You Know You’ve Lost a Pet When …

March 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Posted in CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Food, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap | Leave a comment
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Damn this is hitting me hard … 😦

Before and After 5

See my post about Charlie’s quirks – https://doodlesmom.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/cats/

 

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Another Goodbye…

February 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Posted in CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap | 1 Comment
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The house is so empty now.

I notice it especially after the girls have gone to bed.  There’s no one pestering me for a cuddle-on-demand, or hoping to benefit from my nightly Cheesies snack.

For those of you who are not cat, or pet-person, stop reading now.

IMG-20141115-00850We had to put our Male cat, Maverick (Mavvy) down on Saturday. He was battling end-stage Kidney Failure.  Our Vet told me, during one of our many talks about his declining health, that if he were Human, he would have been on Dialysis.  We are very familiar with Kidney Disease in our family, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  In December or January, the Vet told me that any measures we took at that point would only to be to prolong his life, not ‘fix’ it.  He was trying to be kind, knowing what Mavvy meant to me, to us – yet he had to drive home the message:  enjoy the time you have left with him.

We had 15 good years with our Cats. Mavvy was pre-deceased by his Sister Charlie in November.  Charlie had Cancer.  She had a large tumour in her abdomen, the size of a man’s fist.

We didn’t know, until it was too late.

With Charlie, it was obvious that it was her time to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

My Bobcat

My Bobcat

She loved us unconditionally.

Well, as much as a female cat can love anyone. She was unique. She was beautiful.  She was snarky.  She was my Bobcat.  If you entered the same room as her, she would let you know you were on her property.  She would make a sound, a trill, her version of ‘hey I’m here’.  She wanted affection on her own terms, she’d walk over for a pat on the head and scratch under the chin and after a few minutes, would go back to one of her favourite spots.

Alex would say, typical female – she would leave after she got what she wanted.

There was no question that it was Charlie’s time. She lost so much weight, didn’t want to eat and could hardly walk.  The option of Euthanasia wasn’t up for debate.  She was running out of time and we wanted to spare her a painful death.  She deserved that.

Mavvy though, was my boy through and through. I fell in love with him the minute I saw him.  He was all ears and paws and had the most mischievous look about him – I knew he was going to be trouble. We were only looking to get one cat, a female, but then they showed me her Brother and that was it for me.

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(L-R) Mavvy and Charlie about 8 weeks old

The two kittens spent the first few weeks sleeping on my neck or chest. Charlie gave this up after a while, I guess when she got too big or Mavvy claimed me all for himself.  The two of them were inseparable.  They would sleep together, play and groom each other.  They were crazy cats.

(L-R) Charlie and Mavvy. He knew he was caught...

(L-R) Charlie and Mavvy. He knew he was caught…

The first Christmas we had them, they were about 3 months old.  They thought the Christmas Tree made a great jungle gym.  They nearly knocked the tree down one day in their excited obsession playing with the ornaments.  It was years before I could place ornaments lower than three feet off the ground – first because of the cats, second because of my young girls.

The first time we had my Father-in-Law over for dinner, I remember being in the kitchen, fixing whatever it was we were having for dinner.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my FIL’s hand reach out and grab Charlie by the scruff of the neck.  She jumped up on the table and helped herself to the butter.

They were little stinkers.

Every night for 15 years, up until last Friday, Mavvy would try to lie on my chest. Most times he succeeded and I’d have to put the iPad aside because he wanted my attention.  Now.  He would rub his head against the side of my face in greeting as if to say “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii” – even if he just saw me a few minutes ago.  He would ‘bark’ to let us know he was absolutely starving and we had to feed him.  Both of those things he also liked to do at 4:30 in the morning.  He was such a pest.  His affection knew no bounds.  His soft purrs were always so comforting.

After we lost Charlie, we were afraid he would go into mourning for her. He seemed for the most part, to be fine.  We could tell he would call for her sometimes.  When he was in the basement he would make a cry that sounded like he was saying ‘Hel-lo’.  I think at first, he was calling her.  We noticed his coat was looking scruffy.  I thought it was because he wasn’t grooming himself – Charlie used to make sure he had a daily bath, and she was no longer there.

Just before Christmas, Mavvy got very sick – he couldn’t hold his head up on his own and other things. We thought that would be it for him, but we changed his diet and gave him vitamin supplements and he seemed to perk up and be his old self again.  His coat was soft and silky again, like it used to be.  It was encouraging.  We (I) thought his problems were in the past and he could have a few more years with us.

