Monday, November 28, 2011

Missing in Action

I know some of you are probably sick of me bringing up my cats but....the night before last, we had an escapee.  Shasta meow, age 11, who has not been outside since the day we got her in 2001, ran out the door 48 hours ago and has not been seen since.  I'm frantic.  I haven't seen any sign of her.  We've alerted our closest neighbors, who haven't seen her (and I do believe they would tell us that), and I've set a live trap out on the deck where she escaped.  Nothing.

I've looked under the deck, under the back steps, in the woods (where, while I was watching, I saw a huge hawk steal one of the chickens that refuses to stay in the pen, so that made me feel heaps better), in every clump of woods and trees I can think of.  Last night I moved the live trap (baited with Fancy Feast Tuna & Whitefish dinner [really stinky]) from right outside the door to under the deck, in case that made her feel safer.  I'm just frantic.  All of my experience, and everything I found on the internet said that typically cats in this situation don't go very far.  So where the heck is she?  It's like she just up and disappeared.  I'm so worried.  All of these horrible images keep going through my head. 

And I have to confess, although DH seems concerned too, that since she escaped while he was home and I wasn't, I've been wondering a little if maybe there's more to the story....and then I feel guilty about that.....but he's lied to me so many times, I doubt him more than I believe him.  And thats a terrible feeling too.  I am desperate.  I need her to come back.

Anyhow, any words of wisdom and/or prayers are gratefully accepted....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Really down day for DH

In the past week, DH has had two episodes where he um...soiled himself.  The urge came on so suddenly that there wasn't any time to find a bathroom.  He's had a couple of close calls at home, too.  Luckily it hasn't happened at work yet, but DH was (understandably) worried, and went to the urgent care clinic yesterday.

They told him that most cases like his are not physical as in "problem with digestive tract" issues, but neurological, in nature.  Since DH has a possible TBI(?), the doctor speculated that this could be a progression of his injury, in which case, it may be something he has to "learn to live with".  DH is extremely depressed about the whole thing.  He's in one of those "the world is ending" moods, where, in his mind, there is nothing good at all in the world.  He hasn't called me all night (I'm getting ready to leave work after working all night, he usually calls me to say "hi"), so I called him to make sure he was ok.  He answered the phone, but his responses were very flat-sounding and short.  Funny, though, DH states that his back doesn't hurt at all lately....(?)

I tried to remind him that the doctors have been wrong about a lot of things with him.   He agreed that that is true, but that did not change his mood.  He will (hopefully) go for an MRI on Monday (that's what the doctor recommended anyhow) to see if they can figure out what is happening.

I wish I knew how to help.

Monday, November 21, 2011

DH talks in his sleep again

DH had another one of those nights last night, sometimes I really wonder what he's dreaming about!

DH:  Carol.

Me:  Yeah?

DH:  If we ever have another daughter, I want to name her Cookies.

DH:  I really like Cookies!

DH:  (10 minutes later) Carol.

Me:  Yeah?

DH:  Do you think anybody will notice the burn marks?

Me:  What burn marks?

DH:  on Cookies.

Me:  Oh no, that's terrible, what happened?

DH:  We left her on the stove.

Me:  Oh no!  Nobody likes burnt cookies!

DH:  And to think she started out as a sack of flour.

(10 minutes later)

DH:  Carol, do you think people think it's strange that I bathe with a duck?

Me:  Well, a lot of people might think that was strange.

DH:  Oh.  Because there's nothing funny going on, we just take a bath together.

DH:  I always wanted a duck, I think I'll name him Quack.

Me:  You're talking in your sleep again.

DH:  I AM NOT!!!!

Me:  Oh.  Sorry.

(it was right about this time that Elmo meow meandered up to DH and gave him a smooch)

DH:  I think I just kissed a duck.

Me:  You probably shouldn't tell people that.

DH:  Why?

Me:  Because some people might not understand.

DH:  I said nothing's going on, Quack just waits for me in the tub.

(DH, after he woke up, clarified that Quack was a RUBBER duck, but in our conversation, that was never mentioned.)

DH:  There's that man in the dress again.

Me:  Was that one of the dresses you made?  (remember the previous sleep talking episode)

DH:  I didn't know I could sew.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well, I did end up going in, got some antibiotics, because according to the doctor, "eighty percent of cat bite and scratch wounds become infected"....so it was a good thing I took your advice about going in.  I hated to spend the money, but yes, it was better and smarter to do that than to end up with a $15,000 hospital bill and a bunch of missed work, etc....

