update on James

Before surgery…


(James with his daddy walking the halls before surgery)

After surgery


(James headed home after his ordeal)

It was a long day…
James’s surgery was successful…circumcised and his plumbing repaired.
There was an aside thought by some of the medical staff regarding the blue vein that has
been prominent on the bridge of his nose between his eyes since birth.
They have suggested a visit to the pediatrician and a genetic test as there may be an issue
with how his body’s cells process proteins.

But that will be an issue for another day because we are just breathing a heavy sigh of relief.

Thank you all for the prayers that have sustained us…
as those prayers will continue to sustain us throughout his recovery…
and those prayers will also help his sister, the Mayor, during this time
of the most terrible of the terrible twos…

My mom let me know all would be well…as her roses are actually blooming…
coming off such a heatwave followed by now freezing temperatures…
Perseverance…followed by blessings…

The Force

Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
Yoda


(the Sheriff tries on part of his Halloween costume/ Julie Cook / 2019)

Master Yoda or is that Master Sheriff?

Master Sheriff notes that the Force is strong in this one, the Mayor…
And he should know…

Here we have the Mayor trying out her Halloween costume…her favorite latest Disney
character…Vamperina.
Vamperina and her family have moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.
The Mayor loves to sing along with the Ghoul Girls…
However, the Mayor is not a fan of the bat wing hat.


(The Mayor just wants to be outside)

Master Sheriff is always ready with a smile…

Next Thursday will be the Sheriff’s first time to trick or treat as his sister is one up on him.
The following day, All Saints Day, the Sheriff will have his long-awaited and dreaded surgery.
As any surgery with any child is dreaded.

James will finally be circumcised along with any additional work in order to realign the urethra,
helping to prevent the reoccurring kidney reflux.
He has been on antibiotics since birth.
It is time to be free of medicines, infections, and fevers—
and the added worry for his parents!!!

Our prayers are to the One True Force—the Great Healer, Jehovah-Rapha

P is for Perseverance

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?
We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.
We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.

Marie Curie


(Percy resting in a basket, notice the shaved back leg / Julie Cook / 2019)

Here’s a brief update regarding our patient.

You may remember that on June 3rd our cat Percy had a joint fusion on his back hock.

He is named Percy for Perseverance…all because since a kitten, he came to us
in dire straights when we found him he found us
after having been thrown from a moving car.

He was broken, bruised and dying.

But once we went to work…he not only survived, he actually thrived.

There have been some mouth surgeries and teeth issues along the way
but the biggest stumbling block has been this back hock.

We believe this hock business is due to an old injury with his leg…
and because of the injury, he had worn the skin down
on the hock (aka knee) to the tendon…meaning the tendon was exposed.

Months of all sorts of treatments and minor surgeries didn’t help…
so we had to bite the bullet and pay a small fortune to a Veterinary surgical group
over north of Atlanta for a joint fusion surgery.

It meant a 12-week confinement and life in a cast and a cage and a cone.

Well come Monday we will be 9 weeks in.

Two weeks ago they removed the cast.

I realize that up to 6 weeks in a cast leads to atrophy of the leg muscle…and yes things
can smell rather ripe from having been closed up…
but I knew enough to know that I smelled infection.

The Surgeon told me to keep the cone on and let the leg be exposed to air.

Problem was it was oozing and bleeding.

After 3 days home, I called in a bit of a panic, because Percy was in obvious misery and pain
as his foot looked black. Gangrene fears set into my overactive mind.

They told me to see if I could get him to my local vet before driving the
hour and a half it would take to get to their practice.

I took him to our vet.
The doctor told me to put him on the floor so he could watch what he did with the leg.
He held it up and wouldn’t put weight on it.
Plus the vet agreed with me, he too smelled infection.

Following surgery, they had actually done a biopsy on the leg and found that Percy
had a bone infection.
It was a resistant infection to most antibiotics so he had to have a special antibiotic
I had to order from Arizona.

I think he spit out more than I could get in him via the syringe.

Our Vet was betting that Percy had never gotten over the initial infection.

And so now for every day since our first visit back, two weeks now,
Percy has had to go in for a shot.
And in order to give his body a break, they are now rotating with pills.
And thankfully, he is actually now walking using the leg.

The Vet explained that bone infections are difficult to treat therefore the
treatment regime can be lengthy.
He was also a bit concerned by Percy’s depressed appearance.

So despite the surgeon’s demands that he remain coned in a cage the entire 12 weeks,
our vet told me to give him some freedom.
Of which has made a tremendous difference in his demeanor.

Percy has become a bit of a rock star at the Vet’s office as they all great him the
minute we walk through the door.
We don’t sign in and simply head to the available exam room.

