Saturday, June 30, 2012

Another Picture of Cayenne

This is Cayenne, sitting on some wrapping paper at Christmas time.  She loves to sit on paper. 

Cayenne is at the animal hospital for the night, receiving IV fluids.  She is still refusing to eat on her own, although they fed her today with a syringe and she ate what they squirted into her mouth.  I feel bad for her, being alone there at the vet's office.

Poorly Trained Dogs – and Rude Humans

My kitty Cayenne spent much of the day at the vet’s office yesterday and it turned out she had to stay overnight.  I ran over there before they closed to see her for a minute and to drop off a nice fleece blankie for her that smelled like home.  I happened to arrive at the same time many owners were picking up their dogs from doggie daycare.

Yes, my vet has a doggie daycare.  It seems to do a booming business.  It seems like most of the daycare doggies are big dogs and perhaps they tend to destroy the house if left home alone.  After observing a number of them this evening, it would not surprise me if they did eat the furniture and stuff.  Most of them seemed pretty poorly trained.

For instance, one rather skinny older woman was picking up a beagle-type dog and it seemed to be dragging her around on the end of its leash.  It came over to me and licked my leg, then went on to the lady sitting next to me and licked her leg.  I was thinking that the dog should have been trained how to walk nicely on a leash, not to pull like that, but I was also thinking that its owner should have known better than to let her dog go up and lick people.  Some people don’t like to be licked by strange dogs.

Then there was this man, who was not that skinny, that had what appeared to be a large German shepherd on a leash.  It was dragging him around, too, only instead of licking people, it was sniffing their butts.  Again, I wondered why he hadn’t taught it to walk on a leash properly and why he thought it was OK to let his dog sniff people’s butts.  I imagine many people do not like very large dogs coming up to them and sniffing their behinds.  I was sitting down so my butt did not get sniffed, and I was glad because I don’t want strange dogs sniffing my butt!

These people have enough money to send their dogs to doggie daycare.  They could afford a basic obedience class.  I assume they care about their dogs if they are willing to take them to daycare.  So why not teach them some basic doggie manners?  And why don’t they have enough manners to know that it’s rude to let your dog sniff and lick strangers?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cayenne’s Lullaby List

I spent last night, or most of it, lying on the kitchen floor beside Cayenne.  Occasionally I stroked her head, very, very gently, but not too often because mostly she seemed not to want to be touched.  For a long time I sat on the floor beside her, my back against the refrigerator, and then I got my pillow and I lay down near her, but not touching her, on the cool tile floor.  I wished I’d mopped it recently.  But oh well.

I talked to her, whispered, really.  I hoped she found the sound of my voice comforting.  I typically talk to my cats a lot, and sometimes I sing while I wash dishes or fold laundry, so they are all used to hearing my voice all day long.  And then I sang to her.  Just above a whisper, there on the cool tile floor.  I hoped she found the sound of my voice comforting.

Here are some of the songs I sang.

Cold Missouri Waters – Dar Williams

Ford Econoline – Nanci Griffith

It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go – Nanci Griffith

Ten Degrees and Getting Colder – Nanci Griffith

Trouble in These Fields – Nanci Griffith

Red Dirt Girl – Emmylou Harris

If You’re Reading This – Tim McGraw

You Can Sleep While I Drive – Trisha Yearwood

The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Caring for a Sick Cat

My kitty Cayenne had surgery two weeks ago to remove two masses from her abdomen.  One was benign, one was cancerous.  She seemed to be doing fine until two days ago, when she refused to eat dinner.  This is a little girl that loves to eat!  It is highly unusual for her to turn down dinner.  When she refused to eat breakfast yesterday morning, I knew something was really wrong.

We took her to the vet, which was this big hassle because when I called our vet’s office, I was told that the vet that usually sees Cayenne was off that day and couldn’t see her until the next morning.  I said that she needed to be seen right away and asked why the other vet in the practice couldn’t see her.  I was told, repeatedly, that she would have to wait until the next day to see her usual vet.

So Mike called another local vet and explained the situation and they agreed to see her right away.  We went to our regular vet’s office first and asked for copies of Cayenne’s records.  Our vet, the one I was told repeatedly on the phone was off that day, happened to be there and he asked what was going on and when we explained it to him, he said, “Oh, no!” and of course he would see Cayenne and bring her right in.

It turned out she had a temperature of 105 degrees (normal for a cat is 100 to 102 degrees), so she was pretty sick.  The vet thought she had an infection somewhere but couldn’t find the source.  Her incisions from the surgery look good, her chest x-ray was clear, he couldn’t find anything that looked infected.  She got subcutaneous fluids, a bunch of blood work, and an alcohol bath to bring down the fever (I bet she just loved that).  

She had to spend the night at the vet’s, which I didn’t feel very good about because there is no staff there overnight.  That just doesn’t make sense to me.  She’s very ill so she should be left alone for the night?  Not be at home where I could watch her all night long, if necessary?  The vet said he would be there until late in the evening and the techs came in early in the morning but that would still be several hours she would be alone.  I ended up leaving her there but I was really regretting it about midnight last night.

I called the vet’s office this morning and was told she’d eaten some food overnight, but then threw it up.  I felt bad about that.  She was stuck in a little cage where she’d vomited and there was no one there to clean it up until morning.  And then they gave her medication to prevent nausea, but if she’d been home with me, if they’d sent some nausea medication home with her, I would have been able to give it to her as soon as she threw up.

Well, she’s home now.  She is clearly not feeling well but her temp is down.  She is sleeping on the kitchen floor right now which is an odd place for her to sleep, but it’s really hot in my house and maybe the tile floor is cool and that’s why she wants to lie there.  She hasn’t eaten anything yet, and I’ve offered her stinky canned cat food (which she normally loves) and Greek yogurt (which she normally loves even more).  She’s had a lot to drink, though.  And she’s been moving around some.

