Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend recap

Yesterday, my mom and I took Cole to the Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown. He had a great time. It was pretty Cole and the cavern is a "living" cavern, still being formed today. It was found in the 60's when the highway department was doing core samples for the interstate. I was amazed how much Cole loved it and listened to what the tour guide was saying. Once we got to the end of the cavern and turned back, he told us all kinds of things that the tour guide had said 30 minutes before. He retained more information than I did. Even last night at bed he was still talking in detail about the caverns. It was also, surreal walking 50 feet below the interstate. The world is an amazing place.

Last night Cole was playing away in the bath tub and then he stopped and started asking questions about Al. Why did he die? Why can't he come back alive, like in "All Dogs Go To Heaven"? Why can't he stay with us? He said Al was the best cat ever. He even asked if I was going to die, I chickened out and side-stepped that question by getting him out of the tub. There is no good answer to that question.

Then today Cole saw the scrapbook that I created when he was a baby. We were going through each page and he was describing each picture to me. Me and him at Halloween, his first airplane ride. Several pictures of Cole and Al. We got to a picture of Randy holding him awkwardly on a chair and Cole said "this is me and, me and, mommy who is that with me?" At first I thought maybe he was kidding, so I waited and he was just looking at me waiting for an answer. I said, "baby that's you and Daddy." He looked again and said okay and then moved on to the other pictures. My heart broke. The sad thing it was a normal picture of his dad and he really didn't recognize him. I have nothing more to say. Sigh!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Joy to sorrow and the road in between

Thursday afternoon I was sitting in class and my cell phone kept vibrating in my pocket. I thought maybe Cole's school was trying to reach me, so I stepped outside to check my messages. It was a girl from work calling to say that the local animal shelter called saying my cat Al had been found. I had micochipped him the weekend before I moved back home and they scanned him and called my work. Another girl from work offered to go get him for me since I was in San Marcos, but since the shelter didn't close until 7pm, I said I would get him on the way home, after I picked up Cole.

I was so excited he'd been found. He had been missing almost a month. I really hadn't told many people. I'm so tired of the constant turmoils in my own life and I know other people don't want to hear them either. Anyway... after a month I had kinda of given up hope. At my parent's house he had free access to a doggie door and acres of greenbelt. The first week or so he would venture outside and then come home. But, a month ago he didn't come home one night. The not knowing was awful. Every time I saw a grey and white cat, my heart would skip a beat, until I realized it wasn't him. The news that he had been found was great. I excitedly called my mom and decided I would only go to thirty minutes of my last class so I could beat the traffic.

After class I drove into town and picked up Cole. We stopped by work so I could pick up copies of his proof of vaccination and a carrier. Cole was excited to go get Al and kept asking where he had been all this time. It was a question I wanted to know myself.

When I got to the shelter they peppered me with questions, who called me? how did he get there? etc. They didn't know what cat I was calling about and then they started arguing among each other about why there were no notes in their computer(I'm standing there holding Cole and a cat carrier, just wanting to go see Al), meanwhile one of the vet's overhear them and asked what was going on? When she realized what cat they were talking about, she said "that cat is in critical condition" she admonished them and said I needed to come back and verify that he was my cat and then take him to the vet. My heart dropped. I felt like I could barely put my feet in front of each other as we walked through the maze of hallways to get where he was. She said that someone had called and said that a cat had been in their backyard for three hours and hadn't moved. When he got to the shelter he had a body temp of 94 degrees, was disoriented and dehydrated. He wouldn't stand and was "knuckling" on his front feet when propped up. They had given him some fluids under the skin and done an exam, but found no obvious pain. They had been trying to stabilize his body temp. She said he hadn't made a noise since he'd been there. As soon as I approached his cage and said his name, he gave a pitiful meow. His eyes were staring blankly at the kennel door. She thanked me multiple times for having him microchipped and walked me up front so I could pay my reclaim fee. My mind was reeling, only 10 minutes before I had been expecting a joyous reunion and I had expected to see him mangy, skinny, even scratched up but not this.

