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Clematis

Still slogging along

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We've had the vet problems here with them constantly changing...Arlie never gets a chance to build a relationship with one of them, so no trust.  And it's owned by VCA, big corporation.  The one we had originally had been here for years and truly cared about animals, big and small, he was great, but he retired.

Laura, I'm so glad you found out what was going on.  I shudder to think if you'd taken them at their word.  Sounds like they're die-hards that don't listen either.  Wow.  They have a lot to learn, but not on Lena!

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That's too bad that you can't get a local vet with whom to build a relationship for Arlie.

I think the roaming vet and her assistant/husband are good hearted people who love animals, but I think this kind of slippery slope happens when professionals are isolated and have inadequate resources. You don't think of resources you don't have at your disposal. Since she does not have an ultrasound, she cannot get a sterile urine sample from a cat because you need to guide the needle to the bladder with the ultrasound. She should be working closely with someone else and/or making a lot of referrals until she can figure out how to better equip her mobile vet clinic.

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:31 AM, Clematis said:

That's too bad that you can't get a local vet with whom to build a relationship for Arlie.

It's kind of too late for that anyway, he doesn't have much longer.  I'm doing everything I can to get him to eat because the moment he quits...he seals his death certificate.  It's hard, I tried something different today, it seemed to help.

I wish your roaming vet all the best, we need more like that!  I hate the big corporation I've had to deal with. Just as a caring doctor who can tend to anything is a thing of the past, so are vets.

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I love Lena's new vet. We are slogging along. She got better when she started on the antibiotic, and then better after she had completed it. Now we are adjusting to life with kidney disease. We went to a Pet Partners evaluation to see if she could keep on as a therapy cat. She made her preferences clearly known with some hissing, snarling, and unsavory comments. I surmised that meant no, and she is now a retired therapy cat. 

She was prescribed a Chinese herb called Rehmannia Eight, and it is to be ground up and mixed with her food, more than once a day. She is also taking a probiotic/prebiotic/anti-inflammatory supplement for pets, the powder from two capsules per day. She does not like the supplements at all and has all kinds of things to say about me ruining her food with supplements. She cries and whines when she sees it, and I feel really badly about ruining her food for her, because she loves to eat.

I finally found a compromise about this. I mix up the supplement with some food in the morning and put it in a container. Then, at each meal I put the unadulterated food on one side of her bowl and a little of the stuff with the supplements on the other side of the bowl. She eventually eats all of it. When she has eaten all of a given day's food with the supplements in it, she can have pure cat food fo the rest of the day. She is eating about six small meals per day. This seems to be ok. I hate to put something in my darling's food that she thinks is nasty, but I think it's good for her health...

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I'm going through that too.  Yesterday I tried switching Arlie to CBD oil instead of the hemp oil.  He wouldn't touch the food.  Nope, no way, nada!  It does smell nasty.  I had to throw his food out and make some more.  So hemp oil it is.  He's taking his supplements well though and I've been adding Metamucil and Probiotics into his food for years, they don't smell though and I don't think he notices them.

Arlie is my companion but it's not something he'd be vested for, it's just him and me at home.  I know him and he knows me...I have one more week with him.  This is one of the hardest journeys I've been on.

I'm glad you like the new vet.  We'll be going to a new vet for the euthanasia, I just feel he'd be more comfortable there even though it's an hour away.  I've been in there with a neighbor going through the same thing with his dog.  I like the feel of the place.

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On 8/9/2019 at 5:22 AM, kayc said:

I have one more week with him.  This is one of the hardest journeys I've been on.

Awww...that must be really hard. I feel for you...

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Lena seems to have gotten fairly used to her new supplement. When she has several options, as in this trifecta breakfast, she eats that part last, but she eats it and is not crying and complaining about it. She seemed a little thinner after being ill and is now making up for lost meals. I have read that cats with kidney disease tend to lose weight and I don't want to see her get scrawny so I feed her any time she likes as long as the food is part of her plan.

Not long ago I was always trying to get her to lose a little weight; her first vet said she should, and she did lose about half a pound. Now that is the last of my worries; I am more concerned about her hydration and overall health. She seems ravenous all hours of the day, and I am enjoying watching her eat. This is the cat I am used to...

1010874781_TrifectaBreakfast.thumb.jpg.7d58bb40099724406d8d58c05a131600.jpg

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She is so beautiful, Laura, she looks so healthy, her fur and eyes are glowing.

