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COVID Diaries: Day 443

Meet Yellow.  Yellow came to live with me a week ago, after I managed to capture him on May 27 and made him endure the agonizing trip to the V.E.T…

Yellow has been around outside for a few years now; my previous neighbor fed him along with a host of other feral and neighborhood cats, raccoons, deer and squirrels.  He has come over to my deck for years, where Cora got all worked up and meowed at him from her various window perches.

Sadly, my neighbor died last August and her family sold the house.  The new owners told me that the real estate agreement included a clause stating that they would continue to feed Yellow.  Instead they built a fence and got a big, energetic dog.

Yellow did what any intelligent, self-respecting cat would do; he found a new sucker.  He moved over to my house and started giving me the big, sad, ‘won’t you feed me?’ eyes.  Once I started feeding him he began to trust me and let me pet him.  So I made plans to capture him and get him checked out.  Meanwhile, Cora seemed to get used to him; she would watch him out the window, but she no longer seemed to get upset at his presence.

He has no chip, but he was neutered, so he obviously had a home at some point.  He has an abscess under his armpit, so he got an antibiotic shot to hopefully set that on the mend.  It doesn’t seem to be bothering him.  He’s doing just fine being an indoor only cat, and does not seem in the least interested in the outdoor life.  He and Cora are adjusting and there haven’t been any big squabbles, no growling, and just one hiss.  He is still wary of her, and she seems mostly interested in trying to steal his food and making sure he doesn’t steal too much of my attentions.

Yellow’s hobbies so far include:

  • Snoozing in the guest room
  • Wrapping himself around my legs when I sit at the computer
  • Singing the song of his people between 1 and 3 am
  • Producing copious amounts of eye boogers

He is very friendly and very mellow; he didn’t have any objection to me trimming his claws even!  I do suspect he’s been low energy due to the fact that he got several vaccinations and his infection, so we’ll see!  Even though it has only been a week, I’m confident that he will settle in just fine…

COVID Diaries: Day 420

This past weekend I took a brief trip to the Washington coast.  It was full of solitude, but realistically, that’s basically the same as being at home.  Except the sandy beaches. 

I found a little, cute motel in Ocean Shores, and spent a few days walking on the beaches, looking for sand dollars and agates.  I got up before dawn to get to the agate beach at low tide, and barely saw another soul in the hours I was there. I found several agates and lots of interesting jasper rocks.  I also found one gorgeous, large red agate (not pictured)!  I can’t wait to see how they look after getting polished in the tumbler. 

I also found a ton of sand dollars, as I wandered all by myself on a windy, on-and-off rainy Saturday.  Going to the beach in the Pacific Northwest, at any time of the year, isn’t for the faint of heart.  I was cold and tired by the time I got back to the room each time, but on Saturday I got 20,000 steps wandering along the beaches.

Cora issued stern looks when I got home.  How dare I go away…  It was good for me to get away, but I’m lonely.  That part never really goes away, whether I’m at home or away.  I haven’t quite learned to settle into that skin. 

I started a new puzzle; one I received as a gift for Christmas from my aunt and uncle.  I made quick work of the border Monday, but haven’t done more yet.

Somehow we got a reprieve from going back into a tighter lock down.  Our governor “put a pause” on rolling back counties that weren’t meeting the metrics, including my county.  It’s almost as if he’s just making it up as he goes along…  Yes, I’m being sarcastic…  I guess we’ll see what happens in two weeks.

COVID Words of Wisdom: I found myself thinking about you last night and about everything that was lost.  But it was different this time.  My heart reminded me that I still have everything.  You are the one who lost it all.  — Alfa Holden.

COVID Diaries: Day 305

Over 300 days of lockdown.  The downhill slide to a full year.  It’s been almost a whole year since I took more than 2 days of vacation, or went on a real vacation.  They are talking about another whole year of this, and that makes me sad…  While I still don’t mind working from home, it’s the lack of connection that’s one of the hardest parts for me.  And of course, the lack of adventure…

After more horrible rain and wind, the weather finally broke to a few beautiful sunny days, and now we are back to overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining this morning!  We needed to dry out, considering there has been pretty major flooding, downed trees, and power outages around here.  This morning I went for a hike with my girlfriends.  The Chanterelle Trail is about 4.5 miles (sources pin this particular trail at 4.2 miles and 4.8 miles, so I split the difference).  1,000 feet of elevation gain took us up over Lake Whatcom for some pretty incredible views. 

