I taught university level courses in sociology and criminal justice for over 30 years but now I'm retired and at 72 was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, bone marrow cancer. This site is now a chronicle of my journey with myeloma.
The cat, Princess Pretty Paws*, has been sleeping with me quite regularly lately.
She hasn’t always done so. At times I never saw her at night because she tended to hang out in the crawl space upstairs and only come out in the morning for breakfast. So, a few nights ago she and I had a talk and she told me that she was taking over half of the bed, the lower half. Well, I’m not averse to sharing my sleeping space with a cat but it would have been better, I think, if she had chosen to sleep on the right or left side of the bed. I like the left side so I would have gladly given over the right side. But, no, she was adamant that she would take the lower half of the bed. Fine. It’s a big bed, so why not? She wasn’t asking for exclusive use of the lower half, but predominant use.
The first night of this new arrangement was okay. We got along quite nicely. I could stretch my legs all the way to the bottom of the bed, and she didn’t complain about that. She did sidle up to my legs though and slept pushed right up against them. This was fine because I still had lots of room to move my legs into a better position.
The second night, a couple of nights ago now, she was determined to lay claim to the lower half of the bed. If I stretched my legs down to the bottom of the bed, she immediately and aggressively pushed up against them. If I moved, she moved. Soon, I found myself on the outer edge of the left side of the bed, she in possession of the whole queen size bed except for a small sliver of it on the left edge.
Look at this picture of her. She doesn’t look particularly nasty, does she? She’s quite sweet sometimes. She’s not a cuddler at all but she doesn’t mind being carried around if she’s in a good mood. However, she is prone to biting and clawing if she doesn’t feel things are going her way, or just to assert her dominance.
She doesn’t get along with the dog (Tilly), but they haven’t really tried very hard. Tilly tends to want to chase Princess and that doesn’t go over very well with the Princess nor with me. I don’t know what Tilly would do if she caught Princess and I don’t want to find out either. It’s obvious that Tilly is afraid of Princess.
Cats are generally weird and she’s a good representative of her species on this count. ______________________________________________________________________
*Given this name by my granddaughter, Ailey Vines.
Carolyn has her hands full these days, does she ever. I’m experiencing some particularly nasty side effects of one of my chemo meds weakening my legs to the point of near collapse, and last week we found Princess, our cat, in severe distress requiring long stays at the vets and heroic efforts to save her life. On top of that, there’s the puppy we brought into our lives. She’s a wonderful addition to the family, but she’s a rambunctious puppy, demanding of attention and needing some training to stop her from biting us incessantly, ripping our clothes and our bodies. Then there’s the garden.
Speaking of the garden. It’s unbelievable this year. We’ve been eating lettuce from the garden for weeks but now the peas are coming on strong and the broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi are in the pot. Some of the raspberries are ready to pick, the tomatoes are coming on as well as the zucchini and cucumbers. We’ve never had much luck with root vegetables, but this year it looks like the potatoes, carrots and beets will produce lots of tasty treats. The garlic is a bit behind this year but should be ready to pick in a week or so.
The cedar trees are loaded with cones this year to the point where they’re dragging the branches down. My favourite flowers, the lilies, are opening everywhere on the garden and this year we have a rare pond iris bloom. Such a delightful show! The birds are active too and the squirrels are busy picking the not-yet-ripe cherries. Looking out the living room window right now I’m seeing an American goldfinch, a purple finch, a couple of woodpeckers going after the suet attached to the feeder and a congeries of species, mostly thrushes, towhees, chickadees, and finches. At the pond is where we more often see kinglets and warblers. Of course, hummingbirds dash about in their usual frenzy all over the garden. So much to eat these days for all the birds.
It’s been tough lately. I’m in quite a bit of neuropathic pain from one of my chemo drugs, something I’ve already written about a couple of posts back. My legs want to give out on me and if I should ever get down on the ground, I can’t get back up on my own. It’s downright discouraging. One of the main problems with this is finding the right pain med to deal with it. Hydromorphone is ineffective against neuropathic pain although I’m always tempted to take it so that I get stoned enough to be able to sleep. But I don’t like that strategy so I’m looking to other ways of getting by. I’m cutting back on my hydromorphone and taking more acetaminophen. That seems to allow me to sleep better while avoiding some of the worse brain fog and intense fatigue that I get from the opiates.
It may be that some of the back and leg pain I’m feeling is from conditions other than those produced by myeloma or chemo. To see if there’s a mechanical issue, my local oncology GP has ordered an MRI to check things out. He also suggested I think about taking Gabapentin or Lyrica, but I’m not having anything to do with those drugs. They may help in some ways, but they can create lots of problems I don’t need. I’m talking to the palliative care people too and they may have suggestions. In the meantime we wait and hope the pain attenuates. I’m operating at a very reduced capacity at the moment. Must carry on, though. No point in quitting now.
Thank goodness I have Carolyn and the garden for solace.
Princess Pretty Paws
Princess is at least ten years old and has been very healthy since we got her two or three years ago. Last week we got the puppy and Princess disappeared. At first I thought there might be a connection, but Princess is not the kind of cat to run away. In any case, Carolyn found her upstairs a few days ago. She was obviously in distress. We think that she may have been hiding out in the crawlspace as she got sicker and sicker. So Carolyn immediately took her to the vet. Princess stayed there a few hours for observation and tests. The vet was at a loss to figure out what was wrong with her. The one real anomaly in her blood was a high bilirubin count indicating a liver problem. We thought it might be poisoning, but that wasn’t the case.
It turns out she has a serious problem with a bowel infection or something along those lines and she has inflamed organs. So what to do? Well, some people might have decided to put her down but that’s not our style. More tests and more again. She saw the vet three days last week as well as today, on Sunday. We have a great vet!
Princess has been on a feeding tube for three days now and we seem to have that under control. She’s on lots of meds that we give her at feeding time. Her fever has dropped, she’s eating (through the tube) and she’s getting more active. She’s not throwing up and she’s using the litter box. All good signs. So we carry on and see how it goes. We keep our fingers crossed. No point in giving up on her now!
Tilly is a Bernese Mountain Dog, Shepherd and Maremma Italian sheep dog cross. She’s nine weeks old and is a gift from our amazing daughters and their families. She has a great personality but like most puppies of that age is teething and biting is something she does indiscriminately. She plays rough. She bites whatever comes along: cardboard boxes, chewy toys, table legs, blankets, and us, of course. Carolyn’s arms are scratched up quite badly as you might expect. Mine are less so. We’ve found some puppy social classes for her and with some training she’ll be just fine. She’ll grow into a wonderful, mellow girl. For the moment though, she is a handful. There’s no turning our backs on her for a second. She’s very fond of the fountain next to the deck and lays on the rock taking a nip at the fountain from time to time. She’s figured out how to get under the deck and she goes from one end of it to the other under there. She figures that’s a real hoot. She loves her treats and is now responding readily to the sit command but she might just ignore that if she she wants to play, meaning attack and bite us. To be fair, she can be gentle too and plays by herself quite well. She’s not always bitey.
We’ll have to be very vigilant when Princess starts wandering around the house and property. We don’t want Tilly chasing her. It will be a challenge.
So there’s sorrow in the household at the moment but there’s a lot of joy and hope too. Be careful out there in the Time of Covid-19!