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Well, Caturday morning, anyway...

Rocky had another glucose check this morning. 109. So, he's still off insulin. He'll have another recheck on Thursday. But, it looks like the diabetes has been resolved.

I asked Dr. Emslie just how close he was... How sick he was when I first brought him in three weeks ago. She said that considering she had to put a feeding tube in him, how jaundiced he was the next day, how aggressive they had to treat him... It was close. As in, a matter of hours would have made the difference. He was pretty sick, and it's kind of amazing at how complete his recovery has been.

I'm...still mourning TomTom. And yes, he was old (almost 16), and he was slammed with a pretty nasty GI disease that was...just a little more than his body could handle. YoYo, at almost 17, just simply slipped away. Though he lived 8 years with a managed UT condition. Rocky isn't even 7 yet, and he's come so far since we first got him. He's learned to trust again, to settle down, and he's actually quite affectionate, and...just wants to play. TomTom was critical to Rocky settling down and reducing his aggression. And Rocky is stepping up to the plate in taking up TomTom's household management duties. TomTom could never be replaced, nor could any cat; but Rocky has taken up the duty, taken over the "chore" of managing the "hoomin." And...it would have really, really sucked if I'd lost him, too, this summer.

Rocky...lost his mentor, TomTom, at the beginning of the summer, then lost YoYo at the end of the summer. Then he had a tumor removed, and then had a severe reaction to the steroid he was on to help his face heal. In the last three weeks, he's been hospitalized, with a feeding tube and IV, been poked and prodded constantly, had to have glucose tests and insulin shots, had liquids shoved down his throat, had sutures replace the feeding tube, and had to have those sutures replaced (several times, because he kept removing them himself)... Yet, he still sits with me on the couch, putting a paw on my hand or leg. He still head-butts me to wake me up. He still purrs and follows me around. Well, he follows me around when he's pretty sure we're not about to go to the vet...

Rocky's a pretty awesome cat now in his own right. I'm just...glad I know him well enough to know that something was Not Right and got him to the vet in time.

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Semi-quick, worn-out post before bed, in an attempt to alleviate some insomnia...

After receiving advice from several people that I trust that it would be better to just get the damn temporary pass from DMV than risk getting pulled over and having my car impounded, I've decided that tomorrow morning, I'll be making a trip to the DMV and going in to work late and staying late. This is teaching me that there is no such thing as "a little, minor fender-bender." I'm not mad at the person who caused the accident, because, accidents happen. Instead, I'm frustrated at all the bureaucratic bullshit that has accompanied it. The insurance companies have been okay this time around, but... The DMV, shops refusing to work on it because of its age (they don't see it as a classic), manufacturers not updating their inventory to show discontinued parts... All for a stupid lens! For a side marker light that actually works.

I'm also rapidly approaching burnout from all the stuff with the cats. Not that I begrudge them at all. But the multiple vet trips and rechecks on sutures and so on... For example, Rocky needs to go back Tuesday morning for suture removal. They didn't take them out today because his scabs keep getting into the area. So, I need to keep giving him drops and maybe cleaning his face daily. Thing is, he knows how to get the cone off. He uses his hind foot to move the bow knot to the front, then steps on it with his front paws and pulls to undo the knot. However, he hasn't removed or attempted to remove his cone for over a day now. Despite being frustrated with it. Tonight, the cone got caught on the edge of his dinner dish and he flipped the dish. We all take this in stride, get him cleaned up and such. He really is a good kitty, despite the rough patches we had when we first got him. No one can replace TomTom, but TomTom taught Rocky well, and Rocky is doing what he can to fill the role of "hoomin helper."

Riffy is doing okay, though, he's definitely lonely without YoYo. I'm hoping this will help him to decide to rejoin the World Beyond the Door.

Minerva managed to unbuckle her new collar, but was ever so happy when I put it back on her tonight.

The one positive thing about all these trips to the vet for checks and such is that I'm pretty much over associating the drive and the trip with TomTom's and YoYo's final trips. It reaffirms my focus on the living furkids which, I think, is what both TomTom and YoYo would want. TomTom didn't have many issues at all after we got him cleaned up after adopting him, and YoYo would probably remember everything we did for him when he started having urinary tract problems, and both would want the same care given to their siblings and successors.

Mom is still recovering. Moving around a little better today, but...yeah.

The stepgoggies came over early this weekend to make it easier for Rich to stay here with Mom. It's all good. According to Rich, they love coming over here. As he's driving them over, they recognize the way and get really excited the closer they get to here.

Rocky's all happy now. I just cleaned his cone a little from leftover food and such sticking to it.

