Sunday, 31 May 2020

Ah, the joys of being a pet guardian

I have lived with cats for 55 years now and in all that time I have not had a single cat do this particular bit of idiocy. They all seem to do silly things on a regular basis, but not on this epic scale.

I work days and evenings, usually two week stretches of each. Evenings, I get home a little after midnight. This past Monday, when I strolled in the door at 12:35 a.m., the 3 girls met me at the door. I walked in to the living room and Andi was lying on the carpet runner in his usual spot, looking up at me. I said hello and reached down to pet him. He then stood up. That's when I figured out why he hadn't been at the door as he usually is when I come home. He was holding his right hind leg up off the floor. When I tried to touch it, he hopped away and growled. So I immediately took him in my bedroom, closed the door to keep the girls out, and tried to check him out. I found no external injuries, and it wasn't poking out at an odd angle, but he still didn't want me to touch it. It obviously hurt a great deal.

So I phoned my vet. The clinic I use does their own emergency call at night, which I appreciate, because all the vets know all my pets, as I have been going there for over 17 years. Because the limb was not displaced, we elected to keep him confined for the night, with water and a litter box and I would take him in first thing in the morning. I got him set up in my bedroom, gave him some food (as I always feed the cats their final meal when I get home) and a dose of pain med that was left over from last fall when Lila had had a recurrent attack of chronic pancreatitis. There was just enough for one dose for his size and it is good for 12 hours, so that was perfect.

When I got the litter box in the room, he immediately hopped in and had a huuuuge pee. He obviously had been unable to get into the basement where the litter boxes are for a number of hours. He also pooed, ate his food, drank a bit of water and settled on the warm bed I made for him on the floor. He was actually quiet all night. I heard him get up once to pee again. Aska meowed for a while, annoyed that he was allowed in my room at night (usually none of the cats are) and she wasn't. Around 3:30, Pips decided to start yelling in the living room (being deaf, she can be extremely loud) and that woke both of us!

I got him to the clinic and dropped him off (the pandemic means no humans get to go into the clinic). The vet called me in the afternoon after they had sedated him and xrayed his leg. It was definitely broken: the tibia was shattered and the fibula snapped in two. Good job, buddy. *sigh*

The options were three: get the orthopedic vet specialist to put a plate and screws in the leg (best); have my vet put a rod in the tibia and an external fixation device to stabilize it (can be fraught with complications); amputation. Those are also in order of cost from highest to lowest. Given that Andi is only a year old and very healthy, and I had room on credit cards to pay for this, I opted for the plate. It will give him the best chance at having a normal leg for the rest of his life. I know three legged cats (and dogs) do well and that was definitely a consideration, but I figured why not try and keep him a four legged animal, if I could?

So on Thursday, he had a three hour operation to plate his leg. The surgeon phoned me afterwards and said the surgery went well, despite the bone being shattered worse than what showed on the initial xrays. I picked Andi up Saturday morning and brought him home.

His recovery is now 6+ weeks living in a large dog kennel where his movement is very restricted. He is on antibiotics (standard for any bone surgery) and pain meds for the next 10 days. I have to take him to my vet weekly for dressing and splint changes. In about 10 days, the staples will come out of the incision. The leg will be xrayed at 4 and 8 weeks to see how it is healing. That will determine when the splint comes off and when I can start a bit of massage and physio on his leg to get the joints moving again. He has been good so far. I do get him out of the kennel for meals (me holding him), for snuggles and scratches (when I can take the cone off as he is supervised) and for drinks of water. I tried a bowl in the kennel but he was dumping it, dragging that leg around, and I don't want the bandage getting wet. I did buy one of those water bottles you use for rabbits and hamsters today so we will see if he will figure it out. I dabbed a bit of wet catfood juice on it and he did lick it, but I don't know if he will figure out that there is water in there. Hopefully.

He has a litter box in the kennel, a soft fuzzy blanket, and a piece of sheepskin that used to reside on one of the cat trees for well padded bedding. He's been good so far, but in a few weeks, you can bet he will be going nuts in there when that leg starts to feel better!! He now has the dubious honour of being the most expensive pet in my life. And he is only one year old!!! This better be it for his ninja antics, that's all I can say.










