Not All Expectations Are Positive. (Trigger Warning)

Nymph taught me something. I didn’t really know the words for the lesson but she taught me something special. I have always tried to fulfill expectations, and not everything expected of me is positive. The expectations started out as parental, then became my own. I spent years expecting myself to fail because I was unworthy of success.

The expectation for a kitten in a new house are as follows.

1. Existing cats will fight with the new one, no matter the age. The cats will fight for dominance. Kittens cause less of this but there will be yowling and fighting.

2. The kitten, like a new puppy, will spend the next two months crying for it’s mommy.

3. Kittens make messes, your new cat will probably poop on your bed, the floor, and miss the box a few times.

4. Kittens need constant attention.

5. Kittens will bite, tear, and claw.

Nymph has not met most of these expectations and the one she does, is not in the expected manner.

Truths about Nymph.

1. From her first moment in the door, she has been loving and gentle. She has not fought with Sprite except in the manner of play fighting. She has only cried out in pain when she is hurt because she ran into a wall or fell off of the couch and is hanging upside down and needs heroic rescuing. This has occured twice now, but she has mastered getting into the window.

2. Nymph does meow a lot, but her meow is musical and very sweet. She sounds a bit Siamese but without the added tones that I find unpleasant. She has the prettiest meow I have ever heard! Not once has she cried out of loneliness while I have been around. She has a few times called for me or Sprite, when disoriented or lost behind … the couch! She usually calls for us first thing when she wakes from sleep. If I speak she is quiet coming to sit on the floor by my chair. Sometimes she tries to get up here. She is quiet all night long.

3. The first day I had her I was holding her and she had to pee. I could feel her poor bladder stretched out. So i carried her to the litterbox, set her in and waited. She went, and hopped out. I did have Sprite teach her to cover her crap, because it hides the smell. She now over does that and will put it as low as she can. She has not once made a mess. She did vomit from eating too quickly a few days ago, but, that is different than the expected mess, and she has learned her limitations now. (She also REALLY likes Salmon).

4. I need more attention than Nymph it seems! Sprite has helped Nymph to get enough play, and I do play with this darling girl but she is okay if I ignore her. She does check in with me, and did about five minutes ago. She makes sure I am still around when she thinks I am too quiet, and I see more of her when I lay down. The chair is imposing and contributes, but each day she shows she is independent. She will play with the toys by herself, or she will play catch with Sprite. Catch is literal. Sprite flings a toy with her mouth, and Nymph returns it after pouncing it.

5. Nymph likes to claw things, but she prefers her scratching post and toys. She has scratched me once, though it was purely accidental. She is also teething so she wants to chew things to make her mouth feel better. She’s apparently swallowing the baby teeth that are falling out and has at times skipped the dry food even if this makes her hungrier for a day (I feed her extra wet food, because I am such a darned softy for this kitten) and every so often will go after my hands. She wants to nurse my pinkies. Still, all I have to do is say No, ouch. She has learned this means to stop and always feels bad. I get extra cuddling from her after.

This shows me two things. One thing I knew already, Sprite isn’t the only super amazing genuis cat ever born, and the other something I should have known and have at least figured out. Expectations are set before us, but not all of them are worthy of us.

People expect me to disappear when in public because of my disability. Today I punched someone, the third since my chair became a part of my life. Every time I go out people act like idiots and their expectation is that I enjoy inane questions, sometimes verbal and physical abuse, and I will just take it. Each time I have punched someone, I have found myself confused at the glee that others show. I do not expect glee at an act of physical violence. I often come to the conclusion that this reaction is because I did the unexpected and also I did something that these people desired for themselves.

Today a woman decided to poke me. I was waiting in line at Costco, my carer was in the restroom. She had been doing the potty dance, so I told her she should go because I could manage the transaction, my things were already unloaded. I asked her to stop nicely, I always try to be nice first. I am working on skipping the nice but I don’t think I can. She didn’t. I asked nicely twice, and snarled it. Upon being snarled at she put her face in mine. I held my breath incase she had eaten a cucumber and I punched her as hard as I could. I can punch hard but it hurts me too. My shoulder is aching and for two days my right arm will be of less use.

I never really know what to expect once I hit someone on one level, on another I expect for them to hit me back. No one has. The first person I knocked out, the second I don’t really remember today I just remember sore fingers, and the third ran off in tears. I think she called me names but I couldn’t understand her through the wailing.

The expectations of witnesses are to panic. No one has yet. Instead, people find my striking a bigot amusing. I get told variations of good job, I wish I could, and today a money saving coupon for money off of my purchase (I saved ten dollars!). I expect security. I expect reprimands. That has yet to happen. The cashier had been about to interviene, I realized this after I had hit her. She hadbeen speaking to the woman. I had already committed myself to feeling flesh on flesh and the spark of violence. I wasn’t angry. I was panicked.

I don’t hit out of anger. I expect it, when I am angry but the more I want to hit the less I let myself. I have yet to commit an act of violence with anger as an adult. As a child I did so mostly because I thought this was what was expected of someone when angry. I literally did not know better. I do now.

