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!
05 November, 2008
I'm still trying to take in the fact that America has elected Barack Obama. I'm filled with so many emotions right now that I'm finding it nearly impossible to put them into coherent words (as my friend Olivia can attest to after I sent her an OMGPRESIDENTOBAMA!!! email last night).
As I type this, Prop. 8 here in California is still too close to call. It sickens me to my core to think that so many Californians could be so influenced by the bigotry of religious zealots who don't even fucking live here!
As a progressive, I celebrate an Obama victory with my friends. But our work is just beginning. And that work is making damn sure that no one in this country is treated as a second-class citizen. That goes for my LGBTQ friends. And that goes for women.
The end of the nightmare of the Bush Regime is near. The hard work is just beginning. Let's take a deep breath and push up our sleeves.
03 September, 2008
I spent it with friends doing some night shooting at the Sutro Baths. If you're unfamiliar with San Francisco history, the Sutro Baths is a fascinating place. It's interesting enough during the day but has a completely different character at night. And, as my friend Patrick pointed out, different still when you see long exposure night photographs of it. This particular shot was taken from the Cliff House. The rocks are lit by these enormous lights from the Cliff House and they are white because birds hang out there and, well, you know, do what birds do.
So. Fifteen years. I remember my first few hours in San Francisco so well. My friend and her daughter (who I also consider my friend, even if she is young enough to be my daughter) made the trip from Portland with me. We rolled into San Francisco around 11:00 p.m. and I managed to get myself lost in the Mission, trying to find my new flat.
"Pull the car over here and let's just look at the map." my friend urged.
My eyes darted around, taking in the landscape, my very tired brain processing this information so I could make a decision. I looked up at the street sign. "Julianna, I am not stopping this car on a street called SHOTwell!" Julianna sighed and I kept driving. I knew I was close. In fact, I was only a couple of blocks away, but I was turned around. After another 10 minutes or so, I found my street and my flat. I thought I had found a parking space, too, so I pulled over and we unloaded my Hyundai. We were nearly done when a woman pulled up and yelled at me for blocking her driveway. I apologized, said I was new in town and closed up my car to move it. She kept yelling at me the whole time. (For MONTHS after that, every time I walked my dogs by her car I tried to get Reggie to lift his leg on her tires but he wouldn't. Proving once again that, for a dog, he was a much better person than I.)
I did find a parking spot about a block away (I would soon learn that finding parking within a block of your home in San Francisco after 11:00 p.m. is a stroke of bloody good luck), locked up the car and took the last of my stuff to the flat.
When my friends and I went to the car to drive into downtown (yeah, I'd soon learn how foolhardy THAT was, too), my car had been broken into and I had a parking ticket. Luckily my car wasn't damaged and nothing was taken because there was nothing in it. And I learned about street cleaning days.
So in my first nine hours living in San Francisco I had been yelled at over a dubious driveway, been broken into, had my first parking ticket and my first meltdown trying to drive into downtown (not knowing my way around). By the time we got home that afternoon I was in tears wondering how I ever thought I could do this and I was *this close* to packing up the car and going right back to Portland. (I knew that most of the friends and family had figured I wouldn't last six months but I don't think any of them picked 24 hours for the pool.) My friends and my new roommate were so incredibly supportive, reassuring me it was just a rough first day and I'd be all right. But if I really wanted to go back to Portland, that would be okay, too.
I decided to stick it out a while longer. :-)
And I'm glad I did. Living in the Bay Area is not easy, especially if you don't have either 1) a high paying job, 2) several roommates or 3) a support system. There are days when trying to make a living here really kicks my ass and I wonder why I'm killing myself just trying to keep a roof over my head and gas in the car. Hardly a month goes by where I don't spend a day or two wondering if I'd be happier someplace else where the cost of living was a little more reasonable and the pace a little less hectic and the air and water a little cleaner.
But I can't quit this. Or this. And I can't think of a town with an eccentric quite as interesting as Frank Chu. I'd miss my adopted home town too much, too. And the weather here is as close to perfect as I've ever found and, most of all, I now have some really amazing friends here. Also, acquiring enough valium to make any move tolerable for me and the furkids would add several hundred dollars to the cost of the journey.
