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.
21 December, 2008
I thought it might be fun to dress Simon and Billie up in holiday gear for a quick photo session. Simon thought I was trying to murder him, either by having the hat strap squish his brains out or strangle him, or by making him die of embarrassment.
As for Billie, she wishes you all a very happy holiday season! However, she wishes I would fall into a vat of cat shit and die:
I count myself fortunate that they are both pretty resilient. Simon was over his trauma when the catnip came out, and Billie hasn't revenge peed at all!
05 September, 2008
Stupid earthquakes! We just had a 4.0 (considered small to moderate). Simon is angling for a treat because he managed to "survive" it. Billie thinks Simon caused the earthquake, so she hates him even more. And while looking at the USGS site, I realized that what I thought was someone trying to break into my apartment at 3:30 this morning was actually a small (2.somethingorother) earthquake.
AND we're having an effin' heat wave here. Pffffffffffttthhhtttt!
11 May, 2008
I love to have fresh flowers in the house and every Sunday, when I make my weekly grocery shopping trip to Trader Joe's, I pick up one of their mixed bouquets. Now, because Simon likes to sample, well, everything, I make sure that the flowers are kept in a place he cannot access and I keep an eye out for wilting flowers so I can slip off the petals before they fall off. Occasionally, a lily petal will fall onto the floor, but Simon has never bothered with them.
I came home from work and noticed some orange lily petals on the floor and picked them up. I didn't think too much about it. I fed Simon and Billie their supper while I got ready to go to the SFlickr meet up. When I got home and was getting ready to crawl into bed around 10:30 p.m., I noticed that Simon had horked up part of his supper. As I picked it up and threw it in the garbage, I noticed the standard hair and a couple of bits of orange somethingorother in it. As I was cleaning off the bed spread and getting it ready to put in the laundry, it dawned on me: Those orange bits must be lily petals.
After consulting the first aid manual, I phoned Bay Area Veterinary Specialists, the emergency clinic in San Leandro, and spoke to them briefly. Part of me really wanted to think that, like the previous incidents with chocolate, Simon would just get away with nothing more than a dickey tummy. After all, he was still acting like his whacko self and was still eating. But something inside me compelled me to get dressed and take him in. So, at 11:00 p.m. we walked through the door to the emergency room at BAVS. A vet tech took him in the back while I sorted out the details at the reception desk. After a while, the veterinarian on duty spoke to me and told me that they needed to give Simon activated charcoal (which is horrible-tasting and must be force-fed) to soak up the toxins and also put him on IV fluids to flush his system. Hopefully, this all would head off any kidney damage (or failure) that can be caused by ingesting lillies. She let me go into the back to say good-night to Simon. My poor baby was absolutely terrified and as soon as I leaned over him on the table, he crawled into my neck, wanting his Mom to protect him. The vet tech had his blanket spread out on the table and said Simon was being a very good kitty and seemed to be somewhat comfortable with him, given the circumstances. At this point, I was crying, my tears soaking Simon's fuzzy little head. "I'm so sorry, baby," I kept saying.
The doctor gently told me that I needed to go to the front desk to sort out the estimate so that they can begin treating Simon, so I kissed him good night. The vet tech, instead of holding Simon on the table, pulled him gently into his lap and soothed him, which made me feel a tiny bit better about leaving him.
The estimate has a low end and a high end and I had to pay the low end as a deposit before they would begin treating him. Both estimates were in the 4-digit range. I said a quick prayer of thanks that 1) the bank had upped my credit limit a couple of weeks ago and 2) that, despite the huge hole it would blow in my savings account, I could still cover the high end of the estimate. Driving home, I nearly had to pull off of the freeway two or three times because I felt so nauseated. When I got home I pulled the rest of the bedding off of the mattress and dragged my down comforter over. I lay awake until the alarm went off at 5:40 a.m. I phoned the clinic around 7:00 and they said he was doing well and that I could call back around 10:30. I asked if I could visit him and they told me to come by any time. As you can imagine, I was an utter wreck at work. I tried hard to concentrate on TASKS, anything to get my mind off of my poor, terrified kitten who was in this situation because of my stupid need to have stupid fresh flowers all the stupid time. I got some critical tasks done and managed to get my trip to Los Angeles rescheduled from Monday to Thursday and then I called the clinic before leaving for the ferry.
I spoke to one of the vet techs (Rita, I think...I wish I had gotten *all* of their names, they all are so wonderful). They were going to send Simon's blood work out for another look-see because the doctor had seen something "a little off" in it. Also, they discovered a rather significant bacterial infection in his bladder, so they put him on antibiotics for that. That last bit of news knocked me for six: Simon had shown no indication, whatsoever, that he had any kind of urinary tract infection. Rita told me to visit Simon any time. So I headed for the 12:15 boat back to Alameda. I dug out Simon's favourite catnip bear, which he had torn a hole in and it was hemorrhaging catnip, and did a hasty repair job so I could bring it with me.
I spent about an hour and a half with Simon Friday afternoon. At one point, he had crawled behind me on the bench and then suddenly reached over and yanked on his catheter, spraying a bit of blood on the wall and dripping some on me as I carried him into the treatment area to tell them what happened. When the techs tried to look at the catheter, Simon got really frightened and peed on me. I cleaned myself off while they replaced the catheter and wrapped the works in the orange smiley face bandage you see in the photo. They brought him back into the room with me for a little while longer and I settled him into his favourite polar fleece jacket where he finally slept comfortably (that's the photo at the top of the post). It was time for him to go back on his fluids, so I left. I came back later in the evening to say good-night and to bring a bag of his food to see if he would eat (he wasn't eating for the vet, which wasn't surprising considering how frightened he was). I didn't have any luck getting him to eat, but he did at least sniff at the kibble I brought, which was encouraging. The tech said he was doing really well and answered my question about the blood work (the vet had noted a low platelet count and that's why it was sent out for another look). Simon didn't really look or act like a sick cat. Scared, but not sick. However, with kidney problems, it can take a while for the symptoms to manifest, so they wanted to keep him hospitalized. Again, I kissed him good-night and headed home to watch Battlestar Galactica, a diversion I so desperately needed along with having my friend Stephanie here.
