Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Two Weeks And Counting...

Things are improving though at a snail's pace, it seems. Jacob has good days and not so wonderful days in which he does not want to eat, sleeps or wanders about meowing crankily. Thankfully, they are few, at least for now.

I, on the other hand, still dispense medication and food while coughing and sleeping quite fitfully. I also pick up and wash dishes, laundry and rubbish, and change his box daily, no matter the day or how I'm feeling  just so some semblance of order is maintained. Most of the time, I am tired and have little or no energy for anything else.

Amid all of this, there is the political sideshow which if truth be known is so scary as to be almost paralyzing...I have sent letters and e-mails and have had responses. I just hope we live to fix the mess we're in...

I'm sorry not to be writing much, just little energy at the moment. I'm glad to know that most of you in blog land are doing well. I raise my cup of chicken soup to you!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Under The Weather...

I woke up one week ago with an all too familiar sense of dread. My head and chest were filling, my head was aching and the cough that was to overtake my waking hours to the point of vomiting began in earnest. My attempts at cough syrup resulted in frequent trips to the loo, preventing the rest or sleep my body craved. The bathroom plumbing became an issue, and even the cat, catered to in his own chronic illnesses, looked worried.

As days stretched, sleep was finally restored to us both and I've found a measure of peace in abandoning the blog, Facebook and e-mail in favor of bits and bobs of a book in bed. As of now, congestion appears on the wane, the flat is quiet and Himself is asleep in a ball on the bed. I am still mostly eating soup and swilling hot and cold liquids between naps. I will see you when I see you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Hazards of Eating Tuna in Bed...

Jacob has adopted the habit of wanting to be fed. No longer can I simply leave a bowl out for him. He now expects me to bring it to him and as he is usually on the bed, the bowl ends up there, followed by a strange ritual of removing the food from the bowl, sniffing it and then deciding whether or not to actually eat it. When this is kibble, clean up is quick. Not so with chunks of tuna or other malodorous concoctions designed for finicky felines. Apart from the smell which I don't abide well, there is the life span of my duvet, which I am not replacing, to consider, along with my linens and his penchant for getting bits of food everywhere but the bowl. Baby wipes have proven indispensable at both tidying and preventing stains.

If you think I'm starting to sound like some mildly demented haus frau, you are not alone. Welcome to the world of the chronically ill in which both human and feline must find ways to get through the day. Happily for him, I never tire of plying him with games of chase, dangly toys, cat nip and the daily chicken-flavored pocket containing his medication. The net gain to me of his cooperation in these endeavors is that he sleeps well, allowing me to get on with the more mundane tasks of cleaning, laundry, bill paying and getting food in ever-increasing varieties for him. In cats with kidney disease, appetite can be variable but regular eating is imperative to avoid the onset of liver problems, including hepatic lipidosis. As of last week's abdominal ultrasound, his liver and body weight are  normal which means I've done a stellar job of getting him to eat, and he has the energy to raid his toys, roaming the flat with one in clenched teeth last evening.

His other symptoms, including needing lots of water throughout the day, mean that he now has water bowls in several areas of our home and two litter boxes which are emptied daily thanks to his laxative. We still haven't confirmed the lymphoma, a slow cancer, as of yet. I will discuss that further with his vet. He still enjoys his forays onto the screened porch to commune with birds and geckos, his foods, his toys and me. When these cease, as they inevitably will with either renal disease or cancer, then I and his vet must make some hard decisions. While I appreciate the support of fellow bloggers and cat enthusiasts, please know that kidney disease is not something from which he will recover though it can be managed. All I ask is that we enjoy each day as we can until there are no more.

Thanks for your support.

Monday, January 16, 2017

An Update of Sorts...

Jacob came home on Friday and crashed, mostly due to stress since no sedation was given him. He ate well Saturday and played with me and all of his toys until becoming worn out. Yesterday, we slept in and it was not until evening that his appetite and energy spiked. I've noticed that he often eats in the middle of the night when all else is quiet. Perhaps he is sensitive to my hovering. He has also disgorged hairballs and his vet, ever cautious, asked to be informed of any vomiting which she was this morning. He grows ever more picky about his food and has eaten little today which has me concerned.

I am both stressed and heartbroken over this situation and make a concerted effort to spend as much time with Jacob as possible. For now, he is enjoying belly rubs, lap time and loves sleeping next to me.

One of you asked if I had read Susan Cain's Quiet. It is on my Kindle and will be read in the next few weeks. Thanks for all of your comments and interest regarding Jacob. He is very special and I've not had a single friend or acquaintance not fall in love with him.

Friday, January 13, 2017

And The Bad News Is...

What was to have been a simple re-check for the conclusion of a urinary tract infection for my fifteen-year-old cat became a two-night hospital stay. This was followed by a ride in an animal ambulance to a specialty medical facility to have an abdominal ultrasound because neither x-rays nor blood work could pinpoint the cause of some bleeding and anemia in my cat that only showed up when his blood work was re-done at his veterinary office.

