"Suffering the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune"

Posts tagged ‘pets’

So Glad to See Summer Go

Summer is always a bit bittersweet for us: everybody else is vacationing and doing all sorts of fun outdoor activities and Emily is just so limited. But, this summer has been especially hard…

I wrote a post in July about how rotten our summer was and made a prophetic comment that there was time for it to improve but I wasn’t holding my breath. Yeah. Definitely didn’t improve from that point.


                                   RIP Sasha

So, Padme, Emily’s 15 year old cat dying this summer was only the beginning. Our sweet dog, Sasha (who we adopted when our elderly neighbor ended up in a nursing home before she died soon after) was getting older and more frail everyday. He passed away on August 24th. He was okay in the morning, around 1 o’clock he started acting strange and by 3:30 he was gone. In less than 2 months we lost two pets. In just over a year, we lost three. Since 2010, we have lost four – as Emily was getting sicker and sicker in 2010, we had to have our beloved pug, Simon, put to sleep. Pets are mighty hard on the heart, I tell you. Especially for a girl who relies on them for comfort and distraction from pain.

We still have Mallie, the white kitty who ended up on our porch as a tiny kitten last summer. She is both a blessing and a plague. We are thankful that she fills the void of Sasha, Padme, Neera, and Simon but she is sort of the lone survivor right now.  We will probably end up with another pet of some kind or another – all of our pets been in need of us rather than us choosing them  so we will wait for one to fall into our laps.

The other big, rather traumatic change that has come this summer is my 20 year old son has moved to Atlanta for a year long missionary internship. It was rather sudden, for me and Emily, anyway, owing to the fact that he avoided telling me of the possibility as long as possible believing I would freak out. We are proud of him, but it is hard to have him so many hours away for many reasons. Em especially took it hard – she has had so many changes this summer that “losing” her brother is hard to take.

Finally, Emily is facing some serious medical issues that are worrisome. Those details deserve their own post and I will be talking about them soon. And, sadly, probably frequently over the coming months.

At any rate, we are heartily glad to see this summer gone. I would say something like “maybe Autumn will be better” but I refuse to say any such stupid comment considering everything that has happened.

Recent Adventures

I seem to be apologizing for my absence a lot lately – my computer situation makes it challenging for me to post right now. But, there is hope on the horizon – my mother has generously donated to the Let’s Keep Beth Sane Foundation and is loaning us an unused desk top until we can get a new laptop. Now I just need to get it set up and running. (I hope everyone knows the Let’s Keep Beth Sane Foundation is a joke and not a serious request for donations, although, heaven knows, I could use a little help in that area!)

rainbow scroll

Anyway, I will try to catch everyone up on what is going on:

The latest adventure (there is ALWAYS some type of adventure around here) is pretty typical. If September is Em’s month for dislocations, strains, bone contusions, etc, then late fall (October/ November) is her time  have some kind of eye emergency. Last time, a toddler punched her in the eye.

This time, that precious little kitten we so lovingly took in to our home smacked Em in the eye, claws out. Her claw caught Em’s upper eye lid and we worried that her claw went through the eye lid and scratched the eye, because her eye immediately started hurting and watering and her vision was off – she couldn’t focus and her eye was terribly sensitive. Of course, this happened after office hours so we waited out the night to see if it got better and, when it didn’t, called and got an appointment to see a doctor. (Ironically, we were in the same exam room that we were in last eye emergency. Alas, the friendly little puffer fish she made friends with was no longer swimming in the aquarium. She didn’t believe me when I said Nemo rescued him…)

It bears mentioning that her yearly appointment with the ophthalmologist was less than a week before. (The doc we liked moved, so we got a new one – we really like her and she even treats conversion insufficiency, so she is going to give us more info on that.) So, anyway, last week I paid a $40 co-pay to find out her eyes are fine and dandy, 20/20 vision in both eyes.

Then, we get to go back and pay another $40 co-pay less than a week later because the kitten tried to blind her. Fortunately, there was no scratch. But, apparently even the pressure of that tiny kitten paw was enough to cause problems. The tear film was disrupted, her cornea is dry and rough (she already has pretty severe dry eyes) and her vision was noticeably worse. She struggled to read the first line of letters during the exam. But, the good news is that it should heal on its own in a day or two, her vision should go back to normal and she can just increase her use of eye drops until it feels better.  And, it is better today and should continue to improve…

So, in September we shall wrap her in bubble wrap to prevent injury and in October and November she shall wear goggles to protect her eyes.