The kitty?  Still living in the chicken house.  I'm her (his?) new best friend.  When she(?) sees me coming, she runs up to me like a puppy!  Then she purrs and prances all over and I scratch her ears.  I think she has ear mites, as she has sores behind each of her ears, but I'm currently not confident enough of our friendship to try to do something about that....I know the flea medicine "Revolution" will also cure ear mites, and I actually have some, but you have to apply it to the skin under the fur, and I'm thinking my new friend probably won't like that, so it'll have to wait until I can live-trap her and get her into the vet.  Hopefully that'll be in the next few weeks, as I don't want any "bonus" kitties.  Unfortunately, our furnace is not currently in working condition, so it probably won't happen next payday (we usually burn wood only until the beginning of December anyhow, but when it starts to get really really cold, we need the furnace so that the pipes don't freeze/burst).

Anyhow, DH has decided to name the kitty "Lester".  He doesn't care if "Lester" is a boy or girl, he's always wanted a black cat named "Lester", so there you go.  So as far as black cats in the house go, we'll have Twilight (age 5), Elmo (age 6) and Lester (age unknown, but I suspect around 6 months).  I'm still hoping that someone will call me up and say "I've been looking for a little cat, not a kitten, but just a real nice cat...." and I could tell them about Lester and.....I know, I know....odds are not in favor of that happening!  But I can think about that anyhow....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Big mistake at the kitty house

I had gotten home from work (at the group home) yesterday morning and gone straight to bed.  DH was already up and smoking outside.  Suddenly he woke me up: "Carol, there's a black cat in the yard!"  Since we have two black cats, and none of our cats ever go outside, he was worried.  But.....one black cat was sleeping with me, and the other one was in the kitchen eating cat food.  So....apparently it was yet another "drop off", as my two closest neighbors hate cats.

I went outside to see it, and I meowed at it....kitty meowed back.  I was satisfied that it wasn't one of ours, so I told DH that I hoped it would go on its way, because we sure didn't need any more cats, and black cats are harder to find homes for than any other color of kitty.  I went back to bed.

When I woke up, I went outside to feed the chickens.  Surprisingly (or not), there was a new chicken, a black one with a long tail.  Kitty had apparently decided he/she was going to live in the chicken house :-(

As I put the food and water out for the chickens, and gathered the few eggs (chickens don't lay much in the late fall/winter unless supplemental light is provided), Kitty ran out of the chicken house to see if maybe there was cat food involved.  Nope.  But the water tasted good.  Kitty was eyeing the chicken feed with interest, when I meowed at Kitty.  Kitty meowed back and came over to smell my hand, turned around and walked a few feet out of my reach.

This was repeated several times until, when Kitty turned to walk away, I was able to stroke his/her back.  Suddenly kitty was purring, rubbing up to my legs, just the sweetest kitty ever  :-)

I finished up with the chickens and (still kind of hoping that kitty would go away, so I didn't offer cat food) went about my day.  At the end of the day, Kitty was still inside the chicken house, so I started to feel like I needed to offer some food.  I put some "crunchies" on a paper plate and he/she feasted.  Once again, we had a kitty love fest, with kitty purring, prancing, rubbing up on my legs.....what a sweetie!

DH thought that we should bring Kitty into our porch, which is heated, until I could get the money together to get a Feline Leukemia test and a spay/neuter surgery (if a disease-free yet unneutered cat were to come into our house (where everyone is neutered), the hormones(?) would cause the other cats to be stressed out and, sometimes quite crabby).  So the best I/we could offer at the time was the porch.  But that would be better than the chicken house, plus I was a little worried that Kitty might consider a chicken dinner.....

Anyhow, I went back out there, and Kitty was (of course) in the chicken house.  We began the petting/purring kitty ritual, and once again I thought, "What a sweetie!".  Then I picked him/her up.

The purring continued.  I scratched behind the ears, the purring got louder.  Then suddenly Kitty looked at me and realized he/she was BEING HELD BY A HUMAN.  Big problem.  Kitty spazzed out.  Kitty grabbed onto the top of my head with all of his/her claws and dug in.  Then, as I tried to stay calm, kitty embedded his/her teeth in my scalp and then dislodged and jumped down.  In hindsight, I was very lucky as my eyes did not get injured and most of the scratches/bite marks can be hidden under my hair.