I know I could have taken care of the situation without hitting this woman yet, I feel GOOD about striking her. I knew immediately I was about to melt down if I didn’t contain the situation and put my headphones on, but I could keep one ear open. My carer missed the entire situation. I think the woman that I hit waited until she was gone before seeking to touch me. This means she was a predator. This means she was a threat. This is the time of year when I struggle most with violence, the fear of being hurt grows. This used to be the start of a half a year of self destruction followed by a half a year of recovery before I would be destroyed again. This cycle is ending.

I am fighting it. I was told I never could. I was told the expectations for me as an adult were not good.

Adult Expectations for Kat

1. You will never live on your own.
2. You will never work.
3. You will be in and out of institutions because you aren’t good enough for society (a therapist phrased it this way).
4. You will end up in jail.
5. You will commit suicide before you are 25. (This was before I was aware that I am supposed to die every year from my disabilities and illnesses.)
6. You will never get married.
7. You will be an abuser if you date.
8. No one can love you.
9. You are not strong, you can’t be independant.
10. You cannot take care of yourself.
11. You will always be lazy.
12. You are a hypochondriac, every time someone has a sickness you think you do too. This will lead you to self mutilation, and may be the cause of death that gets you before suicide. Not that it matters, because you aren’t a productive member of society.
13. You aren’t creative. No one will want you to be a writer, an artist, and you don’t sing as well as you think you do or you would be on the radio.

I list them this way, though I feel a few are redundant, because this was the list I was given when I turned 17. The therapist at the mental hospital I was in told me I was hopeless, that I would never make it to adulthood, muchless the twenty five mark. He made it clear that I was so valueless that there were no positive expectations for me. He said something that has haunted me more than his lack of respect. “If you were more like your older sister, then there would be hope.” He had never met H. He had only heard my mother’s biases. My sister was like the dead in a way, in that once she left she was treated as the saint that could do no wrong. Mind you, she ran off, got married to a close blood relative and had babies that she couldn’t take care of.

Yeah. She’s better than me in his eyes. I was angry. I believed him. I realized then and there that this was how the world saw me. He rehashed everything that my abusers had and would say. He took me down to nothingness, but as I was already as low as I could go he gave me something else. The first sensation of a spark of self respect.

This was not his intent. He was working on having me placed in a group home, because my mother agreed, I could never come home. After all, I was/am an evil horrible monster that will destroy family values and all that she cares about. Right? (Probably still am in her eyes… )

I behaved as he wanted. I learned how. I went to the Ranch, and I learned how to fake it in society. I learned the right facial expressions for the moods I have, according to other people. I don’t bother trying all that now, though a lot of that programming is still there. If I glower when happy, it’s because of pain. If I don’t act like a perky air head, it’s because I don’t feel like one. If I do not meet your expectations it’s because they are wrong.