In other catching up news..

rainbow scroll She saw the GI doc – waste of time and money, but whatever. Half the time I doubt he even knows her diagnosis, but we just carry on. This time, he finally noticed (after multiple visits) that she is on Tramadol and thought it was for abdominal pain. He probably still does, although we did our best to explain it is for joint pain. He vigorously tried to convince us to take her off it, which, frankly, we were not buying. We smiled and nodded until he dropped it.

rainbow scrollSaw neurology for a follow up – spoke with him about Tramadol and he reassured us it is fine. We are increasing her dose of Lyrica because most of the time it is enough but she has enough days of pain that it seems wise to increase it. He is thrilled with her progress and said we don’t have to see him again for a year.

rainbow scrollEm went trick or treating with her bestie. Yes, she is entirely too old to trick or treat but, you know, she is almost 16 and she had never gone without me. When she was 10 and had just dislocated her knee, she was on crutches and I went with her. When she was 11, she was in a wheelchair, very ill and getting worse, so just she and I went to a few houses and that did her in. When she was 12, we went with a group of friends – her in her wheelchair, some of our friends even pushed her. When she was 13, we went with some of the same friends, again, her in her wheelchair. When she was 14, she didn’t go – just stayed home and passed out candy (and tortured the dogs by forcing them to be in costumes).

So, now at 15, she was able to walk with her friend after planning their costumes for weeks: she got to be a normal kid. Yes, that planning included negotiations over what boots would go with the costume but not hurt her feet or knees. Yes, that planning included worrying over whether her costume would be warm enough, then when it was sunny and warm that day (our county does T or T on Sunday afternoon – sounds weird but is actually awesome because it is safe and warm and you can enjoy the kids costumes.) we were concerned she would be too warm. Yes, she planned her meds around the time she would be gone. But, the point is, she experienced normality and that is what mattered in the end.

And, while the girls were clearly ‘too old’ they certainly were not the oldest out that day, at least they actually put time and effort into dressing up, and they were polite: Em reported back that when they noticed people running out of candy, they gave back what they were given and told the people to save it for the little kids.

rainbow scroll We are working hard on the musical we are directing at our homeschool co-op. It is fun and hard work but we are both loving it. It is nice to see her doing something she excels at and loves.


rainbow scroll Malli[e], the snow white, angelic, innocent kitten who came to live with us… Let’s just say she has adjusted well to her new environment and rules it with all the enthusiasm a well fed, well loved kitten can muster. (Which is a lot.) She terrorizes our other pets, Padme and Sasha, who stoically tolerate her. She scratches at Em’s door all night long wanting in to play. She pounces on toes, fingers, computer cursors and letters being typed on the screen – anything that moves or ever thought of moving. She climbs the drapes. She ‘paper toweled’ my kitchen – similar to toilet papering only with a roll of paper towels. Use your imagination. And, then, of course, there is the Great Kitten Vs Eye incident of 2014.

But, she is adorable and part of the family, so we are stuck with and blessed by her simultaneously. I won’t lie, we all look at each other at least dozen times a day and ask, ‘whose idea was it to keep her?’ But, we wouldn’t part with her. Ever. Probably. Most likely…



September Recap

Well, it has been a while since I posted – far too long, and I apologize! So, I guess I will give the usual update on how things have been going since I last posted.

General Grumpiness

My computer is in its death throes, which makes me pretty grumpy. I am pecking this post out on my Kindle and trying to insert photos, which makes me very grumpy. And, my book is on that dying (i am still in denial, so time of death has not officially been called yet) laptop which makes me very VERY grumpy. It is backed up (thank God!!) but I just can’t do anything with it until I have a laptop to work on.  Putting my book on hold * again* makes me beyond grumpy. But, we will get it figured out. Probably isn’t worth fixing, but buying a new laptop isn’t in the budget atm.

