Friday, November 25, 2016

Two Turkish Van Cats

Today is the story of two cats, both of them Turkish Van breed (rather rare in the US).

First, there is Sula, the mission cat, whose book a number of us at Old Mission SJB put together to raise funds has been mentioned very positively on two more cat blogs: Feline Opines and Best Cat Page. I find these only by googling from time to time. It is always fun to see another mention. Sula's book is selling steadily.
Here are the links:

Second, there is our Murjan. We got the unhappy news from the vet yesterday. He has exactly the same illness that Intrepid died from three weeks ago: small cell lymphoma. He is now on the same treatment plan. He seems to be doing better with the chemo, though, so far. Of course, it is been only one day, but we are hoping for the best. It would be sad to lose both the remaining Jordanian cats within weeks of each other. So, we are counting on the chemotherapy to work this time.

Snowed In


Saw Ma on Wednesday, and called daughter Noelle to talk to her. Ma clearly enjoyed hearing Noelle's voice. Shane showed her pictures of his little ones. Nathaniel is now quite big, and Ma took the phone from Shane, kept looking at the picture of Nathaniel on the phone, and did not want to give the phone back. Yesterday, we did not get to communicate with her because she was under the influence of morphine given to her for pain from a wound she has on her leg. Today, we were snowed in. Brings back memories of growing up here.

Got about a foot of snow. Flake-dropping slowed a bit around 4:00, so Shane and I went walking amid thew white swirls, and I went sliding (slipped on some ice). Now, I can tell that went sliding -- am a bit bruised. Blueberries and tea -- the only inflammation and pain remedies handy.tasty, anyway. Hopefully, none the worse for the trip (literally).

Pics are some of the scenes we saw when we peered out the window. The photos are not in B&W; they are in color. Just not much color in the air today!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ma and the Quixocity of Life

Breaking with the Memory Lane reveries to bring some breaking news in the family about Ma, family matriarch.

Since Donnie's mother died in 1999, my mother has become the family matriarch. One sort of expects matriarchs to go on forever, and those who have read my book, Blest Atheist, certainly know that Ma was not a model mother but very abusive. Nonetheless, a mother is a mother, and a matriarch is a matriarch. One does not think about the death of either.

However, two days ago Ma, who has always been strong as a horse (comes from living on a farm), had a massive stroke that has paralyzed her right side and voice (extremely frustrating for her because she is a talker -- one listens, she talks). Today, the doctors determined that she cannot swallow and will need a feeding tube to live, but they are giving her the choice whether to have the feeding tube or not since she is coherent and can communicate by nods. There is also the complication that the surgery to put in the tube could be deadly because her high blood pressure is still not contained.

She was, at first, leaning against the tube but is now leaning toward it. The cboice is to battle on or rest in peace. It is rare that one really has a choice in which both versions are so different but can be right and natural.

While her 8 children would like to weigh in on the decision, of course, we are all giving her the space to make the decision without influence.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nikolina, A Few Years Later

I don't usually double-post, saving the Clan of Mahlou bog for the more detailed family issues and 100th Lamb for the more general topics, but there was a time when readers of this blog were following the story of NBikolina and so I am posting here the update I posted on the Clan of Mahlou.

I think when my logs got hijacked, Nikolina was still a toddler. Well, she is now in first grade! For those who have followed her from her Miracle Baby status at Stanford University Hospital through the hack date, I have exciting news.

She not only survived, but she thrived. She is a happy, pretty, bright little girl today who loves to ride therapy horses, does well in schools, handles technilogy with zest, and spins around in her wheelchair with zip. She actually can walk, but slowly, with hot pink braces.

School was a challenge medically, but the school invited my daughter-in-law to come to school all day every day in case of medical urgencies and emergencies, and that has worked. Nikolina is not overwhelmed by Mommy, because Mommy helps out all the classes yet is close by for changing ostomy bags or recognizing the need for a dash to the local hospital in Sacramento -- as y'all might recall, they were in the process of moving there when the blog went blank -- or a longer ride to Stanford.

As for all the rest of it, Nikolina leads a normal litlte girl's life: she has birthday parties and goes to birthday parties, loves her cat and big brother, visits Disneyland, plays with other kids, and anything else one would imagine as part of a child's life.

Never out of the woods but oh, so far from the beginning of the path...and so much more light shining through the trees!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Boots and Kids

I think all parents and teachers can relate to this:
A kindergarten teacher was helping one of her students put his boots on. He had asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn’t want to go on.
When the second boot was on, she was nearly out of breath.
She almost whimpered when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.”
She looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as they worked together to get the boots back on – this time on the right feet.
He then announced, “These aren’t my boots.”
She bit her tongue rather than scream, “Why didn’t you say so earlier?” like she wanted to. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.
He then said, “They’re my brother’s boots. My Mom made me wear them.”
She didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots on his feet again. She said, Now, where are your gloves?”
He said, “I stuffed them in the toes of my boots…

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

If you take Nexium...

Donnie has a theory that once you start seeing a doctor for one problem, it is all down hill from there. One problem becomes two, two become three...

I am not sure that I agree with this theory of progression, but I am not surprised that medicines -- chemicals we were not born with -- can have some unhappy side effects.

Recently, I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancer of the esophagus. Nexium, which controls GERD (apparently, half of my friends suffer from this; my own situation is that the GERD is a result of my 37-year-old hiatal hernia) and usually does a pretty good, at least for me, has some side effects, about which my doctor did not warn me, so I found out in an unpleasant way.

A few months ago, I had to have a root canal redone. The endodontist is unsure whether some of the root that had been resorbed would grow back up. Time will tell.

Then, during a routine cleaning and x-ray, the dentist discovered an empty space deep in another tooth and sent me back to the endodontist. He was puzzled. It was resorption. He told me he had no explanation for it, but he could state positively that treatment would be painful since I am allergic to painkiller.

Potential pain turned out to the least of my problems. (I say that with the treatment still pending...) I do not believe that there is "no discernible reason" for problems, so I did some research. It turns out that bone resorption (a good example is teeth) can be a side effect of Nexium.

Now, I am putting much calcium into my body to replace the calcium constantly being stolen by Nexium. Since I cannot give up the Nexium without risking cancer, then lots of milk and calcium pills are on my daily schedule.

Thought I would share in case any followers are also taking Nexium. Ask your doctor about possible resorption -- and good luck.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Blood of a Tick

I am not one of the most "aware" people in the world. In general, I am pretty oblivious to the everyday  matters of life. I guest that might qualify me as one of the most trusting people around. So, perhaps my reaction to a recent tick-cat interaction could have been expected.

One of the feral cats we feed seemed to have some kind of bump on her back. I explored, thought it was a burr, and pulled it out. It was a huge tick and splattered some blood on me and on the cat. So, since I have not progressed far beyond childhood (or maybe because I am apparently part cat), I licked it off without thinking about it -- it was just a little bit.

Then, out of curiosity, I got on line to see if there might be an after-problem for the cat from the tick. I found out that yes, there might be, but also there might be one for me. It is not recommended to drink (or lick) tick blood. (Now I find out!)

So, Donnie knows to watch for odd behavior in me (not sure he would recognize it, though) -- and to complicate matters, I get a typhoid shot on Friday (to prepare for Morocco).
Oh, well, it makes life interesting. I am a risk embracer, so it will be interesting to see what follows.