All the vets in the practice know Percy and all the vet techs flock in to visit.

Percy is not the typical cat.
I’ve always said he’s more dog-like than cat.
Personable, loving and intuitive.

Rescues are like that.

Our visits are short and sweet, in and out…only for us to return the next day for
another dose.

His hock is still bleeding so I continue treating it and wrapping it.
He continues to spend each night in the cage with the cone but I try to give
him a break throughout most of the day as long as I am home,
allowing him to lounge on the back deck…
As long he doesn’t insist on chewing on his bandaged leg…which if given any
unobserved time, he would gnaw it off it left to his own devices.
And when I leave the house, it’s back in the cage.

And hence the cone…

At this point, I don’t know if we will ever get the bleeding under control.
And at this rate, I wonder about the infection.

When I walked into the vets that first afternoon, with an infection smelling patient,
I felt an overwhelming sense of desperation and I was in tears.
I practically begged our vet to help us.

As Percy’s mom, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility for his well being.

I explained to the Vet that had I known what I know now, we never would have had the surgery.
I would have never put him through this misery.
Nor would I have done this to us and what all the rehab is requiring at home.

Problem is that I bet the infection set in while the tendon was exposed.

So we’re living with a catch 22 sort of scenario.

We will head back to see the surgeon in two weeks.
Who will probably x-ray and fuss that I’ve not been diligent with the cage and cone.

But I told this young surgeon during our last visit that if I had to do it all again,
I would have exhausted all other options.
His response was “he’s just a cat, what’s 12 weeks?”

I thought then and there that this guy, Vet surgeon or not, doesn’t ‘get it’…
he’s not just a cat.
He’s more than that.

He’s overcome so much in his 8 years.
And by gosh, I’m not going to let him go backward now.

Just being able to sit with me again in our chair, each evening, wrapped up in a soft throw
has done wonders for his disposition…giving him a small glance of our normal routine.

I don’t care if you are a human or an animal…a regular regime of life goes
a tremendous way toward healing…

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me
true faith,
certain hope,
and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command

St Francis

we can do anything for two weeks… Right?


(the current veterinary hospital in my foryer)

We are four weeks and one day into our 12 week period of recuperation from
the joint fusion surgery.

I think from what I know now, I would opt to continue trying to exhaust the patchwork
fixes as this whole business is proving harrowing for both patient and caregiver.

Throw in having to race to care for ailing grandbabies—and you can just throw the title
exhausted nursemaid in front of my name and call it a day!

We have to drive an hour and a half over to the Veterinary surgeon’s office every
two weeks for a recasting and check on the progress of the leg.
In two weeks they will x-ray and hopefully transition from a club leg
to a smaller wrapping.

Oh did I mention that we had to have a special antibiotic compounded out at a
special Veterinary pharmacy in Arizona as he had a rare infection in the bone?

Have you ever tried administering a syringe of antibiotics into the mouth of a cat
who is less than thrilled that you are squirting things in his mouth that he
has deemed no good?!
Didn’t matter they flavored it tuna…he hated it.

The pain meds fared no better.

When it was all said and done, I would have happily taken the syringe of pain meds
squirted in my mouth!

Two weeks ago, they had put the latest cast on a bit too high up the leg for the patient’s liking…
it hit that tender underneath skin (the leg and whole hip are shaved) and it was too
irritating to bear, plus he had peed all over it…
so…. we had to drive all the way back the following day for a rewrapping.

Have you ever seen a poor cat with a club for a leg attempt to get into a litter box???

Bless his heart is all I can say.

He simply lays down to do his business.
And then proceeds to accidentally step in it with the cast.

And of course, the litter box is actually in the cage he is to be calling home for these 3 months.
Making for some tight quarters.
Of which is a lovely addition to the foyer of our home.

Have you ever tried to vacuum and sweep up after a cat who can’t maneuver properly while
scattering cat litter all over the place?
I vacuum mountains of litter up, that have mounded outside the cage, at least twice a day,
all the while practically standing on my head in the cage.

And since cats, and this one in particular, are fastidious cleaners, he is constantly
whacking himself in the head with the club leg while attempting to groom himself.

Sigh.

So we have one miserable patient.

The nurse isn’t too happy herself.

And speaking of cones…

There are times when one just has to be coneless.
Such as when it comes time to eat.

His head is too far into the cone for him to reach the food…so…
when it’s time to eat and have some water, I let him out and remove the cone.

I’ll let him use his scratching post and simply sleep unencumbered but I must sit with him.
He has attempted several escapes by clumping up the stairs, dragging a club behind him..
or he slips and slides back to our bedroom.
He even attempted to jump up on the bed and fell before I could get to him.

