Friday, 7 August 2009

AWOL , missing in action but the wanderer has returned!

It wasn’t intentional, truly, my absence from blogging I mean. There I was happily blogging away and the next day the real world took over. It’s hard to know where to start really but here goes. In my penultimate post I had mentioned that one of my furbabies was suffering somewhat. My wee Jack Russel Taz, who is the female doggie love of my life, started to have regular seizures. Somewhat prone to one every six months and previously not too much to worry about she began to seize several times over a period of weeks – a worrying development that made me deeply concerned. I was sure she was not going to make old bones. I researched the net, read the abstracts of a truckload of scientific papers and delved deeply into the publications that proved the most informative. I found out some horrifying facts, discarded the positively obscure and ran with the most relevant. A change of diet to naturally produced food that doesn’t include euthanized pets and zoo animals plus diseased organs as a major ingredient in many pet foods, has put my mind at rest that I am feeding her the best she can have. Many scientists believe that the Pentobarbital used to euthanize pets is not eradicated at high heat and therefore causes seizures when ingested through commercially produced pet food. In addition, she is now on a course of Phenobarbital to calm the electrical activity in her brain. It was a last resort but one nevertheless I am grateful for. Her progress seems good with no more fits and remains an active wee doggie that bounds around wagging her tail and barking at all and sundry who dares to invade her territory.

Shortly after this little drama, my 19 year old cat, Hattie the fatty catty took a downturn in her health. She was suffering from Kidney failure but with treatment she was coasting along eating us out of house and home – she was the Desperate Dan of the feline world. Had she been human she would have been evicted from every all-you-can-eat establishment for being a greedy mare. She loved nothing better than to be fed smoked salmon with a side serving of freshwater prawns hand shelled and served by yours truly. Hattie arrived on our doorstep nine years ago, some months after I had the last of my three cats euthanized. Given the utter heartbreak of losing the last of my pride I was in no mind to take on yet another. We tried everything we knew to chase her away, even going on holiday to Crete for ten days hoping she had returned to whence she came before our return. We hadn’t bargained for her determination to make our home hers and in time, after she had disposed of a multitude of field mice in the garden, himself relented and recognised that a win win situation of mutual gain was to be had and in she moved taking up where the other cats left off. She was a chubby soft white and black moggy with mesmerizing eyes and a wonderful temperament. On the last visit to the vet, we knew her time was short but I wanted her to have one last summer, lounging around in the garden, basking in some warm sunlight whilst flicking her ears at the flies and butterflies that dared disturb her slumber as they fluttered too closely past her.

Three weeks ago, she slowly stopped eating and no amount of tidbits could encourage her otherwise – she tried but with a heavy heart and a look of acceptance on her beautiful face, we knew the time had arrived. She slept peacefully in the wonderfully warm and sunlit garden in between cuddles and quiet tears from me whilst we waited for the vet to arrive. Needless to say, she went quickly and peacefully and is buried in the garden in the spot she so loved. I cried off and on for two days but consoled myself with the fact that she was loved and loved us and had a great life.

And so, moving on from a bit of a sad and relatively testing time we concentrated on continuing with the renovations of our home where great progress is being made and we can see light at the end of the tunnel. The work proved to be a great cathartic activity that occupied my mind and stopped me dwelling on what had passed. I spent a good deal of time doing research for and writing my novel whilst himself went off on a road trip with his eldest son. Four days of father son bonding was a great success and one that we have decided they and his other son should do on a yearly basis. I also revelled in the complete freedom to see to myself and set my own schedules.

During this quiet period, I toodled off as I was forced to do, to the village surgery for an HRT review – my doctor insisted I do so as I had used every excuse in the book to avoid it – and so I sat down for a wee chat on how useless the stuff actually is. I was in for a bit of a surprise though. During a general check-up he informed me that my BP was 170/96. Now, being a fat bird, I expect my BP to be borderline but given that I have lost two stone in weight over the last three months, I was somewhat surprised. The doc whipped out his stethoscope and did a wee check of my heart. He looked concerned and then came clean. He suspected I had Arterial Fibrillation which is a bit of a heart condition. I won’t bore you with too many details but it can be there from birth – no chance for me as I had been in hospital before and it had never been detected so there must have been some other cause. It can be caused by drinking yourself to a standstill on a regular basis – clearly the more likely cause given our lifestyle although strangely enough I got fed up with that and cut back drastically over the last six months as I pursued a new lifestyle, or it can be the result of heart failure. Given that my mammy had a major heart attack at 60 and died at 64 and my daddy lived with angina until he was 78 I was pretty sure it must be heart failure. Even worse, I thought, cirrhosis of the liver – a death sentence if ever there was one.

I had to wait a week for my blood test and ECG to be done and another week for the results. In the mean time I had trawled the net, scared the bejeebies out of myself and convinced myself that I was not long for this world. I told himself but no one else and endured sleepless nights of worry and angst. Fear gripped me and just about every psychosomatic symptom reared its ugly head. When the results came through I resolved to ignore them until I had my birthday. Oh the sheer drama of it all as himself pleaded with me to find out what the score was and me playing the dying diva saying I just wanted one more birthday without a death sentence hanging over me. There was time enough afterwards to determine my fate I argued, feeling all of five years old and trying to be an adult at the same time. But I grasped the nettle on my birthday and phoned to make an appointment for the next day, the stress of not knowing was becoming a health hazard in itself.

The upshot? My liver and heart are healthy as are the other organs that float around in my torso! But I do have an extra heartbeat! What does that mean? Not much really, I just get one more beat every ten beats or so and there should be no adverse effects. But dear God, it was two weeks of hell not knowing my fate and no matter how hard I tried to relax and think positively, my overactive imagination wouldn’t let up. To be fair, I made the doc tell me the worst and then went off and thought it. There’s a lesson here, just can’t think of what it is at the moment......