The Truths About Kateryna Fury (Add Jackass in parenthesis to each statement. That’s what I feel when writing this part. Boy was that therapist an unqualified Jackass):
1. I live on my own. I have lived on my own as often as possible. I stopped living on my own once for financial reasons. I thrive on my own. I will never live with other people, unless it becomes state mandated, and then I will sue for my freedom.
2. Kateryna picks up her resume, skims it over and looks at the myriad of work that she has done. She notes her charity work, and with a smile that shows malice mails this off to the Jackass. (Novel Style Oh snap)
3. I am going to say this once. Needing the assistance of a therapist does not make you weak, it does not make you a person without value, and it does not mean that you are unworthy of society. If I need to go to an institution I will. I do not think I need this. Yes, I have mental health issues including depression and constant suicidal ideation (the words of the Jackass), I deal with PTSD. I learned the right way to handle this stuff… from therapists that are not jackasses. I have not set foot in an institution since becoming an adult, except once when I was hallucinating from pain and mistook this pain for psychosis, as I had yet to learn how to feel the difference. I was NOT admitted but instead had the doctors send me to the ER for medical reasons. I was given care and it wasn’t all in my head. I haven’t even found a therapist yet and have looked for the last year but I am not in the institution, nor will I go there. I’d die first because you work there.
4. Jail? Hmm… I do punch people. The only threat of Jail I have had was an illegal one. I do not break the laws, and the reasoning behind this statement was PTSD related. I hit people when I am afraid, and PTSD means for me constant fear. Finding a way to free myself from my PTSD and the link to my reactions in Autism set me free. I may go to jail someday in the future but I doubt it.
5. I turn 26 in September. So far I have not even tried to kill myself as an adult. I may want to at times but in reality that is internalized garbage from shit factories like you. In actuality a few of your patients have died, I know because we did know each other and it made the news. One was murdered, one was a suicide by cop (The patient you told me to idealize no less, though I mourn her you sure suck at your job, Jackass). Another overdosed on drugs. Me? I get my drugs the legal way. I follow my doctor’s orders. I do deal with my depression but I also know that when I want to die it’s pain. Pain people like you cause. Jackass.
6.I got married. I got unmarried. You were wrong, and your statement implies everyone should be married. So you wanted me to follow socially normative behavior instead of doing what is best for me. You wanted me to find someone who could put their penis in me, regardless of my sexuality. In fact you out and out told me I could not be a bisexual because bisexuality was an illness. I love all genders equally. All. Not two. All. I am Omnisexual, Jackass. Your white heterocisgender racist able bodied male privilege is showing. Jackass.
7. I figured out before you were done trying to make me give up on life, since that was your apparent goal and you had such high expectations for me and hopes for me that you were wrong and blind to much of reality. I knew this then, when I was so drugged up I couldn’t think and can barely remember much besides you and your hateful criminal actions. I understand, you presume that I should be like my sister who IS an abuser. This must be why you said this. You don’t believe in people breaking the cycle do you, Jackass? I will not be abused nor will I abuse. My first thought with each action is about consequence. For me. For them.
8. Jackass. (I believe that says enough). In case that wasn’t clear, I cannot count the people who love me and whom I love, because the number is infinite, as I cannot count that high. Jack. Ass.
9. I am the strongest person I know, and I know many strong people. I do know that sounds prideful yet, I can only assess others by my own knowledge and for me, I am the strongest. I think I have to be as well. My strength is not physical but mental, the very thing you thought I did not have. You drug me into a fog and decide I am stupid. That’s good medical care. Yes you have an MD and the whatever it is for psychology. Oooh. You are a Jackass anyway! Maybe even more so. Instead of paying attention to your patients you let me walk around with gangrene, you let me walk around with severe and deadly allergies, and a giant tumor in my intestine and buttocks. I did not cry or scream. Even the nurses commented on this when changing my bandages, I should’ve cried out more. Does strength mean crying out? Does it mean silence? For me it is both. For you? Obviously you are a jackass so what does YOUR opinion and expectation matter Dr.Jackass?
10. Hmm… I can too. I do all the time. In fact having a caregiver is a proof of this, as I had to advocate in order to get the need met. So my body wore out because I believed you… Jackass, you are again wrong. I can care for myself and I do with each breath.
11. Error, this is invalid. By not working myself to death I am lazy in the world of the Jackass. Therefore, I have never been lazy. Jackass.
12. Funny, everything you said was in my head wasn’t. Everything you said wasn’t real was. Someone is an unqualified Jackass! Or are you overqualified in your credentials for being a jackass? I get it. Therapy is, for you, about ignoring the body completely. I remember how angry you were when I had to have not one but two surgeries under the umbrella of your care, and… yes… I did survive and still have a crappy body. It turns out NOTHING was in my head in the realm of hypochondria and every disease that I thought I may have and wanted to ask my doctor about I do. Each time you coddled the other girl with Reynauds and made me suffer, that was wrong. Then again you told me that though I had signs of being Autistic I couldn’t because I am a girl. Hah. Sexist Jackass.
13. Well, this was added on just because it speaks for itself. I sing, I write music, I write audio plays, I write stories, and I write here. Someday you may read this, wondering if this was one of your patients. The answer is yes. If you are a therapist read this and pay attention. How much of this have you done to someone? Why give up on someone and tell them? This harmed me. No one will love me, everything I am passionate about is worthless, and… the most damaging thing a therapist can do is reiterate the words of an abuser.

This was the best therapist I had had up to that point. Each one tried to stick so many labels on me and not a one, even this jackass, saw me as a person. Each one only saw flaws. Some didn’t care about my not wanting God and others required it. I faked being a Christian until I was on my own as an adult. I did this in order to escape more abuse by THERAPISTS.

I also question a profession that’s name can be split into the rapist. I question a profession that tells the victim they must abuse. I question a profession that though it an be helpful can do so much damage. I question anyone that tells any person that there is no chance something is medical. I question why someone has expectations of me at all. I don’t think people should.

I will always strive to fall short of expectations. I know some are positive but for me expectation is obligation. If I succeed and am not expected to, there is anger. If I do not succeed and am expected to, there is anger. Expectation is also the measure of success. I have no expectations of myself, I merely focus on living and being happy. My happiness is more and more common.

I am still hunting for a therapist. One that can understand that therapy itself should have a trigger warning. One that does not victim blame, one that does not set expectations.

I don’t have a life goal right now, because life IS my goal. I will not work again, for a long time, because working would probably do me in. Why is this an instant assessment of a person’s value? Why must I fit in with your expectations?

I am glad Nymph opened this door. I wish it was free of the PTSD, but nothing I do can be free of that. Maybe someday, but not this one. This is also the reason why I have felt guilt for suggesting that someone finds a therapist. Yet, the good therapists are the ones who help people. It’s a shame they are so rare.

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Stuck

Nymph has lived here for a week and over all has proven to be an exceptional fit to the life style here. She has learned she cannot climb my legs to get to my lap so she sits on my feet and I either reach her if I can or she jumps up and stretches out on my belly, Sprite doesn’t like this as that is HER spot. I make them share.

