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May. 21st, 2012 08:48 pm
spritechan: (Avatar - Tui and La)
Job hunting sucks. But I greatly improved my resume tonight.

In other news, I learned yesterday that my friend Mikey's mom died a short while ago. If you recall, Mikey is my friend who killed himself in January of '09, right after leaving a small group party (read: 4 people) we were both at. His mother struggled immensely in the aftermath of his death (he really was a most wonderful person and I'm glad I told him so like a billion times that night), and while I don't know for certain as it is rude to ask such details, I am fairly sure that she chose the same path he did. She was only 41/42 years old. I sympathize dearly with the surviving son/sibling. I hope he does not choose to follow in their footsteps. Very tragic.
spritechan: (Avatar - Kataang Forever)
Sooo, I'm reading this book based on the incredibly terrifying and gruesome Hi-Fi Murders. Steve says I'm morbid. I know I am. When I was in 11th grade and had to find a skeleton picture as the cover of my Shakespeare reviews or whatever, I spent hours discovering gory death pictures after that was the majority of search results. I haunted my dreams with awful ways people look after being murdered or committing suicide. The Hi-Fi murders are particularly horrible because they were planned deaths of random people. That is, the primary killer decided that he would horrifically murder anyone present during the robbery of an electronics store. The book is non-fiction, weaved together from interviews with the survivor and anyone involved (including the murderer) as well as testimony from the trials. The book is highly detailed to the level I desire, which only intensifies the effect. I've spent two lunch breaks with teary eyes wallowing in the despair the family experienced and is poignantly captured. I was talking to Steve about how amazing it is and at one point he burst out laughing because I "Leah'd" - a term with many definitions but is frequently referenced when I tell unnecessary details because *I* would want them (the example in question was where I was talking about an investigator and felt the need to explain that he was actually sort of retired and not the *main* investigator but it's still cool that the murderer in this case is also the murderer in the ONLY unsolved homicide he had). I was most moved by a man whose wife and 16-year-old son were both involved in the murders. He describes how it felt to face his dead wife in all her ruined glory and having to come to terms with the fact that the woman he was with for 36 years and was his "partner for life" was gone. Yep. Just gone. No more. The end. Never coming back. Over. And how he had to be strong while each of his other family members mourned after they arrived at the hospital and that he had to close off his heart to the fact that his life partner, who he was JUST talking to before she left to find their son (AND she was frantic with worry at the son not returning home yet and he told her she was overreacting. Think about THAT guilt), was dead forever. I explained to Steve that for me it would be a CONSTANT immediate back-and-forth where I would tell myself that information and then swiftly reject it with an "IMPOSSIBLE NO IT'S NOT TRUE IT'S NOT I CAN'T ACCEPT THAT FUCK YOU IT JUST SIMPLY IS NOT POSSIBLE I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS AND NO TAKE IT BACK." Rinse and repeat.

As a result, I should not have been surprised to have a similar heart-wrenching dream in which I left a church and drove by many crazed velociraptors (naturally) and when I arrived at his office building I KNEW that Steve had been attacked by raptors and I was frantically trying to find out where he was and I went to the hospital to find him and I was screaming for him and I knew he was dead but I couldn't accept it and I knew I would try to take it back when I found his mangled body and I kept willing him to be alive and not hurt. I woke up with my "trying to cry" face on, breathing all heavy and terrified. I immediately rolled over to Steve and cuddled him super hard and could not let go of him for several hours. And of course when I tried to fall back asleep I had to try to force the remnants of the dream away so I could stop trying to manipulate it and fail. My dreams like that go in endless circles as my brain refuses to allow a proper ending. But seriously, when I imagine that he could just *poof* and be gone just like that from my life, I feel exceptionally suffocatey and hyperventilatey and will it never to come to pass (which Steve also includes in my morbid thinking category). He is just the most important person in my life. If I think about it hard enough I want to keep him locked up at home so nothing bad could ever happen to him. Thank god I don't want kids because I'd freak every time they left the driveway. This exact thing is why I HATED the movie Practical Magic - the moment when Sandra Bullock thinks that she and her husband's love will overcome the curse but then there's that stupid cricket or whatever and she tries frantically to catch it but can't and her stupid husband dies anyway. NO. NO.

In other news, I officially applied to grad school for an ABS license, which will be a broad licensure allowing me to teach levels 1 and 2 of EBD, LD, and Autism and I can go back again to get licensed for 3 and 4. I went to the informational meeting and everyone there (prospective students as well as faculty) agreed that the type of license is a great investment and there's been a growing need for me-types.