This is a hike that is just outside of town, so it is nice that it only takes about 15 minutes to get there!  It was a wonderful hike, with the exception of that one little bug that flew into my mouth and… ewww…

The rest of my weekend will be devoted to puzzling, reading, and blogging, and hopefully another adventure with a friend tomorrow!  I started a 1500 piece puzzle – this is the largest one I have ever worked on!  I’m enjoying it so far, but I can’t seem to find a couple of edge pieces, and I hope they aren’t missing.  This puzzle was a new-in-box puzzle, so that would be frustrating!  The search continues, but I’m making progress on the innards.  Cora, of course, has been her usual “helpful” self.

Last night I watched Rear Window again, one of my favorite classic Alfred Hitchcock films.  If you haven’t seen it, it is worth checking out!  It had been a while since I had watched it, and it is still just as good.  People used to be so elegant!  I wonder what they would think of us working from home and never changing out of sweatpants!

As you work on Monday, or if you are lucky enough to have the holiday off, please remember that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. called on all of us to unite, rather than divide.  And that means stop ranting on Facebook and insulting people who don’t believe the same thing you do.  Here are a couple of my favorite MLK Jr. quotes.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
 
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
 
My love to you all!  Be kind!

COVID Diaries: Day 142

Whelp…  It’s a new month – the jury is still out on whether it will prove to be just another disaster like every month since March. So far we would have already survived the flood three times over…  Let that sink in.

I have continued trying to clear my backlog of assorted teas, and started on a new box today.  It’s one I bought when I went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge last December; it came in a cute little tea tin of Blueberry Icewine Ceylon tea.  It sounded like it would be really good!  Not gonna lie – ugh…  I’m not sure I’ll be able to drink this stuff.  Perhaps I’ll do a taste test to see if this one beats Chamomile on the gross factor.

Work is kicking my ass.  I’m in the final phases of a couple huge projects and one that will be going for a while.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but I just need to keep walking…

I have also spent a lot of time wondering how someone can just one day decide they don’t love you anymore and disappear.  You go from being the light of their life to someone who can’t do anything right, to discarded, while you are still trying to figure out why they couldn’t just treat you like they did at the beginning.  I have never been someone who could do that.  It’s an exercise in futility trying to understand people and their motivations, but often I can’t help myself.

I have also decided to try to clear my backlog of assorted beers.  I’m not much of a beer drinker, so I end up with random portions of six packs that will sit in my fridge until the end of time…  I mean who knew my brother is the only man on earth who doesn’t like IPA?  COVID definitely ensures my friends aren’t coming over.  So far that’s going better than the current phase of the tea challenge!

 

Just one more day before the weekend! I can do this!

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 73

It’s the weekend!  Which often in the Pacific Northwest means rain, and today is no different.  We did have thunder and lightning to go with the downpour though, a rarity for us!

I can’t complain too much – we had sunny gorgeous weather for the last several days, and I did have a chance to sit on the deck with a book a couple of times, as well as to go on some long evening walks in the sun.  I guess that just means that I need to work on some indoor things today.

Our Governor finally loosened the restrictions on case count that will allow my county to move into Phase 2 of reopening.  County officials still have to submit the application and be approved by the state, but we now meet the criteria.  Some non-essential businesses will be allowed to re-open with strict protocols in place.  It is a start.  My own work is phasing back into having more people on site, but it will still be a while before I’m in the office with any regularity.  Cora appreciates that I will still be home most of the time!

And!  Some camping will be reopening!  There may be hope for some summer recreation and travel yet!  Being stuck at home for the last two and a half months is taking its toll, so I’m so happy that we will finally be able to get out more.

How is COVID in your area?

 

 

Happy Birthday in Heaven Biz!

Today would have been Biz’s 33rd birthday…  I still miss him, of course, but it doesn’t hit me as acutely now, a few weeks later.