So, that explains my absence here – at least partially. And explains the general grumpiness partially as well…

General Busyness

Our homeschool Co-op has started up again and that means being busy. Em is teaching a guitar class and the little kids music time – she has the toddlers and the preschoolers, a couple dozen homemade instruments, a CD  of mindnumbing kids songs and a pair of ear plugs.  She is either crazy or a saint, not sure which – fortunately, the guitar class is kids her own age, so she can make some friends who are more than 5 years old.

And, she is helping me direct a little musical – The Tale of Three Trees. She is doing the music direction because the mom who was supposed to do it ended up having to back out and I certainly can’t do it. Emily got ‘promoted’, ’nuff said.

So, we are working together. It has been nothing but exciting so far and we just got started. Seriously, we are doing fine together. She and I see eye to eye on most everything; we are working with some great ladies and we have some very  talented kids so it’s all good even if there are times when I question my sanity. This kind of thing is like childbirth: you forget how painful it is until you get into it again, then you wonder ‘what was I thinking??’

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about how Em will handle the stress. But, she lives for music and I think this will be good for her. More on Em’ s well being in a moment…

The Kitten

Malli[e] (the [e] is silent; a compromise after Em and I vigorously disagreed on how to spell it. I wanted ‘Mallie’, Em wanted ‘Malli’ and said the e could be silent so I stubbornly spell it ‘Malli[e]’ even though it makes this tiny critter sound like a self-important celebrity. Which, I suppose she is in her own tiny little way.)  is doing fine and is the best possible thing for Em. She has settled in wonderfully and is terrorizing our home like only a kitten can.

Padme has, thankfully, accepted her quite well – exceeded our expectations even – and seems to  even be a tad bit fond of her, when Malli[e] isn’t pouncing on Padme’s enticingly swishing tail. We knew Malli[e] had ‘arrived’ when we found Padme curled up with her on the  couch. (I would share a cute picture, but, you know, I have no way at the moment to share it. If I overcome the technological hurdles, I will share it. Until then, you’ll have to use your imagination.)

Malli[e] has adjusted to her new digs and when I say adjusted, I mean she seems to view her entire environment as a 3-D playground and is determined to explore it all with a zeal that is impressive if not exhausting. She is still quite ‘Zen’ but more in the sense that nothing much phases her and she simply does as she pleases. She got over that not-playing-much thing in a hurry.

She also is very, very fond of food. She is fond of her own but is particularly fond of everyone else’s. You’ve heard of defensive driving? Here we do defensive eating. Malli[e] is a charmer but doesn’t rely on her charm to investigate those lovely things called plates and bowls – who needs charm when sheer persistence and deft little paws get you what you want? So, we are constantly trying to keep a curious, ingeniously determined kitten out of our plates, snacks, drinks, etc. (Hmm, that makes it sound like we are constantly eating. Well, we do several eat several times a day and her persistence certainly makes it feel as if we are fighting her off ALL day long.)

I chalk her attentiveness to (read: obsession with) food up to the fact that she probably was very hungry when she was fending for herself outside. Poor little baby, it breaks my heart to think of her going hungry. But not enough for me to share ice cream with her.

Emily and September Don’t Get Along

So, it wouldn’t be September without Em getting injured (it is tradition, it seems) and 2014 is no exception. We were so close to getting through the month unscathed…but, no.

Monday night, she was kneeling on her carpeted floor, pivoted on her knee and heard/ felt a loud pop, ‘ like a rubber band breaking’. Didn’t bother her much until the next day but  it only went down hill from there. She, in her infinite wisdom, neglected to tell me, so the next day when I happened to see her knee looking like this:


… I freaked out a bit. Understandably, don’t you think?

It is a bit swollen but not greatly, probably because she just doesn’t swell. When she dislocated her knee the first time (5 years ago, in, you guessed it, September), or the next 100 times for that matter, she didn’t swell at all. She always bruises her knees when she kneels but that bruise is… unusually spectacular. She says this injury hurts a lot worse than the first big dislocation, so… YAY! And she is asking for ice, which she never does, so I figure she is in bad shape.

If I had to guess, I would say she tore cartilage. But Andrew is concerned about her pateller tendon, so we will see. She is icing and elavating it and generally taking it easy. We are in a holding pattern until we see how she does over the next few days. We will take her straight to the surgeon who has done Andrew’s two latest surgeries if she needs it looked at. He is a good guy and an even better surgeon.

