Carleen


Just a few things I've been thinking about . . .



What's going on in your world? If I were a creative writer, I'd wax poetic, pour the libations, and offer lamentations for all the things that have led to my absence for the past few days but alas, the Muses don't live at my house and the few times when I've mistakenly thought they visited my mind, it turned out to be a seizure. Instead of the flowery phrases, amusing alliterations, astounding assonance, or literary lucidity of Spenser, Shakespeare, or Sidney, you'll get me -- moi -- ana (that's Arabic). Not nearly as exciting, I know, but try to prevent your disappointment from spilling over onto the screen, ok? I have a very fragile ego!

Why does life hit you upside the head when you least expect it? So the Amazing Egyptian Dude and I have been plugging along just fine through all of these economic woes. We planned carefully, managed our money well, saved for the proverbial rainy day, hid money under the mattress, refinanced and shortened the length of our mortgage (there's only 6 years left on it), and avoided making people like Bernie Madoff our bestest buddies in the whole wide world. We've seen retail sales slowly but surely trickle down during the summer months, as is normal for us, and until now it's never really been a big deal. Why? Because I was never retired before. We banked on the safety net of my salary to cover household expenses during the leaner months at the business and now that we no longer have that net beneath us, we're trying to maintain a precarious balance on the tightrope by cutting unnecessary expenses. To go from a few thousand dollars a month (my teaching salary) to a few hundred is quite a pay cut, to be sure, but we've weathered worse before and will figure out this one, too.

How do you know when it's time to say goodbye? One of my kitties, Miss Dolly, is sick. Born the runt in a litter of five, Dolly literally had to fight for her life from its very beginning and as a result, she's always been tiny and delicate. A few weeks ago, I noticed that she had an increased "need" for attention as she frequently jumped from the floor to my lap to her favorite spot on my left shoulder. And it was while she was nestled on my shoulder that I first knew something was not right because just like when you don't hold a baby with a burp rag you end up with a wet spot on your clothes, Dolly had drooled like a baby and left a rather large icky spot on my blouse.

After a bit of research, I learned that cats can, indeed, have similar seizures and that drooling was one of the signs. Since the only evidence I had was a wet shoulder, my cooler head prevailed; I would take the wait and see approach rather than making a panicked run to the emergency vet's office. Several days went by without incident, and I figured it must have been a figment of my imagination. Then one evening, Dolly seemed scared and in desperate need of being held, so much so that she scratched the living daylights out of my leg as she scrambled up to my shoulder. But Dolly is afraid of her own shadow anyway, so I didn't think anything of it. Until I felt that same funky warm spot on my shoulder that I felt before. There had been no twitching, no unusual movements -- nothing. Just the drooling. Had something scared the beejeebers out of her or did she have a seizure? I honestly didn't know.

Another week or two went by, and Dolly was fine. And then all hell broke loose. I began to notice her desperately needing to be on my shoulder and the excessive drooling went hand-in-hand, so I started to monitor it carefully. What I discovered is that Dolly was having seizures that appeared to be quite similar to mine. She never lost consciousness or twitched or went rigid or howled; she drooled, went limp, swished her tail, and lost her vision. They come in clusters and happen over a period of days, with breaks of several days between them. In the between times, she is her normal self except that she has become quite spoiled, expecting to be hand fed whatever we are eating.

There is no known cause for the seizures, and the treatment is Phenobarbital. But there are two problems with it. Problem number one is that the medication is known to lead to liver failure. Given Dolly's already delicate condition, it is likely that controlling the seizures will lead to her liver failing. Problem number two is that the medication must be given three times a day. That means that I would have to take Dolly to and from the business with me on a daily basis and for anyone who owns a cat, you'll know what a stress that is for them. So now a battle is raging between my head and my heart.

My head says that I know what it's like to live with seizures. My head also tells me that I have to be realistic and admit that when The Brain takes over, I can't be certain that she will get meds as needed. And if something like that ever happened and The Brain were responsible for causing this sweet girl an unnecessary misery, I would have a hard time living with the guilt.

My heart tells me that I shouldn't give up on her, that her condition is treatable. She obviously has an attachment to me and is counting on me to do what is best for her. It's my shoulder she scrambles for when she needs comfort during a seizure. I know how she feels.

What I don't know, though, is whether I should listen to my head or my heart, and at this point in my life, I could sure use a little peace instead of war.


What the heck is up with black ants in the summertime? I h-a-t-e black ants with a passion! They are a serious problem in Southern California, and it seems that no matter what we do to get rid of them, they come back with a vengeance every summer. The Amazing Egyptian Dude has sprayed all around our house to prevent them from getting inside and into the cats' dishes, all to no avail. Of course, the problem would just go away if my cats would cooperate and learn to eat on a schedule but no, they have to graze at will and in true feline fashion insist on having their dry food available to them whenever they feel like eating. Now all we have to do is figure out how to keep the ants from sharing their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And speaking of ants. . .I'm becoming slightly psychotic about them because the Topamax tingles are now in full swing, and I can no longer tell if there is an ant crawling on my arm, leg, face, shoulder, or neck or whether it's just another Topamax tingle.

Calgon, take me away!
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2 Responses
  1. Thom Says:

    I'm so sorry to hear about Dolly. My friend if it were me I would listen with my head on this one. It's a very hard call however. Just know that whatever you decide to do will be the right one and by all means don't feel guilty. Aloha :)


  2. Sherlock Says:

    A huge salary cut can be a daunting and sometimes scary thing to deal with. It sure sounds like all your ducks are in a row and that you've planned well. I have no doubt you'll weather this one, too.

    Our animal family members depend on us for so much, including when to know it's time to let go. That's the hardest thing to do. People have said that animals let us know when it's time. All four of ours who have gone let us know. It's just something that hits the heart and all of a sudden, you just know. With Dolly, it may be more difficult to tell because of the nature of her health problems. The 3xday meds and the need for her to go with you to work (stressful for her) are valid considerations.

    Have you talked to your vet? He/she may suggest a med schedule that would work around the need to leave her alone while you're at work. The vet can also do blood tests to determine liver function. That may the most important determining factor. If her liver function is good, then perhaps meds would be the best for now. If her liver function is not good, then meds may not be the best thing for her.

    I think that in this situation, I would ask for the vet's recommendations and take that into consideration when arriving at a decision as to what to try next.

    Oh geez I hate those ants!! We have problems with those about once or twice a year. So far this year, not yet.

    So when do the tingles start getting better?

    take care -- missed ya!!


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