Tag Archive | care of a pet

Grab Bag of Week in Review

It has been a particularly long, odd week.

I have not been productive creatively. In some ways, I expected lack of creativity last week (which was over-booked, and so I knew that even though I’d signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time – the first week of numbers/words would probably suck – they did at 0), but not this week which I hoped would be better. On the other hand, I helped brainstorm with a role-playing group of friends over Skype last week, and we contributed to a lot of creativity there, so I’m refusing to beat myself up too horribly. This week though, I have not drawn, I have barely baked/cooked anything that interesting (although I collected ingredients for apple-roses), and I have certainly not written anything (other than a lot of tweets and chats, and a lot of work related emails).

The grey-beast, Phoenix, has had some health things over the last few weeks. Some of it is being dealt with concisely. We know what the problem was, we got the appropriate medication, and he’s healing up. (We’re not sure how he got the bacteria that caused the problem… but having a depressed immune system makes the hows sometimes wibbley-wobbley.) Another health issue is just plain… odd. So we’re trying a topical treatment in an attempt to not have to increase his daily steroid dose, which is what is depressing his immune system, but also keeping the disease/probable cancer at bay. He is eating, having good bathroom habits, and playing. He is also being cuddly when appropriate and good natured. As the vet and vet techs constantly say, he has the best temperament and diseases are unfair and suck. In a not pleasant situation, he really makes the best of it. We confirmed that Shadow does indeed weigh more than Phoenix. Our little black cat on the dainty frame with the teeny tiny paws weighs, in fact, a full pound more than our long lean boy, coming in at just about 12 pounds. Hm. More playing is in store for her. Luckily, she likes chase (feathers, the red dot, string, her brother). I’m trying cutting back on dry food as well, as the vet worries it is hard for both of them to digest. Luckily they like their wet food quite a bit.

My hubby’s job situation has been a yo-yo this week. He hasn’t been very happy for the last few weeks (he says, I say months) at work. He felt as though they were more worried about pushing services and items than actually caring for clients’ needs. And he was very much chaffing at still having had no actual formal training at his new position in the company, lo these many, many months later. Well, Monday they admitted they were going in a different direction, and as his sales figures were down they were letting him go. It’s hard to get mad and fight for your job when you haven’t had a lot of support and are feeling ignored and that your concerns are minimized. So, he swung by another old job location near by (one that had reached out to him this past year to see if he was available) and let them know that he was now available. As of yesterday, he has a new job, starting next Monday. It’s a position he hasn’t held in an extremely long time (and I’m not sure he ever held at that particular employer) but he’s excited about it, tentatively. And happy to not have to job hunt or deal with unemployment.

My own work situations are about as normal. As another friend says, lots of juggling of chainsaws, whips and exploding objects. In my case, at job 1, it mostly involves holding my tongue and not saying when I think someone is not being professional (because then I would be being unprofessional) and trying to juggle paperwork that is redundant. Oh, and a lot of email regarding web issues, contracts (and supporting arcane government documents), and advertising this week. At job 2, it is mostly comparing data, digging out discrepancies, resolving them, and moving on to various scenarios – but with numbers in an accounting sort of situation. I like both, but both tire out my brain in different ways, and sometimes all I want to do is come home and poke at puzzles until I get brain dead enough to sleep. Or soak in a hot bath. Or actually just go to sleep.

And finally this morning, I woke up to twitter having a rage-meltdown over an actress become magazine editor who took and tweeted a photograph that exposed her (many tiered levels of) privilege. I think I mentally wrote 3 separate blogs while showering and preparing for work in my head about why yes, she was privileged and yes, frustration was justified but the rage and trolling were not terribly productive. Mostly it boiled down to: don’t compare this woman to that woman, this is not helpful feminism*; don’t presume she’s got no idea what she did or was doing, she’s took that photograph from a privileged position of X as well as Y W and Z; and finally, BE PRODUCTIVE IN YOUR RAGE, show why it’s messed up, don’t just bitch. The final one shows my privilege, because I have a background and education level that desperately wants more than a 140 character click-bait statement of anger. I want a thesis statement, a breakdown and a proposed alternate solution. That in itself is problematic for many people. In the end, I’ve chosen to only contribute this paragraph (and a back-and-forth chat with a good friend) to get the topic out of my system, instead of contributing to the internet rage machine.

And now, I’ve written something. It’s just a menu of my week (sans tomorrow, which will be focused on job 2, and hopefully end in home-grilled tri-tip steaks, salad and mashed potatoes), but it’s words. Hopefully that will trigger a bit of fiction writing. And I do have some Skype gaming to look forward to on Saturday.

How was your week?

This is also an example of the feminism problem that makes women say they are not feminists. They know that feminism is supposed to be about equality for all women/people/etc, but they also know that in real life, it quite often is only the “right” feminism in the “right” ways (white, middle-upper class, middle-age, cis-women) and that no one else is welcome. It’s hard to take ownership of a movement you disagree with large chunks of and that doesn’t support you personally.

