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Seven in the morning on Monday, and I can already tell it’s not going to be my day. Probably not my week. I’m already anxious for it to be Friday afternoon.

A kitten update: I went to the vet on Friday to get some pointers about getting medicine into the kittens. She made it look easy. But she did give me a few useful tips, and I have gotten to the point where it doesn’t take me half an hour to get the medicine into them. All told, it’s about ten minutes, including cleaning off their faces and giving them treats. Not bad. I’m just sure if it’s helping. Over the weekend they each had soft stool, but not too bad. This morning, they both had runny stools, and Yuzu went twice, which I don’t think is a good sign. I can’t be sure if the medicine isn’t working or if I’m just not getting enough of it into them. They drool pretty terribly when I try to medicate them, and they fight swallowing it. I’m going to wait and see how things look in the afternoon, but I get the feeling I’ll be going back to the vet again in the next couple of days.

I wish that was the only worry I had this week. I still need to go to the DMV and get my license updated (at which point I will finally and completely have my name changed to Geordie’s!), but I want to make sure my car insurance is all straightened out first. Last week, my bill arrived without any policy information, and I did not like the number I saw on that bill – it was about $30-40 more than I had expected to pay per month. I went to see them on Friday (I still hadn’t got my policy), and they made a big deal about checking for credits or discounts or whatever and never gave me a straight answer about whether that bill was final or not. I had switched our car from my parents’ policy, so they were going to double-check something about that. They assured me that the policy would arrive on Saturday (it did, and I don’t see why I’m paying so much for what it is) and that they would call me later in the day to let me know how the numbers would change. They called at 4:50pm, when I was out picking up Geordie from work, and I didn’t get their message until later on Saturday, because we are terrible about checking our phone messages. Anyway, all they said was to call when I had a chance, which will be around 9am this morning. I am hoping that the insurance will magically be cheaper, because shopping around for car insurance is not really something I want to do today.

I also have kitchen things to do. Pizza dough can probably wait for tomorrow, but I’ve got plans for other homemade things I want to make. Top of the list (after the pizza dough, that is) is vanilla extract. I bought some beans online through Beanilla, because buying vanilla beans at grocery stores costs a ridiculous amount. I got ten beans for less than one costs at a store, depending on which brand you go with. I’m really excited about making the vanilla extract – with all the baking I do, I go through a lot of it, and it’s nice to be in control not just of nuances in flavor but also in  costs.

Next on the homemade list is coffee creamer. I’m trying to establish more clean-eating habits for us, but even if I wasn’t coffee creamer is really kinda disgusting if you look at the ingredients label. For one thing, if my creamer says “lactose-free,” I’m going to feel a little empty inside. I found a couple of how-to recipes for homemade coffee creamer online, so I’m giving one of those a try this week. It may or may not be cost effective (that is, until I made my own sweetened condensed milk), but at least I’ll feel better about what I’m putting in my coffee.

Speaking of food, I still haven’t figure out our Easter menu, beyond the certainty that deviled eggs will be involved. Geordie really wants a ham – as do I – but it’s really hard to find a good, quality ham that’s both not too small and not too expensive. Cheap hams are stuffed full of extra gunk – why does a ham need to have corn syrup injected into it? I just want ham. That’s all. Preferably not a 7-pound one, which is the smallest I could find at my local Whole Foods. I’m thinking we might just have to make do with the pork tenderloin I’ve got in the freezer.

Also, I need to get in contact with our landlord about approving the color choices we’ve made for the pink bedroom. We’re going with a grassy green color for the walls, with orange for the trim. We want to get that taken care of as quickly as possible so we can just get it done and out of the way.

And finally, in the trying-to-conceive, possibly TMI department, we’re in the middle of a two-week wait to see if anything took this month. Because this is the first month we’ve actively tried, we’re trying not to set our expectations too high. But at the same time, it’s hard not to, isn’t it?

Well, I feel a little better having written all that. I was feeling a little stressed this morning, thinking about all this (and feeling frustrated with the kittens and their medicine – that has been my main source of stress since Wednesday), but now I see that there’s really nothing here that I can’t handle. It’s just a matter of separating it all and tackling each thing one by one. Starting with giving the kittens their morning dose of medicine. Yay.

So, in closing, here is a picture of two happy, drowsy kittens enjoying a nice, relaxing nap.

sleepykittens

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Have I written about feeling incompetent before? I know I’ve written about feelings of failure and not being able to do anything right. It comes up every now and then. Like right now. This week. Mostly yesterday and today.

This week started out well enough. I spent less money on groceries than I had budgeted. The Thin Mint cupcakes turned out really well. Tuesday’s dinner got a little burnt, but it still tasted decent enough. We happily ate it.

And then came Wednesday.

