the adventures of a girl, her dog, and two cats.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

pulling teeth

The holidays are almost over now. Then comes a big sigh of relief. Followed by panic over "what next?"

Life has been pulling teeth of late, literally and figuratively. Pup dog had fractured a major crushing molar that should have been pulled a year ago and it had become rotten. The vet said it really needed to come out. Once she got in there it turned out the same tooth on the other side was also fractured and infected. So, poor girl had her two biggest teeth pulled two weeks ago. The vet left me a very nice voicemail saying she was such a sweet and brave dog and with all the aftercare instructions. Before I had had a chance to listen to the voicemail I was at the vet's office with Hunter, whom I thought had a bad ear infection. A vet tech came out with a box and told the girl at the front desk "Here; she still needs to take care of the balance." I half-joked, "Um, the doctor left me a message but I haven't listened to it yet. That isn't Buttercup in that box is it?" and broke into somewhat hysterical laughter.

Being cat furniture on the settee.
The hysteria was in part because Hunter did not have an ear infection. A tumor I found in his ear back in June had ruptured and the tumor was just a disgusting, rotting, infected mess in his ear. I'm feeling terribly guilty because when I dropped the dog off in the morning for surgery and mentioned the cat's ear looked and smelled very bad, the vet had suggested that perhaps the dog should wait and the cat should come in for surgery that day. That is absolutely what should have happened. But with no car, turning around and running home to get the cat seemed unrealistic. And that sloppy decision may have cut my sweet Hunter's life short. The tumor has a broad base rather than a stalk. That increases the likelihood it is malignant. That it ruptured, full of blood, also tends to indicate it is malignant. We will have to take his entire right ear off to increase the chances of getting it all and giving him more time. They will send the whole thing for biopsy, and then I will know more, but his odds are better if we are aggressive right away. The wait-and-see approach we took in June didn't turn out well. As you can see from the photo above, Hunter has licked off his fur on a big patch of his back. The vet said it is all stress-related, likely because he is so sick.

I guess I just heard so many people talk about their cats making it to 20, and in my eyes my guys are forever kittens, that I hadn't processed that they might leave me earlier. Tomorrow, New Year's Eve, will be their 13th birthday. So, I guess they are elder-cats. But I'm not ready to let them go. And Hunter and I have a special bond; no one else understands him like I do. He and the dog are also very close. I will be devastated to lose him and I am already grieving. Despite my pinning him down and shooting antibiotics down his throat for several days, he is being especially affectionate lately, as if he knows his time to snuggle his pack is limited. In case this Christmas was his last with us, the cats got plenty of shrimp for dinner. I will try to do something special for them for their birthday tomorrow. But, of course, humans are uniquely plagued with a fixation on dates and anniversaries, a most unhealthy trait from which it is so hard to break free.

Holiday garland with ornaments.
The pet medical situation has been, naturally, particularly stressful due to financial circumstances. My last project ended a couple weeks ago and there is never any telling when another one might come up. The dog's tooth extraction (about $800) and the cat's ear removal (estimated to be about $700) will be just about what I've got and mean that the new batteries and solar panels I need to be able to get the boat running and leave have to be put off. With any luck, the next $1200 I have "laying around" (as if that ever happens) will fund that project.

Mast a/k/a Festivus pole all decorated.
I should have been running the 50K the weekend before Christmas, but I didn't. I could have suffered through it, but simply didn't have the money for hotel, rental car, or gas to even get there. And with two sick/recovering pets needing medication daily, I couldn't leave town. Before my trip to the South Pacific, I was in great shape, training well, enjoying my running and getting very fit. And then instead of running for me, for my strength, for my mental health, to be thinner and sexier and fit, I had to run for a date on a calendar. That took the joy and fulfillment out of it somehow. I just don't like races. I only want to run for me, not for a date on a calendar. So, while I am disappointed not to have been in great shape, beat my prior time, and enjoying a weekend getaway, I am glad that I was honest with myself about why I run and what makes it a pleasure instead of a chore.

One thing I know for sure is that I need to leave. There is nothing holding me here in Annapolis. A few good friends, but I know I will see them again. But I have nothing to go to either. But just the act of going somewhere is better than staying, treading water, going no where.


  1. Thinking about you tonight,as the temps drop. Hope you have enough heat going for you and pets. Steve

    1. Thanks, the interior, miraculously, was 60 degrees when I got up this morning, but I am pretty much "over" the winter aboard game!

    2. Yeah. Living aboard in cold climates is tough. I lasted seven years and then moved ashore. Other than cold winters I enjoyed living aboard. Steve


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