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Lena is still adjusting to her Chinese herbal remedy. Sometimes she just eats the food with the supplement, sometimes she refuses to eat it, and usually she complains about it and then eats it eventually. She does seem to think that I am clueless and have no idea that I am contaminating her food for no good reason. Sigh. I wish there was a way for her to understand what it's all about.

I have been working a LOT. Last year I was doing two evaluations per week, but not all of the time. This wasn't really enough work and I had to pull some money out of my retirement accounts to get through the year, so I decided to get more work this year. This year I am doing four per week, which seems really crazy. Then last week and next week I ended up with five evaluations in a week. I have a really strict schedule that I have been following. I do evaluations on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Wednesdays and Sundays I write reports and make food for the next two days, packing it up in bento boxes. Saturdays I don't do any professional work since it's Shabbat, but catch up on personal things, plan meals, and shop. I am staying close to the intermittent fasting schedule, getting plenty of sleep, and getting to the gym 3-4 times a week. It is not easy to stick to that.

I lost twenty pounds over the summer and have been working hard to maintain that. I would like to lose some more, but given my work load, I am probably doing well to stay even. Last summer I managed to lose fifteen pounds, but then gained some of it back during the school year. Nevertheless, it's pretty great - I have spent the summer celebrating each little loss, and overall it's not little. I can wear clothes I had in my storage unit I didn't think I'd ever wear again but couldn't quite bear to get rid of. I was struggling with my weight during the last few years of my dad's life, but then after his death and the car accident I steadily gained - about thirty pounds. Now I am lower than I have been for some time, and it is such a relief. I have a friend who has been encouraging me via texts on a regular basis and that has been extremely helpful. She also told me about the 16 hr-8 hr intermittent fasting plan, which I think has been the key to my success.

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I am finally getting ready to sell my dad's car, Bob -the Mercury Grand Marquis. I feel sad about it but I really don't have room for it, and a car is an expensive and bulky sentimental item. I am parking my new car, Udevash, in my neighbor's garage and Bob is in my carport, but my neighbor wants to move to Reno to be near family, and when she does Bob has no place to go. It seems like a big connection to my dad to be letting go of my his car. It's been like having him drive me around. Nevertheless, he keeps talking to me about it, and that has been helpful. This morning I did the final cleaning out of the trunk, and he hung around with me for the entire task, making comments about this or that and what I should do with things...toss it, put it in the house, etc. A couple of times he said, "Oh, you need to put that in your new car and keep it there!" A dust cap from a tire..."Your bike is missing one of those"...sure enough it was. I found something in an illegible plastic bag and heard, "Oh that's a raincoat - you should keep that in the back of your new car." Ok. He used to buy things he saw advertised on TV, and he'd buy two - one for me and one for him. Some of these things were junk, but many were good items and very worthwhile. Eventually now, I have both of them, his and mine... I sure miss him. 

I also found a giant folder that enclosed MRI scans of his entire back, slice by slice. It was done a few months before he moved to AZ in 2006. I wonder what was going on that required these scans. He didn't talk to me much then about a lot of things. "What am I supposed to do with these, Daddy?" No response and then, "Oh just stick it in the garage." Ok.

There seemed to be something else he really wanted me to find, and I kept digging. Finally - found it! Two long plastic boxes...I wasn't sure what they were but opened them up to find some long warning things - like for it your car is disabled by the side of the road. I had never seen them before and thought they were surely no good now, but they had no batteries, but long reflectors that you pull out of their cases and arrange into big triangles to warn people. He didn't have to tell me to put them in the Matrix.

A few weeks ago I cleaned the car inside and out, except the trunk, and the oddest thing happened. I installed a Bluetooth stereo in the car about a year ago and was listening to Janos Starker play the Bach Cello Suites while I was cleaning out the car. Suddenly in the middle of the cello suites I heard the opening bars of a tune called "Neria" by Oliver Mtukudzi aka Tuku, who died not long ago. This is one of my all-time favorite artists, and my dad had listened to him with me frequently. But the song Neria is one that Tuku wrote to his daughter about how much he loved her. So here I was all verklempt over cleaning out my dad's car and preparing to sell it, and out of the blue is this song. Nice to have him still hanging around with me. It's not the same as when he was alive, but it means so much to hear his voice and feel his concern. If I ever need them in the Matrix, he'll remind me where I secured them in a spot near the spare tire. I love that he's still taking care of me...

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5 hours ago, Clematis said:

......  I have a friend who has been encouraging me via texts on a regular basis and that has been extremely helpful. She also told me about the 16 hr-8 hr intermittent fasting plan, which I think has been the key to my success.

