Saturday, November 27, 2010

The latest

Just a quick update... I've spent a relatively uneventful week recovering at home, which is a good thing. We went to JFM's for Thanksgiving dinner, which was very nice. That was my first time out of the house since coming home from the hospital.

I've been trying to balance activity with rest. I've learned my limit at least once by overdoing it. I sat up all day Tuesday, the week anniversary of the surgery, and was in pain on Tuesday night as a result. So I decided I'd wait a while before having another "sit up all day" session. I'll be able to do that eventually, but it seems that last Tuesday was not the day to try it.

Overall, though, on Thanksgiving I gave thanks for still being here. Things could easily have gone the wrong way medically, the night of the surgery. The nurse who came in to check on me was just ending her shift, but she had a sense that something was wrong and instead of just blowing it off and going home, she followed up on it. If she hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't be here now.

But, thank God, she DID stop in and discover I was unresponsive, she started the emergency procedures in motion, and the treatments were effective. So that was one big bullet dodged.

Fortunately, the biggest thing I am dodging these days is the attempts of Captain to curl up on my tummy. It was his favorite thing to do, pre-surgery, but my incision is not yet ready for 13 lbs of purring tabby to nap on it. So every time he tries to walk on me, I move him bodily so he's lying next to me. He's none too pleased about it, but my hope is that I'll have a kitty-ready tummy before long.

The Critterfest is happy to have Mom home. I can always count on having at least one furball nearby. Well, I could normally count on having a furball or three in the vicinity before the surgery, too, but in the aftermath of my absence, they seem to be more determined to Park Near Mom.

Anyway, I have no problem in saying that overall, it's been uneventful around here. I've had enough of events and crises to last me a while. ;-) Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spectrum, I'll miss you

Dear Spectrum,

I would be there to bid you goodbye today, if I could. They're having the ceremony at Broad and Pattison to honor the building one last time, before the wrecking ball delivers its first strike, even as I type. But in no way am I medically ready to travel a mile and sit or stand in the cold in a huge, and I do mean HUGE, crowd.

So I am watching the ceremony on TV.

I will miss the Spectrum forever. It's a part of my earliest memory, in fact. I remember standing in the back seat of my grandpop's car, looking at the metal framework of girders when the building was under construction. Given the timeline of the Spectrum's construction, I can calculate that I was about 2 years old when that memory took place.

And heck... I almost went out a week before the Spectrum did. See the previous post (which for some reason came up without text when I posted from the cell phone, so I've repaired it). But fortunately, I'm still here, so I'm bidding the building goodbye as best I can, at home watching on TV.

And no wrecking ball can ever take the memories away. Those will stay with me forever, even as the building itself joins them in the realm of memory. So, Long Live the Spectrum. They can take the physical building away, but the memories will continue for all time.

I nearly didn't make it

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. It turns out I needed them.

I had surgery on Tuesday the 16th. Afterward, my family met up with me in the hospital room. After they left, I tried to watch the end of the Flyers game, but I started dozing before it was over.

Next thing I knew, the lights were all on and the room was wall-to-wall with all kinds of doctors talking loudly. They might as well have teleported into the room, for all I knew.

Seems I'd had more pain medication given to me in the recovery room than I was capable of handling. Fortunately, the nurse had a funny feeling and went in the room to check on me at about 10:30. I was completely unresponsive and my blood oxygen levels were dropping.

So she called the Rapid Response Team and they gave an antidote to the pain medication. Boy, did I wake up. Unfortunately, I woke up in all kinds of pain, as the pain med was counteracted. But at least I was breathing, a habit I've become rather fond of over the past 47 years or so. So there are some tradeoffs that are worth making.

The last thing on my mind before I fell asleep was among the first things I thought of on being revived: "Do you know the final score of the Flyers game? I fell asleep before it ended." That got a laugh out of the small army of medical personnel in the room. :-)

I got sent down to the Telemetry floor for a while, so they could monitor more vital signs than I ever knew existed. I felt like I was connected to half the equipment in the hospital. for a while there. But bit by bit, I gave them the test results they were looking for so they were able to gradually stop monitoring things and eventually send me back to my original floor.

All this adventure is partly why I came home on Sunday night instead of Thursday, as originally hoped. But the big thing is, I came home.

And I came home minus the fibroid that weighed 7.9 lbs and was about the size of a football. Win/win.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here we go

Well, it's Tuesday the 16th, which means it's Go Time. I report later this morning to the hospital for surgery. If all goes well, I can expect to come home on Thursday or Friday.