Shortly after that it seemed that he was becoming Diabetic again because he was suddenly ravenous, all the time. Even after we fed him, he wanted more food.  He was also drinking and peeing a lot.

Last week he started lying on the kitchen floor a lot. The floor is cool and both he and Charlie did this near the end.

Thursday night he refused his vitamins and didn’t want his canned food. He ate a bit of Kibble only.  He also spent a lot of time in the basement, sitting in the chair next to Alex’s computer that he and Charlie used to share at night.  He wouldn’t come when he was called.  He stopped pestering me for food.  He would lie in front of his water dish, even if he wasn’t drinking.  He just lay there. I was actually worried he would drown if he fell asleep.

Friday night when the girls and I came home, he wasn’t there to greet us. Normally he would be on the steps, waiting for us to get home.  Lexy found him in the chair in the basement.  The hiding instinct had begun.  His breathing was rapid.  He couldn’t get comfortable.  I didn’t know it at the time, but we had our last evening cuddle.

The next morning Lexy and I went to see my Mom. She surprisingly remembered Mavvy and asked how he was doing.  When we got home, his breathing was worse – fast but shallow and laboured.  He looked worn out.

We took Mavvy to the Vet (our regular Vet was closed so we had to go to the emergency Vet). She told us it was suspected he had fluid around his lungs which was causing him to have great difficulty breathing. The only way to know for sure was to have x-rays taken and tests run.  She said he may not survive the x-ray.  We made the decision to let him be with his Sister.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  I feel guilty.  I hope it was the right decision.  I hope he knows how much he was loved.

Most times it was hard to find where one cat ended, and the other began

Most times it was hard to find where one cat ended, and the other began

Can I Have Another Donut?

May 9, 2012 at 11:55 am | Posted in Caityisms, CKD, Kidney Disease, My Kid is a Donut, Transplant | Leave a comment
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Yesterday, Caity had an appointment with a Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist) at Sick Kids.  She found the day fairly exciting as we got to ride on a GO Train, a Subway, and a Taxi.  She looked around in awe at all the big buildings in the Toronto skyline.  Things commuters take for granted every day, she zeroed in on.  On seeing a homeless person:  “Mummy, why is that lady lying on the ground?  Why is that blue thing on her?”.  “It’s ok, Caity, she’s just sleeping, the blue tarp keeps the rain off of her”.  “Oh.”

Cait wasn’t too thrilled having to give some blood.  She couldn’t understand why they needed to do this.  I tried to explain to her that the doctors need to look at what’s going on inside her little body and sometimes that’s the only way they can find out if something’s not ok.  “Oh.”  She was however, very happy to go to Tim Horton’s on our way home and have a ‘Smores Donut all to herself for being a good girl.My Sweet Donut

Caity’s opinions:

On having to pee in a cup:  “Why do doctors want my pee?  That’s just gross.”

On having to collect all her pee in a jug over a 24 hour period a couple of weekends ago:  whispers “this is CRAZY!”

Caity must think that adults are nuts.  Her hypothesis is not that far off…

Caity relegated her whoasome tale to her big sister, embellishing every detail and ending each sentence with “…oh MY GOD!”

We found out last Fall during her first visit to Sick Kids when we had to stay overnight, that Caity not only had Kidney Stones, but she had a cyst in one of her Kidneys too.   The poor little thing was in so much pain at the time.  Caity has a very strong constitution.  It takes a lot to bring her down – she even wants to get up and play when she has Pneumonia – but when she had the Kidney Stones, she was so still and quiet.  It broke my heart and I knew she must have been in agony.

The Nephrologist didn’t seem concerned about the cyst – some kids get them, some kids don’t.  Caity doesn’t have Polycystic Kidney Disease (whew), which is good and it’s nothing more serious than a benign cyst. Cait will have an ultrasound in June and likely yearly after that unless they’ve detected some changes.  We were asked to stop giving her multivitamins (no more Flinstones!) because the B vitamins can apparently cause calcium stones.  Her blood tests showed that she’s otherwise healthy so there’s no issue with her not having the supplement.

Let me tell you, this has been an enormous weight off of my shoulders.  I fell asleep at 7:30 last night and woke up at 7 this morning.  I was exhausted and I guess my body was trying to tell me something… I hadn’t slept well for weeks.

Alex said Caity’s wrapped around my little finger … how could she not be?

Posts from the (i)Pad

March 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Caityisms, CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Transplant | Leave a comment
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I had about 59 different topics for this post and some time between the gym and the ride home I had forgotten all of them.

I blame it on Peroxide poisoning.