Sprite is mostly amused by the kitten but as Nymph tries to do everything that Sprite does at times she tries to hide from her. In the process of hiding Nymph decided to jump from the back of the couch to the window. She missed. I heard the squeak as she went behind the couch (and unplugged my living room lights). Sprite let out a sigh, the disgruntled baby sitter sigh, and went under the couch to rescue the smaller cat. There was a squeak. Then another squeak.

Sprite came over to me and with a look that is tantamount to disgust and worry she walked back to the couch. She did this three times and then waited for me to follow. I rolled over and parked myself beside the couch. Nymph had landed in a spectacularly twisted way, the blanket over the window caught on her claws, her head and shoulders between the folding chair and the wall, and her entire body balanced on one leg. Seeing me she wriggled and let out another plaintive squeak.

The thing was I couldn’t reach her, and I knew it. I studied the position she was in a bit more and looked to Sprite, then figured out how to rescue poor Nymph. I transferred to the couch and leaned over and called Sprite, who walked under my hand, and Nymph moved her paws to her back. I then went to the side of the couch and freed her claw and called Sprite, she walked out with a passenger.

Nymph has yet to be more than three feet from me or Sprite, it varies depending on if Sprite has tried a great escape again. I thought they were both away, as Nymph is still quite skittish and when she clawed me I growled at her. Apparently one growl is more than she expected. So several hours later when I went to get food and refill my drink I checked for any cat tails around me and had a surprise. Asleep right below my footplate were two cats, one curled atop the other.

I am tempted to make a mock animated style comic (a one shot or one page or something) called the Adventures of Sprite and Nymph now. The adorableness… it’s almost overpowering!

The Significance of Warmth

I have taken for granted the sensation of being warm in my life. It has been so rare and disconcerting. I wasn’t aware of the benefits of being warm. With poor circulation comes a constant coldness, it settles into the bones and makes it much more difficult to handle heat or cold. The temperature has to be just right or it hurts. Then there’s the blueness in my skin that I thought was natural and supposed to be there. It wasn’t a dark blue that would alert me to the issues like is always in my feet but more a lack of redness. Today I am pink and warm.

In fact in the month or so since I have gotten my wheelchair I have been warm. It started about a week after the chair was here. There are some moments where my normal chill is present but those last a few minutes, a reversal of temperature extremes. Today when I saw my doctor we discussed the warmth. Not only was my body temperature normal (98.6!) but the pinkness in my skin has actually changed my complexion in a way. I look alive, instead of like the perpetual goth girl by default. This has excited me, and I must say Sprite enjoys warm hands. She keeps jumping up into my lap to knead and purr at me so I will pet her. At least two times a day more since the warm started. It isn’t just my hands that are warmer, but my arms, the back of my neck, my legs, and even the parts of my feet that aren’t so damaged no amount of circulation could change things.

Of all of the changes in my life since the wheelchair this is the least expected and the one that has brought me the most pleasure. I don’t need the air conditioner on to keep the house cold enough so that I don’t feel like I am burning up. Every year 80 degrees has been enough to make me sweat and extremely uncomfortable. I am still extremely pale but that is the type of skin I have. Without the blueness a lot of my scars aren’t showing, though I do have some sun spots on my hands that show.

The best part of the day was the discussion of activities, because my circulation is improved she approved my idea of trying to swim at least twice a month, instead of once a month. With the water allergy I am a bit worried about a reaction but I found a heated indoor pool, and I also know that showers hurt more than baths so swimming should be okay. Especially since my pain meds have been upped. The visit with my pain clinician was interesting as well. Both doctors mentioned that there is a drastic improvement in my health that is visible.

I feel it. I also have had less seizures, though a bit more Asthma issue comes with going outside. Not only do I get to go swimming once the paratransit is set up (and that is nearly there) but I also get to go for walks, and my doctor instructed me to go out to do something once a month that is not a walk. Things like a movie if I can afford it (there is a twenty five cent movie day at a theatre weekly), the museum, or maybe the mall (okay not the mall). That is for my mental health.

I realized last night that I am enjoying being warm. Once the confusion wore off and I realized this is a good thing, I could relax a bit further. I never fully relax but my body went to sleep more easily because I allowed myself to be warm. Sprite had help keeping me asleep and warm too. We finally have a new cat in our house. Soon I will post a picture of her, but Nymph joined us on Monday afternoon. I have thirty days to decide if she can stay with us but Sprite has only hissed at her twice, once when the little scamp bit her tail and the other when I insisted they share the food bowl.

Nymph is the runt of her litter, a white calico with creamy orange spots and silvery gray streaks over the orange. She looks like she sat in a pile of ashes because her backside down her legs and her tail are all gray. She also has a headshape that reminds me of Yoda. Her eyes are a big golden color and her meow is a tiny squeaky sound. When she makes a murr to call for her family or me and Sprite if she gets lost in the apartment it is very melodic. Almost like a bird trill. She is quiet, curious, and quickly overcoming her timidness.

As you may or may not know Sprite’s full name is actually L’Fee de Esprit or the Fairy Spirit. Nymph’s full name courtesy of a friend’s children is Mystara Moon Nymph. Sprite is playing with the kitten a lot but when she gets tired she hides up on my lap, as Nymph (who is three months old) is too small to jump up here and is afraid of jumping. She has gotten over her fear of the laser pointer, so I know this is a matter of time.

