Thursday, 17 December 2020

One down...

One to go.

I had my covid vaccine yesterday. No big deal. A very small amount of vaccine (looked like about 0.3 ml) and a small needle. Today, no ill effects at all. I don't consider the little spot on my deltoid that feels like a little bruise an ill effect. It is less that I get each year from the flu shot.

My next appointment for jab #2 is on Jan. 7th. That is the one where I may have some ill effects. One of the doctors I work with told me that the immune response is often much stronger with the 2nd shot and taking the day off work after the 2nd one is advisable. Some of the things one may feel are nausea, headache, body aches and fever.

Guess I will find out then.

Stay safe, everyone! Be kind. Be hopeful that this is the beginning of the quelling of the pandemic. 

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Struggling to get through

 We will be receiving a limited number of covid-19 vaccines in my province (enough for 900 people to start), and the government has set up a phone line to make appointments. There are strict criteria for the first candidates: you must be a healthcare worker, work in an acute care setting (hospital), and were born before Dec. 31, 1960. I fit all of these criteria, plus I have to care for covid-positive patients quite regularly. So I have been calling the phone number. It went live yesterday at noon. Yesterday, I dialed the number 114 times. I got through 6 times and was put on hold. Each of those times, after just over 11 minutes, the calls were dropped. I have called the number 16 times so far today and have been on hold twice. So far, this second time, the call has not dropped and I am at 16 minutes!

Fingers crossed, I actually get through this time.

EDIT: I finally got through after being on hold for one hour and 38 minutes. I have my vaccination appointments: Dec. 16/20 and Jan. 7/21. Yay!! I fully expect to feel like crap for a day or two afterwards (normal response to this type of vaccine) but very grateful that we are not waiting the typical 5 - 10 years for a vaccine rollout.

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.

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