Saturday, I went straight from my chiropractor appointment to the clinic. When I phoned earlier, they said his blood work came back "unremarkable", which I took as good news, and that he was keeping hidden in his bed (the tech Friday had mentioned that he had been too frightened to come out of his bed to use the litter pan and was peeing in the bed). When they gave him to me, I noticed that his stomach and hindquarters were, uh, damp. I just wanted to cry: my poor little boo was so scared he was peeing himself! This is the same cat who is the litter box champion! He had never, ever, in his life eliminated anywhere BUT the litter box. I was just sick that he was so distressed that he wouldn't leave his bed to pee. I scooped him up in the towels they brought in and tried to clean him off a little. He took over and I just let him sit on the floor and groom for a bit. Then I pulled out the baggie with some of his kibble in it to see if I could get him to eat. He actually ate several bites before some loud children in the neighbouring exam room put him off. I spent a couple of hours with him and he got progressively more relaxed, and even started being the Cheeky Monkey, jumping up on the sink counter, even after I told him he was not allowed up there!
When the vet came in to speak to me, I leaned pretty heavily on her to let him come home. However, she said that, while his blood work was really looking good and he seemed to be doing very well, they really needed to keep him one more night and do one or two more blood tests to make sure his kidney values were stable and to keep flushing his system with fluids. I snuggled with him for a few more minutes before handing him to the tech and promising to come by to say good night.
I returned about 8:00 p.m. but had to wait a while before the visiting room was available, so I didn't see Simon until 8:30. This time the lines were attached to Simon's catheter which was kind of a shock for me to see and it drove Simon nuts to be dragging them around whenever he tried to walk anywhere. But we dealt with it and I just let him do his thing. He groomed for a while, then I put his dish of kibble down and he went at it, which made me so unbelievably happy!
He groomed for a few minutes before deciding that he really wanted me to sit on the floor with the polar fleece jacket so he could climb inside and rest. While we were down there, the vet on duty, Dr. Jones, I think, came in. While I was impressed with everyone I met at the clinic, this vet totally won me over. He not only answered all of my questions (and was very happy to see that I got Simon to eat), but, rather than towering over us while we talked, he crouched, then sat, on that cold, tile floor next to us. When he got up to leave, he said, "Stay as long as you like. He's obviously way happier where he is right now!" About an hour later, the vet tech came in and said it was time for Simon's antibiotic treatment and he should go back on his fluids. I kissed his head and told him we just needed to tough it out for a few more hours and then he'd come home.
On the way to the car, the migraine that had begun percolating hit me with full force. By the time I got home I was feeling very ill and, in desperation, took one of the Vicodin that I got when my back went out last October. I had also gotten a call from my friend who was in the area and figured I could use a hug. So he came over and sat with me and we talked about photography and cats and work while I waited (and waited) for the Vicodin to at least take the edge off of my raging headache. I fueled my friend up with tea for his drive back to the South Bay and, by the time we said good-night, my head was finally clearing up. The Vicodin also helped me to sleep for the first time in a couple of days. In fact, I was still really groggy this morning when I forced myself to roll out of bed so I could call the clinic at 8:40 a.m. to see when I could come get Simon.
"He's ready to go!" said Simone, at the clinic. I tried very hard to not SQUEE with delight, in her ear.
I hurriedly showered and dressed and stopped to get an Americano at the Starbucks inside Safeway and flew down I-880. I now know the way to BAVS like I know how to get to my own apartment! I settled the final bill and waited while they tried to find his carrier and blanket. It turns out the blanket ended up in their laundry, so they sent him home with a sheepskin and promised to call when they found his blanket (which they did, this afternoon).
As soon as Simon came home, I got him to eat some more food and then he wandered over to Billie's dish and made a half-hearted attempt to steal some of her food. But his appetite isn't what it was before his ordeal. Since he does eat (and hasn't horked any of it back up, so far), I'm not too concerned that he no longer inhales food. If his appetite drops off significantly, then I'll worry.
We spent a long Sunday afternoon with Simon napping on my lap while I watched a movie and snoozed. At one point Simon and I got a card and some toy mice from another one of our amazingly wonderful friends. I got him to eat some more supper and discovered he has a new hiding place--inside the box springs of my bed! He's slowly settling back into his home and feeling secure again. I have to give him antibiotics twice a day for a while and he's got some shaved spots on his legs where the catheter was and where they took blood and I'm trying to get him to not worry them so much that I have to bandage them up again. I pray that the only lingering effect of this ordeal is the one on my bank account and that Simon gets back to his regular crazy mouse self fairly soon. I'm still bewildered about the UTI and how I had no clue about it (I always know when Billie gets one because she is a major Drama Queen about it). And as awful as it was that he ate highly toxic flowers, I wonder if, somehow, that action might have saved his life?
It's a lot to think about: Instead I think I'll go snuggle up with Simon and just be so, so grateful that he and Billie are safe at home with me, this Mother's Day.
04 May, 2008
Simon turns seven years old tomorrow and as usual, he's been spoiled silly, though all of the presents he's gotten are ones that Billie can (and does) enjoy as well. He got a new cardboard scratch box (with catnip!) and an "entertainment center" (though most of you out there would refer to it as an aquarium).
I went back and forth on what fish I'd include in the aquarium, but I decided a while ago I'd use live plants instead of plastic ones this time (bought a couple of plants at Petco and my chiropractor gave me a bunch out of the aquarium in her office). As for the fish, I was thinking of having cichlids, but decided to go with guppies and in a week or so I'll add an algae-eating fish. I've never had guppies so I'll have to see if I can keep the population in check. So far, everyone is happy and the guppies have settled into their new environment.
Billie is content to watch the fish swim through the plants, occasionally patting at the glass. Simon, however, wants to take a more "paws-on" approach:
Simon is actually more interested in sampling the fish FOOD, rather than the fish themselves. As glad as I am that he doesn't want to eat his pet fish, it does add several degrees of difficulty to feeding time.
The last thing we did to celebrate Simon's birthday was to donate a bunch of cat food to the Alameda Animal Shelter. When I was in there last week to pay for Billie's license, they told me about all of the adult cats that have been dropped off in the night drop box lately. The officer nearly had me sobbing before I left and there was no way I could go back to see the cats because I already wish I could adopt every last homeless animal there is. What I could do, however, is buy an extra bag and some cans of food. So Simon and Billie and I want to ask our friends to donate a few dollars or an extra bag or can or two of food to your local shelter or rescue organization. If you're a few bob short, you can give your time and volunteer to socialize the animals and take the dogs for walks.
Finally, if you have room in your heart (and in your home), consider adopting an adult cat (or dog). There are a lot of wonderful critters out there waiting for a loving family of their own.
30 March, 2008
I got, not one, but TWO notifications from the veterinarians' office recently. It seems Simon was due for his annual check-up and Billie was due for her rabies vaccination. For some reason, when I was on the phone with the V-E-T's office, I thought it might be more efficient to bring them in at the same time. After I hung up the phone, I realized that that idea wasn't so much about efficiency as it is proof positive that I'm fucking insane.
