Thursday, April 26, 2007

no cutesy title

It's the little things that wear you down. The big things are exhausting, definitely. But with the big things, you have no choice but to concentrate on them, spend energy on them. And life can be shunted aside temporarily while you deal with the big things...everyone understands, you are justified in focusing exclusively on the big things.

But the little things are sometimes harder. Especially when a lot of little things all hit at once. You have to keep everything else going while you deal with the little things. You can't just stop the merry-go-round for a bit while you address them.You have to keep going, keep everything moving, don't let anything drop. And you feel trapped, like there is no end to the exhaustion and drain on your time, your will, your energy.

I'm being beaten down by the little things, and I don't see when it will end. The changes I would have to make to make things better in the longer run, like finding a new job, giving Bean away, moving somewhere more affordable...they all involve more energy and resources than I have to give. It's a no-win, a catch-22. All I can do is keep slogging forward, one foot in front of the other, and hope that foot lands on solid ground.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

i just flu in, and boy is my body tired

Yup. Flu. Fever, chills, body aches. Nothing to do about it except rest, stay hydrated, and take a pain reliever for the aches. If the fever stays above 102 for more than a day, then head in to the doctor, pronto. So staying home today; checked work email, got some stuff done, now off to bundle up and get healthy. Really hoping Bean respects the flu bug and lets me rest...I think she owes me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

answers but no solutions

The biopsy results came back: interstitial cystitis of the bladder mucosa. Basically means that Bean's bladder lining is pockmarked with ulcerations and erosions as her immune system went into overdrive. It is not the cause of her troubles, but a symptom of a more systemic issue. I can't remember the fancy name for it, but basically there is something wrong with her immune system that is expressing itself as bladder trouble right now.

Sadly, there is no "cure" for her troubles. There are some remedies we have to try, but they aren't sure-fire solutions [damn it]. First is to get her onto wet food, to keep as much moisture in her system as possible and get the concentration of urine down [to prevent irritation and keep her immune system pacified]. Second is to start giving her glucosamine, to help with inflammation and keep her immune system from over-reacting. Third is [believe it or not] prozac, to help keep her system at a baseline, keep everything in balance, and try to prevent radical changes in her body chemistry. No guarantees that any of it will work.

This isn't going to be fun...

damn it

I need to clean the bathroom and the cat *again*.

not a good morning

Woke up in the wee hours shaking and shivering, aching all over. Pulled out extra blankets [making sure the sacrificial blanket was on top, of course], only to start sweating and overheating. Checked my temp [101], took some ibuprofen to see if it helped, and eventually managed to drift off a bit...not real sleep, but an odd state where you know you aren't asleep, but you aren't fully aware, either.

Got up to discover that Bean is recovering from the effects of the anesthesia and surgery...or rather, her bowels are recovering. A lot. So I spent half an hour cleaning up the bathroom and her...and since she has dissolvable stitches, I couldn't just throw her in the tub and clean her off. I feel awful, and I really don't want to be cleaning up cat shit while shaking and fevery.

And to top it all off, my new manager starts I'm sick, running late, and on the verge of tears. A lovely Monday.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

a very nice evening

Spent some time webcamming with Dad, then later on with Mom and Jennifer...was really nice to see them and talk in near-real-time. I miss them...


Wow, I crashed hard this afternoon...and it was much needed. Napping is a beautiful thing. Would love to crawl back into bed, but if I do, I won't sleep tonight, darn it...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

so sweet...

Pepper just curled up on my lap...poor neglected kitty.


Figures. Can't sleep. The little bit of sleep I did get was plagued with dreams about work [coordinating with our distributor to get eval units of BlueCoat SG-200A boxes, if you were curious...aren't you glad you asked?]. Yeesh.

Was awakened by Bean snuggling up by my armpit...or rather, by her plastic surgery collar smooshing into my face. She's resting a little better tonight than last night, thankfully. Still restless, but able to lie still for a longer period. She's still hurting, and makes little 'mew' sounds sometimes when she moves or tries to stand, but I'm seeing an improvement.

