Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Phew! OK to fight another day

Phew! Well the vet wasn't too panicked by Scooter's bloody poo. She said that it could be quite common for dogs and cats to have this if they have had a bad tummy upset, and he is really in the 'looks like coloured water' category lately, so that's a BIG upset. It might be that after so many kinds of medicine lately, he might have some ulceration inside :(

ALSO discovered that I might not have helped- as getting his tablets down him has been so difficult, I've been grinding them up and hiding them altogether in a bit of mushy food, then syringing this into his mouth. I just asked the vet if it was ok to give them altogether like this, and she said that there was one that I SHOULDN'T BE GRINDING UP at all. The one he has for his thyroid has a protective coating and needs to be digested slowly...... oh dear. I'm sorry, Scoob! He hadn't taken it for days and I was desperate to get it inside him. It's from that day that he's had the runny poos.


Yesterday we had another day of him not eating much. But he did enjoy more time in the sun. Me and Luvbug sneaked out to a charity book fair, where, after a few hours, we amassed 3 carrier bags' full of books. When we got back, Scooter was on a garden chair and when Luvbug went out to say hello, Scooter stepped up and put his front paws on the table and stretched up to greet him. Awww he really does love his lapdaddy!

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This weekend Mum has gone to my brother's. Insert cheer here. It was touch and go as he said he might not make it cos his car was in the garage again. He did have a hired car, so I didn't really get why he couldn't commit. Hmmm. Mum was disappointed and said, "It's a break for me, you see." I had to bite my tongue and try not to laugh- a break for HER?!!! LOL! Well at least I'm glad she sees it this way. I'd hate for her to think she's being dumped somewhere against her will and then sitting there missing us.
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More fish is on the hob for Scoob. He has had a nibble at his dry food today for the first time in over a week and a half. That's a good sign (touch wood now!)

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This time last week I was on my way to London to meet Andrea of Found Art fame. I should have blogged about this sooner! I forgot my camera :(
We went to a huge art shop, where I bought some stuff to do lino cutting. I'd like my Xmas card this year to be a lino print. Then we had a lovely lunch and a ride on the top of a London bus, seeing lots of the famous places. Andrea gave me an early birthday present. She had gone all the way to Harrods to find them- genuine little macarroons from Paris. WOW! Thanks again for these, and for a great day, Andrea!

Ooo yum. Sorry the photo doesn't show them all, but as Mama Bear can testify, some choccies move faster than the speed of camera.

You can read more about our day at Beanie's blog here.

Thank you all, again, for your kind messages of support and care.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Crossing fingers...

Here I am again with another update on my furball.

He had a great day yesterday! He ate well, took his meds, and the snorting and cataarh seems to have almost gone completely- he has his normal purr back and even his normal sounding meow has returned.

We had to nip out in the afternoon to take Mum for a check up. I gave him a hot water bottle and left him dozing, but we all forgot that it would get dark by the time we were back, and forgot to leave a light on for him. Well, when we came in he sat up on his desk and meowed us a good telling off!

In the evening he jumped up to sit next to Luvbug lots of times, like he used to a while ago.

Last night I went to bed calm and happy for the first time in ages! I didn't feel it necessary to stay up with him or try to sleep on the sofa.

This morning, though, he suddenly looked very thin. He has always been a big fella. I remember one vet saying, as Scoot got out of his basket years ago, "Gosh, he's a big brute, isn't he?!" It is strange to see his tummy tuck well in behind his hips, to feel his spine and even a hint of rib when I stroke him. How can you lose weight so quickly?

He was haunched up for a while, and I guessed it was tummy ache- he has had runny poos since Sunday ::(   I have been checking them to make sure there is no blood in them, and today for the first time there was.

So, it's to the vet again at 3.20 today.....

The passing of blood like this is associated with liver damage. It would be cruelly ironic if the meds have started to work but at the expense of his liver.

On the other hand, after nearly a week of runny poos maybe he could have something like piles! Not sure what they'll do today, maybe a blood test? I even scooped a little of the poo into a plastic box for the vet. OMG there is poo in my fridge!!!!

Well since that, he has eaten again. He has had steamed white fish and water. He and I sat on a blanket in the sun for a while, too. He loves the sunshine so much. His black fur gets warm so quickly!

I'm trying to think pragmatically, and tell myself that he had a good day yesterday and a sunbathe today, and both these things are unexpected blessings, and I'm so glad he has had these.