Congratulations! I stumbled upon Intermittent fasting two years ago and i natural fasting 1-23 hours each day. It is a great and natural way to shed excess lbs and maintain it!

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4 hours ago, Clematis said:

I am finally getting ready to sell my dad's car, Bob -the Mercury Grand Marquis. I feel sad about it but I really don't have room for it, and a car is an expensive and bulky sentimental item. I am parking my new car, Udevash, in my neighbor's garage and Bob is in my carport, but my neighbor wants to move to Reno to be near family, and when she does Bob has no place to go. It seems like a big connection to my dad to be letting go of my his car. It's been like having him drive me around. Nevertheless, he keeps talking to me about it, and that has been helpful. This morning I did the final cleaning out of the trunk, and he hung around with me for the entire task, making comments about this or that and what I should do with things...toss it, put it in the house, etc. A couple of times he said, "Oh, you need to put that in your new car and keep it there!" A dust cap from a tire..."Your bike is missing one of those"...sure enough it was. I found something in an illegible plastic bag and heard, "Oh that's a raincoat - you should keep that in the back of your new car." Ok. He used to buy things he saw advertised on TV, and he'd buy two - one for me and one for him. Some of these things were junk, but many were good items and very worthwhile. Eventually now, I have both of them, his and mine... I sure miss him. 

I also found a giant folder that enclosed MRI scans of his entire back, slice by slice. It was done a few months before he moved to AZ in 2006. I wonder what was going on that required these scans. He didn't talk to me much then about a lot of things. "What am I supposed to do with these, Daddy?" No response and then, "Oh just stick it in the garage." Ok.

There seemed to be something else he really wanted me to find, and I kept digging. Finally - found it! Two long plastic boxes...I wasn't sure what they were but opened them up to find some long warning things - like for it your car is disabled by the side of the road. I had never seen them before and thought they were surely no good now, but they had no batteries, but long reflectors that you pull out of their cases and arrange into big triangles to warn people. He didn't have to tell me to put them in the Matrix.

A few weeks ago I cleaned the car inside and out, except the trunk, and the oddest thing happened. I installed a Bluetooth stereo in the car about a year ago and was listening to Janos Starker play the Bach Cello Suites while I was cleaning out the car. Suddenly in the middle of the cello suites I heard the opening bars of a tune called "Neria" by Oliver Mtukudzi aka Tuku, who died not long ago. This is one of my all-time favorite artists, and my dad had listened to him with me frequently. But the song Neria is one that Tuku wrote to his daughter about how much he loved her. So here I was all verklempt over cleaning out my dad's car and preparing to sell it, and out of the blue is this song. Nice to have him still hanging around with me. It's not the same as when he was alive, but it means so much to hear his voice and feel his concern. If I ever need them in the Matrix, he'll remind me where I secured them in a spot near the spare tire. I love that he's still taking care of me...

Your sharing reminds me of  my sister.

My father died three months ago and my sister was his caregiver the last 18 months in her home.  She has very similar stories that she shared with me today and it gives her great comfort amidst the grief.  I'm glad you and Lena are doing well.  It's good to her from you. - Shalom (Peace)

 

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1 hour ago, iPraiseHim said:

Congratulations! I stumbled upon Intermittent fasting two years ago and i natural fasting 1-23 hours each day. It is a great and natural way to shed excess lbs and maintain it!

Yeah! I'm in a holding pattern right now and plateaued, but at least I'm not gaining weight at the beginning of the new school year and all its stress...

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1 hour ago, iPraiseHim said:

Your sharing reminds me of  my sister.

My father died three months ago and my sister was his caregiver the last 18 months in her home.  She has very similar stories that she shared with me today and it gives her great comfort amidst the grief.  I'm glad you and Lena are doing well.  It's good to her from you. - Shalom (Peace)

Thanks, and sorry to hear about your father.

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It's good to get an update from you, Laura!  Good to know Lena is still eating, even if balking a bit.

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I am taking a class this semester on memoir writing and I wrote what is below. The assignment was to write about an interaction with another person from our past, and then the same interaction from another person's perspective.

How could I know it would be the last day of my dad’s life? His doctor referred him to the rehab hospital for three weeks, after which he would be stronger than he had been in years. Yes! Watching him decline had been agonizing and I was SO relieved. But after a week in the hospital, the staff summoned me for a “family meeting”. I had no idea what this meant and negotiated over the timing of the meeting, wanting to go to the pool on the way. They were very accommodating and kind to me. 