So I'm up for a bit to try to exorcise the brain monkeys, catch up on some online stuff, tire myself out a bit. Bean's next meds aren't due for another 3.5 hours, so I've got a bit of time to snag some zees [or zeds, if you prefer] if I can shut off the brain for a while...

Friday, April 20, 2007

calgon, take me away

Running late...Bean had a rough night. She was really hurting, even with the pain medication, and her collar is confusing her and getting in the way when she tries to lie down. Just when she would get settled and I'd start to drift off, she'd twitch and move, get up and head to the litter pan, then make her way back. I ended up lying on the floor for a while; she kept trying to come up on the bed with me, which just isn't good for her stitches.

Tough morning, too, but I finally got her settled down after much petting and soothing. Just gave her pain meds, so hopefully they will take effect soon. Will need to come home during the day today to give the next dose...but I'm glad we've got something for the pain.

Off to quickly scrub and preen and get in to work...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

and now for something completely different


[click de pic for a flick]

shhh...she's resting...

Bean is resting in her "safe place" under the bed...I love that she has flipped her collar over, going from "Duck Amuck" Daffy to Bozo the Clown.

It was sad/cute to watch her try to clean her paw where the bandage from the IV is...she would lick where she thought her paw was, then stop and look up at me, then try to lick her paw again, but the collar was between her tongue and her paw. Poor sweetie...[giggle]

bean is home

She's logy, confused, and stumbling...especially with the collar that she has to wear to keep her from bothering her incision. Here she's doing her best Daffy Duck impersonation:

She is on pain meds every 8 hours, antibiotics every 12, and anti-inflammatories every other day. The collar stays on for the next's hard not to giggle when you see her trying to make her way down the hallway, poor thing. She has no peripheral vision with it, and her neuro troubles make her walk crookedly no matter where she starts, she ends up rubbing along the wall. You can hear the "sssshhhhhhhhhhhtttttt" of the plastic collar against the wall as she goes.

As you can tell by this look on her face, she's not thrilled:

It didn't take her long to find her trusty friends, though [it's a bit out of focus, but you get the idea]. It was so cute watching her try to pick it up...the collar kept getting in the way, but she kept trying. Perseverance won out:

I'm off to give her some attention, pain meds, and a comfortable spot to lie down...and to reassure her that the collar is very fetching on her.

off I go... pick up Bean.

the taxman giveth

Giveth back what was mine to begin with...had my California refund direct-deposited, and it showed up in my account late yesterday. And it goes straight towards offsetting the cost of Bean care...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

and the doctor says...

...that Bean is awake, doing well after the surgery, and had her first urination. That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that he has no idea what is going on. The bladder was completely normal, no signs of infections, crystals, tumors, or stones...but the lining had grown to fill the entire bladder. No obvious cause to it, he hadn't seen anything like it before.

It will take 2-3 days for the biopsy results; in the meantime, she will be on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to try to at least treat the symptoms. With luck, I'll be able to pick her up tomorrow afternoon...

bean is out of surgery

She is recovering now...the surgery went well, but the doctor didn't find what he thought he would. No masses, no stones, no crystals...instead, he found "the most inflamed, angry mucosa [bladder lining] that he'd ever seen". He took a biopsy to see if they could tell what caused it. Basically, the lining was so swollen that she had no room left in her bladder...leading to much pain, the constant feeling of needing to urinate, and the inability to hold anything in her bladder. Poor kitty...

Now we have to see what the biopsy tells us...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

late night work run

Had to run into work to get a high-profile project completed...was easier to take the time to drive in rather than do it over VPN. Got Bean as comfortable as I could get her, then headed in...should be wrapping up in a few minutes, then back to check on her and the other fuzzy one [who has been incredibly patient through all of the Bean drama]. Wheeeee.....

the latest bean news

I take Bean in first thing tomorrow morning for her surgery. The mass is still in her bladder, though the good news is that the doctor doesn't think it looks like a tumour [but he carefully said that he had no idea what it was, so at this point, it could be anything and he wouldn't know for sure until he opened her up].

