick very easily
My mom said that I should not have a cat because it might be easy for me to get diseases from it.
It their really such a danger with cats
They don’t look like a disease caring animal.
This is from a site called  The answer is, yes, there are significant diseases you can get, but owning a pet lowers the blood pressure and so on.  Ask your doctor (as if he cares about your quality of life).

I felt so sorry for the child who wrote this, I can't tell when or how old s/he is.  I "take a lot of peels" too, and after Sheba died I decided not to get another cat until I see the great surgeon next Monday for my three-month checkup and, I hope, he lowers my immunosuppressants, which are making me anemic and liable to infections, and giving me a chronic headache.  But these past weeks have been so bad, I will start searching for a cat whatever he says.  Maybe I'll go to Cat Welfare today or over the weekend - unlike the gods of medicine, they don't close down for holidays. That leads me to the -

part you don't want to read if you read this blog for inspiration
(I have been sick since before Christmas, and no help anywhere, including the OSU ER, where they had me on the wrong antibiotic for six days until someone got back to work and took a look at my urine culture.  But by then I'd been to another ER for huge pain, which turned out to be kidney stones passing.  There they admitted me, got it right, and discovered I had no iron stores - another medical mistake.  My hemoglobin is 8 - you'd be depressed with that even if you weren't depressed.)

Back to cats.  Many transplant patients wrote to tell me they would never do without their pets.  If you have a cat, you are supposed to wear a face mask and gloves to scrape the litter box, I can live with that; but you are told to wash or sterilize your hands every time you pet them.  Please, give me a break.  What I will do is take the potential companion to my vet before adoption, not after, and ask for a very thorough exam.  And once I have a cat, I'll try not to touch my face or eat without cleaning my hands.

Our beloved cat Sheba died suddenly Nov. 6, three weeks after my transplant, apparently of simple old age.  I was so torn up by this I couldn't even tell my friends about it for weeks, except those who routinely asked how she was.  I felt like that sweet, affectionate cat was holding my life together with her insistence on our routines, her willingness to oblige, her love of being petted.  How she liked to fall asleep beside me with her chin on my hand while I read in bed.  How she was there whenever I came in the house.  We'd made her very happy by adopting her.

So that's that.  A horrible holiday season.  But I am better off than the child who wrote the above, who has God knows what illness that requires a lot of immunosuppressants.  Could be transplant, could be something worse.  And the poor kid does not get to make her own decision about a pet.  That's the awful thing about being a child, that helplessness.

I had one good room-mate in the hospital earlier this week - a 75-year-old woman with spinal stenosis causing terrific back pain. As her doctor explained to her, anything that impacts pain is a narcotic and will affect your brain (and constipate you, too).  I can testify to that - on Percocet all I wanted to do was lie on the couch with my back to the world.  I was soon willing to endure a certain amount of pain and just take Tylenol instead (careful not to overdose and harm my liver). 

Yes, there is always something to be grateful for, and I really am grateful that years of Zen meditation and retreats have taught me how to endure a certain level of pain.  When it comes to pain, you are much better off when you can accept a certain amount of it rather than being a nonperson on heavy meds.

My room-mate and I got to talking about it, and I remembered another room-mate I had a long time ago.  She'd had both feet amputated, diabetes, and just groaned all the time.  We agreed that you never have to look far to find someone worse off than you.  I wasn't looking for someone worse off this morning, was looking at zootropic diseases, but came across this child.  I hope her mom let her get a kitten, never mind the risks.  It will give her something to love and to live for. 

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