It’s been a rough week at home, everyone’s been sick. Caity’s Asthma has been on Defcon 1 for most of the time. It’s exhausting getting up 3 or more times a night to make sure she gets her puffer so she’ll stop wheezing. She seems to be getting better and last night she didn’t wake me, which was a nice change. Alex has Bronchitis and is off work, poor guy. When he gets sick, because of his suppressed immune system, it usually kicks the crap out of him and hangs around way longer than it would with someone else.

The weather has been fantastic – mid-teens. Lady GaGa has been heard blaring from the open sunroof of my Santa Fe. Seems like it’s been too long since the last time I had the windows open. The birds in my neighbourhood are back too – Robins and Cardinals greet me in the morning, lately at 5 am, but they’re there. I miss them in the Winter. By June I want a Bazooka by my bed on Saturday mornings, the love-fest quickly waning.

Flowers are starting to poke through the dirt, Crocus and Tulips.

Spring’s here again. It’ll be ok again…

Caity’s grumpy tonight, like a Bear with sore bits. I tried to get her out of her meltdown by asking to bite her yummy toes….

“Noooooooo”

“Yes, they’re my toes to eat….”

“Nooooooooooooooo”

“Caity, I made those toes so I have the right to eat them….”

“Your tummy made them Mummy…”

Sheesh.

On the bright side, as a side note, my cat Mavvy’s Diabetes is in remission 🙂 – no more Insulin shots!

A Good Milestone

January 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Posted in CKD, Daddy-O, Kidney Disease, Transplant | 2 Comments
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Too tired to write. Tomorrow is Alex’s 2nd Kidney-versary.  I’m still in awe of it all.

For those of you who haven’t heard all the details, read this.  And this.  And this. And this (if you want a laugh).

I’ll be sentimental later…

Things my Kids Said…

December 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Yesterday the girls were talking about their beds.

“Well, Mommy has her own bed too” said Caity.

“Not really.” replied Lexy.  “she has to share it with Daddy.  We’re lucky, we get our own beds…”

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Caity’s crazy about monkeys. She has been since, well, she was born.  Anyone who knows her, knows that her friend George is most beloved and she carries him everywhere.  Poor George lost the stuffing in his middle quite some time ago (it migrated to his feet), and he can no longer sit on his own.  George is a good monkey.  He gives me a hug and a cheerful “ooh ooh ahh ahh” every morning when Caity gets up.  You can’t ask for a better friend than that.

For Christmas, Santa brought Caity the “Monkey Dunk” game.  We opened it yesterday and as I was separating the banana tokens, I told Caity that she better keep George away from them because he might eat the bananas and then they couldn’t play the game.

“Mommy…” Caity said, rolling her eyes at me.  “George isn’t real….”

————

Happy New Year everyone!  I haven’t posted as much as I’d like recently because I have been sans-computer since September.  Santa was a sweetheart this year and spoiled me rotten by bringing me an iPad.  I’ve put it to good use so far and despite what my Husband says, I haven’t burned out the battery yet…

Here’s hoping the odd year curse* is left behind us once again and a promising even year is ahead again.  I, for one, cannot wait to see this year pass, it was stressful to say the least.  All the best, see you next year 🙂

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*The odd year curse is something I have noticed throughout my life.  Bad things happen in odd years and good in even.  I’ve lost jobs in odd years, gained them in even.  People very close to me (myself included) have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses in odd years and ‘cured’ in even.  It always seems like if bad things are going to happen they will happen in an odd year (9/11).  Although My kids were both born in odd years, their births were both difficult, Caity still struggling with some of it.

This Would be Easier on an iPad…

November 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Caityisms, CKD, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I don’t even know where to begin with this post. I’m beginning to think that I need to purchase a timeshare parking space near the Hospital, because that’s where I’ve spent so much, too much, time lately.

Last Monday I thought I pulled a muscle in my back. Last Thursday, I was cold at work. I’m NEVER cold at work. I wear t-shirts and I’m still warm. Last Saturday the fever peaked at 102 and my side was aching. I went to the Doctors and they told me that I had another Kidney infection. Frack.

I missed taking my kids for Trick or Treating on Monday for the first time, ever. I was almost too sick to hand out the treats.

Tuesday after dinner Caity said she ate too much. Ok. She went to bed and from the time she lay down she started crying. Hard. Cait’s been known to pitch a fit when she doesn’t want to do something and I attributed her crying to that. I yelled up the stairs for her to be quiet, and she said “Mommy, my tummy REALLY hurtsssss.”

