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Tuesday, June 13, 2000 I just finished closing all of the doors and windows, running the fan in the garage and closing the blinds. It's supposed to be really hot today. A record high. I'm thinking it's because it's so humid. It'll be like a crockpot out there.

Early today, when dishing out the chicken, I tried to hold Jackie. Bad idea. I have a three inch scratch on my left arm. I washed it well with Betadyne (available at pet stores or drug stores, but it's a lot less money at a pet store). After it was dry, I put vitamin E on it. Brian said that if I put vitamin E on the scars on the other arm (from Jackie's last trip to the vet) that they would go away. I don't think so, but I'll try. A little later, Jackie was having a serious discussion with Lisa in the tv room. I heard Brian talking to him, first telling him to leave Lisa alone. "Jackie, we're going to have to get you in for neutering soon. I'll wear gloves and get you in the carrier." I told Brian he'd need gloves up to his elbows. Jackie's scratching isn't done purposely, it's done when he pushes off with his back legs, trying to get loose. Brian said he'd wear a long sleeved shirt. And I said "yeah, and we'll be picking little threads out of the bloody tracks in your arms".

Benny is at the vet's right now. Getting his mats cut off, hopefully. I trimmed his claws last night. He's ticklish. I asked that this time they leave a little mane around his neck. The last time, he was shaved up to his ears. Didn't look much like a "lion", more like a squirrel. He didn't seem to be too upset on the way over there. But I think we're going to have a hot summer. Last year was pretty mild overall, but I think it's gonna hit bad this year.

I saw the little orange cat who's collar I had removed yesterday. In the window of the house behind us, the one with the killer dog. I knew that type of flea collar looked familiar. I had seen it on their cats in their backyard before the killer dog came to live with them. At first, I couldn't tell if it was her, so I got out the binoculars. I got up to the fence and checked her out. Her left eye had tears running out of it and the fur was thin on her neck. So, I'm almost positive she's home now. I sure hope they did something for her eye. Hopefully got her to the vet and got medication for her.

I ordered a couple of CDs last week from CDNow. The tape I tried playing in the car, the one that made me decide that I needed a new CD player, was one I was given over twenty years ago. I really liked it and a while back, I looked for it, but couldn't find it. I forgot about it until I looked through the old cassette tapes. I ordered it last week, Little Feat's Time Loves A Hero. And I always liked England Dan and John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" so I ordered The Very Best of England Dan & John Ford Coley. I'm rockin' this morning. I really like the tune "Time Loves A Hero". A real toe-tapper. It's been so long, I just love rediscovering songs from my early twenties.

I guess that's all for today.

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Friday, June 16, 2000 I'm really worried about Lola. I called Wednesday to get her in to the vet, but the earliest appointment they had was today at 3:30. I took it. She's still so thin. She eats very little, eats a little with an appetite, then just quits. Like it's hurting her as the food goes down. She was keeping the food down, but Wednesday I had tuna for dinner and gave her a couple of pieces. She ate them right down, ate a little more than she had been. She ate some other stuff, too, but not much. Yesterday morning, I saw that she had thrown up all she had eaten. Then last night, she threw up within an hour of eating. Even though she got sick Wednesday night, she was active yesterday morning, walking around the backyard, sniffing stuff and eating grass. I so hope she has something treatable. I'm so scared for her. Brian thinks she's lost more weight in the past couple of weeks. I wouldn't doubt it. The past couple of days, I've been supplementing her diet with NutriCal. She's keeping that down. She had been so hot and I was giving her amoxicillan. She doesn't feel nearly as warm this morning. One of the problems is that she does this every once in a while. She goes off of her food because her back hurts. Then we medicate her and she gets better. It didn't work this time. She's fourteen and I know that our cats won't be with us forever. I've been telling myself this now since we lost Bobby last year, that it's something I'm going to have to accept. Say a little prayer for her, please? She's such a gentle kitty and I'm so very worried for her.

Kirby is feeling much better. He's all over the place, has even taken up stalking Jack. All through the yard. Brian's broken up the stalking once, I've done it a couple of times. He never does anything, just follows Jack and when Jack runs, Kirby runs after him. Jack will turn around and hiss at Kirby, but Kirby still follows.

Jack (I'm calling him Jack now, not Jackie) actually wants to be petted in the morning when I'm putting out the chicken. This morning, he was more interested in my hand stroking him than food. This is good. This is really good.

