Holding Hands with Gale

Life Quirks: Coping with Change – Meet My Cat Gale

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

The Beginning

It happened so fast that I still feel unprepared.

I’ve been trying for over 4 months to adopt a cat through the Oregon Humane Society, but it’s been a challenge because of COVID-19-related changes to the adoption process. But on the busiest, most challenging week post-COVID, Gale came into my life.

I applied Wednesday. Talked to the counselor on Thursday. Met and brought Gale home on Friday – completely unprepared.

Gale's profile photo
Gale’s profile photo

The counselor told me about the attitude on the phone; and that she loves food and catnip. That was good because I love food and catnip too. That’s how we bonded at the shelter. I brought fresh and dried herbal quality catnip as a bribe.

2 years old, slightly under weight, doesn’t like being handled and will make it known (growls and hisses anyone?). She was pissed when the counselor put her in the cardboard carrier, so we agreed it was best not to move her again for the ride home. The counselors were awesome! They helped me bring her and her “new owner kit” plus a few extras to the car.

We took a Lyft back and luckily had a patient, kind driver who liked cats. Lucky because Gale decided she didn’t like the cardboard carrier and told us so. Then she got feisty and started poking her claws out; scratching the holes open; biting the holes; and rolling in the carrier to rock it.

Home Introductions and Respecting Boundaries

It started with her wanting to be with me all the time. Have some scratches on the bedroom door and molding because I didn’t always leave the door open when I left the bedroom. She wanted to explore on Saturday and made her way through the whole apartment.

Then she decided to start scratching inappropriate items while watching me for a reaction. Yup, testing me. So I didn’t know what to do. The literature says keep cats confined to one room for a week. That cat’s won’t be very affectionate or interested in being near their humans for a while or eat a lot the first week.

We had our first “scare” this morning when she had trouble with hair balls and eating something she wasn’t supposed to eat, but got out on her own. That was interesting times at 3:30 this morning with me calling a 24 hr vet for advice and doing my best to check out a cat who is suspicious of everything and doesn’t like being touched unless it’s on her terms.

I got to listen to lots of coughing, throat clearing, sneezing, whistling, and other cat-trying-to-get-a-hairball or something else out noises until about 7 this morning. We slept late, and I fed her around 8:30 like Saturday. Between the hospital operator and the clinic receptionist, I felt like Gale would be okay after she spit out a small piece of something she wasn’t supposed to eat.

And me panicking because Gale is not doing what the literature said she’d be doing

Mistakes, Underestimating Cats, and Emergency purchases

So, I’ve been talking people’s ears off with my nervous chatter and questions because Gale bonded fast and started exploring the apartment yesterday. Not a week after living with me. Nope. Not my girl with her attitude and STRONG boundaries.

My mistakes: underestimating how fast delivery services would be, Gale’s appetite, and her need for appropriate scratching posts, not understanding the depth of her suspicious nature, and not scheduling a vet appointment on Saturday.

A call to the animal shelter Saturday calmed me down and reassured me it’s better to let Gale set the pace and follow literature instructions exactly. The email from our adoption counselor reassured me that Gale was acting like a normal Siamese cat – minus the attitude. The phone person connected me with a local store that sold Gale’s food, litter, scratch posts and other cat necessities.

The bus was delayed, so I used Lyft again. And again grateful for great drivers who helped me cope with my anxiety and get all Gale’s stuff into the apartment building. The store people at (Mud Bay) were amazing and helped calm me down some more while working with me to fill my list: 2 scratching posts, a carrier, food, litter, hair ball treats, dental treats, and a bed to start.

Delayed…Everything

Gale’s arrival changes all my timelines for the foreseeable future. It’s an interesting balancing act to help her feel comfortable with the whole apartment while trying to get my work done and needs met.

I’m lucky she’s not a clingy cat – as long as I am in eye sight or jump-to range, Gale is fine – or a destructive one.

Her boundaries are clear, and she’s so smart that she learned mine fast too. Now we’re working out how to live peacefully together.

So, If I’m not active or blogging for the next week or two, it’s because my schedule and routine are in flux.

Right now, my goals are:

  1. remember to eat regular meals and hydrate often
  2. remember it’s okay to leave Gale alone sometimes
  3. remember to clean up more and do my chores around work
  4. Make space for Gale’s stuff
  5. Shower, brush teeth, go to bed at my normal time
  6. Try to follow my sleep hygiene routine
  7. Use DBT, aromatherapy, and other tools in my toolbox to cope with feeling overwhelmed and triggered into nightmares

Thanks for reading!

Self Care: Sleep, aromatherapy, herbs & Ice Packs

I slept most of the weekend trying to cope with feeling sick and achy. No I don’t have the coronavirus. Maybe it’s allergies.

But most often, this time of year, it’s a special brand of cold and sinus-like symptoms that make me feel like I have a swollen face, stuffy/drippy nose, sore throat, and clogged ears.

Not exactly a lot of fun.

On Saturday, my counselor taught me a new tapping routine for my face that seems to help too.

So what did I do all weekend?

Sleep more than 20 hours this weekend. I woke up long enough to meet with my counselor on Saturday and didn’t wake up until almost 2pm on Sunday.