The net result of all of this for my cat? His abdominal ultrasound revealed no masses, one kidney smaller than another and the presence of stones and some thickening of the intestine which could signal lymphoma. In order to be certain, either an endoscopy or biopsy is suggested. Upon hearing this, my immediate impulse is to decline because I cannot see stressing out this animal further. His vet recommended taking a couple of days to simply relax and be comfortable at home. Both of us have been so stressed that apart from a happy homecoming, complete with jumps, lap time, belly rubs and purrs galore, we crashed. He is still asleep as I write.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Crap Day...

Himself had a bad night. Vomiting hairballs, unable to keep down breakfast or water. Stomach upset. By afternoon he was napping and I managed to place him in the carrier for the ride to the vet's office for his re-check. He was promptly dispatched with the promise that the vet would call.

When she did, I was asked about abnormal breathing and x-rays. Had I concerns about his breathing, I'd have been on to her like a flash. Now, I await word of his lungs and any remarks about the condition of his kidneys when just yesterday he was leaping about and batting a toy with me. He'll be there overnight...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oh Well, Then...

Himself has his third veterinary appointment since December 5 tomorrow. We will finally see if his urinary tract infection is gone and whether, based on blood work he has Chronic Kidney Disease. He and I have been enjoying a peaceful though chilly home these last days and he has been very receptive to active play, lap time and cuddling, all of which lead me to believe he is feeling much better.

The only downside to our domestic tranquility has been his pickiness about eating. I've never had a cat turn up his nose at sardines or had to resort to tuna as a fallback from the original fallback of Fancy Feast. From recent reading, however, it seems geriatric felines can be quite hard to please. The kidney support diet desired by his vet has so far netted a big fat zero for both wet and dry varieties and we remain concerned about his weight. Should he not eat, then hepatic lipidosis becomes a potentially lethal problem. Though I cannot weigh him at home, my vet has advised checking his heft in my hands or when resting on my lap. He does feel a bit heavier, but I'd trust the scale more on this point.

Aside from this, I've been reading, catching up on correspondence and organizing bills. I've also cooked for the week, making meal times easier. The colder weather has meant more soup and hot foods rather than salads, so I've been using the cast iron dutch oven for items such as potato and broccoli soup, vegetable korma and rice, mushroom risotto and roasted vegetables.

Should any of you have an interest, I've read several animal memoirs, one by Julie Barton about her dog helping with Major Depression and another by Susannah Charleson about her life and work with her trained search and rescue dog.

Until Next Time...

Monday, January 2, 2017

What I Did Last Year...

Doesn't that sound like it should be the title of something more substantial than a blog post?

I don't do "New Years" anything, so no resolutions here, though I did set some goals:

Reduced grocery bills by twenty percent and divert that savings into a fund for an all-terrain chair. Achieved.

Lower the monthly cost of my phone...still researching that one and I'm not bound by contract, so no worries when I switch.

Found a new cleaner who actually cleans, does not spend every minute on the phone and does not need to call and apologize for not dusting because the place is actually tidy and dust-free. Done.

Settled into a sleep routine that actually works...Well, menopause began for me sometime last March, and who the hell can sleep through hot flashes and night sweats? A work in progress, though various women I know have told me I may never sleep well again. This might help explain the increasing need for chocolate...

Figured out that two individuals to whom I had extended small loans had no intention of re-paying them and that one of them had actually lied to get out of paying the remainder. Sayonara and never again. Really. Should another individual ask, I will offer to set up an appointment with an attorney and have the terms put into a legal agreement. That should deter them. Of course, there is always that pesky little word, "No," which is something I say more often these days about a lot of things...

Got outside for some fresh air adventures and have now been to four area parks or preserves...More to come on this score, I hope.

Written three times per week...amazing what one can do when there is no looming deadline or neurotic client...must do more, preferably on paper. Helps me think and clears the cobwebs.

Stopped crying privately after speaking with a longtime friend's daughters about their mother...She died in 2014 at 53 and we had been close since our undergraduate days. I still miss her but laugh more often and cry less which is good. I hope they can do the same eventually.

Found more gratitude for life...

What about you?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 and New Year Tradition...

My first dinner of 2017 has been collard greens, fresh chopped tomato, rice and black-eyed peas, otherwise known as Hoppin' John.

In other adventures, a friend and I went to a nearby park today to try out my new off-road chair. Built by MIT grads in a Boston company, the Freedom Chair is meant for uneven terrain, beaches, woods, snow and places traditional hand rim chairs do not venture well. As with any mobility device, there are and were hiccups. The turning radius is larger than normal and the tube is a bit heavier. One of the hand brakes unexpectedly broke off as I was navigating a board walk, so I'll be speaking with the engineer for the product this week.
All things considered, however, an interesting ride on a beautiful day with a friend at a favorite park. I hope it was a good one for all of you as well.