Both Sprite and Nymph bring me warmth and I can finally share with them. The oddest thing about warm hands is that the way things feel is different. Not everything but small things, like the texture of my keyboard keys, Sprite’s fur feels smoother and thicker, and my hands hurt far less. They are still having their normal issues but the joints are less swollen.

This is one of the little things that I am astounded I never knew. I never realized that my circulation issues really did effect me this much, I just thought they made me cold and added to my temperature sensitivities. I wish I had known they were a sign of joint pain and sleep issues but having had a little more sleep because of being warm helped me get over my fatigue from Transport being made of Fail yesterday. (Nothing new, they just treat their consumers like luggage who has nothing better to do than wait around for them).

In a body made up of extremes, I think warmth means maybe I finally found a moment of medium. Now I have to go rescue my wallet from a curious kitten!

William Shakespurr

He sits, staring at me with bright eyes and adoration. He rubs his head along my leg, sending shocks of pain that make it spasm to my brain. He curls against himself, pulling away. I look at him, trying to treasure the time that remains, knowing soon he will be somewhere else. Somewhen else. Still he will be my William. He lays his head down and I find myself crying again. This doesn’t help my body, to cry but it helps my soul. I close my eyes and I can see a golden light with hope for his future, and for mine imbedded into it.

He has lived with me for a year. He has endured for a year. This has not been a year full of joy for either of us but, the little moments still jump out. I met him in the Mall, where a city run shelter sits full of animals in glass houses. They all seemed so sad. William however responded, despite having just had surgery a half a hour before. He looked at me with his bright eyes, a greenish gold that has no real name but makes me think of Umbra, the other world and dreams. He made this little face that looked like a smile and shoved his pink nose at Sprite. She did not say a word, which was good as with every other cat she had cursed like a sailor, frightening the people that were trying to set us up with a new friend. She was not happy but, I knew he was the right cat.

He never yowled, meowed, or even hissed. He never complained or whimpered even for six months. It was my first month here, in my new home which I leave embedded in as much mystery as an open book truly can, when he first made sound. I remember, he and Sprite were playing, he more than she. She turned and licked his nose and he let out this squeaky meow. Like a rusted door, or a dying battery more than a meow. It resonated and frightened him. Sprite looked amused and smacked him with a paw, he meowed again, and then panicked running away from the spot. He meowed with every step and found he couldn’t escape the sound in his throat. This was the first moment I smiled after the abuse. For that I am always grateful to him, and always will be.

Still these little moments are nested in concerns and pain. It was apparent once a few days had passed that something was wrong with him. He couldn’t walk, instead he dragged himself with his claws in the carpet. He couldn’t jump but slithered up things usually falling. When he would go from room to room he would do it painfully, I could tell he was hurting, and often he bashed his head into walls He had fits, clawing at everything. Then the coughing started. Kennel Cough. Thankfully that is a treatable disease now, though I was unsure if it was. I spent the hours waiting to get him and Sprite to the vet and their medication, which could kill me, in a panicked daze. He was weighed that day, 17 pounds. I was glad he was an adult cat.

He was not an adult at all but a very large baby. I still say it sometimes, “Come here big baby.” He’ll climb into my lap, carefully as he can and lays there when I do. I like to roll him belly up, he makes a face with his eyes half closed, half crossed and his tongue hanging out. Sometimes he lets out a purr that is as squeaky as his meow. The vet said he had permanent brain damage and would, without serious care and guidance, never recover. They also told me he was at most three months old based on his tooth growth. I suspect their math was a bit off, maybe he was six months old, but likely just four or five.

I started to try to teach him things then. I had to teach him to eat, which consisted mostly of me shoving food in his mouth and triggering his swallow reflex. It took about a month for him to be able to eat on his own. Maybe being force fed so he didn’t starve made him dislike wet food but he rarely ever eats it now. That or he doesn’t want to have to get in Sprite’s way. She’ll smack him with her claws and send him running for cover.

He had to learn to walk. Instead of dragging himself I used the harness and some yarn to hold him up. Recreating a harness used in my physical therapy before they gave up on my ability to improve my balance. I never did, I just cannot balance the way others do. It took most of the last year for him to learn to walk. At first he couldn’t even retract his claws. He always had them out. It was like cuddling a switchblade. Still, he learned. He sometimes has trouble but he walks with his claws in.

Teaching him to jump was actually a lot of fun. The lazer pointer was a tool then. I used that to teach him to run too. He would scramble after it, in circles, to the left, then to the right, then the darned dot would move up the wall. After a week of staring at it mournfully, he stretched up, when that wasn’t enough he just stood there for the longest time. I remember the sigh he heaved, before walking away the first time. Still, after more time, he jumped. Now he even jumps on the bed. I’ll walk past, or go to lay down and there he is hopping up and down on my waterbed. Sometimes he will leap from the floor all the way to the top of the cabinets, OVER the refridgerator. You cannot tell he had to learn how.

