March: In like a lion …

On Friday, I went to work 30 minutes early specifically so I could leave 30 minutes early. My best friend, Emily, was coming to visit! Her flight landed at 4:24, so I needed to leave early to be sure I made it to the airport in time. Hee.

From the airport, we headed over to one of my favorite BBQ joints. (Well, kinda. 99% of the chain is in East Texas. There is 1 location in Arlington. And while it’s still delicious… it’s just not quite as good as the locations further east. 😉 ) So, we headed down there, and get in line … only to discover they are completely out of brisket. Now, they still had ribs and turkey… but. No. We were in the mood for yummy BBQ sandwiches. Which require beef! 😉 So, sadly we left (as did a few other people in line) and went to find our dinner somewhere else. After eating, it was time for home to watch some videos and goof off.

Saturday morning, we hit the road traveling all over the Dallas area to do some serious power shopping. I got a couple of cute tops, but Emily’s the one who really hit the jackpot at the stores. After a brief stop at home (watching more vids), it was off to dinner. We split a green apple frozen margarita, and ended up wandering around Target later, giggling like crazy. 😉

Sunday started out good. It was Emily’s birthday (YAY!) and after lunch with mom, we did even more shopping! We also drove around downtown Dallas, taking in the sights. After watching a few more vids in the afternoon, we decided it was time to head out for dinner. We decided on having dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, then we’d head over to The Melting Pot to have chocolate fondue for dessert.

Going out for dinner is when the day took a painful turn. We get to CPK, find all the outside parking is taken, so we head on to the nearby parking garage. Getting into CPK from the garage was interesting. We went down some back hall, and ended up entering via some back, upstairs entrance. We were very confused, but we finally figured out how to get downstairs (via a very tall staircase, which I descended without incident!) and then we were headed to the front of the store, to the front desk so we could be seated. I was moving at a pretty good clip (at least, pretty darn fast when it comes to me and my arthritic knees!) and then suddenly… I went down. There was a small, 2 step staircase that I didn’t see. So I took a step which turned into a big tumble. I twisted my left ankle as I went down, as well as wrenching my left shoulder and both knees. I think I scared the family sitting right at the foot of the stairs.

Of course, the manager and a couple of staff were all there in a heartbeat to make sure I was okay. Because of a mid-fall decision I made that involved me twisting around (and probably hurt my knee more), I ended up landing on the top step, instead of sprawled out on the ground at the foot of the stairs. After sitting for a minute, I used the handrail to pull myself to my feet, and hobbled to a chair the manager had pulled up for me. After sitting there for a couple of minutes, we got a table, and the manager came back a few times to check on me, as well as get my name, address, etc. (I find it very intriguing that, although she took my personal info, she never had me sign a waiver or write out what happened. I mean, I have no plans to try to sue them or anything, but she REALLY should’ve had me sign a waiver of some sort to protect the restaurant. Just because I’m not the kind of person to sue, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t if it’d happened to them.) My ankle was sore through out dinner, but I’ve injured myself enough times to guess that the ankle injury probably wouldn’t be very severe. After we were done eating, the waiter brought our bill. As I put in my card, I checked the total so I could start figuring the tip – and was surprised that the total was a lot less than it should be. The manager had comped my dinner because of my fall. (And yes, I did tip on the total pre-comp.) While he was running my card, the manager stopped by again, to let me know she’d comped the meal because of my fall, and she also said that they weren’t allowed to put up a “Watch Your Step” sign there, even though they’d wanted to. I’m not sure why they can’t, but trust me – I would’ve appreciated the sign! 😉

I/we decided that I wasn’t going to allow my injuries to ruin the evening, so we still headed out for fondue! Hee. It was absolutely delicious. I think I could’ve OD’d on chocolate if there’d been more. We had some … interesting women sitting at the table behind us. They had a lot of discussion about their boobs, and they actually had a stop watched and timed each other’s trips to the ladies’ room. Ummmm… WTF? They were also incredibly rude and kept talking about their urine and boobs the entire time the waiter was at their table, explaining the oils and cook times and etc for their entrees. I was mortified on his behalf! Haha. Once we were done with dessert, we headed back home (after a stop at the grocery store for ACE bandages) and iced and wrapped my ankle. It had swelled a small bit, but was mostly okay.

All in all, I think we had a lot of fun that evening — injuries excluded. Hee.

