Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Update On All The Things

I feel like I've left several threads of posts hanging here recently. When I have a problem, I post. When the problem gets resolved, Here I am, gone, as they say in these parts. Maybe they say that in other parts, too; I don't know.

Anyway, today is the day I catch up.

Meredith the cat: She is still eating and doesn't seem to be in any discomfort. I asked the vet to clarify some things. The "calcified mass" she mentioned was further described as "a bony tumour". The only option for further diagnostics is to take Meredith to Prince Edward Island to the vet college there, for a CT scan, also known as a CAT scan. The irony of the name would be amusing if I wasn't so sad about Meredith's condition. The scan is expensive and wouldn't do anything except potentially help refine the diagnosis and see if the cancer has spread. Even if surgery was deemed possible, it would be expensive. Meredith is thirteen years old. She is happiest at home. The travel would be hard on her, with probably no benefit, according to the vet. I want to do what's best for her, so I am torn about whether I should be going ahead and requesting the scan. But "what's best" also includes not making her miserable. I am still trying to figure it all out.

The roof: The insurance company sent their contractor to have a look. Quick does not adequately describe the response. The contractor was calling me before the insurance guy had even hung up the phone, and was there the next morning to check the attic spaces for possible water damage and have a look at the shingles. We have two attic access points, one in the master bedroom closet and one in the garage. Both of these required quite a bit of work ahead of time to make room for a ladder so the contractor could get up through the ceilings. And of course, general tidying of the house was needed to make it look less like a meteor had crashed on it. The contractor's inspection was good news: no water damage inside, the shingles were not blown off entirely, just the tabs (so probably no danger of leaking before the repairs could be done), and the contractor agreed to do the work plus repair a piece of fascia for the cost of the insurance deductible, and do it within a week. (This means I will still be able to make a "first claim" in the future without my insurance rates going up.) We still had shingles here from when my husband replaced the roof about seven years ago, so there was no need to worry about mismatched shingles. Best of all, the contractor told me the roof had been well-laid (before he knew it was my husband who did it); the issue was with the type of shingles that were used. I was glad to hear this, as I had been wondering if the damage was due to my husband's roofing skills. It was really comforting to hear that his work was considered well done. Today was sunny and warm and the roofing guys showed up and had the work done in no time. A big thumbs up for the contractor, who was dealing with a whole lot of other claims from the same wind-and-rain-storm that damaged my roof. There really still is good customer service out there, in case you doubt it like I did.

My Mom: Tomorrow is the day we go to see the geriatric doctor. Mom's a bit suspicious about this appointment but I just keep telling her it's a follow up to the visit she had last summer from "the woman who took your blood pressure". She remembers that woman surprisingly well, given her memory problems. Mom's BP was low that day, despite repeated checks, and she feels it was not actually her blood pressure but that "the woman" didn't know what she was doing or maybe her equipment was faulty. There were actually other possible reasons for the low reading, including that it was a hot day and Mom could have been dehydrated. Her family doctor was supposed to follow up and arrange for a visiting nurse to do a series of readings. I was in touch with Mom's doctor about this but the checkups never materialized, and in the meantime the doctor closed his practice for other reasons. So I am also trying to sell Mom on tomorrow's appointment by telling her the geriatric doctor will review her medications and check her blood pressure, both of which are things she has wanted done but had no doctor to do them. (She won't let me take her pressure with our home machine, despite being told by the pharmacy staff - where she takes their readings as gospel - that she could buy a home machine herself.) Anyway, long story short (oh, is it too late for that?), I am worried about this doctor visit tomorrow for a dozen reasons, and hope it goes smoothly.

My grief: I think this needs a whole 'nother post at some point. The terrible grey seemed to be lifting for a few weeks, and then it came back with a vengeance. It's helpful to me to write about it, and I hope it also might be helpful for someone out there who has yet to go through the loss of their spouse or partner. I've learned so much about all kinds of things from people who were willing to share what they were feeling and going through. Yet there are so many things I've experienced after my husband's death that I wasn't prepared for. And I thought I was prepared.


How about some funnies? Some days this is all that keeps me going.





How do YOU get through "those" days?


Sandi said...

"Mom's BP was low that day, despite repeated checks, and she feels it was not actually her blood pressure but that "the woman" didn't know what she was doing or maybe her equipment was faulty."

My mom does this same sort of thing! 🤷🏻‍♀️

I'm sorry to hear about everything you are going through. Sometimes there are just a lot of things. I don't know what to say, other than be well.

Elephant's Child said...

LOVE your funnies. Thank you.
And thank you for the updates too.
Jazz's vet has recommended some very expensive tests too. However, she also added that while they would give a clearer picture, they almost certainly wouldn't change his treatment plan or prognosis. On balance for the moment we have said no. Even a local vet trip stresses him (and me) out badly.
Fingers crossed on the roof.
And good luck with your mama's appointment.
On the grief front? My heart aches with and for you. Hugs.

Elephant's Child said...

