Saturday, March 31, 2007

very good recipe

Prepare ingredients:
100 ml vodka, plus as little coke lite as it takes to make it palatable
100 mg trimipramine
450 mg lithium
4 mg loprazolam - benzodiazepine
7.5 mg (or 15 mg) zolpidem

Shake all dry ingredients in hand. Wish longingly that you had the guts to take the rest of what's available.
Swirl vodka and coke, consider that 100 ml could make many grown men fall over, yet you are using it as a drug wash-down.

Swallow all pills, along with vodka.

Go sit somewhere safe, like the bathroom, for a last cigarette before sleep.


Sometimes sleep comes.

Sometimes it doesn't. In which case, repeat the zolpidem/vodka/benzo mix again.

I sent t-doc an sms last night, to say that maybe a time-out is getting necessary. Seeing as I lack the balls and the organisational skills to do it for good. She agrees. Just such a pity that I hit the wall on the weekend where p-doc's partner is on call - out of the 5 of them who do coverage, she is the only one who I don't want to see at all. History, and small birds in hospitals....

I think tonight is a repeat the z/v/b combo again. Because it's not working after 30 mins, and that is longer than I can handle. When it gets to out-a-here, it needs to be fast.....

Friday, March 30, 2007

peter pan

Last time I went skiing in Colorado with my parents, it was in a way as a baby-sitter for my niece and nephew. They are both showing signs of turning into demon skiiers, just like my mom.

We went to see the movie of 'Peter Pan', and I was so very glad to be sitting at the end of the row, so that nobody realised that I had tears running down my face for most of the movie.

Especially when Peter said "To die will be an awfully good adventure".

I was sobbing, because it won't be. Dying is hopefully the end of everything. I don't want any more good adventures. If I did, I would stay here and have them.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

big dog sized hole in the house

I miss Whiz, Zac does too.

But why can't I get a house call where the doc will give me a big hug, make me comfortable and let me say adios. We do it for the animals we love, yet we won't give it to people. Sucks.

Saw t-doc today, saw p-doc today. He is still optimistic. I'm not.

Am now working on how many puny, useless benzo's I can take, mixed with how much vodka, before I hit the sweet, sweet moment of take them and sleep. More than hoped, more than expected.

I just can't do this any more. I need out, and I don't want to hurt people by doing it. But everyday I open my eyes and think 'oh fuck, dying in my sleep didn't happen'. Everyday it's just a bit less important to not hurt others, and a bit more of 'just let me outta here.'.

I have the best family posible. I have the best p-doc possible, the best t-doc, the best jobs. Just a pity I am such an asshole loser that I can't live up to them all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

bigtime loser and friends

Apart from having gotten as drunk as possible since Monday afternoon, I haven't done very much. Took all the birds I could into the centre, but they keep coming in from all over. Actually, drunk as possible is a bit of a misnomer - I am drinking huge quantities with no effect at all, other than eventually passing out about two hours after my large amount of evening meds. I wake up at about 04h00 thinking OMG, why did I do that, but after getting out of bed and drinking as much water as I possibly can, I go back to sleep and wake up feeling no worse than I feel every damn day of the past two years.

P-doc will be unimpressed though. Not only the drinking, but I have ripped up my arm with the razor blade every day since Friday. I have run out of left bicep. I have cut the 3 long Adidas stripes on the left forearm every day for four days. I am now about halfway down the forearm with the neat, 2 mm apart stripes. Only consolation is that - as always -the cuts are clean and neat and shallow, and will heal up within a few days. Asshole. Funnily enough, I don't cut anywhere except my arm, and -maybe because I'm right-handed - it's almost always the left arm. Last time in hospital I ran out of left arm completely, and started on the right - which made having blood pressure taken a somewhat painful procedure.

Saw t-doc today, asked for sooner than scheduled. Couldn't talk about anything though, because there isn't anything to say. So it's more just a mental hug than anything else. She wants me to think about a time-out in hospital again. No point. It's a hospital, with a half-assed pretence at a psych ward. There are only two points in its favour - I see p-doc twice most days, albeit very briefly, and I would probably not drink. Not that I couldn't. Hell, the first time I was there I was desperate for decent food, and ended up driving down the road for a steak and a few beers, and they never even noticed. But if I'm going to do it, then not drinking is a kind of moral obligation. As well as a good idea. And as always, I will have the lengths of pool hose stashed behind the seats. Just in case. And in case is so close to being reality.

Have had two strange conversations today. One with ex p-doc, whose farm I lived on for 3 years, and whose family dog was Whiz's mother. Texted him to ask if I could take Whiz's ashes back there, to spread down at the river, and he phoned just now. He's not living there anymore, business deal with a friend went sour, and amongst everything else, he lost the farm. But he's working as a p-doc again, after a bit of a break, and sounds as if he's getting back on track.

The other was with ex-boss from the IT job. We had/have a strange relationship. I told him, and everyone else around, that he was an asshole, and we fought bitterly for a year. He then ended up in a position where it became important to get me on site at the main client, and working on other clients as well, and within about 6 months he won me over completely. He is one of the best bosses I have ever had. Not for most people, but he motivated me completely. And then the last few months that we worked together, we ended up having the strangest cyber-sex relationship. Literally, out of nowhere - just happened one day, completely unexpectedly. It was his decision though, that it would never go any further - that talking sex and fantasies and everything was one thing, but that he would never even consider anything more, because of being married. Hell, I would have jumped his bones in a microsecond, if he'd agreed. I phoned him today about something random, and caught him in a very blue mood. He took a flier on giving up the corporate world to start an IT business with his wife, and basically it's gone down the tubes. Yesterday he sold his house, days before the bank foreclosed. Last week his wife walked out on him, taking one of their daughters. The older one refused to leave her dad. The church for which he did untold hours of free work has virtually ignored him. He is flattened, because he is a traditional Boerseun, to whom family and church were the pillars of life. And he's lost them along with business and house and financial well being. And as a white mid-40's male in South Africa, he is at the bottom of the hiring list. Maybe one of the people that's been chasing me will be willing to talk to him, I hope so.

So now, it's about time I worked on getting seriously wrecked, and take the meds, including the benzo's I begged for, and then maybe I can call an end to today.

Something has to break soon. Just not sure what, or how, or whether I get lucky and the break is fatal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

is it only tuesday

I feel like such a total bitch. Because the whole fucking world was already falling apart before. And my darling dog has become just another layer of pain.

I owe him more than that. I owe him a time of missing him and loving him and thanking him for his very special part in our lives. And I'm just not giving him what he deserves. The whole awful loss is just blurred into the rest of my whole awful, selfish being.

And poor Zac, as well. He's lost his longtime companion, and must be feeling devastatingly insecure. I'm trying to love him and fuss over him, and reassure him. But I think I'm just making him feel worse.

I honestly believe all my animals would be better off in other homes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Whizzer, RIP

My big guy was euthanased at home this morning. He was happy to see the vet, and I think he was happy to go.

Just over 10 years. Not bad for a large breed.

I am numb, and dead inside.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

bad thought for the day

I've been trying to do what rehab BossLady said, for Whiz. One of the things she said was 'Hold him in love, gratitude and joy, so that he doesn't have to process your fear and loss'. And a bit more about telling him mentally that he's going to die, but that for him it will be gentle and loving and painless, and that he'll move on to somewhere where he doesn't hurt.

I believe that things like this work, although I don't understand them fully. Then again I believe that aeroplanes can fly, and I don't fully understand that either. But I can see sometimes at work that the way BossLady thinks, and the feelings she transmits have an effect on the animals and birds she is working with. More than her excellent handling and medical skills can account for.

And she is definitely the person with the most meerkat contact, but has never been bitten - she says she telepathically tells them how great the punishment will be, and they back off. Even Twiggy the psychopathic bitch never tried to bite her. Considered it, but never tried.

But if Whiz can understand my good thoughts, how much of a burden have I been placing on him with the misery and negativity of the past couple of years? I've never not loved the animals,never not hugged them and been affectionate. But how much of my desperation have I unwittingly transmitted to him? And has his caring about me placed even more of a strain on his system?

If the good bits work, then the negative ones do too. And I am even more responsible for my dog's pain than I already am just by being his owner.

Friday, March 23, 2007

still is though...

Took mynah to have his orthopedic shoes replaced, and had long chat to GirlVet about the Big Dog. She has given me meds for him for the weekend, which will hopefully boost him enough so that we have a great time. Bosslady phoned to find out how he's doing, with lots of good advice about clearing my mind of all the bad thoughts about him dying, so that he knows it's OK, and that he is free to move on peacefully. I will try my best to be positive for him. To give him just a small amount of the love and care he has given me.

