Aby-a-Day – 8 November 2020: Technical difficulties (Serious Sunday)

I have been trying so hard to keep this blog going, and make sure to post everyday. An I will still do my best. But Friday, I noticed my 2015 MacBook Pro was…broken.

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Like, really broken. I suspect that it is a battery issue, but my machine isn’t eligible for replacement. I think it’s probably because it was already replaced, in March 2016.

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I have been staying off it as much as possible since I noticed it, but I think it’s worse. This is how it looks today.

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Pretty bad, right? I have been keeping it turned off – and unplugged – unless I absolutely need to be on it.

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I have already ordered a replacement, I wasn’t really ready to get a new laptop right now…but it was five years old, and it was going to happen sooner rather than later, so…yeah. It is what it is. I will need to find a workaround so I can still use Photoshop, because the updated iOS (Catalina) doesn’t support it. But there are ways to make it work.

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…but in the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep posting on my phone and iPad until the new one arrives. Which I hope is soon.

Aby-a-Day – 22 September 2020: National Voter Registration Day (Cartoon Tuesday)

Tonight, on a very special episode of the Daily Abyssinian…

Today is National Voter Registration Day in the States. I may be living in Sweden now, but I am still an American and I still vote as a Massachusetts resident. In fact, I am filling out my ballot right now.

If you are living in the US…please vote. That is all.

(Sidenote: the image I posted is available as a T-shirt…)

Aby-a-Day – 24 Augusti 2020: Three years ago today…(Medical Monday Memory)

Three years ago today, my life changed: I was bitten through the finger while giving Pyret a pill.

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Being new to the Swedish medical system, I stupidly went to the local clinic (Vårdcentralen), even though I was well aware of how serious a cat bite is, especially on the hand. I just thought that’s what you were “supposed” to do. The doctor I saw was Spanish, and spoke little English. I tried to tell her it was serious, but she waved me off with just a prescription for penicillin.

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I didn’t know that I could go straight to the hospital. I thought, then, that you had to be referred by Vårdcentralen (although, to be honest, that worthless “doctor” should have known to send me there straightaway). Now I know I can go to the Akuten (emergency department) if I need to. Twenty-four hours later, I woke up screaming in pain so badly Björn almost called an ambulance.

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They bundled me into a room, pumped me full of antibiotics and morphine, and got me into surgery as quickly as they could.

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This is me just after the first surgery. Within a week, I would have two more operations to flush the bacteria out of my tendon sheath.

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I also had a lot of morphine. The pain involved with repeated hand surgeries is insane.

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The brightest part of my week in the hospital was the two evenings Björn smuggled Logan into my hospital room.

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One time when a nurse came in, we hid him under my blanket.

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He was good and held still; the nurse never knew he was there.

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After a week in hospital, I was released, but still had several wound checks and dressing changes. When I first got home, my hand was in a plaster cast. I was also still on penicillin and painkillers. It seemed to be healing nicely, but on my last wound check, 20 September (the same day Alfred was neutered), the nurse noticed my finger seemed red and hot. She sent me back to the hospital, and they determined that, despite still being on antibiotics, the infection had managed to return. They wanted me to have surgery immediately, but I had to go to pick up Freddy, who was literally at the other end of the bus line.

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It took a really long time to get him (I ended up taking a taxi for part of the return trip), gathered my things and got back to the hospital just before 17:00. Apparently, I took too long to get back and they weren’t able to do the surgery until the next morning.

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This last, fourth surgery was the most painful. They put more stitches on my palm than on the previous surgeries, and the skin seemed to have been stretched more than the other three.

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It also bled a lot more than the other three operations.

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A month after the first anniversary of my bite, we were at a cat show in Västra Feölunda and ran into Göran, the recovery nurse after my first surgery. His sambo breeds Cornish Rex, and we (used to) see them at shows frequently. He asked to take a look at my hand, and I made a comment about being lucky I still had a finger.

“You could have lost more than that,” Gören said. “I could have lost my hand?” I asked.

“You could have lost even more than that,” he responded. And that was how, a year later, I learned that I could have died from this bite! Even with as much as I know about cat bites, I never thought it could have been fatal.