He is not apparently smart as a cat, but, if you were locked in an apartment in 100+ degrees with only the water you could get from the toilet and the sink you would have brain damage too. He sometimes gets overwhelmed by light, sound, and motion. I do too. When he panics I have learned the best thing is to ignore him if I cannot touch him for fear of the claws. If I can touch him, I pull him close, pull a blanket over him and hold him until he is calm. Sometimes I wish someone had done that with me when i was younger but, I do not know if it would have worked.

He dislikes rock and roll but loves Show Tunes. If I  have to leave him alone, I find he makes less of a mess of the apartment if I can leave some music playing. So far he doesn’t like Evita but seems to adore cats. Still, Porgy and Bess is the one that he responds to the most. My William is a fighter, with a bit of an artist. I am not sure I could trust him with small children. Sometimes if I pet him he will bite and claw. The reaction does not fit the “crime”. I think with his size he could hurt someone. William is now somewhere over a year old and is about 27 pounds. He has doubled in size, and then almost a half more was added on. His paw when resting on my wrist hides it. When he then stretches his paw out my palm vanishes. I cannot have him in my lap as much now, and when I do I come away with bruises from his weight. This cannot go on.

He knows when the lights go out that you lay down and go quiet. He knows that but if the sun is up and I must rest or if he is being naughty, which is often, he will pounce and claw my feet. I already can barely walk, a tiny scratch puts me out of the running, and all I can do is lay there waiting for someone to come and help me balance. I live alone. This cannot go on. He needs somewhere he can be inside, free of dogs, children, and adults who are heavy handed. He needs somewhere that he gets a lot of play, is rarely alone, and is either the only cat or is with a cat that is able to fight back. He bites Sprite’s ears and her ears are pretty bad right now, because I cannot make him stop. He needs somewhere that there is quiet, love, and excitement. I no longer can do all he needs.

William cannot be an out door cat. He has been out a few times, and will sometimes steal a ride with me on the Scooter when I go out. He is fearless. When he escaped on his own he tried chasing cars. He caught one, but luckily it was parked. It sounds a bit humorous but, though he is a very large cat he is so much more fragile than most. His ribs never quite healed. Most of his body has been broken or damaged. He had a broken tail, which you can only feel if he lets you touch it, he had broken ribs, a fractured skull, and often he is in pain. I suspect this relates to his sometimes violent reactions to touch and care.

I think he wouldbe happier with another cat present but he is too afraid of dogs. He was willing to take on a dog that is as tall as I am when I am sitting, (three or four feet) just to keep the dog away from his people, just to protect himself and the only space he had left at the time. He needs to be somewhere that he will not be locked up a lot. No carriers except with the vet, no being penned in the bathroom for hours at a time at least once a week. Somewhere that he can roam  but be safe. Somewhere he can be held and give chase. Somewhere that William can be.

No longer does this home fit his needs. He has literally out grown me. He was considered a feral by the Vet, a vicious little cat that was broken. Now he is a loving cat that wants to please. He has the most darling smile, bright eyes, and when I cry all he does is lay with me trying to make the tears stop. He once tried licking them away but I said ouch, and he stopped. He understands enough of what is going on to be a very good cat for someone able enough to accomodate his needs.

William helped me too, it was not a one way journey. I know I can handle training an animal if I have the energy. I know I can still connect with an animal that seems to others to be lost. I still have my gift of being the friend of feral cats. I also know he is the last of the ferals that I can tame. He is the last of them I can show the world where we worship them. i will not miss his deciding to wake me up to kill my feet but I will miss his bright curiousity. I will miss his warmth when I was cold and had no way to stay warm except to cling to the two furry bodies at hand.

I will miss his discovery of things. Every day he rediscovers everything, and when you are so depressed that life is unbearable, that can still be enchanting. I still am fighting my depression but he has given me something that is precious. For a long time he and Sprite were my reason to live. I knew when I chose to keep him after his diagnoisis as a cat with a disability I was choosing something hard. I actually called the shelter and told them what was up and the only reason I kept William was their response angered me. It struck a nerve. I remember that conversation clearly, “Oh bring him back in, we’ll put him down and you can bring some other cat home.” His disability meant he had to die. It meant surely he was unlovable. The contract I signed upon adoption gave me thirty days to keep him or return him. If I kept him I was obligated, required, and bound to report any medical challenges, his death, or if he ran away. I was obligated to keep him. I was obligated by them. My disability is always going to be new to me, it feels new every day. That nanosecond before the world and pain crush me, before I am aware of my body when I wake, i am not aware of my disability. I just am. I face the shock of being physically broken daily. William recovered. I will not.

I kept him, because if I let them kill William, I was approving killing myself. I felt it in my soul. If I let them murder this cat because he needed more, was I not reenforcing the idea that disability is a death sentence? I know that I cannot keep him now. His increased ability has let me set him free. William has recovered so much ability, that most people will never see him as anything other than a very large cat. He no longer makes the carpet crackle when he walks, he has gone months without any fits, he meows, he plays. William has something special. William is forever a kitten. His body will grow up, grow old, but his mind will forever remain that of a kitten. H e will forever want to play and pounce. He will forever run after sunbeams. He will forever be young. In this way he is essentially immortal. Until the day that this cat dies, which could be decades from now, he will be innocent.

