I have found during this journey I am on with Mother, the importance of remembering. Every day she sits on the couch searching for memories of people faces and names. She will give me a name and ask, “Why am I thinking of that?” The only answer I know is the sum total of her memories created the person she is today. When I am alone at last in my bedroom at night, I recall memories as well. Some of when I was a child, playing with friends in the neighborhood. Some memories of when I was a young woman. Sometimes at night I also listen to Sirius radio 70s station on DishTV. The music of my time, provides me with a feeling of comfort. It takes me back to a time when life was simpler. In The Navy by the Village People came on. Every time I hear it I am reminded of the time in 1983, I almost joined the Navy. I was at Livingston University in Livingston, Alabama. There was a group of us girls who basically cut loose of life in our spare time. I usually was the ringleader of the trouble. I tend to have issues keeping my mouth closed sober so alcohol only lubricated and amplified the process. We were sitting around laughing and someone brought in a bottle of Everclear. Now if you have never experienced this particular liquour, I can only describe it as the devil’s teardrops. Another rule in life is do not drink anything that has a flammable label on it. But back to the Navy. After several rounds I was flying as high as the pines in our neighboring states of Georgia. I blurted out, I think I want to join the Navy. Becky said, “Your drunk go to sleep Arleen.” I said, “No, I think I want to join the Navy. Sail the sea, become a flight nurse.” Louisa said, “I know exactly where you can go to do that, come on!” It was highly irresponsible and incredibly reckless, but we all climbed in my Ford Fairmont and headed to the Naval Base Meridian. We pulled up to the gate. A very cute sailor with dark hair peeked in the window and asked if he could help us. He was trying very hard not to laugh, out loud. Louisa had been raised in Long Island. I can still hear her New York accent, “We got a girl here who wants to join the Navy?”. Now, it’s about 1 a.m. on Friday night. He didn’t have a lot going on so I can only imagine this was quite entertaining to him. We rolled the back window down and he leaned in, “Do you really want to join the Navy?” He had the cutest grin on his face. I have always had a weakness for sailors. “Yep, I want to be a flight nurse.” He nodded, “Okay, you’re going to have to go the recruiter’s office for that.” He handed me a pad and said, “here give me your number and I will have him call you.” Again, not the wisest move, but I wrote my name and number down. We turned the car around and headed back to Livingston. Louisa said, “All you got out of that is a date, Arleen.” The next morning, hungover I woke up the phone ringing, it was not cute sailor, it was an honest to God recruiter. They are very persuasive. I’ll hand it to them, they are very persuasive. Later that morning I was in the recruiter’s office with Louisa and Becky. Becky kept saying, “You have lost your mind.” I remember they love my test scores. I heard, “Yes, Miss Cornelius, we have a place for you in our Navy.” I was actually hopeful and wondering if I was still just a little bit drunk. I asked, “Now, I do not know how to swim.” He gave me a quick reply, “Don’t worry, we’ll teach you.” Louisa said, “oh hell, I know what that means, they are going to throw you in the deep end.” It was at this point I reevaluate the situation and made my exit. I often wonder if when Mother is searching for the words to go with the images in her head, if she is remembering things as fondly as I do. I would never believe in a thousand years Mother burnt both ends of the candle as recklessly as I did for a while, but I do think she cut up a little bit in Nursing school. When I ask her, she says we jitterbugged. I am glad for those sparks of memories that remind her of who she was in her youth. Recalling mine, bring home to me the importance of remembering. How remembering is such a beautiful thing. I gift that is so easily robbed from us by this horrid disease. I do not know if I will have this disease as well. I do not know if someday I am asking my daughter when I hear the phrase, “ In the Navy”, why is this so important to me? Well now she can remind me, “Well Momma, it started with a bottle of Everclear.”
This is a republish of an earlier post from 2017. I had written this for one of my classes. This year marked twenty years since this awful event happened. I still find it hard to trust. If I trust you, count yourself as lucky, it doesn’t happen often. Also I want to say if you are in this situation with someone, get out of it! Help is available. Reach out.
I wrote this for my Non-Fiction Short Assignment for class. I sat down to write other things for the assignment but this kept bubbling to the surface. I had intended on posting it to the blog after it was graded but it has set on my desk for a week or so. Looking at the date on the calendar I have decided to post this to my blog today and leave this very painful memory in the past, leave it in 2015. This is a true story of an event that occurred in my life in September of 1998.