So I think I'll stick it out a while longer. :-)
(edited to fix some glaring typos 'n' stuff)
15 August, 2008
I wish I could chalk the events of this shitty week up to Mercury being in retrograde. But I'm pretty sure it's not.
I wish that my suffering through such a shitty week meant that my friends didn't have to as well. But quite a few of them have.
I wish that this shitty week will soon be forgotten. But there are many valuable lessons that should be taken from it.
I wish I could just collapse in bed with Simon snuggled up next to me and take a long night's nap. But...well, I think I CAN make that wish come true.
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.
13 April, 2008
This is absolutely heartbreaking! It sounds like the pup is improving and, fates willing, she'll pull through.
With Simon, I have to be hyper-vigilant about keeping any chocolate products out of his reach. He's gotten into chocolate a few times, but has, thankfully, never suffered much more than a dickey tummy. While he hasn't burned through many of his nine lives, he has caused me to DIE from panic and worry several times.
Anyway, please, keep the chocolate far out of the reach of your furkids.
Update 4/14/08. Holly has made an amazing recovery and will get to go home, hopefully Tuesday! It's a miracle, insofar as a miracle can happen with a dedicated veterinary team and lots and lots of Internet Love. Go Holly, Go!
21 March, 2008
Petulant over at Shakesville tells us the story of how, on 21 March, 2003, he felt a bit peckish and went to fix himself a snack when LO! He gazed upon the image of a wonton in the shape of the Blessed Virgin herself!
You can read more about the Virgin Wonton and her travels on her very own blog.
21 July, 2007
This was taken Thursday morning. I was extremely concerned that the juvenile couldn't fly and it was in a location that I could have reached. My instinct was SCREAMING at me to go get the bird but I didn't. Instead I boarded the ferry and went to work.
The seagull was killed some time Thursday night or early Friday morning.
I found its broken, lifeless body on the rocks on the beach where it usually would hang out. I'm not sure if a raccoon or a dog got it, or if it was surprised by high tide and was slammed into the rocks. It doesn't much matter. I feel as though I failed the little guy.
I'm so very sorry, little bird. You deserved better.
A friend on Flickr suggested I see if Alameda has a harbormaster, which I will look into early next week. I'll also see if there's one for Oakland and, if so, whether they can provide any guidance for how to deal with this the next time.
I have a tremendous respect for the adult seagulls I see now: They made it against some pretty tough odds.
04 July, 2007
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
Somehow this image of our flag, frayed and backward, seems appropriate to these times. Two days before, the criminal in charge of my country commuted the sentence of his criminal crony. (That the Criminal-in-Chief finds a 30-month prison sentence, "excessive" is incredible when one considers his political career is littered with the bodies of those he's executed and the American soldiers and Afghani and Iraqi citizens whose deaths he is entirely responsible for--being the Decider and all.)
19 June, 2007
No, there's really no news to report from Simon's Head. I just
wanted needed to take a moment to say how amazingly fucking LUCKY I am: My beautiful furkids are healthy, happy and safe.
Our thoughts today are with our friends: G, whose kitty has been missing for a week now, and K whose kitty had surgery today.
10 June, 2007
The last two or three weeks have been very emotionally exhausting. We've had seven very dear friends (four furry, three human) leave us recently: Sweet Miranda Joy Kitty passed away Easter Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, G&T moved an hour's drive south with their lovely furkids, Francine and Phoebe. A week and a half ago, I said farewell to Miranda's brother Magic Cat, who has moved to Colorado, and 90 minutes ago I said farewell to Magic's Mom, B, who will be joining Magic in Colorado tomorrow.
It's not "good-bye" and I will certainly be seeing G&T and Phoebe and Francine in a couple of weeks and B and Magic as soon as I can feasibly find a kitty sitter and find a way to get to Colorado. But the emotional toll finally caught up with me about an hour ago. Suddenly, I was just so unbelievably tired--emotionally and physically. And, now that I'm home and don't have to be concerned about holding it together, I'm weepy.