I was ushered into a conference room; around the table sat all of his therapists, the head nurse, and several administrators. They gestured to an empty chair at the table next to my dad slumped in a wheelchair. My mind whirled as I grappled with what they were telling me – what was the real agenda for this meeting? Gradually it consolidated into a pattern. They were telling me that he wasn’t doing well and they planned to discharge him after only ten days. 

They were giving up on him. One therapist told of picking him up for his therapy as he clutched the curtains around his bed in an attempt to keep them from dragging him away from the bed. How could this be? I looked at my dad, who had gone from looking somewhat embarrassed to looking very asleep. How could he sleep through this? What was I supposed to do without him? They suggested I think about it for a day or two.

 

Today I watched Laura clean out my old Mercury and delve through the deep abyss of its trunk. She seems finally ready to sell it. It has been hard watching her sift through all of my old possessions, and along with it sift through the past. I tried to keep her company and advise her, as I do every day since my body’s death. It has been more than three years since I was forced away from her, but even in death I do what I can to help and stand by. Time is relative – especially for me. It won’t be that long before we are both in this form. I am grateful that she can hear me talking to her, but it doesn’t really resolve anything. She still grieves. In addition to practical advise about tires and money and whatnot, I’ve told her so many times, “I am SO sorry to have left you. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

I remember that day at the conference table. She thought I would recover and we would have more years of fun together, but after decades struggling with Parkinson’s I woke up every day exhausted. I knew how badly she wanted me to get stronger, and I couldn’t bear to tell her that I didn’t have it in me anymore. So there we sat with all those donkeys at that enormous table as they avoided telling her directly what they and I already knew. I was about to move on.

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1 minute ago, kayc said:

It's good to get an update from you, Laura!  Good to know Lena is still eating, even if balking a bit.

Thank you!

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23 hours ago, Clematis said:

Yeah! I'm in a holding pattern right now and plateaued, but at least I'm not gaining weight at the beginning of the new school year and all its stress...

True.  Stress raises Cortisol which raises our Insulin level and causes us to store fat and prevents us from burning it.  Oddly enough, Weight resistance training and HIIT Cardio are good stress relievers and reduces Insulin levels, builds balance and core functions.  I am reading now this book about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that is supposed to help with dealing with stress... We will see! - Shalom

 

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I sold my dad's Mercury Grand Marquis today. I just don't have room for two cars at my condo, and I don't really need an extra car. I just loved having it and feeling as if my dad was driving me around. I was more interested in rehoming the car to someone who would love and appreciate this car that was loved by me and my family for 26 years. I was able to interview prospective buyers and find someone who was looking for a car like this and was very excited about getting it. Also, this guy's name was Charlie, like my dad. That was cool. But I feel crushed about having let go of his car, even though it was the obvious thing to do.

Tonight I wrote the following for my Memoir Writing course.

 

Summary:

Grief is such a trip. So much commonality from one person to another and yet every experience of grief is unique. It can seem like you are lost out on the ocean with no life raft in a high gale. Everyone around is an expert ready to tell you how you should feel and what is really going on. Why were none of these people in my life willing to listen to my own experience? I know how I feel and don’t need anyone to explain to me how I should feel.

Possibly the most annoying of all my early grief bystanders was my dad’s neighbor Mimi. It would seem like I should have been able to find some comfort in her presence, and to talk to her about her experience of having lived next door to my dad for ten years. When my dad was well, Mimi and I got along well. It wasn’t until he was near the end and after the end of his life that I felt the urge to slap her into oblivion.

My dad lived very close to me for the last ten years of his life, after my mother died. Over those ten years we became closer and more dependent on each other in different ways. I tried desperately to save him in so many ways, and watched helplessly as he repeatedly got worse, and then better, but never quite as well as before. Toward his end, my life was a frenzy of racing in and out of his house, my house, and the hospital like a revolving door, fetching things for him and trying to keep my own life from falling apart.

Scene:

One day In his last December I parked right behind my dad's car in front of his condo, and was headed for his door, but there she was - my dad’s neighbor Mimi. “How’s your dad doing?”

I really didn’t have time for this but, “Well, he fell in the kitchen and got a stress fracture in his lumbar vertebrae, and he’s in the rehab hospital for two or three weeks.”

“Well this is near the end. He’s not ever coming back.”

“How could you possibly know that? His doctor says after the therapy at this hospital, he’ll be stronger than he’s been for years!”