PS: Today (and indeed, this week and next are going to be busy. How I would love to just poke them with a stick.

Andrew said...

Relief at the repair work going ahead without fuss. Tradespeople don't often compliment other tradespeople's work, so that is compliment to your husband.

Isn't that stripe on the cat unusual. I've never seen one like that before.

Good luck with your mother.

Marie Smith said...

I hope the appointment for your mom goes better than you expect.

Grief is a wave at high tide during a storm sometimes. I hope the wave recedes for a time soon, Jenny.

Good news about the roof. It must have been such a relief!

Thanks for the chuckles.

Mike said...

No better place to set your butt on fire than next to a tub full of water.

Red said...

So in life some things are good and some things not so good. So the roof issue was not serious. Your Mom is still challenging everything that moves. she can get pretty cagey.

messymimi said...

Life is up and down and sideways, isn't it.

My heart aches for you as you make decisions about your cat. You know her best, if any kind of treatment would stress her out, then letting her just enjoy the time she has left is likely the best way, as stress shortens life, too.

It's fabulous that the roof is repaired and you didn't have to use the insurance.

Grief takes as long as it takes, and sometimes we get impatient with the process. It doesn't help.

My hope is your mother cooperates with the doctor and that you can find ways to care for her that don't leave both of you upset and worried.

Thanks for the great funnies, i needed that.

River said...

On "those" days, I just nap a lot, nothing else gets done.
I would keep Meredith at home for as long as she is comfortable and still doing normal cat things.
Good news about the roof! And good luck with your mum's check up tomorrow.
grief? time really is the only healer.

kylie said...

The roof is fixed and thats one less thing to worry about. Now for the other things on the list......

dinthebeast said...

May your mom's appointment go better than you're imagining it.
Good news about the roof. Zsuzs and Zac are still working on ours and it may snow this week, but she seems in good spirits, so I'm assuming it to be going well?
Grief is slippery, you think you are making progress with it and then find yourself right back where you started at the slightest provocation. It does get better, though, and that's sometimes hard to remind yourself of when it would help. Best wishes for that.
I feel like you are making a wise decision about Meredith. My friend Sara was fanatical about getting her cat Charlie all of the veterinary help she could get him, and her ex-boyfriend Chris once said to Charlie "Well little buddy, I guess you're just gonna get coddled to death..."

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Dear Jenny, thanks for the update!

Re Roof: Quick it was indeed! And I'm so happy to hear that good service do indeed still exist somewhere out there. From personal experience I have recently begun to doubt the existence, so thanks! Also happy to hear your husband's work praised, it happens so seldom!

Mom is a problem, I see. Why is it that elderly people do not trust? I feel your pain the more, as I see the same quandaries in my future. Fingers fervently crossed for tomorrow.

Mourning in my experience is a wave thing, you feel better, then worse, then absolutely miserable, then fairly good, ... the worst in my opinion is the uncertainty - not knowing how you'll feel tomorrow or for how long - and it's always longer ...

Meredith the cat: I would stop doing anything more. If she's happiest at home, and there's no hope of a cure, I'd just keep her - and you - happy during her last time here. You can buy heaps of her favourite treats for the transportations costs alone.
I had written more, but deleted it, as I was not able to express my thoughts with any clarity in English.

I send you virtual hugs and prayers for wisdom and fair winds from my faraway, windy corner of the world.

baili said...

thank you for sharing this post dear Jenny ,i like to read in details how are you and how things are going at your corner and i am glad today you shared them with details except the" Grief " part which i will be looking forward to ...

i felt serene at the surprisingly quick service by insurance company ,sounds impressive . i can only imagine your relief when things were done smoothly and specially your late husband was appreciated for his great roofing skills .

my heartfelt best wishes for Meredith dear Jenny ,i know you will do what is best for her.pets are not less than family member and their suffering is painful for those who love them indeed !

i hope your mother finds another doctor soon to check her things properly ,this is really appreciable and inspiring that despite of all odds you are still managing to lookafter her my friend.

your choice of funny is always witty and enjoyable :) thank you for smiles.
hugs and blessings to you and loved ones! please keep good care of yourself!

Mary said...

Think letting Meredith live out her life at home is probably for the best. Further testing is unlikely to change the outcome at her age. And neither of you needs additional stress.

Speaking of stress, hope that trip to doc with Mom goes okay. One learns one only has so much control over things and others, so best to just let her do what she will do. If she wigs out, she wigs out. It will give the geriatric doctor a taste of what you deal with many a day.

As for you my dear, would that we could take off even a little bit of your grief so that you could breathe free, even if just for a day or two. The damn grief tsunamis that knock one for six when you aren't prepared (as if one could be prepared--no such thing) must be ridden out--hopefully on top and not under. Those are the times to just float and not expect anything of yourself. Just be. xo

37paddington said...

The waves of grief will come and go, possible forever, but I do hope this current wave releases you soon. Rock with it, I once heard someone say. Easier said than done, I suppose. I hope all goes well with your mother's visit to the doctor.

Susan said...

