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New perspective on relapse

Posted Jun 26 2010 3:15pm
No, I'm not talking about my own relapse. I'm talking about my cat's.

I picked up my cat from boarding at the vet's for the past two and a half weeks, and I was over the moon to get her back. Aria and I are rarely separated, and it was nice to have my best friend by my side again. When I got her home, I let her out of her carrier and picked her up. I saw her leg and my heart sank. Aria has an autoimmune skin condition that makes her leg itch, and she bites at it until the fur is gone and her leg is raw and bleeding. She's on a low dose of steroids to help keep it under control (I tried numerous alterations in her diet, to no avail) and it has been for quite some time. Not right now, though. It flared up again at the vet's.

Assuming they gave her the medication properly, I can understand that Aria was stressed, and the stress can lead to a flare-up. Even if they did everything properly--even if--how did they miss the fact that so much of her leg was raw and weepy? I picked her up and it was the first thing I noticed. Did they not check on her properly?

I called the vet's office and spoke with someone who assured me that Aria's medication was given properly, but they couldn't explain how someone failed to notice that her condition had gotten worse. I wanted to throttle them. This wasn't just any cat--this was my baby! How could they have let this happen? She had been doing so well when she was home with me, and then she leaves and all hell breaks loose.

Somewhere around this point, when I am simultaneously heartbroken and livid, I realize that this must be a bit what it is like to watch someone struggle with an eating disorder. It must have been baffling to my mother how so many people missed spotting my eating disorder when I was sick. It was right in front of them, under their noses and rather obvious, and yet as my illness got worse, everyone claimed to be caught off guard. And then to have had your loved one do so well while at home and safe, and the second your head is turned, bam!

I also better understand the impulse my mom had to bring me home and help me get well. It's not pathological and over-controlling, it's the response of someone who loves their kid and desperately wants them well. That's what Mommies do.

Aria is (hopefully) on the mend. Her injury doesn't look as red and sore, so I think she's stopped biting at it. Now we just need to let her leg heal and find her another vet--one who isn't negligent.
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