I know it doesn't help that I still feel so angry and hurt about the way NewVet acted yesterday. He phoned at lunchtime today, all chirpy, 'so when shall I come see Whiz'. All I could say is don't bother. Dr C phoned while I was with t-doc, left a message asking me to call and let her know how Whiz was doing. I called back, just to get an email address, and sent her a mail saying why I'm going to be changing vets. She's great. I've always liked and trusted her. And the animals do as well, which is more important. But I can't see myself walking in there and dealing with NewVet without prejudice about how he chose to handle this. His lack of care for my boy dog is worst of all. Because of the rehab work, I've dealt on a semi-professional level with him since he started at the practice, about bird care and treatment. Vets here get about 2 weeks of bird training in 7 years, so it's not being pretentious when I say that. I know zip about real vet things. But after 3 years I can assess a bird for basic injuries as well as most vets, I can strap wings and splint legs - only because I do it regularly. So yeah, there's a bit of hurt feelings here as well. That doesn't make me proud. It's mostly about my boy, though, and I don't know if I can forgive him for that.

That's future though. For now I just need to be there with all the love and mental support that the Big Guy needs to help him.

I saw t-doc and just cried. Not only about losing Whiz, but about everything else. I guess one thing about having to euthanase Whiz is that it's one less of my babies to decide about. I know that other people could give them good homes - better homes - but leaving them and not knowing that they'd be OK really worries me.

I am so apathetic and disorganised anyway that getting my life in order seems to get further away every day. I know it's really dumb, but I figure that if you are going to off yourself, it's obligatory to at least tidy up a bit. And I'm just drowning in doing that. Every time I achieve one task, I find that another ten have sprung up like weeds. Sometimes it's tempting to just go for it anyway, knowing that it would take someone competent about half a day to tidy up the loose ends it's taking me months to do.

wish it wasn't

Friday. Wish it wasn't this particular Friday.

No call from vet, not even to ask if Whiz died overnight, or whether he can even walk. Gave him another max dose of Rimadyl for breakfast, and he's come in and out a couple of times. Been working through the list of vets that I have dealt often with, from the rehab side. Long list of those I've seen once or twice, or fetched birds from, but only a few that I feel I can ask for a personal favour. Especially seeing as handing out pain meds of the quality I'm after to a patient they have never seen is probably illegal. First one is GirlVet at the bird practice, and I have to go there just now anyway, to have new orthopedic shoes made for the rickety mynah. Second is the meerkat-mom vet, who is more likely to have the right stuff, but I don't know if she would feel comfortable with giving it to me. Although, I have told her before over a small meerkat body that if ever I changed vets, she would be it, in spite of being miles away. And then there's PigeonVet, but it would have to come from her husband, and I don't really know him that well. Apart from the fact that he thinks I also have a screw or two loose to be looking after pigeons anyway.

Watching Whiz just now was enough to break my heart, and I think I am probably making the right decision. Just wish though that I could have a vet to decide it, as the expert. I don't think I will ever ask my local vet for anything, ever again. This one just feels like too much of a disappointment.

So the boys and I will spend as much of the weekend in close physical contact as possible. I will spend it in close physical contact with a vodka bottle as well. Somewhere in there is temporary oblivion, and I'd like to find it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

emotional bloodstains everywhere

My big guy is no better today. Went to our vet, where the months' expenditure so far is well over R3000. Between dogs, cats, food for dogs and cats, bird food, bird drugs, random extras - all of which I buy there because they are my local vet - the minimum is normally R1500. I probably pay for one of the half-day receptionists most months. I live 5 blocks away. When they call to say they have an injured bird, it takes me less than 3 mins to get there if I am home - and if I'm not, I twist my next nearest volunteer's arm half off to make her go there immediately. Dr C is off until tomorrow afternoon. New young vet is OK. Not great, but OK. So I explained that Big Dog had had a couple of really bad spells over the public holiday, and that I'd appreciate it if the new young vet (well, would have preferred Dr C, but...) could do a home visit. And that my anticipation was that it will be a couple of days of serious pain meds, just to give us the weekend before we looked at euthanasia on Monday. That I didn't want to put Big guy through the trauma of being picked up and carried to get him into the back of my bakkie, and I didn't think he'd be able to do it without being picked up. That I'd like a vet opinion without hurting him by transporting him, so that if the qualified opinion was euthanase, I could know that it was under the best circumstances. So young vet was going to come. No time specs or anything. Just whenever he could.

He didn't. I was off fetching a bird with a spinal injury, that I resent bitterly for taking me away from my dog. But I went, because someone had to. And the fucking vet got the poor receptionist to call and tell me he wasn't going to come. Fuck him. Fuck them. Fuck the whole practice. I wish I could say I will never go there again. But odds are I will, because Dr C is a good vet. And she loves my animals. Or at least she always has, in the 7 years I've been going there. I will probably HAVE to go there tomorrow, because I don't know if there are any pain meds that any of the other vets I know well enough to ask can or will give me, that I could give to him myself. I can do SQ, or IM, but nothing more. And I think he needs them. Not all the time, and not for long. Just enough so that him and me can spend the weekend loving each other and saying goodbye.

Ten minutes out of his lousy day. That's all it would have taken him. I wish I could make him understand what those ten minutes have done to my faith in him, and in the practice I have recommended to a thousand others.

The only other thing I did today was see p-doc. Told him it hurts, told him it's just getting too much.

There's nothing he can do though. No point in going to the p-ward he works in. All that is is two weeks of getting up early, seeing him, going outside. To the smoking area when I need coffee, at ten bucks a pop, otherwise to the back of the building site behind the hospital when I need people-free time. That's about most of the day. See him again for 5 mins, beg the staff for my meds so I can go to sleep. Pointless. Still kicking in the Nardil - only at 45mg so far, and upping the trimipramine tonight to 100mg. So can't go anywhere with meds. Can't go anywhere with anything.

**too much informaton....!

Hey, there was one funny thing from seeing p-doc today. And that was when he told me how DuckBuddy was doing. According to her he isn't supposed to know we've even met!
Post in the morning about that though - it deserves more irony and humour than I have in me tonight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

happy human rights day

...from a government who is slowly and steadily removing our human rights (all of us, regardless of race and income level). I have always found it rather sweet that they gave us a day upon which to reflect on our losses. Happy HR Day, Mr President. It will be a lot easier to protect your personal rights once your new R90 million security wall has been erected around your property.

I declared it a day for not putting clothes on, and for wandering vaguely around the house moving jobs from one pile to the next. In between feeding birds and animals.

And panicking. My big dog threw up twice this evening. He's been in a lot of pain all day, and for about an hour, just couldn't stand at all. Not sure if the recent ops have triggered the mast cell cancer, or whether it's time to look at what comes after the NSAIDs. Will see the vet tomorrow morning.

And p-doc. My normal delight in the appointment is being tempered by my knowledge that he will kak on me for going up faster than he said I could on the Nardil, and for Monday's drinking extravaganza. And cos I'm going to get there and just start crying. I'm enough, I'm tired, I just don't want to do this anymore. And I don't even believe the Nardil is going to be IT anymore. And I gave him my stash already. That was the stupidist thing of all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

oh my aching everything

The memory of today should be enough to put me off alcohol completely for a while. The meds might be a factor, but I haven't had a hangover this bad in a long long time. Then again, I haven't drunk as much in a long long time either. Or stayed up till 04h00 on a dozen different missions.

Cats and birds had me up early. I moved very slowly and carefully. I discovered that baby dove food does not smell good to a hungover person. I took my morning meds, including a jump to 3 Nardil, two days sooner than I am supposed to. P-doc is going to kill me. I managed to achieve very little apart from seeing t-doc, fetching another 3 doves, and feeding the whole gang at the right times.

A year ago, when we tried Parnate the first of the f-ing wonder drugs, I had the only sort of fight that I've ever had with p-doc. 70mg wasn't doing anything, good or bad, and I was begging about going up sooner than scheduled. He was in a bit of a grumpy mood, and didn't need more aggravation from me. He gave me the very firm look, and asked exactly how many hypertensive crises I had successfully managed.He regarded that as the end of discussion clincher. I said that how many I had managed was irrelevant - the actual question should be how many have I had, and the answer to that was zero. Needless to say, we didn't go up a dose any sooner than he had planned.

Part of it is tiredness. I'm far more of a 9 or 10 hours of sleep vegetable than anything else. But the rest is entirely vodka. Evil, evil beverage. I shall avoid it for all eternity. Or at least until tomorrow.

Goodnight from the sore and aching South...

so monday beats sunday terms of stated objectives, at least.
I didn't get wasted on Sunday, and I didn't cut. Instead, I spent a trazillion hours looking up vet net stuff.

Today I took my ex-fiancee (and best friend) to meet my new motorbike. Someone had to do it with me, I was dying to show it off. He and I were engaged and living together for 9 years, and we've been best friends for about 15.

He loved my new bike, told it how sexy it is, and understood how Cowley exhausts, Michelin tyres and Showa shocks can influence a girl.

And then after that we went for lunch and got wasted wasted wasted.

