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......


i beati said...

I lost 2 dogs and a cat this summer and I'm so so sad. One I replaced.Extra heartbeat preganant at your age congrats tongue in cheek have a smashing weekender..sandy

Teresa Ashby said...

And long may Taz carry on barking at all and sundry!

Your lovely Hattie chose you for a good reason. I feel so sad for you that she's gone.

Had a health scare myself a couple of years ago - those weeks of uncertainty when all you have is an over active imagination and the terrifying stuff on the net to sustain you are hell! You must have had a rotten birthday.

So glad you're back - and with all your important bits healthy!

clairedulalune said...

My goodness, you have had a time of it! I am so sorry to hear about your cat but i am glad to hear you are fit as a fiddle! Goodness, scary times, but good to have you back!

DJan said...

Well! You're back, and that's the best part. Thanks for the complete rundown of your absence from the blogosphere. It's great news that you are not going to die any time soon, although you can be sure that all of us will, one day, go through that stuff. Glad it's not now! And it's probably one of the hardest things to do, lose our beloved pets because they just don't live long enough. We have all had to face that trial.

And welcome back, MOB! I have just recently become a follower (well, several dozen ago) and truly enjoy your sense of humor. Or, as you say it, humour.

Lori E said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your kitty. My old guy made it to 18 years. He is in our garden too. He always used to jump out at me when I was in the garden so I thought that was the best spot for him.
Here is a little hint for you. If you get the rapid heartbeats cough really hard a few times and it often goes back to normal.
Nice to have you back.

Maggie May said...

Sorry about the cat's euthanasia and the dog having the seizures. That is the only thing about pets, their endings & illnesses..... Have faced many.

The extra heart beat!!!! So it isn't twins then or it would be heart beatS!
Keep away from the medic books! Frighten your self to death!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Bless your heart--pun intended. So sorry about your sweet old cat. Mine wondered off and I like to think he was sparing me the pain of watching him die. It still hurts and the other cat is refusing to eat now....
Grief is an overwhelming thing that grabs you. You don't realize the hold it has until it finally lets you go.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Dearest MOB.....I have missed your writing and pithy wit (and no, I do not mean to sound as though I have a speech impediment and actually mean another word!). And I am so glad you discovered help for your doggy dearest and grieve for you over the loss of your wonderful kitty companion. They enrich our lives so much. I have not been able to think about replacing my dearest feline friend, either. I lost her in January of this year after 18 years. If you like, you can read my tribute to her here:

She was a black and white beauty as well.

Still yet, I am even more pleased that you plan on being among us for a good while yet. Terrifying times when we don't know and our imaginations run so quickly they could qualify for a long-distance Olympic event. SO glad you are back and well!

WT said...

Kondolences on the Kitty, it's no easy thing. Good luck with the pooch.

Euthanised pets and zoo animals? What the hell kind of food are you buying?

Bella said...

I am glad to hear you are okay. Life does get in the way of blogging. Sorry about your cat. Did you say you were on HRT? Does the doctor think that perhaps this caused your atrial fib? I am wondering if HRT is for me, not sure how I feel with all the conflicting information. Any suggestions?

softinthehead said...

Sorry to hear about your pets but very glad to hear you will be with us a wee bit longer :)

Mopsa said...

Blimey all that bad stuff and you skip over the GOOD stuff? Two stone down? Hoorah, hoorah. Bugger folks for saying it doesn't matter - because I bet now that the heart business is at rest you grin now as you pass a mirror. Well done and wish I could do the same at the mo.

LittleBrownDog said...

So sorry about your cat, MOB, but as you say, it sounds as though she had a fabulous life and was loved very much. 19 is a ripe old age for a cat. Fingers crossed that all will be well with Taz - what does a fit entail?

And relieved to hear your heart is nothing to worry about, although I'm like you - imagine the deadliest outcome possible and stress about it night and day. Hope the novel is going well. Really looking forward to reading that - missed you while you were away.

Take care. xxx

Celeste Maia said...