Today, we got up and I quickly learned that although my ankle was 95% okay, my knees were an entirely different story. They are both feeling incredibly weak and shaky as I walk, and are very sore. Getting up out of a chair – or sliding to my feet off the bed – is not an easy feat. I have to psych myself up for before I can push myself up and my knees scream in protest as I stand. It also doesn’t help anything that my left shoulder is sore – it makes pushing up out of the chair difficult. We had more shopping to do, though, so I managed to get myself up and going so we could hit Target and then somewhere for lunch. We also took some time (at both ends of our excursion) to stop and feed the ducks at Cottonwood park. There were some absolutely adorable baby ducks that I have to admit – most of my food went to. They were just too cute!!!

We came back home, and Emily had to pack to get ready to head back home. 🙁 I didn’t want her to leave, she definitely wasn’t here long enough this trip. But I don’t think her cat or her work would like it too much if I kept her, so I had to let her go. I managed to hobble into the airport with her, sat while she checked in, then stood nearby and watched her go through security until I couldn’t see her anymore. 🙁

I was roughly 10 minutes from home when I got a phone call from mom. One of the cats, Gypsy, had managed to swallow a threaded needle. Gypsy is an overweight kitty, but she’s been losing a lot of weight over the last 6 months. She’s still too heavy, but she’s down somewhere between 10-15 lbs. As a result, Gypsy is figuring out that she can now jump onto counters again! Mom had been doing some mending, and left the needle on a desk. Gypsy jumped up and decided she wanted the thread for a snack … not knowing there was a sharp pointy thing at the end! As soon as I got home, mom was loading Gypsy up into the cat carrier, and we took her up to the animal hospital. Thankfully – the needle had lodged itself into the roof of her mouth and her cheek. I say thankfully because, even though this was a painful thing, it could have been much, much worse. Since it was embedded in her mouth, the vet was able to just sedate her and remove it. If it had gone further down her throat, or into her stomach, we would’ve been looking at surgery to get it removed. It cost almost $250 just to get it pulled out of her mouth – I can’t imagine how much it would’ve been if she’d needed surgery! We probably could have attempted to remove it ourselves, but I was worried that it might make things worse, or cause too much bleeding or something, and figured we’d be better off letting a professional handle it.

And, as bad of a kitty-parent this is of me to say, I have to admit that I’m glad that it was Gypsy who did it, if any of them had to. Windy is 17 years old, and on a slow decline. It might’ve proven too stressful for her if she’d been the one to swallow it, and we might’ve lost her prematurely. And while Mali is the baby of the family, she’s also the most high-strung of them all. She was already highly agitated over having Emily here all weekend, something like this might’ve sent her over the top into extreme panic mode. I would be afraid she’d freak out so badly that she’d make the injury a lot worse. Gypsy is the calmest of the 3 cats, and while she was clearly in pain and unhappy with the situation, she managed to stay pretty quiet during the ride to the hospital and stopped pawing at her mouth once she realized we were attempting to help her. So, while I wish it hadn’t happened at all, I’m glad that it was my calm girl, and that she didn’t freak out and make everything worse than it ended up being. We know that she’s doing okay now — as soon as she was let out of the cat carrier at home, she headed straight for her food bowl to eat! 😉 If she feels up to eating, then she’s going to be okay. She’s currently snuggled up with my mom in bed, and was purring happily when I checked on her a little while ago.

I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow. I think I jarred my tailbone again in addition to everything else. So, I can’t sit down without my tush hurting. I obviously can’t stand for long. And I have difficulties laying down – I can’t find a comfortable position to lay in, and it hurts to change positions. Ugh. I hope I don’t require doc visits for all this.

So, yes. That was my weekend. I had a lot of fun, in spite of the injuries. I wish Emily hadn’t had to leave, though. It sucks a lot that my best friend lives so far away, and that I only get to see her a couple of times a year. 🙁 I hope she had a fun birthday down here with me.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

That’s my Mali. Isn’t she absolutely adorable? Clicking on the picture will take you to a mini album of her in that hat. haha. Ignore the mess behind her, my room is currently having the wallpaper stripped, sheetrock repaired, being repainted & papered, new curtain rods being installed (those are in the box on the bed behind her), and carpeted; so it’s more than a little disaster area at the moment. I can’t even sleep in there because it’s so insane. Ha.

But as I was saying, that’s my Mali. When I first came home with the elf-eared Santa hat, she was terrified of it. Thirty minutes later, she was trying to eat it. Another half hour after is when she had her picture taken wearing it. The shelter she was adopted from is having pictures with Santa the next few weekends. It’s highly tempting to take her out there and get her pictures done (especially since they’re also micro-chipping pets for only $15), but I’m afraid dragging her out into public with strangers around might be too overwhelming for her, and might create a major setback in her recovery.

