My cat Tom

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, quite a while. I have 4 cats and a dog. Two of my cats are neutered males. One weekend when my oldest male was about a year old (he’s 5 now), started straining at the litter box and he would lick his privates after trying to urinate. I stood him up on his hind legs and found that his bladder was hard as a rock. I had recently gotten my youngest cat Tom. My older cat Pop was having an emotional crisis over it, he was sad. I called my vet and he met me at his office. He said that it was his bladder that I felt and his urine had crystalized. He had a blockage and had to catheterize him and drain his bladder. We found out that he could have died pretty quickly if we hadn’t got him there.

Fast forward 5 years. Last month we experienced a winter storm. Being in Deep East Texas, we only experience snow that sticks about once ever 7 years, so not often at all. It just never gets cold enough here for it to stick. This year we’ve experienced it twice. Once in January and then in February. We had just experienced our second snow about a week earlier. We went from beautiful snow to the temperature dropping in the teens and everything freezing. We had lost electricity for 8 days and water for about 6 of those days during that freeze. The lowest that it got in the house was about 43. So needless to say, it was stressful on the animals as well. When everything froze, trees started snapping. That’s one of the scariest things. My youngest cat, Tom, started displaying the same symptoms that Pop had experienced 5 years earlier. It was on a Sunday that I’d started noticing him straining at the litter box. I had changed vets about a year earlier for no good reason even though I’d been perfectly happy with my previous vet. Anyway, I called my new vet the next day, Monday, and told them that my cat had a urinary blockage so they told me bring him in. That morning, he was very responsive, non-lethargic, just uncomfortable and his bladder was still soft.

The vet ran some blood tests on him and called me to say that he had a blockage. I already knew that. They wanted to keep him for 3 days and give him the ‘best’ of treatment. They went from giving me a quote of $300 to almost $800. I about fell out. Having just gone through a winter storm and unable to work during that time because no one had electricity, I wasn’t getting an income for the previous week. The vet didn’t care. They weren’t willing to work with me, they just wanted money and they wanted most of it up front. They told me he was critical and they needed the money. I told them he was fine that morning, that my older cat had been through this previously and his bladder was like a rock, but this baby’s wasn’t that morning. The vet said it was when they examined him and he was now critical and they needed me to pay so they could start on him. Big red flag. I told them to just let me know how much my bill currently was and I’d pick my cat up. They charged me over $400 for the blood tests and they gave him a steroid shot. I didn’t think anything about the steroid shot at the time. I figured, they’re a vets office, they know what they’re doing. It was already in the late afternoon when I picked up my cat. They’d also told me that I should have him put down, that if he didn’t get better overnight to bring him back and put him down. I decided at that point that I’d never use them again. I called my former vet’s office since they’d previously treated Pop for the same thing. They told me that all of the vets were already gone for the day, but to bring him first thing the next morning.

It was a rough night, not knowing if my sweet boy was going to make it through the night. He was lethargic at that point. The next morning, he was sitting in the kitchen, not real responsive, but he was alive. I rushed him to my previous vet’s office and dropped him off. My former vet called me that morning and asked if the other vet had done blood tests on him, I told him they had so he got his blood tests from the other vet. He said his temp had been so low that it wouldn’t even register on the thermometer. They had to put him on a warmer to get his temp up to normal. He went ahead and ran a blood test on him and called me again. He asked why the other vet had given him a steroid shot. I had no idea, but he explained that Tom’s white blood cell count was skyrocketing along with his kidney levels which were way too high. He said he was very dehydrated so he started him on fluids and put a catheter in to drain his bladder. I told him that the previous vet had told me they didn’t completely drain his bladder, that they did leave some sludge in there.

My vet told me he needed to keep Tom on fluids and see if he could get his levels back down. He said he was very concerned about the steroids he’d been given. It was a long acting steroid and it took him several days to get it out of his system. I’d told my vet that the other vet had wanted to put Tom down. He said he wanted to try to actually help him and make sure he did what he could for him before we went that route. That was more of a last resort. He said he was very sick, but he wanted to help him. I knew he was in good hands. He ended up staying a week on an IV and catheter. The bill was only a couple of hundred dollars more than what the new vet had wanted to charge me for 3 days. My vet sent him home and said he was concerned about him blocking again, but he was doing much better. This was on a Friday when I picked him up.

