Tag Archives: kitten

24 Little Hours

cocktailsMost mornings I wake up with some kind of energy. And the kitten playing pat-a-cake on my face.

I could use this energy to prepare and cook dinner from scratch with exotic ingredients, meet up with long-neglected friends, catch up on my emails, try out a new must-visit cafe in town, browse around a second-hand book-shop and schlep around Ikea.

All finished off with a cocktail served in a jam-jar in some dark, obscure wine bar.

Sadly, life doesn’t work like that. My ever-so-limited energy is always in the morning, my slump is post-2pm. Just ask the boss. He can set his watch by me as I stumble around, packing away my lunch box and folding my newspaper, yawning conspicuously.

As soon as I wake up, it’s as if a little switch is flipped; time starts ticking away and I race pointlessly against it.

Reverse my ideal day back to reality and I will throw together a quick dinner (fish fingers, spag bol, fish fingers, Dominos), neglect my friends, feel guilty about my emails, never visit that new cafe (probably closed down by the time I even think about going), order books online and dream of a double serving of meatballs in the Ikea cafe. All finished off with a cup of tea and a nice sit down on my sofa.

Over my morning coffee, after feeding and depositing the kitten outside, I scan my to-do lists (plural). Yup, can do that, tick. Ok, can do that, tick. Put some laundry in, pack six pieces of fruit in Teenager’s school bag (lol), take out recycling. I have a Plan for After-Work.

After Work, I get home, feed and deposit the kitten outside, slump, scan to-do lists, laugh ironically and feel a little bit pathetic. I weigh up fish fingers versus spag bol. I change the loo roll and feel mightily proactive. I sit at my kitchen table and hoover in a circle around me, wishing I could move a little further.

So many hours and so little energy to fill them with. I watch the clouds pass by from my sofa-vantage-point. Pretty. I am being Mindful. I pick up and put down a book (it’s more than 200 pages). Flick through a magazine. Too much information. Turn on the telly. Pat the cat. Shout upstairs, telling The Teenager to turn down his music. Wonder what that odd smell is. Burning fish fingers and I haven’t even put the beans on yet.

For now, my days continue to be upside-down. Do you think it would be odd to host a dinner party at 9.30am? (Asking for a friend).

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Zero-Hours MS?

zeroMS:  Right, I need you for at least 35 hours this week, probably more. Can’t tell you which ones just yet. Ok?

Me:   Gah. What about next week?

MS:  Don’t know yet, wait and see. Who knows? And why would I care anyway? S’MS, innit?’

MS is the health equivalent of a zero-hours contract; you will never know from one week to the next just what it has you down for. Don’t bother making plans, MS has bigger ones. It’s the not-knowing that gets to you and MS is a ruthless master.

With a zero-hours-MS contract, life cannot be planned. You’re at its mercy, plain and simple.

So you thought you’d schedule a catch-up with a friend on Tuesday? Well, think again. MS could chuck a lightening bolt of fatigue your way. Or maybe it’ll play with your legs. Or your arms. MS will have you at its beck and call.

I have two weeks off work. Lovely. On Saturday, I took The Teenager to his Teen-Fit class. Fabulous. I sat in the cafe, leafing through newspapers and trying not to get annoyed at the yummy-mummy encroaching on my space inch by inch with her bag full of felt-tips and books about potty-training.

‘Now, Zephyr, you know we don’t respond to our very natural, very understandable urges here. Let’s see. What does Jake do in the book? Yes! He sits between mummy and daddy, yada, yada, yada.’

Inexplicably, and I can’t blame Mrs Boden/potty, I was suddenly exhausted. Utterly pole-axed by fatigue. I checked the time. 20 minutes until The Teenager would sweep through the cafe doors, triumphant and radiant, chattering away about training plans and healthy proteins.

I had been awake for less than four hours. Ridiculous. Scary. I yawned all the way home, nodding in the right places, until I suddenly had to blurt out, ‘So sorry sweetie, I just have to sleep. Gah. I’m really, really sorry.’

At home, I collapsed onto the sofa, drew my blankie and the kitten around me and surrendered to MS. I woke up two hours later.

I switched my phone back on. Three texts from The Teenager:

What we havin’ for lunch?

??????? Helllloooooooo? Lunch?

Starvin’. Wastin’ away 🙁 ‘

I texted back, fingers weary and bleary. ‘S’pesto pasta, nom nom’.

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Remission Intermission?

BronteAfter a truly terrible couple of weeks, MS seems to be going a bit easier on me. For now.

I’ve never understood the ‘remitting’ part of ‘relapsing-remitting MS’. Since 2011, there’s never been a single moment without MS – the numbness, the tingling, the fatigue, the wonky walking, the heat intolerance, etc.

My neuro explained that I had ‘highly active’ or ‘rapidly evolving’ relapsing remitting MS. Which explains a lot but thankfully, since two lots of Alemtuzumab, the relapses have slowed down to just one since 2013.

Well, this week (ok, three days, but counting … ), there’s been not so much fatigue, a decrease in dodgy walking and not as much tingling in my feet. Is this a kind of remission? I still walk into walls and bannisters, so I’m not sure if it counts, but MS seems to be semi-hibernating. However, I’m always prepared for it to bite back and surprise me. Today? Tomorrow?

