Monday, December 24, 2007

Again, some more.

I admit, I set about to make an official Maudlin Holiday Post tonight. A lot of words about the what and the why and the how much of my gratitude for everything, and to everyone. But I am actually aiming for a goal of Plum Texan being readable and amusing at some point (again?), and in the interest of this being a blog and not a slog, I'm going to gloss it over quickly.

Every day, no matter how much I want to pull my hair out or wish I could sleep through a week or wonder when the hell it's going to lighten up, I am grateful. My life is truly an embarrassment of riches, full of debts of kindness and love that I have no idea how I'll repay, though I will certainly spend the rest of my days trying.

To all those who have extended gifts far more generous than I could possibly deserve...thank you.


Oh look...real purpose ahead!

Thanks to the standard piles of work and taking care of the Buddy,* I've largely been too worn to get nearly as much holiday in as I would have liked. But I did manage to eke out a little. There are photos, which I'll share with you...when I finally unpack the box that has the USB cable for my camera. (That's any day now. I can feel it.) But in the meantime:

- Five of the houses immediately surrounding our new place put up quite a lot of bright and sparkly. I didn't want the world to think we were completely bah humbug, so I whipped up a little twinkle of my own for about six bucks. Two strands of lights and an 18-inch floral wire frame, et voila...a Very Plum Texan Window Wreath.

- I was short of time and energy to begin with, so I'd largely ruled out most of the handmade-for-the-holidays plans I'd hoped to accomplish. Then, in some evening's Bloglining, I happened across a post on Jeri's organizing blog** in which she promoted some lovely Japanese paper boxes...and that company led me to the site for Tansu. The link called it an online store...and then I discovered that the brick-and-mortar Tansu is right here in Houston...score!

Last week, I made a quick trip in and discovered a wonder of cool and awesome stuff, including a rather impressive selection of origami and chiyogami papers. I spent just over $20 for a nice stack of small items, some of which I'm using in gifts. Amy and others have said that they want everything in Tansu...and I'm pretty close to agreeing.

The best part of all this? The photos of these projects...will come with tutorials! That's right: I'm actually going to show you how to do something really cool that's not too hard, not too expensive, and really, really pretty. Crafts? On a craft blog? Who knew?

* Who is doing much better, thank you, after a week at home and tube feedings and...lots of other stuff.
** Note: while Jeri just happens to be my mom's name as well...this Jeri is someone different. :)

Since it does *just* happen that this is an obligatory holiday post, best wishes to everyone for a merry Christmas, or whatever happens to float your boat during December. Tomorrow, it's lunch with my parents at Kim Son, then presents and such at our house. A little bit of tasty, a little bit of togetherness, a whole lot of quiet and easy. Just about what we need right now.

As another year crawls to a close...I wish you all just what it is you might need, today and always.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Finally right.

A few of you have been telling me that things would get better. Not that they "have to," but that they *would.* And finally, I have no compunction against saying that you were right.

I'll spare the goriest details, but indeed: the Buddy still smells like hospital, and is still in it...but after his sister gave him a blood transfusion* yesterday, the doc feels he's strong enough for his next procedure. The cause of his troubles has indeed been the hepatic lipidosis; the cause of that is, apparently, completely random in his case. But he's been keeping food down (if not taking it himself) like a champ and strengthening up overall. If all goes as planned, he'll be home by the weekend. Huzzah!

There will still be follow-up, and while it's far better than touch-and-go now, we still have to be very careful with everything for at least a month more. Hand-feeding will have to continue until he's doing it himself (which he's not yet). But there is no reason to think that his recovery will be anything other than complete.

I won't lie - it's been a rough week. Yesterday was almost (~almost~) worse than Wednesday, and I had a few good solid meltdowns, a couple of them a little embarrassing. But today was better - my boss and coworkers are great and there are some good developments at work, and with my "kids" being OK, and my kitchen being ready for baking tomorrow...

...well, all isn't quite right with the world, but it's getting close. I'm looking for this trend to continue, and fully plan to be grinning ear-to-ear by this time next week. No doubt that baked goods and Amy time will be the icing on the healthier-kitty cake.

* She was pretty freaked out but has recovered well. And it was a good thing we tested her for donor compatibility - the other possible donor cat was no match whatsoever, so Fuzz saved the day. Buddy was nosing the cage wanting to check on Fuzz when we picked her up. Who knows if this was thanks, or if he just missed her...or both...but it was adorable. And sad...but mostly adorable.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Four words.

Four words that will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about my day:

The Buddy is purring.

The Buddy is purring!!! He wasn't doing that yesterday. Also, fairly *demanding* (by way of nose and repositioning) continual head scratching. Now THAT'S my cat.

He's still having to be fed, but keeping it all down, and just altogether looking much more himself (but still yellow and still dandruffy). Ultrasound results and further bloodwork show nothing to be concerned about in the way of the Big C (though we're still waiting to see if they can do a liver biopsy).

We're still waiting it out and probably won't know much more for a couple of days. In the meantime, I am unbelievably grateful for all the wishes and kindness. It means the world and has been a huge comfort.