The Other Side of Fear
By: Arleen Cornelius-McCann
I met John in the fall of 1997. This was a time I was very alone. I was trying to reclaim my life after the divorce. I had made some giant strides in re-establishing a career. I had everything but a friend and companion. When I met John, we just clicked. We shared similar interests, we laughed a lot. We talked a couple of times a day on the phone. He was my best-friend.
For years, John struggled with addiction. He was clean and sober for over a year when I met him. He was creative and had an immense talent for woodworking. He fashioned the most beautiful pieces out of scraps of wood. He would call every day especially if he knew I had a hard day at work. . I didn’t think I could rely on anyone after my divorce but with time I trusted him. This is why what happened on September 19, 1998 all the more a surprise.
It was a Saturday. I went about my chores. I kept waiting for his phone call. I called him. No answer. I made a quick trip to the grocery store. When I returned to start dinner, still no message on my machine. I knew something had to be wrong. Years before we met he had a car wreck that left him blind in one eye. He had to take Neurontin every day for seizures. I was worried about him so I called a couple of our friends and no one had seen him. I turned off the stove and got in my car.
When I arrived at his apartment, I could hear this stereo blaring from the street. I climbed the stairs that went uphill to his apartment. The door was cracked open about an inch. It was pitch dark with the exception of the blue light that illuminated the dial of the stereo system. I pushed the door open calling for John. He didn’t answer. I saw him lying on the sofa, motionless. My heart sank as I ran to put down my purse on the floor, and turn down the radio. As I turned on the lamp I saw beside him an almost empty half-gallon bottle of Jack Daniels. I knew he was drunk.
Hindsight tells me I should have picked up my purse and left. I should have walked away. What I did instead was rage at the situation with shocked disbelief and anger. I grabbed the bottle off the floor and smashed it onto the side of the coffee table. My anger got the best of me. The remaining alcohol spewed everywhere. Shards of glass went flying into the air. Before I knew what was happening he was awake and had his hands around my throat. I had never seen him drunk before, I did not know the depths of his anger. His grip raised me off the ground, my body dangling in the air like a little girl’s ragdoll. I still had the remains of the bottle in my hand and I knew if I just dropped it he could pick it up and cut me. I didn’t want to hurt him either, as strange that sounds. I threw the neck of the bottle behind the sofa. I fought him trying to free myself from his grip. I continued to dangle as he slowly walked us across the small living room toward the fireplace.
The whole time he cursed me, “I am going to kill you bitch. How dare you? How dare you break my bottle? How dare you come in my house, you bitch?” His eyes glowed with a crazed anger.
I began to feel the effects and started to choke. I mouthed the word, “Mandy”. He knew how much I loved my child. He slowly released his hold around my neck. I closed my eyes for a moment but when I opened them I saw his fist coming at me. His full force blow threw me into the mantle edge of the brick fireplace. I struck it just at the base of my skull and fell toward my left side. When I hit the floor I felt the glass shattering from an oversized Oriental porcelain pot that sat in the corner. For a moment I was still but I could see the outline of the peeling plaster on the wall, then my body tingled with an electric energy. I felt as if I was drifting away.
This time I prayed “God take care of Mandy, take care of my child.” I began to feel pain intensely. I hurt allover. I could feel blood streaming down my neck. The room whirled with confusion. Then I began to seize uncontrollably. My entire body twisted and contorted with painful jolts down my spine.
I could hear John screaming, “Let me find my gun and I will end this shit!” He saw I was seizing because he yelled, “That’s it bitch, lay there on the floor and die.”
When my body stopped seizing, I could hear him throwing things in the back of the apartment. I knew I had to get out of there. I managed to pull myself up to my knees. I grabbed my purse that was sitting across from me in the floor. I got to my feet and tried to run. It was hard because I was so dizzy. He grabbed me by my hair and yelled, “No bitch, you ain’t going nowhere.” He threw me on the sofa and walked back toward the kitchen.
I reached in my purse and pulled out a twenty that was stuck in an inside compartment. “Here John, I’m so sorry,” I cried. “Here go buy another bottle.”
I knew I had a head injury; I had to get to the hospital. I pleaded “I’m going to the hospital now, John.”
