Steroids + kittens = smiles

Today was my last day on a six-day prednisolone taper. I wasn’t expecting much from it–the last time it was prescribed, it took two tapers, weeks apart, to work on the bursitis pain in my hips. When the pain finally eased (it didn’t completely go away), the relief lasted about four weeks before ramping up again.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to get out of bed this morning with only a little pain in my hips and hardly any stiffness. At the same time, the rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness in my hands and wrists, which was just as ugly last night, was also much better this morning.

I spent the day down in the valley with my aunt and uncle. After making breakfast for him–a cheese-and-veggie-stuffed omelet, toast and fresh fruit–I made up a long list and did their grocery shopping. It went great until the last fifteen minutes or so, when that low, vague ache and feeling of weird looseness in each hip joint started. I finished up the shopping and headed back to the house, carried everything in and put it away, and then, finally, rested for a while. I was proud of myself, gang.

It was a gift, being nearly pain-free, even if it was only for half a day. And it gave me a nice dose of hope, too. With luck, this mean bursitis pain will take a powder for several weeks again. With really good luck, maybe it will go away completely.

Tiny kitten BoBo has a little lunch via eye dropper from my aunt. Look at those amazing little claws!

Feeling better allowed me to enjoy the abandoned, four-week-old kitten my aunt is caring for. The mama cat is feral and left it on my aunt’s front porch.  My mother adopted one of the kittens from mama cat’s last litter, and now Emma is about four-and-a-half months old. My aunt plans to foster wee BoBo until he’s old enough to be adopted out by one of our local animal rescue organizations.

I spent the afternoon making dinner for aunt and uncle, taking breaks now and then to rest a little and, yes, help her feed BoBo with an eye dropper. On my way home this evening I picked up a miniature bottle with a rubber nipple at a pet store; I’m planning to take it over to my aunt’s tomorrow. It should work a lot better than an eye dropper for a kitten that’s still so small it needs to suck.

I’m achy tonight. The rheuma is back in my hands and wrists, and my hips hurt. But my mood is 1,000 percent brighter. What a big difference a small break from pain–and a tiny black kitten–can make.

7 thoughts on “Steroids + kittens = smiles

  1. Aaaawww, it makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Sounds like you could use a longer taper regimine instead of the six-day pack to kick that bursitis’ butt, but that’s between you and doc. Love cats, esp. kittens and have fed a couple like that. Last one promptly bit the nipple off the bottle but was super quick to just lap up the forumula from a small bowl. I finally got off pred a little over a month ago. The increase in stiffness has been incredible! Pain levels not too bad – yet – waiting on the cooler weather to see what happens, but think the extra dmards, once/day nsaid and tylenol arthritis are helping keep that down somewhat. Some morning/early afternoon swelling. Looking into adding another dmard to try to ward off any increase in disease activity.


    • Hi, Chelsea: I’m glad you were able to stop taking prednisone–the side effects aren’t so pleasant, I understand–and glad that you’re feeling okay anyway, even if the stiffness has increased. I always wonder what it is about RA that makes the joints feel like they need a good oiling?
      As for kittens… oh, my. Awwwwww, yes. This little feral cat’s two litters this summer are the first kittens I’ve been around since I was a kid. I’ve always thought they were cute, but to be able to hold–and feed–Emma and BoBo has been wonderful. A gift. And yes, it certainly helps in keeping the old chin up. Hugs to you…


  2. Well you can’t go wrong with a 1,000% better mood, can you? I wonder if it was because of your positive attitude of looking at the day as a success for feeling some relief rather than feeling doomed that the pain returned later. I think attitude and appreciation for the little things makes a huge difference. I am glad you accomplished so much and then were rewarded with time with the kitten. How fun! Always sending you healing thoughts Wren.


    • Cathy, I’m absolutely sure the difference between a sad mood and a happier one is more due to perspective than anything else. And, if we’re aware enough, we can choose which perspective to go with. I’ve had RA for so long, I figured I’d already done all my “accepting” a long time ago. But really, it turns out I haven’t–not with a return of harsh symptoms again, at least. The persistent bursitis has been an additional blow. I’m still a pessimistic optimist, though. It’s nice seeing the world in a better light once again.
      Gentle hugs for you, Cathy. 🙂


      • Hi Wren,

        Kitties are great therapy, aren’t they? Your comment to Cathy about perspective was comletely aligned with my post today: “A Different Perspective Makes All the Difference.” We must be on the same wavelength, that’s for sure! 🙂

        Thanks for letting us know how you’re doing. I hope you continue to improve.


      • I think there’s a certain degree of privilege in saying that what it takes to alter one’s perspective is awareness. With mental illness, there are times when no degree of self-awareness is enough to make one capable of changing one’s perspective, in much the same way that doing all the right things won’t stop RA from hurting you sometimes.

        Incidentally, BoBo translates to ‘doubly precious’ in Chinese. Thought that might amuse you!



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