Very close to home, to minimise driving. But it was lovely. In terms of short term relief, about the best for the year....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

what we did on our weekend

1. Took meds to a sick pigeon yesterday. It was found in the road, probably hit by a car, showing signs of neurological damage. It will probably not recover. Should it be euthanased? In this case, mynah man says no. It's one of the ferals I homed with him, in a group which included 4 other "maybe" birds - as in, with time and a safe space, they may recover completely. Or they might be non-flyers. With this bird, mynah man and his partner are prepared to give it TLC and hand-feeding for life. I'm not sure, myself.
2. Fetched a little streaky canary, only to see him die within two hours.
3. Fetched a family of Egyptian Geese that had arrived on a small-holding. The people who lived there would have dearly loved to let them stay, but there are 6 dogs on the property, including 3 terriers. But they took the time (and lots of effort), and caught Dad and Mom, as well as the babies. Good prognosis there - the whole family will be rehomed tomorrow. Just need to find them a dam with no current goose inhabitants. And I'll probably end up having to transport them - worth it, though. 9 million bloody Egyptian geese rescued for one reason or another in the last three years, and I still love them. The babies are irresistible, sweet little brown and cream fluffies. It's the adults and the attitude that get me though - the places that they choose to nest, the determination with which they lead babies through the suburbs and across highways to water, the versatility with which they home themselves in shopping-centre fountains and urban swimming pools. And the knowledge that virtually every rescue where we don't succeed in capturing the parents as well is going to have a sequel next year where they do it all over again in the same stupid place. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might be using us - I can just picture Dad saying to Mom something like 'you know dear, they're cute kids and all, but they're kind of stopping us from having fun. We've had them for ten days now...why don't we get those nice people from the rehab centre to come take them, and then you and me can hit the town a bit?'
4. As I told myself 'no,no,no', I told the shift leader 'yes,yes,yes'. And ended up leaving the centre with 2 mousebirds, 7 baby doves ranging from an inch to about three inches long, and 2 Rameron pigeons. Unlike most Rammies, these are very gifted and are eating on their own already. But shift leader and I both think they are just too little to go into an aviary - they still have yellow fluff all over! So they can stay in my home-clinic for an extra week, until they look big enough to turf out.
5. Received a text message from Duck Buddy last night saying 'Goose, I miss you. Love me.'. I haven't replied. I can't. I want to. Just don't know what I want to say. 'Miss you too.' 'Your decision, live with it.' 'Good, hope it fucking hurts you as much as it hurt me.' I don't know. So for now I'm just doing nothing.
6. Bought a motorbike. This has been tempting me for a couple of months now, so not quite a total impulse thing. My mother is going to wring my neck. My nephew will probably hero-worship me. A bit of a dumb thing, given that between birds and beasts, I'm not going to be able to use it that often. And I'm also old enough that I won't go out on it if it looks like I'll get cold or wet. The salesman must have thought it was early bonus time though. I walked in, he says 'what can I do for you', I said 'sell me a motorbike, please'. He did. Took all of about ten minutes. Was thinking about a cheapie unknown brand 185cc, ended up with a 2nd-hand Suzuki Katana-homage series 400cc. Beautiful. Sexy. Not very fast, tops out at about 150 km/h. Fast enough. An invitation to hooliganism, cos it's got no power at low revs, so you are just about forced to wind it and drop the clutch. And it gives me another choice.... headfirst and helmetless into a concrete overpass.
7. Went for lunch and had 4 beers. Suspect I might continue the mission and see if I can get to fall-down drunk before I do some more direct physical damage of the razor blade kind. Not as totally asshole as it sounds - that was the first thing I wanted to do this morning, and I've delayed it for almost twelve hours now. Think this years almost complete abstinence so far might have reduced my capacity substantially though. Might even get to go to sleep without the zopimed helpers. Fuck. I am an asshole at the best of times. But some days I even put extra effort into it, don't I.

Friday, March 16, 2007

weekends: better or worse...

So I gave p-doc the stash on Thu. Wish I hadn't. At least that was as close to guaranteed as one can get. If one has stupid hangups about neatness etc.

And then we spent most of the appointment talking about random internet stuff. Such as all the arb debates and discussions I get involved in. When really, I figure, net-names should consist of two parts; one your nom-de-plume, the second a bit that says 'and i have no right to an opinion because i'm a totally unqualified asshole'. For me at least. Other people could have them reflecting their skills and knowledge. At least I give p-doc something to laugh at sometimes, with the weird info I come up with. Or as he put it, there's so much to learn out there and I manage to find all the things he'd rather I didn't learn about. Knowledge is good. Knowledge is bad. Guess it depends on what you do with it.

I was supposed to work a shift at the rehab centre today. Weaseled out of it again, with a semi-acceptable excuse. I offered to take a Grass Owl out to a bird sanctuary south-east of JHB by about an hour for release there, and by the time I left there, it was late enough that I could beg off going back to the centre. Mostly my fault. I've been there twice before, and both trips were made without knowing really where I was going, but I got there fairly easily. Today I was just not focusing, forgot to take the map book (and no, there is no good reason why it is on my desk instead of in the car), headed off with this vague thought that I went to one East Rand town, missed it and found a signpost to the place I wanted to go to.

Didn't work. I got onto the highway I wanted to be on, and then started waiting to see a turn-off that was the one I wanted even if I couldn't remember what it was called. It was only when I crossed the provincial border that I started accepting that that wasn't gonna happen. I had the cell number with me for the guy I was meeting, but was too embarrassed to phone him. So turned around, found a highway that went to another town I didn't want to be in, but which I figured was closer than where I was. Drove around that town a bit before finding a road that went sort of where I thought I should be. And then lucked out by being on the back road to the place I needed to be. Hey, I can excuse it by saying I was orientating the owl. If he ever flies 200 kms away from where I left him, he can also look around with this vague knowledge of having been there before even if he didn't know where he was.

So by the time I got back to JHB, it was late enough that I could beg off the shift, and come home to be an invisible fuck-up instead of an obvious one.

Guess the only halfway constructive thing is that I started the 'dead list' again - stuff that I need to do first. The last one was on the PC that got stolen last year, and being an asshole loser, I'd never backed it up. The saddest bit of that is that everything that I'd kind of accomplished needs doing again. Will - also on the previous PC and not backed up. Mail - needs opening. Bills - need paying. Desk - needs tidying. Same old same old same old shit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

more on meerkats

Hmmm....let's start off with saying I'm not any kind of expert. Most of what I know of meerkats is based on watching the past three years worth, as they have come into the rehab centre, have died or been killed, have become part of a tribe, socialised, hacked out and have been released.

In the past few years, and I blame 'The Lion King' for a lot of it, people have become fascinated with meerkats. It's led to some really good ongoing studies at a few locations in SA, some in-depth TV programs that don't, unfortunately, put enough emphasis on leaving them in the wild - and a plethora of pet meerkats, mostly called Timone. There are two routes into homes - the first, where meerkats are illegally bred and the pups are sold under-the-counter. (There is legislation against this, but the traders are currently using a couple of loopholes. NatureCon know who they are, but can't stop them). The second, even worse, is where tribes are burned out and burrows dug up in order to get to the babies. Generally the adults are killed. Very often, the babies are injured and killed accidentally. The survivors are then sold on the side of the road. Same with tortoises. It's a tough choice - do people ignore the current victims, in order to discourage the trade? Or by rescuing (buying) the babies, do you then encourage further attacks? In any country with attractive wildlife and disadvantaged people, it's a double edged sword. now have a pet meerkat. Apart from it being illegal to keep it without a permit (and while NatureCon have problems tackling the trade, they will have no difficulty at all in getting a conviction against individual owners as and when they find them), you now start learning about your new baby and his habits. Meerkats are tribe animals. In the wild, their lives depend on being part of a tribe, and on having a recognised position in that tribe. They are never alone. Ever. As pups, they will have up to 5 siblings (it appears that litters in captivity are often bigger than in the wild, where 2 or 3 pups are more common - a response to reliable food sources??), they will be with mom, and they also have a number of babysitters.

Meerkat tribes are hierarchical. The alpha male and alpha female will generally be the only breeding pair, and have been known to kill pups born to other females. The non-dominant meerkats fill a number of positions. The females are generally baby-sitters, although this role is sometimes filled by submissive males. Older males often take positions as watchmen, and there will always be at least one on duty. The roles are rotated, to allow everyone time to forage, including mom. As the babies mature, each pup will generally follow a particular adult, who then teaches them about meerkat life. It's really endearing, to see the pups in the few weeks where they are being weaned and taught to forage - they will literally be allowed to take food out of their 'teacher's mouth. Limited period only, though!

Your little pet needs the same kind of attention. 24/7. A meerkat is never alone. There are people who manage this, and arrange their lives around never leaving the meerkat. Most don't, and after the first few times where little Timone trashes the house because he is stressed and panicking, he starts getting put in a cage outside for a lot of his time. Even when you are with him, the house takes a lot of strain. Meerkats dig. Uncontrollably. Their instinct is to look under/behind/between everything, in case there's a nice juicy grub or scorpion. Even the most well-adapted pets do this. So say goodbye to skirting boards, tile grout, (tiles as well, if they are light enough to be lifted), fridge door seals, cupboard frames....and don't forget the keys on your PC keyboard. An efficient meerkat can get every one off and destroyed in less than 6 minutes. You won't have house plants. And the couch? Who knows what can be found in that!