And trying to get comfortable is not always easy

So the Vet told me yesterday, after examining the incision, that there is a
small reopening of the wound on the hoc (aka back knee)—of which is a product of the cast rubbing…
and so it is imperative that he remain as incapacitated as possible.

Again, sigh.

You’ve heard the expression about attempting to herd cats right?
Well trying to keep one locked up 24 /7 is just about as equally impossible.

And so I am reminded of the mantra I used as a young working mother.
We can do anything for two weeks.

As a young wife and mother, I loathed having to work when our son was little.
Unfortunately, we didn’t really have any choice–especially since mine was our only insurance.

I was always very selfish with my time outside of school as I wanted my time away from school
to be dedicated only to both my husband and son.

That’s why I never went on to get any advanced degrees after my bachelor degree.

I didn’t want to go back to school, work and then try to squeeze in being a wife and mom.
Something would be shortchanged and it wasn’t about to be my husband or son.

But I certainly don’t begrudge those gals who have to go it alone and have to balance
so many plates in order to make it all work for their kids—I just have a problem with the
“I can have it all” mentality while thinking there are no casualties left in the wake.

See, I’m old school in that regard—I don’t think women can have it all and be successful
at either work and mothering…let alone being a wife for that matter.
One or the other is going to suffer. That’s just a fact.
And if you think you can be great at each, you’re only fooling yourself.

I can remember once lamenting to a principal, who was my boss but also my friend,
that I never felt I was truly good at being both a teacher and a mother as I was
always going to be “half-ass” at best with both.

I could not be 100% in whatever I did because something, or someone, was always demanding
my time and attention and that time and attention had to be split.

Plus I’m not one who thinks that a nanny, an au pair, a daycare, a sitter can ever do the
same thing a mother can do for her children.

And yet my son had to attend daycare.

I absolutely hated it but as my pediatrician always tried to reassure me,
daycare was the necessary evil in the lives of working parents.

I’d drop our son off each morning, then cry my way to work.

Guilt was my middle name.
As it often is with most working moms.

So once the summers rolled around, I guarded each and every precious second that I was able
just to be a wife and mom.
And that was one of the joys of teaching and being a parent—our schedules were in sync.

But as teachers, we were always required to earn hours towards our recertification
as well as participate in various trainings and workshops each summer.
Many of which would require about a two-week time slot.

So once we seemed settled, I’d find myself once again having to disrupt our “home” time
by getting up extra early, get my sleeping son up and ready for daycare as I’d then drive
an hour over to Atlanta for various teaching workshops at The High Museum of Art
or Oglethorpe University.
Returning back to town around 6.

I hated it but for both of us, but I would tell myself, I, we, can do anything for two weeks.

And so we did.

And now, as we seem to visit the Vet’s office for check-ups and recasting every two weeks…
I continue telling myself, as well as Percy… we can do anything for two weeks…
two weeks at a time.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

update on sweet baby James

Years ago during the angst-ridden days of adolescence, 
little did I know that when I would lay back on
my bed with arms folded under my head, staring up
at the ceiling, all the while listening to
my vinyl album of James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James playing over and over,
an album full of both melodic and even haunting songs and lyrics…
the memory of one song in particular, would come racing back to the forefront of
my thoughts all these many years later…the song being the same name as the 1970 album,
Sweet Baby James…

And speaking of sweet baby James…
Our sweet baby James got a clear report last night from the ER at
Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital.

With his UTI issues, we’ve been told that should his fever
spike to 100.4 or higher, he needs to be taken to an ER pronto.
Last night, after the Father’s Day festivities, it hit 100.5.

James remains on a maintenance regime of antibiotics until
his surgery come December.
However, we will meet with the Pediatric Urology Surgical doctors
next week for a thorough exam and a projected course of action until he
has grown enough for the surgery.

I greatly appreciate your prayers last evening and those lifted up today…
just as I appreciate those continued prayers!
Please add in his mom and dad to those prayers as they are about to worry
themselves to death as they keep up with a thermometer vigil.