He said, “Oh, no you’re not.” He kept looking for the gun. As he entered the kitchen I sprinted for the door. He followed. As I got to the staircase I began to holler for anyone that was around to help me. No one was there, no one answered. I got to the top step and he lunged for me, and fell to the ground. I made it to my car, got inside and locked the doors. My trembling hands could hardly get the key in the ignition. I was so sick. I managed to crank the car and as I pulled away I could hear him hollering at me.
I drove as fast as I could. I felt the side of my head with my hand, as I merged into a small line of fast moving traffic on I-59. My hand was covered in blood and waives of nausea came over me. Tears flowed down my face. I was afraid I was going to die. I just wanted to feel safe again. I pulled into the parking deck of Bessemer Carraway. No one was around. It was a Saturday night in September, still warm for this time of the year. I parked my car and when I got out, I could see blood on the door handle. How surreal; it was mine. I made my way, staggering to the elevator. I pushed the button, leaving droplets of blood behind. When the doors opened, I saw an elderly woman screaming at the ghastly sight of me covered in blood. I hit the floor in front of her.
The next thing I remember is being transported very quickly down the halls toward the emergency room. The room was filled with movement as they started an IV, and the doctor examined me. My clothes reeked of Jack Daniels, the collar and sleeve saturated in blood. The Doctor asked, “How much have you had to drink?” “Nothing!” I cried, “I smashed a bottle and it got on me.” I explained what had happened to the best of my ability. They looked at me with questioning eyes like they didn’t know whether to believe me or not. I was crying hysterically. I was still in shock and emotionally numb from the experience. They sent me to have a CAT scan. When I returned a Birmingham Police officer was in the room waiting to speak to me. I told him what had happened. He said given the facts that, I had entered John’s apartment without an invitation I could be counter-charged with breaking and entering if I pressed charges against John. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I had a concussion, cracked ribs, a broken jaw, a head full of stitches and I could be charged with a crime. He took photos for the file and gave me a card with a case number. The card also had the number of someone I could speak with about the matter, “just in case you need to talk to someone.” I still have that card to this day. I keep it as a reminder of a time in my life when I thought this could never happen to me and how quickly life can change.
Before this happened, I was beginning to trust again. Afterwards, I was filled with anger and self-doubt. I didn’t trust my own instincts. I doubted myself. After all, I had thought John was one of the good guys. I began to doubt my decisions. I moved to the other side of Birmingham, to an apartment that had security at the door. I was living my life in fear. . It has taken me a very long time to resolve the events of that day.
In 2000, I made the move back to my childhood home. My Mother needed help with my ailing Father and I needed to feel a sense of safety and peace again. This is the one place I have always felt safe. This ordeal, left me with fibromyalgia, nerve damage in my neck and jaw. I have physical, emotional, and mental scars but my spirit is beginning to heal. I found out John died in 2011. I don’t know the circumstances. I just know I no longer have to look behind me, I no longer fear.
Now, with this event some 17 years in the rear-view mirror of my life, I can speak about it. Time has given me clarity- peace. It has also given me strength. Strength to speak out- to share my story in the hopes someone else will listen and leave a similar situation. If you or anyone you know is going through a situation in which they are not safe and secure, now is the time for action. Seek help, it’s out there. Go to your local counseling center for Domestic abuse. Reach out to groups online who can and will give you haven and shelter. Do not let yourself become a victim. Speak up-speak out. It is in our duty to speak out for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Those who have died from domestic violence. Life for me, since I returned home, has been filled with countless beautiful memories that would never had happened if I had died on September 19, 1998
I spent a little time this morning just quietly sitting on my back porch. A warm cup of coffee and s a cool early autumn breeze in October. Several shades of yellowing leaves greet me with their grand display of nature’s beauty. I suppose another way to phrase it is the rhythm of nature. Everything evolves along its chosen path; the leaves are no different. Some are beginning to experience one last pirouette toward the ground. They have danced their last dance. It comes to us all, that last dance in life. I am witnessing that right now with my Mother. She has advancing Alzheimer’s. I have never seen a battle in life she could not win, this one may be the exception. I can’t begin to express the gut-wrenching angst and toll it takes on all involved. This disease is a horrid foe. It robs my loved one of her most precious possessions, her memories. I see her struggle to remember names of people who have crossed her path in life. Old friends from school. A boyfriend before my Dad, I never knew existed. She has told me the stories in the past so many times I know them by heart. Now, she asks me to tell her what she can’t remember. She knows she is forgetting something but she can’t quite formulate what it is she is forgetting. I know when it is happening. I see her eyes darting from side to side with nervous frustration. The body forgets as well. I never knew till now that the body literally forgets how to swallow. Her brain no longer processes taste. She craves sugar. That is because sweet is the last taste the body remembers. Her legs will forget how to walk and she will no longer know how to brush her hair. Yet, she struggles to remember. It is at these moments I touch her hand and tell her I love her. A gently touch to let her know she is not alone. She doesn’t understand what is happening to her but she knows something is different. I try to take a few moments like I did this morning to breath before my day begins. This is one of most emotional, physically and mentally exhausting things I have ever done. This job, my job, does not pay in dollars and cents. It pays in a currency one cannot spend on life’s luxuries. It pays in the moral, soul confirming knowledge that I have done the right thing in life. My time was not wasted. I made a difference to one very beautiful soul, my Mother. We can all do our part in the battle against this disease. You can donate your time to walk in the Alzheimer’s walks all across our nation. Raise money, raise awareness. If you can’t do that, retweet the tweets that bring awareness. Knowledge is power. Another way one can help is to just be kind to others as you go about your day. Spread love, light and peace as you travel your own path. It’s not a long journey people. Before you know it your experiencing your own last pirouette. Make it count!