Mark has the rest of the week off, so he'll be holding down the fort at home where the Fuzz Committee is concerned. Fortunately, Mini is doing MUCH better on her new medication, and I showed Mark tonight how I pill her: it involves hiding the pill in some cheese. A few OM NOM NOMs later, the dog's been medicated. :-)

Captain, Stanley, and Mini are ALL probably going to be hounding Mark for attention. He's going to have to learn to pet three critters while having only two hands. ;-)

I hope to have my cell phone with me at the hospital, so I hope to post an update from there.

Good night!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Poor Mini

What a dreadful past few days. Mini started exhibiting pain of some sort overnight on Tuesday. Even though she seemed herself on Wednesday morning, by the afternoon she was crying out in pain when she tried to lie down or get back up. I was having a hard time determining where the pain actually was, but I could tell she was in extreme discomfort.

I called the vet clinic that treated her a few days ago, but they don't have a vet in there on Wednesdays. I made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, their first available opening, and in the meantime started dosing her with the leftover extra Tramadol from her treatment on 10/30.

Long story short: Mini has some sort of degenerative disk issue in her neck, which small dogs are prone to having. What we're seeing is a flare of that condition. The vet upped Mini's Tramadol dose to 3x/day and gave me more pills.

There's an anti-inflammatory med that the vet hesitated to give me yesterday, even though it would work more quickly than the Tramadol to relieve the pain, because it's tough on the kidneys and Mini's kidney values are a bit suppressed as it is.

But after showing improvement yesterday, today my poor Munchkin Pup is having the worst difficulty yet. I had to feed her breakfast by hand, because she could barely bend her head to reach the food bowl.

There is no way I can go into the hospital in a few days with the dog in this condition. Poor Mark will have enough to do just taking care of the Critter Committee if they're all feeling well and in robust health. I can't have Mark sitting on the floor feeding the dog by hand twice a day on top of everything else.

So I have a call in to the vet. I want the anti-inflammatory for Mini. Unless it would be disastrous for her kidneys to take that med for a few days, I want to hit the "reset" button and get her back to normal ASAP so Mark only needs to worry about the normal feeding/walking regimen for her and the Royal Felines.

I can't stand to see her like this. :-( Poor little sweetheart.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thank you, God!

Thank you, God! Mini's biopsy came back negative.

Ironically, the mass in her abdomen, like my fibroid, is a type of growth that's fueled by female hormones. So even though she's ten years old, with a mild heart murmur and slightly low kidney function, we're now looking at getting her spayed. We don't need this mass to grow back, which is a distinct possibility if she remains unspayed. I'm facing, shall we say, the human equivalent of said surgery in order to resolve the issue of the Rhode-Island-sized fibroid once and for all. (Though I get to keep my ovaries, in order to avoid surgical menopause.)

When I told the vet about my own impending surgery, she agreed that Mini's surgery can wait until I've recuperated from my own operation. So I'll be arranging for Mini's surgery in a few weeks, once I'm allowed to start resuming normal activity.

I can't even find the words to describe how relieved I am. I've about had my fill of waiting for biopsy results, after the past few months. Thank God everything's been benign, regardless of it's been me or Mini, but my nerves can't take much more of this.

They do say that people and their pets start to resemble one another. Apparently, my medical records and Mini's are having some things in common: arthritic knees and hormone-induced tissue growth that needs to be made to go away. Here's hoping that the NEXT thing our medical records share in common is successful surgery and complete recovery.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


While walking Mini the Wee tonight, I encountered a little preschoo-aged girl and her dad. She asked the dog's name, and when I replied "Mini", she beamed. "THIS is Minnie, too!" and showed me her Minnie Mouse socks.


Mini the Wee. Ambassador of Cute for all ages.

More prayers needed

Mini update: they found some sort of mass in her abdomen, and sent a tissue sample to be biopsied.

I can't get away from that freaking word "biopsy" this year. Geesh. Well, here's hoping Mini's results are as benign as mine were. Results are expected back in 7-10 days (counting from Saturday), so we're in for another long week (to go with the one I spent waiting for MY results to come back).

Medical decisions will be made based on what the test shows. But as far as I'm concerned, in the worst case scenario, I'm perfectly willing to engage in palliative care for as long as quality time can be procured for her. Mini's loved not just by me, but all over the neighborhood where we walk, not to mention by my family and friends.

But what I REALLY want, of course, is to be able to give her a nice LONG happy retirement here with me. She's such a great little dog.

She, meanwhile, is her normal happy self: interested in everything, craving doting, bouncing off the walls with joy when I pick up the leash, eating voraciously. I can't see any symptoms of illness in her behavior or her demeanor at all. So that gives me hope that whatever's going on, it's not impacting her health at this time. Here's praying it's benign, so we can just get the heck rid of the mass and go on with life.

Geeze. What a freaking year this has been.