Franklin, mine son.

Oy Frank. Mine son. You have been through the ringer; but you still come up purring.

On April 27, I took you to the clinic for euthanasia. You are fifteen years old. You have a Grade III heart murmur, a BUN off the charts indicating your kidneys are on the way out, and you have to breathe extra hard. I initially took you in to Earl’s old clinic because you used to be eighteen pounds, and now you looked like normal weight. You looked horrible.

Yet, when I took you out of the carrier, you looked like the healthiest cat on the planet. Dr. Gaffney looked at me like I was nuts! I could hear her thinking: “Why are you here to put this happy cat to sleep?” So was I! He came out of the carrier  to purr at and bump all the staff, eating snacks, leaving me scratching my head in puzzlement.  She did hear the Grade III murmur where the other vet had called it a Grade II.

We decided then to take a chest film. With a Grade III mitral murmur and dyspnea (difficult breathing), surely we would find something. That film was of the healthiest looking heart and lungs I ever saw. Dr. Gaffney laughed when I told you, “Well, Frank, I guess you aren’t going to die today.” We went home and you ate some kitty fud.

Fast forward to July. We-you three elderly cats and the puppy with their mother were watching TV in the loft upstairs. I had put an empty bowl of ice cream on the flat top of the loft banister to remember to take it downstairs. You do have a bad habit of checking out my feeding dishes, er, bowls. My eye just glanced over to the flat top just in time to see your paws on the top and nothing else. The paws went off, and in a microsecond, I heard a body hit the stairs. I screamed and ran down to find a dead cat. But there you were, alive and crouched on the floor and still. I touched you, and you cried. OMG!

I called the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and told the woman on the phone I was coming in pronto, and would stay with my cat.

After all the struggles over the years I’ve had with you, Franklin, about getting into a carrier, you walked right in.

I broke all speed records to get you to the hospital.

CSU now has a Patient Liaison. She is wonderful with crazy people, when the resident introduced herself to me as did the new senior student. They only took you away from me to do an exam. You were fine, but I wanted to see a film of your chest and spine. Totally normal.

I took all the paperwork home with  you, now in the pouring rain. Thanks for the hundreds of dollars I spent. All the stuff on the balcony is off, but I can’t keep you off. Has this happened before? How would I know?

Still good ‘ol Charlie Brown, er, Franklin. Charlie Brown was my very first cat. Now, you sleep next to my head, purring and  cuddling all the time. You are an old cat, so is your brother, and so is Matthew, who is seventeen.

I remember when I told Dr. Kainer, my anatomy professor, that I decided to go into feline practice. His comment? “That’s good. It’s hard to kill a cat.”

Renewing my DEA License and other tales of the weird

I just got a notice that my Drug Enforcement Agency License would expire next month. Yes, I have retired from private practice, but I still have animals, especially Hannah, who lives with my sister’s two horses.

When I graduated from vet school in 1987, a three year DEA license was a mere $60. Then, this DOJ agency said, “Hey, wait a minute, these people HAVE to have this license to do their jobs. What the hell are we charging only sixty bucks for them?” Duh.

I now pay over $700 for a three year license, far more than I spend on medicines. OK, I’m a captive. At least it was easy to renew, and I didn’t throw my MacBook against the wall. You have four pages of questions to fill out. I get it about the name, address, and state and license information. But there was a whole page on if I’ve ever had my license, DEA or state(s) pulled, committed a crime involving controlled substances, or taken away one of Ivy’s dog toys against her will.

No doctor of any kind can have a license for a Schedule I substance like heroin. I remember long ago, as he was born 100 years ago next month, that my physician father and the pharmacist across the street from his office found a large, old bottle way in the back of the locked closet. The bottle contained medical grade heroin. Remember, people used to use heroin and cocaine legally up until I think the 1920’s. Think Sherlock Holmes stories and the book, the Seven Percent Solution. It was legal to use and prescribe these now Schedule I drugs. Dad and the pharmacist disposed of the contents of the bottle. I have a collection of Dad’s antique medicine bottles, and they are really strange. The one thing of his I wanted was the beautiful jar that said, “Leeches.” It was prominently displayed in his office. The man had a strange sense of humor, OK? The leech jar disappeared somehow when my step-siblings, my husband and I were going through Dad’s and my stepmother’s things after she died. Gone.

