26 July, 2009
So last Wednesday Simon had a follow-up appointment to have his eye re-checked and it was a good thing he did. He experienced a setback on Saturday when, after I had taken the e-collar off so he could groom and get a decent nap, his eye became irritated again and teared up. By the time he finished his supper he was really trying to dig at that eye with his paw, so I had to shove the e-collar back on him. It did not come off again until he went into the carrier before his appointment.
He seemed to steadily improve for the next few days, though he whimpered a couple of times when I tried to pick him up. Since both times were just prior to putting ointment in his eye, it was hard to tell if he was in pain or if he was dreading another eye-gooping. When we got up Wednesday morning, outside of the pre-treatment whimper, everything seemed fine until he barfed up his breakfast. I felt so horrible for him and was trying to not show how worried and dismayed I was. I had given him a little bit of Prescription i/d canned food (about 1 tsp. Monday night and another tsp. Tuesday night). It was supposed to be easy on his stomach, though. I couldn't believe that small amount would upset his system like that! I went to work and proceeded to worry all day long.
When I came home from work I did my now daily Barf Check. I found that, after I left for work, Simon had horked up a hairball. A very very HUGE hairball.
"OH MY GOD, YOU ATE BILLIE!" I cried. But then she meowed behind me, so I knew she was safe and wholly intact. I reckoned that that hairball was the likely culprit for this morning's mess and felt quite relieved. A few minutes later we were off to the vet's office, Simon singing a tragic opera aria in his carrier in the back seat. (Damn, that cat can hold a note!)
I reported the recent events to the vet and she agreed with me that it must have been the hairball that triggered the morning's Barf-O-Rama and she said to go ahead and continue feeding him the canned i/d. She then took him in the other room so she could examine his eye. While they were in the back, I remembered he was getting low on kibble so I got a bag, wondering if it would really be terribly uncouth to request some sort of Frequent Buyer plan where I could get a packet of Advantage or a free visit for every $1,000 I spend there (I think we're at $1,500 for this year already).
A few minutes later the vet brought him out and said his eye was completely healed (much to MY relief) and that we didn't have to have any more ointment or e-collar (much to SIMON'S relief). Then they tallied the bill. They only charged me for the bag of food, so I got that free office visit after all! WIN!
Simon is pretty much back to his old self, now. He's been having his nightly cat crazies, he'll randomly walk over and slap Billie and he's back into full swing with his Wake-Up-Routine, even using an old favorite tactic of his (brushing the hair from my face with his paw then grabbing a chunk in his mouth and yanking on it).
So, at least for today, Simon is healthy, Billie is eating well (in fact, as I write this, she is yelling at me for more food!), and I'm feeling more human and less dizzy. May this last for a very very long time.
19 July, 2009
What a freakin' horrible week!
Last Monday morning, Simon woke up barfy. It happens once in a while and the culprit is usually an impressively-sized hairball, so I didn't think too much of it at the time. But, a few minutes later when he was bumping my alarm clock (which he does when he wants me to get up), he cried out a little when I picked him up and moved him. That started my Spider Sense tingling.
We got up and went through the morning routine, but I noticed that Simon was especially quiet. I tried to pick him up again and again he cried out. I picked up the phone and called his vet's office (they weren't open yet, so I asked them to phone me if I could get him in that morning). I only fed Simon 1/2 of his breakfast, which he ate, though not with nearly the vigor and passion that he usually attacks his food bowl. While he ate, I got his carrier out of the closet and quietly unlatched the top hatch. I wrote an email to my co-workers saying I'd be in if/when I could and left to get my shot.
While I was en route to Kaiser, the vet's office phoned to say I could bring him in at 9:30. That would be cutting things pretty close with the allergy shot, since they expect patients to hang around for 30 minutes afterward. When I got to the clinic, I explained my situation to the receptionist and she basically told me that they won't even give me the shot if I can't/won't wait the FULL 30 minutes, and besides that, the nurses who were supposed to be there at 8:30 to give shots weren't going to be there until at least 8:45. (My displeasure with Kaiser is a much longer post for another day...). So I schlepped back home and sat quietly with Simon and Billie for a few minutes before I gingerly lifted Simon and put him in the carrier. As bad as he was feeling, his lungs worked really well! He howled the whole trip (which, thankfully, is only about 10 minutes).