A few days after Biz died, our local Humane Society started a fundraiser.  For a minimum donation of $20, you could have a portrait done of your pet by one of their volunteer artists.  The catch?  You get what you get, as the “talent” of the artists runs the spectrum, and your portrait would be randomly assigned.  In other words, it’s all in good fun and for the animals!  I made my donation, and emailed a photo of Biz that I like.

This is that photo.  I took it of him in February 2018 when we were standing outside the vet clinic waiting for them to get ready to do his dental work.  He was a bit on edge, and it was a cold, slightly foggy day, but his expression was so regal!  Even in his old age – he was 31 in this photo – he was still a beautiful horse.

Biz, looking regal before the sedative…

I received my finished portrait last week, and I was overcome with how good of a job she did!  I am so impressed at how well she captured his likeness! His curly forelock and mane hair, his white star that got bigger as he became an elderly boy, and even his slightly hanging upper lip.  It is perfect!

I’m beyond the moon to have this memento of my boy.  I hope he’s having fun playing beyond the rainbow bridge.

Stay at Home Forever…

Hearts all over Washington State were broken this evening.  “Stay at Home” is extended until May 4.  32 more days of staying home, at a minimum.  UGH…

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree that it is necessary, but ugh all the same.  I was feeling kind of mopey today anyway.  So let’s explore some things I’ve learned about staying home in the time of COVID…

  1. I use more toilet paper. I’m currently mapping this, but I think I am going through a roll a week.  I didn’t hoard, but I did buy 1 package last time I could find some, so I have about 19 rolls.  That will last me a while!
  2. I run the dishwasher way more often.  It’s all that eating at home.  I’m tired of eating at home by the way.
  3. COVID is stressful.  I’m safe at home, but I’m on the front line of decision-making for how to keep my essential government organization safe.  I am back to my stress-induced 3 am insomnia wake up call.  Ugh.
  4. You can’t make everybody happy (see #3).
  5. I never knew it was possible to obsess so much about having to clear my throat.  Was that cough “dry”?!?!?!?!?!?
  6. Working 40 hours a week from home does give me more time at home to get things done in my non-work hours, but that doesn’t mean I will!
  7. I’m really grateful that I had my surgery in December, before all elective surgery got canceled.
  8. Even introverts crave time with people.
  9. Putting on nice clothes doesn’t really have an impact on my mood.  But taking a shower does!  The last time I did laundry, I washed and folded exactly one pair of work slacks from the Board meeting I attended almost two weeks ago; since then the Governor has ruled that all public meetings must be conducted remotely.  I can’t say I’m disappointed!
  10. Coraline enjoys busting in on video meetings!

I like to get out for a walk each day or do some yard work; thankfully I’m only a short walk away from a college campus that is eerily empty…  I’m praying that our efforts are working to flatten the curve and save lives.  I’m heartbroken for the people who have lost their lives, and lost loved ones.  I hope that sooner rather than later, we are able to move on from this.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing my part.

 

Rest in Peace Biz

Today, at about 3:20 pm, Biz crossed over the rainbow bridge.  It was a nice, spring day, and he went outside for one last day in the sunshine before he came inside, lay down, and was suddenly gone.

He was 32 years old, and had used up at least 17 lives, so it wasn’t a surprise, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

My parents bought Biz for me when I was 14 years old, in January 1990, over 30 years ago.  He was a two year old at the time, with no common sense, but he never really acquired much of that.  He was spastic his entire life, spooking at nothing, barging through doorways and gates, always in a rush to get in for dinner.  Unless it was spring, when on nice days, he would decide he wanted to stay outside, and whoever was trying to catch him could just go pound sand…

He was always high spirited, and full of piss and vinegar.  He trotted around, blowing and snorting, with his tail in the air whenever he had the chance.

The first time I tried to give him an apple, he didn’t know what it was, and wouldn’t eat it, so I gave it to his neighbor.  You better believe he never made that mistake again!

He let the cats ride him, but he loved to chase the dogs, and bite the cows.

He had a special talent for injuring himself or getting sick and was close to death at least four times that I can think of.  He had an immense capacity for healing.  He proved the vets wrong time and time again, living through horrific wounds, incredibly high fevers, equine influenza, suspected salmonella poisonings (yes that’s plural).  We made bets on whether he would go out in a blaze of glory, or just lie down and go when it was time.