Within the DEA application was a checkbox for forms to order Schedule I or II narcotic drugs. Why oh why do they want us to have forms to order Schedule I drugs when we can’t have schedule I medicines? Perhaps it is because medical marijuana is available, but I don’t see (haven’t checked, that is) that pot store owners have medical licenses, DEA licenses, and forms to order Schedule I narcotics.

The last thing the form asked was if I had taken an optional course on the dangers of prescribing narcotics. I checked no, because I don’t remember getting a notice for this, and I don’t prescribe narcotics. I do have a Schedule 2N on my license, along with Schedules 2,3,4 and 5, but I used the 2N only once, when I first opened my cat clinic, never used the medicine, and sent it to the DEA for disposal when it expired.

My two year license to practice veterinary medicine is expiring Oct. 31, as it always does in the even years. More bucks. I’m staying active in the profession. I don’t want to say I’m a retired veterinarian. I am retired from private practice. I can still be an extra pair of hands for a colleague, spay cats for rescues, or neuter tomcats on kitchen tables for law school classmates as I did in Texas (boy did that go around the law building at the speed of light!) And yes, I was fully licensed in Texas with one more license, the DPS, Department of Public Safety.

So, for three more years, I am a financial captive. But it makes me proud to be fully licensed in a field I worked so hard to belong.

 

Overkill at the spa

Well, Ivy finally got into the spa yesterday. April could’t do her last week, because she was scheduled for a “fluff and buff” and Ivy was clearly a 34 # mat. I picked her up four hours later, and boy did that dog look skinny! April had to take the clippers down to the skin. As per usual, she left the ears and tail intact.

Myra Kanter

The storm raging the East coast and a FB comment from a law professor prompted me to this memory.

When I was at Highland Park High School, at the end of the semesters we had a final exam schedule. You only came to school when you had a final. There was a special bus schedule. If you left the building, you could not come back in.

At the end of my first semester, the final exam schedule was fixed for January (this is before Fort Collins, and hurrying to finish the semester with the college students to get out early.) It also happened to be the time of the Great Blizzard of 1967.

Myra Kanter, a school friend who was a genius, finished her final, and went out to the bus area. With the snow and wind swirling around her and seeing no busses, Myra realized she missed the bus. She tried to get back inside, because the next bus was in an hour. School officials would not let her in.

First, imagine a Chicago blizzard. Then imagine a skinny genius with the sweet temperament actually standing in the raging snow looking through the door at the guard watching her suffer. There were no cell phones to call her mom, and even if she wanted to use a phone, she wasn’t going to be let in.

I have never forgotten that. It’s one of those memories I have stuffed in my brain. My friend, Linda, always says to me, “How do you remember things like that”? I don’t know, but I do.

Stay out of the northeast for a few days, Myra.

Really creepy

My childhood friend, Marcy, disappeared off the radar. No one knew where she was after she took her mother from Florida, went to New Orleans, and ended up on the North Shore of Chicago where we grew up. She touched base with friends from her Highland Park days. Her mother stroked out and died .

It turns out that Marcy died last August in the Denver area. I didn’t even know she was in the state. My friend, Michael L., said the Arapahoe County coroner said the death was of natural causes. She was 65.

Fast forward to yesterday. There was an email on Marcy’s address. Anonymous, but the person, who of course said she was not Marcy, said she was handling the estate. She had read our letters over the last two years, and seemed gleeful that I stopped all communication with Marcy, and took her off my FB account.

I wrote back and asked, “Who is this?” We went back and forth with the writer getting more vitriolic about Marcy with each letter. I said I would not communicate without knowing who this was.