Until next time, peace and love.
This is a piece that I recently wrote as an assignment for my Personal Essay class. On the surface I know some might wonder what I am doing working toward a degree at 54. I do this because I want it. I want to open up the long closed corners of my life and set this stuff free. If for no other reason, working toward this degree has allowed me the creative freedom to let go. It has given me the confidence to write and yes, the confidence to live. I don’t know if I have shared this, I might have. Years ago, I was in an English 101 class at junior college. A wide-eyed, girl who frankly, didn’t know her butt from a hole-in-the-ground. I handed in what i thought was a stunning paper,to be told it was a piece of garbage. I, yes that is the important word here, I allowed that to take hold and hold me back. I held me back for a very long time. I take responsibility for that and I am moving forward.
There have been two things I have always loved to do. Write and Paint. Since I was a little girl I have been hard pressed to separate the two. I think with that in mind, the one thing I have been blessed with in my life is the ability to create! Even the word to me gives me energy-C-R-E-A-T-E! When you boil the salt down to the bottom of the pot, that is what is left for me. It is what I have been put here to do-Create. For me writing and art go hand in hand. When I create my storybooks, or picture books, I am creating a character, giving it life. When I take those characters and give them form and features, adding colors and texture, I am giving a dimensional quality to this work only I can do. Someone reminded me of that yesterday. Thank you James Ray. I am listening. I needed to pass that on. So this is one form of my creative ability. My personal essays. What follows is outlined in the reflection letter. Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Reflection Letter for Essay
I was inspired to write about this topic because my mother has always been my best friend. I have always tried to be there for her and my Daddy. So in February of 2000, when my Mother asked me to move home and help her care for Daddy, I didn’t have to think twice about my answer. I packed my apartment up and moved the 25 miles home. The hardest part of writing this essay is opening the emotional dam hidden in my heart for so many years. It is hard to watch your parent’s age. It is hard to experience the flip-flop in roles: first being daughter, then being caretaker. The stress of trying to be all to everyone is overwhelming. Sometimes, even the caregiver gets sick. Those are the most challenging moments- when your mind and soul are weary. When it is hard to muster hope. I never anticipated that nearly 17 years later I would still be in this position in life. For all intents and purposes, my life, my dreams, my goals all ended. I had to keep those feelings at bay and let the love and most importantly, the respect for my parents take command. My Daddy passed away in 2009. It was a cold winter day in February. That is when my Mother began to show signs of more than just an overwhelming grief, but a loss of a part of herself. Suddenly I had my Mother and fifteen acres of land in my care. This girl, who felt more accustom to a coffee shop in the city was now having to learn to use a tractor and fix a porch. So, those are the strengths and weaknesses of this essay- the emotional underpinnings. I can only improve on my writing by writing and facing the emotional moments. Not sugar coating emotions and feelings.
