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June 2013

Flux, In Various States

My doctor once told me that in his opinion a person needs to give a new medication two solid months in order to determine whether or not it works for them. However it has been almost exactly that long since I switched from Celexa to Prozac and I am still on the fence about it. On the one hand I was convinced that the Celexa (not turning 40 and NOT my former bedtime peppermint patty habit comma STEVE) was responsible for the fact that in April - this is true - I stepped on the Wii balance board to weigh myself for the first time in years and it (the avatar board) gave a gasp and said "ohhhhhhhh" and then it (my avatar Mii) swelled up until it looked like a blueberry with auburn hair and wide feet. 

Very demoralizing.

So my doctor (somewhat skeptically and muttering throughout about diet and exercise and the slowing metabolism of we, the middle aged) switched me from isn't-suppose-to-cause-weight-gain-Celexa to really-isn't-supposed-to-cause-weight-gain-Prozac) and eight/nine/whatever weeks later I have lost fourteen pounds. That sounds great and all but before I publish How to Melt Like Butter with Prozac - and as I mentioned whenever it was I last posted - I simultaneously also started eating the same monotonous 300 calories for breakfast and lunch* every day plus 700 more for dinner and wine. In addition I began to exercise like a crazy (not crazy?) person. So chicken? Egg? Not so many chickens and eggs? Personally I credit the prozac because, also personally, I suspect that I never would have been able to make any changes at all while I was on Celexa because 1) I felt like I was starving to death ALL THE TIME and; 2) an exercise schedule would probably have been negatively impacted by my need for a daily two hour Celexa nap.  

So on the positive side: weight loss, check. No more headaches, check and check. I even stopped biting my nails, which is so unprecedented that I literally can not recall a time in my life when I was able to paint my nails more than a centimeter past the cuticle and yet I am now using these coral-colored daggers to enumerate all sorts of things.

On the negative side I cannot seem to write to save my goddamned life. Seriously. How many times have I posted in the past eight weeks? Once? Twice? And how many times have I gone for so long without writing? Never. Today I decided to force myself and I am ashamed to admit how long it has taken me to manage even these few words. I feel like I am thinking underwater. It's not good.

I really don't know what to do.

In other news we had to put one of our cats to sleep on Saturday. Darwinfish (Darwin for short) was fifteen and had gradually begun to lose weight over the past few months. He had also developed some rather repulsive litter box habits (namely: he didn't always bother to find one) so we concluded that he was entering that period when cats either get cancer or go senile and either way we needed to keep him comfortable and resign ourselves to cleaning up a lot. 


Darwin was skinnier over the past weeks but still eating and sleeping and purring and I was still debating the cost/benefit of a traumatic vet visit on Friday when he hit a cliff and then fell right off it. He suddenly retreated to the space in our bathroom between the toilet and the wall and became very, very, very ill. I remember before our twenty year old cat Rusty died a few years ago I worried how we would know when It Was Time but the fact is you just know. You just absolutely know when your pet has reached the end of their life. At one-thirty in the morning Steve and I sat on the bathroom floor having gotten Darwin cleaned up (again) after another bout of sickness and petted him until he stopped crying. Steve went off to google a vet that might open earlier than ours did on Saturdays. He said, "If I could find a place that was open in the middle of the night I would drive him there right now."

I nodded. It was horrible to watch Darwin suffering so much and be able to offer nothing beyond a warm washcloth, clean towels, a heated floor and an ear rub.

Saturday morning we were up at 6. We hadn't heard from Darwin in a few hours and I half-hoped that he might have died in his sleep. My vet friend once told me that everyone always hopes this will happen.

"It never does," she added and it hadn't. He was where he had fallen asleep against the toilet but he opened his eyes when I came in to check on him. Then he shut them again.

Edward woke up first and when he came downstairs I told him that I had very sad news; Darwin was dying. Edward laughed. Then he looked at my face and said, "Wait, what, are you serious?" Then he cried and said he didn't want Darwin to die and I was stupid if I thought Darwin would die stupid stupid and how would we survive without Darwin and was Darwin really dying; maybe he wasn't and what would we do when we only had two cats  and maybe we should get a new cat... could we get a new cat today? 

It was the fastest five stages I had ever witnessed. Three hours, tops, from denial to acceptance.

Patrick, meanwhile, took the news hard and spent the entire morning with Darwin in the bathroom, silently stroking his head. He's still struggling. 

Steve went outside and constructed a coffin from spare boards in the garage. Very Steve-like reaction and it reminded me of Robert Frost's "Home Burial". Lovely, horrible poem.

I made arrangements for my friend Noelle to keep the kids while we took Darwin to the vet and felt weepy every time I thought about what a good cat he was and how quickly fifteen years passes, really. When the time came I wrapped him in a favorite towel and held him on my lap during the drive. I cried because I was sorry he was in pain and I cried because he had been such a big part of our lives for over a decade and I cried because I will miss him and I cried because it is sad. I cried.

And Caroline? Caroline stroked Edward's arm and experimented with weeping until she decided it did not suit her. She seconded his motion for another cat. She mentioned, casually, that many people like dogs...

Then she said, "Is Darwin really going to die today?"

Yes, we said.

"So can I have one of his bones?"


"After he turns into a skeleton I mean," she added hastily, like she didn't want us to think she is ghoulish or anything. "We can dig him up and I'll just... take a bone."

She smiled and I thought oh my god my daughter is Wednesday Addams. 

PS Good grief! Two dangling asterixeses' posts in a row. The shame.

*For breakfast I alternate between having [one egg scrambled with a spray of Pam, one slice of diced canadian bacon, half a pepper diced and half a small tomato] and [one cup cooked oatmeal with cinnamon, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of skim milk.] Then for lunch I have a Thomas' everything bagel thin toasted with an ounce of sliced turkey, 2 teaspoons kalamata olive tapendade, lettuce, tomato and a slice of ultra thin sargento cheese. Sometimes I add a cup of bean soup. Like I said, monotonous.