Friday, September 26, 2008

A Work-in-Progress

Ms. Christopher still isn't eating her proper portion of kibble, so I've resumed feeding her with the big-ass syringe as a supplement to whatever she manages to chew and swallow. She's taking it quite well, and I'm getting better and better at shooting the soft food into her mouth and down her throat. This way, I can be sure that my Girlish Girl is getting the nutrition and hydration she needs to fully recover while she gets used to chewing again.

Other than not licking the bowl clean when she eats, though, Christopher seems to be doing pretty well--she's been more sociable, sitting out with me when I watch TV in the evenings, grooming herself and letting me comb her out with minimal protest using the stainless-steel pet comb from Target that the vet had mentioned (she wasn't sure it was exactly as good as the one she uses at the hospital, but the one she uses at the hospital costs $50--this one is slightly more affordable). At night, I bring Chris to bed with me, and she curls up under one arm or the other, purring loudly.

Ms. Christopher is still a sick kitty, but that's the thing about a work-in-progress--for there to be progress, you have to work. She seems willing to do the work. And I know I am. So we'll get there. It may take time--Superbadfriend said that her cat, Other Ernie, had to have teeth pulled and didn't get back to eating normally for a couple of months.

I hope it doesn't take Chris that long to get back to her regular munching ways, especially not with her kidneys and liver out of whack. With the two of us working on it together, though, and with the vet overseeing our progress, my lovely old girl get where she--we--need to go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sick Old Bird Update #3

The news on my sick old kitty, Ms. Christopher, is, for the most part, good.

I took her to a followup appointment with the vet Saturday morning, for which we were about an hour late because I had trouble getting a cab and wound up hopping on the El to get her there. Normally, getting a cab in my neighborhood isn't a problem; Wednesday morning, I was able to land a cab within five minutes--at 6:35 a.m. Saturday morning, though, about half a dozen cabs passed me, most with passengers. Two, however, had no passengers, looked straight at me...and passed me up anyway. I even had a witness for one ("You know he saw you!" said the passer-by, and he was right). I understand if a cabbie is off-duty or on his way to a call, but if that's the case, then 1) turn your light off so potential passengers know you're not available, and 2) throw a call to your dispatcher to let him/her know that you've got a prospective rider at such-and-such intersection.

Once we made it to the animal hospital, though, things went smoothly. The vet was very pleased with Christopher's progress, even though she had lost weight since the previous visit. (Such fluctuations are common after surgery, she said, so she wasn't alarmed at a couple tenths of a pound falling off.) The mouth was healing fine, as was the hole where she pulled out the feeding tube. The vet also checked the whites of her eyes, which were, in fact, still white, indicating that the jaundice had not advanced.

The vet's main concern was Christopher's weight--she'd lost quite a bit while ill, and she needs the added nutrition and fluids to help her liver and kidneys steady out. Our next appointment is in a couple of weeks--we'll see where she is then.

In the meantime, Ms. Christopher is my baby again, sitting in my lap while I watch "Svengoolie," cuddling under my arm in bed as the Bears blow another second-half lead, coming to the door when I get in from work or shopping or whatever. And if I have anything to say about it (and it appears I do), she'll be my baby for some time to come.

Many thanks to everyone who sent prayers, good vibrations and virtual hugs to me and Ms. Christopher--we both appreciate it very, very much.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sick Old Bird Update #2

After a frustrating day at work (duh) and an even more frustrating commute home (duh), I walked into La Casa del Terror about an hour later than planned and was greeted by both cats--only Ms. Christopher appeared to have grown an antenna sometime between her morning vet appointent and now.

Then I realized what was sticking up off of her heavily bandaged head: It was the feeding tube the vet had installed during the surgery Monday. She has somehow managed to yank the damn thing out.

Oh. Crap.

I took a quick look at her at that moment and later examined her more thoroughly. She wasn't bleeding (from what little I could see peeking under the bright green bandage) and didn't seem to be in any distress beyond the discomfort and weakness she was already experiencing as a result of her illness and the subsequent tooth removal. I gave her three feedings (spaced out by about 90 minutes between each) via syringe straight into her unwilling mouth. After the last feeding, I took her straight to bed with me, where she fairly well demanded attention, butting me with her bandaged head and purring loudly.

This morning, I fed her as soon as I got up (again, via syringe), then headed to the kitchen to put a tin of kibble down for Olivia. As soon as I popped the tab, Christopher quite literally ran into the kitchen--she WANTED to be fed again. Seizing the moment, I opened a can of Fancy Feast (the vet put no restrictions on what I could feed her--"Whatever she'll eat," she said) and dumped it in a bowl before Christopher, who put her head into it and kept in there for a couple of minutes. She didn't clean the bowl out by any means and spent most of her time licking up gravy, but she did take a few small, tentative bites that didn't produce the gnawing, grinding reaction she'd had before and immediately after the surgery.

After the animal hospital opened at seven, called the vet, who was more than a bit surprised that Christopher had torn the feeding tube out--"That doesn't usually happen"--but was reassured by the description of the old kitty's demeanor, apparent lack of physical damage and demonstrated willingness to at least try to eat. "You could bring her in today, if you want," she offered, "or we can wait for our scheduled appointment on Saturday." I opted for the latter--Christopher seems to be holding her own, and unless something changes between now and 9 a.m. Saturday, I'll try to remain calm.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sick Old Bird Update

Took Ms. Christopher to the vet this morning for a scheduled followup exam. The vet liked what she saw--the mouth is healing well, Chris has gained two-tenths of a pound since Monday, and the vet was able to clear the feeding tube, which should allow me to get even more food and fluids into my sick old kitty than I already had been.

