Friday, December 30, 2016

May 2017 Be Good To You...

Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year! Here are a few photos from 2016:


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Harbingers of Disease...

I spoke with the second vet at Jacob's practice this afternoon, and learned that they want to see him prior to the antibiotic running out as there is a good chance he may need a repeat prescription to avoid recurrence of his UTI. Furthermore, the weight loss, constipation, changes in appetite, urination and water consumption all point to age-related changes in his kidney function. He is to remain on the laxative powder. Until further testing is completed, I will not know whether he in fact does have first stage renal disease. With these symptoms, however, the likelihood is strong and we will once again be attempting various brands of prescription kidney foods for him.

I spent some time arranging a taxi ride for him which if all goes smoothly, will happen early tomorrow, Friday at the latest. In the meantime, he has completed all daily ablutions, and is happily on my lap after eating. The laxative has been a success, a small victory in keeping my devoted elderly friend comfortable today.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nursey Would Like A Word...

I've learned a lot after having five cats in twenty-odd years. From Meows to meetings with vets, things have a way of getting interesting, especially as they age. In Jacob's case, his eating has slackened a bit despite the prescribed appetite stimulant. Although he has been great about taking both the antibiotic for his UTI and the appetite stimulant, drinking lots of water and peeing in both boxes, the reward for his diligence and mine appears to be some constipation which now necessitates a laxative powder. I hope this relatively minor problem is actually the problem and can be resolved quickly. We have another week of meds before we re-visit his vet.

Happy Holidays to everyone who continues to read here. Your comments and care are appreciated.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Barking, drilling and ladders, Oh My!

Today was massage day for me. It reduces pain and helps keep me going. While my massage therapist does't chat too much when working, she did comment today about the level of noise outside the flat. Two men were talking and drilling which set off a round of barking from the dog upstairs. Having grown up in the tropics, I enjoy the lilt of Bajan but loud music accompanied by barking? Not so much. I prefer quiet, and today has been everything but. First world problem, I know but the older I get, the more sensitive I am to noise and the noisier the world seems to be.

What about you? Are there things in your world that bother you that did not at an earlier point in life?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sometimes I am heartbroken over the state of the world. Tonight, I am thinking about Aleppo. Will conflict and strife never end?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What It Means To Be Human...

Several weeks ago, blogger A Cuban In London  Https://, asked the following question in a comment to me: What does it mean to you to be human?

While he may by this time feel I've forgotten his inquiry, it has instead been incubating in my head, feline death and drama notwithstanding. One of the ways in which I understand my own humanity is through my interaction with the animals who have chosen me as their guardian.

 Raising four cats over the last twenty-three or so years has stretched not only my knowledge about their health, well being and development, but piqued my interest in their distinct and often quirky personalities. Because I know them, I can often sense when something is amiss and have averted possible tragedies for several of them, extending their lives. My observations that animals too have feelings and emotions have been confirmed by veterinarians specializing in behavioral medicine, several of whom have written books that are now widely available. The biggest partner in this endeavor has been their own longstanding and extremely patient veterinarian, a smart woman with a very laid back manner who never fails to answer the myriad questions I come up with.

With changes in their lives and mine, I have adapted the ways in which I do things, for me and for them, and learned to ask for help when needed. I've also begun to see the value of routine, structure and organization and though I still struggle with patience, that too has improved incrementally.

Though I'll readily admit that down deep, I love animals more readily than humans, my relations in the human realm altered when I began to associate with more animal lovers and noticed how other people extend themselves or fail to do so in the larger world. Charitable giving is now an ongoing practice in my life, not because I am supposed to be doing it but because the circumstances in which people find themselves can generally happen to any of us and I would want to be treated with dignity and seen as a reflection of greater humanity were I in their shoes.

I am also more aware of this country's governmental and social inequities and failures and feel the need to make some remedy, both in the animal and human realms, no matter how small. I believe we face dystopian times and each of us must bring to the table what we can and while a part of me simply wishes to get out of here and find a place of peace, my own circumstances make such a move extremely difficult.

Having lived through the eighties, I know that people will die as a direct result of the policies and governmental changes now on our horizon. This is not acceptable and I do not want to rationalize the reality of this. However, I am also acutely aware that when people or agencies look at me today, they do not see a former teacher, journalist, writer, mental health tech or a bilingual librarian but a disabled, Jewish woman over fifty in a wheelchair and someone who is expendable. As such, I sit firmly in the crosshairs of possibly the worst government this country has ever newly elected and must once again be prepared to write, protest, march or die, this time without the advantages of youth or longevity.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Gorgeous Day...