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This is how it looks today. It’s still very stiff and it sometimes aches and feels crampy. I’ll never have a normal hand again.

So, again, the moral of the story is: If you are EVER bitten by a cat on your hand – and especially your finger – GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM as soon as you can!

Aby-a-Day – 14 Juli: “I’d seriously contemplated a real collar” (Serious Sunday)

The other day, I noticed Lorelai had lost her collar somewhere in the apartment.

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This happens from time to time…the collars I have been using for almost ten years, made by Etsy seller Hi Tide Creations, are wonderful, light and…just one piece.

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Most people would recommend against a non-breakaway collar for a cat, but I have always had collars on my cats. The Tag Collars are the best because they are lightweight…and escapable.

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I finally found Rory’s collar…caught in the cat-proof netting on our balcony. And that’s why these collars are so wonderful. Rory got her collar caught in something, but she was able to get out of it. Collars don’t need to be breakaway…they just need to be escapable in case of emergency.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: Wordy Wednesday (Update on Jacoby)

Jacoby spent last night in an oxygen cage because his red blood cell count was low and he wasn’t oxygenating properly. He’s still in the ICU, probably for another night at least. I am not sure when he will be able to come home. If he needs chemo next week, depending on when they do it, he may stay until then to save him two round trips on the train. He has got pretty good insurance, but it looks like his ongoing treatment and rounds of chemotherapy will outpace what the insurance will pay, especially if he needs to stay in the ICU. The photo above is Jake and Dr. Cecilia. He has a feeding tube in his nose to get nutrients into him.

They also sent this text. Isn’t it sweet?

Now, on a serious note…I always hate to be “that person,” but I also hate the thought of losing Jake so young (he’s only turning ten on Sunday the 14th), so I set up a Gofundme page for him.

Any leftover funds will be donated to NEAR (Northeast Abyssinian Rescue).

Aby-a-Day – 9 April: Update on Jacoby

This morning, I had a message on my phone from Dr. Cecilia. Jacoby was moved to the ICU because his blood pressure had dropped. He’s still on fluids, plus pain medication. At the time she left the message, they thought he might have leakage in his abdomen from the biopsies, but when I called her back, they discovered that was not the case. They had gotten his blood pressure stabilised. His albumin is also slightly elevated. He also has some fluid in his thorax, but it isn’t affecting his breathing or his heart.

Later this afternoon she called again. He’s still in the ICU, and he is now on a feeding tube. He cooperated well with that, and she let me talk to him on the phone. He heard my voice, but he was so very tired he didn’t react much. Dr. Cecilia told me she had been discussing treatment options with the oncologist, and they think he is stable enough to start reduced-dose chemotherapy today. Apparently, it’s a delicate balance between starting as soon as possible vs waiting until he’s stronger and giving him bigger doses of the chemo cocktail.

That’s all we know so far. I’ll get another call from Dr. Cecilia tomorrow.

Aby-a-Day – 11 November: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…(Serious Sunday)

Today is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of the Great War To End All Wars. As I recalled a few years ago, this holiday is observed somewhat differently in Canada than it is in the United States.

Apparently, the 100th anniversary observance of this occasion is handled VERY differently by Canada and the US, as evidenced by the two countries’ respective leaders. I’ve never been prouder to hold Canadian citizenship.

Aby-a-Day – 18 February: Up to scratch (Serious Sunday)

Claws are serious business. Even if they are clipped.

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I clip claws and do other grooming on all five cats every other week, usually on Sunday. Back in October after I clipped Angel’s claws, she rolled off my lap awkwardly and scratched my leg. It was an accident – she tried to grab onto something when she fell off my lap and my leg was within reach. When clipping claws and doing their general grooming (ears, teeeth, bum, etc.), I tend to wear shorts. This photo was taken a week after Angel scratched me.

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And this is the scratch today, just over four months later. It didn’t get infected or anything, but four months later, I still have these very clear scratch marks on my leg. And these were made by clipped claws. So keep that in mind when taking care of your cats. Even when clipped, claws are serious business.