He died on the way to the emergency vet, there was no warning other than being a little "off" on Friday. The vet said that he seemed in very good shape and at a good weight, and felt that it was some catastrophic issue or even a birth defect, and that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it or save him. He was very like our beloved Binky, and we already miss him terribly.
i haven't posted, I have no idea how many days in a row I have walked, but I am at the point that if I don't walk, I feel unhappy. As of today, my walk is roughly 2 miles long, 1 mile out and 1 mile back, and it takes about an hour. I have lost five pounds (that's 1/4 stone for you literal Englishmen) and some clothes I ordered from Land's End that were too tight are now wearable.
When I first started this project, the thought of walking two miles a day wasn't really something I expected to happen very fast, but now here it is, and my walk takes enough time that I won't be increasing the distance for a while--an hour to exercise is fine, but I really don't have much more than that time-wise.
Next, I am going to try to speed things up. I honestly don't know how fast I will be able to go. According to mapmywalk.com, a portion of the walk reaches the equivalent of a level five climb (and one section has an 8% grade, which is lovely going down but another matter entirely on the way back!). I expect that after all the hill practice, I'd probably be pretty darn close to a fifteen minute mile if I were on level ground.
If I can speed up enough to finish the walk in 30-40 minutes, I'll start increasing distance again.
Took my walk really, really late today, just getting in.
It's the oddest thing to be in the mountains. You know in theory that the higher you go, the cooler it gets, and you know in theory that you can have all kinds of pockets of air depending on which way the wind is blowing and how warm the day was and so on and so forth (microclimates with a capital M!), but it's so strange to actually experience it!
It was hot today, it went from about a high of 65 degrees yesterday to a high of at least 85 today, and it was still hotter than blazes when the usual walking time came around, so I waited. Took the little solar lantern with me just for additional visibility, and off I went up the hill.
As I came down the first section, it was almost like going from outside to AC--I swear, the temperature dropped at least five degrees over the space of maybe 100 feet. This felt marvelous, because even as I write this, it's 81 degrees. It lasted almost until I hit the bottom of the hill, then it abruptly warmed up again. Got to the sign that I use for a marker, and wow, I was glad of cooler air for the bulk of the climb back.
Someone actually stopped and asked me if I needed a ride, that was really kind of them. I assured them I was just on a walk, thanked them and we all went forth on our merry way. Now I'm back and I'm going to get a well deserved drink of water!
We did a bunch of brush trimming on Saturday, there was an autumn olive we wanted to take down before it got any bigger. (a noxious weed, according to the West Virginia State list. I got about six forsythia plants from the neighbor's planting, and planted those on the very top of the hill. Hopefully it will choke out any other autumn olive attempts, and look very pretty in the spring into the bargain.
I have some poison ivy, but I'm more-or-less immune to the stuff, so all that happens is I get a few itchy bumps which, if I don't scratch them, disappear within 24-48 hours. I ripped most of it out, and next weekend I'll go and check to make sure I didn't miss anything. We have to pick up some more garden tools, ours are old and in really sad shape. I'm hoping to find a nice pair of stainless steel grass trimmers, and we want to get a ratchet pruner like the one my neighbor has. That will take up to 3" diameter branches, and i's really easy to use into the bargain.
Today I took my walk fairly early, and I'm glad I did because it loosened everything up nicely. Despite all the extra work and hiking around, I don't have any pain, just a bit of a tendency to stiffen up if I sit still too long.
Rydia's eyes seem to be improving still. We have taken her outside a couple of times under very close supervision, and it seems like she does see, even if it is badly. I've got to pick up some more medicine for her soon.
That's all the excitement for now, hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.
Still hanging in there on the walking thing, although I have to admit that this week has been tough to do because now my calves are fine but my thighs are pretty darn sore.
The timer is up to 7 minutes, but I don't think I'll be changing to 8 until the pain goes away.
Nothing much else exciting is happening. Work continues, Rydia seems to be showing further, slow improvement and Mischief is a lot better. I still think we're going to need the vet to get a good look at her teeth, but right now we're trying to feed her up a bit so that she's in the best possible shape for it.
The weather has turned warm at last, I am hoping we aren't going to have any more cold snaps. They predicted the low 70's and partly cloudy today, but as it turned out, there were almost no clouds and it's 80 degrees at 6:39 PM. Bring it--I definitely want the warm weather to hurry up and arrive this year!