OK, living in a destruction zone might be manageable. But then sexual maturity arrives, and as an adult, your meerie has to defend his tribe. That's you, and maybe your family. So it starts with biting your dog. Then it's your visitors. Often, it's the children, and in some cases your spouse as well. He's defending you, it's part of his job in life.

And the cute little pet you bought arrives at our rehab centre. His whole reason for being is shattered - he loses his tribe, and his place in it. When a pet meerkat comes in, we often keep them in the clinic, just so that they at least have company. We try not to cuddle them too much, but at the same time, they really need the attention. Depending on the time of year, we almost always have a 'tribe-in-construction'. If a new arrival is healthy, and is not totally dependent on canned food or people food or popcorn (yeah....), we will try to place him in a tribe immediately. Ideally, each tribe should have a very clearly dominant male and female, and a number of both sex who are submissive, both older and younger. Each placement of a new meerkat is thus an individual decision, mostly made by our centre manager, depending on the age, sex and personality-type of the new arrival. It's not infallible. There are always fights - we are still learning new ways to get a newbie into a group without too much blood. Lavender oil works well - when everybody smells like a bordello, it can reduce picking on the stranger. Somebody has to submit - if that's not a clearcut decision, there will be ongoing warfare. To the death. We have had meerkats killed by the tribe, more often than we would like. We have ended up with 6 separate cages, each with too few to make a viable tribe, but none that we could merge due to the dynamics. We have ended up with serious injuries, so that we have to pull a particular animal from his group. Some of this is due to the captivity - in the wild, the loser would be able to stay on the outskirts of the tribe until he was accepted in his new lower-status position. In an enclosure, there is nowhere for him to go to. I've spent an afternoon trying to introduce two meerkats, with two of us in the enclosure, where we watch the fight (ongoing, under things, over things, through our legs....), and break it up when it gets too vicious. Sometimes the only way to get them off each other is to take a tail each, and pour water over the biting bits until they eventually let go. Check the injuries, and let them at it again. Someone has to submit. Mostly, it happens.

This year, we ended up with the 'Nuns'. The group started with one male - older, neutered, canines extracted. We were dubious about his release, but as long as he had a position, it was worth trying. The next few arrivals were all females, all young, all aggressive. No clear alpha female emerged, but the nucleus was holding reasonably. We still needed a breeding male, though, before it could be considered a viable tribe. Somehow, the male broke his leg, probably in a tunnelling accident (the leading cause of meerkat death in the wild, apart from predators), and he had to be pulled out for medical care. So far so good, but then the females wouldn't have him back, and attacked him so viciously that we had to remove him permanently. He lucked out in finding a new tribe though. A very young male came in. Often youngsters will have an easier time being absorbed into a tribe - not this time. It appeared as if they would take him, but 6 hours later they ganged up and attacked him so badly that he had to have most of his tail amputated. Another male. Another rejection. And that was the start of the Nuns...a very cohesive, close-knit group of 5 females. They were released last month, piggybacked onto a larger tribe, with the hope that in the wild they would gradually be absorbed - we'll find out in the future whether this has happened.

Generally a tribe should be at least six or seven strong, with a good mix of sexes, ages and characters. If they breed while with us, this is normally a great way to further cement the tribe, as they all pull together in raising the young. Once there is a clearly cohesive group, we won't often add newcomers, unless they are still very young. Mostly by this time, your pet wouldn't even acknowledge you if you went in - he has a real family. Actually, mostly what happens then is that almost everyone who goes in will be bitten. Humans have become a threat, and while no-one enjoys the bites - which can be really nasty, as meerkats hang on and tear at the flesh - it's also a good sign for release.

This year we had 3 groups (and the nuns), one of which has gone into a filmed release program. They are still being hacked out, at a private nature reserve. The others were released at reserve based around a large dam, about 6 hours from JHB. Each group had an assigned escort, who released them from their new, enclosed burrows at daybreak, took them foraging, monitored their skills and responses etc. A tribe that doesn't realise that raptors are a threat, that doesn't post sentries, that doesn't forage effectively is not releasable. By midday, it was so hot that everyone including the monitors looked for a shady hideaway. More foraging in the late afternoon, and then back to the safe burrow, where, to start off with, they received additional food. As their skills increased, the amount of food given was reduced, until they are self-supporting. After three or four weeks, both tribes were independent. Previously released groups have all survived, albeit with the loss of some members. Although they aren't continually monitored, they have been seen regularly.

Meerkats have a huge territory, which, while not entirely exclusive, they will defend. They have a number of burrow systems, and migrate from one to the next, as they deplete the food sources in an area. There are often 'border skirmishes' between tribes, and these can result in tribes being absorbed by another, or in outcasts being thrown out to survive as a reduced tribe. I don't know of any indepth studies on the viability of a pet-based tribe when it comes in contact with a wild-born group, but I'd guess that our tribes can hold their own. In our first release program, which was a 3 month hacking out period on the edge of the desert, the alpha female had to be euthanased halfway through the project. Some of the casualties before release are as a result of a captivity induced psychoses, where the animal literally becomes completely unhinged. In this case, although we knew that Twiggy was a danger to any human she met, and we were concerned about how she would act in the wild, we were still optimistic about releasing her. Sadly, she become so violent, and so detached from reality, that her behaviour actually became a danger to the group, because she prevented them from foraging. Another one of the older males disappeared along with the juvenile he was teaching. Although they aren't identifiable by name anymore and there have been losses and additions, the tribe is still in existence. They are close to a research project, and have been seen by the students involved there.

So....more meerkat info than most people want! It's hard to convince people that meerkats aren't good pets, especially as there are always a handful who are very happy, well loved and cared for, and who never do anything untoward. I have been told by someone who brought a bird to the centre, of her gran on a farm in the Free State, who rescued a meerkat baby from a veld fire. She raised it in the farmhouse, where there were always dogs, cats, kids and a variety of baby livestock that was being hand-reared for one reason or another. No cages, no closed doors, ever. At maturity, she disappeared for a while, and they thought they had seen her with the wild group on the farm. A few months later, she reappeared with a litter of pups, moved into the house with them, took advantage of free and easy food to get them to juvenile status and then took them back out to live in the wild. She came back every year after that with her offspring, and after few weeks of comfort, went back to the wild group. An unconfirmed tale, but one which does support the theory that sometimes the interaction between man and meerkat can be good for both.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

enough already

Ah shit...for everything there is an unequal and unfair reaction. Yesterday was almost OK, mostly because of intellectual curiosity about Num-lady. So today, in spite of actually accomplishing about 4 of the things on the should-have-been-done-last-month list, I'm just bottoming out again.

I lied on Sunday. I don't want to give the meds stash to p-doc. I want to just suck them down and give up on all this crap. There's just no point.

Two f-cking years. And no idea of when or why or how it ever quits. No reason for it to start. No reason for it to continue. So I guess there's no reason for it to go away again either.

P-doc's oh so cheerful lady called today, for about the first time in a month. Not bad, seeing as I'm still on his shit list that she is supposed to call most days. She asks whether the meds are working yet. I say no. She asks (bear in mind that she is calling from his waiting room, and yells at the top of her voice, so everyone there gets to listen to it all as well....) 'well, what does Dr say about this, what does he think the reason is for the drugs not working'. I can't answer that. If he knew or I knew, we'd f-cking change something, wouldn't we? Not just arse around for this long. So I said that he thinks I'm maybe not quite human. That got her in hysterics, yelling and gurgling with laughter about aliens and why didn't I paint my face green the next time I came in, ho ho ho!

Maybe she has the right idea though. She's a real git, but she manages to laugh all day. For someone who phones depressed people , she certainly doesn't let any of it get to her. Maybe that is her real function, to be a 'good example' - if only she wasn't such a pain in the neck about it.

I keep the meds in the fridge, along with all the bird drugs. Often I just hold them, feel the chill. Wish I had the balls to just do it.

meerkat magic

Some of the meerkat (suricata suricatta) photos from the rehab centre - for Michael in Australia...

Some of the babies born at the centre

First dig in free earth - release Feb 07

Hacking out site - a safe den in an old aardvark burrow! Feb 07

A full belly, morning sun, two wives - a contented meerkat...

The Nuns from Hell - these 5 meerkat females saw off every male we tried to introduce, and were eventually released in a 'granny flat' with one of the other groups. Their aggression prompted one of the less charitable of the volunteers to be overheard saying "thats it. no more bitten boys. if they never get laid again it's their own damn fault!" Said volunteer was bleeding profusely at the time...

This miserable looking lad had led his group in a successful dig-out from their enclosure - a feat that required a tunnel 3 foot deep and over 6 foot long, camouflaged at the entrance by rocks, and exiting under a tree. First thing he did was race off to one of the other groups and pick a fight through the mesh. His left arm had severe bites, the right was broken by his sparring partner and had to be splinted for over a month.

- ownership of all pics is held by the rehab centre.

Monday, March 12, 2007

wow. what numbers can tell!

I went to see a numerologist/alternative therapy lady today, at Girlshrink's suggestion. She figured that given the current lack of response to conventional things, it couldn't hurt. Well, today's bit didn't - not sure about the next bit that I signed up for.