The last time I packed two kitties off to the vet's office was when Simon and Chloe were kittens and I could put them both in the same carrier. If I were to try to put Simon and Billie in the same carrier, there would be blood spilled, most likely MINE. I got them into their carriers, eventually (Simon can really put up a good fight) and out the door. Once outside, where the neighbours could hear them, they both started complaining bitterly and LOUDLY about what was happening to them. But all in all, they were both pretty well behaved.
Billie has put back on some weight, so she's back into the six pound range. That was very good news because I was rather alarmed when she dropped below six pounds. Simon is still twice her size at a bit over twelve pounds. He did the kitten thing of trying to hide himself in my neck and let out his high-pitched mews when he was on the scale.
So, if nothing else, at least Billie now knows Simon's Dirty Secret: For all his bullying and blustering at her at home, he is a great big baby. Not that that made her any happier:
For all the trauma they claim to have suffered today, I think my bank account took the worst of it. But Billie and Simon are both healthy and that's the most important thing.
23 March, 2008
Simon and I seem to have a bit of a disagreement as to how I should be spending my 4-day weekend. I thought I'd spend it relaxing around the apartment and getting some work done on the computer. Simon thought I was here to do his bidding and to provide Something Big And Warm for him to snuggle with whenever he designated it Official Napping Hour.
Sometimes I get so fed up that I swear that the next time I take time off I'm going to hire a kitty sitter and go Somewhere Else for a few days of peace and quiet. But I know that I'd miss him and Billie terribly and would probably cut my vacation short so I could hear Billie chatter excitedly at me in the morning and have Simon wake me up with his kitty-paw neck massages and his nose kisses.
24 February, 2008
I came home Friday evening to find that quite a number of Simon and Billie's toys had migrated from their toy box onto my bed. Twist ties in many sizes and colours, Crackle Turtle (partially disemboweled), Crackle Squirrel (similarly maimed), a bobble bop and the last of Simon's Favourite jingle balls. Here's me thinking he slept all day when I was at the office!
We've tried a new tack with the problem of Getting Billie To Eat. She's damned determined that she'll have her meals served "free choice," but with He Who Eats Everything on the prowl that just isn't possible unless I leave him locked in the bedroom (I can't keep her in the bedroom because then she gets pissed off and pees on the bed). In desperation last Thursday, I brought her dish out just before going to bed. I brought Simon into the bedroom with me and kept the door closed while we slept. That way she had several hours to eat her food and, since she tends to be more on the nocturnal end of the scale, she has most of the apartment to herself to run around and play in. I have now dubbed her Vampira, since she feeds primarily at night. Thankfully, Simon is being good about being kept in the bedroom so far. In the past he has tended to insist on being let loose and would pester me or knock stuff off of the dresser until I relented and let him go.
I'm hoping that we've finally hit on a feeding plan where Billie finally gains back her weight, even though this is gonna make things really tricky finding someone to sit for them when I have to be out of town. Feeding them already was a bit of a time commitment: Now it's kind of a logistic nightmare because I'm certain that this works because I'm with Simon at night. I couldn't stand the thought of him being locked in the bedroom all alone for hours.
Here's hoping I don't come to that bridge anytime soon.
04 November, 2007
No, Simon did NOT dress up as Billie for Halloween. I just liked this photo of her and decided I'd post it today.
We only had one group of trick-or-treaters Wednesday, which was just fine by Simon, as he has no enduring affection for the Small, LOUD Humans. As I expected, once the first (and only) group knocked on our door, he immediately got into his costume, which we call Lump Under The Bed Covers:
He sulked for about half an hour. When it looked as if no one else was coming, he came out of the bedroom, hoping to pahr-tay on all that sugary goodness. Of course, the lack of Small, LOUD Humans means I had a ton of candy left over and that I had to quickly figure out a Simon-proof way to store it. Most of the Jolly Rancher stuff is in a screw-top container. The chocolate is on the highest shelf in the pantry, which he has yet to figure out how to open, much less access the top shelf. But I'll need to unload the goods soon, because Simon has
two three things going for him:
1) He has a highly developed sense of smell to the point where he can smell a sugary treat (sometimes even double-baggied!) stored deep inside my back pack. Which means that, if he hasn't figured out where the chocolate is yet, he will soon. (One would think that, with such a highly developed sense of smell, he'd have a great career as a bomb-sniffing cat. Except that BOMBS DON'T SMELL LIKE CHOCOLATE, so he'd just steal people's lunches and take off.)
2) He is persistent. If he's determined to eat the candy, he will figure out a way to get the pantry door open and to access the deepest recesses of the top shelf. It's only a matter of time.
3) He has a Working Mom, which means he has free run of the apartment ALL DAY LONG.
14 October, 2007
I'm probably very late to the pew on this one, but I stumbled upon the LOLCat Bible Translation Project earlier this week. It is somewhat disturbing and so hilarious that Billie thought I had hurt my back again, I was laughing so hard. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best thing to ever be put on the internets.
I has an excerpt. Let me show you:
"1. And if pplz thinkz of steelin mah cheezburger, is wtf n00b, I is gonna PWNED u lolz.
2: And if sumone toucheded teh smelleh stuff he is smelly and no get cheezburger.
3: And if he toucheded sumone who no shower he becomes stinky, lyke omg srysly.
4: And if he sez he is steelin bucket he also no get cheezburger, kthx.
5: If he stealz mah cheezburger he has to sez so, MAH STEELIN CHEEZBURGER: LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.
6: And he has to bring Ceiling Cat a largeder cheezburger.
7: If he cantz bring largeder mebbe 2 medium size cheezburger, is ok, srysly.
8: And he shallz brings them to Ceiling Cats d00d and sez "O hai, I bringz you cheezburger, dont PWNED me! Kthx."
9: Then Ceiling Cat will eat cheezburger, n sumtimes mebbe he share, lolz.
10: And if they give Ceiling Cat second Cheezburger and he sez, omg cant eat no moar, so is ok, kthx. "
I may have to have Simon and Billie start up a LOLCat Bible Study group. Srsly.
07 October, 2007
(Hey friends, this is a long post and I don't know why I'm compelled to post the whole story but I am. Read it if you want, but if you don't want the whole saga, then I invite you to skip down to today's Simon Sunday post. K'thxbye!)
I really thought I'd have nothing new to post about my back problems after last weekend. I went for another acupuncture treatment last Tuesday and felt better than I had in several weeks.
