Saturday, 7 November 2020

Oh Happy Day!

 May the healing our of sister nation beside us begin in earnest. Please let there not be violence and Trump's supporters take in this disappointment. Please stay safe, all my friends in America. Please stay safe. And may the world begin to veer away from the racist white supremacist ways that have been eating away at society across the globe. More than ever, we need, as the human race, we need to work together to reform our societies and our world into something that allows all life on this planet to flourish and to live in harmony. We all need to coexist peacefully.

Friday, 23 October 2020

We have the highest infection rate in the country...

 Winnipeg is only a city of around 750K folks. Not huge by any standard... piddly-ass nothing by New York and LA standards, but in Canada, we have the highest covid-19 infection rate per 100,000 people in the fucking COUNTRY!!! Because people have gotten stoopid and lax and just keep going out and partying, socializing, having big weddings, funerals and whatever kind of gatherings they want. It makes me so fucking mad!!

I go to work. I shop for most of my groceries online. We cancelled our family Thanksgiving dinner. We cancelled my greatniece's 14th birthday. I haven't seen some family members since January, FFS. And there are people here who insist on eating in restaurants, going to bars, doing shit that spreads that nasty everywhere. (But not anymore, because things have been locked down again starting this past Monday and masks are mandatory everywhere.)

Now, I have to admit that when I do go to to the store, I now see everyone is wearing a mask. So that is a good thing. But the majority of positive cases have been people in the 20 - 40 age group. People have gone to work with symptoms. People have gone to weddings with symptoms. Because of assholes like those, old folks are dying in care homes. There are outbreaks in many of the care homes here. There are outbreaks in northern remote communities. There are outbreaks on three wards in the hospital where I work. The strain on healthcare workers is huge. We are short staffed on any given day and overtime is soaring through the roof. One day last week, we have 15 people doing overtime, most of those doing double shifts, some 4 hours extra. We have covid positive and suspect patients we have to bring into the dialysis unit for their treatments because there is nowhere else in the hospital we can give them their treatments. We are strapped for spots for new patients. (And there are always new patients, because dialysis is a growth industry, unfortunately.) We are finding some supplies running short at times, and just today, we have a nightmare plumbing issue in one of the satellite dialysis rooms.

There is a lot of water used in dialysis. And that has to go down the drain. Today, the drain pipe in one of the satellite dialysis units became plugged. The plumbers spent a couple of hours using the snake to clean the drain. There was black sludge all over the floor, and a flood of filthy water running out into the hallway. The housekeepers had a team of 3 mini zambonis to clean up the water and try to contain the deluge. (Yeah, I know they are not zambonis [those machines used to clean the ice in hockey rinks] but they operate on the same basis, only on a much smaller push-from-behind basis, so that's what I call them.) I think they threw every flannel blanket we had on the linen cart onto the floor to soak up water before those guys arrived with their machines. I was working in the office across the hall for the day and we had to endure a lovely aroma of sewer for a good part of the afternoon. I couldn't wait to get outside and breathe some fresh air! The patients who were supposed to be dialyzed in that room obviously weren't. I am not sure what was done with them, and if the evening patients were able to come in for their treatments, but I am sure I will hear on Monday when I am back at work.

But on a much more positive note, as I drove home from work, I snapped this photo of the big prairie sky. Yes, I pulled over (it is illegal to use your phone while driving here and I sure don't need a big fine and my license suspended (which is the first offense punishment). I like taking photos of the sky. I might just print this one out one day and hang it on my wall.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Geez, I have been lax.

 I just noticed it was August when I last posted anything and we are almost at the end of September! The weather is definitely fall-like here, with interspersed days of summer heat. Last Monday was cool (I think it got up to 12C?) and Tuesday hit 30C!

I had a covid test done this morning. Very strange sensation, that. I am hoping it is just my lack of a gallbladder that is causing my gut issues, but one cannot be sure without a test these days. We do have a positive patient at work, although I didn't provide direct care to them, but they were symptomatic for several days before telling us and getting tested. And they were in that small group of patients who are crap at keeping their masks on their damn faces when in for their treatments!! Argh! So I sit at home and wait for a couple of days to get results.

I am tired of the covidiots out there risking everyone else because it inconveniences them. I wish we could just stick them all on their own island and let nature take its course. We could give them Trump as their very own head hack. Seems they all think like him anyway.

Leaf raking season is starting, but I am going to wait a couple more days before starting. One tree out front is virtually naked while its neighbour hasn't started dropping leaves yet, despite being golden yellow. The backyard trees have definitely started but the big Chinese elm is still as green as can be. It is notorious for not deleafing until after the snow has fallen, meaning I can't rake until the spring and then it is a sodden mess of half rotten leaves.