Anyway, I'm finally feeling a little tired, finally, instead of all wound up. Time for some sleep...

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First, an acknowledgment of the passing of Neil Armstrong: the first human to set foot on the lunar surface. If the rest of humanity had just half the balls he had, trips to the moon would be commonplace now.

Housework wise... I managed to get the grass cut. It can now rain. Slowly whacking away at other things.

But the biggest point of today was the vet trip. On the bright side, no one had to be euthanized or anything, which is always a plus.

Today's trip consisted of Rocky and Minerva. Rocky, who had managed to get his cone off yesterday while I was at work, was there for a re-check and for suture removal. Minerva was there for annual check-up and shots.

Now, even though I had them secured, both front...


...and back...


...Minerva managed to break out of her carrier. Thing is, she pissed in her carrier. I think she got scared, terrified, and just...let go. And managed to get enough flex around the door to pop it out of its posts and get it open. Fortunately, she ran to the passenger side, where the window motor is dead and the window is thus up, to make her announcement that she was out of her carrier. At which point I put up the driver side window and double checked the sunroof, which was popped open. Fortunately, not enough clearance for her to be able to get through.

Yeah, nothing like traveling at 50mph in Hockessin with soccer moms and spoiled brats trying to run me off the road because I have an older car, and then having an in-flight emergency like that. Thankfully, Cammie was up for it.

So, I got to Lantana, parked the car, shut off the engine, and managed to grab Minerva before opening the door. I took her straight in to the vet, explained why she was not in a carrier and such, and they weighed her and put her in a room while I went to get Rocky. First, though, I dumped the pee out of the carrier and took that and Rocky in to the vet. I asked one of the techs if they had a deep sink or something I could use to clean out the carrier, and the tech just smiled and took the carrier and washed it out for me.

So, Dr. Lon came in and checked Rocky. Basically, his being cone-less wasn't anything to worry about, and all he had managed to do was scratch off some of the scabbing. So, Dr. Lon removed the sutures and, well, Rocky hadn't healed all the way. Dr. Lon removed a small bit of matter that was either inflammation or a small bit of tumor he may have missed, then re-sutured Rocky with a different type of suture, since it seems Rocky may have reacted to the nylon sutures, which are one of the most un-reactive sutures, but, yeah. Rocky, meanwhile, got another cone. Just to be on the safe side. Also, with the cone, and given his size, Dr. Lon lent me a larger carrier for him.

Minerva, meanwhile, got all her shots and is a little overweight, but otherwise healthy. One of the techs (nurses?) took her back and cleaned her up from her mess in the car. They also trimmed her claws and toenails, which Minerva loved. She started kneading, acting like she was at the spa. And purring up a storm.

Obviously, unspoiled and neglected...


Dr. Boon took care of Minerva. She also told me she'd gotten Riffy's biopsy results... Not cancer! Yup, he isn't suffering from the curse of white cats to be prone to skin cancer. At least, not yet. Dr. Boon's supposed to get back to me next week as to whether he should have some sort of sunscreen. But anyway, he's got some sort of aggressive irritation there that could be allergies or could be some sort of auto-immune thing. I was a bit ambivalent at the news, grateful that it wasn't cancer, but feeling like I'd had his ear mutilated for no reason. However, Dr. Boon said that the irritation was such that they would have had to take that part of his ear anyway to (1) figure out what was going on via biopsy and (2) treat that area of irritation. So, I feel less bad about it. Also, since she did a good job with the shaping, he just looks like he has one ear smaller than the other, and once the fur grows back, it should be even less noticeable.

Anyway, other than face drops, ear drops, and recheck appointments, this is the first time in a long while that I haven't been so worried about my furkids.

Oh, and the trip home was uneventful. But Minerva has been hiding, probably exhausted from her shots and from her adventure. Rocky's been a little on the groggy side, what with being anesthetized and such for his sutures. Riffy just doesn't like the coldness of his ear drops, but, he's still pretty good about taking them. I sat with him for a little bit after medicating him tonight and he was rubbing against me. I think that was his way of saying that he knows I still care about him and am trying to be a good kitty father and that he appreciates it.

As far as Riffy, Rocky, and Minerva are concerned, the next thing is getting Riffy and Rocky all treated and suture-free and such. Then maybe try to figure out what they're allergic to. I doubt it's food. Might be a plant or seasonal or maybe we need to change the HVAC filters more often. Once a month even though the filters are rated for three months. Lastly, I want to redouble my efforts to get these guys together, despite the fact that such interaction may be as dangerous as crossing the streams. I...may need to purchase some baby gates as a start to all that. These guys...need to get over themselves and such and allow themselves the company of each other and the resultant full lives like what TomTom and YoYo had that they deserve.

