Monday, September 28, 2009

When GPS Systems Go Awry...



Or did it? Who is this "Linda" and why does the GPS advise running her over? I don't know, but based on the experiences of someone I love, I can only guess.

My thanks to "The Onion," a newspaper that I adore, from who I snagged this photo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody

And I don't think Queen even needs to be apologized to!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Us

We're home from the vet. The important word is "WE." Cosmos is still with me. He is a miracle dog.

The vet agrees that he does not have much time yet. He's lost four pounds in the last two weeks, now weighting in at slightly over 38 pounds. I remember the good ol' days when Dr. Florio begged me to try to just get his weight under 60. He was even a success story in Richard's short lived Slimmons Newsletter when he got to 58. Now he is skeletal. Getting him to eat is critical. The unfortunate part of renal failure is that it doesn't just affect the kidneys. The animals who get it generally stop eating at some point and starve. That's what we're afraid of here.

She also feels very strongly that it is not yet his time. He's alert, he's interested, he still tries to pursue most of his normal activities. She says that the Ethical Euthanasia list is a tool, I should use it as a guideline, but also use my instincts too. She says that Cozie still seems way to vital to be putting down, despite the number.

We've agreed on the following:

1.) I"m going to increase his IV intake to 750 ml per day, and do it split up over 2 infusions. That should help take the toxin levels down.
2.) He got an appetite shot today, and she sent me with appetite pills which I will use very carefully. The pharmacy does not advise using them for more than five days, so we will start by me giving them to him every other day, then every third day, augmented by the appetite shot if it seems to work. We also agreed that if the situation calls for it, the warnings by the pharmacy about the possible side effects if we give Cozie too much medication are meaningless at this point in his life. They will continue to prescribe the pills to me as he needs them.
3.) I'm to increase his anti-nausea medication to 1 1/2 pills per day.
3.) Cosmos's sluggishness is probably caused by anemia secondary to his heart failure - which is also caused by the renal failure. We agreed that it was not an option to hospitalize him for blood transfusions at this time. The trauma of hospitalization (and the cost) was probably not worth the lifespan that he has left, and that it would likely not influence the quality of his life much at all.
4.) We are not going to resort to force feeding him via syringe. At that point, I feel that is torture beyond justification. He already takes issue at getting force fed his meds via syringe.
5). We are not going to perform any more blood tests on him. Although small, it's still an invasive procedure and the results at this point are meaningless. Cosmos is strictly Hospice. I will inject him with IV fluids, force medicines, and give him appetite shots because they can influence how long he is going to be here and the quality of his life. Beyond that, no more invasive procedures. It's unfair to him.
6.) I do not need to fear leaving him at home for periods of time, even up to a couple of days right now. Although his heart is bad, he is not showing signs of acute distress in that department and it's unlikely at this late date that his heart will take him before his kidney disease does. And the kidney process is a slow one where there is no one right time to release him.

You should know that Cosmos has not smiled in a week. But today, when we got home from the vet and were only a couple of units from his condo, he got the biggest, happiest smile on his face that I've seen for a long time. I swear he knows everything I say (and that he also follows TV intellectually), and that he knew that his life was in the balance today. He's home. Maybe only for a week or two or if we're lucky, a month, but he's home.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We really appreciate it.

32



Does Cosmos Hurt? Score - 7: I don't think he's in pain much, although it has to hurt when he falls down so much.

Is Cosmos Eating Enough? Score - 2: He's barely eating. My grossly fat dog has turned into a walking skeleton.

Is Cosmos Hydrated? Score - 5: He's hydrated because of his daily IV schedule. I dread doing it, he dreads getting it. He's taken lately to shaking again during the process and periodically moaning.

How is Cosmos Hygiene? Score - 5: He's not horrible, but that's because I constantly am vigilant for urine and feces in his coat. He would be in horrible shape if I wasn't always washing him down.

Os Cosmos Happy? Score - 4: He is still very interested in what is going on around him; follows me around the house, wants to go for walks. But he doesn't smile any more at all. Not even during walks. He is still intensely interested in walking and picking up Pee-mail, but doesn't hold out very long. He still wants to be pet by strangers during walks, but loses interest quickly. He falls during walks now.

