We Had A Bad Day

Sunday Night Pepper went chasing after a neighborhood cat, flipped around on her harness, and immediately started shrieking in pain. She would act normally for a time, then she would shriek and shake with terror. It went on most of the night.

This morning we took her to the vet, where it was determined that she probably pulled a muscle in her neck. She got a course of pain killers and muscle relaxants, but they don’t seem to be helping all that much yet.

Every time she starts shrieking, she comes running to Ben or I to comfort her. So we pet her and sooth her while she shakes and it’s horrible. We’ve both been maintaining as much of a sense of calm as we can, so she doesn’t get even more freaked out, but my stomach is completely in knots.

I haven’t been able to eat much. I managed to sleep a little bit in the afternoon, so I made up for a relatively sleepless night. But I feel like I’m on the verge of puking. Every time I relax a little bit, it seems like something sets the dog off. I have work to do, but I haven’t done a shred of it. I’m a mess.

I’m really not good with sickness. Mine or anybody else’s. Even the dog’s is making me feel terrible. This is probably the worst quality about me. I can’t handle other people’s pain.

When I was a kid, I sometimes felt like my grandmother’s science project. She took me to all the activities a little girl should go to, fed me the right foods, sent me to the doctor when I was sick, and to the therapist when I was acting out, and, other than the whole physically abusive psychopath grandfather, checked almost every box on the ‘how to raise your child’ checklist. But her caregiving seemed almost entirely mechanical.

As an adult, I completely understand. I recognize that it’s appropriate to care for my loved ones, so I do. It makes me feel put upon and stressed out, so I get angry. But I have this obligation, so I go through the motions. All the while, caring for them, but growing more and more resentful of them.

Unfortunately for everyone’s sake, I am not a black-belt at passive aggressive white-lady bullshit, so it just makes me sick. And then the whole thing falls apart.

All this is a hold-over from living in a co-dependent context where everybody is expected to give until it literally hurts, overcompensating for addicts and other sick people while our own lives spool out around us, wasted on assholes who can’t or won’t care for themselves.

I’m still comforting the dog when she’s upset, I still took her out to go to the bathroom, even though my head swam with nausea. I’m starting to wonder if this stomach upset is really caused by stress or something else. I don’t think a single word of this post has been entirely coherent.

I’m a huge fucking mess, and I’m not even the injured one.



She’s not actually in pain at this picture. She was making a weird face at the vet.



One Reply to “We Had A Bad Day”

  1. I truly understand. Firstly, I understand how helpless it feels when someone, especially a pet of close family member, is in pain or hurt and you can’t do anything but be there for them. Secondly, during recovery, I do understand that level of anger and resentment that builds after a short time. Even though I want to be there for them,and I have no real problem taking care of them, I still have an anger inside that flashes when I initially have to stop what I am doing and go to them. I believe that, for me, that stems back to growing up from age 10 – 20ish as the primary caretaker for my grandmother. I was little more than an indentured servant — it was expected of me, as my role in life, to take care of every need and desire she had because she was “sick.” My own wants and desires and self-esteem and self-sufficiency were made to feel bad — even wrong. I was a bad person for having desires that were not taking care of this person, who most of the time could do things herself, but didn’t. She made herself into a helpless victim until she truly was helpless. Even today, those feelings of resentment toward her during that time, spill into my demeanor today as I take care of people or creatures that I CHOOSE to take care of.

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