I am thankful for my cat

My cat is dying. I’ve known this since last October when I noticed he had lost a considerable amount of weight. I took him to the vet, and she advised me that he had end stage kidney disease and that he likely had only a few months to live. I ante up every month for really expensive cat food that is supposed to help his kidneys work better, and it seems to be working, because it’s September now & he’s still chugging along. I worry about him though, because I know his time is limited. He and I have spent fourteen years together, traveling all over the country and generally enjoying life.

The reason I am thankful for my cat though is that he keeps me alive. Dealing with chronic pain, and the associated chronic depression, there are many days I really just want to die. I can’t though, because then there would be no one to take care of my cat. I worry about what’s going to happen when he inevitably dies and I no longer have him to rely on. It’s a huge burden for a little cat to bear.

Today has been one of the bad days. I go through cycles of pain medications working for a while, and then they stop working for a while. I’m on a downward spiral right now, and I don’t know when it will end. Eventually, my body will decide that pain meds are a good thing, and allow me back into that realm of almost-normal. In the meantime, I feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to me and worked my entire body over quite thoroughly. Hopefully this will be a short trip into hell, and I can get back into just dealing with the headache.

Life is never dull around me

Thursday, the boyfriend and I went our to do some errands. Normal stuff like grocery shopping and trying to buy a rat to feed to his snake. Unfortunately, the pet store was all out of medium sized rats, so the snake hasn’t been fed yet. On the drive back to the boyfriend’s house, his car started acting up. The engine was choking every time he’d press the gas. I figured it for a fuel filter probably (since he just had the fuel pump replaced) but payday isn’t until the end of the week. Fortunately, we have almost identical schedules, do we can carpool in my car until his car gets fixed.

The big bummer of this is that we still need to move at the end of the month & moving isn’t cheap. It seems like every time we make plans for something expensive, something more expensive always comes up. Oh well, life goes on. We’ll figure it a way to make it through somehow.

I am facing my fears head on

After several failed relationships, it’s fair to say that I have some major commitment issues. I was dumped by a previous boyfriend because he decided that dating me was taking too much time away from spending time with his friends. The relationship before that ended in a restraining order after he threw me into a wall and threatened me with a knife. Before that, my husband liked to punch me in my sleep and then deny it ever happened. He blamed it on PTSD, I blame it on him being an asshole.

I’m dating a really wonderful guy now, who treats me well, but in the back of my mind, I still worry that it’s all going to fall apart.

And yet, I’m trying to be optimistic. We’re going apartment shopping today, with the obvious intention of moving in together. Living with someone else scares the hell out of me. It seems like it’s the first step before all hell breaks loose and the relationship implodes.

I hope I’m doing the right thing. I know he loves me, but will he continue to love me after having to love with someone who is slowly dying.

After much consideration…

I have gone ahead and applied for disability. My reasoning is that the worst thing that can happen is that they turn me down. I’m even guessing that that will be the outcome. After all, how debilitating can a headache be? The worst part of it is that no one can comprehend just how much my head hurts. It’s like having a migraine that hasn’t left for over 2 years. Even before it decided to take up permanent residence, it’s been lurking in the background since 2006, when I started getting “migraines” about once or twice a month. That’s over 6 years of constant pain. Constant pain brings on depression. I’m not optimistic about my chances of being approved for disability. I’m being realistic here. Not to bring politics into the discussion, but I really don’t see the government wanting to pay out for a relatively minor ailment (even though the pain is enough to make me black out at times) when there is a huge budget deficit and “real” disabilities.

Invisible disabilities

You know how sometimes when you’re in a parking lot, you see some “jerk” pull into the handicap parking space, hang up their nice blue placard that denotes that they are handicapped and then stroll into the store, seemingly without any type of condition that would constitute a disability? Certain friends of mine gripe about this all the time, and I try to explain to them that not all disabilities are visible.

It’s true, there are probably a good number of people who are working the system and taking advantage of a loophole in the disability system to allow them the up-close parking as well as financial aid if they are unable to work, but many others – myself included – are also disabled, with no outwardly visible signs.

To start, I have extreme arthritis in both my knees, along with bursitis in my right hip, a pinched disc in my lumbar region, and that silly little headache thing. Now, normally, one wouldn’t consider a headache to be a disability, but mine certainly qualifies. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know the intense pain and suffering it can cause. If you are lucky enough to have never experienced one, ask a friend who has. Once you’ve grasped how much it absolutely sucks, imagine that this headache has been going fairly non-stop for over five years. In the beginning, there were brief lulls where the headache was either completely gone, or low enough that I didn’t feel it at all. As time goes by, it’s getting worse and worse. I’ve reached the point where I can’t look up for more than a few seconds at a time (which kinda sucks when your boyfriend is taller than you and you have to look up to kiss him). Any type of loud noise – especially high pitched sounds like whistling or computer beeping, for example – increase the headache exponentially.

Now of course, you can’t see a headache, or arthritis, or bursitis, so when I complain about being handicapped, I frequently get shot down. I’ve contemplated applying for disability, because my health is dropping so quickly that I don’t honestly know how much longer I’ll be able to work in a productive manner. I don’t want to be a drag on society though, and rely on government handouts, even though I know I’ve been paying into disability for as long as I’ve been working, so it’s really kind of my money anyway. It’s a tough decision, and one I’ve been battling for the past six months or so. At some point, I’m going to have to make up my mind. Is the blow to my pride worth the ability to not end each day in agonizing pain? How much longer do I have before the pain becomes so unbearable that it no longer becomes a choice?

I long to be normal

Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what that means. It has been well over two years since the headache from hell was diagnosed as essentially incurable, and going on seven years since it first reared its ugly head. Every day I wake up in pain. OTC pain relievers stopped working for me years ago, and prescription narcotics don’t do much beyond make me dizzy, because I am one of those lucky few who are immune to the effects of opiates. Yay. There are many days when I wish to die, and the only thing that stops me from killing myself is that I don’t want to traumatize my son. I figure if I can just hold on for another 6 years or so, he’ll be old enough to understand a little better. Then again, maybe he won’t understand and won’t care. It’s not as if I’m a part of his life now. He lives with his father in the next state over, and if I’m lucky, I can afford to see him once or twice a year. It’s probably best that he doesn’t have to deal with me on a regular basis, because it’s not fair to a child to have to take care of their own parent.

In the past couple weeks, the pain has been intensifying. The only thing that seems to help is to sleep, so I take a lot of naps. I’d say it’s a lot like dying from cancer, but I haven’t experienced that yet, so I don’t know if it’s true or not. Unfortunately, I also suffer from insomnia, so taking naps sometimes interferes with my ability to actually sleep at night when I’m “supposed to” be able to. It sucks that life works that way. My Kindle has saved my sanity, for the most part. When I’m laying in bed at the boyfriend’s house and he’s sound asleep, I can read all night without disturbing him. I still prefer paper books to electronic, but they’re impossible to read in the dark without a light.