Grey Beast Update – Phoenix

Just a quick little note for consistency… Phoenix continues to do well, although after his visit to the vet, he no longer takes his pills in the pill pockets. He’s figured out what’s going on. So I’m hand-pilling him. He’s very good about it. He knows he gets a treat after. He’s felt as though he’s almost normal-cat-shaped lately, so I coaxed him into getting on the scale with me this morning. We have achieved 10 pounds!! Another half a pound or so, and he’ll be back up to his maximum recorded weight. He put up with a claw trim last night, and other than a slightly ruffled coat (I need to run the silicone curry brush over him), and the shaved bits still taking forever to grow back in, he’s almost “normal” I think.

This makes me happy.

Grey furry beast update – AKA Phoenix News!

As of tomorrow, Phoenix will have been on a 5mg dose of prednisolone for 30 days. So, we scheduled in an appointment for him to be weighed officially, generally checked over, and get his prescription renewed.

He’s been doing pretty well lately. I feel like he’s hit a plateau in his weight, which is frustrating. He should be more than 10 and a half pounds, and he’s just not, but in general he plays and has a cheerful, laid back attitude on life (unless instigated by Shadow into a tag or boxing match). He’s had a few somewhat lethargic spells over the last month, but in general I knew he’d gained a bit of weight, his coat was looking good and his paw pads seemed much less swollen.

The results are as follows: he weighed in at 9.6 pounds (and that was after 8 and a half hours of fasting), his temperature was not remarkable, his teeth and eyes looked good, his heart and lungs sounded good, his paw pads are a teeny bit puffy but better. The vet still couldn’t find his spleen by palpitating, and his lymph nodes are still drastically reduced (almost not locatable, definitely not biopsy-able sized).

So, we’re leaving things as is. He’s going to continue the current dose of prednisolone for another 50 days. We’re going to hope he continues to gain weight back up to at least his highest point (which was 10.4), and make sure he’s still enjoying life and being well-spoiled.

Like I told the doctor, the part of me that has had experience with human cancer especially wants to get the nasty badness out of him. The part of me that is terrified at putting cats under any sort of general anesthesia is willing to wait if this treatment continues to work. The doctor is excited that such a relatively mild treatment is working. Steroids are hard on any body, although cats can handle oral type, and prednisolone especially, relatively well. They do compromise the immune system though, and so some plans to train the cats to harness and leash, and take them on park outings this summer have been shelved. Insect bites and other outdoor flora and fauna could be especially hard for him to fight the effects of.

Overall, I’m very happy. Phoenix was very happy not to be poked or prodded any more, or shaved again, or had blood drawn. And he was especially happy to have access to food again! More than anything, having his appetite back is probably going to help him.

Update on the Grey Phoenix Beast

So. Today we took Phoenix in to have his spleen aspirated, in order to test the acquired tissue and determine the type of cancer.

The vet called less than 2 hours after I dropped him off and started the conversation with, “So, Phoenix is looking really good… ” at which point I agreed that he’d been eating better, was being a very good boy and eating the pill pockets with his prednisolone in, and in general had a good energy level and appetite. He was also waking me on a regular schedule for two breakfasts. (I have determined my cat is at least part hobbit, but that’s hardly a post…)

He agreed that he looked very good, and had gained weight and had good energy and… was going to drive us all crazy. “I can’t find his spleen by standard palpitation and obviously don’t want to just go poking around with a needle. We have a few options…”

Those options involved getting an ultrasound tech back out, or perhaps even exploratory surgery. But in general, since he was responding so well to the steroid and his lymph nodes had even shrunk (which was a good thing – yay shrinkage!/bad thing – one less thing to try to aspirate!), perhaps we should just stick with the least invasive treatment method. If it is lymphoma, well… eventually, that will become obvious. If it’s not… If it’s the mass cell… perhaps the steroids will be enough for a time, and we can avoid the splenectomy for a bit.

In some ways, it’s utterly frustrating. I still don’t know what’s wrong with my boy.

In other ways, it’s honestly probably the least stressful for him. He’s happy. He’s getting wet food almost as much as he wants it, and nibbling at dry when he wants, and treats when he likes. He’s encouraging his sister to play tag and other kitten games, and even occasionally coaxes us into cuddling, scritching, petting, or otherwise loving on him. (He has to work so hard for those extra snuggles, we are heartless I’m telling you.)

He’s too young for any of this. But I have to keep reminding myself, other than feeling low on energy or just tired… he doesn’t know what’s wrong. If we can help him feel well, that’s our job as pet parents. To help him feel his best and take care of him. So I have to try my best to live in the moment, do our best to help him feel well, and try not to drive myself crazy with wondering exactly what is wrong with him.

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