So tonight I try to keep her comfortable, give her all the water she wants but no food starting this evening [I need to find a place that Pepper can get to it but she can't], then take her in tomorrow morning. They called me a little bit ago with an estimate for the surgery: $840 to $1220, depending on what the mass is, what analysis is needed, and if a biopsy is required. And since the last go-around cost me about $500, and Saturday's visit was $200 [even with a '$30 off your first visit' coupon], I am freaking out a bit. And then I feel guilty for worrying about the'd like to think that you could just say "Do what it takes to make her better, money is no object". But it you walk that line between guilt, responsibility, caring, and cold logic and numbers. Heavy sigh...

the mother of invention

Problem: a cat with neurological damage, hip dysplasia, and who is going to have abdominal surgery. Even the specially-purchased low-entry litter pan I have is a struggle for her right now, and will only be worse after the surgery.

Solution: a triangular high-edged pan with a low entry and rolled edges [to minimize scraping as the cat enters and exits], a non-skid rug to minimize litter scatter, and a 'cabinet step' [the little stair-steppy things you use in your cupboards to put spices and bottles on so you can see them all].

Verily, I have Macguyved, and it is good.


Bean needs surgery...

back we go

Have a 9am appointment for Bean...need to leave soon, traffic is going to suck going north from here. Keeping my fingers crossed for Bean...

wee hours of the morning

Things aren't improving with Bean. She's still having trouble lying still; she moves constantly, meows frequently, and even if she manages to lie still, her back leg will spasm randomly. Judging by the sacrificial blanket, tonight is the worst night so far [judging by the bags under my eyes, too].

I'll have to call the vet tomorrow [whoops...I mean 'today'] to see what they say...

Monday, April 16, 2007

photographic evidence

Proof that a good time was had by all last Thursday night:

[From left: Susy, Sam, [bald guy whose name I can't remember just now], David, Susan, Clint, Benny, me]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

another long night and restless day

Poor Bean tossed, turned, meowed, and kept moving all night. The sacrificial blanket is's not as bad as the last go-around, but it's still necessary. It's likely that the 'leaking' may be a symptom of whatever is the problem, rather than being the problem itself. We won't know for a few days, at least...and even if the medication works to relieve the pain, it may not do anything for the mass in her bladder, which would still mean surgery. Bracing myself for another restless night...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

bean update 4

It's going to be a long few days. There isn't much that can be done to make Bean feel better right now...the steroids will take time to work, if they even do. So she is restless, constantly moving, meowing and "clicking" [that sad, weird meh-meh-meh thing that cats do when they are in pain]. She is up and down, up and down...she lies down, twitches and moves around, then gets up, walks around, sometimes falls when her back legs don't quite cooperate, heads to the litter pan, then back again, lies down, only to repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

This is the hard part about having a feel so helpless.

bean update 3

Results were inconclusive. Trying steroids for a few days to see if they give relief [she's back to dribbling and visiting the litter pan often...back comes the sacrificial blanket, out comes the Nature's Miracle again]. Either way, she'll have to have another ultrasound and possibly x-ray to see the status of the mass. If the steroids don't help, then she'll have to have surgery. With the leaking and dribbling, the restlessness of a cat in pain, and the tense waiting for the next step and the results, the next few days are going to be tiring.

Away to check on Bean, medicate her, pull out the sacrificial blanket, and see if I can soothe her a bit...

bean update 2

No luck with the latest might mean surgery.

bean update

She is on IV fluids for the next few hours. X-rays showed an odd mass in her bladder...the doctor hadn't seen anything like it before. He tried to do an ultrasound, but Bean had just decided to empty what little was in her bladder just seconds before...on my leg. Empty bladder meant it was hard to get a good image, but he confirmed an odd mass.

So now it's fluids to try to fill the bladder so he can get a better idea of what it is...otherwise it will have to be exploratory surgery.

Off to get some food and wait for the clinic to call...

aw hell...

Just made a 10a appointment for TheBean. She's having trouble...her neurological troubles seem to be acting up: she's falling down, her legs are shaking and falling out from under her, she's lying flat on her back when she lies down, she's 'talking' a lot, and when she does lie down, she keeps moving and squirming.