We waited in an exam room for what felt like an eternity, Simon curled up on my lap, hidden under his blanket. His vet came in and checked him. She didn't feel anything wrong in his abdomen and she wanted me to leave him for at least a couple of hours so they could take blood and urine samples and watch him. I figured I should go into the office, so I asked if it would be OK if I left him until 5:00 or 5:30. The vet said it may be better as she'd have more time to watch him. So I flew back across the island to the ferry dock and caught the 10:50 boat. Obviously, I was a wreck the whole day and tried to dive into work to take my mind off of my little Schmoopie and wishing I had just taken the whole damn day off so I could have just brought him home after a couple of hours.
Around 4:30, the vet left me a voice mail, asking if I had noticed anything wrong with one of his eyes, because his left eye had suddenly teared up and was bothering him and she noticed an abrasion on his cornea. I phoned her back from the ferry (with a boat full of very rude tourists) and told her I had not noticed anything like that before. She was baffled as to how he might have hurt his eyes, as he only had his blanket, a towel a food and water bowl (with smooth edges) and a litter tray. There didn't seem to be anything in there that he could have scratched his eye on. The only thing I could think of was, the vet mentioned that Simon had been hiding in the litter tray and he may have kicked up a piece of litter in his eye. At any rate, when I got there to take him home, we brought a container of ointment with us that I have to put in his eye three times a day. She mentioned I may need to come back and get an Elizabethan collar for him if he tries to scratch his eye, though he hadn't tried to worry it while he was at the vet's office.
I don't know why I didn't get an e-collar on the spot: About a minute after Simon came out of his carrier at home, he started rubbing his eye. So I drove BACK across the island to the vet's office and plunked down another $23 for a small e-collar.
Then, we waited for results. And waited. And waited. I was a complete wreck, even though Simon was steadily improving (per the vet's instructions, he now ONLY eats Prescription Diet i/d and gets Petromalt for hairball relief). He didn't really seem like himself until Thursday night (and his eye was still blinky and I had to fight to get the ointment in his eye). I hadn't slept much and was feeling like crap anyway and by Friday the not-knowing had made me very, very over-sensitive. By mid-morning Friday, I was convinced I should never be responsible for any living thing. I had a front stoop full of dead plants, I nearly let Billie waste away to nothing and now Simon was sick and I didn't know why and there wasn't anything I could DO about it.
The vet phoned around 12:30 p.m. The blood panel she ordered included a pancreatitis test and that was what held things up (and she also wanted to talk to the lab tech). Thankfully, his kidney functions were normal (since his misadventures with eating toxic-to-kidney things last year), no sign of diabetes, urine concentrated (which was good in this case), no parasites...all good. It turned out he had an attack of pancreatitis. The vet said it could be brought on by irritable bowel syndrome (which is why Simon got Prescription i/d in the first place, though his diet had strayed away from it over the years) or liver disease, and an attack is usually triggered by high-fat foods, though that tends to happen more in humans and dogs than in cats. I pointed out that I had fed Simon a pouch of Wellness Chicken & Salmon Sunday night and we agree that there is a possibility that that may have triggered the attack. (This is not to say that there is anything wrong with Wellness food! Billie eats it all the time and she's doing really well with it. It's very good food and I recommend it if you want your cat to eat a good grain-free diet with human-grade ingredients!). So Simon has been on a VERY STRICT diet of Prescription i/d and Petromalt and he seems to be almost back to normal.