I bid on an A-1 camera body at E-Bay this week. I ended up winning. My winning bid was $133.50. That's cheaper than a new camera and I'll be able to use my exisiting lenses. And if something breaks (and I have to cross my fingers that it's not a sprocket that breaks) I have replacement parts. When I get this one in, I'll send the AE-1 to get cleaned and serviced.

I ordered some tiny ziplock bags yesterday so that I can send catnip out with teeshirt orders. I was thinking about selling the nip, but there's really not that much of it. So, the only way to get it will be to buy a shirt. Brian and his brother talked about possibly growing an acre of it up at Ranchita. Then I could sell it. It's really good stuff.

I guess I'll dust and vacuum while it's still nice. I had advance ordered The Green Mile from Amazon.com. We'll probably watch it this weekend. I hope Lola is watching it with us.

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Saturday, June 17, 2000 *DHS* (Deep heavy sigh). Lola. Lolalolalola. Got to the vet's yesterday before the appointed time. While I was waiting, Sherry and I put the food I had ordered last week into the bed of the truck. Waited more and he finally saw us at four. He didn't care for the way Lola looked. She has lost almost four pounds since April 99 and she had a slight fever. Her temperature was 103. I told him I had been giving her amoxicillan. He did the stomach palpating and said he was pretty sure what the problem is. Her right kidney was swollen. And when he reviewed her history, he saw that her blood titers had come back positive years ago and he had tentatively diagnosed her with FIP. He said that it was his opinion that she has the dry form of FIP. But the next time she had blood taken, the titers were normal, I reminded him. After he examined her a little more thoroughly, looking into her mouth and checking her teeth, doing a very thorough examination into her eyes, he apologized for jumping the gun. He had forgotten the second blood test. I guess he didn't finish reading her history. I knew he would want to take blood tests. He also wanted to do a cytology of her kidney. That's where he sticks a needle into the kidney and draws some cells from it and send them out to be tested, so we would know exactly why the kidney was so enlarged. I told him to go ahead.

They took my Lola out of the room and I heard them in the back, behind the examining room I was in. I heard her scream. I heard her scream so loudly and scared. I knew that they had to do this, but I couldn't handle the hurt she was in. I had to leave the examining room, I was so shaken up I had started to cry. I could still hear her cries in the waiting room. My poor little Lola!! She had no idea what was happening to her, all she knew was I wasn't with her, she was with strangers, they were hurting her and wouldn't let her go. My heart was breaking. The cries finally died down and I went back into the examining room. I heard her as they took her blood. Elena popped her head in and said that Lola didn't like having her blood taken. That's not what it was, I know. It was her kidney, but I didn't say anything. But I was scared. They brought Lola back in and the vet discussed the tests with me. I asked him straight out to tell me the possibilities and the various options with each possibility so I didn't worry myself sick over them. The blood test was important so they could see how badly her kidneys were working. If they weren't too bad, we could do the same with her as we did with Rusty. If the disease (providing they *were* diseased) had progressed, we could consider doing bi-weekly subcutaneous injections. So, knowing the extent of the damage would point us in the direction we would take. He said he would call me in the evening with those results. But the cytology had to be sent out and he would get the report today, he said most likely early afternoon. He said there were three things they might find. One, FIP, the dry version. That would be treated with medication. (And, it would be a nightmare for us. FIP in our house?) Not wanting to consider this at all, I asked how could it be FIP when the test was over ten years ago and negative? He said that the earlier tests weren't very accurate and that if she did, indeed, have dry FIP, it very well could take this long to manifest itself. Something to do with preventing the immune system from working properly and all the crap builds up in the kidney. The next is a kidney infection, which would be treatable with antibiotics. Then there is the possibility of problems with the kidney, like cysts. He told me that her breath wasn't uremic, it didn't smell like ammonia at all, which is one of the signs of kidney failure. He prescribed some periactin for her to stimulate her appetite, since she wasn't eating much. He felt that she wasn't in immediate danger, not with how she reacted when they were doing the biopsy. As a matter of fact, she drew a little blood of her own. The doc's finger was bleeding. Now, it was time to wait for the test results.

