the all-important cat update

Sorry for the delayed post. It has been a complicated few weeks.

Oscar, at age 18, has had a challenging year. It all started about 6 months ago, when Oscar started pooping outside his litter box. He had never done this before (outside of the occasional accident) so I took him to the vet. Thus began a concentrated focus on cat poo that I never thought possible … and roller coaster ride of emotions.

First came the blood tests, then urine tests, then the cancer screening. That latter one was a kick in the gut. I know he is the equivalent of a person in their late 80s, but the thought of Oscar having cancer broke my heart. I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

So, what’s up with the lad? In the end, things seemed fairly normal and he there is no sign of cancer or other horrible disease. His calcium is a little high, but not too bad. My sense was that, with the changes in his dry and wet food that were related to mild kidney disease, he was just not eating right. When he ate the new wet food, he sometimes got diarrhea, so he didn’t eat it – he also just didn’t like the taste. Then, he would get dehydrated and it was hard to go to the bathroom.

Rather than spend a small fortune on testing, we made some pragmatic changes. His diet included a mix of the old and new dry foods. We went back to the old wet cat food in the evening and added more old wet food in the morning. Occasionally, I throw in some of the new wet food, but, let’s be honest, he doesn’t like it and won’t eat it.

We switched out the litter box for one with a low entry, so it was easier for him to walk in and out instead of jumping. We added a second box over near where he was pooping. Unfortunately, it is near my mother’s space. Good sport that she is, she went along with this. I guess she figured: better a litter box nearby than stepping in something, um, icky first thing in the morning.

And … it all seemed to be working fine … until one morning a couple of weeks ago when it was no longer working. Now, we frequently have cat poo on between the litter box and my mother’s bed. Also, his walk has changed. Oscar always had a slow, low-slung lanky walk – like a lion ambling across the savannah – but now there is almost an arch in his back, his legs are stiff and his steps minced. He is in pain.

So, we have moved into the “let’s spend a small fortune” part of our program. Back to the vet we go. The doctor very thorough: his back and both hips have gotten worse and yes, it is painful. So it’s painkillers for a week and shots to help his hips – for the rest of his life. Waiting for test results ….

My poor boy. I love him so.

on regrets … another view

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This is exciting! The blog’s first “guest post” – a milestone. After reading my post on regrets, my sister-in-law and I texted back and forth and she is sharing her thoughts:

I am the sister-in-law Susan is writing about in this post on the subject of regrets. I had no idea that I had stirred up such thoughts, but I was glad to do so. I too love questions. It helps me solidify what I believe.

Susan asked me to respond to her blog. I would be happy to. First of all, let me preface this post by saying that I’m a Christian, and I believe that I am forgiven for my transgressions. That does give me peace, yes. But when I think back through my life at the some of the footprints I’ve left behind on people’s lives, I can’t say that I rejoice over my frailties and failures. Just the opposite.

There are many kinds of regrets, such as those things we do and say that don’t offer this world anything good or lovely. Then there are regrets for the things we should have done and said, but didn’t. The list could be huge, but one example is the way we treat others. For instance, it is so easy to walk into a party and within seconds make a plethora of judgments—that is, which people are worth our time and which ones are not. We may be tempted to gravitate to those guests who can be useful to our careers rather than spending time with those folks who might be lonely and in desperate need of a kind word. In the past, I have on occasion been guilty of this behavior. Loads of other people are guilty too, and yet that doesn’t make me feel any less sad about the selfishness and pride that is obviously behind such behavior.

So, in the midst of these spiritual spasms, what is the positive that can be gleaned here, Susan? I am grateful for forgiveness, and I am hoping in the future I’ve learned that these manipulative choices are not just worthless, they are harmful to everyone, including me. This life is quite a journey. Thanks, Susan, for helping me to ponder this important topic in greater detail!

And there she goes, posing another question in the first sentence of the last paragraph! Thank you, my SIL, for moving us from monologue to discussion! Anyone else want to join in?

ETA: I will come back to this discussion of regrets. I’m so sorry to have left in mid-conversation. It has been a busy and challenging couple of weeks and I’m sure some of it will spill over into the blog!

regrets … I’ve had a few

flower-1030408_1920I can almost hear Sinatra singing My Way in the background as I start this post.

My sister-in-law has an unusual talent for asking questions that stay with me for a while. Last year, when she and my brother came for a visit, the question was whether I was happy with my life. Apparently, my brother mentioned that he thought I was and that he was happy that I seemed happy. My SIL was more direct – she asked me! I said yes, but it was not the most enthusiastic yes. If you look at the past several posts, you can probably understand why. More about this question in an upcoming post. Continue reading

what happened to that book you were writing?

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Last year, when I took my 6-month break (that became a 12-month break), I had planned to work on a book. I would write a little story and my mother, who has done arts and crafts all her life, would work on the illustrations. This lovely little book would be shared with family and friends. The book should have been done by now … but it’s not. What happened? Continue reading

surprise: mom likes house!

I watched and loved House, the TV shdr-house-149926_1280ow with the wonderful Hugh Laurie playing the obnoxious Dr. Gregory House. Or at least I loved the first, maybe, five seasons – it went off the rails for me at some point around season six.

As crazy as some of the plots and relationships were on House, my biggest surprise with the series is that my mother actually enjoyed it! Granted, we didn’t watch many episodes and they were all season one – I think The Crown, season 2 became available and we switched to that. Continue reading

picking up where we left off

tree-of-life-3132592_1920I have a lot of first cousins – on my mother’s side and my father’s side. Although I occasionally visited with the cousins on my mother’s side when I was growing up, I’m getting to know them better as an adult. This has been a really rewarding experience and I’ve enjoyed it.

On my father’s side of the family, it’s completely different.  I grew up with my cousins, we went to the same schools, saw each other at frequently family get-togethers and cookouts, played together and so on. When we were kids, there was a wonderful camaraderie – we teased each other and laughed a lot and grew up. There were also losses along the way. We were all so young when my father died – it is part of our collective story and memory. So is our grandmother’s funeral, when we were young adults. Continue reading