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      Tuesday, November 20, 2018

02:21 PM - 11/20/2018

The topic: Opie update


I've been syringe feeding him A/D for more than three weeks with the hope  that whatever is wrong with him can be overcome by his immune system.

Yesterday, I realized, it can't. Reality hit home. It hit hard. He's not eating much on his own, but I found he will eat Tender Liver and Chicken Feast  (Fancy Feast) from the can. It has to be in the can. He has a hard time otherwise. I'm sure he prefers eating by himself to having food squirted into his mouth. I fed him more than he's eating by himself, but it was getting to the point where he flinched anytime either of us touched him. That's no way to live out what's left of a life. So, I'll take his can of food to him every few hours, stand guard so that cats such as Ronnie don't reach out a paw and pull the food away.

Today, I watched him in a chair on the patio. His head hanging over the edge. Just like Richie had been doing.

It won't be long.

opie    catstuff   

01:51 PM - 11/20/2018

The topic: So, finally decided to share the paper tree


Back in February, I assembled the Heirloom Christmas Tree from SVGCuts. I took some photos, but not as many as I usually do and I'm kicking myself in the butt for that. I wanted to get this up before the holiday season, in case anyone wanted to make one for themselves or as a gift.

Anyway, here's what I have. (I'll be making another one in the coming weeks, the paper is cut and this one is a green tree which I hope to give to my vet's office).

Clicking on a picture will take you to a bigger photo in my photo gallery; clicking on that picture will open an even larger photo.

In the process of folding the tree pieces

The slow process of gluing the pieces together

Down to the the final assembly step. Having already glued them in sections makes this part easier.

Looking inside of the tree.

The outside of the finished tree.

The tree in the background with the "bulbs" added and the tree base with the lamp in front.
The tree base assembly was pretty basic. Not a whole lof of things that can go wrong if you follow Mary's tutorial.

And the final product.

How it looks in the dark with the light on.

I have multi colored bulbs for the green tree and have an idea for inking the edges in white (Mary did this with one of her trees), but I'd like to have it be a little thicker, like real snow. I need to do some testing to see what I can come up with.

Anyway, it was fun, albeit challenging, to put together. I'm looking forward to the next one.

svgcuts    holiday    heirloom tree    craftstuff    christmas   

      Saturday, November 10, 2018

tales from the parkside
03:35 PM - 11/10/2018

The topic: A tale from long ago


I hadn't written in the category since the year after my mom's death. But something hit me today and this would be the perfect place to share

A very good friend of mine's husband had brain surgery this past week (okay, okay, I'm using poetic license here, it wasn't his brain, it was the blood supply to the brain, so close enough!) and he's at home (two days after the surgery the released him; crazy). And she's mentioned some of the things that they're dealing with at this point.

And it got me to thinking about men and pain.

Back in 1971, my dad retired from the USAF. We lived at Edwards Air Force Base (go Scorpions! Desert High School! Purple and white!) and they looked for places to retire to and they picked San Diego county. They found a nice mobile home park and put their money down on a space and special ordered a mobile home. Unfortunately, there were some shenanigans with the mobile home and they didn't get what they'd ordered, some sort of runaround (oh, it was in an accident and was totaled or some sort of garbage like that).

Well, we'd lived in a little Winnebago, just the three of us for months. Mom and I, who had never had a particularly good relationship, were left alone, in a strange town, while dad went to work. It wasn't one of the most pleasant experiences I went through. Mom was so depresssed, at one point she took a bunch of the sleep aid called "Compoze".  Don't know if it's still available, but it didn't kill her. It didn't even make her a little bit sleepy. But living in such close quarters was getting to us all.

So, they were able to work out a deal where their down payment was either paid back or they used it towards another model that was available for a decent price. And they'd decided they wanted to move to the top of the hill, getting one of the best possible views of the little town of Lakeside.

The mobile home got delivered (omg, it has red velvet walls in the living room! RED VELVET WALLS! Who originally ordered this? A pimp?). Walls aside, it was a nice place. Three bedrooms, bath and a half, good sized living room, a kitchen with a fair sized pantry. It even had a little room with a pocket door for the washer and dryer.

Fast forward a year or so. All settled in, nice little lawn going, flowers growing along the side walkway, great view, just very peaceful. One afternoon, mom asks me if I've seen dad.

Nope. No idea where he is.

So, I joined my mom in looking for my father. She calling out "David", me calling out "dad". I went next store and asked the neighbors if they'd seen him. No, sorry, they hadn't.

