feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Today has been a big day! It is official as of this afternoon: big black Ulysses is now my kitty. He passed his "interview week" in our safe room with flying colors, so I signed the paperwork to adopt him. He will never be able to replace my beloved Ra, but Ulysses has a personality as big and loving as his 17 pound self. As if that was not enough, I also signed the papers to make orange cheetoh Harlow officially part of my household. He is a "foster fail," we've been housing him for the animal shelter we volunteer with since September 10th, 2014. I can't imagine my home without him now!


feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)


Just a photo of my best friend, taken on October 16th, 2011. Today (April 3rd 2015) marks the 3 month anniversary of his passing over the Rainbow Bridge.

Thank you, Ra. Though losing you was devastating, I want to remember you as you were in hale and hearty days.

Thank you for sharing your journey and all of your love with me. Daddy misses you dearly, buddy.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
... who lost his own beloved black cat today, I share this to the journal to memorialize her passing and try to find some solace of my own.

"A Cat's Prayer"

A Pets Prayer
If it should be, that I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then, you must do what must be done
For this, the last battle, can't be won.
Don't let your grief stay your hand,
For this day more than the rest,
Your love and friendship stand the test.
We've had so many years,
What is to come can hold no fear.
You'd not want me to suffer, so
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me to the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you'll see it is a kindness you do for me
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Don't grieve it should be you who this thing decides to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years,
Don't let your heart hold tears.
SMILE, FOR WE WALKED TOGETHER FOR AWHILE.

-- Author: Unknown

He didn't make this choice; he had no warning. My friend had nothing that could have prepared him for his sweet girl's passage from our world to the next. Bast called her home, and it was very hard. The circumstances are such difficult ones that, if I could, I would take them from him. I want to take his pain, his grief, his anger and his regret away... but I cannot. All I can do is stand beside him and offer to help carry the burden that I've already known.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
You read that correctly: $3,097.04. That's what I paid for Ra's medical care in 2014. Well, correction -- that's the total of the receipts that are in front of me. There's a file somewhere in my records cabinet that has other receipts for 2014 medications and surgeries, so the true dollar figure is actually higher, probably by another $300-$500.

All that money spent, all those medications and procedures that he had to endure ... and I couldn't help him to last past New Years. I still don't know if I did the right thing or not. In a very specific sense I have no regrets. It's not as if I think it was "poorly spent" money. I'd spend it all again (and then some) without even thinking about it. But filing these receipts, reading the labs performed and medications prescribed? I just don't know. That I have regrets, that perhaps I kept him here too long through too much pain.

I can feel the grief swelling up inside again. There's a tight feeling in my chest that always accompanies the tears that come when I think about Ra and how much I miss him.

I think it is going to be a long, lonely night.

Got a picture of you I carry in my heart
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
I'm feeling unable to sleep. I'm spending time online and reading old entries on DW/LJ. The nostalgia is overwhelming. "All the feels," as the kids say these days, while I go into 2013 and even deeper into the past. Days and events I'd forgotten, emotions that were so raw when I wrote about them... they'd gone absent, but this stirs them all back up.

I guess it's good, because it means I can still feel. Some of these things make me smile and nod. Overall, however, it may not be the ideal time for me to be doing this because of how I am struggling with grief and loss. In any case, I console myself with the realization that at least I still remember, and those memories validate me as a person and keep the past alive.

Empty

Jan. 31st, 2015 11:38 pm
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
"Empty" by Jason Olsen

Title: "Empty"

It has been four weeks since I lost my best friend, today.

My heart is empty as his bed and collar.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
I said farewell to my best friend today at 2:40pm. He'd been part of my life for 16 years. Ra had seen me both at my best and at my worst. I chose him from a rescue in 1999 because he looked like "a little black panther," but there was nothing little about how he lived or how he loved. He filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know I had. I'm so devastated right now.

Be at peace, Ra. You were part of my life for the last 16 years. You are always part of my shadow, now
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
... wherever you may be
... whatever you are doing
... no matter what has changed

I simply want you to have a merry Christmas, and for you to know that I'm thinking about you. Yes, you. I want all the best for you, and for every good thing you have done to be visited three-fold upon you and those you care about.

Be safe. Be joyful. Be who you are.
feren: Feren is silly (Zhivagod_Feren-Silly)
Ben Kenobi hasn't heard of Livejournal in a long time.

Honestly, some of you have been writing really great things and important entries... and I haven't seen them. At all. I am not purposefully ignoring you! If it's come off that way, I apologize. This is part of my ongoing ... whatever it is ... where I "just can't even" (I think that's the phrase the kids use right now). Occasionally I can toss something flippant on Teh BookFace, but I'm not reading the feed. Same goes for Tumblr. And Livejournal/Dreamwidth I haven't touched at all, as evidenced by Ben's quip above.

I'm still not very active on the computer or the social sites in general. I haven't played Minecraft in months, and I don't think I've been on the MUCK since about June when Ra got his diagnosis.

In general I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm glad you all are still writing and posting these amazing things, and I'm sorry I haven't been around or have seemed to be ignoring you.

The secrets we once shared
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
It has been confirmed, Ra is terminal.

