Andy’s tail catches the breeze from the fan.
Andy’s upset I’m using the lapboard while typing on my laptop. He wants to lounge.
So he takes up a space behind my laptop. He knows I’ll pick him up off the keyboard, so that’s not worth the trial. Here, he gets what he wants!
I look forward to Lavinia and Rick Ross’s monthly update at:
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/ It is a collection of photos and text documenting their progress in their vineyard, flower gardens (some of which are memorial flower beds), and more. One section is a report from their many cats, among them Willow, whose story I will turn over to Lavinia:
As you know, our old calico Willow has been declining the last few years with failing kidneys, and has been on subcutaneous fluids for the last few weeks. Her hind legs have slowly been getting weaker, allowing me to do more for her, but also signalling that the end was nearing.
Willow stopped eating last night, and the feeding stimulant from the vet did not work today. She was pooping in her bed this morning, and lying in it, her hind legs seeming to be weaker than the night before. I cleaned her up in the sink, and she did not fight that so hard today.
It turned out Willow had come from a nearby property where the people had recently moved in. When I found out where she belonged, I attempted to give her back, but the man didn’t want her anymore. He had fallen and broken his leg, had no insurance and no job. She had escaped the first night and they had presumed her dead. So I took her in, fixed her up, and she became companion to Rick’s mother.
Given her extreme age and kidney problems she has been battling for years, the decision was made to let her go and join the Greater Universe as its newest citizen. Rick and I took her in to River’s Edge in late afternoon, and Dr. Hayes assisted her in peacefully passing on while we were there with her. Willow went quickly, and without pain. She was approximately 22 years old by all reckonings.
In Willow’s past life with the neighbor, she had been his sister’s cat. The sister died, then his mother took the cat in. His mother died, and he got the cat along with his father. He didn’t want the cat as she had a history of peeing everywhere, but my guess is that she was probably sick with urinary problems all those years. His father didn’t want to put her down, and they brought the cat to Oregon with them. We’ve battled her urinary problems all this time.
Her vet here in town, who retired two years ago, thought she had a condition where the neck of the bladder did not close completely. That would explain the urine leakage in her sleep. This also make an easy route for infection, and so the cycles of trips to the vet continued. I moved her care to River’s Edge after the Doc retired, as they do emergency care, and Dr. Hayes is an excellent cat vet.
The times between trips to the vet started growing shorter and shorter, and finally ended up with the subcutaneous fluids at home as the urine was pouring out of her and she was dehydrated. I was doing her towel laundry 2 or 3 times a day, and changing her bedding during the night when I woke up.
Due to the winter darkness and rain, Willow will be buried tomorrow morning at sunrise out by the persimmon tree, facing east towards the hazelnut grove. I think she would have liked the view from there. I like to think of her feisty spirit hunting in the tall grass, observing the birds, deer, all the various creatures that have come through the farm at one time or another. Rest in peace, little one.
Old Willow just ran out of road finally, and was not enjoying life. She will be missed.
Lavinia wrote this postlude to Willow’s journey:
I finished her gravesite this afternoon, putting some decorative stonework on it and planting daffodils. The weather was partly cloudy with some strong sun this afternoon. The old calico is enjoying a good run over the Rainbow Bridge.
Longer than my usual post, but I want to share how Lavinia and Rick cared for their beloved Willow though many people would have turned her away years ago because of her age and health issues.
Because they didn’t put her in a shelter, Willow spent the last years of her life enjoying the pleasures of Salmon Brook Farms and the love and care of Lavinia and Rick Ross. I join them in mourning Willow.
I read the sad news this morning. My sister, Kathy, had to make a decision about her tuxedo kitty, Sox, yesterday. He had a cancerous tumor on a front paw. She wrote:
I did have to have Sox euthanized today. It was so hard to do, but Kitty Boy was miserable and so sad to watch. It took me until 3:30 this afternoon to finally let him go.
My sister “inherited” Sox as a kitten when her grandchildren got him from one of my sister’s neighbors, but were unable to keep him. Like me, she wasn’t a cat person till she got one. We always had dogs when we were little, then no pets till we were older and closer to retirement or retired. Sox was her first kitty.
Sox was an only kitty most of his life. Then my sister had to move. The first day she moved into her new home, she let Sox out to do kitty business, as was their habit from their old home.
That was the last time she saw him for 10 months, a story that I documented here as encouragement to others who lost their kitties. My sister never gave up, and she finally located poor Sox in a shelter!
