Friday, March 28, 2014

A Tribute

Things have been improving with my mother, which is a major relief.  With the CNA working with her every day, she is getting the attention she needs.

Wednesday of this week I had a colonoscopy, so you know how Tuesday and Wednesday were spent.  They used Michael Jackson's drug of choice and I was knocked out instantly and seemed to awaken just as suddenly, feeling alert and fine. Those of you who have had this know that the procedure is the easy part.  Drinking all of the horrible tasting stuff and all that follows is the hard part. I am very happy to have it behind me.  I also recently read an article stating that after the age of 75 the colonoscopy was no longer needed, so I'm considering this my last one!

On Thursday I had to take Gabby to the vet again.  The prednisone seemed to stimulate his appetite for about a week, but then over the weekend he stopped eating again.  He was also spending a lot of time in a bedroom by himself or in my closet.  This time they did x-rays and discovered that he had a huge mass in his stomach and a spot of his spleen.  The mass was the source of the problem and made it difficult for him to eat.  The vet said there was nothing he could do, so I went up to be with Gabby while he was put to sleep.  It was heartbreaking to lose him.  I thought of bringing him home for a day or two, but I knew that was selfish and would be difficult for him and for me, as much as I would like to have had him home for a little while.

Gabby was my first pet as an adult and I never even considered adopting until I felt I could devote the time needed. I told Allan, a cat aficionado, that I didn't know what to look for or how to select a cat, and he said, "Oh, the cat will adopt you."  That's pretty much what happened.  Most of the kitties were adorable and sweet, but Gabby was actively trying to unlock the door to the crate.  I asked if I could take him out and he immediately snuggle up to my neck and just seemed to love me from the beginning.  I asked about adopting him only to learn that another family had completed the application and were to pick him up the next day.  I asked if I could put in an application also, in case they didn't show.  Two days later the call came that Gabby was mine......the people hadn't shown, so it was meant to be.

I don't know about other cat owners, but ours always have an official name (Gabby) and a variety of endearing names....Yellow Kitty, Precious One, Golden Boy and so on.  In emails, Allan referred to him as TMPKWWW - The Most Precious Kitty in the Whole Wide World.....that is until he got his cats and mistakenly thought they held the title!  When Gabby was a kitten we called him Devil Spider Monkey, because he was everywhere and could not stand to be held.  The minute he was picked up he began wiggling and squirming.  My plan was just to stroke him gently whenever he was close, not to constrain him for too long.  It worked like a charm and he soon began to like the attention, or maybe he just outgrew devil spider monkey stage!  Those
who have visited know that he was the most social of the kitties.  Though he loved the adulation of people, at the end of the day he was a Mama's boy.  He may be where he wants to be, but when it is serous sleeping time he will come up and sleep on my arm.  He would put his front paws over my arm and fall asleep, or a paw and his head in my hand......which also meant that I could move any way I wanted as long as my arm didn't move.  Of course, once I was asleep he would do what kitties do at night; but, the first time I moved in the morning, he was there.  He was the first thing I saw when coming home and, were he here now, he would be lying beside me as I type or on the table by the sofa, within arms you see him here. Pet owners know how quickly and completely pets win your heart and provide that unconditional love that you find no place else.  I think my other kitties see me as a source of food, but Gabby saw me as a source of love and affection, as I did him.  He was 14 years old and brought me 14 years of pleasure and joy.  The house isn't the same without him and I will miss him greatly, but the sadness I feel was worth the time I had with him.  I could not have asked for a better companion kitty. 

Some years ago I made a Gabby calendar.  Below are the photos and quotes used in the calendar.  I hope you enjoy them in memory of Gabby.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Madness

Click on photos to enlarge
No sooner did I sing the charms of Spring than we had a 30 degree drop in temperature overnight and then about 5 days of dark, cold, rainy weather.  That'll teach me!  Over the last 4 days we've been in the high 70s, but last night had another 20+ degree drop.  While I nurse my second cold, it's no wonder everyone is sick with something!  I have managed to get in a few good walks, which I've thoroughly enjoyed.  the warm days have made everyone eager for the real Spring to arrive.

