"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Week of Suck

Things have not been peaches and cream in Toasterville this week. To start off with, while in Houston last week for my usual round of medical tests for my pulmonary fibrosis, it was discovered that my amylase and lipase numbers were out of whack, so there's apparently a chance I could be developing pancreatitis. Oh, joy: that's just what I need on top of a major lung disease. I'm supposed to have some more bloodwork done in a few days and we'll see where this goes, but it's possible that the first test could have been a fluke. Time will tell; keep your fingers crossed.

Mostly, however, at the moment we're worried about Tiger (below), one of our three cats, who is in the vet hospital as I write this. As they get older, male cats are particularly susceptible to a condition known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD. It's most serious complication occurs when crystals or calcified stones form in the bladder which then get stuck in and obstruct the cat's urinary tract, leaving it unable to pee. Toxins build up quickly, and if the situation isn't recognized and the blockage treated right away, the cat can die within hours. It's a very serious condition, and one of the top three killer diseases (along with kidney failure and feline leukemia) in domestic cats.

Late Saturday night, we became aware that Tiger was showing symptoms of a blockage and seemed to be in pain. Fortunately, our vet was on-call for the weekend, and we made an emergency trip to her clinic where she unblocked Tiger with a catheter and kept him under observation until Monday. It was a close call; another few hours could have been fatal. After he came back home, we thought he was out of the woods ... until yesterday, when his symptoms reappeared. However, we were watching him closely as we knew exactly what to look for this time, and got him right back to the vet. The second trip will mean having to leave the catheter in place for a couple of days to give his system more time to clear out the crystals, and treatment with antibiotics and other medicine. Even so, there's no guarantee it still won't happen again; some cats are just predisposed to it -- genetics, perhaps -- and it's possible this could be the case with Tiger. In any event, assuming all goes well, we should be able to bring him home on Friday, and it's very likely that we'll have to keep him on a special diet from now on.

I have to tell you the little guy is a fighter, though, and I have high hopes that he's going to make it. I'll never forget the first time we saw him in our back yard, nearly seven years ago. As best as we can figure, some asshat with an aversion to taking kittens to the animal shelter had dumped him and his three sisters over the chain link fence into our yard, where they had been living under our tool shed for a few weeks or possibly longer. By this time they were on the very edge of feral, and it took us nearly another month to coax them out and allow us to feed them. To get them out from under the cold, dirty shed I built a big wooden shelter box (complete with a shingled roof and carpeted sun porch!) for them and put it right outside our back door, and they soon adopted it. Often I would turn on the back porch light during the night to check on them, and laugh to see four little heads pop up like furry jacks-in-the-box from inside the shelter.

During that period when they were learning to trust us, but not quite sure yet, Tiger was always the alpha male, and seemed to relish the role of "man of the family". He would bravely take the lead when they approached us, standing protectively between us and his sisters while meowing defiantly. Eventually they came to accept us, and we were able to move them safely indoors. We found homes for two of them, but kept Tiger and his sister Callie (the tortoise-shell in the photo), and they've been beloved members of our family ever since. We've acquired one more in the meantime, and now have a happy three-cat household.

So that's what is seriously bugging me this week. Oh, and let's also not forget (a) the screen on my less-than-a-year-old iPod clone (a Sansa e250) cracked today, rendering it a $90 paperweight; (b) I took the first whack at our income taxes last night, and we may have to cough up the better part of a thousand bucks to dear ol' Uncle Sam; (c) I've been told the ToastMobile needs a new set of tires a.s.a.p., which means I'll have to pull yet another $500 out of my ass somehow; (d) Mrs. T. learned on Monday that a University field trip which had been scheduled for next year, where she would have presented papers at two prestigious international library conferences in Korea and Taiwan, was canceled due to lack of funding, and; (e) my dear Blogger friend and fellow cookie-lover Moose is struggling with the trauma of a major breakup.

And shit, folks, it's only Wednesday.

The stars must not be in proper alignment this week; hope things are going better for you.


  • At 4/03/2008 08:55:00 AM, Blogger SupaCoo said…

    I have to agree. Yesterday, alone, was a complete day of suck. I'm ready to hide under a rock for awhile.

    I hope everything goes well for you and Tiger. He's so handsome! (Both of you, really.)


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