Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Monday, July 30, 2012

Well, That Was No Fun...

Last night, round about 8:30, I noticed Orion getting snarky towards Leo. It seemed a little odd, but not disturbingly so. I went back to writing.

About five minutes later, Leo hops out of the litter box, takes a few steps, and flops down heavily on the floor. He was panting, as cats do when they are distressed. Since he has a history of urine crystals, I immediately suspected a blockage. As I tried to feel his stomach (to see if I could tell if he was backed up), he leaked bright red.

I was on the phone to the emergency vet before the rest of the minute was up.

Long story short, Leo came home this morning. He had no further issues at the vet's overnight, but they realized he was in some distress. However, they found no sign of a blockage. They put him on pain meds, and something else to help if his issue was caused by spasms. (Mom and I wonder if he passed a small kidney stone, which would explain why it seemed mostly resolved by the time I got him down there.) They also took a urine sample for testing, to see if crystals were indeed to blame.

I need to swing by his regular vet today for more food; I'll mention this little incident, though I think it might be a little much to put him through a thorough exam right now. (He's only a year younger than Orion, after all.)

Orion on Prozac, Leo on pain meds... I just hope Domino doesn't get it into his head that he needs extra attention, too.

UPDATE: The emergency vet finally called with the results of the urinalysis. Good news is he has no crystals, so the special diet's doing it's job. Bad news is he does have white blood cells in his urine. They were leaning toward another hundred-dollar test to check for an infection; I deferred on the grounds that I wanted to touch bases with my regular vet first. (My vet is less prone to expensive testing for the sake of testing than the emergency clinic, for one thing. For another, this seems strangely similar to Orion's issues, save the symptom onset.) In the meantime, Leo's acting better than he was - he's even used the litter box without problems - though the pain meds are making him a little listless.

If this keeps up, I'm gonna need to land a second job just to pay for these guys.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Well, so far no more blood (that I've seen) out of Leo. But he's wised up to the pill pocket trick; he'll take the anti-spasm stuff in his soft food, but I now have to wrestle him down and force the antibiotics down his throat manually. At least that's only once a day... and I only have one more dose of pain medicine to force on him, as well. (Oh, yeah - forgot to mention that my regular vet put him on antibiotics. He also informed me that the urinalysis showed that his urine was too dilute, meaning kidney problems. Maybe it's psychological, or maybe it's the stress, or maybe it's the pain meds, but I look at that cat now, I see how dull his coat looks, and I feel his hips and backbone when I pet him, and I get a bad, sick feeling in my gut...)

Possibly due to the stress of this, I caught Orion marking just outside the litter box an hour ago - his first "accident" since he got back on Prozac. Damn and damn... (On the plus side, though, Orion still eats his "special treats" without any problems. He never was a very thorough chewer, unlike Leo...)

Oh, and my grandfather fell on Wednesday while at a senior center dance. He broke the top of his femur, right where it meets the hip. Amazingly, it sounds like they'll actually do surgery on him, even though he's 93; it's a less invasive procedure than it used to be, and he's relatively active for his age. I really hope this isn't the end of his activity - dancing and music have been huge parts of his life. (When he fell, he was upset that he didn't get to stay to listen to the rest of the music, despite being in pain.)

And I have to take a day and an hour off this month, unpaid, so I don't go over the 69-hour limit for library pages. I don't see why I must be penalized for a month having more than its usual allotment of Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; I can see restricting overtime, but these are my normal work days. And just when I could really use the extra money, as well.

I wonder if they're still hiring paper carriers locally...

SATURDAY UPDATE: We visited Grandpa at the hospital today. He was a bit loopy on morphine, but the surgery apparently went well. Hopefully he'll be in a rehab center soon... then back on the dance floor.

And Leo continues to chug along. He's still not happy, but he's not any worse. He doesn't seem interested in dry food, but will lap up canned stuff. I'm hoping it's just the antibiotics and the heat. (None of them eat much dry food in the heat.) He's gotta get something on those bones other than skin.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Eternal and the Ephemeral

In honor of this being Take-a-Week-Off-So-HR-Stops-Yelling-At-Me-For-Vacation-Hour-Over-Accrual Week, I decided to take advantage of my free time and actually do something. So, we headed down to the Pacific Science Center to see the King Tut exhibit. With the changes going on in Egypt, this will likely be the last time these treasures ever leave the nation's borders... and be danged if I'm ever walking into the Middle Eastern waspnest as an American tourist, even if I had that kind of money.