In the meantime, I’m making the most of this unexpected break, even if my hands still don’t do what I expect them to – (a most embarrassing episode – long story). So I took the kitten for her second set of injections. Simple enough. I had a day off work – I imagined I would loll on the sofa, catch up on celebrity gossip, read a book, watch a film. Not a chance.

My day was full. First, the kitten. Bring cat basket into house. Open it. Kitten takes one sniff and scarpers. Pull kitten off curtain pole. Put kitten in basket. Fumble with lock. Kitten escapes. Scoop kitten out of the (empty) bath. Put her in basket. Secure the lock. Get in the car, basket on passenger seat.

Halfway there, she squeezes out a poo in the basket then squelches round in  it. Arrive at vets. Explain to the receptionist. Take a wad of kitchen towel and a bag to the disabled toilet. Release kitten who proceeds to treat the room as a carnival wall of death, careering around. And around. Attempt to clean up the poo. Detach her from the emergency cord as she swings happily around the room. Put her back in the basket.

I apologised to the vet for the awful smell but the kitten purred and pranced around the table with her poo-stained paws and tail. One injection, and she’s back in basket.

Deposit kitten at home, give her a few Dreamies, head back out to sign up Teenager for a fitness course, pop to library for essay-vital books, go to my mum’s to drop some stuff off. Back home. Shattered. Back to work tomorrow. Can’t wait.

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Spring Cleaning, MS-Style

springI live in a teeny-tiny old cottage with a tall teenager, a small kitten and around 25 spiders.

Not as pets or anything, they just hang around in gangs in dark corners and chuck their webs everywhere. Normally I’m quite happy to lie on my sofa, dazed with MS fatigue, tracking their progress across the ceiling and back (I’m in awe of their bustling energy).

There was a huge one in the bathroom for months who became such a fixture I’d nod and say, ‘Morning, Kevin’ every day; when The Teenager finally cottoned on, Kevin mysteriously disappeared.

Anyway, we’ve had an obscene amount of sunshine these last couple of weeks which has showed up my general lapse in housekeeping in all it’s glory ( I blame all the essays I’m writing at the moment …). Coupled with a go-faster kitten who tears around the house at top speed all day, leaving chaos wherever she goes, our house is in desperate need of a little Spring Cleaning TLC.

So today I put my plan into action. It’s simple: do only what is Absolutely Necessary. I dug out my feather duster, stumbled after the kitten who lunged for it and ran away, knocked my knee against the bannister and sat down for a nice cup of tea and a slice of Battenburg.

Suitably recovered, I knew the bath non-slip thingie needed cleaning so I filled the bath with cold water, sloshed a bit of bleach in it and left it to marinade for a couple of hours. Simple.

I flicked the duster around the whole house, chased by the pesky kitten and numerous spiders. I used a tumble-dryer sheet (cheating, but it works) to dust the books and ornaments and straightened rugs and cushions. Then I stopped for an espresso and another slice of cake.

Ok, next thing. Tidied my desk. Re-arranged my Sharpies. Shuffled a few piles of papers. Done.

Got the cordless vacuum out – bought after endless bouts of tripping over the cord of my old one. Shoved it round a little, battery ran out, put it on to re-charge. Sit down.

Give up.

It’s fine. I’ve fitted low-wattage bulbs to ensure I see less dust. We’re definitely going to rock the boho-chic-tiny-cottage look for a little while longer. If I have the energy, I’ll fluff the duvets. Making sure the kitten isn’t nestling in the middle of it first, chewing on my feather duster.

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Our New Addition …

Bronte2I couldn’t help myself. I was (and still am) deep in mourning after my beloved cat Dora was knocked down and killed recently.

I shouldn’t have looked at the cats seeking their ‘forever home’. Their big, pleading eyes, their sad stories, their heart-wrenching starts in life.

So we now have a new addition to our little family – Brontë. Quick explanation about the somewhat pretentious name: she arrived with the name ‘Bronwen’, and, much as I love Welsh names, it seemed a bit of an odd choice for a tiny kitten, not even six months old.

She wouldn’t answer to my new choice of name, ‘Flump’ nor The Teenager’s, ‘Pancake’ or ‘Dog’. We tried out ‘Batwoman’ and ‘Kerpow’ (check out her Bat Mask), to no avail. So she became ‘Bronnie’ until one evening I called her ‘Bronty’ by mistake and she came trotting over. Result. Being of a literary persuasion (lol), she is now named after one of my favourite authors.

Anyway, she has settled in remarkably well, so well that she enjoys nothing more than scampering up my curtains and sitting on the wooden pole, grinning down at me. She also tears around the house in an endless loop and can make a toy out of anything – she’s smitten with my hair bands and has fished out seventeen of them from a bowl in my bedrooom (I counted) and laid them all on one of my rugs in an impressive pattern and every so often she returns to rearrange them.

In short, she fits in well. She’s also great to snuggle up with when the dreaded mid-afternoon MS crash happens. We mute the telly and radio, choose our blanket and flop onto the sofa.

Plus, she adores The Teenager and he’s in awe of her acrobatics (and her fondness for squatting in my larger plants before I can chase her off), although she is now banned from his bedroom after she stole his expensive headphones.

She may be hard work right now, but I wouldn’t be without her. A bit like The Teenager …

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