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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Even MORE Unexpected Surprises

Finally a cool and breezy morning!  It was GLORIOUS to walk around to my morning visits.  Since it was a pretty light day, I got to spend some extra time at each house and meander around the streets taking in the fall like Sunday.  Then around 10 am I arrived at a cat visit in a high rise.  I had planned on killing some time there until my next dog at 11.  I walked in the door and was greeted by both cats, starving as usual.  I said my hellos, grabbed their canned food and headed to their bowls.  I emptied the first can into the first bowl and munching ensued. Then I went to grab the other can and noticed the other cat on the floor on his side stretching.  I immediately hit the floor with him saying his name and he was not responding.  His eyes were fixed and he stretched his legs out, made an odd facial expression, and then just relaxed.  He was having a heart attack right there in my lap and there was nothing that could be done.  Although it probably lasted about 10 seconds, it felt like 10 minutes.  I called the owner, no answer.  I called my husband to come and get me so that we could run him to the vet just to make sure, but I knew there was nothing I could do.  There was no carrier visible so I wrapped him in a towel and we took him to the vet that confirmed he had indeed passed.  I left 3 messages for the owner because I didn't know what she wanted to do, all the while trying to hold back tears.  I loved this cat - he was one of my favorites.  He did have cardiac issues and had been on heart medication for years. This cat was like a dog.  He was big and gray, with huge paws.  He learned tricks on command, he took his pills in peanut butter (forcefully), and he had a voracious appetite at all times.  He was a handsome devil and I will miss him terribly.  It's funny about animals dying from a heart attack.  It is so sudden and unexpected, but it is also so quick.  There is virtually no suffering, which is the only comforting factor. I'm glad that I was there so that he was not alone, but I hate that I was there because I had to watch a cat friend leave this earth before his time.  He should have lived to be 20 to become a cranky old man cat that walked with a limp and demanded his peanut butter by shaking his cat walker at me.  I am devastated, as is the owner.  There are no words to truly describe what I felt today. He will be missed and my heart goes out to his human mom and cat brother.

                                                R.I.P. Patrick - you were one amazing cat

After we left the vet, I wanted to cancel all my other visits and hide.  Since that was impossible, I had to head to the next dog walk and luckily Mike was willing to help me out with his car.  I took the dog out, we went for a nice walk in the cemetery (I guess that was appropriate), I get back to his car and the battery is dead.  Fucking great!  He called AAA and there was a "higher than normal wait time."  While he was waiting on hold, I got on facebook to ask if anyone was nearby that could give us a jump.  Thank God for social media - an old friend who I haven't seen ages was nearby and said he would jump us.  Perfect!  While we were waiting, 3 different people stopped to ask if we needed a jump.  We said thank you, but someone is on the way.  He pulls up and the jumper cables that were usually in his car were not there, so he went to go home to find them.  Two minutes later a guy pulls up with an SUV full of kids and asks if we need a jump.  We told him yes.  He said, "I have cables, but I don't have the time."  He lived down the street so he lent us the cables and said to just leave them in his driveway when we were done. (How about that??)  So we called my friend back to flip around and we got the car going.  Phew!

We got home, emotionally drained, and we rested for a little bit until I had to go back out for a few more visits.  Mike said that he would drive me.  I got back into the car and notice that he his holding a broken mirror. (Seriously??!!!) Apparently while I was walking the first dog, a truck drove by him and hit his sideview mirror. It shattered and flew down the street. The guy DID stop and apologize and gave him money to replace it.  Could the day get any worse?

We then headed to another high rise for a cat visit and the front desk couldn't find the key to the apartment.  It SHOULD have been there, I returned it last night. So then I had to go upstairs and wait for maintenance
 to let me in.  He found me sitting on the floor by her door with my knees under my chin.

So there you go, death does come in 3's.  The cat, the battery, the mirror.  I am drained physically.  I am drained emotionally.  All I want to do is watch Netflix in the dark and sleep.  Today was literally "One of those days"

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

I had the same dogs for a lunch and dinner visit today.  I went there at 1 pm and all was normal.  I went back at 5 and saw that the one dog came out of the crate with her fur all wet on her torso.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that she had chewed a chunk of fur off and had been chewing her itchy skin for the past 4 hours.  Sigh....

