My cat Demi has an unfortunate medical condition called feline stomatitis. It is an auto immune disease which inflames the gums and throat, causing intense irritation and discomfort for the cat. Most of Demi’s teeth have been removed because of this disease. She was previously doing very well taking a drug called prednisolone. Because it can cause liver damage, she is tested every six months to detect any problems. No such problems have been found. For some unknown reason, my vet and many others have no longer been able to obtain this drug. It is either back-ordered or not in production anymore. The next drug she was given is prednisone. Unfortunely this drug is one step less processed than the prednisolone and requires the cat to depend on its liver to convert it into a usable state. Some cats do well with prednisone, others do not. Of course Demi is not doing well. As a result she wakens me in a stressful state at 3:15 AM every day. This has become her pilling and breakfast meal time. Not ideal. We await the arrival of a replacement drug that may or may not work even as well as the prednisone. We’re not having a lot of luck with this medication part of Demi’s treatment.
The remaining three cats insist on being fed at the same time and even the dog, who will adjust no matter what I decide, begs to be fed. Once she is fed an outside trip is necessary. So now I am not only up at this ungodly hour, but I’m outside with a flashlight and my dog. I just stay awake and start thinking. This is usually not a good thing.
On one such early morning the attempt to sleep only seemed to accelerate my thinking. Luckily my thoughts turned to my art work and had me visualizing a direction for a collage. I should mention here that once I had a student named Bill who frequently dreamed of ideas for his cartoons. He kept a sketchbook next to his bed and would wake at all hours to jot down some notes for his work. I always thought that was a great idea, but never actually had it occur myself…until recently.
This 18″ x 24″ mixed media collage/drawing used the many Chickadee images I had leftover from Christmas cards and computer prints. Instead of covering areas with gesso and losing a lot of subtle details, I decided to develop the piece by drawing on the areas to create some layers. Since there was a significant application of matte medium, the colored pencils wouldn’t fully cover the photos and prints. Instead a transparent layer of color creates new colors and helps to unify the piece. I am pleased with the results and find it amusing that the original idea for this piece came out of my inability to sleep. I wish all those times would result in more art. Or better yet, I wish Demi would receive a drug that would allow her to be pain free until a more respectable hour in the morning.
PS As an update to the above story about my cat’s medication woes, I am happy to report the wonder drug prednisolone reappeared in a different form (no less effective than the first) and my little Demi seems to be on the mend.