I got home, a nervous wreck. I tried explaining what was going on to Brian. I could tell he wasn't really thrilled about the idea of twice weekly subQ fluids. I told him I would go to the vet's for a month, and learn how to do it, then give them to her at home. He didn't think it was a good idea. I opened one of the cans of food and she ate over two ounces of it. The most I'd seen her eat at one sitting in over two weeks. I kept myself busy, waiting for the phone to ring. It did and it was Brian's brother. I told Brian to please not tie up the phone. He hung up with his brother, then called him back on another one of our lines, leaving the home number free. At seven, the phone rang. There was nothing wrong with Lola's blood. Everything was well within normal range. This was great news. This meant there was no kidney damage. No kidney failure. No FIP. Now, it was time to wait for the other report. He told me he would call me today, probably early afternoon. And he did.

This morning, Lola sure didn't feel good. She tried for two hours to poop and I started to worry that maybe she was constipated. But at 8:30, she finally did a small one. And she had been piddling in the box quite a few times. The vet didn't believe she was dehydrated, he said that the skin test probably did what it did because she has no fat on her at all. (When you pull the skin up on the back of the neck, if it springs right back, the cat isn't dehydrated. If it doesn't, the cat needs fluids.) I gave her some Catsip, which she really liked.

It wasn't even one when the phone rang. He said the results were "weird". She had quite a bit of pus in her kidney. He said her kidney was abscessed. He said that it was a mess. He said he wanted to put the thought in my head about a course of action. He is fearful that the infection may travel to other parts of her body, not a good thing to have happen. He didn't feel that antibiotics alone would be much good. Not with as bad as it is. He advised having the kidney removed. Since I heard the results of the blood tests last night, this is what I was thinking would most likely happen. Removal of the bad kidney, be done with it once and for all. When you think about it, this swollen kidney couldn't be doing much right now, anyway. More harm than good. I said I didn't have a problem with having the surgery done. He asked if I had antibiotics at home and said he realized that Lola is a small cat (now) and that he wanted to knock down the infection as much as possible before he did the surgery. He said that it would be easier for him to remove it if it was smaller. I'm to give her one pill three times a day. Then, I'm to bring her in Tuesday morning and he'll examine her to see if she's getting any better. If she starts to crash before that, I'm to call him immediately. The surgery is tentatively set up for Wednesday, depending on how well she's doing.

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Monday, June 19, 2000 Lola update: she seems to be doing better. She's peeing more and I've seen her poop already this morning. She's eating a little more and she seems a little less uncomfortable. Yesterday, she got on me and I couldn't figure out what she was trying to do when it dawned on me; she was kneading. It took quite a bit of effort on her part, but she was kneading and purring. Hours later, she did the same to Brian, but it was more obvious what she was doing. I'm hoping that she shows so much progress that the vet will try her on antibiotics before going with the surgery. Last night when I was laying on the couch (late at night, I always have something over me, like a blanket or a sheet), she got under the sheet, then went up my shirt and just laid against me, purring, for a long time. Then she came out through the neck of the shirt. She's also been waiting for dinner when I feed the cats at night.

Yesterday, Brian mowed the lawns and he had moved the swing to the patio, which I've never felt good about. Remember Maggie and the cat tree? Jumping onto the roof? Well, he was done mowing the lawn and working on the streambed where he had recovered it to stop the leak last week. He was vacuuming up little rocks. He had moved the swing back into the yard. And guess what? Kirby was on the roof. I started flipping out. I'm screaming, trying to be heard over the vacuum "BRIAN!! BRIAN!! BRIAN!!" He couldn't hear me. "F*CK!!" I yelled (I bet the neighbors loved that one). I was ready to pick something up and toss it at his head. Kirby couldn't find a way down. Luckily, he was trying to get down in the backyard, there would be no problem jumping out front and that would have been a nightmare. I finally got Brian's attention and just about then, Kirby leaped from the roof onto the grass. He tore across the yard into the very back. I kept trying to get him into the house. And Jack had somehow gotten out of the house, too. Kirby ran to the side of the house, where I already had the cat door blocked. He turned and ran to the back fence, behind the shop. Then Jack ran from next to the shop, hightailing it into the house. Kirby wasn't far behind. I was in next, shutting doors behind me. I looked for Kirby, to make sure he hadn't hurt himself in the jump. He was up in the rafters. I pulled the ladder over to where he was resting and petted him a little. He realized he was safe now and came down. He was a little nervous for about a quarter of an hour, and then he was okay. Never a dull moment.

