This has been a strange week. I know what part of the problem is. About two months ago, I had begun backing off on my dosage of N-acetylcysteine to see how that went (it was costing me $32 a month; I was trying to cut costs) and I’m convinced now I’ve backed off too far. I’m going to have to start back on the evening dosage and see if I can get by on 1200 mg twice a day (down from 2400 mg twice a day). I was noticing mood changes and starting last week, I’ve had a bad flare of SED. SED is genetic and the N-acetylcysteine works better than anything else I’ve tried for it. Into the bargain is that N-acetylcysteine is not a medication. It’s a supplement — like taking iron for anemia or vitamin D3 for bone health. It’s only side effect is nausea, which you can get around by taking it with food. The thing is, you have to pay attention to when you take it, pick your dosage times and stick to them religiously, to keep the levels constant.
What confirmed my suspicions was something my mom said about the cost of boarding “that damn cat.” (This was in reference to our upcoming trip — we will be gone 10 days, and I will have to board the fat (cat) boy at $20 a day. . .) I figured out a long time ago that my mother doesn’t “get it” about having pets. I don’t know whether it’s because she grew up on a farm where they raised pigs, cattle and chickens that they would butcher, or what. But there’s a missed connection in there somewhere. Her main gripe is that they’re messy — and my mom is your classic Virgo neat freak — and what’s more, they are inconvenient. Well, yes, they are sometimes. But as near as I can tell, the benefits of having pets, which far outweigh everything else about them, escape her. She just doesn’t get it. Anyway, I bit my tongue on an angry and hurtful retort to her remark, and after I’d gotten off the phone, I couldn’t help thinking about the poor white cat I “lost” in April of last year.
I had to put the grey cat down. There was no question about it. She was going into florid kidney failure and there was nothing that could be done except to try to slow down the process, and I couldn’t bear the thought of my poor baby girl suffering. But the thing is, I could have kept the white cat. True, he was three months’ shy of 16, but he was still healthy — the vet made me sign a paper that attested that he actually was my cat before they’d put him down. But the thing is, if I’d kept him, I couldn’t have boarded him. Never mind the expense, which would have been a significant factor, the white one simply didn’t have the temperament for it. He was a contrary little cuss. It would have been so stressful for both of us and he would have eventually bitten someone. I would have had to presume on my friendship with JT to come and look after the two of them every time I went somewhere with my mom, and I wasn’t going to do that. It was a tough decision to have to make, but there it is. Even so, it was very hard. He was mine for almost 16 years, and I miss the little guy. I miss both of them.
Which brings me to how I know I’ve backed off too far on the N-acetylcysteine dose. After I hung up the phone I got to thinking about how much I miss both cats. When I lost Shadow in 2004, I was a basket case for days. What made it particularly devastating was that it happened so suddenly and without warning. When I lost Jett in 2009, I saw it coming. I agonized over it for weeks before I finally faced the fact that his diabetes had taken such a toll on him that it was inhumane to let it go on any longer, and that I had really let it go on too long as it was. As rapidly as her kidney failure had progressed, it was plain that the grey kitty was not long for this world no matter how you slice it, and I wasn’t going to let her suffer. But I could have kept the white boy longer. That set me off on such a crying jag. I’m crying again now as I type this. So there’s that. And I’ve been ruminating about the whole situation for several days now. So there’s that.
Also, I found myself not wanting to go to knitting group, partly because of the SED flare, but then partly because I just wasn’t in the mood. (I forced myself to go, and was glad afterwards.) And I’ve been having a noticeably harder time keeping to a daytime schedule, both of which are isolative behaviors. And I was getting crabby.
I love my mom, don’t get me wrong, but she’s 91, and I know my time with her is limited, which means I’ve had to make some tough choices and trade offs so I can spend more quality time with her. I hope I can level out and get settled back down in time for our trip.
The stuff is $16 for a bottle of 60 of the 1200 mg capsules, so lets hope 1200 mg twice a day of N-acetylcysteine is enough to get me back to where I was. Yeah, I can get antidepressants through the VA for free, but N-acetylcysteine beats antidepressants hands down.
Oh, and I’ve got to find those ear buds that have a longer cord. The shortening of the earbud cord that the change in computers brought about is driving me nuts. I’ve got an extension cord I might try first though.