He is back on his chair, sleeping off his fish, curled up with the occasional little snore ;)

Please keep things crossed for us all................ and thanks so much for all your lovely messages, which are so helpful..........

Thursday, 27 October 2011


We've been so worried for Scooter as he hasn't been eating or drinking. Then yesterday he drank again, and took just a mouthful of food.

Today, he has had some special smelly mush from the vet (Hill's A/D)- about a quarter of the tin with his medicine hidden inside, and then Luvbug made him a fishy soup from tuna and warm water, which he lapped up. Scoot is now on 'his' chair, on top of a fluffy sheet and hot water bottle, sleeping it all off. He's quiet, no snorting, just the occasional snore :)

I took this just now-

I took these last night. He loves the fire but hasn't stretched out in front of it like this in a while;

 When he got too warm he came and lay near to me and let me just rest my hand on him:
Despite the weight he's lost, he's still a lovely big bear cub of a cat, isn't he?

So what did the vet say?

Basically we have two options-

1) send him to an animal hospital near Cambridge, about a 90 minute drive away.
There, they will be able to use MRI scans as well as xrays to see if he has anything untoward in the skull or neck, like a tumour or polyps. Whereas my own vet would be able to do xrays here in Colchester, he wouldn't be able to do any surgery like this; hence the long journey.

2)continue to treat the symptoms with anti-biotics, decongestant and painkillers, monitor things regularly and if it all gets too waring for Scooter, that is, if it seems to be wearing him out and making him depressed, we let him go...

If Scoot were 10 years younger I think I'd take him to the hospital and do whatever I could. But at 18 1/2, and having had 2 seizures that I know of, there is a risk he won't come out of the anaesthetic.

I could say goodbye, then hand him over for the trip to the hospital and hope that it isn't really goodbye. But then he gets to be stressed and scared, driven away with strangers, handled by strangers in strange rooms. If he doesn't come out of that alive, it's a horrible last few hours to have. Luvbug says Scooter looks for me if I'm out or even upstairs too long. And when I'm alone with him he looks for Luvbug and his Granny. So he might feel abandoned, scared and confused.

So, sadly, though I think it will be accepting an earlier end, we have opted for (2). I still get bouts of guity tears, thinking I'm not doing all I can though...

Now, every day is borrowed, and a blessing. We've all shed tears.
Just have to try not to think ahead. Just give him what he needs for now, this moment. Does his hot water bottle need refilling? Would he like a scrunch under the chin? Must try to think no further than this, and we'll get through the next week or two, more if we are very lucky.....

Thank all again for your messages here, emails and texts. It all helps me when I'm tying myself up in knots over things..........

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Off to the vet's later..... doesn't look good....

Yesterday, Scooter was so sociable! He was going tap-tap-tap with his paw like he used to, tapping for attention or to tell us where exactly he'd like to be scrunched and tickled. When I hung out the washing, he had his head in the peg bag, investigating. Then he was pawing the washing and lying across my feet.

Later, he meowed through the open door, demanding someone come out and pay him due attention. I took a blanket out and stretched it on the grass in the sun. There, for nearly an hour, I was making a fuss of him, and he was stretching out on his side, purring and rolling over onto the back of his head.

Then he lay on the garden table. I sat with him, and he decided he wanted to be IN my cardigan the same time as me. He tugged at the fabric and then patted it down so he could sit on it. I was stuck for quite some time till I managed to get my arms out, making a little tent for us, at which point Luvbug took this photo of us.

Indoors, he jumped up onto the sofa next to Luvbug, something he used to do, but hasn't for ages. And in the evening he sat with mum.

He ate steamed white fish, wolfing it down and licking his chops, and took his medicine.

Now, what a difference a day makes...

This morning he is purring quietly. That snorting that had been a problem for weeks has gone. But he doesn't seem able to close his mouth, or maybe it is that he is breathing through it. One side of his nose is very runny, with gluey, blood-stained mucus. He won't eat or drink. And he has taken to sleeping in his litter tray, which he doesn't usually use; I have a clean one there 'just in case' for him, but he always prefers to go out to his patch in the garden. So strange that he is suddenly asleep in his tray.....

Vet appointment is 4.40pm. I just keep thinking how Fluffy took to sleeping in her tray near the end. And I can't tempt him to eat or drink.... I've got his medicine down him by grinding it down, adding it to some creamy food and squirting it into his mouth. It took him by surprise but then he sat there lipping his lips. I think he liked it in the end. It has helped a wee bit, maybe. But him being asleep in the tray is like a 'this is it' sign to me...... any thoughts from the cat people out there??