His eye is still a concern. I think he let me believe he was going to leave his eye alone on Friday before I left for work so I'd leave the e-collar off, then bothered it while I was gone: It was a bit winky when I got home. We've continued the ointment treatment and I left the e-collar on all day Saturday and most of today. I finally took it off for a while this afternoon so that he could groom himself and take a decent nap without that damn thing getting in the way. He tried to wash his face, but stopped when I'd catch him wiping around his eye. He took a good, long nap and ate his "tea" (I gave him a little canned i/d as a treat) and his eye seemed to be doing very well. It was nearly fully open and he wasn't worrying it. Then at some point, something happened with it. A couple of hours ago, it was slightly teary and after he ate the rest of the wet food, he suddenly started trying to rub the eye hard. I immediately grabbed him and got the e-collar back on him and he hasn't tried to get at it since. I don't know if he somehow got food in it or what might have happened to have it suddenly bother him so much. He's resting now (on my pillow, just like in the photo above, except with the e-collar on now) and he's opening his eye again, though not all the way. He's due for another ointment treatment in a couple of hours and goes back for a re-check on the eye on Wednesday (unless he has another eye issue like today's).
I just wish the furkids and I could finally all be healthy. Yeesh!
18 July, 2009
17 July, 2009
Walter Cronkite told America that President Kennedy was dead a year and a half before I was born, yet I still cannot watch that film footage without getting a massive lump in my throat. He was the consummate professional and he defined what it was to be a news anchor. Yet he set the standard so high that no single news anchor was ever quite able to live up to his standard (Chet Huntley and David Brinkley came close, but more as a news team than as individuals). I can only imagine how the deterioration of mainstream journalism left him disappointed, if not somewhat bitter.
Walter Cronkite narrated a great portion of my life, talking me, my family, and all of America through all of the most important events spanning nearly four decades. He inspired my interest in journalism: For a long time I wanted to be the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism. Because of Walter Cronkite I wanted to travel the world and tell its stories, yet he inspired me to tell stories right in my own back yard, as long as I told them with integrity and soul.
You have earned your rest, Mr. Cronkite. Thank you so very much for your steady voice and your inspiration.
16 July, 2009
Submitted with no further commentary because I think Ms. Maddow said it best:
15 July, 2009
This little quip was described by David Espo and Mark Sherman of the Associated Press as a "lighter moment":
Associated Press: Racist remarks are not funny, IN ANY CONTEXT. A white man, addressing a Latina with a momentary fake Latino accent is NOT a "lighter moment". It's a RACIST moment.
Senator Coburn: You need a great big bowl full of STFU, you ignorant, racist gobsihte!
(edited for clarity)
12 July, 2009
I know, I know...things have gone pretty quiet around here lately. Lots of things going on in my life right now and it's not leaving me much time or energy to post regularly.
Since we last checked in, Simon has turned eight years old. EIGHT! And, unlike last year, we managed to get through the birthday celebrations without an emergency trip to the V-E-T so yay!
One of the things we've been dealing with over the last few months is Miss Billie's weight loss. She was down to five pounds! We did x-rays, blood tests and an ultrasound (which the tech let me attend, so that was really cool) but couldn't really find anything wrong that would explain why she was so thin. So the vet prescribed an anti-depressant to stimulate her appetite and boy howdy did that do the trick! I even got Billie to eat canned food (after 7-1/2 years of trying)! And the best part of her eating canned food was that Simon still didn't like it. Therefore, I could leave it out for her to eat whenever she wanted it during the day.
Until a week or so ago, that is. While I have to admit, even I think the Wellness CORE smells pretty damn tasty, Simon turned his nose up at it at first. Then, one day I came home from work and looked at Billie's dish and it was spotless. Even with dry food, Billie never leaves a dish spotless. Evidently, while I was at work, Simon tried Billie's food and decided he loves canned food after all. So now I'm back to pleading with her to eat her breakfast in the 20-30 minutes I can give her in the morning and evening, then leaving the rest out for her when Simon and I go to bed.
But the best news is that, as of my last weigh-in (by standing on the scale holding her, then stand on it without her), she was up to around seven pounds!
So now we've worked canned food into both of their diets. Twice a week, I split one of these pouches between them. Billie LOVES gravy, but not so much the chunks, so she gets most of the gravy and Simon gets most of the meat and they're both happy. And, as long as she continues to gain weight (and Simon doesn't gain too much), I'm happy!