She had no advance info at all, seeing as t-doc got her name from a friend of hers, so she couldn't have found out anything that way. I gave her no info at all. Visual clues - I was wearing standard denims and tshirt with standard lack of make-up. My feet are calloused from walking barefoot, so she could have noticed that. I'm fat - she couldn't not notice that. Oh yeah, and I had a baby barbet with me who still needs 30 min feeds. Other than that...nothing.

She phrased most of her statements in definite terms, without waiting for a reaction, but trying to be tactful some of the time. I can't think of one thing that she said in the two hours I was there that wasn't entirely accurate. OK, her opinion of me doesn't quite match up with my opinion of me - it was a lot nicer than I really am. But the things she said are very much the same as the things that other people that I respect have said. Including t-doc who should know by now what a nasty piece of shit I actually am.

But wow! How does she know from my mother's date of birth that Ma is skinny, elegant, perfectionist, looks 20 years younger than she is? What made her say that my Dad will never stop working because he loves it? How did she know they are moving house? And my sister and family - she summarised them perfectly, even some physical characteristics.

I hadn't said more than pleasantries when she asked straight out about depression and suicidality. OK, the self-mutilation is visible, but most people think first off that the forearm bit is a cat scratch. She didn't.

She also did a tarot reading, which also seemed to come up with much of the same info that she already had. Note to self - go read up on tarot and meanings of cards. All round though, I was stunned by how accurate she was.

So, given that she specifically said that she would be happy to chat to t-doc if she wanted (didn't offer the same for p-doc, but then again, I really can't see him being interested), and that she had no intention of interfering with existing therapies, she suggested first of all that I try to start meditating again. I tried the bio-feedback StressEraser thing last year, which is aiming to semi-scientifisise (??) the physical responses to meditation into doing it without the word ever being mentioned. Didn't do much for me, but part of that was my totally apathy and inability to focus on something that isn't a complete distraction (i.e. I can research strange crap on the net for hours, but can't remember mostly what happened two pages ago in the current novel). I mentioned TM, which did help quite a bit when I was in my teens - she reckons that's a good one, because it's quick and can be done anywhere where there's a comfortable floor and a bit of quiet. She also offered a 5 week course of unpacking therapy - that's going to be the not so comfortable bit. I guess I am sort of aware of a few of the bits that would get unpacked - and maybe examining them and dealing with them will stop them influencing my current life. Because I know that some of them do. Not so much in direct terms, but in some of the ways that I have never gone back to certain parts of me. Some of them have come out with Girlshrink, but more as anecdotal stuff, and I've avoided it becoming any more. Because dammit, the reason it got put away is because it still hurts. And applying logic or hindsight or even just common sense doesn't make any difference.

Or does it? She specifically said that I can pull out after the first session if I really want to, but after that, no chickening out - that it's important to complete the course. Which I interpret as 'is going to hurt like hell, and am going to have to dig it all out' - she says that a lot of what is stopping me from achieving anything much (and if I'm honest, has done for a long time now) has to be dealt with in order to take up the new opportunities she sees in the cards.

Don't know about new opportunities. I'd like it if I could get to a place where I don't stuff up everything I ever do. Would be nice if I could find some kind of BF as well. Mostly I am alone but not lonely. Mostly. The last few months I am combining intense loneliness with a simultaneous reduction in the people I see or communicate with. I am isolating myself in a very empty castle tower. And it happens whether I want it or not. As in Duckling Buddy dumping me. No, it wasn't a good friendship in many ways. It was a lot of hard work for me coping with some of her paranoia and suspicion. But it was also a very honest relationship - the only person I really opened up for who doesn't get paid for enduring it. Then again - maybe the payment just wasn't a financial one, but taken in more subtle ways. Either way, it ended.

Sometimes I think this blog has become a strange friendship thing. I read a few people's blogs, genuinely care about what they say, and appreciate their comments on mine occasionally. But blogbuddies don't keep you warm in the middle of the dark night either....

And sometimes I'd really like that to happen again.

Ah hell. Sometimes I am just more of a thickheaded asshole than I already am generally. Loser, loser, loser. And a nasty one at that.


PS the last little finch died today while I was at t-doc. He was doing great. And then he was doing dead. No idea why. 3/3 dead. And second little mousebird died last night. Maybe I am doing more damage by caring for them than if they stayed at work.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

things to do on a sunday

1. Not actually speak to anyone at all except dogs, cats and birds

2. Not get dressed at all (it's still summer here...)

3. Ignore appropriate mealtimes and substances in favour of everything in the fridge that I won't be able to eat or drink tomorrow when I start the whole MAOI diet again, along with the superdrug Nardil. So cheese, bacon and banana toasties with a beer for breakfast ( was already 11h00, and I had been up since 07h30 feeding babies!), Swiss chocolate and salami for snacks, and have just OD'd on the cheesiest ricotta & spinach tortellini drenched in cheese-carbonara sauce with extra pecorino grated over it. At least the MAOI diet ends up being healthy because I eat mostly fruit.

4. Decide absolutely and definitely that I will give p-doc the meds collection on Thurs. If I haven't used it by then. Not the first time I have decided that, but somehow I end up changing my mind. I have to give it up though - not because of any admirable reasons, but because I have this vague feeling of it being unethical on my part to misuse stuff I've weaseled away from his scripts.

5. Smoke way too much. Like two packs at least. And given that I am about to start on the brandy, probably be more than that.

6. Worry all day about little mousebird. Analyse every poop for quantity and consistency. Probably drive him to an early death by incessantly checking on him.

7. Rip another few dozen CD's to the PC, so that I can continue my mission of creating good mixes to either listen to in the car or off myself to.

8. Limit thinking of suicide to no more than once every five minutes. Such restraint...

9. Not cut my arm, even though it would feel so, so calming. Consider other parts of my large and visible (given my nekkidness...) anatomy, and discard idea - have tried a few bits now and again and found them lacking - don't ask me to explain that one.

10. Think of ex-boyfriend, whose birthday it would be tomorrow, if he hadn't been murdered. Just another crime statistic for our revered jack-ass Thabo Mbeki to ignore. There was an article yesterday on what the police in SA spend on private security - most of which is allocated to guarding police property. I kid you not. We pay for private security companies to guard police stations. Doesn't seem to stop case reports from growing little feet and walking. Recent figure quoted is about R5000 for a murder docket. Robbery, hijacking, rape are a bit less. R100-million - it is a huge amount...if they spent that money on actually doing something about crime... shit. There was also a report on a survey asking responses to statements like 'I worry about violence and crime'. What a surprise - about 75% across all racial and economic groups answered yes. Ah hell....Les, wish you still had the chance to answer that question. Instead of being shot in your sleep for a few beers and less than R500. And, like most crimes against average citizens, minimal investigation, no arrests, no convictions.
Miss ya, babes.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

comparative speech

Spoken word count for the day : 8 to some arbitrary wrong number (I presume) who phoned. A few hundred to the beasts in residence.

Littlest mousebird died today. Deep down I knew he probably would, he was just too small for anyone except mom to raise. Statistically it shouldn't surprise me, or upset me. But it does. Every time. Other babies are all doing well, although mynah with the rickets does not appreciate the orthopedic shoes he has on. It's hard to explain to a bird about dietary deficencies, when all he sees is that he can't perch on a ladder like his buddies can. *** Note to self - read up on personification of animals as an indicator of social disorders....

Dinah over at Shrink Rap posted on 'Things I wish I knew' today. Including a bit on whether to continue to treat patients who continue to do things that are bad for them. Really scared me, that. I smoke, I am obese, don't do any excercise. Haven't done any illegal drugs for more than 5 years, but probably would if they were offered to me - hey all the offeror would have to say is 'wanna be happy?' and I'd be doing them in a flash. Don't socialise much. Much is a shortened form of 'only when my family makes me', as I don't really see anyone else anymore other than at the rehab centre - my IT work is mostly done from home, and if I have to go into the office, I normally arrange it for weekends. And DuckBuddy dumped me, and that was my only other regular face-to face kind of social contact. I haven't had casual sex in a long while, haven't actually had sex at all since my sort of boyfriend was murdered. Two and a half years ago.

I guess the top three on my bad-person list are that I compulsively hoard excess meds in case I need them to OD when I give up. And I drink, although this year I have made a very concerted attempt at not drinking at all, and on the few times I have slipped, it has been more like 4 single vodka and coke lites than the previous excess. P-doc still marvels at the answer to 'what is the most you have drunk in one session', when I had to confess to about an 8 hour evening that included 17 double vodka's. Only reason I know that is cos it was on the bill. And no, I spent the following day with my head under a pillow feeling so not well. But even on my own at home, I was going through a bottle every two days. Now I don't even have a bottle at home. And number three is that I self-injure. Used to be only the left bicep, since being in hospital last year where I ran out of left bicep and did the left foream, it's mainly been both.

If seeing him for treatment would be conditional on stopping most of the self-damaging things, I can only think that it would be more likely to stop on a self-terminating kind of thing. I couldn't bear to fail him. Even more than I already do. I don't think t-doc would impose those kind of terms. She is too empathetic, and even with being ten years younger than me, she is maternal in a lot of ways. I hope she wouldn't. If p-doc did that though, and didn't give partial points for trying... I'd end up dead.