Meanwhile I have to pull myself together as I have an appointment with an ENT consultant myself this afternoon, about my hearing loss. It has taken months to get the appointment, otherwise I'd cancel it and stay with Scoot.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

October sun

Here is Scooter in the last of the summer sun. I sneaked this first photo through the kitchen window:  


A little later, snuggled back down on his desk and blankies in the conservatory:

A sudden shower with the sun still out led to this rainbow appearing over our garden:

I hope it isn't 'rainbow bridge'.

Back to the vet next week. I've been reading about nasopharyngeal polyps in cats.
The symptoms seem to fit quite well, especially the chronic sneezing at the beginning, which Scooter was doing a few months ago. The idea of some growth in his throat fits too- the noise he is almost constantly making is like he is trying to clear his throat of something. And he snores, too.

I'll mention this article to the vet when we see him. But with his age, and seizures, who knows if he would come through surgery? It's knocked me sideways, all this, simply cos I never thought of him as an old cat! He's so big! Just today it's hit me that I need to think of him as a little old man, not my cheeky little boy.

Please keep things crossed for him.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Holding on

Still here.
Thank you for your kind comments.

I stayed on the sofa last night. Managed to sleep a couple of hours. Made a fuss of Scooter, whose sinus problem was having a noisy stage. When Kevin got up for work I gave Scooter his morning meds in a piece of raw pork, then kissed K 'have a nice day' and headed for bed.

A little more sleep, check-in with mum on phone at 9am, then downstairs to check on Scooter who was........ sitting outside in the sun!

I kept an eye on him out there, and as the sun moved round so I put down blankies farther and farther down the garden to catch the warm rays. Eventually the roof of the house made it impossible to keep up. Eventually he retreated to indoors again.

Mum was up not long after 1. She has managed to get a bus here on her own for about 2 weeks now which is at once amazing and terrifying.

I cooked salmon for everyone. Scooter had a belly full.

I haven't eaten much this week, but I enjoyed my salmon pie and chips.

Still low. Cry when I think of Scooter not getting better.

Meeting up with Beanie on Sunday. Nervy but optimistic. Don't think I'm the best company at the mo.

I am saddest of all to see the summer go, especially when I see Scooter clinging to the last warm rays. He loves to lie in the sun. If only he were going into summer with this illness, not winter.

I can't think very much. I am worn out.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

V low :(

I've been sinking for a while, but bobbing up and down really, so not hitting the bottom.

These last few days it's almost undescribable but I'll try for you:

  • it's like when your computer goes into 'safe mode', shutting down everything but the essentials...
  • it's like being an origami shape that is now closing down inwards...
  • it's like grief, heart wrenching, head spinning, grief;  intermittent periods of blankness despersed with seeringly sharp heartbreak and buckets of tears.

Saw the GP today. Sending me for bloodtests to test hormone levels and thyroid.
Then saw the art therapist, who told me to ring the team there, any time, whether he's there or not.

The pills don't work, not even the back up ones, so they've been increased.
I bought some brandy. But that doesn't work either.
Don't worry I only got a small bottle. I know it's not the answer. Just wanted a break from my head.

 1am here. Off to bed I suppose. Check on Scooter..... he is holding his own but not vrey animated, eating, a little. It's harder and harder to get the pills into him. A part of me has broken deep down and said, he is going.... he is fading away.... and I fought and fought that feeling and those words till I had no strength left, like it was my strength that kept him going, and now something deep down has let go...

Oh ignore me. I'm potty. I wish I could be normal.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Scooter the brave

I finally cleared up the conservatory, turned out two black bags of rubbish, re-filed stuff, discovered a duvet and pillow to wash and found a desk underneath it all. Hurray! A desk in the brightest room! A place to read, sip tea, crochet, create, in daylight............ er no, cos then Scooter found it. One folded quilt later and....

I took this one a few minutes later. He is enjoying the sun on his face. Look closely; I'm sure that's a wee smile there:

Like I said last time, there are times when he makes my heart go ahhhhhh......

This evening, on my return from taking Mum out for a few hours, he seemed odd. Not quite right. Mum was making a fuss of him, still there on the table, and I don't know what it was, but he didn't seem quite right.

Next Luvbug was helping get the washing in from the garden. I was looking at Scooter and thought he was falling off the table, so I ran indoors.