Sunday, 26 April 2020

Relegated to the very bottom

So how is everyone doing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic? I hope you are all healthy and safe, wearing masks whenever you have to go out (*have* to, not just larking about) and staying a safe distance from everyone else.

I am one of those frontline workers so, as a nurse, I still go into the hospital for my regular shifts. I am lucky in that I work in a specialty area (hemodialysis) with patients who must come to the hospital for their treatments three times a week, so I probably won't ever get pulled to work in an area with lots of sick patients. So far, there has been one positive dialysis patient here but we have one ward in the hospital specifically for covid+ patients, with 2 beds available for dialysis, so they have had their treatments done there. It wasn't one of our patients, but one from one of the tertiary hospitals' dialysis units who got sick enough to need being admitted.

For me, life has gone on pretty much as it did before, except for being able to see family. I miss our monthly family dinners, and little visits with my nephew and his family (my greatniece is just 20 months old and too adorable for words!!). We do video chats, so that helps. Because I live by myself (human-wise ~ there are four cats here, though, to keep me company and drain my bank account), my routines are pretty much the same. Except I now make sure I buy everything I need when I go to the grocery store so I don't have to go very often. No popping out to the store for one or two things anymore. I have even stocked on cat food and kitty litter so that I don't have to make many trips for their food either.

Has anyone else (who uses blogger) noticed that the 'new post' button isn't at the top right of their blog page anymore? That, in fact, there is nothing across the top at all? I was bemoaning this fact to Mago the other day. I wanted to do a post and couldn't figure out how to get to the composing page! But just a few minutes ago, I scrolled down to the bottom on my blog and say the tiny little 'Powered by Blogger' at the bottom and bingo! I could get to where I needed to be.

So this is just more of a check-in than anything else, as not much has happened in my universe. Other than the pandemic crushing my hopes of selling my house right now. It has become an albatross and I want to be rid of it, to just rent an apartment and move back into the city to be closer to family, and to work. Oh well. I will give it another 2 years for the economy to recover. Then, no matter what, I will sell and move.

Take care, my bloggy friends! Stay healthy! Stay safe! Stay sane! xoxo

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Are we going far enough, fast enough?

Mago asked if COVID-19 had made it to my corner of the universe. Yes. Yes, it has. Although we have a small number of cases in Canada, compared to elsewhere, they are steadily increasing. In the province where I live, we had a greater than 50% increase in cases yesterday from 7 to 18. Some of those are confirmed, others are presumptive. Here, we are not saying confirmed until the person tests positive with two separate tests.

The hospital where I work instituted a 'no visitors' policy yesterday at 6 p.m., with some exceptions (ie: baby in NICU ~ both parents allowed in) and one entrance for cancer and cardiac patients with appointments, and one entrance for all staff. Both of those entrances are manned with security and screening personnel, who ask all who wish to enter questions about respiratory symptoms, international travel (including to the US) or exposure to someone who had travelled internationally, and all are required to use the supplied hand sanitizer. Staff must present their photo ID. No ID, no working that day.

I, for one, am glad my hospital is taking the threat of the coronavirus seriously. I work with patients who have kidney failure, and they are, each and every one, immunocompromised. It is not widely known by laypeople that the kidneys play a role in your immune system, so when those aren't working properly, neither is your ability to fight off infections.

Two of the nurses I work with are from the Philippines. They both went back home to visit family (weeks ago), and as far as I know, have not come back yet because of the decrease in international flights. Another nurse had been in Mexico with her family, again for several weeks, and while she is back home (they drove), she is isolating at home, and has been tested (results unknown as this point) because she developed a cough and sneezing. Given that it is almost spring here, and we have had periods of melting snow and then freezing, we have the annual bloom of snow mould (it's a real thing! I get a runny nose every year!), that may very well be her issue, as she has no fever and no trouble breathing. But... better safe than sorry.