That Sunday, I’d noticed that his tummy was so big that he looked like he was pregnant. I called my vet and he met me at his office. He said he was concerned about his bladder being ruptured, which he’d previously told me that it was a possibility, but wasn’t able to tell because Tom had so much swelling around his bladder. He checked Tom’s kidney levels and they were elevated again. He put him back on fluids because Tom hadn’t been eating or drinking and said he’d run a contrast on his bladder in the morning to check for a rupture. Sure enough, the next morning, he found a rupture and gave me the option of surgery, which would be the quickest recovery time and cheapest, or we could keep him on an IV and evaluate. I went with the surgery. He performed surgery on him the next day, he did find some dead tissue, but said cat’s bladders tend to heal pretty quick. He was concerned about the dead tissue because it was close to the neck of his bladder. Luckily, it took a few days, but he recovered. He was able to use the litter box once he took him off the catheter. I took him home and noticed that he still wasn’t eating or drinking.

I called my vet the next day and brought him in once more. My vet gave him a shot of vitamins that would make him thirsty and hungry. Luckily, he wasn’t dehydrated and sent him home. This was on a Friday. I got him home and Tom immediately started eating and then went to his water bowl afterwards. I was so relieved. He went in that Monday to have his stitches removed and then came in for a checkup 3 days later, he still didn’t have a steady stream when he’d urinate, just a fast drip. My vet put a catheter in and gave him some anti-spasm meds to help relax his urethra. So far so good, he’s got a stream when he urinates and has full mobility and a good amount of energy.

My point to all of this is that when choosing a vet, an internet search is not enough. You have to ask for recommendations from others as well. Had I done that, I would have found that many people had very bad experiences with the new vet I’d originally taken Tom to. They almost killed him. Luckily, my former, now permanent vet saved his life. My other point is to be prepared for urinary blockage as a possibility in male cats, especially neutered males. I still recommend neutering or spaying your cat if you don’t want kittens, but just be prepared. Urinary blockages are a lot more common than you’d think. Bottom line, find a reliable vet, one that you can trust and that actually cares about their patients and the care they receive and that don’t just care about the money.

Migraines

So, I don’t remember if I’ve ever written about this before, but I’m a long-time sufferer of migraines. I remember getting headaches during my adolescence years and on into my adulthood. I don’t remember the first time I ever got a migraine, but I can tell you they’ve been a great hindrance on my life. All through the years of my kids early years, I was suffering.

Several years ago, I was on day 5 of a migraine. I had already been to different doctors: GP’s, internists (internal medicine), ENT’s. Finally, day 5 I went to a local clinic. When I was talking to the doctor about it, I was in tears begging him for help. He explained that my problem was that I’d been going to the wrong type of doctor. He told me that I needed to see a neurologist. I took him up on his advice and made the appointment to a neurologist. He put me on a daily suppressant and then wrote me a prescription for a medicine to take at the onset of a migraine.

It worked for a while, finally a little over a year ago, the company I was working for sold my location to another company. Unfortunately for me, the new company’s insurance that they offer isn’t anywhere near being affordable. So, I had no choice but to suffer again. I can’t see a neurologist because they’re considered to be a specialist. And without insurance, it’s just not an option for me.

I finally bit the bullet and visited my family doctor earlier this year. He put me back onto a suppressant and wrote me a prescription for something to take at the onset of a migraine. I was taking the same thing that I had been prescribed by my former neurologist until I had a reaction to it, so my doctor put me on something else.

I guess what made me want to write about this is that yesterday was Christmas. A day that’s supposed to be spent remembering the meaning of Christmas and spending it with family or friends. Me? It was spent with my family, but I was very much in pain the whole time so I couldn’t enjoy it like I wish I’d been able to. Today, I woke up again with my lingering migraine. I spent the majority of the day in bed, blocking out the light from the windows. I’ve even downloaded migraine apps so I can track my migraines. Try to make some sort of sense of them.

If any of you out there reading this suffer from migraines, I feel your pain. Literally.

So Many Changes

In the past year, I’ve made so many unexpected changes in my life. I left a job that I could have easily seen myself retiring from. However, upon much reflection, I realized that it was literally sucking the life out of me. These days I find myself much more mellow, at ease. It’s refreshing.

I also changed my denomination, that’s been the most exciting! I’m finally a part of a church that I enjoy and I look forward to church now!

And as of today, after watching a documentary about food on Netflix, I’ve decided to go Vegan. As someone who is a chronic sufferer of migraines, I’m hoping this lifestyle change makes a significant difference in my life! Tonight I had my first Vegan meal. The people in the documentary noticed a change after two short weeks. I’m excited to see how I’m feeling at the end of the first two weeks and I plan to post my updates here.

More to come…

Changes

Sometimes in life, you find the need to shake things up. Perhaps you’ve found yourself at a crossroads. You could continue taking the same stale path you’ve been on, or you can venture out on a new adventure into the unknown. Or if you’re like me, you never realized just how unhappy you really were and that you had a constant cloud hanging over you until you finally stepped away.

