Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Deep Space Nine;" the continuing adventures of Quark and Odo! (dream)

For three days straight, I've been dreaming about watching new episodes of Star Trek's Deep Space Nine. The worst part is, I never remember the finished episodes! I just barely get to the teaser and I wake up, rapidly forgetting most of the story. 

Last night I dreamed I was watching an episode in which Quark realizes he could make a profit off of selling himself as a male slave in a female-dominated society, but he was just caught selling himself at the space station when I woke up. Aaaaaaargh!

Another night, Odo was learning more about the necklace he received with shape-shifting DNA in it by copying it. And Quark had come into legal, legitimate possession of another object with those exact properties.

I mainly watched Star Trek Voyager out of convenience when I was a kid since it gave all the kids my age something in common to talk about. Deep Space Nine reruns were playing back when I was too young to watch non-cartoons. I was not allowed, which was fine, because non-cartoons often frightened me.

I'd forgotten this about kids until I went on vacation with someone who had a four year old. She was allowed to watch anything and everything, but she hated it when we didn't watch cartoons. I wonder why things like that can be so significant to children.

I had no idea I would enjoy Deep Space Nine so much! It usually takes a while for a television show to develop likeable characters, but I instantly liked every episode and character I saw. I watched two seasons in two days. That show was on autoplay while a brushed my teeth, did the laundry, and I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning watching it. #nerd

By the way, I stopped blogging for a while because the feelings I was having about my cat's illness were just too overwhelming and personal. She did recover after nearly a month of respiratory illness. We took her to a second vet who let us know that she wasn't in the final stages of renal failure. Eventually, she made a full recovery! :D

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The joy in taking care of an old friend at the end of her life. (dream, rant)

My kitty is struggling to breathe. She has a respiratory infection now in addition to kidney failure. The first vet we went to said there's nothing more they can do. After she didn't poop for four days, I took her to another vet. This new, second vet disproved the first doctor's hypothesis about why my cat is so ill: it isn't the renal failure that's killing her yet. It's still early in the disease's stage. So there's hope for her recovery now, where there wasn't before. I hope very much that the kitty will get better so she can spend a few more moments enjoying her bird videos, her naps in the catnip sprinkled on the bed, and her pats on the head and under the chin.

I've subscribed pretty heavily to Buddhist philosophies down the years, and I found a speaker who has really helped me and possibly the kitty to accept what is happening. I think she finds his voice soothing.

Buddhist teachings state that no one has the right to kill. In the case of euthanizing pets, the monk in the video below suggests that owners take aside their pets and ask if they want to go. It's not so silly a thing if you know an animal well. I look at my cat and I believe that she wants to keep fighting. So I'll keep trying to help her however I can. She has been my friend for nearly two decades, and I am prepared to care for her to whatever extent she needs.

I'm on a long vacation before summer classes. It takes most of my day to take care of her. I study for the GRE between changing the litter and washing her blankets and feeding her by hand, medicating her, giving her IV fluids and dry shampoos, checking her eyes for signs of crust, and taking her to vet appointments. I didn't think it would be, but it's a joy to have the opportunity to take care of someone you love when they're near the end of their lives. Every moment is something to be thankful for and to enjoy.


Her breathing is so labored, it wakes me up sometimes. Sometimes I wake up when she stops because I think she may have passed away.

Last night I had a dream. I was in a home a friend was house sitting in. She was keeping my kitty in the crawl space. Sick kitty was down there.

"Aren't you excited to see her?" she asked after we put up our hats and scarves.

I say yes, but I feel excited to see a yearling gazelle in her house. It stands directly in the path of the door to my cat. I pet the sweet little gazelle. The gazelle has the same colored fur as my cat.

I think the dream suggests that I'm excited that there are parts of my cat that are still present- still healthy. I yearn for her healthier days. In the dream, I'm in denial. I don't want my kitty to be sick, indicated by my reluctance to see my sick kitty, or by the dream's putting the sick kitty in the basement. I want to see my cat strong and well again. It's so painful. The dream initially seems haunting and cruel, just like her prognosis and how much I wish it weren't happening.

Monday, December 19, 2016

My kitty was diagnosed with renal failure. (rants)

Picture by Morguefile.com

Last night, I dreamed that I was laying in bed in pain. My stomach and insides felt a dull pain marked by the occasional stab. I thought about what I was feeling. I knew this pain wasn't going to go away, but there was more good in life that I could continue to enjoy. I decided that I wasn't suffering to the point that I could no longer enjoy being incarnate.