No more calf pain at last, but I'm definitely feeling it in my legs. I haven't bothered to step on the scale, I don't want to get focused on the idea that I *may* lose weight--I have to be doing more like an hour a day for those benefits. I'm trying to concentrate on the health aspect of it, as in it does me good to move around.
I have progressed from actively hating having to get up and go to merely being disinclined. It's a hell of a lot easier to get moving when I'm merely disinclined.
In other news, Rydia's eyes seem to be responding to the medication. I'm going to have Ben snap a picture with his chromebook to be sure, but it seems as though her pupils are less dilated and becoming more responsive to light. I'm also seeing better obstacle avoidance during the day, she's much less likely to bump something that is in her way. She's moving more confidently now regardless of whether it's because she's better adjusted or because she can see a little more. Her appetite is good, and she seems a lot healthier than she was.
Edit: It's DEFINITELY her eyes improving. Three pictures for you, under the same lighting conditions:
This was taken just before we started her on the blood pressure meds. Please note how dilated the pupils are:
This is tonight!!!!!
This is SO hopeful! :)
Mischief, on the other hand, is not doing so well. I'm going to call the vet tomorrow--it seems like she has a bad tooth and I'm going to want him to get a good look at it. We were reluctant to do this given her age, but she's clearly having a problem eating. It's not that she doesn't WANT to eat, she does--she's hungry, but she can only eat a little bit at a time. If it turns out she's got a bad tooth, it's way better to risk than anesthesia than to let her starve, that's for sure. More on this when I know more.
I really shouldn't complain at all. Already I am seeing some benefits. For example, we did our monthly grocery run on Saturday, and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't completely wiped out at the end of the trip. I did allow myself an abbreviated walk that day since we do so much walking in the grocery store, but that's the only "cheat" I'm going to allow.
I'm still debating on whether I should go up to six minutes next week. What I've been doing is setting my kitchen timer for five minutes and walking until it goes off then I turn around and come back, so probably I'm walking 10-15 minutes. I intended to increase the time every week, but I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't do any increase until I'm consistently getting the same distance every day, which has NOT yet been the case.
How many days does it take to make something a habit? I'm not there yet, but now that I am starting to accumulate a significant number of days in a row, I do find it helps motivate me because I don't want to break my "streak". It's a pity there isn't really anyone nearby to walk with, that would make it a lot easier.
Rydia continues to hang in there, she has been a total bitch today, but that's actually way more normal, so Ben and I think it's a good sign. ;)
I seriously have no idea how much wet food she needs a day. We figured out that she likes food that has bites rather than the standard pate, so we picked up some different flavors and have a set that she really seems to like. The Friskies can says feed one can per five pounds of cat, so we figure as long as she's eating a full can or so plus getting some of her beloved kibble, that's probably plenty. We don't limit her, we offer food several times a day and if one can gets emptied, we open another.
I don't know if the medicine is helping her eyes, but it seemed to both Ben and I yesterday that her pupils were more responsive to light when we opened the curtain yesterday. We do think she has some sight, but that it's more of an awareness of light and dark shapes. A couple of days ago, Beaker was lying on the rug (black cat on light colored rug) and she avoided him. We don't think she scented him in this case because she doesn't like the other cats and would have growled and batted at him. She hissed at Catastrophe about a week ago when he got up on the back of the couch, light orange cat on black couch.
We'll see what happens--the primary use of the medication isn't so much to try to restore her sight but rather to prevent things like a stroke, so if her eyes heal at all, that's just a bonus.
Now I have to get off my ass for my walk--my calves are still really sore, so it's an effort. Still, the whole endeavor only takes about fifteen minutes, right?
I'm trying something a little different this time. I'm trying to take a walk every day.
I can't believe how hard it is to get myself motivated. To start with (especially given the extremely steep hills here), I walk as far as I can in 5 minutes and then come back. Minimal effort, right? I promised myself I would start on Monday because the weather is improving now and the worst I might have to deal with is a rain delay.
It's been a fight to get started every day. I'm not sure why. Well, that's not entirely true. The first day was hard because I had absolutely no enthusiasm for the project. The second day, my calves were incredibly sore. Today I was also sore, but it wasn't as hard to stretch the kinks out, and already I am puffing less when I climb the driveway. Hopefully every day I do it will make it easier to do the next day.