Steve and I are also doing what we're calling "ghetto week" and seeing who can make the best of of $20 from Friday to Friday. This of course does not really include not spending anything, because it kind of ruins the fun. So we each got a $20 bill to spend on whatever we like for the week and we aren't allowed to spend anything more (excludes gas). It's easily doable, but we're so frivolous with the money we don't put in savings that it's a cute game for us to be frugal. Yes, we admit we are privileged, even with me working a crappy-paying job.
spritechan: (Stitch - Oh noes)
So, at like 5:30 the cats began waking us up. It sounded like Nero was running at Grim and wapping on the cone. We didn't think it was a huge deal and had to get up in an hour anyway. But it happened a couple times so I threw Nero in the kitchen and locked him in there until we got up. I saw Grim hanging out by the door right when we were getting in the shower, and then he disappeared after that. He didn't come when called to take his medications, but I figured he was sleeping somewhere and he took his meds a little late yesterday so I decided to wait until Steve left for work to hunt Grim down.

After he did leave, I wandered around the apartment several times. I was very confused because we don't really have hiding places, plus Grim has that cone so he wouldn't be able to, say, sneak under the bed. I started to panic at some point, thinking maybe one of the windows broke and he got out somehow... or something. I was trying to be rationale because seriously , where can you hide in this apartment??I found him wedged between the bookshelves. )
I was really freaked out by this time because he didn't even make a noise when I called for him. He didn't come running, nothing. That's very unlike him. I tried to coax him out with words and pets, but he wouldn't budge. So I gently picked him up, and he was totally limp. He was very passive and let me baby-carry him into the bedroom, and he snuggled very close on my lap and had his tail tucked very tight.

It looked like he had more blood on his cone than usual, so I worried that maybe he got in a fight with Nero when we were in the shower and Nero hurt him in some way. I poked around him, which he didn't respond to, and I was able to move his tail and boost his bottom up to inspect him... nothing. In fact, his wound looks fantastic. It doesn't even appear bloody at all! So that was a relief. But Grim was pressing himself into me really hard and was shaking a little. I was really alarmed. I watched Nero creep into the room, and began staring Grim down. Grim immediately shifted more into me, and when I yelled at Nero he didn't shift his gaze. Because Grim was on my lap I couldn't shoo Nero away, so I threw a half-full water bottle at him. He didn't even move until it hit him. At which point he retreated to the other side of the room. Grim was so actively terrified of Nero I decided to separate them for awhile.

Nero's got food and water and a littler box in the kitchen/living room area, and he'll be fine there for a few days. He didn't even seem angry about it. Maybe he's not too comfortable with this role reversal, either. Obviously he doesn't know how to handle his power if he's bullying Grim. Grim NEVER bullies Nero. His dominance is mostly just a feeling, and once in awhile he used to like, mount Nero, but half the time Nero didn't even notice until we yelled at Grim, so whatever.

Grim took his medication fine, but he didn't even want the treats. I can't imagine what happened to him, and I keep checking to make sure he's freakin' alive. It's just no good. Thankfully I only have one appointment today and can monitor him. This has been his day so far:

You see the blood on his cone I'm sure. I clean it every day, but he still gets like food and litter on it and stuff too. He's tucked into the blankets because he was laying with me earlier and he loves being under the blankets. He's too adorable and pathetic for words. Look how unhappy he is right now! Poor guy :( I have no idea if Nero was tormenting him for half the night, or what! Each of them spent time walking all over me/laying with me, so I don't know when all this started. I don't like it.
spritechan: (Clannad - Tomoya Nagisa hs intense hug)
Last week I had all-day trainings on Thursday and Friday. They were super awesome and helpful, and half the people there were from my company, and 75% of those were from my specific location. The first day I was ultra crabby and tired from having been kept up by Grim all night, and I fully intended on being antisocial and spending the lunch hour sleeping in my car. Somehow I ended up with the MHR clique, and then life got better from there. On Friday after the training, I had to drive home from Minneapolis in rush hour, pick up Steve, and drive back in WORSE rush hour (because of the omgsomuch construction), and then wait in line outside to get into the venue because they were running a half hour late. The concert itself was amazing, and Lights is adorable. I fell more in love with her at the concert. She has a very cute stage presence and is clearly there because she enjoys it. The venue was really small and cozy. Afterwards we waited outside in the cold for 45 minutes so we could get an autograph. We were almost at the front of the line to begin with, so the majority of the waiting was just her changing and getting prepped for a billion autographs. She came out in an adorable winter coat (many people were in t-shirts and even I was just in a thin, zip-up hoodie) because it was DEFINITELY cold by 10:45pm in Minnesota. I got a signature on her album, and Steve and I each got to give her a hug! Yay! We're pretty much BFFs now ;)