This will be the last fall for me in this house. I am going to sell in the spring and move back into the big city. Okay, so Winnipeg isn't all that big (750K or thereabouts) but it is many times larger than the 10K city I live in right now, just to the north. I already have my name on the waiting list for a suite in the apartment block I want to live in. Easy to get to work from (before I retire), close to my sister (8 minute drive or 30 minute walk, per google maps) and there is a mall across the street with most of the amenities I will need for day to day living, including the pet store chain I usually shop at for the cats. Hopefully this all comes together nicely but if not, I will move temporarily into another apartment that allows cats and also allows month to month rentals (for $100 extra per month :-\ ).

I had Andi outside with me for a bit today. He spent a lot of time rolling around on the patio amongst the leaves, looking gorgeous, so of course, his portrait is below. (Okay, so I put up two photos, because why not!)  He also ate some grass and had to puke it up once back in the house. It's only taken him 6 months to figure out how to eat the grass and not just pull bits out of the ground and then spit them out. lol!

Wishing all of you a pleasant (as can be) fall. Be well, stay safe, and wear a mask if you have to go out!

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Good to Go

The past 2 1/2 months have been filled with sitting on my bum in my recliner, keeping Andi contained. That shattered leg has meant the majority of his time was spent in a dog kennel, with litter box, soft bed, toys and a hamster-style water bottle. It meant he wore a harness and leash whenever I got him out of the kennel, to keep his activity severely limited. All to allow the bones to heal as best possible.

And that effort has paid off. A week and a half ago, he had the 8 weeks post-op xrays to see how his leg was healing. My vet and the surgeon were both very pleased with how well the bone has healed. Andi got the go-ahead to start having some free time loose in the house. I was cautioned that because he had spent two months with no exercise, he would have muscle wasting and would need to gradually build up his strength.

Post-Op Xray day of surgery - look at all those little pieces!

8 Weeks Post-Op - lots of new bone formation!

They never watching him do flips in that kennel, and drag himself around the litter box, squeezed between it and the walls of the kennel with a catnip toy clutched in his mouth, with me cringing as I could see in my mind's eye that leg getting twisted and bent in all that frenetic play. But it never did. He jumped around, kicked at toys, scratched his ear (as soon as the splint was off) with that foot, and had been weight bearing on that leg from day one after surgery. What did happen was he kept his muscles in good condition.

For the most part, Andi was very well behaved with his incarceration. He didn't like being in the kennel, or wearing the harness and leash, but he tolerated it as few one year old boy cats can.  He would chirp and trill when I opened the door of kennel and he would stretch out, extending his front legs and toes, bowing as he slunk out, with his back legs following, poking straight out behind him one at a time as his hind end stretched and stepped out. He would go to the carpet and start scratching, giving those claws a good stretching too. While he did that, I would fasten the harness around his neck and chest, standing on the 4' leash so he couldn't get away unexpectedly.

After the 4 week xrays showed the bones were healing he graduated to eating in the kitchen instead of in the kennel. I would tie the leash to the handle of the oven, so he was in his usual spot. He was "loose" but not loose. He could move around in a very small space and that made him happy. He got to eat with the other cats, so a bit of normalcy in his upended life. He would get short walks into the living room, or into the bathroom with me. I would carry him down to the basement when I went to clean the big litter boxes, one foot on the leash to keep him captive. I would carry him to my bedroom to snuggle on the bed with Lila for grooming and a nap, while I sat there and scrolled through facebook on my phone. I would stand at the cat tree in the front room so he could sit on it, in the open window, to smell the fresh air and watch the birds and squirrels. I would take him to the water bowl for a big drink of water (because that water bottle in the kennel is for the occasional sip, not a good thirst quenching draught of clean cold water from a big bowl). Then I would carry him to the recliner and we would sit. He would lie down, groom himself, play with the leash, sleep under his blanket and generally be good. (How I don't have callouses on my bum, I don't know... I spent so much time sitting down, I think I am the one with muscle wasting.) 

So the 8 week xrays show good new bone formation and he has the go ahead to start his 'gradual return to normal activities'... which I labelled GR2F (Gradual Return to Freedom). The vets wanted him to have 15 - 20 minutes loose a couple of times a day, and for this program to gradually increase over 2 - 4 weeks. For the first few days, he got a couple of hours loose, in the morning and then after work in the evening. He was cautious with stairs and jumping, very smart of him, such a good boy. He ran though, on the flat, thrilled to not be tied down. Aska was very happy to have someone join in on the chase, as the old aunties aren't really into that anymore and she was tired of doing all the running alone. Which she did anyway, because a young cat needs to, but it is so much more fun with a partner in crime, you know.

After one week, he was loose all day long and spent a couple of nights in the kennel. Now he is out and back to normal. He still has some weakness in that leg, but not much and it is getting stronger every day. And we are all so much happier. And he has grown, stuck in that kennel! He is noticeably taller and longer than all the other cats. Lila is still heavier, as she is much stockier than he is. Andi is all lean and lanky, all long legs and whip thin. Not skinny, mind you, just lean. He eats 1/3 more at each meal than all the others do. Just a healthy young guy without any extra fat. He looks good. 

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.