We went to Brian's parents house for Father's Day, they were supposed to have brought his dad home. Well, no one was home, so we went to Mac's and got boogers (.39 cheeseboogers on Sunday). Came home to eat and all of a sudden, I was so tired. I had changed into some shorts and was laying on the couch. Brian called his mom and they were there. Man, I didn't want to go. Brian said I didn't have to. He said there was really nothing for me to do there. He did say he would visit with his dad and I could visit with his mom. I said "I don't even visit with my mom, why would I want to visit with yours?" I felt kind of bad and he told me not too, it was okay. He said it would be different if his dad could carry on a conversation, but his mind isn't up to it. When Brian came home, I guess his dad has asked "How old am I?" not realizing it was Father's Day. His birthday is in December.

The television repairman didn't get here until 5:30 Saturday afternoon. I have all the input/outputs in the back of the set in use and Brian had to move the tv for the guy to work on it. Brian brought the dining room table into the tv room and he put the tv on that. I had labeled all of the cables and cords. Well, the repairman couldn't fix it. Of course, it wouldn't do the same thing it had been doing. I described it and kept saying "we can't use the control or turn it off or anything. We have to unplug it, the same thing that happened the last time it was put in ofr repair". Well, that told him it was the microprocessor and he didn't have one on hand, it would have to be ordered. Spit. He left and I paged Brian, who was working on his tractor. He moved the tv back when he got home and I plugged in the cables. No sound on some of the stuff. I spent another hour trying to figure out what was wrong. Well, nothing was wrong, I just forgot that there are not enough inputs to run all of the sound on our equipment. I would have to order another switchbox. I already have one for sound from the tv and DVD player to the stereo for surround sound and music. Right now, the DVD player is plugged in to the spot where the S-Video sound should be. We don't usually watch the S-Video, Brian doesn't think the quality is better (I do). I had forgotten I'd disconnected that to plug in the DVD player. By the time I was done, it was too late to watch "The Green Mile", so Brian just surfed. I read the book "Hannibal".

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Tuesday, June 20, 2000 It's a few minutes after ten am and I'm so very, very scared. I thought Lola was doing better, I really did. She's been eating more and been more alert. Last night, I noticed that the little bit of urine she left in the litter box looked like an odd color. Hard to tell in litter. So, this morning, I compared her little spot of litter to one of the other clumps. Her's had a pinkish tinge to it. I took her to the vet at nine and we weighed her. She had lost over a pound since last Friday. The vet was late getting in and I guess I misunderstood. The surgery is today. I'm so scared. It's the 20th and Holly, Bobby and Sandy all went to the bridge on the 20th. I can only hope that this was caught in time to save her life. I hope she's strong enough to withstand the anesthesia. Oh, I don't want to lose her. I'm so scared. I hope the phone doesn't ring before three this afternoon. That's what happened with Blackie. The phone rang and it was the vet with the bad news. Oh, Lord, please let her come through this. Please help break my 20th of the month superstition.

Then, when I left the vet's office to come home without her, something happened to the radiator in my truck. There was anti-freeze running down the asphalt. I came home and when it stopped dripping, I hosed down the driveway really well. The water runs into a drain into our backyard and I've got the water running down that right now. Brian uses animal friendly anti-freeze, though, so that's good. The water's been running for about a half hour now. That should be enough.

Now, it's time to wait.

about 4:00 I called the vet's office at 3:15. He was still in surgery. I called again at 3:30 and he was done. I didn't talk with him, but I was told that Lola had done good and was still with us. I would think if he had found anything else, he would have called. I hope he would. Lola should be able to come home tomorrow. Fingers, paws and toes crossed....

about 7:00 *sigh* The vet called at four thirty. It was a good news/could be really bad news phone call. The good news is her kidneys are in great shape. Not a darn thing wrong with them. The could be really bad news is the infection in her system is from a perforation in her intestine. "How would the intestine get perforated?" you ask? Well, I asked the same thing. There is a thickening in her intestinal wall, which weakens the wall (makes no sense to me, thicker in my life means stronger). And that's where the perforation happened. Now, the thickening indicates a tumor. And a tumor indicates (*tears*) cancer. He cut out the bad section of the intestine and joined the remaining intestine together (reminds me of DeeJay). He's sending the section he removed out for testing. The results won't be back until Thursday. If it is cancer, one kind the cat can survive. The other kind, well, the outcome isn't good, because the cancer spreads quickly.

I'm just sick about this. Poor Lola. She has to stay there tonight and if she doesn't puke and she stays alert, she'll be able to come home tomorrow. If not, he'll keep her. *sigh*

I hate the twentieth day of the month.

