Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Almost & Not Even Close

I almost successfully completed the A to Z Blogging Challenge.  I think that’s the closest I’ve ever come without finishing it.  I had hopes that the challenge would help me get into a somewhat regular blogging schedule.  It has been over two months since I posted anything, so I didn’t even get close on that one.

Around the end of April, things started getting insanely busy and somewhat unsettled at work.  And we’ve been dealing with some health concerns with some of the pets.

Duke had a nasty bout of pancreatitis.  He ended up spending a few nights at the vet’s office for IV fluids and antibiotics.  Fortunately, he’s all recovered from the pancreatitis now.  You may remember that he was on steroids after his surgery for Cushing's Disease and that Dr. M. was working on getting him weaned off of them.  He’s now completely off of the steroids. 

Dr. M. noticed that Duke’s water consumption was still a little higher than it should be, though nothing like it was before the surgery.  He did the cortisol suppression test, and Duke’s levels were higher than they should have been.  Again, nothing like they were before the surgery, but it does mean that Duke absolutely should not be on steroids.  It was a long, slow process to wean him off of them, but he’s steroid-free now.

There’s a chance that whatever is left of the tumor is producing cortisol again, and there’s also a chance that his remaining adrenal gland is working overtime.  At this point, we’re not pursuing finding out.  The numbers weren’t bad enough to warrant anything other than coming off of the steroids.  With any luck, that will be enough.  If it is a case of the tumor growing back much quicker than expected, we’re not going to put Duke through the surgery a second time.  It was a major surgery with a hard recovery.  Once was enough for him.  Obviously, we’re hoping that the tumor isn’t growing and that it was just time for Duke to come off of the steroids.  In the meantime, he’s happy.  He’s still stealing food every chance he gets.  We learned, the hard way, with an egg and cheese bagel, that Duke’s mobility is still just fine when he really wants something.  He still frolics around the backyard, chases rabbits, and manages to be in the middle of everything whenever anyone comes over.  He’s happy, and that’s what really matters.

Howard started drinking an excessive amount of water, and Dr. D. (the cats’ vet) had talked to us for years about the risk of diabetes, especially with the steroids Howard is on for his asthma.  He had a lot of tests, including bloodwork, urine tests, x-rays, and an ultrasound to rule out several things.  His breathing got much worse for a while; we all think it was probably related to seasonal allergies.  So, he had to go on a much higher dose of steroids for a while.  That has been tapered back down, but is still higher than it was before all of this started.

Howard had to get an interesting haircut for his ultrasound.  He’s cute enough that he still looks adorable even with a not-so-great haircut. 

Dr. D., in consultation with Dr. V. (the specialist we like, who was Duke’s internal medicine vet), determined that cancer (one of the main concerns) is extremely unlikely.  They’ve landed on diabetes as the issue, possibly caused or made worse by the high doses of steroids.  For right now, Howard’s steroid dose can’t be reduced more since breathing kind of trumps everything else in the order of importance, so he’s now on insulin.  He’s currently only on two units twice a day, which is apparently a pretty low dose.  We’re working on getting him switched to a diabetic diet, and at some point, we’ll revisit trying to lower the steroid dose.  He’s on a higher dose of Terbutaline now, so there’s a chance that things may kind of level off with his asthma and/or that the diabetic cat food will help.  So, insulin may not be a permanent thing.

Howard does great about getting his insulin injections.  It’s a very small needle.  Fortunately, because of Nick’s EMT background, he’s never bothered by giving the fur kids shots.  We had an appointment with Dr. D. to learn how to give Howard the injections.  Nick picked it up right away and has been great about it.

I’m a different story.  Needles and pretty much anything medical, if I’m being totally honest, tends to freak me out.  I’m still practicing on an orange.  Dr. D. said practicing on an orange wasn’t necessary.  Nick thinks it’s worth it, so I’m less freaked out about it whenever I do need to give Howard an injection.  I’d much rather hurt an orange than Howard, so I’m still practicing.  The good thing is that Howard is pretty used to the routine of pills, alcohol swab, and insulin shot now, so at least he’ll be comfortable with the process whenever it’s time for me to do it, which will make one of us.

 The plan is for me to try it on a weekend, with Nick around to help, since weekends aren’t usually as rushed as weekdays, so I can take my time.  I realize the long weekend would be a great time for this, but I’m still hoping to get some more orange practice in first. 

Howard is very mellow, so he’s still his usual happy self.  Duke is still his absolute favorite family member, he still loves getting his Pill Pockets, and he has even been playing with more of their toys lately.

Nick and I both had some kind of nasty respiratory infection for what seemed like large parts of May and June.  It wasn’t COVID; we both tested negative, but it wasn’t pleasant.  We seemed to pass it back and forth for a while.  We both completely lost our voices, but at different times, fortunately.  We both finally got over it when it got bad enough to warrant taking antibiotics and using some sick time to rest. 

We had some extremely bad storms a few weeks ago.  One of my coworkers had part of their roof cave in.  Our router and modem got fried from a lightning strike, which isn’t that bad compared to a roof caving in, but I’ve never seen lightning hit that close to the house before.  It was one of the days I was home from work sick, and I really thought the lightning had hit the house.  It was so loud and so bright!  The lights flashed off and then back on, and I smelled something burning.  We later discovered that the burning smell was from the router and modem being fried.  The internet lines to the neighborhood were also damaged.  The neighbors were without internet for about 36 hours.  Ours was out for almost two weeks with waiting for the new modem and router and all of the repairs.  The neighbors were kind enough to let us use their network.  We used it some, mainly for work, but tried to limit it, so we didn’t slow theirs down.  Fortunately, our internet is finally working normally again.  We have a greater than 50% chance of storms on most days in the 10-day forecast, so we’re hoping they won’t be the roof caving in, modem/router frying kind.