I called the owner to see if she had any topical ointment or an e-collar.  She did not, so I ran her over to the vet (1 block away) to get an e-collar and attempt to get some ointment.  If she chewed on herself for the rest of the night,  she would probably end up  needing oral antibiotics.  Even though I was the annoying client that I always complained about just walking in and asking for meds, she got what she needed and will  hopefully have a more comfortable evening.  Much thanks to QVAH for helping me out yet again!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Loss of a Client

A little over 2 weeks ago I lost one of my favorite human clients to cancer.  Her name was Vera and she was an incredible woman. She wasn't technically my client, but more like a grandmother figure/friend (She was in her early 80's) Picture Magda from Sex and the City - that is the best way to describe her. She was the mother of my actual client who would stay at the apartment with their cat when they went on trips.  The cat had a rough go of it and I was originally hired to medicate the cat while they were away.  This poor cat had 2 blood transfusions (among other things ) and needed a lot of medication in the beginning.  I would give the cat her meds and stay to chat with her afterwards.  After a while the cat was off meds and I would just go to check in and clean the litterbox when the owners were on vacation.  Her daughter made sure that I didn't let her touch the litter since she was getting treated for cancer and her immune system was weaker.  It became a check on the cat and my mother situation (although it was never really said) .

I loved spending time there and chatting with her.  She would tell me stories about growing up in Serbia.  She loved cats and on occasion would sneak kittens home in her coat,.  One time she took one from someones window - he mother made her return it.  We would talk about traveling, how it was stupid that the Dorchester didn't allow cats but people still snuck them in there, food (she loved Chinese food and really good bread).  She would always pay close attention to what I was saying and refer back the next time that I saw her, even if it was 3 months later. She always asked about Mike and my parents even though she never met them. I showed her pictures of my cats and kittens that I would foster and she would ooh and ahh over them.  Last Christmas I found a candle that smelled like fresh bread and dropped it off to her in her building!

Her daughter and son in law live in a beautiful apartment but the electronics are very high tech.  Almost every time they went away she got the TV to turn on and she would watch her tennis, but then the TV wouldn't shut off.  Or the picture shut off and not the sound.  And the volume got stuck so she would try to sleep with the TV blaring sports in the next room.  This kept happening and she never learned how to use it properly.  I tried to figure it out and I may as well have been on a spaceship. That TV system drove her nuts!  And there are also a ton of beautiful orchids in the apartment that she would have to care for and water.  She loved the orchids, but watering them took the whole day for her and was so tedious.  She always made a face, but did it anyway for her daughter.

As she got weaker, she still refused to ask for help.  She was so strong and so proud and would only ask me to get things that were too high up on the shelf. She was independent and stubborn - always saying "I don't know why you have to be here, I tell her I can do myself. I do like to see you dear Debbie, but I can do." She knew that her daughter needed her and she said that she has to be strong for her.  She endured so many transfusions and cancer treatments and this last one made her feel awful.  She lost her appetite along with her hair and her pink cheeks.  I brought her a loaf from Sarcones to try to get her to eat and she tried to make me promise that her daughter would reimburse me for it!  I said, "No way!"  She said, "Debbie, be good girl, let her give you  money."  I told her that if I want to spend $2.50 on a loaf of bread for her, I have the right to do that.  Boy did she fight me on that!  (literally, for about 30 minutes)

The last time I saw her she was telling me about people that she was meeting at Fox Chase Cancer Center.  She said she met a woman with a very sweet husband and the woman said to her, "My husband is wonderful. He is so nice and so sweet and I am a bitch!" Vera was taken aback and told her, "No... no, you're not a bitch."  And the woman said, "No, I really am, and he is so nice."  She told me this story and couldn't believe that the woman saw herself like that.  So Vera's last words to me as I was leaving the apartment were this, "Oh my Dear Debbie.  You be good girl.  Don't be a bitch!"  I kind of love that those were her last words to me.

A few weeks later I went over there for a nail trim and no one mentioned her.  A month later I went for another nail trim and her daughter told me that she was there in the apartment for about 6 weeks.  They had stopped treatment.  She was there for the previous nail trim, but didn't want me to know because she didn't want to get into goodbyes.  Then that day it was too late.She couldn't really see or hear and was just in bed.  I know her and I know that she wouldn't have wanted me to see her like that, but it was tough being that and not even being able to say goodbye or hug her.  About 2 weeks later she passed away.  I'm beyond grateful that I got to know her as well as I did.  Not only did I learn a lot about her and her family history, but I learned alot about the love a mother has for her daughter. I miss her and going to that apartment will never be the same for me ever again.  I'm sure there will be tears, but I know that she will be there with me saying, "Mish Mish, Debbie will kiss you now."  R.I.P. Vera, you were an incredible woman.  You will be missed by many and I hope to one day hug you again.