The kittens have been having loose bowel movements for as long as we’ve had them (about three months now). They came home with antibiotics after their first vet visit, and that cleared things up for a while. Then they started getting the occasional loose stool. And now, for about the past two weeks – maybe three – the problem has returned in full force. It was a mess every time they got in the litter box. It became clear that the problem would not solve itself. So, Tuesday, I called the vet and arranged to come in Wednesday morning.

We came home with not two, not three, but four medicines: a probiotic powder for their food, an antibiotic (to take twice daily) to clear out their bowels, a “parasite purger” to get rid of any nasties hanging around in there, and Kaopectin to smooth things over as necessary. The probiotic and the antibiotics are for two weeks, while the parasite-killer is only three days. The Kaopectin is as needed.

Yuzu had runny stool immediately after getting home from the vet, so I decided to give him some Kaopectin and administer a dose of the twice-daily antibiotic to them both. This took a total of 45-60 minutes, and though it ended with both kittens dosed up, I came out of it a complete mess, emotionally as well as physically. I’d say at least a quarter of the various medicines got on me and not in the kittens – I had to go change my shirt, and my jeans still have a big white splotch on them in two places. Also, I now have a set of lovely scratches on my back where Mirin wormed her way out of the swaddle-towel, climbed over my shoulder, and launched herself off of my back with all of her mighty claws unleashed.

But for the most part, they were medicated. Yuzu completely and instantly forgot about it all and wanted nothing more than to settle into a nap on my lap. Mirin hid behind the couch for an hour before tentatively venturing out to eat and avoid me whenever I came near. By the afternoon, she seemed convinced that I wasn’t going to do it again and no longer tried to hide.

Except that I was, of course, going to do it again.

Before going to bed, Geordie and I took the kittens up to the guest bathroom on the second floor and attempted to give them another dose of antibiotic, plus the parasite-killer. I say “attempt” because we were only half-successful. Yuzu got both medicines, after much weeping and wailing. Mirin got the parasite-killer but not the antibiotic. She writhed and fought as Geordie held her, eventually giving into unrestrained yowling. Finally, she started making deep, angry sounds in her throat, at which point I told Geordie to let her go because she was getting pissed off.

So was Geordie. Rather than continue as we were and upsetting both us and the kittens any further, we gave up for the night. The whole thing had taken about 40 minutes. I once again felt powerless and frustrated, feelings which have often been my companions since Lauren’s death. I told Geordie I would call the vet’s office in the morning and try to figure out how we could manage to get through 13 more days of this.

Nearly every single video/how-to on the internet regarding giving medicines to cats all seem to feature cats that are far calmer than either Mirin or Yuzu. They do not try to run away when the human wraps a towel around them. They do not stick their paws straight out in order to avoid becoming a kitty burrito. They do not duck their heads into the folds of the towel. They do not yowl as the syringe comes near them. They do not thrash their heads back and forth. They do not smack their lips and froth up their medicine so that it drips all down the front of them. They do not squirm and twist and try to roll over on their backs or fight their way out of the towel.

My kittens do all of those things.

The majority of these videos are two minutes long, at the most, which is about half the time it takes me to calm down Yuzu so that I can get another 25th of a milliliter into his mouth. These videos almost always end with a single squirt and the demonstrator saying, “All done!”

I hate these people. They address the action but not the details. Yes, it would only take five minutes to do this if the kittens sat quietly and patiently – as the demonstration cats do. Half of them look like they’re about to nod off. These videos are not helpful.

For the most part, the advice I got the vet tech when I called was not helpful. She suggested doing the things I was already doing. When I asked specific questions – “how do I keep her from thrashing her head around?” – she merely suggested holding onto the kitten’s head with thumb and forefinger on either side. Which made me want to ask a follow-up question – “how do I do that without breaking her neck, because that’s what it feels like is going to happen when I do that” – except that didn’t seem an entirely appropriate question to ask. She did suggest putting the kittens on top of a washing machine so that I could brace better against them.

That’s what  I did for their morning dosage. And it helped. The kittens still thrashed and meowed and generally disliked the whole process, and it took nearly an hour just to get a millileter of antibiotic into both of them. But I did it. Again, afterwards, I was worn out emotionally and physically, and I resolved that tomorrow, when I have the car, I’ll take the kittens back to the vet and ask them to show me exactly what I should be doing, because does it really have to be this difficult?

At least there is a positive side to all this. The kittens aren’t holding any grudges. Yuzu apparently forgets about it all immediately after he gets his treat (which I give immediately after I put them back on the floor). Mirin sulks a while, but after 30 minutes or so, she’s back to her normal self. Best of all, they’re already responding to the treatment. They’re going less frequently, and when they go, they aren’t leaving a mess behind them. Or bringing it along with them, which was a more major issue.

So, it’s working, but I feel drained. And we’re not done today. I just don’t know how to make it easier on them and on us.

I’m just hoping we can all make it through the next 13 days.

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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