When the Hits Keep Coming

It has been a rough few weeks out here in the primordial scrub.

Lawnmower broken – repaired.
Tiller broken – at shop.
Car AC/emissions system – at shop.
Death in the family.
Dying family member.
Sick Old Lady Cat.

old_lady_cat21

Old Lady Cat does not feel well

That deceptively short list is just the last four weeks. It is more accurate to list it as:

Lawnmower broken
– Yard reached semi-jungle height.
– Extra work (still ongoing) to get back under control. This translates to many hours of hard labor.
– $$$ to repair. (Fortunately, this was a pretty cheap fix. I’ll post the details later.)

Tiller broken
– Would be easier to break up some of the soil for other yard-care activities (re-seeding is at the top of the list). This delays a number of long-term goals that will reduce the overall yard-care level of effort.
– $$$ to repair. Amount unknown – waiting for word from the professionals.

Car AC/Emissions System
– Expensive. $800 and climbing
– Reduced transportation – we’re down to S.O.’s car for all our activities.
– Reduced side-job activity. Can’t meet clients if I can’t get transportation.
+ Taking lunch to work now. I’ve been wanting to start this. I guess the Universe is giving me a “hand.” 50 lunches a year translates to paying 25% of the car repair bill – so far. That’s roughly $4 – $5 per lunch.

Death In The Family
– Emotional support to other family members is a serious drain.
– Logistical support to other family members is a serious drain. One of my parents is having a hard time recovering from recent surgery, and was not able to help the other during this difficult time. That meant S.O. and I were filling in.
– Family politics. Fortunately, my grandparents prepared well for this time. The politics, and associated emotional fallout, is low (so far). That doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty and sad that I wasn’t able to be physically present from three states away.
– Seesawing emotions. Mine, my parents, my sibling’s, our respective families’, and S.O. having to deal with it all.
– $$$ impact. Increased communication expense, reduced side-job income due to strain on physical and emotional resources.
– Lower productivity. I’m distracted. S.O. is distracted. This has not gone unnoticed at our respective day jobs.
– Housekeeping. Our house has gotten messier as we’ve dealt with these (and other) problems.
– Health. The emotional and physical strain, combined with a dirtier environment (housekeeping), has increased our risk of health problems.

Dying Family Member
– Someone who has been another grandparent and mentor to me is dying. As of writing this draft, this person has less than three weeks to live.
– See all of the items under Death in the family.

Sick Old Lady Cat
– My older cat is in the early stages of renal failure due to age.
– Old Lady Cat does not tolerate the subcutaneous fluids she is supposed to get every night. So she gets the fluids she needs to stay healthy only every other night. For now. (For those of you unfamiliar with this: We take an IV bag, stick a needle under her skin, and feed her about 100ml (milliliters) of fluids to help her kidneys function more normally. It takes about ten minutes, once started, and the cat has to remain still while suffering the indignity, discomfort, and some pain. Some cats tolerate it well. Others… not so much.)
– Old Lady Cat has been sick for the last 10 days – initial vet diagnosis is repeat bladder infection (2nd one in as many months) with intestinal infection. We also had blood drawn to get a more accurate diagnosis and treatment, and are currently waiting on the results.
– Old Lady Cat (OLC) gets a pill that the vet describes as, “The bitterest, most awful-tasting pill we know of. But it works.” Here’s the injury score on pilling the cat – Me: 3 bites, 1 claw; OLC: 3 pills, 1 pill + foaming at the mouth Oh Creator Of Cats That’s Awful Why Are You Holding Me Down And Rinsing Out My Mouth RAAAAAWWWRRR HISSSSS!!
– $$$. This second round of feline illness has hit us for $300+. The vet budget is now blown.

When the Hits Keep Coming…

When the hits keep coming, you lean hard on your support network. For me, this is S.O., family, and friends. Unfortunately, S.O. and family are getting most of these hits, too. But there is comfort and safety in numbers. Family members were able to take care of my late grandparent because S.O., myself, and another were able to take care of my recovering parent. Because I am the sort of independent person that I am, my friends have respectfully maintained distance, but let me know that they’re ready to step in as soon as I make the phone call. I still have a fallback plan. :)

The financial hits are hard, too. Fortunately, we’ve spent a huge amount of time and resources laying in the Emergency Fund, and getting out of debt. Doing this means that we are capable of taking more hits gracefully.

The housekeeping and health hits are starting to wear us down. If they keep coming, we will call on friends and family to help with these. People get embarrassed having to ask for help with housework. But honestly, when Life starts kicking you while you’re down, you need the help! Real friends and family are actually glad to help out at times like this. They get to do something. And it DOES help. Having all that dirt and dust vacuumed up reduces the stress load on your health and emotions. At the very least, it is one less thing to worry about.

Having friends ready to step in and provide necessary (and uncomfortable) medical care for a sick pet while you deal with sick family means you can leave on an overnight trip with less to worry about.

I’m here for you, too!

I know, Pookah. I know.

4 Responses to “When the Hits Keep Coming”

  1. PookahBoss says:

    Well, derailment following derailment!

    New post coming up later this morning. I hope you all enjoy it.

    — PookahBoss

  2. PookahBoss says:

    Okay, getting back on track here.

    It’s been a hard month. I’ve lost two grandmothers, had bloody hell break loose at work, sprained the rotator cuff in my left shoulder (freakin’ OUCH!), and clocked in a car repair bill at $1300.

    But I’ve… We’ve (thank you, S.O.!!!) managed to endure the hits. With help from family and friends – thank you all!

    So, Life Of Pookah updates will resume soon – probably this weekend.

    P.S. Pookah has spent most of the last couple of weeks planting herself on my lap and purring for all she’s worth. Old Lady Cat is recovering from her illnesses, and competing with Pookah for lapspace.

    Am feeling very luvved.

    — PookahBoss

  3. PookahBoss says:

    Ah, yes.

    OLC score is now up to – Me: 5 bites, one claw (both thumbs now have bruises); OLC: 6 pills + 1 bitterness.

    Note to the rest of you readers: Life of Pookah will not update on Thursday. Car repairs have gotten complicated and are severely impacting every schedule. :/

    — PookahBoss

  4. S.O. says:

    And remember that Pookah has taken to waking you up in the middle of the night to check on Old Lady Cat and make sure she’s breathing. So add lack of sleep to your hits…

    I am very glad that my Old Man Cat tolerated fluids so well. It made life much easier as he got ready to leave us.

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