I have been up in the mountains without any connection and only today came back and here I am. Your entry gave me a lot of pause and I commiserated with you entirely. Being diagnosed with CLL was a gut-punch of a cancer diagnosis, and each time I have to do blodd tests I feel my mortality and wonder how much longer and all that. I no longer guess the future.
But I am enjoying the here and now thoroughly.
I am so sorry about your cat, but as you wrote she had a good life. As for your little dog, I am very glad that he is doing much better.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Dear MOB,
I was so very, very sorry to read about your sadness... I lost my little puppy Harry 2 years ago to a parvovirus strain that he caught before I got him and it was a terrible time... He was only with me for a few weeks but we bonded so well... even up until his death he was making his way and finding the strength to walk towards me to sleep on my lap, even though he had no strength to eat and was just skin and bones. He died in my arms one Sunday afternoon and I cried for months afterwards and still get tears in my eyes remembering his loving little ways now... It's funny how just one little puppy who was only in my life for 3 weeks could make such a lasting impression on me. I loved him and he knew that, as I am sure your furbaby also knew so well...
Good news about your check-up and I'm so happy for you that you have nothing to worry about now!
Huge Hugs Lovely Lady! It's so great to see you around again! XXX

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I-Beatie – sorry about the double loss but at least we can give these wee guys a helping hand when their days are numbered. Crikey if I had got pregnant at this stage I would be getting divorced! Himself has had the snip!

Teresa – I can fully empathise with how you must have felt with the health scare. We live to fight another day – or in your case publish loads of short great stories!

Clairedelalune – Ta hen!

Djan – yes it is so hard to have a beloved pet put to sleep but it is a gift we are able to give them. It makes it so much easier to bear as you know they don’t go on suffering past a time when it becomes unbearable for them and you. Thanks for your good wishes.

LoriE – I’ll try the cough think out! But I may be coughing a couple of thousand times a day! Sorry to hear about your wee pet too.

Maggie May – hah no medic books, just the expanse of the Internet to fuel the flames! You can’t help yourself can you? If it’s there to be read and you don’t want to die in ignorance then curiosity gets the better of you!

Kathy – oh sorry to hear about your cat wandering off. I don’t know if that is better or worse in the end. People say they go off to die alone so perhaps he was doing what nature intended for him. X

Robyn – thanks so much for such nice words. I have been reading a lot of posts but not always commenting as I seemed to lack the energy to do that!

WT – it is mostly in the States that Euthanized animals are used in the production of pet food. We have strict controls in the UK as to what gets imported after our BSE scare but what with corporations merging and de-merging etc it is hard to keep up with which manufacturers are in bed with which. I now buy home-grown Kibble that uses ingredients from the human food chain as apposed to the pet food chain. I am also cooking meals for both my dogs so that I can avoid added chemicals that exacerbate their conditions – my wee male dog has a serious allergy to mown grass. Take a look at the net – you will be horrified at what goes on in pet food production.

Bella – have left a msg on your blog re the HRT and a great site to visit at Best to get some impartial advice from there. Good luck!

SITH – Ta hen, am I glad I might be here for a bit longer too!

Mopsa – only another four stone to loose but I do feel much better for this. Thanks.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

LBD – I feel quite okay about Hattie going as it was her time. She had a great life and as we found out later she belonged to a neighbour who had a penchant for letting her pets go to other people! I couldn’t believe it when we asked her to take her back but she was more than happy to let her go! I would have fought tooth and nail to keep my pet but she apparently was quite blasé about it all as she gave another one away later on! Re Taz, it seems she has Epilepsy and as such has the same kind of fits that people have. It is shocking to watch but I became quite calm about it all as she recovers after 2 mins. But I was very concerned when she stared clustering as that is not good news and the longer the dog fits the more dangerous it is leading to brain damage. Hopefully not tempting fate to say that she is okay on the medication.

The book is coming along fine but I digressed onto another novel that I also want to write – a much darker one that keeps gnawing at my brain to get out! Got to finish this one first though as this too keeps begging to be written. X

Celeste – now your situation is a real one and one that I can imagine stops you in your tracks every time you have that test. I am humbled by your courage and I can empathise with the fear you must feel. All the very best for the future and I’ll remember you next time I talk with the big fella up above.

Brit – oh dear Donnie – you don’t need a lifetime with a pet to fall in love with it and feel such anguish at its plight. It was the pup’s fortune that it had you to love it so completely for those three weeks. Love to you Donnie, I am so glad that you have found a great new love in your life, you deserve it. Hugs X

Mo said...

Ah yes the trauma of losing pets is terrible. Had to deal with that one before arriving on htese shores. Challenged the vets by using diet to extend and give my girls a wonderful life. The internet and self diagnosis can be both a curse and a blessing. However am so pleased you are back on deck to keep us amused with your witty prose.

aims said...