Drink sanity chai and moistening cold tea because the sanity chai is warming and drying while the cold tea helps add moisture back to my dry self and cools me down from the inside out. Yes I need both because the moisture to make all that drippy stuff had to come from somewhere inside me right?

So what does each do? And why?

Well, the sanity chai helps in a lot of ways, but for the purposes of this post:

  1. Warms me up from the inside out when I feel too cold inside and too hot on my skin
  2. Has astringent herbs to help dry out the places with too much moisture and reduce swelling (inside nose and cheeks)
    1. But the drying part works everywhere in my body, not just the areas that need it
  3. Helps me move stuff inside my body, improve digestion, and circulate blood – more sneezing, etc., but at least it’s coming out instead of staying in

And the marshmallow root/fennel seed cold (more like room temperature) tea does this:

  1. Balances the heat from the chai so that I don’t start sweating or get a rash from too much heat coming out at once
  2. Moistens the cells, tissues, organs, etc. from the inside out so that the sore throat and feelings of dehydration/dry skin, etc. go away
  3. Helps with digestion and elimination so that all the stuff being moved around goes where it’s supposed to go – i.e. nutrients to the cells, blood to nourish the body, and waste to the elimination organ systems.

As for the ice packs, well I resisted them for a long time. For some reason that I can’t remember, using ice packs triggers anxiety. Lots of anxiety. But Sunday night I used an ice pack to reduce the swelling around my nose, cheeks jaws,, and eye sockets. Yes, I am being very specific because there are many places on the face that can get swollen. But these places always get swollen, puffy, and angry on my face this time of year.

No idea why. I can’t remember. Wish I could because that would help me figure out more effective coping strategies. But life is what it is.

So if I”m a little late in posting the next few weeks, it’s because I have a cold that’s not a cold and am figuring out how to stay healthy.

Thanks for reading.

Admin: R&R weekend

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Hello Guests,

If you celebrate, Happy Easter and all that. I hope you managed to celebrate in your own way even if you can’t gather with loved ones this year.

As for me, April comes with some sad anniversaries and memories around Easter. Between that and having some challenging, yet positive discussions about the past with my parents, my body memories flared up this weekend.

All my sinuses and other parts of my face got swollen and are still somewhat painful right now. I spent the weekend sleeping, drinking herbal remedies (tea and soup) to help with the congestion and swelling, and practicing healing meditation when I wasn’t a sleep.

So I don’t have much to share with you this week. All I ask is that you please follow the rules and regulations in place to reduce chances of the infection spreading to other populations. Be mindful of yourself and practice self care as much as possible.

If you are like me, please take extra pains with self care and meeting your needs. Because you might not meet the typical criteria for being high risk, but you are high risk if your mental/emotional challenges manifest as physical illness that lowers your immune system. That is how I often end up sick or manifesting cold-like or sinus infection or flu symptoms when I don’t have any of those infections.

I promise I am taking care of myself, staying safe, and only going out to pick up deliveries – with washable gloves on because my disposable ones have disappeared. I swear I packed them, honest. But they refuse to be found right now. Maybe some day, they will reappear. Until then, laundry works.

Stay safe and take good care!

Thanks for reading!

Be Well Message

Dear Guests,

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe with the coronavirus scare. In times like this, it’s not easy to stay healthy, be positive, and find moments of laughter or joy to balance the fear, frustration, or other negative sensations that may rise.

For people who enjoy being active outside and/or interacting with others face-to-face, this is an especially challenging time. Being confined alone or with others for extended periods of time can bring out the best and the worst in relationships or highlight things we’ve all tried to ignore or deny about ourselves and each other. Tempers get roused easily. People react and act to stuff they normally wouldn’t. Maybe out of fear. Maybe out of frustration. Maybe the stressful times are their version of an excuse for behaving in such ways?

Please remember that we still have choices.

We can choose react from a position of fear-based choices.

We can to argue and fight and lose our tempers. Be angry at the world and socialize and continue with our routines like nothing is going on (denial). We can ignore government mandates and health authority warnings. We can let prejudice rule our opinions and influence our interactions with others. We can choose to feel and express anger in ways that hurt ourselves and the people around us.

Or we can choose to to react from a position of love-based choices.

We can use effective communication and compromise strategies. Use Active Listening skills to to ourselves and each other. Check in from a position of love and acceptance. Be kind to ourselves and each other no matter how scared or stressed out we feel. And most important, express our fear, anger, shame, or other negative emotions in healthy ways that support us and the others around us instead of hurting ourselves and those other people.

Sometimes we might not have choices in how we act or react. Instinct and learned behavior (i.e. survival skills) override everything else when we feel overwhelmed or pushed too far.

In situations like that, when “the damage is done” we till have choices to make. We can pretend nothing happened. We can continue to escalate the negativity and cause more damage to an existing relationship until nothing is left. We can acknowledge the situation and try to make reparation and/or amends or listen with compassion to the other party and work out a solution. We can acknowledge our part in what happened, reflect on the situation, and work out ways to prepare for future ones. Maybe preventative actions or a coping strategy?

But no matter what, we humans are a resilient species. And we can survive this. We will survive and learn to thrive in the changed and changing world.

I believe in you. Please believe in yourselves too. 

Sincerely,

AlterXpressions