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      Tuesday, December 06, 2016

08:00 AM - 12/06/2016

The topic: Saying goodbye to Bernie this morning


She was doing so well yesterday, then last night, she wouldn't eat anything. In the pokey, she peed on the pee pad that was under her.

I let her out this morning, blocking all of the cat doors, other cats would get over it. At one point, she got on the bed.

Then at four, I got up and she was no longer on the bed. I couldn't find her. I even checked the off chance she'd gone outside (she hadn't). But when I turned around, there she was on the loveseat, fast asleep (but she had not been there shortly before, there was a teeshirt I'd thrown on there when I was putting on a long sleeved shirt to look for her outside and she wasn't there when I did that).

I gave her 30cc of heated up A/D and 30cc of fluids. And I laid with her. She decided she didn't like that and moved to the sofa, where she was when we got up this morning.

She's tired. She's done. We had a good day with her, but she's telling us that was it. No mas.

The vet opens at eight this morning. I don't know what time a vet will be there. I hope early enough that we can take her in and I can make my doctor's appointment at 9:30 (routine mammogram).

I'm so freaking tired right now. Worn out. Weary.

Please let this year from hell be over soon.

      Monday, December 05, 2016

05:34 PM - 12/05/2016

The topic: Bernadette


A couple of weeks ago, Sagwa came down with something. Lethargic, loss of appetite, loose stool.  I gave him fluids and made sure he was comfortable and in two or three days, he was back to normal, but I was worried about him. Usually, I wait three days before heading to the vet because a lot of these little things are like us having a cold or the flu.

Then it was Lorelei's turn. She didn't show the exact same symptoms as Saggers, but she was definitely under the weather. She spent most of her time outside, where it was cooler than in the house. And she slept a lot.

Then last Sunday (November 27), it hit Bernie. And it hit her hard. The first indication was she didn't finish her breakfast. Monday, she ate even less and she had explosive, watery, poop. Hardly any color to it at all. Very scary.  Tuesday, she didn't eat hardly anything. She wandered from water bowl to water bowl, not drinking. Tuesday, she learned the cat door. After all these months, she learned the cat door. She went outside and would try to drink from the fountain and a tub that Brian uses when he cools off welds. We'd had an inch and a half of rain over the weekend and I'm sure that water wasn't decent. I had to start blocking the cat doors. She couldn't wander around at will, for one thing, the pool was a concern because she was so very weak. After dealing with an overnight of blocked cat doors and cats who wanted in or out, I asked Brian to get the dog crates down and I'd set up the kitty pokey. (He asked me today why I called it "the pokey" and I said because it was kind of like a jail.)

My first thoughts went to kidney failure. Dehydration. I gave her 30cc of lactated ringers (subcutaneous fluids). Usually, an adult cat can take 120cc, but she's so tiny. I syringed A/D into her mouth.  I called the vet's office on Wednesday to see if there was anything I could give her. Loperamide (like imodium) was given to me and I bought metronidazole and a case of A/D. I had to use a credit card because sales have just sucked the past three months (they've since picked up). And I was told I could give her 60cc of fluids (based on a weight of three pounds...she's tiny). 

The first night in the pokey went well, until I didn't completely close the bottom door Thursday morning when I checked on her at five. I found her outside on a blanket. The temperature was in the mid forties. She's skin and bones. Luckily, it wasn't for more than a half hour or so. But I vowed to not make that mistake again.

While her stools got better over the next three days, what I would consider normal stools, she became more lethargic. She wouldn't purr.  She walked drunk (typical of kidney failure).

I googled metronidazole side effects in cats on Friday morning after the final dose of loperamide was given and with four days worth of metronidazole to go.

Side Effects of Metronidazole

  • Neurological disorders
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth (licking or pawing at the mouth)
  • Drop in white blood cell count (neutropenia)
  • Liver failure (hepatoxicity)
  • Bloody urine (hematuria)
  • Toxicity in Metronidazole

That was her last dose of metronidazole. She obviously wasn't a candidate for this med.

Over the weekend, we watched for signs of improvement, but if there were any, they were so slight we didn't notice them. Yesterday, she wouldn't even purr.  We discussed our options. Or her options. I would keep doing what I was doing as long as I thought she'd get better. But it was taking a toll on both of us. Friday and Saturday night, I took a sleep aid so I would finally get some sleep. They worked. Even after I got up to pee a couple of times (and checked on her), I fell right back to sleep. And when I'd go back to bed, Brian was always awake. "How is she doing?" he'd ask.

So, last night we made the decision. If there wasn't marked improvement this morning, we wouldn't drag it out. And she wasn't better. She had eaten some of the food in the pokey during the night. And she peed and pooped, but didn't make it to the litterbox level. She went on the blanket where she slept. I let her out to walk around, even followed her into the garage and let her go outside. She pooped (a nicely formed one) and walked around the side of house. I brought her back inside when she couldn't hold steady to drink out of the fountain.

He sat with her for a while on the sofa, actually getting her to purr. Then I held her while he took his shower. She purred for me. It was a really sad time. I held her against me and she was just too thin.

So, he gets dressed, I'm dressed, he gets the cat carrier, puts in a clean towel, puts her in, then we go out to the car. Our regular vet's office was closed today, so we headed the another one that we use for emergencies. There was roadwork and he turned right to avoid the roadwork. He realized he wasn't on the right road, but we stayed on it.

Then she cried. And she cried again. We looked at each other. I said "we don't have to do this". He said "are you okay with doing what you've been doing?"  Yeah. Yeah, I am. I'm tired, but if it's not her time, it's not her time.

We get to the next intersection and he makes a left turn.

We're going home. With Bernadette.