I think those are the highlights of the past two months.  What have you been up to for the past couple of months?  Have you lost any electronics to storms?  Have you ever had to give a pet insulin?  Do you have any tips for me (other than the obvious “be a grownup, get over it, and do it”)?  

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Water Droplets

Flowers or leaves with water droplets are some of my favorite things to take pictures of.  I think they’re beautiful. 

I love going out with the camera right after it rains to get pictures of flowers and leaves with water droplets on them.

Do you enjoy seeing water droplets? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


As usual, when I don’t have pictures related to the post, I’m just sharing a random assortment of pictures I like.

I often find myself wishing that vitamins could be a partial credit kind of thing.  I want to take vitamins.  I mean to take vitamins.  I have the best of intentions when it comes to taking vitamins.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually get much further than that. 

Oh, I buy them.  I typically have low iron levels and very low Vitamin D levels.  So, I do buy vitamins with every intention of taking them.  I might take them a day or two after I buy them.  I very often carry them around in my purse.  I almost never remember to take them. 

I’ve tried keeping them in my desk drawer so I can take them with lunch.  I’ve tried using a pill organizer.  I’ve tried keeping them in my purse to make it easier to take them whenever  I think about it.  The problem is that I never seem to think about it.

Do you take vitamins?  Have you found a good system for remembering to take vitamins?  Or, are you like me and really wish you got some kind of partial health benefit for buying vitamins? 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Unpopular Opinions

Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be overly negative.  I thought it might be interesting to see how my unpopular opinions compare to yours.

I’ll start with what’s probably the most controversial opinion first.

1.  I don’t like chocolate.  I like white chocolate, though most diehard chocolate fanatics maintain that white chocolate is not chocolate.  I don’t like candy bars, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, or even something not chocolate with just a little chocolate.  Chocolate sprinkles on a sundae ruins the whole thing for me, chocolate syrup drizzled on cheese cake ruins the whole thing for me.  I just don’t like it.

2.  I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas.  This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has ever visited my blog in November, or spent more than about five minutes around me in November.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas, but I love Thanksgiving more.

3.  I firmly believe that towels should be rolled rather than folded.  It works better than folding when all of your towels aren’t the same size, it makes it easier to get a specific towel, and it doesn’t leave weird creases in your towels.  I could go on (and on, and on, and on), but I won’t.

Caroline agrees that rolled towels are better than folded towels.

4.  I greatly prefer Miracle Whip to mayonnaise.  I’m not sure if that’s a big deal everywhere, but in the south, it’s practically a form of treason.

5.  I can’t stand Seinfeld.  I do not understand its appeal.  That show is like nails on a chalkboard for me. 

6.  I usually prefer the plain/original version of things.   I think plain Coke is a million times better than any of the other flavors.  I love vanilla ice cream!

7.  I hate two-door cars.  It’s such a pain to get pets or people in and out of the backseat.  It’s a pain to put anything in the backseat, and it’s a pain to vacuum back there.  To top it all off, they’re not even cheaper than a four-door car.  I just feel like if you’re paying for the whole car, you should get the whole car.

8.  I love Velveeta cheese.  I know everyone loves to hate it, but in my opinion, it’s the best thing for purely comforting, melty goodness.  It’s like a bowl full of perfectly melted, delicious happiness.

9.  I’m a page folder.  I don’t like bookmarks.  I’d much rather just fold down the corner.  I don’t do it to someone else’s book, but if it’s my own, or a library book and someone else has folded the pages, I absolutely fold the pages. 

10.  I don’t like concerts.  I think I’d like them if there was a rule that no one could sing along or make noise, but it irritates me to spend a lot of money to hear an artist perform, only to hear fans destroying the music.  I’d rather just buy the music and listen to it at home whenever I want.

So what about you?  Do you agree with me on any of these?  What are your unpopular opinions?

As usual, when I don’t have many pictures to go with the post, I’m just sharing a random assortment of pictures I like. 

Mortimer isn't bothered by my unpopular opinions.

Saturday, April 23, 2022


This post could probably just as easily be labeled “An Excuse to Share More Pictures of Howard.”  But, for purposes of the A to Z Challenge, “Terbutaline” it is. 

Terbutaline is the medication that Howard is on for his asthma.  Web Md describes it as “used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath from lung problems (such as asthma.

Yes, cats can develop asthma.  They cough and wheeze.  Not treating it can lead to a buildup of scar tissue in their lungs.

When Howard was first diagnosed with asthma, we tried putting him on an inhaler.  He’s such an easygoing cat that we all thought it would work.  Unfortunately, Howard wanted no part of the inhaler.  Even Howard has some limits as to what he’ll put up with.

Fortunately, our vet was able to switch him to Terbutaline, which is a tablet.  Howard takes one-quarter of a tablet twice daily and is very excited to take them.  We put them in Pill Pockets, which Howard loves.  He comes into the kitchen and does his little meerkat pose waiting for his special treat whenever we get the medication and Pill Pockets out. 

Our vet told us it’s cheaper to get the Terbutaline filled at a regular pharmacy, so that’s what we’ve been doing.  The price has fluctuated quite a bit lately, so we’ve been using different pharmacies to get the best prices.  Some of them have some interesting labeling.  Some of my favorites are:

Howard Feline Zecher

Howard the Feline Zecher

Howard Zecher (Canine)***

***Nope, he’s definitely a cat.  An unusual cat, but most definitely a cat.  

Do any of your pets have prescriptions filled at a regular pharmacy?