I took my 17 year-old cat to the vet because she seemed constipated. They gave her an enema and some fluids, and everything was supposed to go back to normal. But she got constipated and dehydrated again almost immediately. In under 24 hours, she had stopped eating, drinking, pooping, and was drinking entire bowls of water in one sitting. The vet showed me the results of her urinalysis and blood work, and explained  that she was undergoing renal failure- a common, incurable disease in older cats. After hospitalizing her for nearly a week total, he recommended that I put her to sleep because she wasn't going to get any better. I had no idea what to do. If she was in horrible pain, or was going to die a very painful death very soon without a doubt... well, I'd never had to put a pet down before, and I hadn't given it much, if any, thought. Whereas I was somewhat prepared for my dad to die because I knew I had to think about it in advance or I'd be completely screwed when it actually happened, I deliberately put off thinking about my cat's death. Now I was frozen, angry at the universe and in tears.

I called my mother since the cat is hers too, and fortunately, she had a strong opinion: you don't euthanize pets. In short, she said, "Take the cat home, do whatever it takes to prolong her life and allow her to die a natural death so the family has a clean conscience about the situation."

I did, and I haven't regretted it, but it's been soHard. I've had this cat for over half of my life and she has always been the most important thing to me. It's nothing for me to drop everything and take care of her now. The first day she came back from hospitalization number two, the vet had done absolutely everything he could and beyond to help her. He gave me an IV for subcutaneous fluid injections and some antibiotics and other temporary medicines. I thought she was going to pass away that night since they kept saying she might pass away in the hospital, so I slept with her and a bowl of water, and she made it just a little longer.

She couldn't walk right. She'd had arthritis in the hips for a couple years and according to her x-rays, at some point, her hip bones had "collapsed." She was covered in her own urine because she'd lost bladder control, and she was drinking so much again. She stumbled sideways to the litter box, pooped and collapsed on the other side and lay recumbent on the hard floor. I sobbed for at least the fifth time about her sad state and picked up her weak, frail body and put it back on the bed.

She peed the bed about three times that day and I kept the washing machine going. But she kept drinking water and purred when I held her, even after I had to learn how to stick her with a needle and put a lump of fluid under her skin (a very undesirable task for me. I accidentally stabbed myself to the finger bone this morning).

The next day, she only peed the bed once and I got dry shampoo and wipes and cleaned her up. I found a couple of liquid diets for her and she kept drinking and purring.

Today, she's still making it- not peeing the bed at all, still pooping, but I have decided to force feed her a liquid diet that (fortunately), she seems to like the taste of. But she won't even eat her favorite treats or drink now.

I don't care. I've measured out how much liquid diet and water she needs per day, I've bought a large syringe, a blender for the cat food, and another flavor of liquid diet, and she at least won't starve to death or dehydrate or die of constipation. I know she will pass away due to the kidneys' inability to process toxins. The doctor says that it takes about three or four days for changes to the kidneys to start taking effect in the body. I hope she will last longer than that since she lasted longer than that in the pet hospital.

It's awful thinking of what life will be like without her. It makes me wish very intensely for a self that exists beyond the material we are made of. I don't see a reason to believe in one, but I do wish that I could reconnect with her again one day in a better sort of reality, because I have always felt that this little animal is a kind of soul mate for me, however unconventional.

The doctor says she's eventually just going to stop breathing, but I've always known that. It's just a harder fight now and it's going to come sooner. And am going to fight it the best I can. I know I can't win, and I really don't care that I'm going to lose. It's the fight that matters, not the winning. She still purrs when I hold her and wants to come sit next to me. She tries to drink and eat without a syringe, and she can still enjoy her videos of birds and squirrels. So we're going to get what we can out of this material world while we can. She can feel my love for her. I just have to speak her and she knows my love and starts to purr.

While this was going on, I went to the dentist for the first time in about 3 years. My teeth are apparently in a dire state. I quit going to college for several semesters due to teeth problems and other health issues. I was paying for college, healthcare and rent out of pocket and although I'd actually been making quite good money, the expenses were devastating. Once, I spent $5,000 on oral surgery. I had no insurance to cover the costs. Honestly, if we had required health insurance back when I was first starting out in with my regionally-accredited BA, I'd be much further along. Fortunately, this time around, my once-healthy finances won't be entirely destroyed, but they are taking a massive hit with summer classes, health bills and now this. But it takes a lot of pressure to know what actually matters.