We went through the usual questions, do you have to go to the bathroom? Nooooo. Do you think you’re going to be sick? Nooooo. Where does it hurt? Heeeerrrrreee (pointing to the space on the right of her belly button). I tried lying with her, thinking she had indigestion an rubbed her back. She kept yelling at me that she hurt and continued crying hard. My gut told me there was something going on.

I brought her downstairs with me and told Alex that we’d probably need to go to Emerg. He didn’t think it was that bad. Then she started throwing up. Then the fever started. Then the moaning started. And the screaming. Around 10 he took her in.

The Emerg Doctor said it was probably a virus but ordered an Ultrasound just in case.

They needed a Urine sample so Alex took her to the bathroom and told her she needed to pee in a cup.

Caity tilted her head and looked at her Dad incredulously. “Seriously??”

Alex laughed and said, “yes.”

She was still a little confused, “They’re not going to make me drink it, are they??”

The Emerg Doctor said she probably had a virus, but scheduled an ultrasound for the morning. They got home around 1 am. I got about 2 hours sleep. I think.

I took Cait for the ultrasound on Wednesday. I was standing behind the Tech and could see everything, not that I knew much of what was on the screen.  We waited for the results and the ER Doctor wanted a Urology consult.  He said Caity had two Stones, one in her bladder, one by her right Kidney causing it to back up.  She was pale, she was tired all the time, she was obviously very sick.  She was so sick that she didn’t make a fuss at the hospital. She sat quietly and even napped. This is a kid who went through two boughts of Pneumonia and stunned the doctors that all she wanted to do was play.  She broke my heart several times that night.

They told us to go to Sick Kids.

Alex left work and we went down to the Sick Kids Emergency.  We spent about 4 hours in the waiting room after being told we were third in line.  Kids were running around, Parents not parenting.  Caity lying in my lap, unwanting or unable to move, sleeping.  We get a room and a while later another ultrasound.  This time they can’t find the stones, but they can see evidence of where they were – the path they took was inflamed, dilated, sore.  The Radiologist suggested another scan be performed in the morning to verify his findings.  I made Alex go home, unwilling as he was to leave his family – his daughter so vulnerable, his Wife a mess.  There wasn’t room for the three of us to sleep there and one of us needed a decent sleep.  There was also the issue of our cat, Mavvy’s Diabetes.  He had missed one of his shots already, and shouldn’t miss another.  He drove home around 2 am.  I rolled around on the reclining chair, unable to get comfy and I think I fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

The Doctors at Sick Kids are amazing.  They treat their patients like children, not little Adults.

After a heartwrenching night filled with little kids screaming and crying from pain, the next morning we waited and waited and waited and waited for an ultrasound.  Caity was so hungry and wasn’t allowed to eat, but anytime anyone with a uniform came into our room she immediately asked for some chocolate cookies and chocolate milk.  She was feeling better but her side still hurt.  We finally had the last ultrasound and it confirmed that the stones were gone but revealed something else – possible Appendicitis.  Great.  Does this kid have to go through anything more than she has already had to deal with?

After a consult with a really cute Surgical Resident and his Attending, they determined that Caity was no longer in any immediate danger and she could be released.

We came home last night, tired … beyond tired.  One of the Doctors said we must have been exhausted … I told him, yesterday we were exhausted…

Today I sent Caity to Daycare only, so she could have a calmer day to relax.  Ha.  She was Queen of the Daycare and ordered the other two kids around.  When I picked the girls’ up, they were at the Park running around.  It’s amazing, a child’s ability to bounce back from an illness.  If you saw her now, you’d never believe she was so sick just two days ago.

I finally feel like I can breathe again.  My child is safe.  This weekend is all about cuddles with the girls and relaxing.  We all need it.  We may even go to the movies.

Maelstrom

August 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Caityisms, CKD, Daddy-O, Depression, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, My Kid is a Donut, Transplant | 2 Comments
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A maelstrom /ˈmeɪlstrɒm/ is a very powerful whirlpool; a large, swirling body of water. A free vortex, it has considerable downdraft (source: wikipedia).  The preceding sentence describes depression perfectly. It’s been difficult to deal with and it has caused some issues at home.  It’s been challenging at times to feel any kind of self-worth or to feel you have value.  It’s easier to just meander through the days, waiting for night, only to start all over again the next day.  