So away we go to the vet...

Friday, April 13, 2007

thunda from down unda

Just got back from seeing "Thunder from Down Under" in San Jose. They were at the Miami Beach Club...quite an entertaining venue, especially if you like neon electric palm trees, restrooms with no toilet paper and doors with no locks, and a huge marlin on the wall.

Tonight made the hat trick with Susy: Mix-A-Lot and Good Vibrations, Passion Party and The Brass Rail, and now male strippers. VIP tickets meant early entry, seats right at the stage, and a pre-show meet and greet [or as I called it, "greet the meat"]. It was a lot of fun, and the guys were having fun too, which made it better...and I even saw a few body types that I liked. I'm not a fan of the super-ripped bods with creepy crocodile abs, so tonight was a nice surprise...the guys were toned and fit, but more swimmer/surfer builds than body builder types. The MC [also a dancer] was my favorite...not that I would turn any of them away, mind you. <grin>

And for souvenirs: an autographed poster that I won, and a photo with the guys, signed by all of them plus their "Guy Friday", the one that ran around making sure all the props were in the right place [and more importantly, not in the wrong place], ran the merchandise table, and generally kept everything humming along. I was the only one to get his autograph...I think I surprised him.

Now to hydrate and head to bed, soothed to sleep by the persistent 'heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' sound [my other souvenir of the evening, courtesy of too much volume, too much bass, and too many screaming women].

G'night all...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

check that off for another year

Taxes are done...whew.

an anniversary of sorts

Seven years since things went to hell in Toronto, and I couldn't lie to myself about Greg and Amy anymore. Didn't keep me from trying, though, and the next months were some I barely remember and hope to never have to experience again. But somehow I made it through...with the help of friends, people I didn't even realize were friends, my parents, an incredibly sweet man with great timing, a wicked sense of humor, an incredible smile and an acceptance of me that I had never had before, all along with something in myself that just wouldn't let me curl up and fade away [however much I may have wanted to].

Weird to think it's been so many years since all of that. It seems like it just happened, yet it seems like it never happened at all. No, that's not definitely happened, or I wouldn't be who I am today. It still resonates, still hurts sometimes, and the scars will always be there...

...but I made it through it and made it past it, and I'm moving on.

Monday, April 09, 2007

a nice thing to hear

The Engineering group does 'Beer Fridays' [they dubbed me an honorary engineer :^) ]. We all contribute to the beverage fund, and once a week, someone runs to CostCo and gets beer and some non-alcoholic beverages. We were always having to share one opener, so last week I snagged a couple while I was out and just slipped them into the beer fund.

The holder o' the fund came to me the next day and thanked me for them. When I asked how the heck he knew it was me, he said, "Of course it was you. You are the cool one that does stuff like that."

Made me feel good.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

jello shots, sex toys, and strippers

[Bet that got your attention!] That, in a nutshell, was my evening. Susy hosted a "Passion Party" [think Tupperware party, only a bit more adult]. A lot of fun, a rowdy group, and good gods, the jello shots were strong [we won't even mention the "martini" that was served in a pint glass]. Lots of fun, a very patient product consultant, some really interesting products [I will never look at Q-tips the same way].

Then we ended the night by closing down The Brass Rail, making it the most fun Good Friday I've ever had.


A tough week, busy with things that have nothing to do with my chosen career, but which are a part of my current job. Got totally overwhelmed by it all through it, but I hate that feeling. And worse was that someone I thought understood came down on me for letting it get to me.

So I need to reset myself and how I think of things. This job is paying the bills. That person isn't someone I should get too invested in. You sometimes need to *not* get too invested in someone or something.

You need to look out for yourself.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

oh gods

I feel awful. I completely lost track of the days and time, and stood Anne up for dinner tonight. Between vet visits, no sleep, things at work, and everything else, I've just been trying to keep my head above water. I feel terrible...I didn't even remember it until hours later when I got voicemail from her, wondering where I was.

I've got to get things under control again...