The small, insular nastiness and power struggles that plague day-to-day life in urban America are so stunningly insignificant in the face of a long, deep, sincere love. The awareness of having a love, whether present, or only in memories, grants such a profound sense of self that... I get it when one of my friends said that the desire to retaliate against offenses simply left him one day.

I used to be able to shove myself through health issues with will power. It's not working for me anymore. I wish that I had known myself sooner so that I could have had an easier time instead of jamming myself into other peoples' molds, but that doesn't seem to be the point of existence.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Soft, romantic walks on the beach... (dreams)

Picture from Morguefile.com 

I have had a ridiculous crush on someone for the past couple of months. Unfortunately, it's not someone I can date. Too many of the social morays my society imposes on me tells me that I cannot. But in my dream, this man and I accurately suspected how we felt about each other and arranged to spend the day together.

We started off meeting for coffee and getting to know each other better. We did several more things we both enjoyed- a museum, a paddle boat ride, a brief walk on a trail, a picnic...

To finish the day, we had a long walk on the beach while the sun set. We chatted without any fillers, repetition or small talk, holding each other comfortably without fears or insecurities (on my end, mainly), especially about bodily issues. We simply enjoyed the representative act of reducing the distance between us and keeping each other warm as the wind came off the waves.

At the end of the day, we parted without any awkwardness. It was the perfect day from start to finish.

I wish I had way more dreams like this one. I can't remember the last time I had such a simple, happy dream. I definitely can't remember the last time I had such a great real date! But I woke up feeling so refreshed and relaxed... being reminded of the more disappointing reality was more than worth it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The naked lovers in my backyard. (dream)

Image by Ramidio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I look outside the glass patio doors of the house I grew up in to see some teenaged friends using my parents' backyard to skate board across the deck. My cat is determined to go outside despite them. She glues herself to the glass wall and minces to the opposite end of the deck. She jumps down into a small field of untamed floral growth. She winds her way down to the little patches of chickweed and mushrooms in the dirt and gravel around the corner.

I watch the teenagers for a couple of minutes. They look like they're having a good time. I like that they're having a good time. But then I hear the key turning in the latch at the front door.

It's my dad! I completely forgot about how all the visitors would bother him! I didn't tell him about all the people I let use our yard. But as I look out of the glass, they seem to be gone so they don't seem to be a factor anyway.

Relieved, I greet him. I see if he needs help carrying anything inside. He doesn't, but he has something he wants to do as soon as possible in the back yard. He wants to set the coal out there. We talk about it, then go across the house to the backyard.

He opens the glass door and we go out to the deck. He spots something on the left. He's so startled he jumps and immediately looks away and goes back inside. As he leaves, I see what shocked him- two leftover partiers- a boy and his girlfriend. Both are beach bum types. But the shocking part is that they're entirely nude.

They're having a conversation in each other's arms while leaned up against the house. I completely forget that these are friends and have no idea what they could be doing in my backyard, nevermind having a casual conversation in the nude, in the dirt against a wall with plenty of splinter-potential.

I go back into the house to see what my dad is going to do. "I wonder how they got in!" I say. I've genuinely forgotten. I look back out the window and see them crawling on their hands and knees under a red, wire cage creating a small gap under the fence.

"That must be how they did it!" I think to myself.

I go out onto the sidewalk and take a long, long journey down one road, past the nearby elementary school. I miss a bus I think I need to take, but I realize how close I am to my parents' house anyway and walk back there.

I go back home around the front this time. I'm horrified to see my cat laying on the lawn with a massive, bleeding hole in the side of her stomach. The wound is the size of her head. I don't know the extent of her injuries. For a flash, I think that someone must have carved out the hole and pulled out some of her guts- the hole so deep and I don't see anything. But she's breathing.

She gets up and suddenly doesn't seem too badly affected. She's not bleeding anymore and walks like normal.

"Who would do such a thing?" I immediately think of all the party-goers in the back yard. I don't think I knew them as well as I thought I did. I think of ways to prevent them from taking advantage of our leniency and openness in the future. I automatically assume that someone in their group injured our pet for laughs because that's what gets them off. I don't see how I can treat the cat- I just have to hope she'll heal up on her own. I can't imagine a vet sewing up a wound shaped like that.