I wake up Wednesday morning. The back/hip/leg is stiff and a little sore, but that's been The New Normal so I didn't worry too much about it, even if it was disappointing because I had felt so much better before I went to bed. I went through the morning ablutions, gave the cats some breakfast and went into the bedroom to finish my Chinese herb tea and get dressed while Billie ate her breakfast on my bed. I bent down to put my underwear on when something went horribly, horribly wrong. I don't know if a disc slipped or what exactly happened: All I know is that I was suddenly in the most horrific pain I have ever experienced in my life and I couldn't walk. I was trying so hard not to panic but it was a full-speed freight train coming right at me. I tried to stretch gently and nearly collapsed: I tried to walk it off but I could hardly move. I flopped myself onto the bed thinking that maybe if I just rested it for a few minutes it would be okay and I could get dressed and take the later boat in to work (how fucking sick is that?).
If I moved, even a hair's width, my right side shrieked in agony. I don't know how I did it, but I got up and, with the aid of my Swiffer broom stick (that I had been using as a cane), grabbed an old dress out of the closet and threw it over me, got to the back door and unlocked it so my friend S could get in, put the rest of Simon's breakfast in his dish and got my mobile phone before collapsing on the bed and, very gingerly and painfully, slithering under the covers. I left messages with the acupuncturist (her office was closed Wednesday but I didn't realize that at first) and the receptionist at my office (she said she never got my message, though I distinctly remember hearing her voice mail greeting and leaving a very gasping, panic-stricken message). I shivered under the covers for another hour or two before calling S (got her voice mail) and G (who, thank my stars, picked up). G came over (she has a spare key) and helped me with the cats and brought me water, made sure I was alright and told me to call if I needed a ride to the doctor or anything.
My nerves and muscles in right leg were so ground up that any trip to the bathroom or to the kitchen to get the ice pack left me shaking violently by the time I got back to my bed and it would take me several minutes of flopping (there was no strength in the leg to hold me up to even sit on the bed) slithering, moaning and screaming before I was under the covers again. Simon stayed next to me in bed: Billie stayed in the living room, but I could hear her pitter-pattering feet in the hallway and occasionally she'd meow softly until I answered her. I made an appointment at Kaiser for Thursday afternoon. I spoke to the acupuncturist: She thought she might try to come to my apartment to give me a treatment but she couldn't (not that I could have got to the door to let her in, anyway). She thought I should get a chiropractic adjustment. On one of my herculean efforts to get to the bathroom and back, I detoured to my desk for the blue post-it note pad with the name and phone number of S's chiropractor. I checked in at the office (that's when I was told that the receptionist didn't get my voice mail) and said I was done for the next couple of days, probably the rest of the week but that I'd keep checking in. At that point I was exhausted and my mobile phone battery was running low. I phoned G's a while later and spoke to C who said he or G would stop by in the evening. I managed to find a "least uncomfortable" position and slept fitfully for a couple of hours.
C came over and brought me my ice pack, mobile phone charger and hooked up my old iBook and the Airport Base station so I could at least check in online and then served the cats' food. I think he was on his way to something else and I felt bad that I kept him for so long. I got hold of S a couple of hours later and she said she would be over in the morning (she lives across the back yard from me) to help with the cats and would take me to Kaiser. I hardly slept at all and was exhausted when I had to get up to use the bathroom in the morning. I had it in my head that I HAD to feed the furkids myself so I tried to, though it ended up with me in tears, shaking violently and barely making it back to bed. S came over about an hour later and got the cats fresh water, scooped the litter box (I hated, but hated asking G and S to do that chore for me!) and brought me more water and the bottle of Rescue Remedy she found by the kitchen sink. She said she'd be back in a few hours to take me to my Dr. appointment at Kaiser. I rested as long as I could and I made an appointment with her chiropractor for Friday morning.
I got up again to try to get myself together for the appointment, my wallet, check book, glasses, mobile phone, etc. I collapsed on the bed again for another hour or so before I heard S's footsteps in the back garden. SHIT! I realized I still didn't have underwear on! S came in and I told her my dilemma. She said she needed to pull the car around and she'd get me in a few minutes. So I took out a pair that looked the least challenging to get on and fumbled around--in a great deal of pain--getting them on after about the fifth try. When I stood up, I realized I had put them on wrong. At that point I really didn't give a shit anymore. I pulled my messy matted hair back, put my glasses on and hobbled out front to wait for S. She parked along the street and I very slowly slid into her car but could not reach over to close the door. S needed to run back up to her place for her ID which gave me time by myself to try to settle into the seat. I so did not want to moan and groan the whole trip so I gripped the handle over the door and did deep breathing exercises while I waited for her to return. Once we were underway, she turned on the seat warmer. I don't know why or how, but somehow between the great lumbar support in Subarus and the seat warmer, my back and hip eased and I was actually able to walk (well, limp) through the parking lot and across the street to the medical building.
I had avoided going to Kaiser for the back problems because all I expected was I'd get a cursory look-over, answer a couple of questions and be sent home with a bottle of pills. I underestimated them. After the doctor showed up 15 minutes late (by which time I was in great pain again) I got a cursory look-over, answered a couple of questions, got sent to the lab for a blood test and urine test (she thought, because I had a slight fever, I might have a bladder infection--in fact the blood test she ordered looks like one that is ordered to look at kidney function too--Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot???) and sent me home with THREE bottles of pills (Vicodin, which did nothing, Flexeril, which actually did help but really made me drowsy, and prescription ibuprofen). Whoop-dee-flippin'-doo!
S brought me home and I took a couple of Vicodin which, as I said, did nothing at all. I checked in at the office but had to cut my call short because I was getting very uncomfortable again. I took a Flexeril and went back to bed. The muscle relaxer actually eased the discomfort and I managed to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up to feed the cats. Yes, I was able to actually get up and feed my cats! By myself! (Simon was probably the most relieved by this as he was freaked out by all of the people he didn't know coming into his house and making him hide under the bed.) I lay on the bed while Billie ate and checked in on my regular Web sites for a while. I decided what I really needed was sleep and took another Flexeril before going to bed (at 7:00 pm!). I woke up around 3:00 a.m. feeling sore again, so I got up and took one last Flexeril so I could get some rest. The pill worked, but Simon decided to be Freaky Boy and get into everything knowing there wasn't much I could do to stop him. I reached over and got the blue post-it note pad and the pen I had put on my bed stand and made a shopping list for when S took me to the chiropractor: a heating pad and can of compressed air (the sound stops Simon in his tracks).
