Sunday, May 12, 2019

Updates and Downers

Well, I got a reply from our veterinary clinic stating a notice went out to all employees regarding the careless mention of feline cancer. An apology and gratitude for my loyalty were a boost. Since I abhor conflict, even when warranted, I used a pseudonym and admitted as much, claiming I didn’t want the person who called personally admonished. Call me silly, but this way I haven’t felt uncomfortable returning.

And yes, we’ve had to go back several times for medicine refills and whatnot. That message from them is about the only positive news in my personal current events.

Jezebel is limping even after I (sometimes) manage to force feed her bupenorphine and/or gabapentin (she’s supposed to get both twice a day but the obvious trauma to her limits my attempts). She and Tilly suddenly stopped eating both their ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ kibble for the aged indoor cat and that canned food. We can keep the cans for a possible future pet but a freshly opened fifteen pound bag of dry food is going to waste. I guess I’ll offer it to friends, though I don’t know if any are caring for elderly felines.

This morning my husband found mysterious charges on his credit card. After calling the company he’ll receive a new card, requiring a change to every single online payment record. That’s got him in a rotten state of mind.

Tomorrow I have to return to Special Eyes as my eyeglass frames broke yet again. This time, it’s a snapped off hinge.

I think I’m going back to bed now, reminding me of a Mitch Hedberg joke. “I haven’t slept for ten days straight… Because that would be too long.” Hibernating for a few months sounds good to me.

Are you familiar with Mitch Hedberg’s humor?

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Good News and a Bad Judgment Call

First off, my husband and I did not euthanize Jezebel the cat today due to advanced bone cancer. The elevated calcium expected to be kidney related, today’s urine sample will show how advanced is her situation.

Why did my mind immediately take the darkest turn possible?

The overwhelming majority of credit goes to that veterinary employee who left the message Friday morning regarding her blood work. He didn’t say simply that elevated calcium can be a concern and needs to be investigated.

No.

This fellow jumped straight to the fact higher levels are a good indication of cancer. Why would someone do that? My imagination took over from there despite my husband’s best attempts to dissuade me.

An X-ray shows she has arthritis. For that, I am to administer two different pain medications twice a day. Wish me luck. Jezebel despises being handled thus.

Despite me stuffing her in a carrier and putting her through stress of another visit, all is forgiven. She is curled up, purring and grooming beside me on the bed as I type.

Meanwhile, the same veterinarian who gave Tilly such thorough care a few weeks ago seemed confused by my constant mentions of cancer concerns. I don’t think she considered that possibility for Jezebel.

Too relieved to feel true anger, I will be leaving a message on their web page advising a friendly chat with their staff on phone etiquette. I have been a wreck for days.

I’m reminded of a “House, M.D.” television episode in which a man diagnosed with cancer sued the kind oncologist Dr. Wilson for renouncing his former death sentence. Preparing for the end, the fellow said farewell to friends and sold his home. His largest complaint involved costs of buying a new residence. I miss that show.

What would be your first positive act if you learned your life would be over within the year?

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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Whacked Out of My Mind

I know there is nothing unique in my charmed life’s recent downturn. Without over-thinking it, I could name a half dozen people enduring far worse.

Still, I need to rant. And anyone reading who is knowledgeable of the film “Jacob’s Ladder” will learn just what pervasive morbidity my mind harbors.

Anyway, the whiny rant:

This morning we got bad news about kitty Jezebel’s blood work. At fifteen plus years of age, she didn’t surprise us with news of some kidney dysfunction. But the old girl could be in the early stages of actual disease.

Worse, the technician left word that elevated calcium levels could well indicate cancer. Not very good at staying optimistic of late, my thoughts went right to that leg pain and the fact we may not be bringing her home after her Monday morning appointment.

I know we will not put her through the aggressive treatment her predecessor Luna received before passing away in 2014. My husband still admits profound guilt over those extreme efforts to stave off my inevitable pain, despite the fact our sweet girl fought hard herself to stay on this earth. Even hearing me insist her chemotherapy and that radical mastectomy furthered veterinary oncology can’t assuage his regret.

Meanwhile, thinking of all that’s happened in the last thirteen months, starting with my father’s estrangement over a dumb misunderstanding to every major or minor insult and injury since, I developed an eerie sensation. I mean, come on. Yesterday afternoon I netted one of my four adult ‘typhoid’ mollies, the poor creature found dead at feeding time.

What more can go wrong?

More poignant, what if my reality isn’t what I think?