When Sox returned home, he no longer was the only kitty, and it made adjustment necessary. Molly and Sox eventually became friends and shared my sister without hassles. (Molly, of course, was the top kitty in the home since Sox hadn’t been home to defend his “title” during his absence.)
My sister told me about the tumor and what she had to deal with some time ago, but one hopes against hope for a happy outcome. I didn’t mention it here though anyone who’s followed this blog for any length of time knows the story of Sox and how he was lost then came home.
That story was the “happily ever after” part. Today’s news is the blunt, sad reality. Anyone with kitties, dogs, any creature in their lives knows the joys and laughter they bring, yet always has that other reality at the back of their thoughts: The joy inevitably is followed by the sad reality that those beloved pets are mortal.
Poor Sox. I’ve shed tears for you today. Kathy, I know that you did what was best for Sox, no matter how sad and difficult the task was for you. Hugs and love, sis.
RIP, Sox the tuxedo kitty. Thank you for the joy you brought into my sister’s life.
The day started out fine. The kitty boys begged me to play videos for cats, and they were exceptionally good kitties while the videos played.
Good fun for the kitty boys! And they were nice to each other while watching the videos.
The day before I’d called the Good Samaritan office to let them know I needed to have the snow cleared so I could get to dialysis Wednesday, and that it needed to be done by at least 10 o’clock so I had adequate time to make the 11 o’clock start time. That, I figured, would give me extra time in case of getting stuck or other snow related issues.
By 10 o’clock Wednesday, no one had come to clear the snow. I WAS PISSED!
Here’s what the passenger side looked like. The snow was up to just about halfway to my knees.
Note that I park in a handicap parking spot. The Good Samaritan runs the apartment complex I live in, and they are responsible for clearing snow. Theoretically, they will clear snow first for people like me who have medical issues and have to make appointments. Dialysis isn’t optional!
I managed to get in the car. Gary walked down to the office to remind them in person I had asked for snow to be cleared the day before. Then a couple of maintenance people came over to help clear some of the snow around and behind my car off, but the main snow removal had to wait till the snow plow arrived from Hemingford, 19 miles away!
I tried to back up and got stuck. Gary and the maintenance people got me unstuck, and I drove down the lane and turned west on East 6th Street.
At the intersection of East 6th and Flack Avenue, I saw a pickup truck and a Bobcat blocking the intersection. There was a police car with lights flashing. It looked like an accident, but it might have been people clearing the snow at the intersection. Regardless, I couldn’t pass through the intersection to head north to the hospital. (Yes, I drew on my US Army vocabulary again to express feelings about that!)
I backed up to a turn off to the Good Samaritan parking lot, and headed east to what looked like the best way to get to 4th Street, which would take me to Flack, then the long way around to the hospital by 3rd Street, then Box Butte Avenue, two snow lanes that were cleared. Boyd Street looked impassable, so I turned down Lane 4, which had a path down it, thanks to a pickup.
Yes, I was thoroughly wet, mad, and running out of time to get to dialysis.
The final trial: I waded through drifts up to my knees to get back to Lane 2 to try to run down a ride and to leave my keys with Gary and Donna so Gary could park my car in my spot after the snow was cleared and the car was unstuck.
I got thoroughly wet below the knees, and barely had the strength to make the full trek. Leroy, one of the maintenance guys, had to come to me for the final stretch to knock down a path for me to walk. I still barely made it. Yes, I cussed like a Sergeant Major all the way. Cleared my lungs, I tell you!
Donna called to find a ride for me. She eventually got the Handibus lined up, and I got to dialysis just slightly later than usual. (The Handibus is a city-run service used mostly by non-drivers, elderly, or handicapped people. You can get door-to-door service at a dollar per ride.)
Did I mention Gary and Donna are the neighbors who took care of the kitty boys for the two months and 10 days I was hospitalized, then in rehabilitation in 2016? Very good people! They helped turn my disastrous snow crisis into a successful trip to the hospital for dialysis.
I occasionally forget to pay attention to whether my printer is set up to catch papers coming out. Bad mistake! Andy pays attention every time and if the printer’s pooping pages onto the floor…Andy’s right there!
Andy guards the pile he’s already begun to trash, chew, and pose on…!
“Am I being watched?” Andy knows he’s being a bad boy, I think.
Woo hoo! Andy gets to it! He “sorts” the pages.
> rip! rip! rip! <
Andy is in a frenzy!
“What?! What? What’s wrong?” Andy protests his innocence.
Yeah. Innocent in a pile of shredded paper!