There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range
His horse and his cattle are his only companions
He works in the saddle and sleeps in the canyons
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change
And as the moon rises he sits by his fire
Thinking about women and glasses of beer
And closing his eyes as the doggies retire
He sings out a song which is soft but it’s clear
As if maybe someone could hear

Goodnight you moonlight ladies
Rockabye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won’t you let me go down in my dreams
And rockabye sweet baby James

Now the first of December was covered with snow
So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
The Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
But singing works just fine for me

So goodnight you moonlight ladies
Rockabye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won’t you let me go down in my dreams
And rockabye sweet baby James

Song and Lyrics by James Taylor

Deja vu not intended and this is going to be a long rehab

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.”
Marcel Proust


(Percy, on the morning following his having found us when he was thrown from a moving car as a tiny kitten—
his injuries were severe but 8 years later, he’s been loved to both life and health…
yet a remnant and a torn tendon has brought the most traumatic surgery to date)

I thought I’d be all techy and try to put together a post to use yesterday on the evening prior,
via my phone.
I found the little quotes I wanted to use and picked out a picture…
then I hit the button to save the post.

Yesterday morning, I pulled out my phone, went into my drafts and hit publish.
But what was published was not what I had put together but rather as a previous post from a week
or so prior.

Huh?

So I’m just going with the idea of Divine Intervention…meaning
Someone greater than I thought a repeating was in order and repeat we did.

For you see, on Monday, I had taken my Percy over to a surgical vet’s practice north of Atlanta
for a joint fusion to help repair a near unrepairable injury.

I dropped him off and headed to stay the night with the Mayor and the new Sheriff,
who also had to go back to visit the doctor for his ongoing issues.
So needless to say, I didn’t have the proper time to write a decent post, hence the quickie from
my phone…that actually didn’t work.

If we can just get these two little boys on the track to good health, it’ll be a wonder!

Percy’s surgery was successful…
however, it’s not so much the surgery that I now worry about being successful
but rather this business of recouping and rehab time.

12 weeks he’ll need to be confined to a cage!!!
But oddly it seems Percy started out his life in a cage…healing from abuse
when someone threw him out the window of a moving car.
Dante would say there is a certain ring in hell for such folks but I digress.

So yes, deja vu in all sorts of ways.

But now let’s add in an “e” collar or what is known as an Elizabethan collar or more infamously, the cone of shame.
Add a splint as big boxing glove on his back leg and life is now a giant misery for all involved.

How he’s going to manage to get into the litter box is yet to be seen but I somehow don’t see any of this
going well.

He can’t stand on the giant splint.
He can’t eat with the cone.
I remove the cone and hold a bowl up to his mouth.
Spoon feeding didn’t work so well as more fell than hit his mouth.
And drinking water has been a no for now.

He is currently in the foyer just off the den so he can be near us.

He flops and flays, falling into the litter box.
I’ve had to fetch him out of the litter box twice.
But since he’s yet to “use” the litter box, we’re ok.

He gets meds twice a day.
That part is proving the easiest thus far.

We will make the pilgrimage back in two weeks for the sutures to be removed and
hopefully a cone removal and smaller splint…but that is if he doesn’t break his neck
flaying in the meantime, starve to death or make a terrible mess all over himself…

Living with an open wound, exposed bone coupled with the bleeding and oozing while having to
rebandage every other day, oddly is now a bit more appealing to this current slight fortune
of a surgery in order to bring, literally closure to a nearly year-long battle.

The new Sheriff is on doses of maintenance antibiotics to keep any and all UTIs at bay—
a regime that will last for months.
Balancing his digestion and guts throughout all of this will be a delicate balance.
His surgery will be in about 5 more months.

One day for a day…is now the motto of this family!!!!

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint
them with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

James 5:14-15

today’s the day…say a prayer

“The beginning is always today.”
Mary Shelley


(Percy resting on the guest bed, one of the many beds in the house he calls his own)

Percy and I are off this morning to a Veterinary surgical group north of Atlanta.
Our vet is sending us there rather than to Auburn or Georgia as he seems to like
these surgeons.

Percy’s knee (aka hoc) has not healed in all these many months and the tendon remains exposed.
Since he hates his bandage and attempts to gnaw through it on a daily basis and the vet
and I can only keep changing the bandages every other day for so long, we are
off for what I am told will be a joint fusion.

It will beat the constant bleeding through the bandage and his aggravation with having
to be constantly wrapped up…I hope!

Percy has only ridden in the car from our house to his vet’s office—
which is maybe an 8-minute drive at most….a harrowing 8-minute drive.

An hour plus drive on the several interstates into Atlanta, to unfamiliar territory,
has me nervous for both of us.
Not to mention what awaits Percy with this type of surgery.

The plan is that they will evaluate him at our 10:45 appointment and keep him in order
to perform the surgery in the afternoon.
I’ll go stay with the Mayor and new Sheriff until I’m told to come back to take the patient
back home.

As I love this cat dearly, I ask that you will please offer up a prayer for Percy’s wellbeing,
successful surgery and rapid healing.

Also, I fear Peaches will miss her surrogate son terribly…