I looked at the clock and it was ten minutes to six. I left Cole with the shelter workers and ran out to my car to grab my phone and call work to beg someone to stay after six to help me run diagnostics before I had to take him to the emergency clinic. I didn't ask a doctor to stay, just a nurse to help. Paying my reclaim fee and waiting for them to bring him up front seemed like hours. I then rushed Al and Cole into the car. I had to sit in rush-hour traffic with a panicked kid and a cat open mouthed breathing. My cell phone kept ringing because the news had spread. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, everytime Al stopped meowing Cole would say, "Al's dead, mommy Al died." So with one hand on the wheel, one hand on Al, trying to reassure Cole and moving at a snail's pace down Mopac we made it to Brodie. I was so thankful when I saw, Dr. Brown, Enricka, and Leah waiting for me. I would have never asked a doctor to stay and the fact that she did so without thought was wonderful. I have been vet teching for 7 years and my mind would not work, I couldn't remember how to set up the oxygen, the fluid pump, I had shut down. I hadn't eaten since breakfast, had a headache that been a dull pain and turned into a roar and was just trying to tell Dr. Brown what facts I knew. They placed a catheter and got fluids going and gave him some IV pain medication which almost immediately made him breath normal. He had no real deep pain sensation which wasn't a good sign. Enricka and I took x-rays while Leah occupied Cole. Shockingly there wasn't an obvious back injury, which suggested it was most likely a head inury. She gave him a steroid injection and I took him to the EC for the night.

The EC doctor called me at 1:00 am and said that he had developed nystagmus and asked if they could give Manitol which reduces the swelling in the brain. Cole and I went to pick him up in the morning. His front legs were almost completely stiff and we was even more disoriented than before. Dr. Mouser took care of him on Friday and Dr. Brown came up (it was her day off) to check on his neuro status. She had the difficult tasks of telling me his chances. She said 20% was being optimistic. I muddled through the day numbly taking in the words of sympathy.

I kept telling stories of Al, all day. I've had him almost 11 years and he has been my constant companion through all the many changes (jobs, husbands-yikes, towns, houses). When Shane and I were living in Oregon we stopped in the pet store that was next the grocery store. There was a litter of kittens that had been dropped off in a cardboard box, the entire litter was grey and there was one grey and white kitten. When we were shopping, Shane said he had to go to the bathroom. A few minutes later he came around the aisle with Al. At the time we lived in an apartment that didn't allow pets so we decided to name him, "Al Capone" because he was a "criminal" in the building. I can still remember like yesterday the pride of taking my "new baby" to the vet that first time, I can remember the layout of the clinic, the proud pet photos on the wall, them taking a photo (poloroid of course) of him and adding him the the collage and the vet taking one look at his huge paws and saying he'd be a big tom cat (boy was he wrong). Al never met a dog, cat, or person he didn't like.

Around 4:00 pm Dr. Mouser said that he didn't seem to be improving and we agreed to euthanize him. I closed the office door and lost it as I called my mom. She agreed to pick up Cole, so I could be with Al. Around 5:00pm Dr. Mouser decided to give him another steroid injection and I sat with him. He started becoming slightly more orientate and responding to noise, when someone walked by jingling his keys he lifted his head. Dr. Mouser recommended I take him home for the night.

I took him home and continued to feed him through his NG tube and express his bladder. Around 11:00pm when I was preparing to do his treatments, he went stiff, gasped open-mouthed and quickly passed away. I cradled him and then got dressed and blindly drove him to work, calling Leah. I removed his catheter and NG tube, made my own pawprint and said my goodbyes. Even though it seems morbid, it was reassuring and comforting to me that I went through the process alone of saying goodbye. I found comfort in the steps of doing the routine of death that sadly we have to do too often at work. I'm also taking comfort that I had closure and got to say goodbye, instead of always wondering where he was and worrying. I'm thankful that I microchipped him so he didn't have to die alone at the shelter and thankful that someone called the shelter so he didn't die outside, either. So goodbye Al you were the best and most loyal pet I have ever had and thanks to everyone who has helped and offered support.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Picture this...