Sadly, there is no point in taking her to the ER or even the doctor right now – they would just take an x-ray, which would be negative, and they would tell us to wait a week and see how she does. (This is not our first rodeo.) If she isn’t better in a few days, we will get her into Dr. B and have him look her over. Surgery is a thing to be avoided if possible, so we just need to hang in there and hope for the best. She may not be able to avoid surgery but we can surely give it a shot!

Right now she is having a lot of pain and is having more and more trouble walking but we need to give it a chance to heal up. This is the part that sucks, as you all know too well. Take her to the doctor or wait and see…Ugh. It is times like this that I am very  thankful for her wheelchair and scooter that have been unused and gathering dust. We just pull them out, dust them off and she can at least get around.

She had been doing pretty well and now this. Frustrating to say the least. No idea what the next couple of weeks hold for us, but I promise I will post again soon. 🙂


A couple marshmallows…

It is pretty well established that my hubby is a big softie with a heart made of marshmallow. He is the one who 15 years ago, when Em was a young toddler, who insisted we get a cat – Padme was at a Farm and Fleet in a box for the taking. When we got her home, we discovered she didn’t even know how to eat, poor baby. Then, a couple weeks later, he saw Neera and insisted we get her, because I like gray cats. Right.

Padme is (and Neera was) a pretty typical cat: throwing up and having the occasional logistical urinary issues. Padme had a particularly memorable incident with our toaster when our pug died, either out of grief or spite: who knows how a cat’s mind works. I won’t go into detail – the memory is still disturbing. So, he has long sworn that once they both head off for kitty heaven, he would NEVER have another cat. Ever. Don’t even ask.

Was I shocked the other morning when he walked into the bedroom with a tiny little kitten he found as he was leaving for work, saying ‘Look what I found!’ ? No, not really. When I was less than enthusiastic in the pre-dawn light, he said he would just put it back out on the porch with a little food and water. He sent me a couple emails through the morning asking if she was still out there and didn’t I think she was awfully cute, so I finally caved and went out on the porch and halfheartedly called.

When this sweet little white baby came dashing out of the bushes and threw herself at me, I knew all was lost. I took her inside to Em, who knew nothing of what had transpired, making her her wildest dream came true: to open her door and have a kitten handed to her. So, we are all in the throes of new kitten love – she is sweet, angelic, incredibly affectionate – and we aren’t thinking clearly ahead to the next 15 years of cat life really will be. (That is how they do it, you know… you get them when they are tiny and adorable, then when they grow up and aren’t so tiny or adorable  they pee in your toaster. You are already attached to them and responsible for their well being and won’t break your daughter’s heart by chucking them out on their ear.)

Em immediately dubbed her ‘Marshmallow’ – when I told her her father’s heart was a marshmallow, the name was inevitable. We are calling her Mallie for short and she has installed herself quite nicely into our life.

I am thinking she is about 12 weeks old and having done a bit of research, I think she is a Russian white – or basically, a Russian blue who is white. So, she is the same type (give or take) that the dearly recently departed Neera was. Em feels there is a kind of connection between Neera and this little one so that makes her happy. Furthermore, the description fits her to a T and bodes well for the future:

The Russians are gentle and affectionate cats that will never get bored entertaining you and your family. They do not, however, tend to be destructive like some other breeds. The Russians are intelligent, quiet, and sensitive. They can easily learn how to open doors, closets, and drawers. They can also train their people to perform simple tasks such as throwing toys so that the Russians can retrieve them. Loyal and devoted, the Russians make really good companions for your entire family. They are quiet and clean, with a shy streak.

Mallie is so affectionate – she would rather snuggle than play. She is very ‘zen’, nothing much seems to phase her – not even Padme’s unrelenting hatred or Sasha thinking she is a profound threat and trying to protect us from all 3 pounds of her. She follows us around almost like a dog. And she is filling out her skinny little ribs and belly after having access to food, which she takes advantage of eagerly. She didn’t love a bath but is now pure white with the pinkest little nose and ears.

Snuggled in a fleece blanket after her bath…

All that is to say, she just might be a perfect companion animal for Em and now is the right time to integrate her into Em’s life. (Padme is 14, and as such, is a senior cat. Em just shakes her head when you mention that Padme won’t live forever but we all know that the day is coming, even if she has years longer.) Mallie should stay small – 7- 9 pounds is the projected size for a female of the breed and Russians are even more or less hypoallergenic. Low maintenance, loyal, affectionate – what more can be asked of an animal?