On Saturday Steve and I went to Nick's sister's for a Halloween party, like we have done since we started dating. I was Catwoman, Faith was Supergirl, Steve, Nick, Scott, and Pat all went as characters from Final Fantas'y tactics. We mostly sat around and talked, and Nick's sister tried to set him up with a girl she worked with who went as a "retro zombie teacher." She came only knowing Megan, and was able to tolerate like 20 people she didn't even know. She was funny and cute, and shares similar interests, and now we all want her in the group regardless of whether Nick dates her. XD Everyone added her to Facebook but we can't Facebook stalk her because she either just got a Facebook, or doesn't put a lot of information to the public (even her pictures are only from Halloween, and she untagged herself in everyone's photos, leaving only ones she took!). Frustrating, but workable, haha.

On Sunday we ran some errands and then went to dinner with my family for Paul's birthday. It was pretty fun.

Yesterday morning after we got out of the shower I noticed Grim standing kinda funny in the corner by the bookshelves. He looked pretty stiff and his tail was shaking like it does when he's straining in the litter box. I pinned him down and felt him all over to see if he'd yelp, and he didn't. Then he walked around a little and made a couple sad meows before laying down, super-stiffly. He did this like 4 different times over the next half hour - he kept laying in positions that he must've thought would trick us into thinking he was comfortable. Like, on his back or side for tummy pets, curling his front paws to be cute, etc. I was not fooled! He was sooo sad and stiff. He was not pleased to get put in the carrier.

The vet said he was blocked but that his bladder wasn't full (aka I'm ridiculously in tune with Grimmy). She said when she went to unblock him that she was shocked at how small his pee hole is. Which is because of the scarring, and was always my worst fear/knowledge. When I clean the litterboxes it has always been very clear which pees were his and which were Nero's. Nero pees grapefruits and Grim pees... like prunes (and Grim used to pee grapefruits). She also said she had thought there was a stone in there because there was so much grit. Poor kitty :( We had a very serious talk about surgery vs putting him down. Actually we had a couple talks about the surgery throughout the day. Lucky for me I didn't have any work appointments yesterday (and I was able to move my Depo appointment to the afternoon) because I spent over 2 hours at the vet and then spent much of the rest of the day crying. I burst into tears at some point while waiting at the vet, started crying reading a magazine at the doctor's office, and pretty much any time I imagined a life without Grim. He's MY AGE in cat years. He is NOT going to die. I cried when I thought about the cost and how I was going to pay for it.

Steve and I talked it over via text all day, and in the end I asked for a personal line of credit from the bank that covers such things as "consolidating debt, tuition expenses, home improvements, and unexpected expenses". I was approved for far more than the surgery will likely cost, and the interest is 11.75% right now vs whatever like 29% on a credit card (or 3). I started to cry when telling the banker about my situation. But I was able to get it under control and she smartly waited until that point to express sympathy or else there would have been for real waterworks and comical inability to understand me. lol.

I spoke with the vet again and she stated that she talked to a surgeon that she trusts very much with the surgery. He works just down the street from the emergency clinic and said he might be able to swing the surgery for almost half the original cost (though I'm not sure how and will find out tomorrow - I am not willing to compromise Grim's pain for cheaper expenses). I am also transferring all of the cats' stuff to that clinic, because I don't trust Banfield and never want to go there again. I scheduled a consult + surgery for tomorrow morning before my appointments, and Steve is working his hardest to get at least a half day so I don't have to do it alone. I could have left Grim at the vet for the next couple of nights for less transportation trauma, but I think he is less traumatized overall by being home. I had to go in the back to get him into his kennel because he wouldn't let any of the techs touch him, and he had the "bad animal" towl over his cage :( I always feel bad because he's so sweet generally. He was VERY hissy and had stuck himself into the corner - for a minute I actually thought he might bite or scratch me, he was so upset. But he didn't and I got him into his carrier with little issue.

He's currently taking antibiotics to prevent infection, buprenorphine for pain (we're good friends with it by this time), and instead of the muscle relaxant he's had in the past, they prescribed him a small dose of an actual tranquilizer usually used to prep for anesthesia, to prevent him from straining and reblocking over the next two nights. I moved all of the cats' items (water, food, litter boxes) to our room. Well, the litter boxes are technically in the hallway but I can see them at all times. I also took away all dry food and give Grim treats after taking his medicine. He has made a permanent residence between the catboxes and the food, and hasn't drank ANY water that I've seen, but at least he is happily eating the wet food. The medicine is an appetite suppressant and can upset kitty tummies so I imagine he just isn't feeling it. He's been high ever since we got home - rubbing on EVERYTHING in his little zone, purring like a maniac if I pet him, wanting lots of pressure-intense pets. He also has spent a lot of time just staring blankly at everything, but not in the listless way as when he was doped up in the past. I would guess he's having some sort of hallucinatory effects, to be honest!