Is Cosmos Mobile? Score - 4: He can get up and walk around on his own. However it is difficult for him to get up, he frequently needs help on tile (or on the concrete), and when we get up in the morning,I need to start him off by squaring his hind legs underneath him.

Does Cosmos have more good days than bad? Score - 5: I'd say it's about 50/50 now.

Total: 32 points. Less than 35. According to the Ethical Euthenasia Chart, it's acceptable to let him go.

Cosmos is a little skeleton. Even his head is skeletal, with depressions above the temples. I don't know if I can get him to eat this morning or not. I don't know if getting him another eating injection will make a difference, and even if it gets him to eat, if it will just hold him at status quo or if it will help him gain weight. That is the key point. Can I get him to eat, and if yes, for how long and will it make a difference in other parts of his life? Is it possible, at this point, for him to gain any weight if we can stimulate his appetite? The appetite stimulant comes in pill form too. How long will it work if I go that route? Am I just buying him days of suffering, or weeks of life? This is the hinge-pin around which everything turns.

The problem is that while his life quality is very low at this point, he's still acutely aware of everything, still expresses love for me, and when I cry because I know what is coming very soon - as likely today as not, he comes to comfort me. I don't know if he's saying that he's ok and wants to stick around, or if he's wants to go. I don't know. I DON'T KNOW!

As always, he is right next to me. He's curled up on the floor behind my chair as I am writing this. It's still early in the morning and I don't know if he will want to get back into the bed with me, or if I just finished up the last time that I will ever share his bed.

I can't deal. I just can't deal

Monday, September 21, 2009

A New Website In Progress

When Eric taught me HTML Coding, I had no idea where it was going to lead to. All I knew was that it was a fun new game, and also that it was helping me develop a web link which is private (you need to know the specific address for it to be of any help to you... it's not linked into any other location) but contains all of my most up-to-date medical information. The whole idea was that it should be immediately available to any of my physicians who needed to know what medications I was on, or other important information to treat in the case that I was unable to speak for myself.

That link has turned out to be a very important tool, but my main site which is public, while providing some links and fun, continued to look amateurish, despite my attempts to make it otherwise.

As I am trying to reclaim my life, and build towards a future where I might not have to rely on SSDI to live, I decided that I needed something that could be developed now and made a more fully functioning site when the time was right. I realized that I did not have the skills to make something that I would find desirable myself, and after contacting a friend who is apparently closing up her web design business and not interested in taking on new clients, it turned out that I could buy canned programs on line and customize them to my own needs. My programming skills, with spot help from Eric when I hit roadblocks, is adequate for this purpose.

The site is in development now, and I am excited for where it can go. I am dedicating pages to my bio, my weight loss journey (ever a struggle), my jewelry (which I hope someday to offer for sale in a big way and yes, I think I have the skills and drive to really make something out of it if only I didn't have to worry about medical insurance and the fact that I am completely un insurable without a public option), my Family and Friends, and other important facets of my life... or facets that at least are important to me.

I present to you right now the Home Page, and a couple of the Weight Loss Pages for your review. If you have any comments or constructive criticism, I'd love to hear it. If you just like them, I'd love to hear that too. If you hate 'em, but don't have anything to offer in the way of improvements, well, you're entitled to your opinion. Just don't be mean, please?












Finally, on a different note, Gabby - Eric's 11 year old daughter - has been working hard on her blog. If you have a moment to pop in there and leave more messages, she was very encouraged when she discovered what had been said so far. I don't think she thought that anyone would care. Personally, I'm very gratified and grateful to all of you who have already posted there, and especially to those who have made repeat visits even before I posted this second entreaty. Thank you for your support of a no-longer little girl who is growing up in a situation out of her control, somewhat out of control in general although Eric is close to finally closing out the chapter in his life that is creating the chaos, and developing into a fine young woman.

Click here for Gabby.

Thank you!!!!!!

The Gates of Beverly Hills

Yesterday I went on a Photo Safari. But instead of Africa, I prowled the wilds of zone 90210. The purpose was to photograph wrought iron gates with filigree pretty enough to adapt into earrings. Whether I will be successful at doing this or not remains to be seen, but I had such a nice time taking these pics, that I fully intend to go back down there again and further explore the territory. The gates you see in these pics were located on Rexford and Crescent between Santa Monica and Sunset.