Who dares to love forever, when love must die
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Ra went in for a follow-up of blood work today. The results are increasingly worrisome on top of his results from last week:

  • BUN is higher (Kidney - bad)
  • Anemia is worse (Liver - bad)
  • Bilirubin is higher (Kidney - bad)
  • ALT is down from 1400 to 950, which is better but is still way out of whack (Liver - sorta good)

His creatinine is okay (kidneys) and the level of potassium is normal (finally) but what has me concerned is that this is almost the same thing that hit Diva. She had a "perfect storm" of anemia + kidney failure advancing into the next stage. I'm fearful that this is what is happening with Ra. How do you treat kidney failure? You administer sub-cutaneous fluids. The problem with fluids? You dilute the blood stream and exasperate the anemia.

Our vet is going to re-run the existing blood work and try to get some clarification from the lab as to what type of anemia he has, which can help steer us towards a better treatment plan.

What scares me is that one of the plans involves blood transfusion. Cat. Blood. Transfusion. Because there are just warehouses of feline blood and plasma waiting for situations like this.

All these numbers are joining together and telling a story that's scaring me badly, so badly that I can't even articulate what I'm feeling right now. My productivity for the night is shot, the work I had slated to do for the evening is beyond my level of concentration at this point.

I'm going to wait a bit longer for the air to cool off and then I'm going to go BBQ something and hope that it distracts me. I'll probably end up burning everything because I can't put the right level of focus on it.

But the cat came back, she wouldn't stay away, she was sitting on the porch the very next day.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Reposted from this entry by [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon. I have obviously been talking with her every day, but not very much here or on Facebook. I just don't really find myself able to talk about it much in those other settings. I don't know if that's because I'm dealing with it by not dealing with it, or what... but please focus here or Facebook and I'll repost what Mudge shares. Or better yet, you can follow her directly.


We finally got the diagnostic report from Ra's procedures last Monday, as you well know. Last we knew, from Dr. B. was Ra would be on the Chlorambucil (the chemo drug) once/daily for six weeks, then every 72 hours thereafter depending on his clinical response. Dr. B said he would call right away to get the drug ordered and to us so we could start treatment.

Go in on Friday for Ra's first B-12 shot. Ask about the Chlorambucil--he's not gotten ahold of any yet, nor has he ordered any, and will make more calls for it later in the day. Sigh. We really wanted Ra to start this treatment regimen ASAP in order to keep the pre-cancerous cells in check and not have them develop into CANCER! WTF?!!?!

At least, in the good news department, Dr. B gave us six weeks worth of pre-filled syringes of B-12 for Ra for us to administer at home rather than bring him in once a week and get him all riled up with a ride to the vet and a vet encounter (which he hates) when we can do it at home and avoid all that stress on him. It's administered sub-cutaneously, so it'll be easy for J to give to him every Friday...Dr. B even gave us a bit of a deal on the B-12 shots. :)

So I call the Dr. B early yesterday afternoon--Chlorambucil still not ordered, largely because Dr. B left the office early yesterday for a wake for the family member of one of his techs. What the everlasting fuck?!?! Decided we couldn't wait any longer, so I asked the tech to ask Dr. B (who was predictably swamped with Saturday morning patients) if we could at least order some of the med from VCA Aurora, if they had it. He said that would be fine, so we called VCA Aurora and, thank Bast, they had the med in stock. Thank Bast, and for many reasons...

VCA Aurora continues to impress. They didn't have anybody from the internal medicine department or the pharmacy in the clinic because it was the weekend, but Dr. Mac from ER heard what was going on and was willing to personally dispense us at least 6 pills to get us through about two weeks worth of treatment so that we could pick it up right away. Six pills for two weeks? Turns out Dr. B either misspoke or misunderstood the Tx instructions--Ra is to get the Chlorambucil every other day for six weeks, not every day! I read the Tx summary copy we got from Dr. B and yep--says EOD, which is every other day to my understanding...Sigh, now I'm worried about Dr. B's ability to treat Ra for Dr. M over at VCA Aurora! UGH!!

We were able to talk to Dr. Mac when we picked up the med to ask her some basic questions--when to dose, with or without food, potential side-effects to watch out for. She was WONDERFUL!! Turns out she's also an internal medicine doc in addition to being an ER doc, so she was able to give us all the information we needed! :) She explained she was only willing to dispense two weeks worth of the med because she wants us to closely monitor Ra for any negative side effects and didn't want us to pay for too much of the med in case he ends up unable to tolerate it and ends up needing to try another med. It's to be taken in the morning with his 5mg of prednisone, preferably with food, but since he's got a tendency to vomit his feeds if he's fed too soon after medication, we're to try giving him the two meds about an hour before we feed him in the AM.

Because he fights us with the potassium supplement in particular, Dr. Mac suggested we not give Ra that particular med on the mornings we give him the Chlorambucil so he'll be more apt to not fight the Chlorambucil pill on those mornings because it's so important for him to get that med in him with minimal fuss. She also suggested we try compounded liquid version of the potassium so Ra's not taking as many pills at once, to give him a break on so many pills. She initially suggested we try compounding it ourselves by crushing the pills and adding the crushed pills to chicken, tuna, or clam juice, but given that Ra's on a hypoallergenic diet that idea might not be the best one and that we should wait and talk again to internal medicine proper on Monday to order the liquid from the VCA pharmacy...