I was feeling sore and icky when I got up but I was absolutely determined to not take any more medication before I saw the chiropractor. S came to collect me (I not only had underwear on, but it was on the right way this time! Thank You, Flexeril!) and we were off. The ass-warming seats worked their magic again on the way to the chiropractor, though I had a bit of difficulty hobbling in. The chiropractor visit was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the Kaiser visit. Oh My Stars! She explained a little bit about the way the spine and nervous system work together, then, explaining the function of every set of nerves along the spine, took a detailed health history. Then we went back for x-rays (which Kaiser did NOT do). She analyzed the images and gave me a treatment. Her specialty is the NUCCA technique, which isn't the snappy/cracky/poppy adjustment we tend to associate with chiropractors. NUCCA concentrates on the top vertebrae where the base of the skull meets the spinal column. Essentially, it's getting my head on straight! As I lay there while she applied pressure below/behind my ear, I was a bit skeptical. But I did feel a little better afterward, I had to admit. She took a second set of x-rays to see if the adjustment realigned the Atlas area but we didn't have time to look at them before her next appointment. I certainly wasn't up dancing a polka, but I was feeling a bit better. I made an appointment for Saturday and bought S lunch to thank her for helping me.
I was feeling a little achy in the evening, so I took one of the prescription ibuprofen before I went to bed. Unlike the Vicodin, these actually seemed to smooth the edge off of the pain (with a little help from the heating pad). I was a little bummed about that because I really wanted to detox all of the drugs out of my system, but I also needed to rest. As I lay in bed trying to relax myself to go to sleep, I realized that I had stopped using the old Swiffer broom stick to prop me up. Simon curled up next to me and sighed.
Saturday morning I felt better than I have in a month! I was still stiff and kind of sore, especially in the hip and along the back of my leg, but I felt like I might be able to do a bit more than just function. I got over to Rockridge way early for my appointment with the chiropractor (aw heck, let's just call her Dr. Doyle), so I took a walk around the block. My hip and leg were getting more sore so I stopped in at the store/coffee house next door and got an iced jasmine tea. The guy at the counter referred to Dr. Doyle as the "neighbourhood miracle worker" and said that a few times a year she'll charge patients half-price for treatments and then donate all her proceeds for the day to a charity like breast cancer research, which made me like her even more. I had time so I took another walk around the block, simply because I could (painful thought it was). I went in for my appointment and noticed she was a few minutes behind schedule which is no problem because her regular appointments are short. As she finished with the guy before me, the guy scheduled after me shuffled in. He looked like he was really uncomfortable so I offered to let him switch with me, which he thanked me for but declined. Dr. Doyle and I talked about the second set of x-rays, which showed that I was slightly back in alignment and then she measured my hip and leg alignment and noted that they were off again. She did the adjustment and as we were settling the bill, I saw her fliers for an event later in the month where new patients pay 1/2 price if they bring in groceries to help feed the poor. So, if you're in the East Bay and are looking for a chiropractor without the violent snap and crackle of other chiropractors, let me know and I'll send you the flyer.
Anyway, I felt even better after the treatment, good enough to toodle through Trader Joe's for a few things. I needed to take an ibuprofen this morning and the hip and leg still get tired pretty quickly, but I am amazed that I'm able to sit nearly pain-free and stand up without a painful "hitch" and can do things more easily like clean litter boxes and vacuum the floor. I don't feel so good about having spent over $800 on getting my back fixed, but am thankful that most of that will be reimbursed. I'm thankful to my Internet Friends who, even if they couldn't come over to help (being across the country or in Europe and all that), sent me loads of good wishes and healing vibes. I am also thankful beyond description for friends like S, G & C, who have now seen me at my most crippled and helpless; a state I never, EVER wanted anyone to ever have to see me in. They are my heroes. I do wonder, sometimes, if I'll ever be able to stand up and not have to think about standing up. Or leaning down. Or walking.
And now I really, really, truly hope that this is the LAST post about my damn back!
23 September, 2007
I'm now going into my third week of back (and leg) pain issues. Last week I was virtually crippled with it: I missed work for three days and was effectively house-bound from Friday evening until I went to the acupuncturist on Tuesday. This level of pain--and its duration--is all new to me and has, at times, been terrifying for the cats. They're used to my Donald Duck temper tantrums, but did not know what to do when I'd shriek in agony just trying to sit on the toilet or get into or out of bed.
Last weekend it got to the point where they had to make adjustments to their own habits. I pretty much couldn't bend down to put their food dishes on the floor in their usual spots, so they started eating on higher surfaces: kitchen table for Simon, on top of my bed for Billie. They both had a bit of difficulty adjusting to this (especially since I always shoo Simon OFF of the table when it was time to feed them). Billie still pulls Diva spells where she really doesn't want to be bothered with jumping on the bed to eat, but eventually she will, if sometimes grudgingly.
The other adjustment they've made is not having their litter boxes scooped out quite as often as they're used to. On a good day, I can scoop once in the morning and once in the evening: most days they just get scooped once. The adjustment was made easier thanks to Gwen and Chad, who brought over a fresh bag of litter. I had managed to dump and clean one of the boxes and Chad volunteered to dump the second box, bless him, and he filled both boxes with new litter.
(I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for some amazing friends--near and far--who have volunteered to do shopping and other chores for me and insisting that I quit trying to be macho about getting things done around here. You all know who you are and you all completely, truly and utterly ROCK! Thank you!)
Besides making lifestyle adjustments, Billie and Simon have been first-rate caregivers, at least as much as wee beasties can be. The way they behave is a good barometer for how well I'm doing. I knew last Sunday night that I was in big trouble when Simon AND Billie slept in bed with me and never fought or even growled at each other (conversely, since I've become slightly more mobile and shriek less often, their "cease fire" has lifted and they're fighting more often). Simon has been doing everything he can to keep me comfortable when I'm in bed. He'll curl up on my "lap" when I'm laying on my back and he's been giving me neck and shoulder rubs until his little paws were worn out. He also brings me his toys when he thinks I need cheering up (though I can't get down to pick them up). Billie gives me lots of head and leg rubs of encouragement and greets me cheerily after I get out of bed (which takes me forever and requires a lot of cussing) in the morning.
Thankfully, acupuncture seems to be helping, though it's tiny bit by tiny bit. It's been incredibly frustrating having my life stop and nearly being unable to take care of myself--and the furkids--at all. I've been lucky to have help available (even if I am too humiliated to ask anyone to wash my knickers for me) and to have had the best Feline Care in the world. If only I could teach Billie and Simon to shave my legs for me...
A co-worker and I talked about prioritizing caring for myself last week and he asked me, "gee you think your body's trying to tell you something?"
"Yep." I replied. "Message received!" I'm going to make some big changes to my life: I don't want my family to ever have to endure a month like this one, ever again.