Sounds to me like a good time to put the computer to sleep and soak up some furkid love. Especially since Simon just jumped onto my desk and is trying to sit on my hands to stop me typing...
18 May, 2007
So my day started with a trip to the Subaru Dealership because a CD got jammed in the new (to me) stereo. (Subaru doesn't actually replace stereos with NEW components, but rather with refurbished units.) Having learned before that the queue starts up quite early, I left home at around 6:20 a.m. (the service dept. opens at 7). I arrived around 6:35 and was pleased to see I was the first in line. Shortly thereafter people started parking behind me. (At Downtown Subaru in Oakland we must queue up by parking on the street). Everything was going swell until about 6:50 when some geezer jumped the queue and pulled up to the gate. I was, naturally, not happy about that but decided to wait and maybe say something to him when we got inside. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy start to pull in behind the geezer! One queue-jumper was enough. I tapped my horn and waved my hand back, indicating that there was already a bunch of us in line.
He started yelling at me that he had never been there before and didn't know, etc. I wanted to say that that was cool, but there were a bunch of us lined up and, yes, it is confusing and a pain in the ass to get in here. But the guy would not stop yelling at me! I finally yelled back, "ALL RIGHT!" I regretted yelling, but he had pushed me too far, too early in the morning. Evidently, he wasn't finished yet.
"DON'T YELL AT ME, YOU FAT FU*KING BITCH!" he screamed. Now, the "old" me who was a street brawler may have jumped out of the car and throttled him, or might have screamed back and called him whatever series of nasty names immediately came to mind. But I realized that, to throw the fact that I'm fat back in my face (such an easy target--which still hurts my inner little girl just a bit), he either was irretrievably stupid or he was having a seriously shitty morning and there was a lot of pain behind that. He didn't strike me as stupid, so I chose to dial back my voice a bit and said "have a nice day!" And I really meant it.
The service gates opened and we got inside. The geezer who jumped the queue (and he KNEW the whole time he had, too, the bastard!) was tying up the guy I had an appointment with. So, while I waited, I saw the other guy come in. I wondered if I should just shut my yap and let it go, but I couldn't leave it the way it was. It was just no way to start the day. So I went over to him.
"Look," I said, "I really didn't mean to ruin your morning. It's just that the guy in the silver Legacy had already cut in front of all of us and I wanted to be sure you saw us."
He began apologizing profusely. The words seemed to free-fall from him, how it was so early and he probably zoned out and didn't see us and got startled but how horrible he felt and he was so sorry and he shouldn't have acted the way he did. I also apologized for shouting and said it was too early in the day to be anything other than pre-verbal (especially without the aid of caffeine!). He apologized some more and I assured him that we were good and we should just take a deep breath and Begin Again.
Fast forward to late morning and I'm at work. The guy at the dealership phones and tells me that they got the CD out but he's ordering another replacement stereo (that's when he told me they weren't new but refurbs). He then said, "Evidently, you had a problem with one of our other customers this morning..."
"Oh yeah, but it's okay. We sorted it out." I said.
"Well, he said he felt really horrible about it and he brought flowers and a card. So when you pick up your car, the flowers are from him."
When I picked Luna up (the service dept. had given her a bath, too...yay!), these lovely pink-white roses and a cute card were waiting on the front seat for me (he signed the card, but I won't disclose his name here). It is a very lovely gesture on his part (though really not necessary). It's worth noting that pink is a healing colour. I truly hope his day improved significantly.
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.
29 January, 2007
You were a beautiful, brave horse and you will be missed by your fans.
My thoughts are with his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and the veterinary staff who cared for him after his horrific accident at the Preakness. They walked that thin line that every animal caretaker treads at some point: Sticking in and fighting for Barbaro's life, but only as long as it was something where Barbaro could win. When Barbaro let them know he couldn't go on, they did the right thing by ending his suffering.
Rest now, beautiful colt. Then you can run and run and run and not have to worry about your body betraying you any more.
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.