See More Pictures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So you think YOU can dance?

Thanks to Garen, who posted this link in Facebook.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Krazy Gabby

Hi Everyone!

This post is dedicated to Gabby, Eric's 11-year-old daughter. She just entered middle school, and as one of her class assignments, has started her very own blog. The site is:

http://www.xxkrazygabbyxx.blogspot.com/

If I can ask this of you, my readers who have put up with my less than consistent posting, would you mind dropping by Gabby's blog from time to time and leaving a comment? Even better, if you wanted to sign up to be a follower.

And my dream situation would be if you would make a small note in your own blogs (if you have one) and encourage your own readers to drop by and write a note or two.

Gabby is a lovely tween who is struggling hard to find herself. I have a feeling that it will be a great surprise to her to find out that number of people are interested in what she has to say.

By the way, shhhhhh, this is a secret. Don't tell her that you found her through me.

Thanks a lot!

Laura

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wanted: Sony Trinitron Remote Control

My remote has survived earthquakes, dogs who purposely picked it up and then dared me not to get up and chase them before biting down, going through the washing machine and dryer, being stepped on, being lost, and various other calamities, still working faultlessly. It has been held together for a couple of decades with scotch tape, and still served me well. But last night at approximately 3:30 in the morning, it finally bit the dust.

This is a bigger problem than you might think. Not only was it 3:30 in the morning, and I desperately wanted to put my TV on 30-minute sleep mode while watching QVC (a program that works better than Ambien on a sleepless night), but my tiny 13" TV in my bedroom is not located near my bed, but instead across the room and on top of my amoire. It requires a step stool hauled in from the kitchen just to climb up and turn it on and off manually.

Do you perhaps have an old Trinitron Remote that was separated from it's TV when you upgraded to a current flat-screen TV and donated the once state-of-the-art oldster to Goodwill? Or perhaps you have kids with an old Trinitron in their bedroom and you would like to teach them an object lesson about the importance of putting the remote in it's proper place when they're not using it, and how it will disappear if they are less than responsible? Or ?????

If any of these scenarios fit your bill and you have a remote to spare, you will save me the pain of buying a universal remote for a TV so old that it will probably die of shock if asked to respond to anything but it's original intended system. And then you will have saved me the pain of joining the 21st century by being forced to buy a new TV that might possibly be high def or - gulp - flat screen.

Thank you

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life Beyond Expectation

Despite everyone's belief (including my own) that Cosmos's time was up three weeks ago, true to the pattern he has followed his entire life, he did not live by the plan. I am so happy for the extra time he has given me!

Our days (between medications and IVs or, as I refer to them as, the 'unpleasantness') consist of meals - hallelujah! he continues to eat!!!!,

taking sun baths,


watching TV,
video
and going for short walks.

Cosmos is very dedicated to our walks.

He is old and doddering and very unstable on his feet, but has a continual smile as we move about the neighborhood.

There is very important pee-mail to pick up and respond to. On the days that I might be late undertaking this activity, he comes to me and demands that I do the responsible thing and take him out.


I owe such a debt of gratitude to not only all of you who continue to support me through this ordeal (and I know that it's not over and he doesn't have much time), but especially Dr. Rebecca Florio at Chat Oak Veterinary Clinic who has guided me through the treatment of my boy, and risen to every occasion and crisis with a calm competance that is a nice counterpoint to my panic, and Risa Reid of Furballs, "Aunt Risa" to my boys, who has selflessly continued to stop by and help me get Cozie to do what he needs to do - like eat - to survive when I'm at my wit's end, who has provided a shoulder to cry on and an ear to bend when I am in panic mode at the thought of losing my boy, and has been an incredibly good friend as well as our animal caretaker of choice.

Both of these women keep telling me that I am the one who is really keeping Cosmos alive and comfortable, alert, active, and wanting to go on. But I know that I would have given up in despair a while ago had it not been for their encouragement and gentle instruction. We owe them Cosmos's life.

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