That wonderful flick “Jacob’s Ladder” introduces us to Jacob Singer, a military veteran of gentle disposition returned from the Vietnam war. He soon begins experiencing demonic sightings. Reunited with his fellow servicemen, they compare notes and start suspecting nefarious governmental, wartime experimentation. One by one they begin dying mysteriously. There are fantastic twists and turns, so I won’t say more and spoil it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the plot but interested in how the movie provokes my surreal sensation, please leave a comment and I’ll visit your blog with the answer.

On another ‘whacky’ note, our tiny back stretch of grass is so long I fear any regular lawnmower will choke. So I plant to try and run the weed whacker out there this afternoon. Wish me luck.

You know I have to ask if you have seen “Jacob’s Ladder”. And have you ever considered that the term talkies gave way to movies from ‘moving pictures’? I just thought of that while typing this.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

I’m Not Broken, Just Mildly Sprained

That ‘mildly sprained’ quip is a misquote from a film we adore, “Gross Pointe Blank”, when the heroine assesses her long lost love. It’s rather how I feel right now, but with good news to share.

Jezebel seems to be in fine health for her age.

What my overactive imagination conjured as some neurological defect is likely a pulled leg muscle (your kind wisdom is appreciated, Strayer!). The veterinarian didn’t even order an X-ray, which we approved in advance with the welcoming technician. That pleased me, since we could have been bilked and never been the wiser.

So we are about another $150(US) poorer, but she got overdue blood work. I hope we receive no bad news tomorrow about other problems, such as involving her kidneys or thyroid. On this late morning, she acts a bit discombobulated but is on a pain medication we hope will keep her a little sedated and less likely to overtax her injured limb. And her appetite was excellent. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she improves and doesn’t actually suffer a hairline bone fracture.

Now I am sitting on my back patio enjoying a perfect temperature and rain on our tin roof. As it’s outside our walkout basement, I closed the cellar door upstairs so she can’t follow me down. Thanks for all the well wishes!

What is your weather like today?

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Don’t Kiss and Tell – & – Getting a Leg Up


My pets are going to be the death of me. Between diseased fish dying earlier this year and now issues with both cats, I feel almost like I’m going to keel over at times from the stress.

While medication is helping my anxiety, I believe my empathy cost me a real and very specific physical illness.

A few weeks back, before Tilly displayed evidence of another urinary tract infection, I succumbed to violent gastro-intestinal distress in the middle of the night. My husband offered more than once to take me to an urgent care center as food poisoning symptoms continued throughout the day and into late afternoon. I declined, certain hydration and rest would get me through, and they did.

It took a few days for full recovery from the aftereffects.

Then Tilly got diagnosed with her e. coli infection. Something clicked over this past Tuesday and I recalled my habit of kissing her atop the head after administering her hyperthyroid pills. Since my husband stayed free from my sickness, thank heaven, and we ate almost the exact same home prepared meals for days prior, it seems logical I poisoned myself via that poor kitty.

So I’m not kissing her anymore. A pat on the head is quite sufficient.

Now to the second part of my whacky title, I found Jezebel limping this morning at 7am.

Jezebel Curled Up Napping on a Happier Day
Have I mentioned her periodic little front leg tremors? She’s almost always looking out the window and we chalk it up to excitement. Today, frantic she’s having neurological complications I’ve neglected, I telephoned my veterinary clinic before they opened in hopes some early arriving tech would pick up the phone.

Instead, I got a recorded message that the wireless customer did not have current service and to try back later. Well, I did, over and over. Finally, I got through and they will see her at 8:45am tomorrow, the earliest available appointment. They weren’t having the best day, either, with both Internet connection and telephone operations requiring service.

In the meantime, I feel better seeing Jezzy act normal in every way outside favoring the leg/paw. Otherwise I would take her to an animal urgent care center. Despite what I dare call mishandling of Tilly’s case, those folks have given our girls excellent care throughout sweet Luna’s life and beyond.

Jezebel could have hurt herself jumping off one of the tall cat trees during the night or, as my husband additionally suggested, suffer arthritis that became too painful to support her weight. Curled up in bed feeling sick and miserable myself (prior to contacting the clinic), I was joined by her for a typical quiet snuggle.

After I got up and felt better having scheduled her exam, she displayed a healthy appetite and is now curled under the guest bed covers, another of many favorite lounging areas.

Do you think that theory regarding my stomach bug makes sense?