I will be staying up with her most of the night, making sure she eats and drinks.  If she doesn’t eat something voluntarily soon, I will put a little yogurt on my finger and put it in her mouth, or wipe it on her lips so she’ll lick it off.  I’m also going to try offering her a little raw milk and a bite of cheese, other things she normally loves.

I do not have a green thumb.  I cannot grow plants.  I can’t even grow a cactus.  But animals, I can take care of those.  I have nursed quite a few animals back to health.  Once I took care of a sick hamster, getting up every hour all night long to feed him water with an eyedropper and one corn flake each time.  I lived in a house without air conditioning then and it was summer and about 95 degrees that day.  It cooled off a bit at night but not that much.  I put plastic bags filled with ice all around his cage to try to keep him cool.  I learned that trick from a hospice nurse when I used to work for a home care hospice.  We had a patient that lived in an old house without air conditioning and he was in bed dying when it was 90-something degrees out.  The nurse tied plastic bags filled with ice to the bed rails all around his bed.

Anyway.  Plants, I kill, but animals, I usually save.  So I’ll be up tonight, hopefully saving Cayenne.

I Need This Dog… Now!

A couple days ago, I had a really bad day.  I hadn’t slept well the night before, which is not unusual for me.  So I was tired and that always makes everything seem worse.

I was feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff I had to do and feeling guilty about all the stuff I hadn’t managed to get done.  And I felt depressed, like things were never going to get better.  Honestly, I’m not sure they are.  I try to at least hold on to a little bit of hope that it might get better, because otherwise, what would be the point in going on?  But I have struggled so much with this deep depression for so long.  Sometimes it seems to me that it’s not very logical to think it’s going to just go away some day.

So I got upset and I started crying.  I think Mike doesn’t know what to do when I’m like this, and I also think he is tired of dealing with it.  I don’t blame him.  I’m tired of dealing with it, too!  I would walk away from myself if I could when I’m like this.

I was lying on the couch, crying and crying, and he was sitting on the end of the couch, pretty much ignoring me.  Which hurts my feelings.  He doesn’t know what to say or how to help, and I don’t really know what I want him to say or do to help.  But I want him to do something.  I feel so alone.

If I had my service dog, the dog would have gotten my medication and brought it to me.  It occurred to me as I was lying there crying uncontrollably that I should take my medication.  But it required too much energy to get up and get it.  I didn’t want to ask Mike to get it for me because… well, I don’t really know why.   

Because I didn’t want to bother him, I guess.  Because I felt like I should be able to get it myself.  And because he knows I have medication that helps when I am like that and he could have gotten it for me without me asking him if he wanted to, but he didn’t, so I assumed that meant he didn’t want to.  But my service dog would want to.

And the dog would have stayed with me.  When Mike got up and left the room, the dog would have stayed.  The dog would have wanted to stay.  I wouldn’t have been alone.

I don’t mean for this post to be all about how Mike didn’t help me when I needed help.  He helps me plenty.  And I didn’t tell him what I wanted  him to do to help me, and I could have asked him to bring me my medication, and I chose not to.  So I bear some of the responsibility for what happened.  None of that is my point, though.

My point is that I need this service dog.  The day went on to get worse and worse, my emotions and then my behavior towards myself spiraling out of control.  If I’d had my service dog, and he had brought me my medication when the crying first started, it might have stopped the whole cascade of events.  It’s like an avalanche, or something.  I pick up steam as I go along.  Things get worse and worse and it’s hard to break out of it.  But the service dog… the service dog could break that loop.  And I don’t know of anything else that can.

I am going on vacation in a couple weeks.  When I get back, I am having the radiofrequency neurotomy for my lower back.  The procedure has to be done one side at a time, so it will take two appointments over two weeks to complete it.  And then I have to do physical therapy, I think for six weeks.  It would not be good to get a dog until all that is over, even if I could find a dog that fast, which I don’t think I could.  But after that, right after that, I want my dog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Car Bingo

I told my sister I would make a car bingo game for us to play on the trip to the beach, to entertain the little one.  OK, it will entertain the adults, too!  Hey, it’s a long drive.

Do you all know what car bingo is?  It’s like regular bingo except instead of letters and numbers, the cards have pictures of things you might see while you’re driving down the highway, like a police car, a motorcycle, a gas station, etc.  When you see one of the items pictured on your card, you cross it out.  The first person to cross out an entire row wins.

I thought maybe I could find a car bingo game online that I could download for free, and I did find a few, but none that I liked.  Most of them seemed like they were designed more for driving around town than for driving on the highway.  They had pictures of things like stop signs, mail boxes, and schools.  I don’t think we’ll see many of those from the highway.  Also, some of them seemed a little out of date.  They had pictures of telephone booths, for Pete’s sake!  Are there still any telephone booths out there?  I guess there might be at rest areas but I figured we would not see many.

So I decided to make my own game and it turns out to be a lot of fun making it, although it’s also a lot of work.  It’s taking me a lot of time, which is OK because I’m having fun, but it is keeping me from getting much work done.  What can I say, I would rather find cute little clip art pictures of cars and trains and boats than write some articles about mold.  Go figure.

I’m going to print out the card and then go to the printing shop to get them laminated.  That way we can cross off items with a marker and then wash off the cards when we’re done and reuse them.  If anybody wants a car bingo game, just leave me your email and I’ll be happy to email you the document.  It’s in Mircrosoft Publisher.  Then you can print it out for yourself.