19 August, 2007
We marked a major milestone this week: I spent the first night ever away from Simon and Billie. I was only gone a little over 24 hours and I had arranged with friends to have them fed and visited in the morning (even though I knew Simon would hide in the bedroom for the duration of any visit), so I was confident they would be safe. But I still couldn't sleep very well without Simon purring and stretching his fuzzy belly up against me. I'd keep listening for his soft chirr as he wakes up and looks for me, or Billie's soft chatter in the morning, but I didn't hear any of it. So, yeah, I missed my furkids like crazy.
Billie took my brief absence in her stride. Actually, she probably enjoyed it because, when my friend visited the next morning and Simon hid, she had the WHOLE REST OF THE APARTMENT TO HERSELF. Therefore, she ate only a couple of bites, then ran around the apartment for the rest of the visit. Simon, on the other hand, was a bit more distressed. When I came home, it took him a couple of days to settle down and not need me to be with him every minute. He's more calm now and we've spent a lot of this weekend snuggling (owing largely to me being dead tired from the work week and from getting over a summer cold).
I need to get Simon (especially) and Billie used to Other People visiting them and I need to get used to sleeping alone because, at least for the next little while, I'll be shuttlng up and down the coast. And also I really could use a vacation.
12 August, 2007
Simon and Billie have reached Detente long enough that they can simultaneously cuddle with me this weekend while I try to deal with whatever the hell it is that has laid siege to my sinuses.
Evidently, it takes a great deal of hard work for them to NOT fight with each other; they're both zonked out.
29 July, 2007
As you might have noticed in this photo and last week's Simon Sunday, Simon is sporting some new BLING. After Gwen's cat, Memo, went missing for an entire month I decided that Simon and Billie would start wearing their collars again because if either one of them went missing like that, I'd be dead from a broken heart after 30 days.
Simon pretty much took to wearing the collar like a trooper this time (he hated it before, but the tag I used to have on there was way too large). Billie, on the other hand, was Completely Pissed Off. When I first put the collar on her two weeks ago, she would storm off in a huff any time the tag clanked against the side of the food or water bowl. Anyone who knows Miss Billie knows that she would actually starve herself to death, JUST TO MAKE HER POINT. I took the collar off and decided I'd try again the following weekend, since I was taking an extra day off and would be around to make sure she ate.
So last weekend, in the midst of all the Harry Potter excitement, I put her collar back on. This time she seemed, well not exactly OK with it, but more or less resigned to having to wear it. I thought maybe we had turned the corner and she would accept the collar like Simon did.
HOW STUPID AM I?
(Don't bother answering...)
Billie declared war. Sunday morning, in the early hours, she peed on the couch; coincidentally in the same exact spot I had been sitting while reading Harry Potter just a few hours before. Then she did it again a couple of days later. When she was satisfied that neither I nor Simon could sit on the couch because it was now soaking in Nature's Miracle, she started working her Black Magic (well, I guess, technically it's not black...oh never mind) on my bed! Rapidly running out of places to sit and/or sleep (the only thing that saved my computer chair is the fact that it is her new Favourite Sleeping Place), I removed the collar.
We are--ever slowly--restoring peace to the household. At some point I'll get Billie microchipped (Simon was chipped when I took him to his first vet visit when he was a kitten) but, considering she hasn't had any desire to wander outside in nearly six years, it just isn't worth the stress it was causing to keep the collar on her. Thankfully, Simon isn't one to declare a jihad when life doesn't go to his exact specifications and, for Billie, the plus side to him wearing a collar is that she can now hear him stalking her.
22 April, 2007
Day Ninety-Six: Who knows what he's stalking this time
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
That is to say, the end of the 365 Days project. We lasted 100 days, which is about 93 days longer than I thought we'd go. But Simon and Billie both got really tired of me shoving the camera in their face every time they did something even remotely cute or interesting and I realized that I was depriving us of a lot of the joy in simply being present by insisting that they keep being CUTE for the camera.
This doesn't mean I won't be taking pictures of Simon and Billie anymore, or even going on any lengthy hiatus, nor is this the end of Simon Sunday. Considering all of the mishief that Simon gets up to, and how delicately beautiful Miss Billie is, who am I to horde such wonderfulness all for myself?
For now, however, the three of us are gonna do lots more snuggling, lots more playing and much less posing and image processing.
08 April, 2007
My four-day weekend was full of promise: Relaxation, a long-overdue trip to Golden Gate Park, and getting some other stuff done that I haven't been able to get to. But, first, Miss Billie needed to visit the V-E-T for her yearly rabies S-H-O-T. I had decided to put off the exam until next payday, so this trip would be a five-minute, get-in-get-shot-get-out and then I'd drop her off at home, make sure she was okay, then head over the bridge and be in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by noon.
I believe it's Anne Lamott who said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans." The vet tech took Billie in back to get her shot, but came out a minute later, telling me that Billie has lost 3/4 of a pound since last year and did I have time for an exam today. OK, 3/4 of a pound doesn't seem like much and if it were me, I'd rejoice, if it were Simon, that would be okay, too. But this is Billie, who only weighed a little over 6 lbs at her last check-up. Now, she's 5 lbs. 10 oz. and that is cause for alarm. Yet, Billie didn't seem like she had anything wrong with her (other than her back legs, which have always been a little wobbly). I thought of just waiting until payday, but then figured I'd be stressing over this and hovering over Billie for the next ten days, so I decided to go ahead with the exam.
The vet tech came in and asked the standard questions about appetite, litter box, activity, etc. Then Dr. Wydner came in and looked Billie over. Her teeth looked great, so a dental problem was ruled out. The doctor couldn't feel anything odd or out of place. Which would be good news, except it didn't explain that much weight loss. So I reluctantly went ahead with the blood panel and urine analysis. My reluctance was because 1) it's not a very pleasant thing for Billie to go through, being poked and having fluids drawn, and 2) this was now becoming a very expensive visit.
Dr. Wydner took Billie in the back for the blood and urine samples and I went out front. She brought Billie out a few minutes later saying she would call me on Friday with the results. So, a five-minute, $20 shot visit turned into an hour-long, $280 ordeal, and we'd still have to wait 24 hours to see if there was anything systemically wrong!
I brought Billie home and let her out of the kitty carrier. Simon took the opportunity to act like a complete asshole the entire day. He hissed and growled (though his growling sounds ridiculous and not very threatening at all) at Billie AND me all day long. Billie was pissed off at me because I had allowed her privacy to be violated most egregiously, so SHE was hissing at me. I thought about canceling my trip to Golden Gate Park, but I had broken that date with myself so many times, and, given the amount of stress I've been dealing with lately (not just cat-related but a lot of work stress too), I decided to leave the furkids to hiss at each other and go sit with Buddha.