She's brighter today. I thought it was wishful thinking, but she's definitely brighter.
Ben and I were thinking that maybe the high blood pressure gave her a headache and she's feeling perkier because it's lessened/gone. She had a really good appetite today, which is always a good sign.
Now we just enjoy her company for however long we may have it.
i was utterly shocked when, for the first time I can remember in a LONG time, Fuzzy didn't have gook in his eyes, they weren't teary, nor were they red. There may be more of an allergy component to his issues than we realized. He's been really, really good about the pills so far, too, while he isn't thrilled with being pilled, he also is smart enough to have figured out that if he cooperates, it's done with very quickly. He was very good for me this morning. It helps that the pills are very small.
The vet was willing to consider the blood pressure medicine for Rydia but wanted some blood tests, so I brought her in early this morning.
Long story short, I have a blood pressure prescription and no blood tests were done--Rydia was not interested in having her blood drawn, thank you very much. I even left the room hoping she'd behave a bit better, but no, thank you kindly but I'm not sharing my blood with you. The vet had seen enough that he was comfortable prescribing the medication despite the lack of blood work, we talked about sedating her but the thing is, she's seventeen years old and may be in the early stages of renal failure, meaning the sedative could do some serious damage.
Now we see how it works. It may help her blindness--a very slim chance, to be sure, but a better chance than if we had done nothing. It will also likely address some hind leg weakness, another plus. Now all we have to do is give it to her daily and watch for side effects. The good thing is that if her blood pressure isn't high, this particular medication isn't likely to cause a pressure drop, and side effects are rare.
*crosses fingers* It would be nice if treating her bought her a good quality of life for a year or two!
We finally dug out our records and Rydia is 17 just about to the day because she was an early Spring kitten. She has become blind, we thought it was probably cataracts but it might also be high blood pressure--it's hard to say without taking her blood pressure, and the vet doesn't even have the equipment. He didn't offer any treatment options, I am not sure if it's because he doesn't know of any or feels that it isn't worth pursuing. Changing vets isn't really an option at this point, this one is the best in the immediate area. I am going to speak to him about it again today when I bring Mischief in for her regular checkup, maybe we can treat her so that she has a few more good years.
Still, even if there isn't any appropriate treatment, she's had a good long life and she's doing very well. We got some little stick-on scent tabs called Tracerz which really help her navigate, and we keep a good eye on her, although the daily activities would make for very boring blog reading.
So we're all hanging in there. I'll try to post sooner, it's just that most of my life's events are candidates for the dullest blog in the world. :)
I was talking to madclarinet and babyghia last week, and I mentioned that the problem was that as far as stuff going on goes, it's either a) too private to share or b) too boring.
Then I was thinking about it and realized that one thing that is going on, while perhaps a bit embarrassing, actually can be discussed.
( Teeth! )
In other news, our cat Rydia has become effectively blind. This was not by any means unexpected as she is 17 and we've been aware of cataracts developing for at least a couple of years. At the beginning she wasn't dealing with it well, but we've gotten some really amazing things that help her a lot, which will be the subject of a later post.
I popped on to update the birth dates of some of the cats, I was looking through a box trying to find something (more on that after it's mailed and received by the intended recipient) and I found an old calendar where I knew I had recorded the kittens' date of birth. Binky was born on August 30, 1998, which means Slippers and Charcoal were late May/early June of 1998.
Anyway. Shoulder to the wheel and onward.
Not much going on around here, although heavyarms02 is visiting. We went to Lowes yesterday and picked up some lumber because the steps need to be replaced--they've been a bit rickety for several years, and this is the year I was determined to replace them.
Of course, it's too darn hot to do anything with the lumber, but that's no big deal, the important thing is that we have the supplies we need--it should cool down a bit later on in the week.
In other news, I got myself a cueCat barcode scanner from LibraryThing, and I have begun scanning my books in so I have an actual inventory of my library. I have to straighten out a mixup where I have two accounts, after that, I will have a link to post so you can see my progress. Many of the books are old enough that even if I can scan them, I have to use a program to translate the bar code into a proper ISBN, but it's much better than trying to type the info by hand.
Had cold Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, it was just the thing on a day as hot as today was. It's after 7 and it's still 78 degrees. Long-range shows us a bit cooler than normal in five or six days, and I think everyone is going to welcome that for a change.