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Landscaping May 29, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Sent to me by a coworker the other day:

Dude, who did your landscaping?

Fabulous Landscape

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Goodbye Isabelle May 27, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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It’s so hard to let you go, but continuing on is no kindness.

I have her at home in comfortable, familiar surroundings for one more night.  She’s very tired so I’ve let her be for the most part finally free of being poked, prodded and having various meds and food  shoved into her face.  I got her interested in stuff for a little while and had her outside to roll around in the weeds a bit.  A little while later she was back inside for a real good brushing and petting.  I know she enjoyed that.  In a little bit we’re going upstairs for bed-time.

***Update***

It’s done.  Rest in peace Isabelle.  You were the best kitty ever and I will always miss you.

Goodbye baby

Kitty Is Back in the Hospital May 24, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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She hasn’t pooped in about a week.  When I called into the vet’s office about it I was basically told that she wasn’t really eating all that much and it probably hadn’t built up enough for a poop.  I was told to feel her belly for any solid stuff and if I didn’t feel anything then she was probably OK.  I felt around but it all felt squishy to me and let it go for a couple more days.  Then I came to my senses and realized that I don’t know nuthin’ about squeezin’ no cats and took her back to the original place I’d been going (the other place is closed on Sundays).  The other vet at this place felt around and thought we really ought to get some x-rays to see what we were dealing with.  Oooohhh yeah.  That cat was backed up worse than the I-15 freeway* on a holiday weekend with a four-car pile-up in the center lane.  No wonder she hasn’t been feeling or feeding very well lately.  They’re keeping her there overnight for enema fun and whatnot.  Hopefully when she gets back tomorrow she will be more like her normal self and eating again.  Can I dare to hope?

*The I-15 is the highway that connects Las Vegas to SoCal and regions to the north.  It’s basically the two-way alimentary canal of the city.  You know your analogies are bad when you need footnotes to explain them.  At least it was better than my previous “Her colon was packed tighter than a very tightly packed…packing thing.”

***Update***

Now there’s something else wrong with her.  They found more fluid in her abdomen which means more tests and more money.  I’ve authorized another blood test and analysis on the fluid to see where it might be coming from or what’s causing it.  One possibility is cancer, another is a virus that they previously tested for and came back negative.  It seems that even negative results do not actually rule it out.  Or it may be something else entirely.  At this point there doesn’t seem to be many ways out for Isabelle.

***Update 2***

Some results are back on the blood test.  She’s anemic and has very high calcium levels (upper end of normal is 11.5 and she is at 15).  She’s been anemic for a while so that didn’t surprise me.  The other result is the worse of the two:  “When we see this we start thinking of cancer.”

Let’s Change the Subject… May 21, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Music.
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How about a break from the daily drama of As the Infection Turns to something else?  Yes!  Let’s go to music instead for a while.  I have a bleg for those few of you who visit here.

I’ve become bored with the music on my iPod.  A quick check tells me that I have 2,668 songs and sound files on this thing and yet I am bored or don’t like the vast majority of them.  I’ve gone through and marked the ones I like the best as 4 or 5 stars and those are automatically included in a playlist called “My Top Rated”.  Currently it has 827 songs in it that I usually have on shuffle play.  I often skip past most of them.  Don’t get me wrong I do actually like these songs, but it’s just that I’ve heard them so many times.  Particularly stuff from The Doors and Pink Floyd and the like.  I actually don’t like much from The Doors anymore since my political viewpoint has changed so much many of their songs mostly just remind me of how and when things started to go so very wrong in this country.  Same thing for the Beatles.  I have no Beatles on my iPod whatsoever.  Don’t want any.  Eehhhh I’m going off on a tangent here.  Nevermind all that.

Back to the real point of this post – I want suggestions for new stuff.  “New” being a relative term in that it would be new to this device, and thus something that I don’t already have on CD or downloaded.  Now obviously y’all don’t know what I have and probably aren’t inclined to scroll through a 2,600 + list of titles to see them.  You don’t really need to know that to help me though.  What I want to do is start collecting favorite songs from the “One- or Few-Hit Wonders” or those songs that “Shoulda-been-hits”.  One of the things I love about iTunes is that you can often buy these for just 99 cents a pop.  Yeah yeah a lot of people hate iTunes and I don’t care about DRM or any of that other crap.  Nor do I care that I could get this stuff for “free” at IStealMusic.com or whatever.  I WANT to pay for the music that I listen to and truly enjoy and the artists should get compensation for their work.