Scooter wouldn't be helped or hugged, instead he jumped down to the floor and, walking on his haunches, proceeded to sniff out a trail on a floor. He worked like a bloodhound, not lifting his head, just constantly sniffing as he went along, through and out of that room, then into and all round the next, obstacles either being ignored, whereupon he just marched on the spot, or climbed over under or through. He went through the living room, all round the edges while we moved stuff out of his way, then around the kitchen, to the back door, then back, round in circles.....

At first we sort of laughed, nervously, hoping that what had happened is that the catarrh had suddenly gone and now he was enjoying sniffing smells for the first time in ages! But I wasn't so sure. It was like he was having a manic episode.

At one point he circled my legs and did a tiny 'mow' as though to ask for help, so I lifted him up (I'd tried before but he'd wrestled me away) and held him for quite a while, whilst Mum and Luvbug talked quietly to him. He settled, relaxed, half closed his eyes after a while.. finally he was calm. Mum and I sat with him and stroked him and encouraged him to just rest. Then he was off, jumping down and over to one of his best stretching out spots. His eyes were meeting mine at last, so I felt he was back to normal.

When Scoot had a seizure a few months ago, they said it was really important to get him to eat, as seizures make the blood sugar drop. So I put a sachet of his favourite mushy smelly goodness in front of him and he ate nearly all of it.

He's now back to the quilt on top of the desk, stretched out. I keep checking on him.

Any cat people out there with any advice?

I think this was a funny turn, aka, a seizure. I wonder if this is it now, seizures on a downward slope. Maybe it isn't cataarh, maybe it's a tumour. The vet did hint at checking for this if the meds didn't work, trouble is, it owuld mean knocking Scooter out, and at 18 1/2 yrs old, that isn't advisable.

I've a had cry in the loo. And I'm sipping a brandy.

My poor cub.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More crochet....& update on Scooter

Scooter's latest favourite sleepy place is by the conservatory door. He is lying on- a pillow, a folded fleece cover, followed by a memory foam cushion and a furry underblanket. I said to Luvbug, it's like that story, The Princess And The Pea. He suggested I put a cat biscuit at the bottom and see if Scoot can feel it.

He loves the conservatory because he can feel out and in at the same time, and cats like that.

I've invested in a Vicks Steam Vaporizer. You fill it with water, plug it in, and soon you have a steady stream of steam to humidify the room. I've switched it on in 'his' room. I'm surprised at how it heats the room up! I don't know if it will help his catarrh, but I can always use it when I next get asthma-ry myself :)

Over the weekend Scooter got so much better. We were all saying how amazed we were at such a recovery! Then on Sunday night, soon after I gave him his night dose of anti-biotic, he suddenly got worse, wheezing and snorting with every breath, unable to settle or eat. I stayed up with him till 3am. Eventually I got him to rest by continually stroking and gently pushing into the area under his chin/back of his throat. When I did this the snorting stopped. After 15 minutes or so I was able to remove my hand without the noise returning and so my poor cub got to sleep at last.

8am I was up, and the noise in his throat was back. It didn't calm down till the afternoon. I rang the vet, desperate to know how on earth he could have gone backwards like this. He said that maybe the anti-biotic had just 'loosened a big piece of horrableness' and now Scooter was having to deal with it, uable to cough it out or spit like we would. So on his advice I continued with the medicine.

He still isn't 100%. But he is eating and likes being stroked. Still a bit noisy and sniffy. The decongestant is a real help, I think. I didn't even know cats could have these and wonder why he was never given them before.

Right now he is out in the October sun. I've put one of his covers on the outdoor table and he has used the chairs as steps and got up there and stretched out. He makes my heart go "Ahhhhh...."

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Here is a bit of felting. I crocheted this bag in wool and then threw it in the washing machine with some towels and hit 'hot as you like'. It shrank, and while still wet I pulled it into shape, filled it with bubble wrap and left it to dry.

Next, I used old skirt material to line it, added a piece of ribbon label inside, and a magnetic clasp.

I covered the clasp with a square of the skirt material and sewed on small buttons (because I didn't have a single one big enough!)

The local fabric/wool shop had a competition to make a bag or a cushion, so I entered it. I knew it wouldn't win but I just wanted to see it with all the others. That was good!

I'm enjoying learning to crochet but have to pace myself and stop as soon as my finger joints hurt. I still can't do a circle. That's my next challenge: I've found a pattern for a lovely round cushion cover.....

