I recently had a couple of people write to me and tell me how stressed and overwhelmed they are with their sick kitties. This made me revisit that feeling; not that I’d ever forgotten it. I really never had much of a break after Alex died. I ended up caring for my one of my sister’s cats, Moufasa. He’s passed now and I care for the other one, Midnight. She’s elderly and has her own health issues that make it difficult and different to deal with from one day to the next. We’re pretty sure she’s got a form of IBD, along with kidney and bladder issues. Moufasa was also thought to have IBD but his was much easier controlled with diet than Midnight’s is.
It’s not easy guessing all the time what’s going on; what exactly sets them off or how to stop it. We love these creatures with all of our hearts but let’s face it; it’s daunting caring for them when they’re sick. They can’t tell us what hurts and how badly, they can only give us signs. Too often I see people in forums ignoring those signs. When you’ve cared for them long enough you get used to it. And what might seem like a small thing to the untrained eye, is really an alarm going off telling us to pay attention.
It’s a roller coaster and the truth is that you want the ride to stop. You just want things to be good for awhile, to stay on an even keel. Which means you can’t go on vacation or leave for any extended period of time. You have to be there at specific times every single day to give them structure with their medications and food or it will all hit the fan. In short, you have to make more of a commitment then you ever imagined you would. And it’s not that you mind that, you don’t; because your love for this baby is so deep and pure. But you’re exhausted, throwing out food, running out of money, losing sleep and forgetting about you. This is now the new normal and you feel guilty if you leave the house and something happens that makes you run late. You need to rush back and feed them knowing if they go too long without food, you’ll return home to vomit.
You know that awful sound, the sound of your pet vomiting. The second you hear it you jump out of bed and rush to them as if you weren’t ever asleep in the first place. The worry starts all over again and you feel like pulling all of your hair out. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on the floor crying, begging Alex to “please just eat!” Taking care of her was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to do. When she passed away I slept for a week and did hardly anything else. I was so distraught and exhausted my family and boyfriend had to make sure I ate at every mealtime. At the time, I didn’t care. After everything I went through with her I felt cheated and robbed. Then I felt guilty and panicked, like it must have been something I did and that’s why she died. Those feelings were there from the time she got sick and some of those feelings have never really gone away completely, not even now. It was a nightmare and one that I know so many people share right now or have shared. You feel like there has to be a reason your baby got sick and it must be something you did or didn’t do right. Blame is all you have that you can control, but blame isn’t going to change anything. They are still sick and need you to do it all.
I don’t have any new words of wisdom other than what I’ve already written on two of my pages from my site: http://www.ibdkitties.net/Caregiver.html, http://www.ibdkitties.net/Grieving.html. But I felt I needed to write a little something in addition to let others know that you are not alone in how you feel. Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty because you are tired of what’s happening. It’s a normal feeling, it really is. This is something all consuming and for however many years you have your baby with you, (hopefully many more than I did), things will never be the same. This is not meant to be doom and gloom, just that the words “I get it” can make all the difference. Remember that a little vomit sometimes is just that…a little vomit. Those setbacks can most often times be small ones and you can get through it, both of you. And when there are good days, oh those wonderful good days, cherish those and enjoy them! Try and let those good days be more important than the bad ones. Try and take care of you. Work it in the best that you can whenever you can and seize the opportunities. You’re in it for the long haul and knowing that ahead of time may help you understand how important those times for yourself can really be.