The photos of the fox were not taken during a walk but rather on my way home from visiting Mama.  I spotted him beside the road eating something.  He made no effort to move, so I turned around and went back, unfolding my trusty iPad as I went.  This is the first fox I've spotted and he was beautiful.  He finished what he was eating and then trotted down the road, tucking into the golf course service yard.  It really was a treat to see him and I'm pleased to have gotten the photos.

Between my mother and the weather, I've tried to maintain some kind of life.  Sharon and I finally managed a lunch date, which had been postponed numerous times between my 92 year old mother and her 96 year old mother. We refer to our lunches as therapy sessions as it is non-stop venting from beginning to end.  We do manage a few laughs, though.  Another friend, Cheryl, and I had an early dinner at Saigon Cafe and then went to the Unitarian Church to see Inequality for All, the Robert Reich movie.  It was creatively and cleverly done, as well as being equally informative.....I highly recommend it to political junkies.

I was actually looking forward to the Oscars this year.  Some years are bleak and without much promise, but this year seemed stellar for movies.  After not going into a movie theater for years, I did go to see The Butler and 12 Years a Slave, both of which were very good, though I was disappointed that the Butler didn't get more recognition.  One reason it seemed to resonate with me was that it depicted the whole civil rights era that we experienced.  It really did bring back so many memories that had gone dormant, some good and some bad.  Sometimes I think we live through historical events without acknowledging their importance (in our own lives or those of others) or looking back at them to see how far we've come - or imagine how things would be if they had not happened.  In any case, both were powerful movies.  The other one I intend to see is The Dallas Buyers Club.  Somehow, from the minute I saw the first clip, I knew this was made for Matthew McConaughey!!  It sounds exceptional and I'm looking forward to seeing it.  Gravity was probably very good, but I have no real desire to see it....and I'm iffy about Her.

The remainder of my free time has been spent enjoying the visual aspect of my iPad.  Until recently I had not tried streaming.  My thought was that it would not be as clear as TV.....wrong!  The best feature is that you are seeing the event as it happens in its entirety.  I've recently seen Hillary speak at the University of Miami, humorist Dave Barry talk about his new book, as well as James Franco and Chris O'Dowd interviewed about their upcoming play and their careers. One of the most enjoyable was Jane Goodall speaking a Washington and Lee University.  I tell you, she is one impressive lady, who is celebrating her 80th birthday this year.  As she began speaking, she put her watch and her notes on the podium.  Her notes were on a little sheet of paper no larger than an index card.  She was informative, humorous, inspirational and enchanting, with oh-so-many stories and experiences. She was fascinating.  As I mentioned last time, this was through LiveStream.  While I've found many good things on it, I feel there are many more events of interest that I've not yet discovered.  At this point, I'm trying to findl an index or something similar that may make it easier to know what is available.

Unfortunately, Mama isn't bouncing back from the fall and hip surgery....and it has played havoc with the dementia.  As of yesterday, she is under hospice care.  I am looking at this more as palliative care than final care, though we all know how this book ends.  I hope the added hands will help her plateau and begin to regain strength.  To be honest, the last two days have been her best days since the fall.  The Tidewater Hospice nurse is there all day every day.  She is so sweet and gentle....everyone knows her and likes her.  She loves her work, has a wonderful way with her patients, and does a caring and professional job.  I, for one, am thankful to have some extra help, especially people who know their stuff.  Mama met her (Christina) yesterday and seemed to like her........we'll see how she likes her when Christina tries to get her out of bed today!!  Though Christina has quite a few patients there, she seems to do a wonderful job and I know Mama will get more individualized care.  I am thankful for her help and I hope Mama will benefit from her attention. There will also be a social worker, clergy, etc. involved, all of which will keep a check on Mama.