Now I'm just hoping that I can actually get back to, you know, creative(ish) blogging. Hey, it could happen.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Smells like hospital.

A million thanks for all the good wishes. Y'all are the best!

The Buddy Cat is improving. Hydration has done wonders, and he's getting medications for the stuff the bloodwork showed wasn't so good. Plus, they're feeding him soft food through a syringe, which he is not resisting, and is now able to keep down.

There are still some pretty serious concerns, though. His doctors believe that he has hepatic lipidosis, which happens when a cat stops eating (significantly or altogether) and the liver tissue begins to convert to fat. Hence, the yellow. They have ruled out all infectious causes (which is unsurprising since he and the Fuzz only see each other and people), but they're still worried about the possibility of the Big C (which I refuse to utter) and, simply, how much damage his liver has taken.

What did help a lot when we visited this evening - because I'm stubbornly guilt-ridden and paranoid, and have thus far been too much of a dumb ass to listen when people who love me told me this - was when the doctor said that we had nothing to blame ourselves for. That cats are notoriously finicky and secretive, and that Buddy probably made it pretty near impossible to notice anything but the weight loss. He also said that Buddy doesn't fight them on the treatment and is, in his words, "a sweetheart." So true. He's always been one to know when people are trying to help him, and he's such a love anyway.

Bryan and I spent quite some time giving our boy cuddles and head scratches. I kept noticing an odd smell that I recognized from the days when my family had dogs that had puppies a lot: animal baby food, of which Buddy had a bit on his paws (right next to the yellow tape around the IV line) and face. While he was still clearly drained, he was alert enough to rearrange, plant himself, and nose me and Bryan alternately for petting. I consider this a Very Good Sign.

As for what's next, I guess we wait it out. He probably needs at least a few more days of TLC in the ICU before we can bring him home. I didn't feel up to SnB tonight, but I think I can breathe a little bit more easily, even with the smell of kitty hospital still in my nose.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A screeching halt.

Progress on the new bank heart, when Amy said last night: "Why is Buddy yellow?"

Pablo, aka the Buddy Cat, has not been himself lately - a little lethargic, weight loss that started out looking positive (he was, after all, a bit chunky) and ended up quite a bit less than, and a lowered appetite. But he'd seemed on an upswing, the stress of the move notwithstanding. Until Amy brought it up, we hadn't noticed the very ill tone of the skin around his ears. Eyes, gums, even a little area above his nose...

Jaundiced. And in short order, we'd looked up enough information to get really scared.

To fast-forward, our beloved Buddy is having a stay in the hospital. He's had some tests (bloodwork and ultrasound) done and has been getting IV fluids; liver biopsy and a couple of other scary procedures will have to wait until the doctor considers him stable.

The good news is, while he's still definitely not Himself, he is still alert and responsive to everything, moving around slowly but still moving nonetheless. I took him in this morning and stayed until they settled him in; TechieBK went by to visit and cuddle him this afternoon. He's getting great care from nice people, and we feel somewhat better about it now than we did.

But still, our Buddy is not well. And he's not home.

There are a ton of details that I'm just going to gloss over; it took me half the day to stop bawling every half an hour, not productive when you're going back to work after a week off. But I'm going to shamelessly ask for all the best that y'all can spare in the way of wishes, thoughts, prayers, vibes, whatever you care to call them. We're just not quite ready to give him up, and we're ready to do whatever we must to keep him around, healthy.

His sister Pandora, aka Fuzz, seems to think that one cat in the house isn't quite enough. We agree. And as soon as we know when we can fix that problem, I'll give y'all a holler.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

So done.

At least with the moving part. TechieBK and I finally got the last of the stuff out of the old place, cleaned it up a bit, and voila - in slightly less than three days, we are completely out of one home and into another.

HUZZAH!!! While the prep and packing were still quite stressful - and there was a bit of drama (not ours) that delayed us getting our keys for a full day - it's all been ironed out, and now there are about 5 dozen (no kidding) boxes in our living room, plus many in the kitchen and a few in other rooms. This means that the truly hard part is over.

Only now, there's the exhaustion. And since I've planted myself at Borders - with TechieBK sitting next to me reading his latest purchase - I figure I ought to crank myself up and head on home. Amy took a few pictures (and wrote awesome comments on my boxes) when she was over on Thursday helping us pack up. She's promised to tell the story, and I'll let her - let's just say that everybody got punchy, and MUCH MUCH hilarity ensued. (P.S.: big, big thanks. I had no intention of "moral support" turning into "help packing," but I thank you, and my tea thanks you.)

Most importantly, I have imposed on my BFF for moving assistance for the last time. We could not possibly have accomplished everything we did, in the amount of time we did, were it not for Caety. I cannot possibly express everything I'm thinking, but I think she pretty well knows.

Also, I'm going to pay her even if it takes me forever to do it.

This Thursday, there will be knitting. Other than that, there will be unpacking and errand-running (and two more days work-free). And now, since Bryan is asleep in the Borders Cafe and I'm not far behind him, I'll just say hasta and catch up when I'm not falling over tired.

Happy December!