In short? This is progress. There's a whole lot more work to be done before Ms. Christopher is well, but there has been discernable, measurable improvement--and you have no idea how much better that makes me feel, and how much better I'll feel as she gets better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sick Old Bird

As noted in my previous entry, Ms. Christopher is not feeling well.

I'll spare you the details of all that's happened over the past three days, but will instead boil it down to this:

I took the sick baby to the vet Saturday (with the substantial aid of Superbadfriend, who not only drove us there on a day of record flooding in the Chicago area, but stayed with us while the doctor performed the examination), and the vet confirmed what damn near everyone suspected: the 15-year-old kitty's teeth were in bad shape, and a few would have to be pulled. A blood sample confirmed something else the vet suspected: because Christopher hadn't been eating nearly as much as she should have, her kidneys and liver were now acting up and she was in the early stages of jaundice.

First up, though--the teeth.

I brought Ms. Christopher back Monday, and the vet operated, extracting four teeth and drilling out the remnants of four others. The vet also installed a temporary feeding tube through which I was to pump liquified food via a syringe. Problem--the tube clogged almost immediately, so I had to do things the old-fashioned way: shoot the food into her mouth and watch her for a few minutes after to make sure she didn't yak it back up. She didn't. That's good.

This morning, the vet called for an update, and I gave it to her. "You're doing great," she said. I wasn't feeling it--I feel so bad that I didn't catch this sooner, get her in for regular checkups, take care of her in the best way.

"I just hate seeing her like this," I said of my heavily-bandaged, thoroughly drugged-up old bird, just about on the verge of tears as the Brown Line train lurched toward Belmont.

The vet paused a moment, then said brightly and confidently, "I'm thinking of this as temporary."

She's the professional. She's been here before many times. I trust her judgment. I trust my many friends who have said as much as well and are sending many prayers and positive vibes our way.

This is temporary. Ms. Christopher is hanging in there. So will I.

Friday, September 12, 2008


My apologies for not posting here this week. A lot has been going on over here, not much of it good:

Work has been extremely hectic and will only get more so as my company moves into its "busy season."

A cold is working its way through our office, and I'm the lucky soul who has it now. I stayed home from work yesterday and feel better today, but it's a rainy day and I'd much rather be in bed.

Ms. Christopher isn't feeling well these days. She seems to be having trouble chewing--consequently, she's not eating very much and has lost weight. I'm hoping she just has a problem with her teeth or gums. I'll find out more when I take her to the vet tomorrow morning.

Again, sorry for the lack of updates and for the boring, "just the facts, m'am" nature of this one. I'll try to post more next week.

In the meantime, I hope all's well with you and yours.

Friday, September 5, 2008

All You Need Is Braaaaaains!

A coworker who also regularly participates in Bring Your Action Figure to Work Day recently sent me a link to a website featuring a toy he thought I'd enjoy. He was right, of course--we've worked together for a couple of years, and he knows me well--but the website in question was out of stock of this particular toys, so I joined their mailing list so they could let me know when they had replenished their supply.

A few days later, I was in Chicago Comics, which happens to not only be a fine comic book shop, but a dandy toy store as well. And what did they have, in stock and ready for me to take home? That's right--the toy in question.

Three words, people: Remote. Control. Zombie.

The next day, I received an email from the website, letting me know the RC Zombie was back in stock and ready for purchase. Timing, as they say, is everything.

Today, the Zombie is on my desk, along with his remote control--shaped like a brain, of course. (It is, however, a misconception that zombies crave only brains, born from the overwhelming popularity of the mid-80s undead epic, Return of the Living Dead; zombies will pretty much eat any part of your body they can sink their decaying teeth into.)

He is also joined by Wolverine, Sabertooth (and his kid, Wild Child, who is kept on a chain and has a disturbingly Mini Me vibe to him), the zombie punching bag and a very Yellow Submarine-ish Sir Paul McCartney with his "friend," the Love Glove.

The RC Zombie will not go hungry this day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Bird, a Coin and a Cat

That's what I found in the lefthand pocket of my brown bomber jacket this morning.

I hadn't worn the jacket in months--and wouldn't have worn it today if the temperatures hadn't dropped 25 degrees from where they were Tuesday and if a steady rain weren't falling (thanks, Hurricane Gustav)--so I have no idea where they came from, exactly. I'm sure I picked them us somewhere on a walk to or from the train or shopping, probably thrown out by someone who was moving or who thought their child had outgrown the trinkets.

Whatever the case, the bird (actually a tiny bobblehead), the coin (plastic plated in gold-colored chrome and featuring a crown on one side and a court jester's face on the other) and the cat (a long-haired Persian) were in that pocket when I instinctively shoved my hand into it this morning and left my pocket only long enough for me to snap the shot you see above.

What will I do with them? Where will they go? Whatever happen to them--or me--next has to be better than what would have happen to them had I left them where they were.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Happy birthday, Superbadfriend! Have a grand celebration--no one deserves it more!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Disaster is a disaster is a disaster

Should I be happy that Disaster Movie opened in seventh place for the Labor Day weekend and has a zero rating on Rotten Tomatoes (not one positive review out of the 20 critics who bothered to comment at all)? Or should I be depressed that it still made $6.2 million? Or have I already put more thought into this than it's worth?