Oh sweetie. Been doing that myself and it really is the worst thing one can do. Why can't we just say - whatever it is I'll deal with it when the results are in.

Now - I'm off for a good cry re - the cat. You knew it anyway!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Mo - I agree about the diet thing. So much can be managed through diet and whilst I respect the skills and knowledge of our wonderful vets, they can't know it all. It's also up to us to take responsibility for our own health and the pets we take care of and I find my vet is very encouraging and gives great advice. he's also interested in the results of the change of diet. Sorry to hear you had to deal with the loss of a pet too. Sad times.

Aims - we're daft beggars really when it comes to thinking the worst but as someone who has been healthy all her life it was a bit of a shock! The only thing that threw me was the menopause with severe symptoms, depression and complete negativity. Now thatI have come off the HRT I feel a million dollars - the darn stuff was making my symptoms worse butI persevered like an eejit! So with luck and some work on my part I'll avoid any major health scares in the near future!

Re hattie, aw don't be too sad. She had a great life chasing field mice and living the life of Rielly. She had a big field that continued on from our back garden and she was often off hunting in there before she became too infirm. Then she just lounged about in the garden in the warm sunlight. I still look to feed her in the morning but I'm not grieving deeply for her as she had a great life. X

Bella said...

Thanks for dropping off that link! You'll never convince me you're a menopausal old bag!

Carol said...

Ohhh, that post made me cry!! I am so sorry that you lost your wee's tough when you lose a member of your family!!

Your health worries sound pretty bloody awful!! I remember when my Doctor found Mini Me (a tumour) in my liver waiting for the biopsy results was one of the worst things I have ever had to go through!! (thankfully all is well :-D). I'm glad that it's nothing serious!!

C x

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Bella - it's a terrific site and very informative. Dr Heather Curry is a very knowledgeable woman and a Scot to boot! As I said, once armed with all the facts you should be able to make your own decision as to whether the benefits outweigh the risks when taking HRT. I couldn't begine to advise one way or another. Good luck.

Carol - I can only feel humble at the real illness that many people have to live with. Mine was simply a scare and a very overactive imagination. Hope you continue to stay well.

Lena said...

I blogged about my friends' dog yesterday. It's very hard letting go.

I loved reading about the prawns - my cat adores the same but it has to be hand-fed.

I siffer from palpitations from time to time and worry as to why they're there!

Sandi McBride said...

My heart was breaking over the FattyCatty and worried about Evil Sisters fat cat sad my heart is with you...then the news about your health and I thought to myself...she's just like me...everyone and everything else comes before her own health! Now KNOCK THAT OFF!!! You take care of yourself and have your Doc research that little extra beat! I have the same condition and take Toprol to bring my heartrate down to a reaonable level! I'm thinking about you, you'll do fine, just keep taking off that weight SENSEABLY!
hugs and bushels of them

Cancer Becomes Me said...

Lordy...I haven been trying to respond you your lovely comment in my blog for days. I sometimes wonder if I'm really just a functioning Luddite.

Anyway...I'm not surprised you have an extra heart beat, you seem like that type of gal. As long as it's ticking, who cares if there's too much?

Thank you for your comment, made my day. Be good. LOVE your blog!

Casdok said...

Waiting is so hard, but glad to hear you are ok. Really sorry to hear of your cat, being a cat lover i know how hard it is. Glad your dog is ok :)

Anonymous said...

It is so good to hear from you. I really missed you.

I'm so glad Taz is doing better and is responding to treatment. I love my dogs so much and it is so hard when they are not well.

Having said that, I'm very, very sorry about your Cat. I also have a cat, that I adore and I know how painful it is when they pass. It sounded like your cat passed in the place that she loved the most and is burried in the perfect place. ((((HUGS)))

Two weeks to wait for test results is torture. Especially with the internet, which can make your anxiety go off the charts. I'm glad it turned out okay. I too have that pesky extra beat. I was told the medication to treat it, causes more problems than the extra beat itself. That was 15 years ago, no problems since. I worry a lot too, since my mom died so young, early 50's, due to heart problems.

Anyway, I hope you are taking some time to enjoy yourself and check in when you can.

Valerie said...

Condolences on the loss of your cat. It's two years since I lost my dog, Still miss him.
What an awful time you've had but at least you are now in good shape.

Lady Fi said...

So sad to hear about your pets!

Glad to hear your health scare was just that - a scare.

Take care of yourself now!

Shannon said...

That was on of the funniest!

Shannon said...