Then I got a FB note from Michael W., another childhood classmate. He said the writer was her sister, and was spewing hate to all Marcy’s friends. The sister and brother are over ten years older than Marcy was, but Marcy was stuck taking care of her elderly parents who were in their 90’s. Her mom died at 98.

I don’t know who put the fun in this dysfunctional family, but leave me out of it. I’m sorry Marcy had a hard life after being the most popular girl in school, but I remember us being good friends at Braeside School. I’d play at her house after school. She lived right across the street from Braeside Elementary.

We are taught to forgive those who do bad things to others. I’ll never know the truth about what happened, but that happens. There is only one person in the world I do not and never will forgive. Marcy’s sister, I forgive you, but leave me the hell alone.

Which is it? I need some help with this one.

In my book, Drinking From the Trough,  in the Epilogue I mention Ivy. But how do you write her breed? She is a Goldendoodle.

But what is the correct way to write the breed (doodles are not really breeds recognized by the AKC, they are expensive mutts and well worth it).

Goldendoodle

Golden Doodle

Golden doodle

goldendoodle

golden doodle

What, already? I’ve seen breeders write the name several different ways in the same paragraph.

Remember that obnoxious comic who would say, “My name is Raymond W. Johnson.You can call me Ray, you can call me J, you can call me RJ, you can call me Ray Jay.” Remember that guy? Well that’s what I think of. I remembered how much that guy would annoy me while I was watching TV.

Who’s on first. Who’s on second. No, what’s on second. Get the idea?

Any help would be appreciated.

Goldendoodles-the Abbott and Costello of the dog world.

My dog is in love with a couch!

I sit here writing, and watch Ivy lying full out on my uncle’s old couch made new by expensive reupholstering two years ago.

Gone are the days of the fluffy doodle jumping up to watch TV sitting on my lap or next to me in the recliner.

My huskies were never allowed on furniture because they shed a lot. But my Goldendoodle does not, and they are not like huskies, who can be alone  for a long time. Doodles won’t spend hours out in the dog pen. They do their business to come back to their humans.

But my Ivy abandoning me for a couch?

I initially trained her to get on beds gently for her therapy dog training (put off by the fractured hip). Now, she just jumps on the couch like she owns it. I guess she does. I do have her sit and call for her to jump on the bed.

I was getting used to TV with a dog comforter. Cowboy Joe does that as he did before we got Ivy.

Happy Holidays!

Urine in the office

I went into my office yesterday to get something my writing coach, Judy, needed. I shooed the brothers, Cowboy Joe and Frank, out of the office. I type in my chair, so I don’t have to crutch back and forth.

This morning, I got up to let the dog out, and I heard frantic meowing upstairs. Matthew had gotten stuck in the office. I close the door because I don’t want the cats in there. Bad idea.

Of course, Matthew, 16, can’t go all night without urinating. He has chronic renal failure, and gallons of stinky cat urine is a part of it.

You can imagine the smell. You can understand I couldn’t go in because I was in stocking feet. Somewhere in there is a pile of kitty turds, I’m sure. Since I can’t vacuum or anything, I took a can of Resolve carpet cleaner, stood at the doorway, and sprayed the entire carpet. Poor Kayla, she has no idea of what she is in for next Monday, my biweekly cleaning day.

Travel plans and publishing deadlines

I woke up early this morning to use the fire hydrant, and totally forgot I must use crutches right now. I got out of bed and started walking to the bathroom. WRONG! OW! Didn’t work. I know now why I have the crutches. I didn’t fall, but I grabbed the crutches and finished what I started to do.

Speaking of starting to do things, I got a spreadsheet from one of my team members at She Writes Press yesterday of twenty three things to do before publication date-August 28. Whew! Judy, my coach, and I have our (my) parts to do, and SWP has theirs. But their work has to be approved by me.