It was really weird. The cars were both in the driveway, he hadn't said anything about going anywhere. We must have looked for him for the better part of an hour with no luck.

Then, I opened the pocket door to the laundry room. And who was standing there, holding his bare foot, with tears in his eyes? Yep. My dad.

It seems he had walked into the leg of one of the wrought iron chairs between the kitchen and dining room. I mean, he really rammed it home.

The thing is we weren't a particularly sympathetic family. There was no sympathy for this man. This little wrought iron table and its little chairs had gotten us all at one time or another and if you get hurt, it's your fault. And dad knew. He knew what would happen if we were aware of what happened.

He wasn't wrong. Mom and I both laughed so hard we almost peed our pants.

Yeah, good times.



tales from the parkside   

09:10 AM - 11/10/2018

The topic: Sigh


Okay, I'm sure most of us who have had cats or have cats with a disease that will eventually kill them, can relate to the good days and the bad days. Yesterday started off as a bad day and ended up as a good day.

Opie hasn't gotten the doxy in a few days. It's not helping at this point and may well be part of the problem (if you look at the side effects). In his meals, I add a probiotic (Proviable D) and L-Lysine (Duralactin). Well, in his morning and evening meals. Yesterday, I also started feeding him mid-day. And because of the dryness of the air (California, Santa Ana winds) he also got subQ fluids.

I fed him around six last night. He ate all of his meal, then a few hours later, acted like he was hungry, so I cooked a chicken breast in the Instant Pot and took some of it to him on the bed and he ate a few pieces, but wasn't really interested.

When Brian went to bed, I put another one of the allergy pills in a piece of pill pocket (the pills are very small) and gave that to Opie, who was laying on the bed. Brian closed both windows, because we have a concern that maybe the cold night air also affects his breathing.

And, for the first time in weeks, Opie's breathing wasn't noisy. At all. No raspy, rattly sound. It was so quiet, I had to sleep on the sofa, because I found myself listening for Opie instead of slipping into slumber. Later I went back to the bedroom and Opie had crawled under the covers and was next to Brian. I felt okay enough to get back on the bed. Early this morning, Opie came over to me and got under my blankets, his head resting on my arm.

I got up before Brian, Opie was still on the bed. When Brian got up, Opie was under the covers. When he finally came back into the office, I got his breakfast ready and fed  him in my bathroom. After 40cc of A/D, he decided he was done, but I decided he was not. He got the last 10cc and I let him out and cleaned up after him (I blend the A/D to pudding consistency and he'll shake his head with food in  his mouth - it ends up on the walls and floor).

Around eight, I tried to give him his allergy medicine. He's feeling better. He fought it. Three times he spit it out. I took him to the sofa, sat him down and pushed that pill as far back as I could. I watched him and thought I saw him swallow. He left the house, went into the backyard to lay in the sun.

Forty-five minutes later, I found the pill. On the sofa. In the Pill Pocket. I marched outside, squatted down beside him, held his head with one hand, put the pill in his mouth with the other and raised his head up for swallowing. When I let go, I waited to see the pill come flying out of his mouth. It did not. He finally got it down.

I take this resistance as a good sign.

opie    catstuff   

      Friday, November 09, 2018

08:55 AM - 11/09/2018

The topic: Being realistic


This morning at 4:00, I heard him in the hallway. His breathing is getting worse. Have you ever heard a Pug breathe? That's what he sounds like. A Pug.

It's fine when he's sleeping, but it's getting more labored when he's awake. The drugs aren't helping. I've been syringe feeding him for two weeks now, he will eat a little on his own (and this makes me really happy), but he doesn't eat enough to stay alive. I'm feeding him with the hope that his body will fight off what's going on.

But it's starting to become obvious that the doxycycline isn't working, the allergy med isn't working and the l-lysine isn't working.

Brian told me this morning that he's feeling this hard breathing in Opie's chest when he holds him.

We're thinking that something is growing where it shouldn't be. A polyp? He's had problems with his ears for over a year. It's possible. If it is something growing, he's not well enough for surgery.

The optimist in me thinks if I just try hard enough, he'll pull through. The realist is starting to be louder than the optimist.

I'll be surprised if he's still with us by the end of the month. I sat with him in the sun this morning, holding him in my lap and arms. He purred. But he's having a really hard time.

opie    catstuff   

      Monday, October 29, 2018

10:46 AM - 10/29/2018

The topic: Ah, Opie


He's just not doing much better. Maybe a little and I really have to watch him to see it.