That was one of the funniest I have read. Thanks! Freight88

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Lena – Oh I read about your friend’s dog – it was beautifully written and I felt very sad for you. Palpitations are quite scary so I know where you are coming from there. Anxiety – the nation suffers quite a lot from it especially in times like this!

Sandi – thanks sweetie, such a lovely comment. Apparently I don’t need any medication right now but I will follow up your suggestion. Thanks for the advice; the blogging community is a terrifically supportive one.

CBC – oh your post is inspirational which is why I said it. You have come through so much that my little scare was paltry in comparison. Your blog is terrific and thanks for such a nice comment.

Casdok – thankfully it is all over so I am relaxed about it all but it was mega stressful at the time. Thanks.

Cheryl – thanks for such nice feedback. Good to know that you are fit and well with that extra heartbeat – reassuring! I’ll pop by your blog to see how you are doing. X

Valerie – thanks for such a nice message. I think you never stop feeling sad about the loss of a much loved pet. Hope it is less painful for you as time has elapsed.

Lady Fi – thanks, I am delighted that it was a scare too!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Thanks foryour recent comment. I would have answered your on my site..... but I am trying to locate this commenter through my wi-fi router in the park so that I can kick them out. Of course I have a good idea of the authors of the comments, but want to be absolutely sure. I guess I am not being as fair as everyone would assume. The fact is that I am apprehensive and am taking extra precautions. Altho the person(s) is no doubt pretty ignorant, that is exactly what scares me.

Rest assured that I will indeed delete the offender in due time. In the meantime I will continue to lay low and monitor my tracker until I can determine who the culprit(s) is. I am being watched by some other campers.....who, by the way are armed.....and have only to ask for their help.

I appreciate your concern and that of all of the bloggers who have literally leaped to my defense. You have no idea how encouraging it is!

Suburbia said...

Not a great way to learn the lesson but living for the moment it my mantra this year. So glad all is well for you.

Sorry to hear about your cat, I still miss mine. I hate it when animals are ill, almost as worrying as ill children.

Take care

Lorna F said...

Now, MOB, you know you have a large personality, so it's probably a necessity that you have to have an extra heartbeat, just to keep up with yourself! All the same, scary stuff! If I weren't the Queen of Displacement Activity, I'd be the Empress of Hypochondria - I too read myself into a catatonia of terror. It's not something you can stop, if it's in your nature, though. I'm so sorry to hear about your cat, but relieved about your wee dog - long long ago I had a Jack Russell called Corrie. He was completely nuts and completely adorable - but some bastard, when he was three, ran him down in a car and didn't even stop. My sister found him crawled into a gutter and he died shortly afterwards, not a mark on him, poor wee thing. I've had a very soft spot for Jack Russells ever since - give me a dog with character. Finally, can I just thank you so so much, MOB, for your comments on my book, The Chase? Your message came out of the blue and perked me up no end, hen! It's always good to know there are readers out there after all! x

The Woman who Can said...

You're not the only wanderer to return! Come on back if you've time!

Tina (ex Too Young for a Midlife)

suze said...

Like you, I uprooted myself from the bonny several decades ago (Fife) and I am peri-meno... similar to half pregnant with the worst bits. I LOVE your blog and hope that your novel will be published soon. Regarding your entry on the six degrees of separation with Ian Brady, did you know that there is a group from Glasgow called Franz Ferdinand, guess that's more cute that creepy.
Anyway, wha's like us, damn few.They're no deed, they're reading your blog Suze

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Suburbia – Ah you have had a topsy turvey time of it all of late. Glad you are taking one day at a time. Sorry to hear about your cat.

Lorna – oh what a sad story about your Jack Russell. What a heartless bastard that did that. I would have been heartbroken. I love Jack Russell’s – as you say great personality and a lot about them. My two are just the best. I had no trouble recommending your book. It was a fantastic read and so educational too. I couldn’t put it down when I started it. A real page turner, and your characters were much more real than many I have read of late; deeply complex and flawed living through terrible tragedy. Fantastic!

The woman who can – welcome back Tina – I will pop over for a read.

Suze – thanks for such a nice comment. The novel is coming along fine and you can be sure that I’ll shout it from the rooftops if I ever get anywhere with it. As aye...

Anonymous said...

What a time you've had!

Glad alls well re health,


Susie Vereker said...

Blimey, how worrying, but glad you are OK. Sorry to hear about the cat. Your holiday sounded just what you needed.