Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Journal of the Plague Year

I didn't start this blog to whine about unpleasant feline medical problems, but it's....

[cat puking up breakfast and expensive, hard-to-give medication at my feet]

....my life right now. And we're looking at at least 3 months of this, according the vet. We need to have three negative ringworm cultures for all four cats, in a row, a ringworm trifecta that sounds too good to be true. We have to space the cultures three weeks apart, because it takes three weeks to confirm whether they are positive or negative. And we need to have the cats on medication and getting baths for about a month before we can do the first culture. So we're looking at months and months of nasty, potentially deadly medication, the rotten-egg-smelling weekly dips at the groomer, and endless housecleaning and laundry to remove spores from the environment.

I'm already tired and officially, this is Day 1! (Yes, I did massive cleaning, freaking out, and research during the two weeks we waited for culture results, but the oral meds only started this morning.) I think we'd be less exhausted if two of the cats weren't sick with a bad upper-respiratory virus. We've been syringe-feeding Snalbert and giving him fluids, pain medication, lysine, and antibiotics for about 10 days now, and he's not improving. Or getting worse. Possum has trouble breathing through his nose (and a giant dark ringworm patch on his nose) and terrible sneezing fits a few times a day, which can give him a bloody nose.

I am trying to find comfort and distraction in the rest of my life, and I hope to share those discoveries rather than writing about nothing but cat health here. But I don't have anything to report so far. "Mad Men" was very good, but now it's over. How I would love to have access to the last season of "In Treatment." which is even better. And has many more episodes — very important right now.

I've been spending time on TheCatSite.com, where I've met wise cat people who have given me comfort and advice and sometimes made me laugh. I get advice on ringworm treatments and calicivirus, but I also take the time to try to help other people writing in about health and behavior problems that are often much more desperate than mine. I've had enough experience by now to be a useful source for at least one confused or upset person almost every day. I believe it's important to help other people at least as much as I'm being helped and I'm glad to have an opportunity.

Today's tasks include returning the cheapo, too-small fleece blanket I bought for our bed because we need something I can wash at least every other day (no worries, it never left its packaging or even its plastic Marshall's bag). Good-bye to our pretty Pottery Barn quilts and coverlets; farewell, magnificent Cuddledown down comforter.

I also plan to throw myself on the mercy of the pharmacists at CVS, begging them to cut the ringworm pills (the ones we haven't already destroyed) into halves and quarters. Then we head to the groomer with two cats for the first, dreaded stinky baths. Meanwhile, I'll get my allergy shots across the street; the nurses there should have cleaning tips because they are constantly educating people about dust mites. Then home for cleaning and laundry. Today is my day to vacuum upholstery, including the underside of the sofa, chairs, and boxspring. (My least favorite task next to cleaning the bathroom.) At some point, I'll have to get back to the groomer and bring the cats home, by cab or perhaps by car if my husband gets back from teaching in time. Then it's laundry, floor vacuuming, and wet-Swiffering the bedroom. And then it will be time to for the cats' medications and our dinner.

I'm sorry to be missing my twice-weekly strength-training class today, for the second time in a row, but I think I'm getting plenty of exercise these days.

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