I Watch Her as She Stares
I watch her as she stares at the controls on the stove. Hesitantly and lightly she touches the buttons. These buttons make no sense to her garbled mind. A mind that whirls with whispers of confusion. The voices of the past speak to her in a language she no longer understands. And so I watch. I am caught between the need to swoop in and take care of the matter and allowing her the independence to continue trying. After all its only turning on an oven. Such an everyday affair for a woman who lovingly prepared meals for her family for a vast majority of her 83 years. And yet she stares. She is locked in battle with a need for self-reliance against the void of oblivion. I sense her intense frustration and move to push the button. She rebukes me. “I can do it myself.” I let her continue with the fight. I allow her the patient individuality she allowed me when I was a child. I still recall her watchful eye upon me as I baked my first cake at six years old. It’s was a beautiful, delicate shade of pink, filled with pops of strawberry flavoring. The room was warm from the glow of the oven coils. I was so proud of that cake. It had the same delicate glow Mother carried in her continence every day. A beautiful, yet proud spirit. A woman with great love for her family.
She musters her courage. She is so afraid of what lies ahead. She pushes the button. Then it comes over her, that same smile that graced her face for so many years. She won a battle, albeit a small one. She feels a moment of personal satisfaction. I relish the moment with her knowing that one day she will acquiesce to the abyss in her mind. The torrid horror shows of convoluted thoughts and wild imaginings. We put the biscuits in the oven. I leave her with our little dog, Maxie and her television show.
As I sit composing thoughts on my computer I hear the shrill blaring of the smoke alarm. I return to the kitchen to find Mother staring more intently than before. A panic comes over her. I assure her everything is okay, anything to calm her down. I pull the now black biscuits out, turn off the oven. After silencing the smoke alarm, I look to see my Mother languishing over the remains of the biscuits. I can tell her spirit was charred forever. An everyday task she performed ten thousand times has become an echelon of angst. I try to reassure her, “It will be okay Momma. I will make some more biscuits. It will be okay.” She turns and starts back to the sofa, “No”, she says, “it will never be okay again.”
July 13, 2016
Farewell My Friend.
Ms. Kitty crossed the Rainbow Bridge today at 1:30 p.m. She had a very restless night. All of the horrible things I heard and read about were coming to fruition. I did not want my sweet little Ms. Kitty to suffer so I took her to our Vet. She passed peaceful in my arms. I would like to publicly thank Dr. Springer for his kindness and overwhelming compassion today. He cared for Ms. Kitty with the respect she deserved and helped me bear my burden. Such a talented Veterinarian and a wonderfully kind human. I will be forever appreciative.
Tonight as I sit here at my computer, I hear the sounds of Tazzy eating from his dish. I treasure my fur-babes. They bring me joy and help me through the moments of life that are sometimes so hard to bear. I am filled with guilt for ever buying those cat treats. She was so happy and healthy before she starting eating them. Today was one of those days that I will not forget. The surreal silent solitude as I came home in the car. My oldest brother drove down to help us give her a proper burial. So now, Ms. Kitty is home and she is at peace beneath the shade of the dogwood tree. She loved to play under that tree.
I know in time this pain will not sting so bad but tonight my heart is broken. I will miss and love her always. She was a trust companion and one hell of a mouser. Some of my dearest memories are of her when she would bring me her “gifts”. She brought us everything from snakes to gophers to lizards. I remember telling her, “Ms. Kitty, I don’t really like lizard, sweetie. You can have that one.” She gave me that Donald Trump look with her lips pursed up as if to say, “Who the hell doesn’t like lizard?” She had those looks; a cross between Trump and Grumpy Cat. In the coming months I will try and recreate those smiles that made my heart laugh. That is one of beautiful things about art, time stands still.
Well not much left to say but thank you Ms. Kitty, RIP my friend.
I didn’t post anything about Ms. Kitty yesterday. The first thing Sat. morning she got up and went to the back door again, just like on Friday. We told her again that it was way to hot to be outside (heat index was expected to be triple digits). She cried the saddest little meow. Kept staring out the back door. This broke my heart. I know she wants out but if she gets to the storage building and gets underneath, I don’t know how I would get her out. We did what we thought was best, told her no. I picked her up and rocked her for a while then took her back to her bed.
Gave her a small dose (less than 1ml) of slipper elm syrup) just enough to coat her stomach. Waited for about 10 minutes for it to work. Followed that up with 2ml of Clinicare Supplement. We went through this exact procedure twice till 10 last night. Got up at midnight and checked in on her, she was still fine and had used her litter box again.
First thing this morning, I checked in on her. She was sitting there just looking at me. When I reached to pet her, she purred and blinked her eyes. I think I have mentioned this before, I read somewhere that cats say I love you when they blinked their eyes at you. I will have to find that link and post It for everyone. It’s expected to be a hot day again today but not as bad as yesterday.