I am all for social distancing (I am an expert in that anyway), hand washing, and keeping people safe from this virus. I only hope that all the efforts of our federal, provincial and municipal governments to shut down travel and public gatherings have been done soon enough to flatten the curve. I have enough food, medication, coffee and cat food to last for weeks. It took a concerted effort to find two packages of toilet paper (thanks in part to my nephew!) so I now have 36 rolls. Most restaurants are doing takeout and delivery only now, some have closed completely, all the theatres and music venues are closed. The zoo and pavilions in City Park are closed. Museums and galleries are shuttered. Grocery stores and pharmacies are essential service and so are open. As are the liquor stores. That, I think, is hilarious! Don't cut off the supply of booze or all the drinkers will revolt! Many people have stocked up, not knowing if those will close soon.

Here's hoping our efforts keep the majority of people safe and virus-free. I can't say the same to our neighbours to the south, so other than essential trade, the border between Canada and the USA is closed. Stay safe, everyone! Keep your distance. Stay home. Try and stay positive. And please.... wash your damn hands!

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The Longest Time

It has been just over six months since losing my brother. It has been a very long six months and one aspect of this is finally coming to a close.

It took 3 months to get probate on my brother's estate, which allowed me to deal with his estate and not have legal repercussions against myself if anything went south. So that meant I could put his house up for sale. We (myself, my sister, and niece and nephew) had a weekend long sale of his belongings at his house. We had distributed mementos to family and friends prior to this, but then had to deal with the rest of his stuff. It was very weird selling things we had seen him use/wear. But in the end, it helped with expenses as all that brought in about $1400.

I listed the house mid November. It just sold. There is a lot involved with selling a house. We held a number of open houses on weekends to allow people to come through to have a look. But it was a hard sell, because he had gutted the upstairs bathroom and it was only roughed in, with new plumbing and electrical, but no fixture, no flooring, and needed drywall work and painting as well. There is a 3 piece bathroom in the basement so the house is definitely live-in-able. Ultimately, it was a young woman who had come through an open house mid-December with her parents who ended up buying the house. She takes possession next Friday, Feb. 21st.

And that is one huge relief! I had the bank that held the mortgage put the payments on hold starting January after there was no interest by mid-December. Given the location (walking distance to a large hospital, and downtown) and a decent price point, I had hoped for a quick sale, But no, that bathroom put a crimp in those plans. There was only so much money in his bank account and it was dwindling fast, Pausing the mortgage payments helped a lot but the sale changes all that. Because that means there will be the funds to pay the lawyer, pay his final taxes (if any), and give a bit of money to his beneficiaries (no, not me, although I will get a bit for out of pocket expenses).

The next step will be to do his taxes. Because he was a salaried employee with no life insurance and no investments, it should be pretty straight forward, unless Canada Revenue has something in a file somewhere showing he owes them money from way back. I have his files and he's done his taxes annually from what I can see. Fingers crossed, this tax thing results in a simple return with a refund owing.

After that is done, all is just a waiting game, for the government to issue a clearance certificate, stating he owes nothing more to them, and I will be free and clear to distribute the remaining monies.

All this sounds pretty business-like, paperwork and scratching pens and clicking computers. But none of it conveys the heartache, the tears, the worry, the work involved. The piles of boxes and papers in my tiny house, making an obstacle course that I cannot clear until all this is done. The time spent after work and on weekends trying to get things all tied up. The sale of the house is a huge relief, because it took 2 3/4 months on the market to move, and we had to drop the price $5k to get it to move, and even then, it went $9K under than. But it is done, and for that I am grateful. We survived Christmas with a toast to my brother, and each of us in our own way honouring his memory and missing his hugs and gentle presence.

The road ahead has fewer bumps and turns than it did a few months ago. One day, it will just be a trail of memories littered with laughs and smiles. One that I will travel with the rest of my family.

A selfie taken long before selfies were a thing.
Circa 1989

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Devastation

On Aug. 1st, my world plummeted into a void. My youngest brother died by suicide and my family will never be the same. It cannot remain taboo to speak out about suicide, to speak out about mental illness, and to speak out about depression. Because when it is taboo, people will hide what they are going through and the end result is... this.

My brother was a carer, of anyone and everyone. He gave of himself so much over the years, but was never one to let anyone know how he himself suffered. I think he became convinced he could not share his vulnerabilities with anyone, despite how he was hurting.

And in the end, that isolation led him to the only solution he could see. An end to his pain meant an end to his life. And although his pain has ceased, ours is massive. My heart is so broken. I will miss him forever.