Oh what a cheerful, happy (and sober) train of thought on a Saturday night...

random stupid things i have done # 1

The current inexplicable sore back muscles bit has reminded me of one of the forever embarrassing things from the past. You know, the ones that make you wonder what in hell planet you were on at the time....

So this one dates back to about 1993 or so. Long term relationship had ended, I was living on my own for basically the first time, seeing as I had gone from home to college to fiance. I was in my mid 20's, as hot as I have ever been, fit and tanned and sexy. And wild...I had a whole bunch of teenage stuff to catch up with!

One of the guys I was dating wanted me to go to a party with him, which I wasn't keen on, seeing as it would be a bunch of total strangers. He begged, I resisted. He begged some more, I agreed on condition that the very second I said I wanted to leave, we would go. So off we went to the party, armed with a couple of bottles of wine. For some strange (and to this day, unknown) reason, the hosts had suspended a coconut in the front door, at about 5' 10" from the floor.

Needless to say, it turned into a good party - especially the bit where this one guy was trying to get my date out of the room so he could get my number...'nother story!
And at about 23h00, with a fair bit of wine in me, I was standing in a group in the entrance hall. Someone came down the stairs and jumped at the coconut on the way past. Someone else speculated on whether it would be possible to kick the coconut - I think they were envisaging a running start down the stairs and across the hall, which was about 8' across.

I squinted at the coconut, handed my glass of wine to the man next to me, and propelled myself horizontally upwards from a standing start. OK, I didn't get to kick the damn thing, but I managed to get my entire body about 5'4" in the air, parallel to the floor.....after which I descended rapidly, still horizontal, landed on the tiled floor, thought in passing that my elbow was going to be damn sore the next day, stood up, retrieved my glass of wine, and said that I thought it was probably impossible.

And continued partying for another few hours.....

The following day my parents had come to my house, so that my Dad could help me with building a box for the pool filter motor. We were halfway through this when I turned to reach for a nail.

And froze. In complete agony. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I wondered whether this was a pre-death thing. After a few moments of eternity, whatever it was stopped, and I could breathe. Of course, doing this sort of thing in front of parents is not good - I was immediately bundled into the car and taken to the closest ER. Where about halfway through the exam, the doctor asks whether I have had a car accident or any major trauma in the past few days. The coconut appears before my mother is standing next to me....I have a second-splitting decision on what to says 'well?'...I have to confess to the coconut levitation attempt. He laughs hysterically at the mental picture. My mother doesn't. Not at all. Doc tells me that I have pulled the muscles joining my ribs to my spine, and that it's quite a common post-trauma thing. Gives me some meds, laughs a bit more, and shows us out.

It's one thing doing stupid tricks like that, it's a whole different animal trying to explain to your parents why...

Friday, March 9, 2007

friday night

So : what, if anything, has been accomplished in the last three days.

Back is still sore, but p-doc gave me some anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. And he dropped the morning Risperdal, and tonight is last 25mg Leponex. Start a new TCA (trimipramine) on Sunday, and Nardil on Monday. Quilonum, Zopimed, Tertroxin stay the same. He won't prescribe any Zopimed though - says if I want them, I can take them from my collection, which currently includes 73 plus 20 Stilnox.

He asked for collection, I declined. I wish I could walk in and say here, don't need them anymore. Guess that's a thought to work on.

Big dog's biopsies were all good - just normal little bumps. Expensive little bumps, but he's worth it. Zac-zac the collie is a bit upset that Whiz got to go out for the day, and has been doing his closer than a shadow trick since then - gets way too close to sending me flying every time I go anywhere. Needless to say, privacy in the bathroom is nonexistant. Small bathroom - big me, medium Zac and big Whiz.

One of the little finches died - it shouldn't have. So did a pigeon and a bulbul. On the other hand, the mynah that I was worried about is doing well, and the two teeny weeny mousebirds (guess is 2 days and 3 respectively) are doing ok. Touch wood. They eat between 0.1 and 0.2 ml of formula every half hour or so. I put formula plus pellet mix in for the finches, sparrow and thrush, and it appears as if little boy finch and the sparrow swam in it. Will have to give them a bath tomorrow.

Collected a pigeon with a fractured humerus, will need to take him to vet to get it strapped, as he is too feisty for me to do it by myself.

Squirmed out of afternoon shift at the rehab centre, not that I achieved anything constructive instead.

Finished the first two CD's of the best songs to die to. At this rate it's going to be about 10 hours worth - guess at least I won't run out of accompaniment.

Saw t-doc today, talked about friendships ending and other cheerful subjects. Gave her copies of the first 2 volumes. She's a bit dubious about the inclusion of a few Afrikaans songs - some of them are really beautiful though. Just not really translatable without losing the poetry.

I am sore and sad and - although normally I am alone, but not lonely - tonight is as lonely as I can ever be. All my fault. I am such a total f**kwit loser. I can't blame my Duckbuddy for dumping me - if I was her I'd have done that long ago, and for better reasons. Her reasons now were fallacy and overflow from her paranoia, but if she'd done it before when there were good reasons, it wouldn't have ended up being over nothing now.

Some of Springsteen's Nothing Man :

"You can call me joe
Buy me a drink and shake my hand
You want courage
Ill show you courage you can understand
The pearl and silver
Restin on my night table
Its just me lord, pray Im able

Darlin, with this kiss
Say you understand
I am, the nothing man
I am, the nothing man"

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

sore day

I woke up last night at about midnight feeling a lot of pain. Once I'd worked out that it wasn't in any way kitty related, I tried rolling over. Ouch. Seemed to be somewhere around the middle of my back, but extending around to the front in a couple of places. I was totally out of it on the risperdal/leponex combo, plus I'd taken a sleeping tab. Unfortunately none of those were enough to stop me waking up every 40 mins in agony. I eventually ended up in the bath at 05h00, in the hope that warmth and floating would help. Not much.

Reluctantly, it was off to the doc after I'd taken big dog to the vet to have his lumps removed. Doc was just a totally horrible, upsetting experience, from the time I got there and asked for an appointment. Ended up eventually standing in the main street crying because the whole thing just made me feel like such a useless piece of scum. Not what I really needed. Came home and spent the rest of the day trying to find a position that I could stay in for longer than 30 secs without hurting. Doc had basically told me that with current p-meds he could do just about nothing for the pain.

Forgetting that it was Weds, and p-doc was off for the afternoon, I called at about 16h00 to see if he could suggest anything. When he called back, he said there were all sorts of things that I could have taken. The only painkillers I have in the house were 6 paracetamol tabs from I don't know when - an hour after taking 2, I could sit without crying. So one more tonight, one more in the morning if needed, and then I get to see p-doc. Somehow though, I don't think he is going to feel too kindly about prescribing pain meds when he sees what I did to my arm without them.

Big dog, by the way, seems to show no ill effects from his day in surgery. Will have to wait for the lab reports, but touch wood all three lumps are benign. He's a very special dog, and like to have him here and happy for many years to come. He was doing one of his tricks this morning that contributed towards him failing puppy-training. He doesn't mind the collar and lead at all, in fact he loves them. But the question of who holds the end of the lead is - in his opinion - non-negotiable. He does. I'm allowed to hold the middle of the lead, but it kind of ruins the neat and orderly walk that one needs in training. Actually, on the farm, when he came with me to do the early morning vegetable stuff, I gave up on the conventional way of walking. I used to give him the handle bit, and clip the other end to my belt. And in about 3 years of doing that, he never once dropped the lead and ran off, as he could have done at any time. Sweet, soppy big guy...a very special dog.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ok, so a quick not all birdy one as well

Now bear in mind I don't bear grudges, and I normally don't notice them being borne against me. And I am 100% so not paranoid or delusional. Ok, the bit where I slept on the couch for two weeks after a burglary while I was in hospital last year might quality as slightly paranoid, but the reason for it was because the lounge is more central, and I could hear noises from all around. Eventually, I had to go back to sleeping in bed 'cos 4 kitties piled on top of me on the couch was not helping any of us to sleep well.

But I could start feeding a bit delusional, and it's all Bloggers fault. Posted comments on two of my favourites. The one was there for a few minutes, but when I went back an hour or two later, it was gone! And the second went off to the moderation dungeons, and never reappeared. Not as if they were bad comments. Boring is probably their worst characteristic, but they weren't that bad, I don't think. And they were short too.

So: Blogger hates me. Bummer.

Been doing all the helpful things, and they aren't doing anything. So after about a 3 week hiatus, left bicep and a few inches around have the 'torture of a thousand cuts'. Left forearm has the 3 single stripes. Sick, sick, sick. But letting the tension out along with the blood somehow helps me not to do more.

time for a birdies only post

Nothing in my life has changed for the better in any way. So instead of telling you about crying on t-doc's shoulder for an hour, or ripping up my entire left arm with the blades, or being even more of a f%%kwit loser.....let's talk about birds.