Our son in law died suddenly this year just before his 41st birthday. When he was at our house his self imposed job was to get the wood stove going each morning, such a treat as it was usually my job. Now winter is here I find it hard to do the stove, although I must, because of the memory of him. I know it will stop hurting at some point and I will just have to plough on. What with the grief and supporting our daughter and their child you would think that would be enough but two other major life events decided to blow in this year. One is a blessing, twin grandbabies joining their toddler sister. I feel pulled in all directions. My brain is completely addled. I've started checking my clothes before leaving the house because I think I may end up at the grocery store in my pyjamas.

Steve Reed said...

The black cat "coat hanger" is awesome. Some of those other cats are a little scary!

You've gone through so much in the last few years, I am not surprised that you're still processing it all. (And that the emotional effects come and go.) It's great that you have blogging to help! I don't know about you, but when I'm in a bad place I feel a million times better after I write about it. I'm glad that you've found some community with people who have experienced similar loss.

I'm sorry about Meredith. Vets will never tell you what to do, but it sounds like you're getting some signals -- difficult travel with potentially no benefit. Do you have a prognosis if you choose not to do the scan, in terms of how much time she would be expected to have? I'm sorry you're going through that. It's so hard to make decisions for pets.

Diane Henders said...

So many things! It doesn't seem fair that all those difficult situations should converge on you. Thank goodness for your roofing contractor - at least he provided a glimmer of brightness and hope.

I hope you get a positive outcome from your mother's appointment, whether it goes smoothly or not.

Mr. Shife said...

I am glad to hear you had a good experience with the roofing contractor. Hope all goes well with your mom's appointment and you will do what is best for Meredith. It is hard wanting to be selfish when it comes to our pets because we don't want to lose them but you have to do what is best for her. Take care, jenny_o.

jenny_o said...

Sandi: Thank you for your kind words. And it was interesting to read that your mother does the same things mine does. How old is your mom? In discussing this trait with my mother's geriatric doctor, he said it was common among those with dementia, because they can't remember the details of an event nor their part in it. So they deflect the blame, not intentionally, but simply because they don't understand or remember the facts.

EC: Thank you, as always. For everything. And I feel for you with Jazz's prognosis. It's hard, isn't it?

Andrew: That's an unusual looking cat, for sure. I can't decide if that picture was photoshopped or if the cat was doctored or if it really looks like that! Thank you for your support; you understand how much that compliment meant to me.

Marie: Thank you for your good wishes. The appointment went far better than I had even hoped. I'll write about it soon.

Mike: True! And to be honest I hadn't even considered that. I wonder if that's how the fire got put out :)

Red: Yes, good and bad - like most lives. "Cagey" is the perfect word. I think it's common among dementia patients.

Mimi: Thank you for your encouragement. You are right about life and I have to remember that so I don't feel so alone with it.

River: I'm with you - a nap helps me too, when I can find time to have one. Thanks for the thoughts on Meredith; I agree.

kylie: Yes ... the only problem is there always seem to be two things going on the list and only one leaving! My list is over four pages long.

Doug: I hope your roof gets finished soon. Winter is coming! I do understand the urge to do everything possible for a pet. But I've done it a couple of times and wished, in hindsight, that we had allowed those pets to go sooner than we did. It's a hard balance to find, and easier looking back than in the moment.

Charlotte: I'm sorry to hear that you have a similar situation to mine (with my mother) somewhere in your future. It's a difficult and long road. Thanks for your kind remarks; I think you expressed yourself perfectly and can't imagine what else you could have said!

baili: As always, thank you for your kind comments. I have a couple of follow-up posts to write but the short version of how my mom's appointment went is "surprisingly well", which I am very relieved about!

Mary: Thank you; the appointment went much better than I expected, which was a huge relief. And thanks for the kind words. I do tend to just accept the grief and try to look after myself as it rises and falls. It's getting easier to do that, now that I know what to expect.

37p: Thank you - I think your advice is sound, and it's what I try to do. Sometimes it feels selfish to think about myself so much but I know I feel better afterward and can then consider others more easily, so maybe it's okay.

jenny_o said...

Susan: I am so sorry to hear of your son-in-law's passing. He was very young. My heart goes out to you and your daughter and grandchild. I can imagine how preoccupied you must be with all those events, bad and good, that the year has brought you. Some days all we can do is take one step at a time, right? Keep on keeping on.

Steve: I asked the vet how long she thought Meredith would have, whether it was days, weeks, or months. She thought about it and said months. Which is what I figured she would say. So far things are unchanged, but I know one of these days things will start to deteriorate. It's hard to think about, so I try not to.

Diane: The roofing contractor was excellent; I'm so glad the job is done and that the process went well. I've gotten so used to delays, problems, and agonizingly complex solutions to what look like simple problems, in this time of Covid. It's nice to have something go smoothly!

Mr. Shife: Thanks - and I know you've had to make some hard decisions about pets and understand the heartbreak. So far Meredith is doing okay, which is a relief. The hardest part is still to come.