I'm very glad I did that. On the way in and through San Francisco, my mind was screaming with "What if Billie has_____?" I was fighting tears and trying to remember to breathe. I parked my car where I always used to and headed into the Japanese Tea Garden. It took only a few minutes of being surrounded by cherry blossoms and seeing Buddha's calm smile before my breathing became less laboured and my mind more clear. I could hear my own voice giving me the advice that I had given so many friends who had faced a health crisis with their own furkids. No matter what the outcome of the tests were, I would simply love Billie. That would be my guide.
By the time I got home Simon and Billie were hissing at each other a little less. Billie ate her supper and didn't seem to show any discomfort from her rabies shot, which was good. Whenever I felt myself starting to worry over whether the tests would show her kidneys shutting down, or feline leukemia or anything catastrophic, I'd simply look at Billie and see a happy girl who, if she was sick, had no idea of it.
"Happy Girl"...that phrase started turning through my mind. As I have noted here before, Billie has become much more comfortable and self-assured here. She's begun to participate more in the activity around the apartment, trying interactive play with me and once in a while having a case of Cat Crazies. I realized that getting her to eat her food at mealtimes had become less of an ordeal, too. In fact, over the last several weeks, she'd occasionally ask for MORE food after she had finished her meals! Now, with Simon, those requests have always been denied because he tends toward the husky side and I realized that I usually didn't give Billie more food because, subconsciously, I was comparing her to SIMON, instead of comparing Billie to, well, Billie. "Can the answer be THAT simple?" I wondered. I made note of it to bring up with Dr. Wydner.
Friday morning, I made Billie a promise: No matter what the results of the tests were, I would NOT subject her to any more poking, prodding, or feeling-up today because she had had more than enough yesterday. Around lunch time, Dr. Wydner phoned. Her urine sample and blood panel came back all normal. Kidneys are fine. No feline leukemia or feline HIV, by all indications she's as healthy as can be. I mentioned the increased activity and maybe I should just give Billie more food and Dr. Wydner thought that would be a good idea. She even said that Billie doesn't look like a sick cat or act like a sick cat. So, we decided that I'd increase the amount of kibble and see if we can't get some weight back on her. Dr. Wydner said that any time I wanted to have Billie's weight checked to just bring her by. We agreed that, if she doesn't gain some weight back in the next several weeks, we'll look into having an x-ray done.
So far, I've started adding about 1/3 scoop of Simon's Prescription Diet i/d to Billie's regular Science Diet Hairball formula and she's eating it. I may transition her onto one of the organic kibble formulas, though. But she continues to be reasonably active and chatty and...healthy. I decided to stop worrying about how I'm going to pay for an x-ray because as far as Billie's concerned, she doesn't need it. Every animal that I've had the privilege of caring for has always let me know when he or she needed extra care so I'm going to take the energy I'd waste on worrying and use it to just simply be present with Billie and Simon.
That's all they really ever ask of me, anyway.
05 April, 2007
Several times in the last two or three months, I've pulled the litter box away from the wall to sweep the litter that the furkids (well, Simon) scattered, only to find wetness behind the box. Given Billie's history of occasionally deciding that she just can't be bothered to keep her entire ass in the box, therefore peeing half in-half out of the box, I naturally assumed she was either A) being lazy or B) making yet another Political Statement.
A couple of weeks ago, I switched out the short-walled red box for the high-walled blue box, specifically because Billie can't do the half in-half out business with the blue one. I noticed small clumps along the back wall of the box, consistently, every time I cleaned out the box (my apologies if you're reading this over lunch or a snack). I realized that neither cat is that consistent.
It turns out the drain pipe under the sink has a bit of a leak. And probably has had that slight leak for, oh, a few months. (I thought it was odd that whenever Billie peed over the side of the box back there that it was colourless and odourless...)
Ssssssssssssorry Miss Billie.
25 March, 2007
This morning, just after I poured myself a cup of English Breakfast Tea and sat at my desk, Simon let me know that it was time to play with him. OK, no problemo, I hadn't spent much quality time with him during the week, so we sat down to a rousing game of Stalk The Pipe Cleaner.
Soon, Billie woke up from her post-breakfast nap and was intrigued by our game. She's not too much on "interactive play" but she gives it a go every so often. So she jumped down from her bed and ran over and patted the pipe cleaner with her paw (this is how she "captures her prey", evidently). She'd tap the pipe cleaner then run away before it could...oh hell, I have no idea what retribution she was expecting from a length of fuzz-covered wire.
While this was going on, Simon left us to play, which was kind of nice of him to let Billie have mom-and-me time with me (usually he insists on including himself which drives Billie away). As usual, Billie quickly bored of the activity and wanted to be left alone.
Simon walked past me, turned to look at the pipe cleaner in my hand and headed over to his pot of cat grass. When I looked at him, something didn't seem quite right. On closer inspection, he had a wet spot on his chin. A wet spot that, curiously, was THE SAME COLOUR AS MY TEA. No wonder he was being so kind to Billie: While she had me distracted, he helped himself to my cup of tea! My tea!
Now, I probably should have been concerned that the caffeine and whatnot might be bad for him, but he's gotten into so many bags, bowls, cups and dishes of my food and suffered little to no consequences that I long ago put away the phone number to the emergency vet clinic. And yet, this week pet caregivers have been given a sobering dose of reality that the stuff our furkids are "supposed" to eat can be deadly.
I wonder what kind of testing these pet food manufacturers do on the stuff that goes into the food they make. If they do perform quality and safety tests on food, would it have even picked up on the rat poison in the imported wheat? Incidents like this and the horrible spinach/e-coli contamination are a frightening reminder that our food supply is terribly insecure. It gives me pause every time I pour kibble into Simon and Billie's dishes, wondering if the corn used in their kibble has been contaminated with a deadly mold, or, when I prepare my own supper, I wonder if I've washed the greens in my salad sufficiently. The truth is, we've become so disconnected from our food supply that we have no idea what all is in our food and whether or not the meal we're sitting down to is going to make us sick. Or worse.
It's something to think about while shopping and preparing a meal, but not something to dwell too long on. But I give my thanks every day that I have Billie around so that maybe one day she'll be comfortable playing interactively with me (and, dare I hope, Simon). And I'm grateful for every mischievous deed Simon does; even if it means I have to make a new cup of tea.
28 January, 2007
It's been a very rough week on my friends and their furkids. One friend had one of her cats mauled by her dogs and G&T's beautiful Miss Kitty had to be euthanized after she developed breast cancer and got suddenly very ill. Another friend is facing the end of the life expectancy for her 2 hamsters and I learned that an online acquaintence had recently had to euthanize his cat after a bout of stomach cancer.
