Friday, January 27, 2017

Hmmmmmmmmmm...........

What the...? I have Twitter account, almost never used. I get emails from Twitdom offering me links occasionally to the tweets from one or two people I follow (not always by any means) plus suggestions of who Twitter's algorithms seem to think I'd like to follow.

Lately there've been a lot -- a LOT -- of them that are clearly from right-wing tweeters, even though I don't follow anyone like that. Makes me wonder if there's some sort of propagandist push going on.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Veggie Boys, sunbathing

Squash, brother of Pumpkin, has taken to living in the basement thanks to torment from his former best buddy Peanut, with backup bullying from Schooner and Stanley. He's actually been quite happy down there and thoroughly enjoys my visits to bring food and water, clean his box, or just schmooze in passing in and out of the garage. But he does miss me.

Lately I've been putting his food dish near the top of the stairs instead of at the foot before closing the door to let him eat in peace. Lately he's been lurking at the top of the stairs at mealtimes, even venturing a few feet out into the living room, before scuttling back when he spots one of his enemies.

And last night, very late, while I sat reading in the living room recliner, while Schooner and Peanut slept in a cozy lump in the recliner in the front dining area, I looked up from my book to discover Squash in the middle of the room, looking longingly at the tinfoil I'd just removed from a (damned good!) chocolate gold coin.

I knew what he wanted. I wadded up the foil and threw it and he gleefully chased it, then returned to demand more. We played that game a few more times, then, visibly gathering his courage, he scurried up onto the recliner, stretched out behind my head, and shoved his little skull forward over my shoulder for skritching.

We enjoyed some together time before his courage tank ran dry and he scuttled back to his basement refuge. But this morning he came a little way out again at breakfast, and I'm hoping that he'll gradually rejoin the upstairs life, though I suspect he'll never again really trust the dire Peanut.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Alas, Pumpkin

I brought Pumpkin in to see the vet on Saturday, concerned because he seemed even thinner and his appetite had become increasingly erratic; then too, there’s the frequent vomiting. Turned out he’s lost about another pound from his already scrawny weight a couple of months ago; he’s down under seven pounds now, skin and bones, and he ought to be closer to ten. They managed to draw blood for testing despite his near-collapsed veins, and then Dr. Montesano and I sat down to discuss where to go from here.

It’s more than just thyroid that’s the problem; given the improvement in his coat, it’s not likely even primarily thyroid right now (depending on the blood results). Most probably it’s some kind of gastritis or inflammatory bowel disease, perhaps even gastric lymphoma, which would have to be confirmed by biopsy. We’re not going to do a biopsy, of course, let alone chemotherapy if it is lymphoma; we agree given his age and condition it’s palliative care only, and we’re looking at months, not years, and quality of life at this point.

So what to do? The vets and I had previously discussed steroid treatment but been reluctant given his heart murmur; steroids could push him into congestive heart failure. But that treatment could shrink an inflamed and thickened gastric lining, help him to absorb nutrients better, in fact it’s part of the suite of treatments for lymphoma anyway, so what the hell? I could give him a daily pill or he could have a shot good for a month (though if anything went wrong there’d be no way to take it back); I said go for the shot.

He also got a dose of mirtazapine (Remeron). In humans it’s an antidepressant; in cats it stimulates appetite while helping to suppress nausea, a half-pill every three days. A short while after I took him home I offered him food – and he devoured it, as much as I thought safe to give him. He wasn’t too keen on supper but ate more small meals in the evening. On the vet’s advice that at this point it’s calories calories calories we need to worry about, not balanced nutrition, I’d stocked up on baby food, those teensy Fancy Feast cans, and some deli sliced chicken breast on the way home, and he liked what I offered of that.

Sunday he ate eagerly, again frequent small meals. He was more vocal than usual, a bit more charged up, but those are known side effects of mirtazapine, and overall he was doing way better, behaving normally, snuggling up to me. Success! For however long, success.

Dr. Montesano called earlier this morning for mutual updates, while slugabed me was still transitioning from awake to get out of bed. Mine: as outlined above. Hers: His thyroid and other blood levels looked good. Keep on as planned, his next dose of mirtazapine due tomorrow.

Then I went downstairs to feed breakfast. And a lethargic Pumpkin wanted none of it. Nothing I offered tempted him. At all. Not even deli chicken. Nope nope nope.

God DAMN. I called the vet’s office, was able to speak briefly with the vet before she went into surgery. Could be the mirtazapine has worn off already; could be.... Well, the plan is to watch him, see if he’ll feel like eating later. If he doesn’t by this afternoon, give him his next dose a day early, and let her know what’s going on by tomorrow.

And if he still won’t eat? Quality of life, not length, will determine what comes next.