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Thursday, June 22, 2000 Yesterday was terrible for me. I was so nervous almost all day long. I had a doctor's appointment at ten, the time I was supposed to call the clinic to see how she was doing. I had taken the cell phone and carrier with me. For some reason, the cell phone disconnected me from them while I was on hold. I couldn't get the call to take, so I went back into the doctor's office and called from there. Lola was doing okay, but they wanted to see if she kept her breakfast down, please call back in the afternoon. Geez, more waiting. I kept myself kind of busy until twelve thirty and with shaking hands and upset stomach, I called the vet's at about twelve forty-five. I was told it was still too early. Call back after three. The clock moves so slowly. I'm so nervous. I'm running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes. I wasn't able to keep anything in. At ten after three, I called again. Her bill was ready, come in and get her.

I got to the vet's office and was told to take a seat. It was pretty busy. They took care of a couple of other people, then got an examining room ready for me. I took the carrier in and Sherry gave me my bill. I coughed. Good thing our credit card upped our limit. She said "nobody quoted?" Nope. But it wouldn't have mattered, it needed to be done. It was $882.00. *sigh* I got my plastic card out and went back into the lobby and handed it to her. Just about then, the doctor came walking out and saw me standing there. We talked a little about the operation. He drew it out on paper for me. It reminded me of a hose that's going bad and how it gets all stretched out, how it gets a big bubble in it. And there was the hole were the junk got into her body. He said there were adhesions, and I think he said scarring, to her kidney. He cleaned her all up and took out the bad stuff and got her kidney looking better. He listed out the possibilities of why.

Now, the samples didn't get sent out Tuesday like they were supposed to have. There was some sort of misunderstanding, so they went out yesterday morning. The results won't be in until Friday. I guess she ate quite a bit yesterday morning, she was a hungry girl. That's a real good sign. She also has a little bladder infection (bloody urine) going, and he attributes that to the intestine problem.

He said he'd go get her. I went into the examining room and got my stuff, since he wouldn't be talking to me in there. He brought her out and I put her in the carrier. She was glad to be back in something familiar. We left and we got home without incident.

Once in the door, I let her out of the carrier, she sniffed around, then went into the garage, got into a litter box, then pooped. She was obviously pretty tired. She still is today. I'm supposed to watch to make sure she doesn't vomit or have diarrhea, get depressed, act like she's in a lot of pain and cries and I have to make sure she eats. If she does anything she shouldn't, I'm to call the vet right away. She goes in next Friday to have her stitches removed. She seems to be doing okay, really sore, which is understandable. (If you're curious what was done, check out this link. It's to a site that has photos and explanations of an intestinal resection.) I check on her every ten or fifteen minutes to see how she's doing. I couldn't find her a little bit ago, started to panic. I called her and she came out of the cathouse in the living room. Whew.

I appreciate all of the prayers and good thoughts that you've been sending our way. You know, I could be shouting at God or the powers that be asking "why me?" but you know what? I'm lucky. We're in a position to get her the vet care she needs. Many people wouldn't be able to afford this. And she needed the operation. She would have died without it. So, God or the powers that be have been good to us there.

Oh, the water pump is out on the truck.

To keep my mind occupied the past couple of days, I searched for more games for Benny's. Found a few. There are seven more up as of this morning. And one of the authors of one of the games was kind enough to help me out with the highscore function on the Cliffie game. It works now.

The weather is hot and muggy. We even had thunder yesterday. No rain, just thunder. It was pretty miserable out. I didn't really pay attention to it until I came home with Lola. Then I shut the house up and turned on the A/C.

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Friday, June 23, 2000 At six this evening, the vet called. Lola has lymphosarcoma. Which isn't the worst case scenario. He said with treatment, she may live another six months to a year. Treatment is chemotherapy. He treated a cat who was diagnosed last December and he said that cat is doing well. She would go in once a week for two weeks, then one week would get an oral medication here at home, then back for two weeks, one week home, until the four months of treatment was up. They would also be doing CBC tests. It's affordable, about three fast food dinners a week. $25.00 per treatment. She will also be on prednisone. Treatment won't start until next Friday, when her stitches come out. He doesn't want to do anything now that interferes with the healing from the surgery. If we don't treat her, he gives her four months.

Well, if it had been carcinoma, there would have been no treatment. And she would be gone in three months.

*sigh*

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.








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