Also... Talked with Dr. Boon a bit about Rocky's aggressive past, and she said that it's sometimes hard to retrain cats that had been through what he'd been through. But given how relaxed and non-bitey he is nowadays, I must have done something right somewhere. He may hiss and growl and complain while I'm putting him in the carrier or taking him off a table or away from somewhere he's not supposed to be, but he doesn't bite. At most, he will nip lightly, but even that is going away.

Watched a little bit of Jackson Galaxy's My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet tonight... I have to say, whenever I feel like I'm not such a good kitty parent, I just have to watch that show, and I see where I'm certainly not the worst one out there.

Eh, it is what it is, I suppose.

Comics )
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I made today's birfday post a separate entry in an attempt to keep my maudlin self from inflicting itself on someone who is hopefully having a good day.



At approximately 1100 hours EST today, YoYo crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with TomTom. Over the last week or so, he'd been eating less and less, had become uncooperative with taking his pills, grew increasingly lethargic, and stopped using the box. When I took him to the vet today, his temperature was on the low side for a human, let alone for a feline. He had lost nearly two pounds since his last visit back at the beginning of the year, and his eyes were sluggish to respond to light. He...didn't seem all that cognizant of where he was. Medical intervention would, at most, have provided him a few more days. Thus, I made the final decision to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge, and I stayed with him, petting him, until he was gone.

YoYo came to us sixteen and a half years ago via Concord Pet. Dad and Mandie had gone up there for some bird food supplement for Nemo (d. 1999), and there was a box of kittens, with two kittens left. Someone had dropped the box off that morning before the store opened, and as this particular store was not equipped nor licensed to sell pets, they were all free to a good home, and whatever was left at the end of the day would be taken to the Stanton SPCA. One of the two remaining kittens was polydactyl, and another family ended up adopting him, leaving YoYo, a handsome black and white tuxedo, coming home with Dad and Mandie.

Though YoYo had been the eldest around here for quite some time, he never had any desire to be the alpha. He and TomTom were very good buddies. YoYo was a definite lover, not a fighter. He was initially very shy, but for a long time was by TomTom's side to greet people (and provide security by going through all their belongings). He was very soft-spoken, earning him a nickname of "mime kitty."

His passing, though, marks the end of several eras. Yoda is the only remaining pet who would remember Dad. YoYo is the last pet from before Dad was transplanted. He's also the last pet with a double name, and also the last cat here for whom I was not directly responsible for adopting. This leaves me with Riffy, Rocky, and Minerva.

Speaking of...

Riffy also went to the vet today. He had a crust on his right ear that was either scabbing from scratching, or possibly some squamous cell carcinoma, or skin cancer. He's an all-white cat, and as such, is prone to that. They also found some sort of ear mite infestation in his left ear. So, he has ear drops, and he also had the affected part of his right outer ear removed and sent off for biopsy. Hopefully, no cancer, but, if it is, hopefully, we caught it early enough to do something about it.

Rocky continues to heal.

Minerva will be going to the vet with Rocky on Saturday when he gets his stitches taken out. Minerva will get her annual shots and examination. Then they will all be current on shots and such.

To afford YoYo's end-of-life care and Riffy's surgery, I had to use that damned Care Credit card. But...my furkids' well-being is more important than my dislike of Care Credit and such.

There's more, but, I can only handle so much at the moment.

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Yay! Friday! And a three-day weekend ahead!

And maybe a shortened day, if TomTom gets discharged from the vet today.

So... I visited him last night. I was hoping to sit with him for awhile, maybe read with him on my lap or next to me. Instead, it was a rather short visit. They brought us in to a room and put him up on the table, and he was hooked up to an IV machine. It looked pretty much like the ones for us humans, except it was a little smaller. I told TomTom that the machines for humans had a button we could press for pain meds. He asked me where the button was to make me shut up and get him out of there. I pet him a bit, trying to be careful of his still-sore tummy, but he kept pushing his head and bib against my hand. And he kept trying to pull out his IV (it was secured to him pretty well). Then all of a sudden, there was this...smell...and he'd had an accident. So, I then did my airplane impression by using one hand to keep him from jumping off the table and the other hand to wave out the door for help. Fortunately, the nurse/tech came back in and helped me clean him up. Okay, she actually did the cleaning while I held him. He stuck his head in the crook of my arm and, though he was alert, seemed a little groggy, and I think he thought I was there to take him home and was pissed he (1) still had an IV and (2) didn't see the carrier. The nurse/tech told me that yeah, he'd been rammy most of the afternoon, and since I didn't want TomTom to hurt himself trying to jump down from the table and walk out the room and the whole facility, I decided that it was time for him to go back to his kennel.