Here are some examples of stuff I’ve already got:  Zombies – Time of the Season, Gary Neuman – Cars, B-52s –Roam, Taco – Puttin’ On the Ritz, Men Without Hats – Safety Dance, The Vogues – Five O’Clock World, Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now, Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio…etc.  You get the idea right?  Please pop some suggestions in the comments won’t you?  Oh and don’t forget the “shoulda beens”!  These are perhaps obscure songs by obscure-ishy bands that nonetheless had that “something”  that should have been wider in the public eye.  Or ear I guess.  Whatever.  I’ll give you a great example:  Goodnight Moon by Shiveree.  Have a listen (and a look):

I first encountered this song on one of the Kill Bill soundtracks and it was far and away one of my favorites of both of them.  I bought the original album it came from (I Oughta Give You A Shot In the Head) n hopes more like it but it was not to be. 

Again you get the idea.  I’m pretty open to most genres except cRap and most heavy/death metal stuff.  Help a fellow out won’t you?

The Feline of Concern May 19, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Stoaty asks, and she receives:

CatStation1

Alas I don’t have any pictures of her before all this that I can find, but here she is at one of her spots she’s taken to spend a lot of her time at.  A few more below the fold.

(more…)

OW May 18, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I saw the podiatrist today and he “took care” of my ingrown toenail.  I thought I was there mostly to get my infection looked at and maybe deal with the ingrown part if warrented.  His priorities were different.
He starts off with a couple of shots deep into my toe with a LARGE doses of anesthetic (seriously the toe was abulging) and started to cut the nail out on one side.  I did not expect him to go ALL THE WAY DOWN down though and pull it out by the root.

You're gonna do what?
You’re gonna do what?

 In retrospect I should have asked him what the proceedure was beforehand.  Anyway he then starts shoving sticks that had been soaking in some solution into the hole at the bottom of the toenail.  I was grateful for the large dose of anesthetic at this point because I’m absolutely sure that would have hurt like holy hell.  Still, I had to stop watching him work the sticks.  He had a fair amount of stick-time down there.  Eventually he knocks it off with the sticks and bandages me up with a big glob of ointment.  I then get around to asking him about the infection.  You know – the real reason for this visit (for me anyway).  “Oh it’s gone.”  He seemed utterly unconcerned about it.  He gives me a sheet of post-op toe care instructions and tells me that we’ll get together again in a couple weeks.  And I’m done.

The anesthetic messes with me for the rest of the day.  It of course spreads to adjacent toes and part of the foot.  I hate being numbed.  It’s wearing off on the big toe and hurts to walk.  I guess it’s going to be this way for a while longer.  I talked with another guy at work and he had this done too some while ago.  It seems that this part of the nail is never growing back.  The proceedure destroys that part of the nail bed.  I did not know that.  I REALLY need to start asking more questions when I go to the doctor’s office for stuff.

We’re Gonna Fight It May 18, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Food, Home, Science & Technology.
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Isabelle has her good days and her bad days.  I guess I tend to write these updates on bad days when the the Blue Bird of Optimism gets its butt kicked by the Black Bired of Despair.  Today the Blue Bird decided it was time for smash-beak payback.

Last night she did better with the hand feeding than she has in a while.  I ran out of the food the vet gave me last week and started her on some different Fancy Feast stuff mixed with water.  Maybe that’s been one of the problems:  too much of the same thing all the time.  I’m going to have several flavors mixed up so she gets a lot more variety than she has been getting.  I also figured out a different way to approach her with the syringe so I’m not doing from the same side of her mouth all the time.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she was just sore over there.  Gentler feedings = less stress = less barfings hopefully.

I did finally speak with the vet last night at 7:30.  Her office is actually closed on Sundays but I don’t think she actually takes many days off.  The new medicine is in and it did have to be made special for the dosages but it’s not terribly expensive at $24 per bottle.  I dunno how many doses per bottle but I figure at least 20 so that’s not bad.  The vet is also arranging that I get it at cost so it’s even less than what it could be.  I asked her how long it would be before we saw results and she said it would probably be a couple weeks, but she’s seen cases that turned around faster than that.  I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

Isabelle isn’t in any obvious pain, and occasionally she displays flashes of her old self when she jumps up on the bed or couch to join me for a little while.  I don’t think she’s ready to “go gentle into that good night” just yet and I intend to give her the best opportunity that I can.  I’ll see if I can get some lunchtime flexibility to come home during the afternoon for an extra feeding.  I think I probably can and it would probably help a long way.  Also my night class is over for a bit and that will help too.

By Grapthar’s Hammer we’re gonna beat this thing.