A wonderful friend and I drove south today to visit a bird preserve both of us were curious about. Located close to Anna Maria Island and flanked by a busy highway and some homes, it was nonetheless uncrowded and quiet. Though I had been told prior to our trip that it was accessible, I once again encountered a lack of understanding about what that actually means. Though the pathways were paved with ground shells and stones, the going was very bumpy and in places it was very easy to become stuck in loose sand and ruts. I was also led to believe a boardwalk existed when there was none, though it was a beautiful place for the bi-pedal to amble.

We spied water fowl of various types and there is an ongoing project to introduce tortoises  into this preserve as well and signage urging bicyclists to park and walk, complete with racks for bikes. Nothing was noted about wheelchairs and although mine isn't specifically designed for outdoor use, I gave it my all and enjoyed the parts that I could travel without a push so that my friend was free to use both her binoculars and phone camera. Below is a photo of me today and another of me just after getting my chair in 2009.

Until Next Time..


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Notes From Nurse Ratchet...

Himself is taking his pills (concealed in treats)without a problem. He is awake, alert and affectionate. The vet-prescribed renal food, however, has been an expensive failure as all was opened, tried and binned.

He likes his Hill's Science Diet, so for now, I'm sticking with the tried and true as he needs to re-gain lost weight. I've already been on the phone to the vet, and another brand of renal support food will be attempted at a later time. I am starting to feel as if he is some sort of furry science experiment. I wonder if he feels the same.

Looking around our small flat, much quieter these days for us both, I realize that he epitomizes everything found in the word "home." Love, play, warmth, familiarity, comfort. He is owed a debt of gratitude at the very least, but so much more for showing me the depths to which the human-animal bond can ascend.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Home again, home again...

Jacob arrived home shortly after six this evening.  He received an appetite stimulant, antibiotic for a urinary tract infection, subcutaneous fluids for hydration and special food designed not to overtax his kidneys. Additionally, he ate more food once home and I hope he can re-gain the pound or so lost. In good spirits, he has jumped into my lap, insisted on being petted, head butted me and purred like a maniac. At the moment, he is curled up on his favorite blanket. I have extra water and an extra box set out for him and will be reprising my nurse role for the next two weeks giving medication and monitoring food and water. I'm hoping for the best. A heartfelt meow and thanks to all of my blog readers for your interest and concern for us.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Life at the Cat Hospital...

Jacob has not been eating or drinking normally, has gone off his dry food and because this seemed more than the mourning behavior attributed to him following Phoebe's death, he had his first ever ride in a taxi this afternoon as we went to see his vet. He will remain overnight for some hydration, medication and other things as we await the results of blood work.

The flat, now cat-free, is too quiet. For the first time in days, I am no longer checking water or food bowls or monitoring litter box usage. The stress I was feeling has dissipated as he is now in hands greater than mine and I know I've done everything possible to look after his health.

Notably calm during our ride, he became quite vocal and agitated when the vet and techs attended him earlier this afternoon and while he relaxed when alone with me in a small exam room, his growling, hissing and meowing soared to new height when I left, first to find a bathroom and eventually, to return home.

I cannot imagine how frightening it must be for an elderly cat to be in a place which is noisy, full of new smells and bright lights and features people in scrubs he views as his jailers. I hope he will have a peaceful evening, and forgive his lowly human for leaving him, if only temporarily.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Can you spell T-I=R=E=D???

I've been up since 5:30 courtesy of himself who prefers an early breakfast. Because I could not get back to sleep, the household trash was dispatched to the dumpster, sheets were laundered, tea was made and his box changed, all before 7 AM. The cleaner came shortly after ten and was out of here in a short hour and ten, having dusted, mopped and Hoovered.

The afternoon has been quiet and himself is now curled up on some towels in the closet,  a practice he has only started recently. I wonder what he is thinking, slinking away to a quiet, dark place. Does he wonder why humans have to be so noisy? Is he annoyed by the frequent barking of the upstairs dog after her owner leaves for work? Perhaps the new level of quiet in our household encourages a longing for spaces previously unclaimed. Prior to this respite, cheeky boy had his paws in my lunch only to be disappointed that my vegetarian sandwich lacked the aroma of tuna.

Maybe tuna holds a special place in his cat dreams...