Still, I'm glad I went to go see him, even if it was a short trip. What sucks is knowing that if I'm in the hospital, he can't come see me. Which doubly sucks because I'm sure I'd recover faster if I had my little purring furmonster with me. Though, he'd probably swat away those nurses that come for blood at 3 or 4 in the morning...

Both the ramminess and the accident, though, kind of show that he's doing well. The accident in that food/nutrients are moving through his system. The ramminess in that he feels strong enough to put up a fight, or at least assert his orneriness.

Rocky and Yoda have both shown some...concern...over TomTom's absence. Yoda, I think, understands the concept of going away for a few days and the reassurance of, "He'll be home tomorrow." Rocky simply hugged my TomTom-orange-fur-covered-shirt when I took it off and tossed it on the bed last night. He's...been hyper. Not wandering the house crying for TomTom hyper, but still running through the house like he's got to secure all that territory. He purrs loudly at bedtime and is trying to fill in for TomTom. Though this morning, he woke me up and then promptly trapped my arm with his 25 or so pounds so that I could pet him but not get up.

Now, as for today... TomTom is doing well, except he's not eating, at least not voluntarily. It could be he doesn't have an appetite, what with everything going on in his guts, or he could just be pissed that he has to wear a collar/cone of shame. Other than the eating bit, though, he's doing well, no temperature, but a little vomiting. He's hesitant to give him anything for the intestinal swelling until the biopsy comes back, because with some forms of IBS, the cortisone could make things worse. However, they've had him on fluids, so, it's not like he's in anything critical. But they don't want to send him home until he eats, so, I have to call them later this afternoon to see how he's doing and if he gets to come home or if he has to wait another day. They're going to try taking off the cone and see if he'll eat then, except once the cone comes off, he gets really ornery and either tries to clean himself or run away, and he'll just sulk if the techs hold him or hover over him to keep him in front of the food bowl. They may try feeding him with a syringe, too. Again, not sure if he's avoiding food or just being a brat. In any event, the fact that he's being rammy is a good sign.

Also? I may follow Mom's suggestion and go up there and see if he'll eat for me. Stop at the house first and maybe get one of his bowls, and maybe grab one of his kooshes, a shirt from the hamper (has my scent on it) and maybe one of the toys around the house. Like one of the ones Mandie made for Christmas.

And in somewhat related news... If TomTom needs some significant care for a few weeks, I may skip out on Ryan's (cousin) wedding in two weeks. As is, with all of us going, my sister needs to get someone to feed her cats and we still don't know who we can ask to come feed our cats and birds. I'd be perfectly okay with staying home, since I don't like most of those people anyway...

Mom and I were talking last night... Even if the worst happens, the fact that TomTom lived an amazing 15 years with us, coming as a dumped kitten, getting cleaned up, cared for, loved... I can't have any regrets. But...in this day and age, we have better technology, better nutrition, and a much better understanding of our feline (and canine, avian, amphibian, etc) companions that we can extend their lives and their quality of life. More than that...TomTom, as evidenced by his orneriness, has a will to live. He's not just giving up, and so, I'm not giving up on him. He knows he's got a pretty sweet home with hoomin servants. He also has a sense of purpose. I mean, he has helped me with my sleep disorder to the point where I am functional with it. He helps keep the other cats in line. He's absolutely wonderful with helping keep the stepgoggies in line. He was really patient with Rocky, which I think helped Rocky settle down after we got him. He and YoYo broke into my room after I rescued Riffy to welcome Riffy while I was in class. He and the other furkids are not just ornamental; they all have a purpose, even if it's just to offer comfort and understanding.

The other thing that has floated through my mind is that, once again, I see a higher standard of care given to my pets than what was given to Dad. I mean, even when we lost Lucky, we were still better informed by Dr. Lon than we were from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Likewise with TomTom, there's been a higher level of communication and a higher professionalism and thoroughness in figuring out what's wrong with TomTom than there was in arresting the infection Dad had and eliminating it before it blew up into sepsis.

This is not to say that TomTom, Lucky, or any of my other pets are less deserving of the care they get. It's not even saying that it's "wrong" to have such a high value on our companionable critters. But, to me, it seems wrong that we value other humans so little. We shouldn't downgrade how we treat our pets; we should upgrade how we treat each other.

On a final (for now) note... Mom said something about renegotiating my monthly "rent" payment to help out with the vet bill and such. Might take her up on that, but, that's all secondary at the moment to getting TomTom healthy again first.

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