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Flop, a Flip, and a No Flip Flop Zone

For the first time in maybe eight or nine years I failed to meet a writing challenge. It turns out that my keyboard time gets interrupted more than I realized. A self set goal of two hours a day editing and/or typing new prose proved more difficult than spouting fifty thousand words in a month. Meeting those goals, I tend to start rapid fire storytelling about an hour before I anticipate my husband requesting my company.

Yesterday I put down my laptop with thirty-nine minutes still needed to reach sixty hours for April. It seemed a minor thing to finish up after my husband went to bed. Instead, we both fell asleep on the sofa and I woke up at 12:30, missing the deadline.

Oh, well. It’s an interesting lesson.
I may have gotten in the way now and then, but the fail is all her fault.
On the flip side (get it? heh…), my husband’s hearing has improved a good deal. We no longer have spats about sound volumes and hearing tests, a huge relief.

He believes now that he picked up a mostly painless ear infection of some sort. Tenderness and swelling he came to recognize have both improved alongside his audible range. While his right ear’s capacity is not back to where it was, we are not complaining since his left ear has been useless for a number of years now. Incidentally, back then his physician believed he developed an otherwise symptom free case of the mumps (!), surprising because he got vaccinated as a young airman before United States Air Force boot camp.

As for flip flops, and I know many are fans, they should never be worn around a running lawnmower. That may be obvious, but I have witnessed more than one woman doing so, sometimes in a bikini. And there’s a reason I bring this up.

I last mowed on Sunday during a blessedly cool and cloudy period. Unfortunately, I couldn’t complete the job, which inspired this whole train of thought regarding footwear.

More than halfway through the process, my mower blade disconnected and got spat out across the grass. I am fortunate to have received no injury. The machine is awaiting repairs as I type, the lawn still a mess. A neighbor offered to lend us his mower when asked but my husband worries about the missing bolt causing damage. It turns out the guy also owns a metal detector. It seems I’ll have to approach him over the matter as we’ve not heard more from the man.

On another bright side, while waiting for my spouse to conduct our business at the repair shop a young worker approached me to ask about my car. He purchased a used version one Volt last winter and wondered how I felt about the 2017. Geeking out with another enthusiast brightened my day. He wasn’t bad looking, either.

~wink~

Have you, like me, begun considering monoculture lawns a waste of time and recourses?

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Here We Go Again

Tilly, Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed in November Before Spring Grooming
For the third time since last September, our cat Tilly displayed curious behavior indicative of a urinary tract infection. It began Sunday afternoon as happened on December thirtieth last year. Once again, I got lucky making a same day veterinary appointment.

The first time, dear readers may remember we chose the Convenia antibiotic shot as we left for our autumn vacation before receiving diagnosis. Our pet sitters, a wonderful couple, handled her care.

Upon the second occurrence, I requested tablets. To my surprise, the vet that New Year’s Eve day told me they are more effective against the average UTI than a one time shot.

Okay.

It would have been nice to know earlier, but we had no real choice in the matter anyway. The pet sitter prefers not to administer oral medications after a nasty dog bite. I can’t blame her.

This past Monday, I got a more disturbing surprise. For an additional $95, a urine analysis on the specific bacteria will allow us to better target treatment.

What?!

Why didn’t they offer that months ago? I wonder if past treatments never even cleared her of whatever bacteria strain’s plaguing our poor darling, resulting in these uncomfortable reoccurrences. I’ll have you know, I kept my cool in the examination room and beyond, until returning home and raving to my equally bemused DH.

Meanwhile, I spent over $300 and still have to purchase more of whatever pills are recommended. And for now Tilly endures not only her preliminary antibiotic twice daily on top of the regular thyroid medication, but also ear drops and a liquid oral pain medicine morning and night, as well. I must admit, the mild sedation of that last seems to bring us more peace and quiet until she decides it time to demand another serving of canned food.

Tilly is spoiled, and loves pestering my husband for attention. And thank heaven, goes into peaceful sleep on his lap every afternoon. Now, let’s hope the ear drops clear up some mild irritation and reduce her wax overproduction.

A call should confirm our next step toward her UTI in a day or so. Meanwhile, her blood work otherwise showed the feline in good health, especially considering her age. That’s a relief.

If she suffered kidney dysfunction, antibiotics could be prescribed for up to six weeks (!) as opposed to two. Unless someone goofed up reading reports on our phone message, she won’t need that. We have been given false hope with a past error. Wish us luck.

Are you aware that people not completing a prescribed course of antibiotics is a contributing factor toward the emergence of resistant bacterial strains?

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