Side effects we can expect from the Chlorambucil are GI upset, immuno-compromise in the form of bone marrow suppression, lack of appetite, decrease in white and red blood cells. Standard stuff for chemo treatment. They'll build over time as his blood saturation of the drug increases. She emphasized the importance of the monthly CBCs to monitor these things.

I asked about Rx foods--he seems to like the W/D alright so far, but what if he starts to reject it? She said we'd have to work with Dr. M from internal medicine to make the decision, but there are a number of other high fiber/low fat Rx diets that could work for him if needs be. That was good to know, just in case.

We think it's taken Dr. B so long to get us any Chlorambucil because it's pretty pricey--the six pills we got from VCA cost $125! Holy Hannah!! I'm thinking it's a combination of the med not being terribly common and that Dr. B is trying to find us the best deal possible for the med as well--he's a cheap bastard and tries to pass the savings onto his clientele. That being said, getting us SOME of the med should've been a priority and that he thought it was a once/daily med vs. every other day is a bit disconcerting and concerning. I'm starting to think Ra's care should be taken over by Dr. Lehal and associates at Brookville Animal Hospital, which is much closer to home an they seem to have it together a bit better than Aurora Cat Clinic. It's something J and I will have to discuss, definitely. I know we both want Ra to get the best and most competent care possible. Not to say that Dr. B is incompetent in any way, it's just that he's made not made any points lately, especially about being incorrect on the dosing regimen on the Chlorambucil. I just don't know...

Ra got his first dose of the Chlorambucil this morning. He wasn't happy about not being fed right after he got his pills like he normally is, but he managed okay. Waited to feed the other two monsters until Ra ate because, when hungry, Ra has a tendency to scavenge off of Lars' bowl. I though the Young Ones were going to explode, they were SOO HUNGRY!! :/ Whatevs, they managed to wait, so it was all good. Now we wait and see how Ra reacts to the Chlorambucil...

Bad dreams

Jan. 19th, 2014 01:27 pm
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Aside from being on the "downer" side of the ride that comes from weekend work at the office and late hours laden with stress and caffeine, I had a bad dream this morning before I woke up for the day. For me bad dreams are not uncommon, but they're usually more on the order of a nightmare than what I experienced today.

This morning I dreamed that I was ... someplace ... and when I looked down and to the side? There was Diva walking towards me. There was no doubt who it was, she was complete with her muddled coat and curly-q tail. I called out to her, "Di-va," and she came walking over with that somewhat stumpy pace that she had. What got me was that as she walked her tail uncurled and flicked about, re-curled, uncurled and flicked, re-curled again. It was exactly the way I remember her doing a half-dozen times while she was alive. She got to my side, I was able to pet her a few times ... and then she was gone.

Then I woke up and cried, because I'd had her given back to me for a little while and just as quickly, just as inexplicably, she was taken away again.

They danced by the light of the moon
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
John Tomich passed away today.

John was a coworker and friend at $EMPLOYER who helped keep me and the other members of our clique in good spirits. John was an inspiration to practice my photography and hone my skills. John had outstanding technical knowledge that made him an asset to the organization, but his "people skills" were what set him apart. John's musical ability gave us "Raining Meat," which was the title he gave his one-person band as he wrote, performed and recorded songs for us to use for laughter and stress relief.

The last time I wrote about John was this entry of April 2007.

After that we sort of lost touch. We'd email occasionally, or post to one another on Facebook, but that was about it. Lots of talk about getting the old crew back together to hang out never moved beyond talk. Now the opportunity is lost forever.

I don't know the details of what happened, or how he got so sick and passed so quickly. There's so much information missing. Maybe I'll find out more. I don't know if it matters.

The obituary has been posted.
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
  • When I laid down for a depression-fueled nap at 5:40 tonight, there was no Jazz jumping up onto the bed and making a run for my lap. This makes the house feel empty because I'm waiting for something that won't happen now.
  • I had a dream with a cat like Jazz in it; the cat jumping at ghosts above a mantleplace. Symbolism. Or Jazz telling me she's on the other side. Something like that.
  • When I woke up from the nap, there was the echo of Jazz's meow... the rusty-sounding one she made when she pushed her head into your hand, insisting on more petting... that was bouncing around in my head from the tail end of a different dream.
  • feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    I don't have it within me to write about today's events or the week that has lead up to them. You may see something written in [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon's journal. All that matters is that today our sweet Jazz has gone across the Rainbow Bridge to join her sisters Smudge and Diva.


    Jazz Kersting, December 2nd 2013

    Photo December 5, 2007


    There are so many things about you that we miss already, beautiful.

    Lame

    Sep. 25th, 2013 02:27 am
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    It's 2:30 AM and the only thing playing is my tinnitus. This channel sucks, are you sure there isn't anything else on?

    In other news: thanks for the irreversible hearing damage, dad.

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