I usually am in Arizona during April, but it’s not going to happen again this year. Last year, I had a fractured humerus, which is giving me total grief right now because I have to use my arms more, and can’t exercise. Swimming is good for the arm. So, I got a prescription for physical therapy on the arm. My surgeon doesn’t order PT for hips, just walking when off crutches. I see him in three weeks. I can ride three months after the accident, so April would be a good time to try. Hannah, my baby girl, eighteen next year, stands like a rock for mounting. Heck, she’s the horse I fell off that lead to my first hip soap opera. My sister is going to get a couple of step stools for mounting horses. We are small women, and time is marching on in our bodies. She has been climbing up on her truck’s tailgate to get on her mare Chulita, a truly gorgeous Appaloosa, and soon, her beautiful palomino rescue horse Bamboo. When I fractured my first hip, I found that I lost a lot of range of motion, and kept a stool in the horse trailer just for mounting my noble steeds.

So it’s books and horses. I will try to get a week or two in in April. I can board Ivy, and have a cat sitter come in to take care of the boys, and fly down instead of making  the long drive. We’ll see. I want the book construction zone to be as stress free as possible.

She Writes Press is such a wonderful publisher. I really feel like part of the SWP family. I am now one of their authors. That makes me feel good. Judy has given me homework to do including reading as much as possible. What a great assignment! I am currently reading Joe Biden’s book, Promise Me, Dad. It’s a good read.

Trash Day

Well, Ivy the Golden doodle went out earlier at 5 this morning to pee. Usually, I go outside to watch her at night, then she sleeps in. I can’t do that right now, as I am on crutches. I assume she has peed.

So, an hour later, after sleeping outside until 6am, Ivy barked once to come in. She is a good dog about this, and my new neighbors are pleased. Ivy knows that when she comes in in the morning, it is time for snoozing on the bed with me and the cats. She loves Matthew, my tough guy, 16, and he really likes her kisses. He will jump on the bed if Ivy is there. I adore sleeping with Ivy on the bed, but I don’t trust her for all night because she chomps up pens and pencils. She sleeps in her crate. Besides, the bed is for the cats at night.

The rest of the day, no animals are allowed in the master. One time, Matt woofed up such a potent hairball as to take the finish off one of my mother’s old dressers. Because the cats also leave prodigious vomit on the bedspread and sheets, that the door is closed all day.

I was awake, the earliest since my accident at dog school on the 27th, so we all got up. I let Ivy out, and stumped around getting my breakkie. I never appreciated having an island before. I can just push stuff around. The best kitchen I had in the best house I had was in Lubbock, Texas, and it was a galley kitchen with tons of storage space.

I’m trying to do the “homework” my editor, Judy, gave me. She is out of town, so we won’t have our weekly meeting this week. She said to read my publisher’s book, Green-light Your Book by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press. Very good and informational book.

I started to get tired and snoozed a little. What do you know, Ivy went ballistic. Lovely little dog, big bark; still pees submissively when people come whom she doesn’t know. Waiting for her to outgrow that. Today is trash day, and also recycle day. I heard the recycle truck, which comes in the morning, and stumped downstairs thanks to Ivy’s keen watchfulness for trash trucks.

First, I put the little trash can out. On crutches, this is problematic. You take the bad leg’s foot, and make fit it so the container can roll. Hang on because it’s downhill, and try to advance the crutches without killing yourself. Next, do the large recycle can. My neighbor next door did this for me last week, but now that I can put a little (15%) weight on my surgicated hip, I tried it. Phyllis saw me fumbling around and asked if this was all my trash. I said all but what is in the kitchen trash can. She took care of it, and I was so proud of myself-I put in a new trash bag.

Phillis and Sharon are going to Trader Joe’s, and I gave them a list for me. Mostly comfort food. Sharon went to Safeway for me yesterday, and I gave her a check made out to Safeway with my signature. A blank check. Also gave her my Safeway card. Safeway didn’t like it, so this time, I’ll just pay her back. I did drive to my dr. appt. last Thursday, because I hadn’t used any pain medicine. But hauling groceries is whole another thing.