I have struggled with the decision of rehoming William for months. Never once did I decide it was time. It took serious injury for me to realize it is time. His weight dislocated three ribs, I had to go to the ER twice in one week. I am adapting to the changes in my body but I cannot hold him anymore. I am putting my health and my life at risk by trying. He no longer needs me. He wants me. He loves me. He leaves his mouse toy for me daily. I wake up with whichever mouse was handy when he decided to sleep on my pillow. When I started to fall ill a few weeks ago he started following me and trying his best to mimic Sprite’s awesome healing talents. Still, I dislocated ribs. I am covered in bruises and scratches from accidents. I am too fragile for this cat.

Wherever he goes, he will have a few things that go with him. There are toys that must go, his mousey that is so ratty that it looks like trash but if you throw it away he will find it and spread garbage over your entire home (yes, I will send you the most hideous cat toy in the world), his cat furniture which is collabsible and colorful, his crinkle tunnel, and his fluffy stuff on a stick. Those go with William. Sprite has her special toys which she hid from him, and of course those stay. If you take this cat  home with you, you recieve the greatest gift that any child or animal can give as well. Love. I cannot say it is love without comprimise, I can tell you that if you hurt him he will hurt you. I also can tell you that this cat has protected me from criminals. He is just as good as a guard dog, if the person scares him. You will get the little moments too. You may be working on a project, or watching the evening news and you glance at him and he is fast asleep sucking his paw. I dare you to tell me that such an adorable sight wouldn’t sway your heart a bit. You get a walking, purring, snuggling hallmark card.

I will miss William. I will miss even the bad times, the hard times, and yet I cannot cry more than a few tears when I imagine his future. I see him in a home with a large living room, his toys scattered about. Someone playing with him. I see him running, and yes this imaginary world is possible. After all, that is what love is. For him, love is play, mice toys, and playing fetch.

Kitty Retiree

I judged a Toastmaster’s competition today and did so without Sprite at my side once again. My beloved Service cat has aged, she has begun to fall ill too often to work, and now is a retiree. As of this morning I no longer have a working service animal. Not outside of the house anyway. Sprite will still travel with me if I will be going somewhere over night, but beyond that? I do not feel confident in her ability to perform or to stay healthy. Despite my happy day this is still a moment of sorrow.

She is six years old, and with her history she has worked long for her life. She came from starvation and ill health, therefore I cannot fault her for her body quitting. She was upset I left her this morning, and there were consequences, but there were still good points too. It turned out a service dog who doesn’t behave at all around cats was at the contest today. Sprite’s at least partial retirement saved us from a fiasco.

What does this mean for me now? Well, it means I need to find out if there are any dogs I am not allergic to, I need to consider a horse though I do not think a horse will be compatible with my life style, and I need to start saving up cash so that I can feed another animal. Sprite will no longer need her monthly payments though I think I will continue them, so that she has the benefit of consistency. Perhaps I am wrong and with a bit of extended rest she will resume working. I still need to persue another avenue.

Does anyone have a service poodle? I know I am not allergic to purebred poodles. I had one once upon a time, and depsite his behavior issues I could pet him and brush him all day long, without any problems. No rashes, no boils, and given that the Hidradenitis Supprativa has it’s own sets of issues the last thing I need are more sores and skin problems. I will begin my quest for a service poodle, though this could take years. I feel fear, I feel sorrow, but I am happy for Sprite and William. They will get to play and pounce daily. Sprite also can protect my socks.

That is William’s latest fetish, he has stolen my socks! My Person caught him in the act this morning, and described the act as cartoonish, cute, but ultimately detrimental to my ability to own socks. Sprite can take care of him, she won’t be lonely, and that is important too.

This is my first loss of a service animal, but I am thankfully able to keep her around as a pet. My heart aches, yet she is alive. That is reason enough to celebrate. I do know I cannot handle training my own service animal at this point in time. I am too weak physically to cope with a dog if they misbehave, I cannot afford to introduce another cat into the house at this time as the two we have are bonded and the other cat would cause mayhem.

The ecosystem of my household is balanced, My Person does what he is needed to, we also share our love and intimacy in ways that are unique to each of us, the interactions and feeding schedule with the animals has it’s own balance, as do our activities out of the home. The balance must shift, but, to add stress to the lives of my animals adds stress to me. A dog will be stress yet a cat moreso.

My one regret with sprite retiring is selfish. I regret that she cannot be with me to tell me when my body is going to fail. I regret that she cannot remind me to take my medication, she is my caregiver. I must adapt, yet I feel that same fear that I felt when I started training her. What do I do now? How do I grow? How do I continue living?

I do not have the exact answers but this is another learning point. I have no choice but to go forward. I choose life over stagnancy. I will adapt. I will find a way to thrive, i will find a way to live. Sprite will have a longer life if I respect her medial needs, and I cannot be cruel to her. I love her too much to force her to risk her safety.