Amazingly, not long after we were home and I'd given her fluids, I looked at her face. Her eyes were clearer than they'd been in days. She ended up on the loveseat next to Rory and she stayed there for hours, sleeping more deeply than she had in over a week. A couple of times when she got up and was restless, I'd put her in the pokey, where she had food and water. She drank. She ate.

This evening, she was on the bottom floor. I let her out. She went into the garage, then came back in. And jumped up onto the loveseat. And she's asleep again.

And we're hoping for continued improvement. She's not out of the woods yet, we know that. But if she can keep eating and drinking, I think she'll be okay.

And life can get back to normal.

      Saturday, November 26, 2016

09:52 AM - 11/26/2016

The topic: We get our health insurance through the Covered California marketplace


We have since it's inception. The first year, it was really cheap.

The next year, the health group for our doctor only accepted insurance from one company, Blue Shield. And each year, the cost has gone up a hundred bucks a month. This coming year, the cost would be over $300.00 (which is cheap for health insurance, for sure). But sales are way off right now. I don't know why, maybe it's because people are afraid to spend money in the current political climate. Whatever it is, we would be hard pressed to come up with that money at this point. Especially since we only go once a year (for me), twice a year (for Brian).  We get our annual physicals for no charge, but we're getting bills in the mail for part of the labwork. It was my understanding that routine labwork is covered, but I guess it's not. I could research it, but I'm weary of this shit. I'm just tired.

So, I check the exchange for a different provider and both Sharp and Kaiser Permanente have the same options for a lot less money. I did the comparison thing, where I had the three insurers options listed side by side and Blue Shield was well over $300 more a month. We talked about it and $3600 a year is a lot of money to stay with our doctor.

We're going with Kaiser; the place I said I'd never go to. Comparing ratings between Sharp and Kaiser, Kaiser has much better care and services. So, I cancel the Blue Shield plan, set up Kaiser.

Get my welcome email this morning. I'm told where to send the first month's payment. Of $1180.47.


Yeah, no subsidy was applied. So, I'm on the phone to Kaiser at 6:30 this morning (cool! someone answered and explained it to me). I was given a phone number for Covered Cal, which I called about a half hour ago. Got right through after I listed to all of the freaking options (a lot of options, I started over more than once).  "There's a glitch in the system right now, some of the notifications of subsidies aren't getting through to the insurers, call back around December 15 to recheck and if it hasn't gone through, we'll take care of it then" and I was given a reference number.

Sometimes, I really hate adulting.


09:43 AM - 11/26/2016

The topic: Thanksgiving was a good day


We went for our long walk, Brian made breakfast (and did the dishes!).

Last week we ordered some replacement speakers for my car and they arrived ahead of schedule, on Wednesday. So, Thursday morning Brian watched the installment video and I printed out the how to manual from Crutchfield and it took him less than an hour to get them in. Yay! No more borked passenger speaker! I'll be less reluctant to drive now!

I put a turkey breast in the crockpot and worked on holiday cards.

And then we watched some stuff on Netflix.

A quiet day. A good day.

      Monday, November 21, 2016

11:31 AM - 11/21/2016

The topic: You know how sometimes everything is great


Until it's not?

Yeah, had one of those weekends.

With the cards I make, they come with their own envelopes. Obviously, I make those, too. I like to print out my own paper for these, patterned on the inside and white on the outside.

I use my Epson R1900. The problem is that I'm not good about running it at least once a week. I usually come into the office in the morning, check stuff out, then shut down for the day, unless Brian needs me to do shipping labels. And I use the laser printer for those, unless it's USPS. Which it usually isn't.

So, when I do use the Epson, I find that I usually need to to a cleaning cycle.

Now, if you recall, I have a continuous ink system. Which has the ink tanks outside of the machine and a ribbon with tubes that go from the tanks to the special cartridges. When we set this up, Brian cut my printer so that the lid would close without intefering with the tubes.

Well, guess what happened? The ribbon wasn't in place, so the ribbon got pinched on the side. So pinched that there was air in the tube and no yellow ink was flowing. I figured out how to fix that (I needed to prime the cartridge, which sucked the air out of the ribbon and the ink started flowing again). And there had been some sort of incident with the black ink so that the air filter was blocked. I changed that out and it started working as it should. Free flowing ink.

So, I get started printing out my paper. I figure thirty 12 x 12 sheets should be plenty, I have three patterns I want to use. And after the fifth paper, I was reminded of the frustration at this point.

The printer starts to go really, really slow. I looked up online and all signs pointed to the print spooler, but nothing I did fixed the problem. I'd have to stop the printer, cancel the jobs, restart the printer and the next four or five pages would print quickly, then start.  To. Slow. Down.

I even deleted all signs of the printer from my computer, removing drivers and software. Rebooting. Reinstalling. And it's still slow.

I don't think it used to be like that, it seems that it worked fine before I set up the printer as a network printer (and then undid it) a few years ago. Maybe I'll try redoing that since I have the new router, but I'm not doing it today. I have cards to make!

Which brings me to another big sigh episode.

I had all but one of the patterns cut for the first set of brand new cards. All but one. And the paper mat started sliding around in the Cameo 3. It wouldn't stop working so I turned the off button. After that, it wouldn't work. What I ended up having to do was shut down the software, unplug the Cameo, then restart the software and restart the Cameo. I did find out that pushing the "cancel" job button takes a few minutes to work. The machine stops, but the job doesn't cancel immediately.

That last pattern was the most frustrating. I worked longer getting that one done than the previous three or four. The paper kept sticking the mat and no matter how careful I was pulling them off, some of them would rip.

And another thing. The Cameo mats. On the new ones, the sticky is way too sticky. If you want to spend more money, you can buy Cameo mats that aren't so sticky. Why don't they just make them not so sticky to start with?

Well, back to work! All of these ideas running rampant through my head. I have to go act on them right now!



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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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