Heck! I can print it out again! Can’t… Resist… That… Kitty… Face….!
Oh dear! Once again I succumb to the wiles of my kitties. They can do no wrong, no matter how naughty. It’s the eyes, I tell you. The EYES!!!
Persian kitties have strange faces. Straight on, they look owlish. From the side, you’d think you’d seen a bat.
I just committed a cardinal sin. I set my laptop down on Dougy’s ottoman!
Out of nowhere, Dougy came running. He hopped up on the ottoman and gave a rigorous scratching to the battle scared fabric.
I got your message, Buster: “The ottoman is off limits to everyone but Dougy!!!”
Hard to believe this sweet little Persian guy, usually so full of good will, this pussycat can be so aggressively, obsessively possessive of the ottoman, yet that’s the way it is on Lane 2. Dougy’s ottoman. No trespassing.
For those who don’t follow me elsewhere, I’ve had problems getting on the Internet on my PC this first day back from hospitalization and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, my laptop is of the stupid variety. It isn’t set up to handle graphics chores.
(“Aw…!He just told us there’d be no new Dougy and Andy photos till he works out the technical glitch in his PC!”)
I did want to resume my blog as soon as possible on getting back, however, because I’ve a lot to tell you. First and foremost, as a weggie (a person diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, not an underwear waistband puller..!), diagnosed in 2003, I know the disease is for a lifetime: There is no cure.
I also know, as a weggie,that it can go into remission as it did in my case in 2005. Some weggies never know a time when their case is in remission. I was lucky and had several years that were active Wegener’s free.
But! But, it always is there, lurking behind the symptoms of other diseases. That is what the doctors at University Hospital (Denver) feel happened to me.
A couple months leading up to the week I became breathless and weak, I had a nondescript malaise, let’s call it, nothing alarming, just “there”. I didn’t feel really bad, yet I wasn’t 100% OK either.
I wasn’t alarmed.
Perhaps I should have been. The doctors feel an undiagnosed Wegener’s flare wiped out what kidney function the December 2003-May 2005 didn’t manage to do. Now, I will need dialysis three times a week. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just time-consuming: Four hours at a shot! It can be more or less that, depending on catheter function or need.
I tell you this because it is true. I don’t mean to depress you. I mean, this happened to me yet I am basically a happy, positive person. Let me tell you a little story about how I handled the news I was going to have to go on dialysis.
While at the University Hospital (Denver), several teams of doctors visited me each day, including one who’d been among the doctors who visited me daily in 2004. I was known to be a weggie, so the first thing they had to determine was whether my condition was Wegener’s granulomatosis or not.
No evidence of active Wegener’s showed up, but the signs were my kidneys had failed. (Of course, it was no secret to me because I couldn’t urinate!)
One by one, the doctors and interns, in pairs, came to report their findings to me. Each told a bit more of the story, but I knew where it was leading.
Finally, the nephrologist came by. The young doctor with him was quiet. The older doctor seemed uncomfortable or hesitant to give me the bad news.
“I have good news and I have bad news,” he said finally. The good news was it wasn’t Wegener’s I had, and you already know – just as I did! – what the bad news was: I had end term kidney disease. I would require dialysis in practical terms, many life changes in food eaten, and so on.
I sat on my bed in my hospital gown listening to what the doctor said. When he was finished (and clearly relieved I seemed to be taking it well), I said, “Doctor, you don’t have to worry about scaring the pants off of me because [comedic pause] I’m not wearing any.”
I got them both to laugh!
I tell you that story because I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I’ve had worse news from doctors after all, like when I learned I was a weggie.
My doctor came to my room and explained that my symptoms suggested one of three possibilities. He ticked off why two seemed less likely than the third, then said I most likely had Wegener’s granulomatosis and that I would be dead within two years.
On the third anniversary of the prediction of a two year life expectancy, I reminded my doctor of what he told me. “That sounds like the sort of thing I’d say,” he said. He actually was a very good doctor, one I still admire and respect immensely.
But when it comes to deadeye predictions, there are many factors that affect the outcome: Efficacy of treatment; patient’s attitude; the course of the disease and what stage it was caught at; faith; who knows?
The short of it (said he ironically), I will thrive and survive. I’m pigheaded that way.
It snowed over night. In fact, it’s spitting a bit of snow even as I type.Dougy’s happy about it. Andy and I would just as soon it not snow.
Andy and I don’t get Dougy’s enthusiasm for snow. He surely understands it is just water in another form!