INTERPRETATION

I don't know. I know that my social groups are changing and that I'm still searching for the right fit. I'm still not quite satisfied with the people I've been interacting with. I've been trying to communicate with random strangers online for the past year or two and I've disliked the experience, overall. We're held to such a high standard of politeness in real life... but online, sometimes it seems as though every other person is a sociopath. I should work on my in-person socializing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Anchored to the floor on my back like a beetle. (dreams)

Image by Pbtflakes (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I need to get up to go to school. It's not a low-stakes, missing out on attendance points sort of day. I have to be there, and I don't remember why, but something urgent is compelling me to get up.

I'm too exhausted to remember clearly or think too much. All that's important is getting up and moving. I can trust my body to automatically go where I need to be at this hour of the morning when I've woken up so unnaturally.

I'm sitting on the edge of my futon, and hoist my backpack on to my back. I start to stand up, but I tip backwards like a beetle back onto the bed. I scrunch my stomach muscles and try to sit upright, but I can't get up! I try to turn onto my side to use my legs to help me, but that doesn't work either! I'm just stuck.

My friend is at the edge of the bed watching me try to get up and waiting for me so he can drive us to school, but I can't!

It's starting to get embarrassing. I lie there and flail while I worry about how I haven't studied enough and am probably going to fail and none of the people I'm physically surrounded by at school are going to understand. Flashes of hunches about their reactions flash before my mind and I just keep struggling like a tipped box turtle.

INTERPRETATION

I do have a backpack which is so heavy I've developed little spurs at the edges of my collarbones. But there's only one final left! And I look forward to studying for that one. ^_^

What a difference having just one extra day to study makes in terms of leaving the class with a positive impression of the material and the field and the likelihood of good marks. Grades are that arbitrary. One day or an hour of extra sleep or a friend to help can be the difference between an "A" or a "C."

I had to cram three finals and a paper into two days after struggling to catch up with homework. I had to make a decision: study enough to get a good grade in one of two challenging classes and let the chips fall where they may on the other one. Or do mediocre in both classes.

I stopped being able to communicate with one instructor about half-way into the semester, whereas I was able to get into deeper and deeper and deeper conversations with the other one, so I picked that class to focus on. I paid for it on the test, but I can't say I have regrets about the choice. I wish I didn't have to feel as though I had to look at the situation in that manner, but that's how it goes. I was simply too tired to keep up the pace I started the semester with.

But one of the most interesting aspects of the dream was how the friend trying to help me up was not someone I recognized. He was Hispanic and about 30 years old. He doesn't remind me of anyone I know, but in the dream, I knew him intimately. I'm not sure what to think of vividly-invented friends in dreams. He had a solid personality and bodily presence to him.

I am fined $300 for holding baby belugas. (dream)


By Ansgar Walk (photo taken by Ansgar Walk) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I'm skipping along a series of ice flows in ice cold water with a friend. All the colors of the sunset behind us look tropical, replete with pink, purple and orange hues. Our clothing consists of Hawaiian shirts and cutoff shorts. Little blobs move under the water. On an impulse, I reach down and scoop them up. They're little belugas! Tiny, tiny beluga whales are swimming beneath us! I'm so enchanted until I realize that messing with beluga whales is illegal. I look up, hoping there aren't any ticketing drones flying overhead.

My friend scowls at me. "Let's get going!"

It's not like him to be so impatient. I don't seeing any drones, but I put the babies back into the water because it feels like the right thing to do, and I move on with my friend. We jump ice floes until we enter an igloo painted in fluorescent colors. A television attached to a human body is in the center of the room.

Lara Croft is on screen- naked and posing in the desert with a small pistol. She's covered in tattoos. Just above her cleanly-waxed privates is a smiley face with crossed out eyes- sticking its tongue out. The rest of her is covered in fine-line, gray scale portraiture of celebrities and her family. I wonder what they all mean and who they all are. I'm surprised that she has any tattoos. I don't remember that.

INTERPRETATION

This was an old dream, so I'm having a hard time remembering what was going on in my life at this point. But I do believe that every dream has significance.

It sounds as though I was really questioning my behavior. I'm accidentally doing things that are illegal, or wrong in the dream. There's a transparency in the dream, whether from the drones monitoring us or the nudity attached to a person. In addition to worry about doing the right thing on screens and in person, perhaps I'm questioning whether or not to get more tattoos. I got another one this year.

I had one that was pretty "bad ass" like Laura Croft, and I got one that was more fun and soft and feminine. One was of a type of phoenix (the mythical bird that rises out of the ashes) and the other was a flower that grows out of volcanic ash. There are a lot of emotions mixed into my tattoo journeys. Perhaps that's what the last part of the dream was addressing.