I've heard a few people complaining that this wasn't as good as the earlier tour (back in the 1980's), that certain items - such as the iconic gold-and-blue headdress - weren't on display. Having never been to the original exhibition, I can only say that I enjoyed what I did see. They even let people take non-flash photographs, as witness the above. (I had two cameras going, on the throw-enough-stuff-at-the-wall photographic theory that has served me so well.) The sheer age of so many of those items was truly humbling. Aside from plastic bags, nuclear waste, and a devastated biosphere, what legacy is our civilization leaving behind? (Don't answer that... please...)

On the other end of the longevity scale, we also visited the Science Center's tropical butterfly house. Short-lived as they are, those butterflies were every bit as wonderful as the ancient treasure we'd just visited.

All in all, it was a beautiful day.

(For the bored/curious, Orion has been on Prozac for a full week, and hasn't had so much as an errant drop of an accident. If the price of Prozac keeps him around for a few more years, it's one I'm willing to pay.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It Ain't Over Yet...

First off, the good part of the week. The above image was created for a local day camp. I used to go to HJ as a kid, mostly because my mother worked there every year as the craft lady (and, later, the site director who still kept close watch on the crafts.) Every year, she would design and silk-screen a logo for that camp and another local day camp. At some point, they decided to stop doing silk-screen logos at HJ.

This year, however, we got a call. And, since I'd taken over drawing the designs for the other camp, I wound up throwing this one together, as well. I ended up using public domain fonts, a few shapes from the Paint Shop Pro shape library, and pictures from various local zoo trips. (First three from Point Defiance, the last one from Cougar Mountain Zoo.)

They seemed to enjoy it, at any rate...

It was fun to visit the grounds again; I hadn't been there in nearly twenty years. Still the same meadow, still the same big tree at the entrance... the creek's been let revert to a natural state, though. I know it's for the good of the wildlife (what little wildlife remains, as the place is built up and development upstream wreaks havoc on the both the water levels and its quality), but creek-walking was always one of my fond memories of day camp; I can't help feel that today's campers are being deprived of interacting with the water as I did, looking for crayfish and watching water-skimmers and such.

Still, fun as it was, I didn't feel the sense of nostalgic loss I'd half-expected when I walked in. Day camp was fun, and I made some nice memories there... but it was long ago and far away.

Now, on to the less-fun part of the week.

All none of you who read this blog should remember the Saga of Orion, who took it into his head to develop stress-related litter box issues (translation: he started peeing on my bed.) The Prozac seemed to curb the behavior, but the supply ran out on Sunday/Monday. I probably should've called the vet for more, but I wanted to know if he was over his issues. If, indeed, it was a temporary issue, related to the probable-infection that drove him to misbehave in the first place.

Monday night, all was well and dry. I breathed a mental sigh of relief.

Until last night.  Or this morning, rather, at 3 AM, when I woke up to feed the cats and found a fresh wet spot on my blankets.

Damn, damn, damn...

So now I'm waiting for a call back from the vet. I know the Prozac appeared to work, but I'd like to get him in for another urinalysis, now that he's off all conflicting meds, to see if he still has an infection... or if the blood in his urine wasn't an infection, after all.

I honestly don't know what I'll do if it's still there; if it can't be cleared up through meds, I cannot afford a specialist - unless I get an absolute guarantee that a specialist will fix the problem. (Which isn't going to happen in medicine.)  But I feel like I should know, once and for all, if it's simply behavioral issues, or if the Prozak was just masking the real, ongoing physical problem.

Because if there is something else wrong, I can't help suspecting that painting over it with medicine is only a temporary fix, at best.

One way or another, the Saga of Orion isn't over yet...

LATER THAT DAY UPDATE: Just got off the phone with the vet. He wants to try Prozak again; I get to drive down in the jaws of rush hour to pick it up. Fingers crossed it does the job...

Monday, July 09, 2012

Interlude with Suspension Bridge

Because there's more to life than feline incontinence issues...

(Taken at Bellevue Botanical Gardens, where we went to celebrate the late-but-welcome arrival of summer weather.)