Saturday, April 29, 2006

Just A Quick Update...

..not because anything exciting has happened. Just because it's been a long time.

Life plods on. Spring will surely be coming soon, even though we woke up to thin snow on the ground nearly every day for the past week-and-a-half. It melts off by mid-morning and the daytime temperatures have been getting into the upper forties down in town, but there is still the chill of winter hanging on around the edges of the day.

Denny has been keeping the wood stove going for Tiny. She prefers to sleep downstairs and without the wood stove, it can get cold down there at night. She's not doing all that well and I don't know how else we can help her. I eased her pain-med doseage up to the maximum that was suggested and now have split it into a morning and an evening dose, in the hope that will make her life more pleasant.

Toby is now on insulin for his diabetes. I started him this past week and have already seen an improvement in him--he's perkier and seems to be feeling better. I didn't know cat diabetics were so easy to handle--just a once-daily injection under the skin with a very fine needle. Hardly any work at all.

Now that Dinky has had her teeth cleaned, she is off the antibiotic, so all I am doing for her these days is the daily sub-Q fluids and a couple of dropperfuls of vitamins. I read webpages and support groups for CRF cats and there are long lists of drugs and medications to lower blood pressure and bind phosphorus and qwell stomach acid. It seems like I should be doing more. But Dinky is looking and acting so normal, there really isn't much to treat right now. We are hoping the dental work she had done will help with her blood values. We will see how we stand next month.

Denny and I moved two tall cabinets down into the kitchen this past week. He had been wanting to do that for some time to increase storage space but I resisted because there just wasn't room. There still isn't room--the metal desk is pushed over right next to the wood stove--but he is happier and I have to admit, it is nice having a place to put so many of those things that just seemed to live on the countertop.

We also cleaned out the freezers this week and canned three batches (about forty-five pints) of freezer-burned salmon and halibut for the cats. The house still smells of cooked fish but it is nice to have what was clutter transformed into a treat for the cats.

The other bug Denny has up his butt is to find some vacant land nearby as an investment. So this morning, we were out driving the North Fork Road before ten-o-clock. The portion of the road closest to Anchor Point has been pretty much trashed by gravel pits but there are some level, well-drained areas out further east and some actual view property on the higher portion of the road that heads south over the ridge before rejoining the highway. I noticed that there was still two or three feet of snow up at the higher elevations and that one wouldn't want to live out there if they had a job that they had to get to every day, as I imagine there are several days a winter when you just don't make it into town from portions of the North Fork.

Back at our place, the snow is receding but we are still waiting for the first grass to make an appearance.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Medical Concerns

I took Dinky and Toby John into the vet's this morning for their teeth cleaning. About an hour after I got back home, Dots called. I always shudder when that happens because I know it probably isn't good news. But this wasn't something I didn't know. "Toby John's diabetic..." "Well, I knew that--we've been trying to keep him controlled by diet..." Not very well, I discovered. His blood values were very high and Dots wants to get him stabilized (using insulin) as soon as we can. I have no objection to any of that. I was just disappointed because I had thought he was doing okay with the way we were approaching the problem. Also, I felt badly because I hadn't noticed the little infections--his eyes and gums for example--that would have told me there was something going on with him that wasn't right. It was just easier to think because he seemed to be doing fine that he was--in fact--doing fine.

In addition to that, he had to have some teeth pulled--better out than in--including two canines. That they were diseased/infected/worn enough to warrant pulling makes me hope that their absence will make TJ feel better, once he gets over the initial discomfort. Dinky lost a couple pre-molars as well, poor little thing, but I am hoping that having dealt with the infection in her mouth, her blood values may improve a bit with the next check. She is looking and acting so good it is hard for me to really believe in my heart that she is all that ill. It is something I know intellectually but a part of me keeps hoping that it will all turn out to be a mistake.

Anyway, I met Denny at the vet clinic this afternoon when he went to pick them up. I wanted to hear for myself what had been done and what Dots recommended. I took a half-hour off from work to run over there, then spent the rest of my shift on the 'net. I read some info on feline diabetes and I think I can manage the shots and the monitoring. It's not like I am breaking any new ground here. Feline diabetes has been around for a while and there is a lot of information available. What I wonder about is how I can manage Dinky and TJ and whoever comes next with some serious health issue. I know I will muddle through somehow--it's just more subtle stress on me.

Then, Denny talked with his GI surgeon today, hearing the results of his endoscopy last week. His Barrett's esophagus hasn't improved despite the medications he has been on for over a year. The doctor wants to operate and Denny was worrying over the options in true Cancerian fashion. He asked me to do some research and give him some input, so I got on Google and learned how to spell not only "Barrett's esophagus" but "fundoplication" as well. I came up with some questions for Denny to ask his surgeon and some other options he might consider. Barrett's is a pre-cancerous condition and the surgery the doctor wants to perform is more in the line of reducing acid reflux. It doesn't do anything about reducing the cancer risk. I told Denny if it was me, I would rather have something done to address the risk of cancer, because the medication is controlling his discomfort from heartburn adequately right now. If nothing else, I urged him to get a second opinion. I hope I can help him feel more confident in whatever decision he makes.

