Feast or Famine

by Susan McBride

I’ve been wishing for calm and peace around here lately, particularly after finishing up a really tough deadline for LITTLE BLACK DRESS (which you all heard about in my last post!). It’s been a crazy few months what with putting on the “Wine, Wit & Lit” fundraiser for Casting for Recovery back in early October, my mom’s diagnosis of breast cancer and her treatment, and LBD’s due date. I kept telling myself, “This too shall pass,” and it did. The fundraiser went beautifully, and we raised enough money to send 1-1/2 women to a Casting for Recovery retreat for breast cancer survivors; my mom made it through her surgery and treatment with flying colors; and, I finished LBD in the nick of time AND am so proud of how it turned out.

“Can I have a week of calm?” I asked. “Just one week?”

I figured that would be a given. I mean, what could go wrong? I had the days ahead all planned out: lounging in front of the boob tube in my jammies (as opposed to slaving away at the keyboard in said jammies); watching endless HGTV until I began to have dreams that Clive and Lisa had shown up to stage my house; reading all the books I’d put aside while I was in deadline hell; and sleeping so much my husband would check my pulse to make sure I was alive.

What happened instead was our youngest kitty Blue crashed within 24 hours of turning my latest book in. She was listless that Friday, but I was listless, too. So I kind of thought her need to sleep reflected my need to sleep. But she didn’t eat that night (which is when we KNEW something was wrong). By Saturday morning, she had yellow inner ears, skin, and inner eyelids. I called our vet and we took her in ASAP. We found out she had something called hemolytic anemia, which is when the cat’s immune system turns on itself, and we have no idea what triggered it. Sometimes they can identify the culprit–fleas, ticks, vaccinations–but in many cases, like ours, they can’t find a reason why.

We had to take her to the emergency animal clinic, where she was admitted and stayed for two days. It killed me to leave her there with strangers, even ones who could care for her better than I. She had a blood transfusion to get her hemoblogin count up. I called several times a day, and we took in food and tried to feed her when they said she wasn’t eating. We finally sprung her on Monday afternoon, after basically camping out at the hospital because I knew she’d be better off at home.

So much for peace and quiet. Our last week was filled with twice a day meds (antibiotic pills and steroid syrup), trying to get her to eat and drink, making sure she went potty, and keeping her away from the other cats. I feel like all I did everyday was wash cat dishes, open cans, take up food, take down old food that was rejected, lather, rinse, and repeat.

The good news is that Blue is doing much, much better. Her hemoglobin count has risen to almost normal levels, which means her meds are working. She had lost 1.6 pounds within 48 hours at the vet hospital but has regained 1.4 (hooray!). Within about three weeks, once they taper her Prednisolone, we’ll know if she’s going to survive this. We have high hopes. Blue’s a super kitty.

In the meantime, other things have cropped up in my life–personal and professional–that put off any chance of peace and quiet for the near future (like, the crazy backdoor neighbors shooting rifle pellets through our brand new fence! But, hey, I made a new contact at the local police station when I filed my report. He’s a lieutenant with a 30-year background in law enforcement who’s agreed to be my consultant when I write my young adult thriller next year). My mother likes to say, “feast or famine,” and sometimes I think life just loves throwing us those “feast” curveballs to keep us on our toes.

You can understand why I didn’t go shopping on Black Friday. I didn’t want to chance being crushed.

So I guess I’ll take my calm when I can get it, in tiny snatches here and there. And perhaps I’ll put “peace and quiet” on my Christmas list and see what happens.

7 replies
  1. Zita
    Zita says:

    Peace and quiet is over-rated anyway, Susan. In the mean time, plug in your earbuds when you need some, or take a "Calgon" moment. For the rest of the day, reap the whirlwind and enjoy the ride! You've earned it!

  2. Misa
    Misa says:

    I'm glad to hear Blue is doing better. How horrible.

    I've learned to seize the peaceful moments when they come. They are often few and far between (because of my own making, often), but it makes them all the sweeter.

  3. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Zita, you are so funny! My goal for 2011 is going to be carving out some "nap time" every afternoon, even if I just sit and read for awhile. We'll see if that happens!

    Misa, thanks re. Blue. Oh, gosh, I need to learn how to seize those moments, too. I feel like any chance I have to relax for five minutes is spent worrying about something.

    Laura, so glad you dropped by! You probably have the busiest life of anyone I know, and still you're always so calm. I want to be you!

    Karin, I think so, too! We'll see if I get it. 😉

  4. Marilyn Brant
    Marilyn Brant says:

    Susan, I've thought of you so often over the past few weeks… I'm really glad to hear how well Blue is recovering, and you know I've got my fingers crossed that any other events that may crop up will bring only good news ;). Wishing you as relaxing a weekend as is possible!! XXoo

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