But....it was rather dramatic.  DH was just heading outside to smoke when I walked up to the house with blood dripping from my head and forehead.  He got so worried when he saw me, I started crying.  He was so nice and so caring......I bled all over my clothes and all over the jacket he'd given me for Christmas some time ago....he cleaned up the wounds for me and when I confessed that I was embarrassed by how stupid I'd been, he reassured me that he would've done the same thing, and I couldn't have known that would happen.....he even called the hospital to see if they thought I should come in--I was really surprised that they (the hospital) weren't too concerned at all!  They asked if he thought the bleeding would stop without stitches, and then just said "keep an eye on it"....Luckily (or not), I've been through this before, although I don't think I've bled so much or had so many punctures.....so I know that I have a pretty good chance of one or more of those wounds getting infected....and I also need to keep Rabies in mind, although I think that its unlikely.   I thought for sure, that the hospital would insist on rabies quarantine for kitty and/or shots for me, since DH explained that it was a stray cat....but they didn't seem worried about that at all.....I'll just stay aware, though, as I know that even if it's unlikely, it's a possibility.......Kitty is still firmly ensconced in the chicken house.  Not acting crazy at all, just looking a little nervous, kind of like "I know I messed up, not sure what that means....".  I went out there a few hours later to tell him/her I was sorry and I understood that it was scary and I wouldn't try it again.  He/she let me pet her (but I opted not to pick him/her up).....I'll go to the regular Dr. tomorrow to have them take a look and get some antibiotics.....

I told DH that Kitty was still a sweetie, and he was surprised.  But really.....Kitty didn't know what I was going to do, and I don't know what was in Kitty's past, he/she probably thought death was imminent, and if I was in that position, I would certainly fight with everything I had, too.....so I really can't blame Kitty, just gotta blame the overly optimistic cat woman.....

We haven't taken in a stray since 2007 (can you believe it?) And I don't want another one.  I will try to find a home for him/her, but I'm not optimistic :-(

Phooey.  I should've stayed in bed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mom update:

I think you all know that I had enrolled my mom in Hospice back in August.  When I called them the first time, she was refusing food, liquids, meds....very combative when she was awake, but very sleepy and difficult to rouse most of the time.

I had read, on the Alzheimer's Association web site (www.alz.org) that sometimes people can "rally" when they begin a Hospice program (it's theorized that maybe the extra attention/pampering helps).  I kind of chalked it up to "wishful thinking" and even if some people did rally, well, probably my mom wouldn't, as she was pretty out of it.

Amazingly, though, we've had these last few months as a "rally" of sorts--she began again to eat and drink, and accept her medications.  She even went to exercise class on occasion, where prior to Hospice, she had adamantly refused to attend any activities.  This is not to say, of course, that she got "better", really.  She no longer knows who I am most of the time, and when I tell her "Hi Mom, it's Carol", she says "What is your real name?"  She believes my name is Donna Mae, for some unknown reason, so I say "Well, some people call me Donna Mae"....and she says "That's what I thought!"  And smiles because she knew.

Aside from me being "Donna Mae", though, things have really been stable.  I still go to see her every night after work.  It's gotten more difficult for me emotionally to do that, though, sometimes I really have to force myself, because it's so hard to see.....but I tell myself that no matter how hard it is for me, it's got to be ever so much harder for her....and she needs to know (even if she forgets) that someone loves her....so I keep going.....

And now it's gotten even harder, because it appears that the "rally" has ended.  Once again she's extremely paranoid and delusional, refusing food, water, meds.....hard to wake up.....and of course I start wondering: "Is this it?  Is it time?"  I wonder if it's another UTI.  Even if it is, though, I don't think much will be done, and that worries me in a confusing way.  How can I sit here and do nothing, what if something could help.....?  Did I make the wrong decision by getting Hospice on board?  "She rallied once here, maybe we can figure out how that happened, and we could get her back to that place...."

I'm really struggling with that right now.  My heart is not ready to let go, even when it's so hard to see her.  My heart is still thrilled when my mom looks at "Donna Mae" and says "I feel like we've known each other for years!"  But in reality, on 90% of the days, I know my mom isn't having fun.  Her quality of life is very small.  And me wanting to keep her around......probably that's selfish.  But I also don't want to "hurry" things along, either, because while this disease has been so terrible, and there has been grief at every turn, there are moments and memories to treasure.  Have I mentioned  before that I think my mom has a setback every November?  It took me quite a while to figure out that it's possibly the time change/change in routine that brings on more confusion.  So I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the latest downturn, but I still am.