personal

The Tale of the Missing Tail

Wow. This week’s been a roller-coaster of emotions! If you follow me on Twitter or if we’re friends on Facebook than you know my cat Jin-Jing was missing for five straight days. I posted about it on social media and was ready to start hanging fliers all over my neighborhood when, come Monday morning, I heard her meowing for me to let her in through the back door. Exactly like she’s used to do every morning (she was rescued from the streets and even when she’s spayed, she’s remained an outdoor cat).

She was home, safe but not entirely sound. She was walking funny and when I got a look of her tail, that was when I had to take my hands to my head. She’d lost all hair and skin and muscle right around the middle or her tail, with a bit of bone exposed. We’ve come to the conclusion that whatever happened to her happened the same day she disappeared since the lower half of her tail already reeked.

We had to run to the vet so he could tell us what we already knew: there was no way he could save her tail.

It was heartbreaking but we knew she was in good hands. Hours later, we went to pick our redesigned JJ.

JJ back from the vet

Of course, like any vet procedure, this came at a price. One we couldn’t afford just now. So I decided to set up a gofundme page and that’s when both Hubby and I were floored. The response from family and friends was overwhelming. So many sent JJ good wishes we can say the good vibes have helped her recover from her surgery pretty fast. We have to thank each and every one who helped us spread the news while she was missing, cover the cost of her surgery, and have been keeping JJ in their thoughts. We’ll be forever in debt with you. ❤

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And yes. She’s grounded. For life.

Becoming Human Again

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while but had my doubts (or maybe I was just going in circles about it in my head). I wanted to write it once I had something positive to say instead of just whining further than I’ve done on FB and Twitter.

Then my husband woke up saying “I hate waking up and feeling like I’m a 100 years old.”

Have you heard of Chikungunya? If not, here’s some info.

We’ve been dealing with it for a month now and it’s been a relentless attack on our bodies. While everyone’s freaking out about ebola, in the Caribbean we’ve been taken down by the thousands by this mosquito transmitted virus with symptoms that include fever, rash (and subsequent itch), and most of all: arthralgia (horrible horrible joint pain and swelling).

Rash from hell. #chikungunya

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My rash got pretty nasty at one point; hubby’s not so much.

I’ve dealt with arthritis my whole life, Carpal Tunnel for most of it, but this shit feels like someone’s breaking your bones. For real. The first night my husband and I spent with fever and chills and pain (we got it both at the same time, isn’t that splendid) he says I kept screaming in my sleep. He might have been confusing my extreme whining with screams thanks to his fever-induced hallucinations (he spoke incoherently for a while) but all I was asking for in my head was for whomever was trying to break my legs to go ahead and do it already so we could be done with it.

That went on for two nights but the pain in the joints, mostly hands and feet, has stayed with us. And the best part? Scientific papers I’ve read around say this thing can last for 2-3 years with coming and going symptoms. I’ve spoken to people that have been suffering from sporadic bouts of the rash (which I still get whenever I stress my body being either getting super angry or exercising) and the swelling and pain for six months.

Of around 17 people we know personally around our neighborhood, 10 have gotten it. The rest are waiting patiently to get bitten since an epidemiologist said we’ll all get it sooner or later. Everywhere you go there are people talking about it or physically unable to do stuff because of it.

I still can’t close my hands in a fist, my fingers feel numb all the time, and even when I’ve gone back to doing mild crossfit, fatigue sets in pretty quickly and I have to take longer rests than before. To think the whole island population will be going through this at some point (since there’s no vaccine or treatment other than pain killers and lots of vitamin C) and that it can last for so long scares me to no end.

Local singer Glenn Monroig said on TV: this is a crash course on getting old. I’ll add it’s a crash course on feeling fucked up and unable to continue with even the most basic daily stuff.

As a writer I’ve always been afraid of losing the ability to use my hands. It reminds me of that scene in the movie Modigliani after he’s beaten up and keeps asking about his hands and I must say that after a long writing session it feels like someone’s stepped on them several times but I’m pushing through and almost done with that sci-fi fantasy manuscript I was supposed to send to my editor that same week this shit started. 😛

So that’s it for me. If you live in the island please try not to get bitten by this evil mosquito. If you don’t live in the island then now you know there are thousands of Caribbeans suffering from this chickenshit that you’ve probably haven’t even heard about.

The day I became the protagonist of my own book

These have been some very weird days for me. Since the 6th my life has taken a turn I never foresaw. My sister suffered a stroke that day and died on the 14th. It’s been really hard for me and my parents (we were their only two daughters). Add to that another friend in the hospital and a close friend of my husband dying on the 21st and you get the picture.

However, what’s been even weirder is how all of a sudden I found myself inside my protagonist’s skin. The Beast (Book 3 of The Caregiver Series) will come out this month and the situation with my sister felt as if taken from the first chapters of that book. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but it all begins in a hospital during Christmas time. Exactly like it was for me and my family. The long corridors, the uncertainty, even the Christmas tree I, like Scarlett, wanted to rip off the wall.

There’s a point in the story where Armand, sensing Scarlett’s distress, brings her a pint of chocolate ice cream. My husband hasn’t read the manuscript, so he had no idea about it when he came home during my sister’s hospital ordeal with a pint of chocolate ice cream in an effort to cheer me up. It was a shock, to say the least, but I like to think it prepared me for what it was to come. It was a confirmation that I was, indeed, living my own writing.

I like to think it gave me the courage to tell my sister to let go if she had to while she was under an induced coma, that everything would be all right, that there was nothing she should worry about.

They say one should write about stuff one knows. When I wrote those first chapters of Book 3 I hadn’t been through anything like it. Now that I have and have reread them, I can’t help but feel the sudden chills running through my system because I recognize myself in those words, in those paragraphs, and in those conflicted feelings.

Now I feel closer to Scarlett than ever before and that can only mean that writing Book 4 will be even a wilder roller coaster than Book 3 was. And that’s a lot to say.