All this has pissed Nero off a great deal, as always. He's only used the litter box once and I haven't seen him eat or drink. Though he often drinks out of the bathtub because there's always water dripping from the faucet. He's mad because Grim smells funny and appears to be "guarding" everything. It's quite amusing to watch. Every so often Grim will get this crazy idea to taunt Nero, so he'll run super-enthusiastically over to him (but not even touch him!), and Nero will freak out and hiss and stumble backwards like a doof and get all offended. But mostly Grim just lays on the ground, perking up if you pet him.

I spent the night just moping in bed, not motivated to do anything but watch Steve play Persona 3 and Tumblr. My dad called me, all concerned because of the most recent Hyperbole and a Half, which I "shared" on Facebook. I explained to him that I HAVE been struggling a lot with depression over the past 2 months especially, but it's nothing new. I just really thought that was an accurate portrayal of what depression feels like. If I didn't have guilt, and the very real knowledge that if I were to allow myself to succumb like Allie and so many other people, life would only get that much harder. I'm a functioning depressive, but that doesn't mean I don't wish with all my heart that I could just lay in bed for weeks or months. I've done it before. But now I am accountable in different ways and it's not really an option right now. So I sulkily continue to sort-of function. But it was adorable that he called and wanted to talk about it. He admitted that he's coming to terms with these types of issues (finally! Around a decade ago he referred to Pam's medication as Quack Pills and scoffed at the idea of counseling), and encouraged me to seek help if I need it. I've been considered medication again, but I don't remember it really helping in the past, and I just don't have time for counseling. It was a pretty good talk, and I swear I like my dad more and more as we age. He's a pleasant man these days.
spritechan: (Lost - Hurley list on arm for Jack)
I had a pretty awful day yesterday and ended up spending almost the entirety of the day at the vet and then the emergency clinic, and most of the time spent inbetween was through moping and sleeping.

Grimmy got blocked up again, and acted the same as last time: tried to pee, sat on the floor, meowed mournfully and gave me reproachful looks. When they looked at him they said he was worse than last time and they'd want to leave the catheter in for a few days. Money spent: $310. Then they recommended taking him to a 24-hour clinic nearby so he can be monitored at all times. What I didn't know was that this place is actually where the kings of the world visit when they want to stay at a hotel. The bill range for keeping Grim there? $1300 to $2500. Soooo... since the 5th I have spent a minimum of $2500 on this.

Now, money is just money. Grim is far more important to me than any money. HOWEVER. Vets here don't allow payment plans. They require everything up-front RIGHT NOW. So for people like me who make around $1000 every two weeks, it's going to hurt. People wonder why our society views pets as disposable. I would be sitting so pretty if I'd have just paid to put Grim down. And what happens if he gets sick AGAIN (which is, sadly, quite common) and I can't afford it? I couldn't even afford it NOW - the vet allowed me to open a $3000-limit credit line with a 27% interest rate if I don't pay it off quickly. I have enough if I use my credit cards and my entire savings, but I need to be able to pay my other bills and rent too. It's ridiculous and sad. 

Despite this bullshit, I still am steadfastly not going to give up on Grim. There is what's considered the "three strike rule" with his condition, and after the third blockage they recommend surgery. The surgery itself sounds horrific: they remove the most distal part of the penis and widen the opening, while creating a new urethra and bypass the old one. The issue again is: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST. Nowhere I've looked gives numbers, except for in Canada for $1200. Unfortunately, Canada is not the US and probably has better rates. Not to mention the healing process. I really, desperately hope it doesn't come to that.

I became very angry when I got an update from them. I didn't want them to do bloodwork, because last week it showed he was within normal ranges. I was told they "pretty much have to - no, they HAVE to." And, as I thought, it was FINE. I am a very aware parent, and I would not let him suffer. I mean, I was on constant alert, and he was still able to get some pee out, so I figured his kidneys were okay. And they are. And fuck you for taking my money. What I DID pay for that I didn't EXACTLY (on the outright) need to was to replace the catheter. They said that the one in him was very rigid and at risk for kinda making things worse with inflammation, so they "offered" to replace it with a softer one. In the call they said it was good I agreed because it was actually kinked and now he's more comfortable. Half the problem is that he's in pain and therefore his urinary sphincter closes as a reaction and prevents him from peeing. He needs to be comfortable in order to pee. It's a vicious cycle. Ugh.