So, our streak of rescuing animals in need who are exactly what we need continues. Mallie apparently followed our son home the other night when he was out for a run and just never left, so I guess this just gets chalked up as a God Thing.

The only concerns we have are that she might actually belong to someone else because she is so friendly and that Padme really loathes her. We are hoping to just get Padme to the point where she tolerates Mallie, which, frankly, is about all she did with Neera. So far they just gaze at each other across the room – Padme with furious growls, hisses and hateful looks; Mallie with her zen-like Sphinx stare and mysterious Mona Lisa smile. We are slowly letting them adapt to each other’s presence and hope they adjust with a little time and some tried and true tips for helping cats adjust. We really aren’t concerned with Sasha at this point – he seems to be over wanting to nibble on her and is far more afraid of her than she is of him. I am hoping for Em’s sake that nobody claims Mallie – she would give her up if she knew Mallie had a family who loved and missed her, but it would break Em’s heart.

Em is in heaven and I am sure she will be inspired to blog about our new addition. But, on a serious note, a sweet, loving cat is friend, confidant, heating pad, distraction from pain, cause for healing laughter, a reason to smile everyday and someone who depends on you: in short, a welcome addition to the toolbox of living with EDS. So, Mallie will be a wonderful companion for Em and the rest of us will just tolerate her. Yeah, right. 😉

They say Russians always look like they are smiling... Mallie even smiles in her sleep.

They say Russians always look like they are smiling… Mallie even smiles in her sleep. 

For your reading pleasure…

I have been incredibly busy and haven’t really had time to think, let alone post anything on here. I have lots of plans but no time at the moment! Things should settle down soon and I will get back to posting asap.

In the meantime, I would like to invite you to take a little jaunt over to a cute little blog my daughter has started: Jailbirdcat.  It is  from the perspective of her cat, Padme, and is pretty darn cute, if I may say so. (Yes, this is the very same Padme that I posted about when she  miraculously returned when we thought we had lost her forever after she disappeared this winter. She is now the star of her own blog and enjoying every minute of it.)  I should probably also mention that my daughter has enjoyed the Red Pyramid stories by Rick Riordin and tends to think our cat is directly descended from the cats that the Ancient Egyptians worshiped. While there is no actual proof of that, it is true that I am frequently tempted to mummify this particular animal so maybe there is something to itl. But, I digress.

Jailbirdcat has nothing whatsoever to do with EDS but, if you have a funny bone and appreciate how imperious cats can be, you just may get a laugh out of it! And who can’t use a good laugh?

The Prodigal Cat

One of our kitties, Em’s special pet and an indoor cat with extremely poor judgement, disappeared right before New Year’s and we had pretty much given up on ever seeing her again. But, yesterday, my husband miraculously found Padme and brought her home. Em spent the rest of the evening doting on Padme and Padme seemed absolutely content to be doted on: safe and warm, with a full tummy. We didn’t exactly kill the fatted calf, but hubby did run out to buy some kitty treats.

Our hearts particularly broke for Em while the cat was MIA for five weeks. Em has such a tender heart for animals and she was devastated to think of her helpless little friend out in the snow and cold. We all missed her and felt bad, but Em relies on Padme as a tool in her pain relief tool box. Curling up with a purring cat who is a natural heating pad relieves pain and just focusing on another creature is a great distraction tool when the pain is bad. So, not only did Em lose a pain relief method, but she also had to deal with the stress of losing her furry friend. Just over a year ago, we had to put our beloved aged pug to sleep which devastated Em, and losing Padme on top of that was just too much. Em is emotionally fragile enough right now, without adding in a loss like this.

But, Padme is back after 5 weeks and in one piece, albeit a lot skinnier than she was before. I confess, Padme is an absolutely worthless cat: she is a gigantic pain in the butt, she barfs everywhere, and was ‘threatened’ with exile or neck wringing on a daily basis before she disappeared. Now, we are all waiting on her hand and foot and happily welcoming her back. We are just overjoyed to have her back and a big part of our joy is that Em is happy again.

Welcome home, Padme!


Curled up with Em, her favorite place in the world...

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