First good story is that I caught all my aviary pigeons this morning, and took them through to mynah man who had said he was keen to have them. They include a bunch of hand-raised babies (picture a huge fat pigeon climbing up the side of the aviary while begging...pigeons don't climb. They don't hang on fencing. I am failing these children in terms of educating them...) as well as a few who have come in with wing damage, and who might come right with some R&R. I do stick to the rehab centre rules (except for finchy mentor-girl, and all of us broke the rules for her...just somehow no-one wanted to be the one to sentence her to death), and if something is obviously never going to be releasable, or be viable in the wild, they are euthanased. But because it's my home aviary, and I am only dealing with about 800 birds a year ( as opposed to the centre's 8000 plus), I have the time and the space to give them a longer rehab session. So there were about 6 that might fly properly eventually. Mynah man has a well secured garden, and no predators, so they can potter around his home safely. He called me this afternoon, deliriously happy about the beauty of some of them (FYI feral pigeons are basically escaped racing pigeons mixed with the indigenous species, so they come in some truly gorgeous stripes and bars, and iridescent necks and heads in purple and green and blue mixed with grey are quite common), and I can see that these pigeons ain't never gonna leave there! They will be too fat and lazy to even think of it, while they amble from the seed tray to the bath to the newly built perches.

Finchy mentor-girl came in to meet her new friends, and judging by the way she was disciplining them, they must be quite cheeky boys.

I left two birds at the centre, but came home with another 4 as well as a little snake. Snake disappeared in the car on the way home, and I can't find him. Not good, as he needs special food while he is injured. Also not good as I would rather not find him by sitting or standing on him.

And best of all, the barbet story. Quick summary - he came to me on Fri with a broken femur, saw Girlvet on Sat, and she taped it, but said he needed a pin put in on Mon. So yesterday, I took him through to the practice (2 bird vets, the Boss and a newish but great Girlvet), handed him in for surgery, and did other things for a while. Phoned them before I headed home, receptionist asked Boss, and he said it could be picked up, so I collected him. As I got home, I get a call to say he hadn't been pinned yet, and must be brought back. Turns out Boss had seen Girlvet prepping everything, and had assumed the surgery was done, but she just hadn't had time to do it. So this morning I take him back, see Boss briefly, and leave Barbet there. 30 mins later I get a call from receptionist to say that I have brought the wrong bird. I say 'but I only have one BC barbet at the moment...' and go back to vet to sort it out. Girlvet wasn't there, and for some strange reason, Boss had assumed it needed wing surgery, so he had a quick feel, and could find nothing wrong with either wing. Not surprising, seeing as they were both in perfect nick. Once the leg was mentioned, the break was obvious to him immediately, and BCB had his surgery this afternoon.

I think its going to be a long time before he stops being teased about this one. My rehab bosslady wants to buy him a toy ducky and label the basic bits - wing, leg, head etc - but I can't see that being too appreciated!

And now I guess I should head for the medicine chest followed by bed, as there will be early feeds for 8 birds, and extra-early for the new baby...another Barbet. His eyes only came through yesterday, so best guess is he is about 6 days old. Being a barbet, he already knows that he has to bite, but hasn't quite grasped the mechanics of pinch and twist and dig the pointy bit in, so his bites mainly consist of half an inch of finger being swallowed, while he tries to work out why that isn't satisfying.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

loser either way

DB thinks I talk too much.

P-doc thinks I talk too little.

T-doc had about two years of writing. She started it, soon after I began seeing her, by asking me to keep a log of what was happening in my life and give it to her. Don't think she realised how long it would carry on for. Last year I made a huge effort to talk instead. Sometimes I manage. Sometimes I just sit and cry.

Almost everyone I know probably wishes I'd just shut up sometimes. 'Cos when I am faking being a normal person, it's a skin I slip on. I can talk crap about almost anything, for hours. It's only the important things that I can't articulate.

P-doc and t-doc are the only people I enforce the no-faking rule for. Used to be with Duckbuddy as well. When someone who knows almost all of you tells you to f-off ... hurts, really hurts.

And today, my other cyber-buddy from the online shrink site I sometimes hang out at, is also pissed off with me. About talking. Says I don't do it about myself, that I seem to slide the conversation across to her all the time. I hadn't noticed that. I was thinking that we weren't ever going to be best buddies, but that we had a reasonably friendly and supportive relationship. Guess I was wrong.

Twice in a week. At least the week is over.

So the most intimate and meaningful relationships in my life are both with people who get paid to put up with me. I do have family and other friends, but mostly, I try to keep it so that they don't know what a loser I am. They get to just presume it, as my sociability level drops to below zero.

Only useful thing i have done all day is feeding birds, and then going to fetch two mynahs. Am expecting the littler one to be dead by morning - don't know who had him, or for how long, but I suspect that he has food in his lungs. And littlest finch-baby died today, also expected as she has not been wanting to eat since Friday. Her brothers are making up for it though. It's awesome watching them. 5 days ago they were babies. Suddenly their legs have become useful, and their wing feathers have sprouted. However, they still believe in 30-min feeds of baby food - and if it doesn't happen fast enough, they start climbing out of the nest. Tomorrow I will bring little finch mentor girl inside, to start teaching them finchy lessons. Hopefully that will include sweet little whistling noises instead of the chainsaw sounds they currently emit.

Have to be up early, not only for feeds, but also to take Black-collared Barbet from Friday back to bird-vet for his leg to be pinned. The break is too high up to be splinted. I was kind of pleased that my assessment wasn't too far off. Now if I could only train myself to stop calling the last joint in the leg the shoulder, I'd be getting somewhere. For some reason, it just comes out wrong. I keep confusing Bosslady, by asking her to check a bird for me because I think it's shoulder is fractured. And I only realise it when she is palpating the wings and saying all OK. And then I say 'but it can't walk' and she gives me one of her sweet but amazed looks, and you can see her wondering if I have learned any anatomy in the last 2 1/2 years...

Promised I'd come to the centre first, and collect anyone else who needs to see the vet. So needs to be an early move - at least I only have 8 birds that have to come with.

Think it is going to be a swimming pool bath again in the morning. Hey, better take advantage of the weather while it is still so warm.....

catching up on technology...

Just a little bit. For some reason, having spent my youth exploring the boundaries of new stuff, I have now become so retro that it's scary. I mean, my mother is WAY more advanced than I am!

To put the 'boundaries' into perspective, I remember going to research lectures on what hardly existed then - the web, as it was, was a small number of sites accessing each other under the auspices of the US Defence. It was called Darpanet or something similar. We laughed at the concept of world wide - I mean no-one was going to let other unknowns into their system!

I remember seeing a demo of 'dial up' - where you put your home phone's receiver into two little ear-muffs, and at about 4.6 Kb/s, you could 'talk' to another computer. Analog, of course, and you could go make coffee in between each line of green text. Oh yeah..that was in the days of one colour only screens. Mostly white text, but the newer, more exciting ones were in green.

I had a home PC. I was the first person in the whole school to have one. The entire memory was 48Kb, before you loaded the operating system (Basic), after that it dropped to 36Kb. Programs had to be written in really tight code, so as not to overrun memory. I had a chess game that was pretty good. I learned to write some machine-code, where you PEEKed at memory, and then POKEd it with hex characters to display things - the most I ever managed was to write a race-car game that you steered by using the ASDF keys. My favorite was Eliza, a good version of the standard analysis game. Eliza started by asking 'how are you', you responded, it then asked you a question based on picking various bits of your reply. Example. Eliza : how are you? Jcat : I am miserable. Eliza : Why are you miserable? Jcat : I am a banana. Eliza : Why does being a banana make you miserable? Jcat : Because a banana is a squishy fruit. Eliza : I see that being a squishy fruit makes you uncomfortable. Would you like to tell me more? etc etc.

Another talk was on the Japanese ideas of cell phones. We laughed at that, it was just inconceivable that it could ever work properly. Maybe in the middle of a big town... but all over the country? Get real! That talk was in about 1991....

So now, I am the only person I know whose cell phone can't even take photos, never mind videos. I don't have a DVD player (although I think that the replacement PC I got after mine was stolen last year can play them...I haven't tried yet). I still have a working VHS VCR. My microwave has just celebrated its 21st birthday, and my fridge was born in 1992. I treasure things that belonged to my parents, and to my grandmother. My printer could be a fax machine/scanner if I really wanted it to be, but I haven't done all the connecty bits to allow it. I finally unwrapped the portable CD player (that my folks bought me about 4 years ago) when I was in hospital for three weeks last October. And that was primarily so that I didn't have to talk to anyone.

Yesterday's great leap was when I got tired of finding free songs to download, because they never had the ones I wanted. Now ordering CDs is cool, I do that quite often. But the big break was....buying an album of downloads! That worked well, so I bought a few more, of songs that I really wanted. And then this little voice said 'your own compilations...' and the thought was awesome! So have spent about the past 8 hours selectively uploading all my CDs. Not all - I'd guess that I've done about one eighth so far. And I bought blank CDs. So by next week I will have a whole bunch of perfect CDs, with nothing but the perfect mix. However I think the 'last CD' is going to be 3 or 4 volumes - that's ok, they will all be perfect to drift away to.