The doxycyline pill form got here last Thursday and I started him on it. He's not that hard to pill. But he seemed to have a hard time finding it when it was wrapped in a Pill Pocket. I found this strange. Then I started watching him eat. He barely ate. He'd stick his nose in the food, lap a little, then walk off. And it dawned on me.

He can't smell. And that's one of the major things with cats eating. Is being able to smell their food. So, this weekend, I started syringe feeding him (always have Hill's A/D in the cat cupboard) Saturday morning, he wasn't sure what was going on and he didn't like it very much, but I got about 30ml of food into him and he kept it down. I did this again later in the day. Yesterday, we did the same thing, I upped the amount I gave him.

This morning was a lot easier. He swallows without a problem, so I know his throat is open, he eats most of what goes into his mouth (syringe feeding is messy). He got over 48ml at one feeding this morning, this was great. I don't want to overfeed him just yet, I want to make sure everything's working the way it should be. Well, this morning, after he ate, he went outside and was crying. I watched him as he dug in the dirt and pooped. It was a nice looking poop. And as many of us vigilant cat parents do, I squeezed the top part of the poo. It was hard, so he hadn't been going (nothing to go) and after the initial stool, the rest was firm and looked perfect.

But, as many of us cat parents have found out over the years, when you've had a sick cat and they finally go, the act of squatting seems to cause another reaction. The vomit reaction.

Yep. All of that food he got this morning came up. Oh, well, it was still early. I waited an hour, gave him his antibiotic (since he's actually been GETTING the med into his system, his phlegmy sounding breathing isn't as bad as it was). A half hour later, he got more food.  And he's a little more active. Not much, but a little.

I hadn't given him the allergy pill in a few days since there weren't that many left. And this morning his ears were seriously bothering him, so I called the vet and refilled the script. And gave him a pill this morning.

I don't know if he'll ever get his sense of smell back, but I have to do what I can do. If that means giving him a chance by feeding him a couple of times a day, I'll do it. When your body is weak, it's hard to fight off bad stuff and starving doesn't help.

I asked the vet for syringes for feeding and they're giving us a couple with the allergy meds today. Working with something that holds 60ml should be a lot easier than something that holds 12ml, you know?

I just glanced out the door and he was sitting in the sun, grooming himself. This is a great sign. I hope we can keep it up.

syringe feeding    opie    catstuff   

      Sunday, October 21, 2018

12:05 PM - 10/21/2018

The topic: A little this,  a little that


So, with all the cat problems last week, I didn't do much in the way of working on my craft project(s). I finally finished the boxes this morning. I need to make bows and I ordered a Bowdabra from Amazon. I want to make a fancier bow than just the one I have on my shoelaces. I have paper that needs to be scored and folded and glued so that I have envelopes and that will be it for what I started this past summer. It will be nice to be finished.

Then I can work on getting that green Christmas tree put together. The one that has the lamp in it. I really need to put up photos of the projects I've done this year. But I need to focus on it and my mind has been all over the place.

Opie is doing a lot better. He's eating like a champ. Friday night he ate a small bit, then a little more an hour or so later. I'd bought some Sheba Perfect Portions from Chewy.com and it doesn't seem like there's much in a container, but he worked at eating half of it. This morning, he was eating a full container at one sitting, so he's doing much better. Eating is great when you have a sick kitty.

He was pretty needy, wanting to lay on me or be held by one of us (makes it hard to get anything done). Yesterday I held him up to the top of the fence so he could look over it and he liked that. He was alert and purring. His breathing is still noisy, but I've come to the conclusion nothing is blocked, he can smell, and, after giving him some Greenies this morning, which he ate without a problem, his throat isn't blocked. I know he can smell because he's still getting his allergy meds and I started putting them in a piece of pill pocket last night. He smelled that sucker right away and the pill was gone in no time.

I am going to check with the vet tomorrow to see if we can get his doxycyline in pill form. The liquid just gets drooled out. If I can do the pill pocket thing with an antibiotic, I'm sure we'll have a better chance of seeing if it works. I noticed this morning he has a brownish discharge from his eyes, which may indicate some sort of infection. So....

Oh, and we're going to take our inflatable Halloween cats to the vet's office. Maybe they'll get more use out of them than we do. They're really neat, but there's no reason to put them out if no kids come by. Last year it was just neighbors from up the street.

Brian did buy candy this morning, just in case. But he was adamant that leftovers get taken to the vet's office the next morning. I'm okay with that. I have a hard time with sugar anymore. It's really kind of sad. 

vet    opie    making my own    craftstuff    catstuff   

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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