Happy Wednesday! How are you doing? How am I doing? How is EVERYBODY doing?
Monday marked four weeks since we first learned that Aslan had somehow acquired fleas, and let me just say that it has been a loooong four weeks, but we’re here and we’re alive. Out of the woods yet? Not completely. At least my anxiety won’t let me believe that we are anyway.
We’ve finally slowed down our whole-house vacuuming to every two days instead of every single day. Man, for a while I was pretty sure that vacuum had become a permanent extension of my wrist. About two weeks ago I found an essential oil spray called Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray that seems to be helping. It contains peppermint and clove oil so basically, my entire house smells like toothpaste, which I guess is fine.
Aslan received a new flea treatment last week in the form of a chewable beef-flavored pill which I ground up, mixed with her food, and watched her full-on refuse to eat for a day and a half. Finally, after chasing her up and down the stairs a few times, I grabbed her, threw her in her crate and brought her to the vet where they forced the pill down her throat. She was not amused. Supposedly, this pill is more effective at killing fleas than the topical treatment and I’d say it’s working pretty well because we haven’t seen a single live flea on her in a week.
Let me repeat that: we haven’t seen a single LIVE flea on her in a week. In fact, for the last four or five days, we haven’t brushed ANYTHING off her. AMAZING, right? Yes, well except for the fact that my mind won’t let me believe that it’s actually over. One night last week as Jeff was vacuuming upstairs I noticed three or four small brown bugs on our dining room table. I immediately panicked and killed them all. Jeff is convinced they were gnats because how, HOW could there possibly be fleas on our table if we’re not brushing any off Aslan? Logical, right? Of course, but my brain is like, NO, definitely fleas.
The next day I noticed black specks on the bathroom floor and a little brown bug crawling around in the hallway. Fleas? NOBODY KNOWS. That’s the whole exhausting and horrifying thing about this whole situation: we can’t be sure they are totally gone because they are just so tiny and other bugs resemble them. At least that’s my anxiety’s argument anyhow.
Anxiety is exhausting. I’d been avoiding sitting on my couch for weeks because WHAT IF there are fleas living in the cushions? WHAT IF we think it’s over and stop cleaning but they’re not actually gone? I finally took my therapist’s advice and put a white blanket on my couch to transition into sitting on it again- the logic there is that I’m not sitting directly on the couch yet and if there are fleas, I’ll see them right away because the blanket is white (our couch is brown).
I’ve tried to spend at least an hour each night using this white blanket approach. Aslan usually jumps up and sits next to me which adds a whole other layer of anxiety. Does she have fleas on her? Are they falling on my safe, white blanket? Are their eggs falling on my blanket? Those are white! How will I see them!? For the most part, though, I’ve been able to talk myself down from those thoughts and this method was working well until three nights ago when, even though we hadn’t brushed anything off Aslan in days, I found a dead flea on the blanket. HOW? I mean, in all likelihood it was just one that had been matted in her long fur that we missed while combing her, but I pulled the whole blanket off the couch and washed it in hot water just in case.
Oye. Anxiety is exhausting.
Two days ago, my body decided that enough is enough and I caught Jeff’s cold. I rarely ever get sick but it just goes to show how anxiety can break down your immune system and leave you susceptible to illness. This cold has been both a blessing and a curse because it’s forced me to stay home all day, something I’d been actively avoiding. It’s also forced me to sit on my couch for long periods of time (on the freshly-washed white blanket, of course). In fact, I am writing this post from my couch with Aslan curled up on the other end.
So, there you have it, my flea and anxiety update. The main takeaway? Anxiety is exhausting. It’s irrational and annoying and I’m living proof that it can make you physically ill! But slowly, but surely, we’re getting through this flea debacle. I suspect that it’ll be another few weeks or even months before I feel completely comfortable in my house again. For now, I’m taking baby steps, working with my therapist, and writing blog posts to manage my anxiety and finding comfort in the fact that we are doing all that we can and the best that we can.
As always, thanks for reading!
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