Steve and I still went out to eat, a quiet lunch, and exchanged gifts (in a more subdued fashion than normal). I got him a tshirt with an adorable moogle on it and Epic Mickey (it was on sale on Amazon and I had a gift card), and he modeled, photoshopped, and framed an adorable inside cuteness. Instead of the big dango family, he made dangos with a danbo and made it the big danbo family using engrish and other cute phrases. It was adorable and great. I love homemade gifts. I also gave him a cute handmade card with Link and heart pieces and drew pictures and wrote all over it. Last year on our anniversary I bought him a card (my family is a family of Card Buyers) and he made me one that ended up being a billion times better, so I had to one-up him. Especially because he still makes fun of me for buying him a card ;)

He has been wonderful through all this. He wants to comfort me but I think I push him away, because a hug isn't going to fix my problems. Talking with him helps, and him being understanding about my need to feel these sad feelings and be depressed and sleep and sit on the floor of the shower and have a flat affect and appear cold is really helpful. He's there for me all the way, and I'm grateful for him.

Aaaanyway, I'm ridiculously depressed and mopey. Gonna eat some food and stare at the wall a lot wishing I could be home in bed. Keep Grim in your thoughts!
spritechan: (Grim it's been a long day)
I had a very stressful weekend. Scratch that, I'm still really stressed out.

On Friday Steve and I were planning Joe Waid's birthday stuff, when I noticed Grim was acting strangely. He was licking himself a lot, and then suddenly just hissed. At nothing. I immediately got very concerned. Steve and I watched him for awhile, and he pretty much was walking gingerly, tail tucked, and licking himself. Then came the occasional bursts of a meow I'm not familiar with: the mournful one. I laid him on the floor and felt his belly. At this point I thought maybe he'd eaten a rubber band or twist-tie. He didn't yowl until I got super low, so I thought maybe he had a UTI or bladder infection. Steve suggested we take him in on Monday. Right as I was going to agree to wait a bit, Grim meowed one of those really distressed meows. You know the kind - the low, scary-movie type. I decided that whatever our plans were, we were taking Grim to the vet first.

I set out the cat carrier a few minutes before Faith arrived, and he crawled right in. He didn't make a peep on the drive, and he hissed only once when the nurse tried to take his temp. He was very mellow, and loving. After Faith and Steve left to explore (it was a Banfield clinic in PetsMart), I was told he had a blocked bladder, and then I was shown this gigantic list of things needed to do to him. The doctor told me that he likely would have died if I waited to bring him in (this was later confirmed via Facebook stories from friends, and the internet) as a result of kidney damage, heart attack, or a burst bladder. I left him with them, and then was anxious the rest of the day worried about him. I'm not ready to lose him!

The vet called in the evening and said that his bladder needed a lot of pressure to unblock, but that his blood tests came out good, he only needed one X-ray and didn't have stones, and his kidneys were undamaged. Bottom line: I caught it way earlier than most people do. They kept him overnight with a catheter to see if his urine cleared up, and it did. The bad news: the bill was $825. When they showed me the estimate (which was $900), I almost fainted. That hurt, it really did. But I'd rather be set back than without a Grimmy.

Blocked bladders are almost exclusively in male cats, and a large number die as a result of their parents misunderstanding what's wrong with them. They are recommended to be put on a special diet (the bag I bought yesterday was ridiculously expensive, and I needed the prescription to purchase it). I was given Buprenorphine, a derivative of morphine, to give him three times a day to help with the pain from the catheter. As a result, Grim is uncharacteristically passive, won't eat or drink, and tries to pee every few minutes (sounds familiar to me and my UTIs). The drugs help with the irritation and keep him calm and euphoric.

On the other hand, Nero is treating him literally like he's dying. He won't go near Grim, hisses when he sees him, and is apparently trying to establish his role as the New King. I don't like it one bit.

P.S. Icon is his namesake.


Jan. 4th, 2011 07:35 am
spritechan: (Clannad - Tomoya Nagisa hs intense hug)
This is for Mikey, who died 2 years ago today, even though I'd just seen him barely a couple hours before.

We were partying with just a couple close friends - it was me, Mikey, Tessie and Isaiah - and Mikey got agitated and left the party between 5:30am and 6am, despite Tessie begging him not to. He went home and killed himself. You never would have known he had been planning on doing it, he was the happiest guy.

Photos of darling Mikey )

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