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July 09, 2005: Needles and pins

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Back when I was fostering, we used to give the kittens their vaccinations - a set of three shots that they received over the first 12 weeks of their life. Obviously, with the number of kittens we were handling, the pile of spent needles and syringes would grow rather quickly, and then whichever one of us who happened to be working in a lab or other office where there was a sharps container would bundle them all up, toss the batch into the car, and drive around with them for a few weeks before finally remembering to bring them in and properly dispose of them.

I've been taking Allegra several times in the past month for blood tests and check-ups. Two vet visits ago her blood tests showed some anemia, and the follow-up visit confirmed it. So now we have a new thing to give her - an injection of epigen, three times a week.

I took her in yesterday for the first injection, and also so they could give her a shot of iron and some B12 to help stimulate the marrow to make more red blood cells. Giving the epigen injections is easy - it's an insulin needle which means the needle itself is so tiny that she acts as if she doesn't even feel it. But the other two shots (thankfully one time only) obviously hurt, and she has spent the time since then letting me know in no uncertain terms that they just might have made her feel pretty icky.

I am reminded of how those vaccine needles piled up, now when I look into the guest bathroom upstairs - the same bathroom where we've put nails into the walls to hang the fluids so I can give them to Allegra without having to wrestle with cat, needle, *and* bag all at once. There's a box there on the counter now, into which I am collecting spent needles - the tiny insulin ones from her epigen injections, and the larger separate needles that I attach to the end of the IV drip set when I give her her fluids. It's funny, in a way. I guess somehow I thought that when I was done with fostering, I'd be done with all of this too. Funny how you never think about what happens when the kittens grow up and get old and sick and suddenly you are right back amid little piles of spent, bent needles, where you started again.

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