I will be sitting with her most of the day in the office. I have a lot of work to get done online, most of it classwork that has be turned in by 10:55 CST tonight. My course this term is Hemingway and it requires a lot of work in prep for writing. Thank goodness, I didn’t take two classes. There are days when the words flow easy, then there are those days when I have so much on my mind that I can’t concentrate to get anything done. I have had nearly a week like that, a foggy muddled mind. I tried to meditate last night, Mother was restless so that was a no-go. She finally went to bed, so I did too. Long story short, after checking on Kitty at Midnight, I got a few hours of sleep. I had intended on being up at 4 or 5 but slept till after 7. Enough of this, time to get busy on my writing. Putting some classical chamber music on, that would be soothing to both of us. Going now, time to write.
Well it’s 8:40 A.M. Ms. Kitty is wide awake and alert this morning. I did not give her the Clinicare through the night, wanted to let to use the litter box. Afraid if she can’t urinate, it will just cause her pain to give her fluids if she can’t rid them. Above all, I don’t want her to suffer. To our amazement, she jumped off the desk walked to the backdoor and meowed to go outside. We didn’t let her outside for a couple of reasons. First, she is still too sick to be outside But the main reason is the heat index is supposed to be way over 105 degrees today. We were afraid she would be going outside to die and we wouldn’t be able to find her. Cats do that sometimes, especially cats that were born feral. I suppose it is just her instinct. After Mother and I told her “no Ms. Kitty” she walked back into the office where I have her bed set up on my drawing table. She likes this spot a lot. She meowed for me to put her back up there, so I did. I also have her litter box sitting up there so she can get to it without a lot of effort. She used her litter box, then laid back down on the bed. I am going to get her some Clinicare now and give her 3ml.
6:00 p.m. Well, had errands to run today so was away from the house for a while. When I got home around 2pm I checked on Ms. Kitty. She was alert sitting on the desk. She had used her litter box a little and was drinking some water from her dish. I gave her some Clinicare around 3:30 p.m. She held it down. Thankful we have no vomiting. Some of the credit for that may come from the use of Slippery elm syrup. Just a tiny bit coats her stomach and lowers the acid. Then I gave her the Clinicare supplement. She took a nap afterwards. It anyone wants the recipe for the Slippery elm syrup I will provide the link at the end of this post. This is a picture of Kitty tonight quietly taking a nap with her new gray mouse I bought her today.
Well, took care of all the other chores to be done around the house. I still have to work on my homework post for this week so going to sign off now. I will probably be back up at 4a.m. to check in on Ms. Kitty. Goodnight to you all.
Recipe for the Slippery Elm syrup for cats in renal failure. This is a wonderful website with a lot of information on the disease. The link follows:
Well, it has been a couple days since I brought Ms. Kitty home. On Tuesday I received some products I found for cats in renal failure. One of them is a product called Clinicare Feline Liquid Renal Care. I will not lie, it cost a good bit for one can, but I am down to brass tacks here. I ordered it on Amazon for $11.48 a can with Prime shipping. I needed it fast so I am so glad I have Amazon Prime. It came yesterday. It’s like Ensure for cats- a liquid feeding supplement for cats in renal failure. I have to do something to get some nutrition in her. I used a feeding syringe that holds up to 10ml. I am only giving 2ml at a time. I figure this is about all she can tolerate. She is still drinking water from her dish. I started giving the Clinicare around 5 pm as soon as UPS delivered it. She held still while I gave it to her, then she began licking her lips like she liked it. I put a little on a dish but she wouldn’t lick on her own. So far I have given her a total of 6ml. She has tolerated it well. No vomiting. That was my first concern with giving her fluids by mouth.
I got up at 3.am. this morning to sit with her and work on my classwork (I am pursuing a degree online at APUS in English.) She usually sits with me when I work on papers. It felt like old times, she sat up on the desk with me watching me type till about 4:30. Then she abruptly got down, staggering. She went under the bed and sat there until 6 a.m. Mother and I are both wondering if this is one of the signs of her decline-wanting to be alone. I took it as a cue and left her to herself and went back to bed till 10a.m.
She was back on the desk, alert. I could tell she had not used her litter box at all. This worries me. I see her drink water but not urinating is not good. I did not give her the Clinicare yet today. I don’t want to overload her kidneys with more fluid that she can process. She is not in pain. Alert and looking around.