He was patient about being poked and prodded, unless you wanted to poke or prod his face.  That required the good drugs…

He was a pain in the ass, but a sweet one at that.

 

I’m incredibly sad, but he lived a very good life, and he didn’t have to suffer a long, slow decline.  Rest in Peace, Biz.

Such a Sport…

Since he got sick with a high fever and high white cell count almost two weeks ago, Biz has had three shots of a high-dose, long-acting antibiotic, fever-reducing meds, 20 liters of IV fluids, three urinalyses, and three rounds of blood work.  But my old boy is improving!

His white cell count is back into the normal range!  But the neutrophil count is still high; I’ve learned that neutrophils are a type of white cell particularly responsible for fighting off infection.  His infection was so bad that his bone marrow was sending out immature neutrophils – kind of like sending new recruits out into battle before they have even been to basic training.  Poor guy!

His kidney and liver markers are back in normal range, his temp is normal and he’s been eating like a horse.  I mean, like a horse that isn’t sick.  It is all such good news!

I wasn’t successful in pee catching yesterday, so that’s still on the agenda…  What can I say, he’s a shy pee-er, and when I rush in with my stick…  Well you get the idea…  My mom had it easy the other day because we were running IV fluids through him, so he had to pee!

He will start on a second antibiotic tonight and then, I’m sure another repeat of blood work in the next few days!

My Poor, Sick Horse…

This morning I slept until 8:05 am, after going to bed at 8:45 last night.  It has been a long week, to say the least.  I was originally supposed to be on vacation, spending some time in California before coming back and doing a cabin weekend at the mountain with a group of other women.

Monday night a text came in that my horse wasn’t eating and seemed off.  Oh no…  He’s 32 years old, but his appetite is rarely a problem…  I cut California short and traveled home Tuesday – there was almost no traffic in Washington due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak, the school closures and all the recommendations to work from home.

The vet arrived Wednesday morning to a horse with a very high fever of 105 degrees (normal is about 100), a heart rate of 72 beats per minute (normal is 30-34) and labored breathing.  Blood work showed a very high white cell count and a systemic reaction to some unknown inflammation.  A urine sample showed a lot of blood.  Biz was a very sick boy…

My vet gave him a double dose of a fever reducing anti-inflammatory, a heavy duty dose of antibiotics, and an IV line for administering fluids.  And then, all was quiet…  For those of you who don’t have horses, the veterinary care tends to be pretty do it yourself; they show you how to do it and then off you go!  Over the years I have given intramuscular injections, flushed IV lines, changed IV bags, changed bandages, dressed wounds, given pills and ointments, removed stitches, and done all sorts of holding him still, upright and positioned as vets have poked and prodded him in countless ways.

My mom and I gave him four – five liter bags of IV fluids over two days; one of those was loaded with B vitamins and electrolytes.  I had to flush his IV line every 6 hours and check his temp.  Thankfully, it quickly returned to normal and stayed there.

Getting up in the middle of the night to drive out to the barn to flush his line is exhausting; and even more so when I was working remotely all day on the COVID-19 response.  My employer already has a lot of remote work ability, but trying to roll that out on an even wider basis reveals that that there are still a lot of reasons that people are needed in a central space.  It isn’t as easy as snapping one’s fingers and saying, just work from home!

I canceled my cabin weekend, because with temp checks, IV line flushes and antibiotic injections, it wasn’t going to be possible.  I’m bummed, but Biz is never going to make it up to me…

Thankfully, Biz is on the mend, with a normal temperature and an appetite that is returning to normal.  He will receive another dose of the four day antibiotic on Sunday, and then we will check his blood work again on Monday morning to see if the infection is going away.  As for the cause?  We don’t know.  There isn’t any widespread equine flu going around, and he doesn’t have any visible injuries to cause an infection.  He’s just an old guy that possesses a unique talent for acquiring whatever strange and mysterious illness is going around within 1,784 miles of him.

He gets his line out!

I’m just thankful that he also possesses a unique talent for healing, and for proving the vets wrong…  Biz, you keep doing you.