Looks like it may snow again--it's cold and billowy. Other places in this world are a month into spring. The cats keep telling me that they *know* the grass is coming up but I can't find any new shoots amid the dead grass of last year.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's Official...

I'm a Firefly convert.

For the last year or so I have seen references to the series and the film (Serenity) based on the series on the 'net. So, about two weeks ago, I saw the DVD of the film in the video rental and brought it home to see what the buzz was all about.

It was different than I expected. One or two-line descriptions cannot do the film justice. I found myself engaged by the premise and the characters and even after I returned the DVD to the rental store, I kept thinking about the movie and the universe it encompassed. So, I got online and ordered the series from Amazon. The discs arrived yesterday and we spent last night watching the first four episodes of the series. Today, I am even more enthralled.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Inching Toward Spring

Woke up to another inch of snow on the deck (yesterday's inch having melted away) Ha ha, Ma Nature--very funny... There's still probably a foot of hard-frozen snow in noncontiguous areas of the yard, with the dead grass of last fall peeking out in places.

Lest you think we only have one season in Alaska (and Denny just pointed out if we have just one season, it wouldn't really be a season, then, would it?) the number of Alaskan seasons has been various given as:

Two: Winter and Construction. Or Winter Major and Winter Minor.

Three: Freeze-up, Break-up and Pick-up.

Four: Not Winter, Almost Winter, Winter and Still Winter.

Or five: Winter, Break-up, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Yes, we like to joke about our weather, we do. By most accounts, anyway, we seem to be moving into Break-up. The overnight temperature--despite the snow the last two nights, is hovering around freezing and we are reminded that snow has a liquid form. There are--honest--green shoots coming out of the venerable chive plant that has spent the winter on the front porch. It is always the first thing to green up in the spring and it is reminding me that I need to haul water out to the greenhouse this week. I guess I'll try to find the time tomorrow, between taking Denny into the hospital for a check up, tending the cats and going to work. I don't know what's the point of daylight-savings. My days are always too short.


We started re-watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy last night--I guess as a homage to Peter Jackson after watching King Kong on Tuesday night. King Kong was okay but the LOTR is what he will be remembered for. He did such a great job in translating the story from books to screen that despite any short-comings, his love of the work shines through. Bless him for having the courage to insist on three films instead of one and for shooting them all at the same time to maintain the quality and sustain the flow. I am impressed anew each time I watch the trilogy.

Of course, we only got through "The Fellowship" last night. Tonight we'll start "The Two Towers", which is my favorite. It seems darker and denser than the first films, with deeper characterization.

I am reminded of that other trilogy of films that punctuates my life, Star Wars IV-VI. My favorite of that cycle was the second film, "The Empire Strikes Back," which was darker and richer... I can't even consider the most recent three films in that cycle--they have been disappointing to varying degrees. George Lucas is still a seventeen-year-old boy at heart and wants to make films about spaceships, robots and aliens and so neglects, I think, the human component. Motivations and characterizations in his most recent films are thin to ludicrous and he strikes dissonances with the earlier films, picky little incongruities and several glaring breaks within the canon. It's almost as if he was in such a hurry to get to the gee-whiz stuff that he couldn't be bothered to get his own pre-established timeline right. He disappointed me and didn't do justice to his own vision.

And makes Peter Jackson look like a (short, barefooted) god.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fools!

Yesterday's snow was melted by evening but today dawned cooler and the morning mist turned to snow about eleven. It snowed steadily until after five this evening.

Happy Spring and all that!

I spent last evening changing my livejournal's color to something more vernal. I finally took down the Christmas wreath that has been hanging outside the kitchen window and gathered up the last of the holiday plates and tins that have been laying around the spare room for the last three months.

If I was perfectly organized, I would have started flower seeds by now but I can already see that that isn't going to happen. Even if I did, it would be a constant battle to keep the cats from eating the sprouts. In another month I can run out to the commercial green houses and pick my flowers for the year. I need to get out to my own green house and see what has survived the winter. Some of the plants I bought last year were supposed to be perennials.

I spent the morning tending the cats--Dinky's medicines and fluids, Tiny's pain medication, the antibiotics for Demi and Molly and Fred and treating various ears for persistent yeast cultures. That was all in between cleaning all eighteen cat boxes and making sure that BeBe and Twitch had time out of their respective confines.

Oh, and I trimmed a little bit on Tommy, who came out of the winter as one huge mass of matted fur; the result of a sedentary lifestyle and his own reluctance to groom himself. It was a case for the clippers, so now--aside from a mohawk of hair down the middle of his back, he is mostly crew-cut save his head and tail (and a few last patches on his underside.) He actually relished being cut free from the confining fur garment--stretching and turning to allow me to work the mats loose. Odd that he should be so matted when Toby John, who spent the entire winter bedded down beside Tommy, is perfectly groomed as always.

Such is my exciting life.