I will go for now. I am going to go sit with her a little while. I will post again tomorrow.
Typically, I share my artwork or my writings on this page. However, for the next several posts, I will be journaling the life of one of my cats, Ms. Kitty. She was a healthy, active cat until a week or so ago. She began to be crankier than normal, hissed at the other cats more. We thought it was just Ms. Kitty being Ms. Kitty. Then she didn’t want to eat her wet food anymore. All she wanted was Temptation Cat Treats. So much so, I bought the huge box. It never crossed my mind that anything could be wrong with giving them to her. It even states on the backside of the container you can substitute for a meal. They made her happy, we thought. Then around the end of June she stopped eating, then a few hours later, she stopped drinking. She retreated to a corner in the office where no one could reach her easily. She just wanted to be alone. I began then to wonder if the treats were under a recall. I started researching the matter online. I found a website, ConsumerAffairs.com, that has over 263 reports of cats with renal failure after eating theses treats. Make that 264 after mine is posted! I know I cannot state that this is the definitive cause of her illness but it is the last food product my cat ate- pretty good evidence when coupled with the 263 reports.
On June 29, 2016 I took Ms. Kitty to Animal Hospital of Walker County. Dr. Kimbrell could see right away she was a very ill cat. He suspected bowel blockage or kidney failure. After running her labs, there was no doubt, she was in renal failure. Her BUN was awful high. He kept her there on IV fluids for the next several days. Today, July 5th, after we discussed it with Dr. Kimbrell, we brought her home. He is an excellent Veterinarian and I mean excellent. He has done everything he possible can for our cat. She is a very strong and is fighting to stay here with us. We intend to do everything we can for her.
I have always thought there were valid instances when the saying, “the pen is mightier than the sword” was true. This is one of those times. I intend to shine a white hot light on this subject and this product. So many cat owners cannot be wrong. Each owner loved their pet as we love Ms. Kitty. When I say “we” I am referring to myself and my 83-year-old mother who is heartbroken. At night, Ms. Kitty, stayed very near mother. They have a special bond. Each pet parent wanted the best for their fur-babies. We are no different. There are some who sue these companies. Mother and I are not litigious in nature. We could never and would never put a value on Ms. Kitty. She is a member of our family. We just want someone, anyone in the FDA or some authority to inspect these complaints. If these treats are causing harm to our cats, they need to be pulled off the market. I know, we have the added ingredient of greed (yes, I said it!) in this equation. I suspect they make a great deal in profit off this product line, but an honest third party investigation is merited.
Now to what I can do for Ms. Kitty. I can show you what a gem of a baby she is-through pictures and recounting her journey with us.
Right now as it stands, she is taking water but will not eat. I have bought some low phosphorus, high protein food. I will also try some things I have ordered on Amazon. I will update tomorrow. For now I will leave you with a picture I took today. I am going to put on some chicken and see if I can get her to take a little broth.
As always, much love my friends,
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It’s always sad when someone you cared about passes away. Even though you knew they had been dealing with illness, it is still shocking to hear those words, “she is gone.” I met Linda in the 5th grade. We sat alphabetically in class. She was in the back of the class, but we sat together at lunch and she rode the same bus I did home. She lived just a few miles down the road in a house that overlooked the river. My biological sister, Kathleen, died when she was newborn, so the girls I knew in school were my ‘sisters’. We laughed, we cried, we fought and we laughed about it when we made up. Linda was one of those ‘sisters”. She was the one who talked me into to wearing makeup for the first time. “It will make you feel so pretty” she said. It did. It helped change the way I saw that teenage me when I looked in the mirror. Linda was a beautiful woman, inside and out.
As a sisterhood of girls now women, we watched each other’s lives unfold, year by year, decade by decade. We are in our early fifties now, most of us had children and some grandchildren. When I look at us, I still see fresh-faced youth running through playgrounds and swinging on swings. I remember volleyball games and dance troupe, plays and pageants. Although life has had its obligations for me that has kept me from joining in with social functions, it doesn’t diminish the love I feel for my “sisters’ or sadness in missing out on getting together. Some of my sister’s I met in college, most in grade school then high school, but all are dear to my heart. When one of you goes away I lose a part of me. A portion of my childhood I dearly treasure. Linda may be gone, but her memory and those images of kids playing will stay with me forever. RIP Linda.