Health Update May 14, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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My toe is getting better, just more slowly than I expecteed.  I see the podiatrist Monday morning so hopefully we’ll get this situation fully wrapped up soon.  Sorry Lemur King!  You’re just going to have to find another use for your broken, rusty hacksaw blade – there ain’t gonna be no amputations.

The cat situation is unfortunately considerably different.  We finally got the results back from the culture test and they’ve identified the organisms we’re dealing with.  I didn’t write down the technical names but one is a bacteria usually found in the intestinal tract where presumably it usually does no harm.  Somehow, someway it managed to get in her chest cavity and it’s causing problems.  The antibiotics we’ve been using are apparently ineffectual against this.  The other organism is one that is considerably more dangerous though:  methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.  This is very bad as anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to tangle with this evil shit can testify.  MRSA is very, very difficult to kill and the treatment course is measured in months not days or weeks.  This isn’t one of the strains that humans are susceptible to (thank God) BUT they have managed to cross-infect humans and animals with this in the lab (who the hell volunteered to be the guinea pig for that study??).  There is a medication out there that is effective against both of these but it seems to be difficult to obtain easily in the dosage that we need.  It may even have to be specialy compounded for us.  Unfortunately there is also a very bad side-effect that can occur where it reduces bone marrow.  Even just handling the stuff is dangerous as it can cause this in humans too and it absorbs readily through the skin.  The vet told me that there is another medication available too – but it’s only an absolute last resort option.

Of course none of this addresses how she got this crap there in the first place.  Isabelle is strictly a house cat and she never goes outside.  The vet was at a complete loss to explain this.  She said that normally this sort of thing would be a potential result of a deep, penetrating wound.  There are no wounds on my cat; deep or otherwise.  Personally I suspect that these infections are really symptoms of  another, perhaps more serious, internal issue (or issues) that we know nothing about.  I also suspect that antiboitics of any kind are unlikely to cure the underlying problem(s).  I also suspect that any further diagnostic efforts beyond what has already been done are likely to be very, very expensive.  I can’t afford any more “expensive efforts” much less “very, very expensive efforts”. 

Even beyond all this there is the basic fact that the cat either can not, or will not eat.  The reality is that I am not at home enough during the day for enough hand feedings to sustain her for the long term.  I also can not afford to put her up in the cat hospital on the days that I work.  The cold, hard calculus of her current health, the struggle she faces, and the lack of nutritional (and yes, monitary) resources  she has available to help her leads to a grim and nigh inevitble outcome.  Ever since she stopped eating this has been a race to find a cure and the hand-feeding has given her many more miles than she would have otherwise.  But now, she is nearly spent and we find that she still has a marathon to go.

****Update****

For the second time today I’ve tried to hand feed her.  And she threw up for the second time.  I thought that this morning I was trying to feed her too quickly but tonight I was going very slow.  She can’t even keep food down now.

House O’Yorl HealthWatch May 12, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I took the cat back to the vet Sunday afternoon and parked her in medical boarding so they can feed/watch/evaluate her.  Not only had she stopped eating anything whatsoever voluntarily she was fighting against hand-feeding too.  I was sure she was fading fast.

Well.  It turns out that I don’t know shit about the real relative differences regarding sickness in cats.  It turns out that she’s not actually all that bad.  Sick yes, but not nearing Death’s Door as I had thought.  While visiting my cat I heard the most awful cat-noise I’ve ever heard coming from the back area.  I also overheard snips of a phone conversation that featured “kidney failure” and “cancer” from the vet on this side.  Obviously they have a MUCH wider spectrum of cat health and what contitutes the “Bad” portion than I do.  They also showed me a more direct method of hand feeding that will be a LOT more effective that the other way I was doing it.  Supposedly the results of the culture test will be back tomorrow with hopefully the specific drugs to combat this infection.

So, onto my toe.  It doesn’t hurt that much generally, but it is painful if there is direct pressure on the area.  Also, it doesn’t seem to be healing.  It started bleeding again while I was cleaning with the hydrogen peroxide  and it is still a bit swollen and red.  At this point I’m starting to get more concerned about my toe than the cat.

It really should be healing by now shouldn’t it?

Does this look infected to you?

Does this look infected to you?

Kitty HealthWatch ’09 May 7, 2009

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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As near as I can tell she has stopped eating on her own entirely now.  She only gets what I can feed her through the syringes and I’m not home enough during the day and I can only stay up so late at night.  She moves very little on her own anymore.  Tonight I found her in the exact same spot she was in when I left this morning.  Oh I’m sure she wasn’t there the entire time, but still.

I fear that I’m losing her.  The spark goes out a little bit more every day and there’s nothing I can do about it.