Sunday, January 30, 2011

No More Bottles

It has now been two weeks since we "gave away" all our bottles. Gabe & "tiny tiny baby" Morgan were here for the weekend. We told Conan that since he was a big boy, we should give all his bottles to baby Morgan, because she needed them more. We mentioned it several times during the weekend, and then I let him see me put all the nipples, screw bands, inserts, tubes, lids, etc. into a bag, and take them out to the car. Of course, instead of actually going to Olympia with "tiny tiny baby" Morgan (who at 18 months old is really a big girl herself), the bottles actually went to the local consignment shop.

Conan was a little bit upset the first night, and has told us a few times that "miss mine bottle" but overall it has been a very smooth transition. He still has a cup of milk before bed, but he drinks it downstairs and then brushes his teeth before getting in his jammies and reading books. The only change in his sleeping habits we've noticed is that he is suddenly fascinated with sleeping on the floor, instead of in his bed, especially for naptime. Kind of strange, but no problem - we've got a small pile of blankets laid out on the floor for that. Probably just means it's time to get this big boy a real big boy bed!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Cleaned and stitched up, and feeling silly from the drugs
Yesterday afternoon, Conan dove face first into the hard wooden arm rest of a futon at a friend's house. It was over before any of the adults in the room even saw it coming. We tried to clean it up as best we could, but Conan was NOT inclined to cooperate. We didn't know if his nose was broken, or just cut, and either way he wouldn't let us apply any pressure to stop the bleeding, so I decided we needed to head to the ER. Cary was called and left home to meet us there.

Coming into the emergency room with a screaming bloody toddler gets attention. We were quickly moved into a private triage room. Conan cried and cried and cried. He did not want anyone to look at his owie. He did not want a hospital ID bracelet. He did not want to be weighed. He DEFINITELY did not want any topical anesthetic applied to his nose. He didn't even want a sticker.

Hardened ER Trauma nurses were wincing and covering their ears from his shrieks and wails. I was nearly in tears myself.

Eventually we made it through the initial evaluation, and were moved to a treatment room where we met with the Doctor. The anesthetic was taking effect, so Conan had calmed down a bit, but he still wasn't willing to let anyone examine the wound closely. The Doc was pretty sure the nose wasn't broken, and just as sure that cleaning and stitching was going to require sedation.

The sedation required a respiratory specialist, and Conan had to have an IV. It took four of us to get the IV in him - not because of the needle, but because of the tape and soft bandage they wrapped over the IV on his wrist. THAT really freaked him out. He struggled madly to try and rip it off, nearly succeeding. Eventually he calmed down and they were able to start giving him the Ketamine.

He was so keyed up that it required 3x the expected dose to sedate him.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he was sedated and the doctor was able to clean and examine the wound. Then he was ready for the stitches. They placed a white paper cover over Conan with a 4 inch circle cut out through which the Doc would work. Somehow, that was too much for me. Seeing my baby disappear behind that white sheet, with only his bloody little nose showing, made me feel light headed, nauseous and weak in the knees. I had to go sit down.

Four stitches and a Snoopy band-aid later, it was all finished. A nurse stayed to monitor Conan as he slept off the Ketamine, but the Doctor and the respiratory specialist left. We were able to breathe and take stock of what we'd just been through. What an ordeal! Thank goodness that it was just a flesh wound, it makes me shudder to think - it could have been so much worse.

I also realized that I had been really afraid, in an irrational way, that coming to the ER was a mistake. I have a strange reluctance about the ER. When I was a kid, we were kind of poor and lived over an hour from the ER, with the result being that we only went if it was really, really, REALLY serious. Otherwise, Mom treated us at home, and then we went to the regular doctor a few days later if we needed follow-up care. So the whole time we were at the hospital yesterday, I was feeling a guilty sort of anxiety, that they were going to say I was over-reacting, that I should have been able to take care of Conan myself, that we really had no business burdening the ER with this little cut. And yet, it was unquestionably the right choice to take him there. Recognizing that this fear was completely unfounded was a good lesson for me.

We made it home a little after 5 pm, with a groggy, woozy and REALLY-happy-to-be-home little boy. We plunked him down on the couch and let him watch as many cartoons as he wanted. He ate a decent dinner and went to bed a little early. This morning he seems fine, there's very little bruising and swelling around his wound. We're going to stay home, take it easy, and count our blessings.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

RIP Iggy

Iggy asked to go outside Friday morning. He was stronger and more alert after a week on the thyroid medicine, so I let him out. He chose a nice spot under the bench under the big fir tree and quietly passed on. I found him this morning.

I'm pleased that he was strong enough to make his own choice of spot. We'll miss him, but I have no regrets or guilt - he lived a good, full life, and was loved.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birdies have Feathers

I brought home some old sheets of sticker paper from the office. Conan had lots of fun coloring them and then sticking them onto his shirt. Then he chirped like a bird and flapped around the room with his new feathers. I just love watching him develop his imagination!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ignacio Mooma Pobst

Iggy, aka Tripod, aka His Royal Fluffy Majesty, aka Fluffbutt, was born in August 1996. His mother, Jive, was my friend Mandi's cat, and I had pick of the litter. The only other kitten was stillborn, so Iggy was mine. When he was 5 weeks old I brought him home - a little too early, as I found out when he nursed holes in several of my sweaters and blankets. But he was just the cutest little kitten so all was forgiven, and he grew and thrived and we formed a strong bond.