She’s seen a tremendous improvement over the last couple of months on the amitryptiline. It took a while before we saw any results, in fact it didn’t seem to work until we used it in combo with a vet-administered steroid shot. Since then, though, her belly/tail/leg fur has been growing back and she’s starting to look healthy again. She’s also started acting like a kitten again — I hadn’t realised how much her personality had changed while she was chewing. I knew she was more terrified of strangers than ever, but I didn’t realise that she was so lethargic and kind of depressed. The change was slow enough that it just seemed like she was mellowing out as she got older.

Now that she’s doing better, she’s constantly going crazy, chasing her toys or bottle caps all over the house. A night or two ago, she actually decided she wanted to climb up the walls and race across shelves containing Precious Moments figurines and other porcelain collectibles. This shelf is normally out of her reach, but she made it up there, and disturbed several figures from their resting places. Luckily, nothing fell off the shelf or got broken, but she did make a racket as she raced across the shelf and moved the pieces. She’s also not quite as scared of people anymore. She will still hide when a stranger comes over, but she’s not as frantic to get to a hiding spot, and she comes back out of hiding considerably quicker after she thinks the danger is gone. I think she ventured out only a mere 5 minutes after Martin finished doing repair work on one of the walls in my room and that is a major improvement for her.

She’s been off the meds for about 3 weeks now, and I noticed last night that it looks like she might have started chewing again. Some of the fur that was growing out seems to be a good bit shorter than it had been. I guess we’re in for another vet visit and another refill of her meds. I know that it isn’t actually physically harming her to lick her fur off (aside from the hairballs), but with her being such a slender cat, it’s even more noticeable when her fur is missing. It makes me feel like I’m not taking good care of her, even though I am. Hell, that cat is spoiled rotten when it comes to food and toys and attention and gets her shots every year. So I know she’s getting good care, and the problem is mostly psychological and not physical; as long as she’s healthy, the fur loss shouldn’t really matter.

You come and go, you come and go

Every day is that much closer. Woot! I just finished booking my SuperShuttle to the airport for Friday morning. I was going to take the train to the airport, but the shuttle will save me time. Partly because I don’t have to attempt to make a 8am train, and partly because I don’t have to spend hours in transit. They’ll pick me up at @ 9:30, and I’ll be at the airport around 10. If I took that 8am train, I wouldn’t even make it to the airport until almost 11am. And since I’m supposed to be there roughly 3 hours early because it’s an international flight, that wouldn’t work.

I’ll fully admit – I would very much prefer to drive my own car out there and not have to worry about someone else’s schedule or being picked up, etc. But, I can’t exactly afford 10 days in fees from parking at the airport, and there’s no way mom would be able to pick up my car and take it back home so it’s not at the airport that whole time. I’m still going to have to take the train when I come back; but that won’t bother me as much. Coming home, I won’t be on a set time-table, worrying about making it in time.

As predicted, getting back to my car on Friday almost killed me. Once I finally made it home, I attempted to do as little moving around as possible, and iced the knee down as well. Saturday morning, the knee felt wonderful. I can’t remember the last time that knee felt this good. It never felt quite this good after the last shot, partly because of the bruising, I think. But, my right knee is starting to get worse. Or maybe I just notice the pain more in it since the left one is good now? The right isn’t bad enough for another shot, but it might not be too long before it is.

I don’t think I ever said anything in here about how my diet is going. I started around the end of August, switching to SlimFast, salads, water, etc. When I went to the doctor at the end of last month, I was down 7 pounds. YAY! Hopefully I’ll have lost more when I go in again for another visit later this month. We’re going to have to see how good I eat while on vacation, though. 😉

My cat’s medication seems like it’s finally doing the trick. Her fur is beginning to grow back on her stomach and elbows, which means she isn’t chewing as much anymore. The tricky part is going to be while I’m on vacation. Mali has some separation anxiety while I’m out of town, so we’re hoping the meds keep her from relapsing. We don’t want her to start chewing again just because she’s stressed out that I’m not home. She’ll probably have another vet visit after I get back from Toronto. Hopefully, if she stays on the path she’s on now, we’ll be able to stop pilling her in a month or so. I’ve got my fingers crossed that if the habit’s broken, she won’t start again. There’s just no way I can catch her every day and force a pill down her throat. The more pills I give her, the better she gets at resisting swallowing them.

3 more days. I am so ready to get out of town and up to Toronto. Is it time to go yet?