Spiderweb has no Spider

March is Brain Injury Awareness month. I have brain damage in my fine little skull, all from untreated concussions, working through the pain, toughing it out and yet, I am never certain what issues spring from what challenges. Since I have autism and brain damage, as well as visual and hearing ailments, what causes what?

Too, when I sit out in the sun for five minutes and note my pustules later, reacting to the presence of the very thing that makes food grow and light fill our world, I have to guess, is this exact blister from Hidradenitis Supprativa, a side effect of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an actual pimple, sun poiosning as my mother calls it or is it still something else.

Then, with the issues with walking. It could be a side effect of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the Spinal Cord Injury, or just a minor pelvic dislocation, but is it something else? Did falling through that chair do more damage elsewhere that no one can see?

Multiple disabilities are a huge challenge. When i thought I had a single disability, I had unanswered questions. When I thought I had two, I thought the world was ending. Then with three, it all began to feel alright, but with four I was once more mourning, and with five I became angry. With six, I felt as if i should just die. With seven, I just stopped caring about how many I had, and began to fight to thrive. With eight, I found it status quo, with Nine, Ten, Eleven, I began to count it all over again.

I am a spider’s web, everything is connect, everything has always been here it just has a label. The labels are flies, sticking in my webiness, wiggling and shaking things up. So far, the labels have done very little to better my life. Usually they complicate it. If I tell a doctor about more than one disability, they usually give up on me. What right does that give them to deny me a quality of life?

I want to see, I want to hear, I want to live in a world without fear, I want to dance, I want to be just me, yet me is not without disability. I no longer believe in a cure for any of my ailments, except the spinal cord injury. I do not want them. I fear the changes to personality that treatment could’ve brought. Sure, I might not have had it as hard as I have. I might have had more than just a single man to teach me how to be a person. I might have had friends.

Or I might have been worse off. I get tired of able bodied people, those in denial of disability, or those who think we are all cookie cutter identical creatures telling me what works for their disabilities.

I have tried experimental treatments, mostly for my PTSD and they made it worse every time. EMDR, I have no idea what the letters mean but I remember the treatment. It worked for every other patient, so I was just a failure for not becoming magically better. Penicillin allergy even has an example, a doctor wanting to see just how allergic I was, because of course it costs more money to have another medication and money has more value than the patient.

When I was younger, long before my autism diagnosis I had an Occupational Therapist funded by the school. She did teach some neat things, we worked on my fine motor skills, which still suffer, and made earrings. We did all types of activities, molding things in clay, dancing. This was what I did for recess, another bit of isolation granted by my abnormalities. I was lonely, until this program came forth however. There I met the other kids who were a little like me. This woman decided to have my mother take a rubber brush to rub all over me, to try and desensitize me to the world. She did not ask me, she just called my mother in and during school one day she grabbed my arm, while talking to my mother and began to scrub my flesh.

This worked on the other children, so it had to work on me. I started screaming. It felt as if she was pealing off my skin, I screamed, and screamed. She told me to shut up, it would all get better. My mother took the brush out of her hands and asked why she would do that, when I was sobbing. I don’t know the end result of the conversation, but we took that brush home. It was just like the ones sold to wash dishes with, and that is what my mother did with it. I think she chose to lie to this therapist. I do not remember because I went into my head, flashing back to times when my father did try and peal away my flesh.

The sensory overload pains me to ever remember, it wasn’t just a sensory overload it was a flash back and a denial of my right to unique treatment. I never accepted the treatment of this OT again, I went, but I became surly because she wanted me to be like the others. She wanted to scrub me, until I just didn’t care. It did not matter to her that it hurt. I still have nightmares from her scrubbing.

I wish I could say it never happened again, but, she would scrub me herself, at times using this as a punishment. Too often the medical community does this, forgetting that each body has a unique chemistry, each brain a unique perspective. Now I fire doctors who do not listen, they get one shot and that is it with me. I have to be harsh like that to survive.

My cat William, the one with brain damage, has a similar problem. Touching his paws hurts him. He has dangerously sharp claws, cutting me when he doesn’t mean to, but to trim them means to cause him that same sort of pain. I figured this out after I had used our PetoFiler nail trimmer on him, it vibrates, rotates and basically sands down the nails. Sprite loves it. William was in pain for days and I barely tipped the claws off.

Each method for a traditional manicure fails him, I have yet to find out how to protect us both, but knowing what it is like to be tortured by someone thinking they know what is best, I back off. I would rather have cuts than send him into a world of pain. If you are a doctor, reading this, try and remember your patient might feel pain differently than you do. Sometimes I have to go naked because the pain from cloth rubbing against my flesh is as potent as that scrubbing brush.

It was yellow, it was multi-textured, and it is one of my worst nightmares. Those moments are on par with time spent in the care of a diagnosed psychopath. Do not traumatize your patients by thinking you know it all, or that every treatment should work for them. Humanity is full of individual people, not a bunch of identical organisms.

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