Just before Thanksgiving 1997 he disappeared from my apartment. I put up flyers and contacted the humane society, and a few days later I got the call that he had been found, but was badly injured. I went to the shelter and picked him up, and could immediately see that his front left leg was probably a goner. He was so glad to see me he refused to stay in his box, so I held him on my lap and drove him straight to the Cat Clinic. I said "you're going to have to take off his leg, right?" and they said oh no, don't worry, probably not, we'll clean him up and take x-rays and call you in a few hours.

A few hours later when they called and said "well, we have some bad news about his leg" I was not surprised. There were some other options, I could have taken him to Seattle for experimental veterinary orthopedic reconstruction, but I could barely afford the cost of the amputation, let alone what it would have cost to try and save the leg. The clinic staff was very surprised that it didn't upset me to think about amputating my cat's leg, but I was just glad to have gotten my cat back at all. Even if I only got 90% of my cat back, that was still a lot better than I had really expected.

In addition to losing his front leg, Iggy's right hip had been dislocated and had to be surgically pinned. One of his canine teeth had been broken, so it had to be extracted. A few of his ribs were cracked. He was a hurting little kitty. The vet speculated that he might have crawled up into the engine block of a car and gotten his leg caught in the fan belt. We'll never know for sure; Iggy never would talk about it.

To pay for Iggy's medical care, I converted my already-scheduled birthday party into a fundraiser. The clinic even allowed me to borrow his x-rays and we displayed them at 419 to show people that we weren't making it all up. People packed into the house, paying $10 or $20 for a plastic keg cup of beer. I don't remember how much was raised, but I know it greatly exceeded my expectations. To this day I occasionally hear about that party from people I didn't know had been there, or who didn't know it was my cat. It has become one of those Bellingham legends.

Once he recovered from his major surgery, Iggy lived a happy and relatively uneventful life. We moved around a bit, and he made friends with many of the other cats, dogs, and people that we lived with over the years. His majestic fluffy tail and his silky soft tummy fluff were admired and petted by all. He was never shy about speaking up when a food dish was empty (or just low) even if he himself wasn't hungry. He slept on numerous couches, pillows, beds, chairs, and floors. He absolutely loved to roll on concrete. Being a tripod never slowed him down, but then, he wasn't ever interested in moving very fast to start with.

In the spring of 2009, when Conan was just a few months old, a routine trip to the vet discovered that Iggy had Thyroid tumors. The tumors were not malignant, in and of themselves, but they did cause his thyroid to be overactive, revving up Iggy's metabolism. He was constantly hungry and eating, but still losing weight. The only feasible treatment (kitty chemo was not in our budget) was a topical steroid cream that had to be applied to Iggy's ears twice a day, forever. However, we didn't feel comfortable having this topical steroid cream in the house around Conan, who was already becoming very interested in the kitties. One of his first words was "Iggy".

Instead, for the last two years, Iggy has had his own private dining room on the sun porch, where he can nibble extra-special kibbles and even enjoy canned cat food without having to share with the other cats. He's free to come into the main house or go outside whenever he wants, of course. He has really enjoyed having his own space, free of toddler attention or feeding competition.

Good times can't last forever, and this past December Iggy started to really go downhill. He lost weight until he is now just skin and bones. His majestic fluff became matted and straggly. We moved his private dining room into the bathroom, because he enjoys sleeping on a hot spot on the floor under the bathtub. In the last few weeks he has stopped showing much interest in food at all, just licking a little at the top of the cat food pate I put out for him before going back to sleep. He looks old, and sick, and tired.

I put off calling the vet for a while because I was scared that I would take him in and they would confirm my fears that Iggy is nearing the end of his life. But denial is only tenable for so long, and it isn't fair to let Iggy suffer because I'm afraid to face my fears of finally losing him. So tomorrow at 2:15 we are going to the vet. Perhaps they will have some treatment for him and he will recover, start eating again, and gain some weight... but I am not optimistic. I may have to let him go at last, and it's so hard. He's been my kitty for 14 and a half years, and I can't imagine life without his hard little head butting into my hand in search of pets, or his piercing meow demanding food, or his contented purring next to my head.

I'm going to go cuddle him a little more right now, and have a good cry.

Update: The vet examined Iggy, gave him some fluids, and tested his blood. The results showed that Iggy is OK except for the thyroid thing (no organ failure), and there's now an internal medicine we can try to treat the hyperthyroid with. So we're going to give that a shot, and see if he recovers. The vet said we'd see results pretty quickly if it works. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, because he's just soooo skinny (4.5 lb), but I feel like I owe him the chance. If the medicine doesn't work, at least we tried.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Holidaze 2010

Whew, we have had a fun time the last couple of weeks. I took the week off between Christmas and New Years so we had lots of time to do fun stuff.

We started with a trip to Plain and had a great Christmas with Grandma Debbie, Poppy, GG Joy, Jon, Nadege and Chloe. My mom got both the kids and herself matching striped Christmas jammies which made for great pictures, and both the kids got beautiful wooden rocking horses as well as lots of other fun stuff. There was lots of snow in Plain and we had a great time building a snow horsie (which Conan even got to ride) and a snow man in the yard.

We came home on the 28th and settled in for a couple of nice, mostly quiet days around home. We had the Pazo clan over for dinner, went Bowling with a large group of friends (Conan's first time!), had the Davis family over for a slumber party, and helped Great Grandma Marjorie celebrate her 91st birthday before heading down to the Ericson's for New Year's Eve. We had a great time, as always - eating, drinking, playing games - all the good stuff to start 2011 off right. I can hardly believe it is actually 2011, but there it is. There's just no stopping time!

All this on top of one of the most momentous of parental milestones: Conan's first big-boy haircut. I'll sure miss those baby curls, but it was time. He's still extraordinarily cute, but it's different now...