At this point, she is no longer able to walk on her own.  With help, she is able to stand, pivot and move a few steps very slowly.  Since the fall, she seems to have given up, but she did get out of bed when I got there yesterday and said she knew she couldn't stay in bed all the time.  Of course, frequently she doesn't know whether it's day or night due to her poor vision.  As bad as it has gotten, she never complained about it until the fall.  Now she says "I can't see anything or do anything", which is frustrating for her.  She also has not been wanting to go out into the common areas or be with others (unless I'm there).....I'm hoping Christina and the others will help draw her out again over time.  Anyway, it is what it is and we're all doing the best we can.

My other concern is my sweet Gabby, who continues to eat almost nothing. He was at the vet's last Friday and for the first time he was unmanageable.  His insulin was cut in half and he was given an appetite stimulant, which I could only administer two times!  I just talked to the vet and will be trying another type of food.  At this point, getting him to eat anything is the goal. He was my first kitty and, by far, the most loving.  Allan always thought I paid more attend to Gabby, but Gabby would always come to be with me or to ask for some loving.  I'm hoping that he does a turnaround before it's too late.

So, on those depressing notes, tell me something good, tell me something funny.....a personal story/anecdote ('cause I know you have them!), cartoons, silly photos of times gone by, an embarrassing moment......anything that amuses you and can be published here for the amusement of others (and me). My news has been heavy and grim over the last few years and I'd really like to lighten it up a bit, with your help.......and I know you have nothing better to do!! (lol!)  Please give it a little thought and share your favorites with me/us.  I would really love to hear from you and it would be great to share some laughs. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March is Here

After losing the month of February, it's still difficult to believe that March is already here!  The beginning of the year is whizzing by at record speed.

As mentioned last time, Spring is in the air and today (Sunday) is no exception....sunny, warm and clear. The patio door is open and the kitties are huddled in front of it enjoying their first gasp of fresh air in a while!

I received an email that the daffodil fields would be open yesterday and today, so I thought the perfect time to go without hassle would be on Sunday morning, while everyone else was at church.  The Christians may have been in church, but the nature worshipers had the same idea as I!!  The parking lot was full and they were opening the second field as I drove up.  In this part of the country, daffodils do announce the coming of Spring and they are always so cheerful and welcomed. It was a great way to start the day!  
I took a vase with me and whipped up an "arrangement" in the parking lot of Bloom, arriving just as they were getting Mama out of bed (very late in the morning!).  She liked the flowers and remembered that we had been there before. Once she was dressed we went to the dining room for a cup of coffee before lunch.  She was very pale and weak, and complained of her heart before finishing lunch.  She continues to refuse many of her meds..and has no recollection of doing so, and she is eating only the smallest amount. Keisha took her vital signs and her BP was a little high, as was her heart rate.  She wanted to lie down....she has been up only a few hours each day before wanting to lie down again and is not gaining strength.  Once in bed, I got her to drink about 1/2 of a Glucerna.  I came home while she rested and will go back around dinner, hoping to get her out of bed for that.  I'm not at all sure she will come back from this and, if she does, the baseline is likely to be much lower than it was before the fall. It is so painful to see, and I can't imagine how confused and frightened she must feel.

I wanted to mention another website that might be of interest to those with an appreciation of the scenery and history of this area.  It is Capture America Journal by David Emch. I started following him when he resided in Charleston.  He has since started a journey to raise money for epilepsy research.  He is quite a good photographer and has a knack for meeting interesting, everyday people. I've learned a lot about the area through his exploits.  Having taken many carriage tours through Beaufort, I knew who Robert Smalls was, but he tells more of his history, which is very interesting (2/28/2014 entry).  He has also inspired me to want to take a walking tour with Jon Sharp, whom I'd read about in the paper but didn't know he was leading tours!!  Anyway, give it a look and see whether it's worth the occasional glance.

Not a lot else happening at the moment.  I've actually devised a "To Do" list in hopes of getting a few things accomplished.  The idea has come to me to thoroughly clean one room at a time, every other day, every three days.....whatever I can talk myself into doing.  So far, I haven't been very persuasive!

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