Me standing in the front yard with a child sized bright red baseball helmet squeezed onto my head, my hair molded around my face, holding an impossibly small tee-ball bat and laughing so hard I can't stand up straight! My, my what the neighbors must think.

Saturday we took Cole to see the newest "kid" movie out, "Everybody's Hero." It's a cute movie involving a kid that goes searching for Babe Ruth's stolen bat to get his dad's job back, because his dad was blamed for it. Anyway...since then Cole has talked non-stop about baseball. Tonight we stopped at Academy and he picked out a bat (a real one---scary!, can you see the face I'm making as I type this?), a glove, a ball, and of course he sweetly requested a helmet.

After dinner, we played for an hour! We had a blast. I'm surprised how well he can hit the ball when I throw it to him. We took turns hitting and he insisted I wear the helmet when it was my turn (which is why I looked so silly). We chased each other around the yard and practiced throwing and catching, sadly I believe his skills are already on par with mine. So tonight the bat and ball are resting quietly in the garage (out of handy Cole reach) until tomorrow night's "game".

Sunday, September 17, 2006

These are the kids that I will have to teach someday...

This weekend Cole was invited to two birthday parties. One on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

Saturday's party was for a little boy who Cole went to daycare with for a few years. His mom had triplet girls (OMG!) last year. He has been out of daycare for six-months or so, but wanted to invite his old friends. The party was at his house. First, it was scheduled for four-hours! A four-hour birthday party, needless to say we didn't stay the entire time. There was no real organization to the party and total mayhem ensued. The birthday boy screamed at the top of his lungs every time someone touched a toy and proceeded to pout the majority of the day. His parents constantly where bribing him (hey, I've been known to bribe occasional myself, but not at every instance) and putting him in time out where he screamed louder and banged on their bedroom door. Timeout would be followed by rules that were shortly broken with no consequence. The birthday boy fought the majority of the time with another boy that goes to their daycare (who's party was on Sunday). The other boy was really out of control. His mom must have counted (you know 1.....2......3......Usually trailing off to 4) about 50 times!, but he not ONCE did what he was supposed to do and she did not ever follow through with what her intended consequence was. She was saying that he is just so hard to control and he is up to midnight every night, because "he just doesn't know what bedtime means". Neither kid seemed to mind their parents at any point.

The counting thing is my biggest pet peeve, why even bother if you aren't going to follow through? Counting works on Cole. After leaving the grocery store once and Kohl's before, Cole knows I will do whatever I said I was going to do if he didn't start listening.

The funniest part of the day was when another kid's mom from daycare was saying that the other night her husband (who is a vet) had to work late and she just told the daycare teacher there was "absolutely NO WAY that she could have her son do his homework (we are talking five minutes of letter writing) that night, because she had Nathan ALL BY HERSELF, she couldn't even make dinner and they had to go to Sonic." I tried to not laugh out loud. Oh my goodness, she had to parent by herself for one evening and it was so rough she couldn't help her son with five minutes of homework? What is this world coming to?

Cole didn't fight with anyone and was great at sharing with all the kids and even sweet to the toddling babygirls. He behaved well and had a good time.

Luckily, the party on Sunday was at "Chuckin' Cheese" (as Cole calls it) and was brief and had plenty of things to distract the kiddos. Ahhh....I can't wait to have these kids that don't know what rules are in my classroom..Oh wait, it will kinda of be like being at work, now!! Just kidding!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The truth hurts...

Last night we were leaving hockey practice and Cole was walking forward and looking backwards talking to me. There was a girl stopped in the aisle. As I was saying, "watch out!' he turned back around and ran face first into her butt. My mom and I started laughing. As we continued on Cole was saying "I ran into someone's bum" "I thought it was your bum mommy, but your bum is this big (holding his hands out as wide as possible <--------- O --------->). I started laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee on myself again. I looked back to see if my mom heard and she had stopped dead in her tracks and was doubled over (even closer to peeing than I was). Guess it is about time to get back to getting healthy!