Simon and Billie are having difficulty understanding why mom is hugging them a lot more all of a sudden. I'm just so damn grateful to have these two furkids in my life that I won't even let myself imagine my life without them. That would be just too awful.
Tonight we honour those furry cherished ones who have left our world. Whatever it is that's on the "other side", it will be so much more beautiful for having them. We honour the humans they've left behind and hope that their hearts heal quickly. And we send love and good healing happy thoughts to anyone who is unwell today, whether they're furry, finned, feathered or human.
Love and peace from Simon, Billie and Vicster.
14 January, 2007
Because life just doesn't have enough challenges, I signed up for the non-human version of the 365 Days* project on flickr. Which means at least ONE photo of the furkids EVERY DAY FOR A WHOLE YEAR! Because, you know, I just don't post enough photos of Simon and Billie on my flickr photostream.
For a cat who used to love hamming it up for the camera, he's not too happy about the prospect of my daily attempt at shooting a nice, lovely portrait of him. It's especially surprising since he gets so many mash notes from his flickr fans who want to shower him in smooches and treats (these are people who have never been jolted awake by having him drool on their eyelids).
Both of the furkids seem resigned to participating in this project because I have just enough of a photographic arsenal that, even if they manage to "accidentally" send one camera flying into a nearby wall, I've got several more on stand-by. As for the people who visit my flickr photostream...well, they either love me (and the cats), or they gave up on me a lonnnnng time ago.
So...here's to365 days of Simon and Billie!
(*because I'm generally ALWAYS late to the table for these things, my 365 days started on 9 January, 2007)
12 January, 2007
"Dammit Billie! Quit getting under my feet! Do I LOOK like I have eyes in my kneecaps, fer chrissakes???
07 January, 2007
...he gets by on his gorgeous looks.
I'm in the sloppy stages of a head cold, and, after a lengthy photo stroll around the Navy Base yesterday, my sinuses were kicking up a major fuss. This time, it felt more like allergies than cold, but whatever it was, I had had quite enough of the sneezing (or trying to sneeze) and, in desperation, took a Benadryl before going to bed.
Which means that I'm utterly worthless today. Which meant that, though I managed to serve His Highness his breakfast reasonably on time this morning, I really needed to go back to bed. That did not sit well with His Highness. I desperately needed to sleep off the Benadryl, but Simon was determined that I should be out of bed and paying attention to him. So he abused me with his tail, he slobbered on my face and he repeatedly got on the dresser (which he knows is absolutely verboten).
Three hours of minimal, fitful rest, many harsh words and Simon's naughty deeds later, I gave up and got up, cursing like I do when the Benadryl leaves me evil-tempered.
I decided to have an English muffin; Simon tried to stick his paw in the butter because he thought it was Chevre goat cheese, which is his New Favourite Food in the Whole World. "Simon, CHOOSE LIFE!" I told him, redirecting his paw before it landed in the middle of the butter. He immediately went into the living room and bit Billie, because, you know, it's ALL HER FAULT. That got him a very loud lecture, punctuated by a couple of blasts from the compressed air can, on how he is certainly NOT allowed to bite his sister, ever, and especially not when HE is the one who is being naughty.
I had to quickly inhale the English muffin and barely rescued my cup of tea from his prodding paw. At this point, I was too exhausted to yell or lecture or do anything more than roll my eyes. When he realized he was not getting any muffin or tea, Simon went and took a nap (he had, after all, had a very busy morning).
I happened to notice the noisemaker from New Year's Eve sitting on my stereo speaker. As soon as he was sound asleep, I let loose with an almighty "PFFFFFWEEETTTAAAAWWWWWTTTTTT!!!", causing Simon to shed one or two of his nine lives. He looked at me like, "WTF do you think you're doing?"
I smiled at him and said, "NOW, we're even."
31 December, 2006
Today is the day we celebrate the birthday of Miss Billie Holiday Kitty. We don't know when her "real" birthday is, so we celebrate it on 31 December, the day she came home to live with Simon and me. She got a new bed, though, for now, she prefers having her old manky bed sitting on top of it (don't tell her, but once we get her scent integrated into the new bed, the old manky one is outta here!). She also got a "house mouse" with catnip, though Simon managed to appropriate it for his own pleasure. And, best of all, Simon is expressly forbidden from harrassing her in any way today (and, so far, he seems to be cooperating).
The past five years have been a real roller-coaster in my relationship with Billie. I've lost count of the number of times that I've wondered if keeping her here is the best thing for her and every time that question enters my mind, my heart shatters. Somehow, though, we always get through the difficult times. We still have our bad days (well, weeks) where she'll pee or poot where she's not supposed to (i.e., my bed...oh that was a Very Bad Week), and there are times when she and Simon will fight so bitterly and then she'll turn her anger on me. But she's learned that she can be bad, she can have an absolute shit day and be a total Biting Screeching Banshee Bitch Troll...but I won't turn her out. I suspect that the reason she was picked up as a stray in Oakland might well have been because she threw one tantrum too many and her previous family put her out and never opened the door again.
But that hasn't happened here. As bad as it's gotten sometimes, she is always loved, and she has finally come to believe in that. She knows that, even when her behaviour is unacceptable, she still gets to be loved for who she is and she still has a very important place in our home. And, ultimately, that's turned her into a very loving, sweet kitty who now has so much more confidence than she had five years ago. She is finally comfortable enough to know she can come to me for comfort and she actually enjoys a quick snuggle (up until 5-6 months ago, trying to snuggle her would get you growled at and/or scratched and bitten). And she has a lot more confidence in joining in with interactive play (though she is still figuring that all out).
It has been such a reward over the past year to watch Billie become a cat who gives love freely and not because she's afraid of being put out if she doesn't "make nice". We know the days ahead may not always be easy, but we know we'll get through them and that our relationship will be stronger. And that makes the good days even better.
Happy Birthday, my Angel Girl!
12 November, 2006
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
So far, Simon is not enjoying my participation in NaNoWriMo all that much. He thinks it should involve more snacking, preferably HUGE bags of nacho cheese Doritos.
His frustration has led to a few "acting out" episodes. Taking my things and glaring at me as if he's saying, "what are YOU going to do about it?" and, his usual stand-by, sitting on poor little Billie and biting her. Of course, with Billie, it doesn't take much to set her off; all Simon really has to do is look at her sometimes, to get her hissing and growling.
I'm getting my revenge on him, though. My main character now has a cute, though somewhat annoying, cat.