Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Crazy Cat Lady Is Crazy

Everyone who knows me know that I totally own being a crazy cat lady. I constantly post pictures of my beautiful diva cat, Maxie.

Well, I was constantly posting pictures of her. I haven't in a while because, well, she hasn't been well.
She's taken to making the closet her favorite place, so I made it comfortable for her. She's got her heating pad and her fleece blanket.
Background info: this tiny gray cat adopted my family when I was 16. She finagled her way into our home and has never left. She's always been my baby cat, choosing me as her cat-mom by meowing at me loudly late at night, even though no one believed me that this otherwise quiet kitty was a noisy nellie. She's been spoiled rotten from the very beginning, when my mom bought her special cat food because she turned up her nose at what the other kitties were happy to wolf down. She got special treats and special treatment.

She's the queen of my castle. A total diva.

Friends of mine know that she has been dealing with chronic renal failure (CRF) for a while now. This is an all-too-common affliction for cats. She's 17 years old (at least), has had a bunch of teeth removed, but she's been a trooper through it alland has even become a snuggly lap kitty in her old age.

A few weeks ago, she suddenly lost her vision. My Smokey Cat was blind, so I recognized the signs immediately. Smokey gradually lost his sight as he got older, but Max seemed to lose hers practically overnight.

I scheduled her an emergency vet appointment that day, and the vet told me exactly what Google had: her retinas had mostly detached due to high blood pressure. She was still able to see some light, so she can still kind of navigate my apartment by sight, but the most we would be able to do is try to save her eyes from getting any worse. (If you noticed the weird eye reflection in the above picture, the detached retina is the explanation.)
Yes, I installed a nightlight for my cat. I have never denied my crazy cat lady status.
While at the vet's office, they checked her renal function. It was, to say the very least, not good. In fact, some of her numbers were so high that the machine couldn't read it. The vet was so surprised that she was still acting like her regular self with those numbers! My little cat is invincible.

To help with her renal function, she is now receiving subcutaneous fluids that I must inject into her once a day. This is not the easiest practice for cat and cat-mom, but it's for her own good so we must both soldier on. Some days Maxie's a good little patient, and some days I'm a very good cat-nurse. We make due with what we must.

She was also prescribed a minty liquid that would help with nausea and her phosphorus levels. While we worked out a system that relatively painlessly—for us both—for her to get the full dose orally twice a day.

So, for those of you who aren't keeping track at home, that's two meds and fluid therapy for my diva cat.


Now that you're all caught up, you'll see exactly why I've been a Stress Mess who's avoided social media for the past two weeks. I wish it was because I was writing, but alas. I've become a crazier cat lady.

Today, Max had her follow-up appointment. I'm so happy to report that she appears to be doing so much better. Some of the vision in her left eye has returned! She's responding more to light, which is helpful for her to navigate the apartment.

(It's nice to know that nightlight was not in vain!)

We've made some adjustments to her care. First, we're officially taking her off the minty liquid that she hates. It wrecks her appetite, which is the opposite effect that we intended.

The leading cause of HBP in geriatric cats is hyperthyroidism; however, Max's tests revealed that she's on the low end of the spectrum, so there is no obvious cause for the HBP. That means she needs to take a HBP medication—but, in true feline style, she refused the majority of my attempts to pill her. I've given her antibiotics in the past, but these pills have to be quartered, and they're too small to manage to force-feed her. Anyone with a diva cat knows my struggle.

Second, instead of struggling to pill her with a quarter of a tablet of her HBP meds, we're going to compound those tablets into a liquid, so she can get that orally—since that's somehow easier than pills. Because cats.

And third, she's continuing on the sub-Q fluids, since that appears to be helping her.

In another week and a half, Maxie will return to our vet (who I must admit is super awesome) for yet another follow up. This time, once she will regularly be taking the HBP meds, we will retest her blood pressure and renal function.

I like my role as cat-mom much better than I do the role of cat-nurse. This is not an easy time on me; I sometimes feel like I am torturing poor Max more than I am helping her. I'm trying to maintain her quality of life in her old age. I give her meds, I dote on her, and I worry over every move she makes. She gets treats and tons of head scratches.