Guess it is only the thought of dying that has motivated the techno-jump. I want to have the background music, while I sit in the bush downing pills with vodka/Coke lite, and breathing CO. I keep telling myself that preparation is ok, in return for holding off on action for another day.

That the one day that I hang on for might be the one where the meds work. The one where I see t-doc and a huge revelation appears and I am filled with insight and hope for tomorrow. The one where I go see a numerologist that t-doc has recommended, who is supposed to have had good results with treating sad fuckwit losers. The one where I meet Mr Perfect - and he is not only available, but is interested in me just as much. The one where I get hijacked or caught in the middle of a shopping mall robbery - and the whole situation is no longer my choice.

And as you can see by the time, the super night combo (including the Zopimed) has not done much towards throwing me into the arms of sleep. But had better go try it out, because the little finches, the robin and the thrush will all be wanting brekkies by 07h30 or earlier....

Every time my phone bleeps, I have this wistful though that it might be DB. I'd like it to be. I'd like it not to be. I am scared that if we did go on, it would be with all the stress fractures unhealed, and that soon it would end even more painfully. Painfully for me. I don't think it hurts her at all, based on some of the things she said - her pain is behind a whole wedge of psychotic delusions, and maybe she will see it sometime long in the future and wonder why on earth she acted the way she has.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

sleep and meds and sleep some more

Still need to get the times for the current meds right so that if I wanted to actually have a life I'd be able to. At the moment most of the day is spent either asleep or wanting to be.

The Leponex are supposed to be sedating, but don't do anything to me for about 4 hours at least, so I've been taking them as early in the evening as possible, once I don't have to go out again. Mostly at about 17h00. Taking the Quilonum and Risperdal at about 20h00. Then I wake up, and spend the next couple of hours wanting to sleep but not being able to. Eventually crash out. I know that dreams are waking me up a few times, but by morning they are gone. Morning is gone too, mostly. Can barely keep myself conscious till somewhere around ten, and after that, the rest of the day is sleepy but managable as long as I don't get anywhere near a comfy couch or bed. Taking morning meds just after I get out of bed, normally before 08h00 - I try for about 07h00, for the babies first feeds.

I don't have a shower in the house, and the idea of actually running a cold bath is just too offputting. The leap into the pool though is becoming a good alternative for the days when I know that lying in warmish water is going to be a guaranteed nap. My back garden is private, so the only ones who see me heading for the pool armed with shampoo and soap are the dogs. And the visiting pigeons, who line up on the roof to watch the spectacle! Actually, I guess they are just waiting for me to throw out the seed leftovers from the day before when I change the towels of the indoor cages.

No word from DB since her ending of the friendship on Weds night. I grieve for what we had. I'm not sure that I grieve much for what the relationship had become. In some ways I am relieved to not be permanently on the knife blade that I balanced on for the last couple of months, always having to worry about what I said in case it upset her, always having to worry about replying to dozens of text messages soon enough so that she didn't start the 'are you cross with me? what have I done? please talk to me?' bombardment.

But I miss my friend. The one I knew before her current disappearance into paranoia and delusions. The one who I spent hours talking shit with. The one with a genius IQ and an almost photographic memory, who can virtually recite the MIMS/PDR. The sweet, sexy girl with the infectious smile, and the mischievous twinkle in her eyes. The one who cared about what I was doing or feeling, apart from only when it concerned her. The one who was my friend.

In one way, it doesn't surprise me that it happened, but the reasons are completely opposite from what I'd have expected. I am 41, fat, ugly, depressed, suicidal, insular, unfit, single, etc etc. She is 30, tiny and sexy, well-muscled from gym, pretty, married, health-conscious. And way sicker than she used to be. Or maybe it was just that I wasn't part of the delusions before, because she has had them in the past. This has been an unequal relationship, weighted on her side of the scale. Kind of like when the most popular girl in the school wants to be friends... there is always part of you that knows you are not entitled to this, and that sooner or later, you'll get dumped. Guess that has happened. The last few weeks were not really good ones for me, 'cos whatever I said or did wasn't the right thing. But when I envisage her, it's the elfin smile and the things we laughed at together that I see. Even in the worst moments of the past year, we have been able to find something to laugh at together.

I miss my friend.....

Friday, March 2, 2007

risper'd out...

Feel like I have been taking some illegal drug - unfortunately not one of the fun ones! Sticking at 100mg Leponex, 11.25mg Zopimed, 20mg Tertroxin. But the lithium goes from 450mg at night to 450mg at night and 225mg in the morning. And Risperdal comes in at 0.25mg BID. Apart from being absolutely flaked out for most of the day, I also feel like I'm not all here, slow thoughts, just a general feeling that I am about 10 steps behind where I should be. Mild tremor, mild soreness in muscles. Mild hypotension. Major sweating, but I've had that all along with the TCAs. And seeing as it's about 32 degrees (C) at the moment and I am an absolute fatball - can't blame Risperdal for that. Not going to take the sedative tonight - think that's fairly well covered by the Leponex/Quilonum/Risperdal combo.

Wow...what a life. Friday night and I'm in bed by 22h30. I guess having to get up early for the little finches is a good excuse. They are now used to me being mommy, so as I walk into the room the buzzing starts.

Bad day from the bird side though. The little grey baby died this morning. I had to fetch two pigeons, and have them both euthanased because of old and bad fractures. A Black-collared Barbet came in with a broken leg, so will need to take him thru to the bird vet tomorrow morning - it's too high for me to be able to splint/strap it. And another pigeon with probable paramyxo virus.

This was all from home, I chickened out of doing the afternoon shift at the rehab centre. Spent the day buying music online - all sorts of sad songs, mostly in Afrikaans, and doing and redoing the playlist for the 'last CD'. As a good JAP (or kugel, in SA) would say "music to die for, doll". This was in between going to fetch birds from all over, and taking my big dog to the vet. He has a couple of small bumps on his face, and as he has already been operated on for mast cell cancer, I'd prefer to have them whipped off and biopsied.

So to bed, with Harry Potter (#4), am rereading the whole series. If you want something to perve at, look for pics of Daniel Radcliffe in his Equus role. Yo. There should be laws about letting 17 year olds look so! Makes fat old cows like me feel positively pedophiliac. Apparently the show is almost porno in places, but it's playing to packed houses, and I'd hazard a guess that a good chunk of the audience is there purely for Daniel's strip scenes. Oh well...let me take the clean-cut and innocent version off to read in bed.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


So after last weeks blow-up, things were a bit tense with the Duckbuddy, but I had thought we'd gotten through the bad patch. Especially since - ignoring everything I had said - she twisted my arm into coffee at her house. Her house as opposed to anywhere in the universe that I actually wanted to go.

The early evening conversation started with telling me that her husband had yelled at her for not eating supper, and she'd lied about having a big lunch. Last time she saw p-doc, he was threatening her with either dropping her as a patient, or sending her to a closed anorexia ward, which would also be dropping her, as she would be seeing the staff p-doc. He said basically the same things the time before. And the time before that.

I know these things because she told me. In detail. Not because of any other source.

Last night I said that she has to eat if she doesn't want to end up with those options. First reply was the "don't shout at me, I'm already stressed because of husband". Second was "how do you know what he thinks, have you been discussing me". A couple more messages getting really bitchy about me presuming to have any idea of either what is good for her, or specifically, me presuming to tell her what p-doc has/will said.

I know these things because she told me. In detail. Not because of any other source.

Last sms started off with "I want to end this friendship". followed by a few other choice remarks. I didn't reply.

I can fight many things to save a relationship. But I can't fight paranoia, and I can't fight self-centredness that results in whatever I say being ignored or dissected for evil intentions. And I can't fight those when they are coupled with the in between moments of complete dependence which is normally indicated by statements such as 'please don't hate me, everyone hates me, I am so unloved...' etc.

I am so lost and hurting at the moment already, and I don't have the resources to be strong for someone else instead of for myself. DB is a wonderful friend when she wants to be. But lately it doesn't seem as if she ever does want to be wonderful with me. Maybe I should try to be strong and wonderful to me instead.

Needless to say, I cried with p-doc for the whole appt, without mentioning the duckbuddy issue. Bit of a med shuffle around, finished with Cipralex. And now starting on Risperdal. He didn't mention ECT, and neither did I. BP is too high to start Nardil, but that is only possible next week after the SSRI washout is finished.

Saw t-doc a bit later, walked in crying, continued through whole session, walked out still crying. Told her about the messages and disagreements. She tried to help. Only problem is that if my reactions were reasonable, it then means that it is not what I've done that is to blame, it is what I am. A fat, ugly, horrible loser.

Achievement for the day: not killing any little birds, and dropping some of them back at the centre. Down to 9 needing hand-feeding, and the man who homed my mynahs is willing to have the feral pigeons as well. Will do a soft release there, where we gradually let them out more, and keep feeding. Gives them the choice of leaving when they feel ready to, and if not...I still have a couple of very recognisable birds that I released at home almost 5 months ago. Don't know where they sleep, but they come for afternoon tea every day.