Friday, 7 October 2011

First in a series of catch-ups, or at least, that's what I plan!

Meet Caroline.
Or to be precise, meet Caroline meeting Bob and Dilly!

Caroline and I met at St Thomas More's Primary School in the mid 70s. We were great friends, despite her being a year below me, meaning different peer groups and clubs etc. And of course, me leaving for secondary school before her.

After I'd left we kept in touch as penpals. Nowadays I suppose kids would swap mobile phone numbers and text each other. Exchange messages on Facebook? But I wonder if these methods will produce a correspondence that will stand the test of time. Writing letters was fun. Getting post was exciting. And tangible letters written on best paper were kept, whereas modern messages are deleted.

Well despite keeping in touch all these years, the last time we'd actually met was 1996! I sent her something for her birthday last month, and she wrote back to say that she was coming to my area for a conference- and couldwe meet for lunch? My instant response was panic, panic, panic. But here is the advantage of the faster paced correspondence- a text response was called for, and delay would send a message of coolness, would it not? So I said yes, and worried about it afterwards.

There was nothing to worry about, of course, I just get sooooo nervous. I'm always convinced that people will only like me while they're not meeting me.

We had about 2 hours before she had to go. The weather was amazing and we ate outside among the trees in the garden of an art cafe. Lots of laughter!

I do hope we meet up again soon. We can't possibly leave it 15 years again- I'll be 58!!

Here's what I sent Caroline for her birthday.
I've been teaching myself crochet since June/July.
Still can't do circles.
But I can do even squares at last.
I lined this little purse with fabric from a dress I bought in Peacocks for £2 (good way to get nice material, I have learned!)
The button was from a bag of vintage buttons bought at a fair, about a dozen for £2.50.

I am enjoying getting into crochet and rummaging for vintagey fabric.

This purse is made with bamboo yarn, so is really soft. I've also done some in wool, then felted them. I hope to do more updates and show you some!

Thank you all for your purrs and purrayers for Scooter. I managed to get his medicine down him today, his snuffles and snorts seem less, and quieter, or maybe I just hopeful. He has slept most of the day away, and hasn't eaten much. Though he did enjoy joining in with our fish 'n' chips this evening!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Paws crossed for Scooter again please...*UPDATED*

....I do promise to blog about something cheerful soon... like a look at the crochet I've learnt, or photo's from the park, all those things I;ve fallen behind showing you.....

But until then, please concentrate your thoughts on my dear cat, Scooter. His 'sniffles' this summer didn't clear, and now he is left with a thick cataarh that makes each breath a snort. He can't smell his food so he isn't eating very much. He doesn't like cuddles.

Asleep in his tent. He loves it indoors and out!

He loves the tent I bought him. Inside are his favourite blankies and at night I place a quilt over the top and tuck a hot water bottle at the side. Once he is in a deep sleep he sleeps soundly. A cute snore for a while, then quietly.

The snorting noise grows louder when he tries to purr...... :(

I am low at the moment anyway, much of which I suspect is hormonal, but the result is that I have no more tears to cry at the moment. I have wept buckets two nights in a row. Please can you all send good vibes to this dear gentleman of cats, who passed his half birthday last month, making him now 18 1/2.

V-E-T appointment today, 5.55 British Summer Time.

I'll let you know what he says....


The vet said that Scooter didn't look worn out or too bothered by his predicament, which is good. I had to give a bad report of my efforts to get anti-biotics down him, I'm afraid. He would have had about half his prescribed course.

For the moment, he says let's assume it's a nasty dose of phlegm and not go looking for tumours and other nasties...... The anitbiotic seems to have done enough to stop him having a runny nose, but didn't break it all up. So he has prescribed a different antibiotic together with a decongestant. I've also ordered a warm-steam vaporizer from Amazon. (Well, if it doesn't help Scooter, I'll put it in the cupboard for our own wintercolds or my next bad dose of asthma!)

Now for my new method of tablet admin: I crush the medicine in a pestal & mortar till it's powder, then mix into a little gravy or paste or jelly, something from one of his favourite flavour of the moment. Then I scoop this into a syringe and, when he is least expecting it, squirt it into the side of his mouth.

Some gets immediately rejected and projectile-vomited into my hair, and my fingers get covered in scratches, but hopefully most of the medicine gets in.

He seems to forgive me after about 15 minutes.

I'll follow this regime for 14 days and hope it cures all.......

Thank you for you kind messages and crossed fingers and paws, please keep them crossed!