“No, he’s headed downhill. I saw the same thing happen with my dad. This is exactly the same.”

“No, Mimi, this is not the same. My dad and your dad are not the same person. If they were, we would be sisters and we are not!”

I turned from her and rushed through his door, slamming the security door on my thumb. Dang! The bruise took weeks to emerge from under my cuticle and I watched it creep along my nail bed during the months after my dad’s death.

Another day not much later, I was fleeing into his house and there was Mimi, “How are you doing?”

I don’t know what I said – probably not much because I couldn’t stop crying. But as usual she had plenty to say. “You know, your dad is out of pain now. He’s in a better place now.”

Better off dead than alive with me? Huh. I tried to control myself, but couldn’t really. “How could you possibly know anything about his pain? Or know where he is? Have you got his address at this new place?”

A brief startle, then a smirk from her, “Oh yes, he’s living at 100 Heavenly Way.”

I turned and headed for the door of his empty condo. Better to hide than to slap her. This time I avoided slamming my hand in the door.

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I remember when I got rid of my Grand Marquis LS, it was a connection to George, I remember so well the day we bought it.  It was hard...another memory changed.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

I remember when I got rid of my Grand Marquis LS, it was a connection to George, I remember so well the day we bought it.  It was hard...another memory changed.

Last Friday night I drove the Mercury to the synagogue and several times someone asked me how I was. I said I was fine except a little sad because I was about to sell my dad's car and it was my last night with Bob, the car. One after one they explained to me how I should feel - happy to getting rid of an old car like that. Immediately after selling the car, I walked into Whole Foods on my carless walk home (good to get a little exercise), and ran into another close acquaintance. Same conversation. How can people be so dense? I held my ground but didn't slap any of them. One of them told me about how someone in their family had gotten rid of a loved one's possessions in a flash, and described this like it was a badge of honor to be free of sentimentality. It is such a personal thing - people need to be able to work through this on their own with compassion and without pressure.

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5 hours ago, kayc said:

I remember when I got rid of my Grand Marquis LS, it was a connection to George, I remember so well the day we bought it.  It was hard...another memory changed.

Same thing when my Toyota Camry died.  Rose Anne's Makeup and face prints where still there years after she died. I just couldn't wash them off.  They were gone when the car was salvaged.  My backup car that I bought was from my client and it was a slightly newer version of The Buick Park Ave that I helped my wife purchase.  It had some comfort but Rose Anne never rode in that car. The previous owner died last year from complication of a progressive lung cancer and she was on oxygen just like Rose Anne.  Memories keep piling on but they are never the same.  - Shalom

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I can relate, Laura.  I am sorry people say insensitive things.  We were playing a game at my retreat this weekend where someone draws a question and asks you it...they asked something about my husband, which I answered.  The pastor's wife said, "Which one?" which I thought very insensitive.  i took her aside and told her when I speak of my husband, I am referring to the only one who ever loved me. I think she got my point.

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On 9/29/2019 at 7:04 PM, kayc said:

I can relate, Laura.  I am sorry people say insensitive things.  We were playing a game at my retreat this weekend where someone draws a question and asks you it...they asked something about my husband, which I answered.  The pastor's wife said, "Which one?" which I thought very insensitive.  i took her aside and told her when I speak of my husband, I am referring to the only one who ever loved me. I think she got my point.

I think you showed remarkable sensitivity and restraint in taking her aside, rather than snapping out something on the spot. How are you doing? I haven't been online for awhile since I have been working like a dog. A hard-working dog, not one of those layabouts... 

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Thursday was my dad’s birthday and my younger sister sent me this picture of daddy and me. I had forgotten about this day, when it was taken.

It was almost 20 years ago and I was going back east at Christmas. It was months ahead of time I told my dad I wanted to do something with him – just the two of us – because I couldn’t remember any time we had ever done something special  together. I thought it would be helpful in building a relationship and getting beyond things in the past. My mother thought it was kind of strange, and thought we should all go on this adventure. My sisters were obviously envious, but  I told them they could do that anytime they wanted since they lived an hour away if they chose to do so.

My dad took it seriously and decided we should go to the Ice Capades together. We drove to downtown Philly, and had a nice time. It was the beginning of a friendship between two adults and begin to lay the groundwork for him eventually moving out here after my mother died, and spending his last 10 years with me. I love this photo - we both look really happy and he looks proud of me.

83CC7FF6-D825-470A-845C-5D27BA6D238E.thumb.jpeg.56f83c910bfe080f9823cf491af216bc.jpeg

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