Ah, the sound of coughing has filled the apartment for a week now. Coughs echoing in our vaulted ceiling like the harmonies of a church piano played on an empty Tuesday evening practice. The boyfriend coughs like a 1967 Chevy pickup that won’t turn over. I cough sharp and shallow like I have something to hide. Mostly I just hate to disperse my disease upon the fresh air and out in the world. Have I expressed how much I dislike being ill? The body turns into an incubator for infectious viruses or bacteria and then proceeds to rid itself of these microbes by prompting mostly involuntary muscular reactions. You proceed to expel a gooey, brownish substance out of your nose or your lungs onto whatever unfortunate surface might be in front of you. Hope it’s tissue. God speed, my dear inanimate objects or fellow humans! Ick. How rude. And really, who has time for a common virus? Like shouldn’t we have cured this and gotten on with eradicating cancer and AIDS and whatnot? Or is Mucinex just that profitable?
It all started with a sore throat. I ignored it for four days. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I had to take my kitty to vet appointments and get to work. And do all the busy, daily, lifey things. Cook, clean the cat’s poopy box, get groceries. Clean Medea’s incision. Yes, all the running to vet appointments means her incision got infected. We left her e-collar off of her the Monday after her surgery while we were at work. She hadn’t shown much interest in the incision since we got her home, and she literally flipped out (see the barrel rolls described in my previous post) when we put the e-collar on her. She went to town on that thing, pretty much licked out all the surgical glue, while we were gone Monday.
That left a gaping slice in her underside and it didn’t take but 24 hours to get infected. I was relieved to hear from the vet on Tuesday that the stitches in her muscles were intact and the surrounding tissue was healthy. It was just a skin and fat layer infection. She got an antibiotic shot and cherry-flavored prednisolone syrup to be fed to her twice a day. And I had to clean the oozies. Oof. The oozies. With gauze or a soft towel and diluted hydrogen peroxide. She did not like. I did not like.
Meanwhile, I developed such anxiety and guilt–I had neglected to follow simple post-surgery directions and caused my cat’s infection–that I lost my appetite and ran on adrenaline and self-loathing all week. I existed on the inertia of riding down the slippery slope. I cried myself to sleep for several nights. Cats can die from infections, you know. I don’t want to wake up to see her muscles and organs spilling out on the floor. I did this to her. We should have just made her wear the cone. Just held her or distracted her until she got used to it.
All I did was make myself tired and vulnerable to sickness. And I gave it four days to get me. And it did. For about a week, I effused mucus. Trying not to cough on my cat’s belly while I cleaned the pus and dried blood off of her at 5:45 in the morning before the three days of work I managed to complete this week. Cleaning litter stuck to her incision at the end of the day, laying her across my lap and telling her how good she was being after I dragged my ass through a half-productive 8 hours of scanning disorganized and neglected paperwork. She really has handled the infection well. She gave me time to clean her when I know she was in pain, and stopped squirming when I had to restrain her between my knees to squirt kitty ‘roids in her mouth.
She handled it all better than I did. I fell apart this past week on Thursday. I came home with some ridiculous degree of fever and barely made it through a shower. The boyfriend had to make my dinner. I downed some ibuprofen and hugged a pillow. Medea napped on the floor across from me and let me give her some snuggles before bed.
I slept for 12 hours on Friday. Medea’s incision finally scabbed closed this weekend. I looked at it this morning and told her she had healed so well. Her last dose of kitty ‘roids is set for tomorrow morning. She gets her staples out this week. (She had to have part of her incision stapled. She made a little noise and that was it. I cried when we got to the car at the end of the appointment.)
Oh so glad for a long weekend and the break for Labor Day. And now I’m dried up and stir crazy. Back to scanning neglected paperwork. A lot less mucus and pus and kitty ‘roids this week.