This was me, unwilling to be honest with myself about my level of unhappiness with my job…until recently. I’d been with the same company for over 10 years. The job itself was okay, but it was the people (well, most of them) that I enjoyed working with. That’s the only explanation I can give for staying as long as I did. Plenty had happened over the years that never sat right with me, unethical things, favoritism, etc. The list is endless. But…what can you do?

One day a couple of months ago, I finally decided enough is enough. I applied with another company and didn’t really give it much thought until they called me earlier this month. I went through the interview process and was offered the position. I’d be taking a pay cut, but I never gave it a moments thought about whether or not to accept it. It was a no-brainer. When looking at the pros and cons of staying at my old job, the bad outweighed the good. And I knew that without even having to think about it. I shocked everyone and left the company that I once thought I’d retire from. And everyone that worked with me for all those years also thought I was a lifer.

My point is that in life, whatever the situation, you might feel that you’re stuck. You’re not. Maybe sticking it out and working things out is what’s best for you. Or maybe walking away and starting over is what you need. Either way, you just have to be willing to be honest with yourself and decide what’s best for you and do it!

Lessons

Sometimes you don’t realize that the most negative people are those you were once closest too. Funny how that works out. You don’t see the truth for what it really is until you take a step back.

Mean, Crazy, Angry People

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I realize there are plenty of the above people in this world,  but I never realized that there are so many in my small.town. My local tv station posted something earlier and I commented on it. Within 5 minutes, about 6 different people jumped on the bandwagon being ugly. I knew there were some crazy people in my town, but I never realized just how much they hate law enforcement. We turn to law enforcement when we’re someone is trying to harm us, they’re also the ones that write us a ticket when we’re speeding, etc. But I never realized just how much people in my town really hate them. I disliked them when I was 18 and stupid and hanging around the wrong people, but these are adults I’m talking about. I sat there in disbelief at the things these people were saying and how they were all trying to act big and bad through their text, so I deleted my comment. They’re not worth my time or energy. I’m seeing more and more just how small-minded some people are. Small town America used to be full of friendly people that would speak to each other and wave as they were passing. Now it seems there’s a lot of angry people that just want to argue. It makes me sad that we live in the society that we do today. Crazy, crazy.

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Respect

Recently, one of my son’s best friend’s mom died suddenly. She hadn’t been sick and was presumably healthy. My son took it pretty hard since he grew up around her. The morning after she passed away, balloons were released in her honor. I wasn’t aware of it until I saw one of my FB friends ranting about it. They stated that they knew it was to honor someone who passed, but they only cared about the balloons being released into the environment. I was outraged that someone could be so disrespectful. Of course, others chimed in with agreement as people usually do. Follow the leader, right? Finally, I said something. The ranting continued. I said nothing else.

Last week, I attended the funeral. I don’t know what people do in your neck of the woods, but in mine, when there is a funeral procession people pull over out of respect. Even if it’s a divided highway, they pull over. That’s what they did last week, the highways pretty much shut down when there’s a funeral procession. It makes me feel good to know that people here (most people) still know how to show respect.

I’m going to backtrack a bit. About 6 months ago, one of my daughter’s friends died in an alcohol-related accident. She was a good kid that was making bad decisions and unfortunately it ended up catching up with her. My daughter took it pretty hard, she was living out-of-town going to school so she wasn’t able to attend the funeral. The thing that bothered me about her death was that a fundraiser was held in a bar for her family. A bar! She was killed from drunk-driving and they held the fundraiser in a bar. From what I heard, her family got drunk at the fundraiser. It made me sick. The bad part was that a lot of people didn’t have a problem with it. It jsut makes me wonder what has our society come to?

 

Renovating…Lessons Learned

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About a year and a half ago, I purchased laminate flooring for my house but never installed it. Since I decided that I’m going to sell my house and move, I decided to use the flooring in the house I’m moving to. About a month ago, I installed the flooring in my daughter’s room. It looked alright other than the lines from the seams. If you’ve ever installed flooring, you know where I’m going with this. I was talking to someone at work a day or two after I had installed it. They had told me how they had installed flooring in their house, as well. They talked about how easy it was, besides having to cut the planks to stagger them. I questioned her about staggering…I had no clue you’re supposed to stagger even though I had a how-to book. It didn’t illustrate or come out and say that you’re supposed to stagger, so I didn’t. I decided that I was jsut going to leave the floor as is. Until 2 weekends ago. I had a 3-day weekend that I spent painting at the other house. On the third day off, I couldn’t take it anymore. After a little research, I went to the house and pulled the flooring up that I had previously laid down. This time, I staggered the flooring and it looks so much better! The reasoning for staggering is to strengthen the flooring. If the seams meet, they’ll eventually come up too easily. Therefore, when you stagger, the planks won’t be so apt to weaken and come apart. Lesson learned. Now I’ll be able to do the next room without having to re-do it a month later!