And in between those moments, I do a couple of chores, try to make myself relax, and maybe write a bit. This is not exactly how I expected my March to go. But we soldier on.

I felt like I owed my readers a bit of an explanation about my absence. I realize that I said, just a few weeks ago, that I was going to disappear so I could write, but that's not the case. I'm still dedicated to Breakout Play, but I am more devoted to my baby cat. And I hope my readers understand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

List of Things I Accomplished This Week

Last week, my good friend and writing buddy Melanie Ting, in her endless efforts to support my current writing crisis, has suggested that I check out Mr. Chris Bailey, an expert in productivity. Mel is already an incredibly productive person, so if she recommends something, I sure as hell listen.

I checked out his website and was immediately drawn to his post about "10 productivity lessons I learned writing an 80,000-word book in 6 months". Seriously, doesn't that sound like the most perfect title for an article for a writer pressed for time to write?

There are a lot of great lessons from Mr. Bailey's article that I'm going to implement during this month of creative productivity (as Breakout Play begs to be written), so I recommend checking it—and the rest of his website—out for all of his imparted wisdom.

One lesson that particularly struck me was to take time to reflect on your multiple, smaller accomplishments within the larger and singular accomplishment of writing a book. Makes total sense! By acknowledging all the little things that have been done to lead up to the accomplishment of one big task, you get to focus on some positivity.

Instead of saying, "Damn, another week went by and I didn't finish that book," I get to say, "Look at the things I did to put myself closer to my goal of finishing my book."

And what's more validating than creating a list of accomplishments and posting it on the Internet where, hopefully, it won't get trolled. (Seriously, I doubt I thought this through!)

Without further ado, I present my:

List of Things I Accomplished This Week
  1. Added scenes to my storyboard.
  2. Won a free eBook cover from my amazing designer. Okay, so that's not really something I can accomplish, but that's still awesome and definitely helpful in the grand scheme of things.
  3. Found a Google Docs add-on word counter (aptly named Better Word Count) to help me track writing goals and totals
  4. Wrote every day, even if it was just a few words here and there.
  5. Acquired an Accountabilibuddy: Pusheen. Pusheen watches over me at my desk to make sure I'm writing and not checking on my virtual cats in Neko Atsume.

Okay, so, that's an odd list. But it's something!

I'm off to go add to my word count for the day, and maybe I'll add that to my Accomplishment List for next week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March Madness

I had hoped to have Breakout Play published by now.

Obviously, that is not the case, and I am sad about that.

I watch too much South Park.

I don't know if I should admit this or not, but here's why: I haven't written it all. I've got a beginning, sections of the middle, but definitely no ending. The story's not even done, and it still has rounds of edits to go through, polishing, and proofing before I feel ready to release it for your reading pleasure.

I should also admit that I don't know how long it will take, so I don't feel comfortable putting forth another release date in case I don't make that one either.

If you're bummed by this news, please know that I am too. I'm excited about this story: I'm excited to tell it, and I'm excited to share it. Unfortunately, I'm running short on time during the day to devote to the project. I won't bother with listing excuses reasons why, because those don't really matter anyway.

Besides, it's more proactive to focus on writing my story than writing a list of excuses reasons, right?

But I would like to reassure everyone—and myself—that I am totally dedicated to this project, and I am spending as much of March as possible on the creative process. I've already deleted the Facebook app from my phone to minimize distractions, and my Facebook presence has dwindled significantly. I barely have time to keep up with The Sin Bin!

And no, Neko Atsume doesn't have anything to do with that, because it only takes a minute to check on those virtual kitties. It's not a time-suck kind of game.)

Well, I may disappear from social media even more in the meantime. I'm sure you won't miss me if the condition is that you'll get something new to read sooner. Right? Okay, well you can miss me anyway. :)

I'll update when I have updates—and as soon as I have a concrete release date and/or pre-order links, I'll plaster it everywhere so you can't miss it. Promise.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of hockey to keep y'all occupied. The race to the playoffs is starting. Is it too soon to start getting my Stanley Cup brackets ready? Not that I'll be watching. I've got some writing to do!