 

I was reminded recently of where I fit in this family.  Alex sent this to me the other day and I told him I would post it.  I don’t think he believed me.  Well.  Here it is.  I’ve edited some of it because there were some very personal things written that are only for the two of us, however most of the following is posted just to torture him: 

 

“In the last month or so there have been a few times where you have asked me “Why?” after I have told you that I love you.  I know that I am not always the most expressive person in the world but I wanted you to know there are many reasons that I have adored you from early on when we first met.  I am finding new ones all the time but these are a few of the reasons why you have had my heart for as long as I can remember:

 

  • The way you seem to fit just perfectly against my chest as you lean against me as we embrace.
  • The way you close your eyes and crack a tiny smile just as you tilt your head to kiss me.
  • On July 12, 2003 you gave me one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive in making me a Father for the first time of a wonderful baby girl who stole my heart the minute I saw her.  Then on Feb 6, 2007 you gave me the squeakiest monkey-loving ‘donut’ that anyone could hope for.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to adequately express the gratitude I have for you making me a father.
  • The way you bat those green eyes at me when you say “No” in a playful way.
  • The way you have become my best friend and someone I want to grow old with.
  • That a simple ‘Hey you’ when I walk in the door puts my heart at ease.
  • The beaming smile I see on your face when one of our girls does something that you are proud of.
  • Trying to put your foot against my leg at night under the covers. Yes I know I complain and try to stop you but deep down I still like it.
  • How you call me Cyclops when we touch our faces together.
  • How your “aggressive nesting” gave us a home that I cherish.
  • How you want more for your girls then either of ever had and try to do your best to make sure that happens.
  • How the first words out of your mouth when I got sick were “we will get through this… we always do”
  • How when I had my surgery you were one of the last things I saw before going in and one of the first things I saw when I woke up.
  • That you are very stubborn when it comes to my health and the rate at which my fingernail disappear.
  • The way you adore our girls and put them before yourself on so many occasions.
  • The fact you can tell how I am doing just by looking into my eyes.
  • The way you laugh when Caity comes up with another one of her ‘donut’ moments.
  • That you are one of the few people in this world that I can come to with a problem and know you will be there if I need you.
  • That eons ago you had enough balls to ask me out for coffee.
  • Your quasi-evil snicker as you try to eat your daughters’ toes, bum, belly or anything that looks biteable.
  • The way you sigh or whimper to try to get your way.
  • How you are still just as beautiful to me as the day that we met.
  • That just over 5 years ago you met me at the end of an aisle with all our loved ones there and composed yourself long enough to say ‘forever-ever’.  I was smiling in almost every picture taken that day… and that is saying something.
  • How a few days after that you didn’t kill me for losing my ring to the ocean.
  • How after the 4,310 days (give or take) that we have been together you can still take my breath away and melt my heart with a mere glance.

 

This is just a tiny list of the things I am thankful for every day that we have been together.  You are my everything.  You are my Bum.  You give me purpose and make me a better person and father.  Never forget that.”

 

In The News…

June 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Posted in CKD, Daddy-O, Kidney Disease, Transplant | Leave a comment
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An article in the Toronto Star today…

http://www.healthzone.ca/health/article/1008131–ontario-creates-online-donor-registry

2 words:  about time.

Check it out and sign up, please. …

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**Update, the website crashed opening day because so many people tried to sign up.  A mark of success.

I was one of the 500 people who successfully signed up.  When’s your turn?  They should be up and running today…

 

One Year Later, Renewed Hope

January 21, 2011 at 5:15 am | Posted in CKD, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Toeses and Noses, Transplant | 6 Comments
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Today marks a very important day in our little world.  It is the first anniversary of my Husband’s successful Kidney Transplant!  Part of me wants to shout from the rooftops, and the other part just wants to weep.  I had my computer with me and wrote while I was waiting, endlessly, for news.  This was my first post of the day.  This was my second, third, and fourth heart wrenching posts.  I don’t think I’ve cried that much in one day since the first time he was admitted to the hospital, nearly a year earlier.

I want to thank his Dad, Marc, again for his selfless gift.  There aren’t many men in the world like you …

He’s passed a significant milestone, a significant hurdle and so far everything’s working as it should.  There have been a few bumps along the road.  He’s had a cold since August and a cough nearly as long.  Part of the cough might be attributed to his Blood Pressure medication – it’s a known side effect.

If all goes well at his clinic visit on Monday, he’ll be reduced to a 6 month clinic visit schedule and his blood tests should move to every three or four weeks.  His creatinine level has remained in the 150s which is excellent, very close to normal.  I still worry about him though.  It’s my job.

Happy Kidneyversary, Bum!  Congratulations!  One down, many more to go …

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