Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy holidays from November Hill

It’s being a wonderful holiday for us here. I hope everyone is enjoying time with people you love, good food and drink, and lots of (healthy, safe, happy) antics with animal family. If you will, share your favorite holiday moment thus far. There are more than one for me, but I really loved waking up Christmas morning and having eggs benedict prepared by son while enjoying the wait with my husband, daughter, and daughter-in-law while all the cats, Corgis, and equines surrounded us inside and out. It was sweet and perfect. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

the astrophysicist and his star

This was the wonderful thing I have been waiting to share. My son and daughter-in-law were married after Thanksgiving and we were there for a perfect weekend. They created an intimate, gorgeous ceremony in a historic inn that provided a lovely ambiance and also gave us the chance to spend time with the parents of the bride. 

We’re so happy for this couple and so proud of them for being the young people they are. I’m looking forward to spending the upcoming holidays with both of them! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

November Hill farm journal, 66

I’ve been very busy and overwhelmed with the sickness of our cat family the past few weeks, and I still want to write the happy post I’ve got in my pocket, but I decided to update the sad news first.

Mystic is home and recuperating, and Pippin is home and recuperating, but sweet Osage was not able to recover from her battle with Panleukopenia. She was 12.5 years old and although alert until the end, she just couldn’t make it. The vet school hospital staff gave her excellent supportive care, including five blood transfusions, but it simply wasn’t enough to stem the blood loss she was having in her GI tract. She passed away this week, in the arms of her human family, and is now home and buried in our back yard.

It’s been agonizing and we are heartbroken. Pixie remains healthy, and the kittens, Violet and Isobel, are healthy now too. We’re still having to give many medications and Mystic is not yet back to his normal routine in terms of being able to go outside, but we will get there. 

Osage, aka Muffine Eloise, was one of the original three kittens who came to live with us here 12 years ago. She came with her littermate siblings Keats and Dickens, and the three of them were pure joy as they grew and learned how to be indoor/outdoor cats. They all loved the horses and the barn, loved being inside with us, loved the front porch and their freedom. More recently Osage has loved her sunny chair on the front porch, and she has kept us laughing at her insistence on being the center of attention during many movie and TV episode watching. She was sweet and engaging her entire life, a cat who loved having her tummy rubbed, who loved being combed and fussed over, loved butterflies, and would play like a kitten up to the week before she died. I miss her so much. 

In other news, Baloo Corgi was neutered last week, a scheduled event we decided not to postpone. He came home wearing a plastic cone and with instructions not to “play, jump, or run” for 10 days. I knew that was going to be difficult, but by the next morning Bear Corgi had broken Baloo out of the gated bedroom, Baloo busted through the dog door with the cone still on his neck, and while I drove into town hoping to buy a donut collar, daughter texted that he and Bear had gotten the cone off and things were much calmer without it. No licking, less activity. So we went with it. I stopped trying to keep him absolutely still and without the collar and pain meds he resumed his normal behavior. He is now a week out from the surgery and doing very well. I’m considering taking him outside the back yard today for the first time in a week. I’m sure there will be an explosion of activity when I open the gate and invite him to come out. 

We had six inches of snow over the weekend and a few nights of low 20s which has kept it around until yesterday. We are nowhere near dry outside and now the forecast says rain Friday/Saturday/Sunday of this weekend, so I’m dreading the mud. I would like a nice dry month with maybe just enough rain spread out to keep the plant life happy. Santa, are you listening?

Most of the leaves are gone from the trees now and I’ve managed to keep enough of them mulched so the winter grass can maintain itself. My farm helper has done a valiant job keeping all our waterways clear so the water can flow without clogging up at the fencelines. 

There was one day last week when all three cats were sick, we were monitoring the ones who weren’t very closely, and I was on the phone with the vet at the ICU while texting Keil Bay’s vet because it seemed he was having a mild choke episode. She encouraged me to give him time to clear it, and I was watching him, still texting her, talking to the feline vet, and I walked over to Rafer Johnson to give him an ear rub with my free hand. When I touched his ear my hand came away covered in blood, and his ear was totally bloody. Thankfully daughter was home that day and she came out and helped wash the blood away so we could see what was going on. We initially worried it was a bite of some kind, but a series of clues suggested he had gotten the ear hung up in the hard plastic stall grids I have (still!) stacked by the barn. A rabies booster was discussed and the vet, helpfully already texting me, said she felt antibiotic ointment was all he needed. I think that was the day I realized we just have to let go and deal with things as they come. I felt like the domino had tipped. Days like that are when I just have to stop trying to retain control and admit I operate most days pretending I have it when really I do not. It’s a humbling realization for someone who is most comfortable managing things tightly.

Now, I’m focusing on doing all the things that need to be done while enjoying the moments as best I can. There are so many lovely moments! It is at this moment still and very quiet here on November Hill, and after the past few weeks that itself is the best thing ever. 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Update on our Mystical kit-meow

Mystic was in septic shock when we got home from our son’s wedding last Monday. He went directly to the NCSU emergency vet hospital and was admitted into the ICU, where he has spent every day since. He’s had a number of tests run and a lot of supportive care via IV. What is going on with him remains a bit of a mystery, but clearly his system was assaulted by something.

I won’t go into all the daily details we’ve heard for the past 5 days. Lots of small gains and then some setbacks and concerns. We were at the point of considering a bone marrow test yesterday but decided that the general anesthesia that requires would be too big a strain on his already weak self. We opted to go with treating him with Prednisone, which would be the treatment for a number of things that fit his symptom picture.

He hasn’t eaten for at least the past 6 days but this morning, after last night’s 7 p.m. dose of Prednisone, he woke up and ate two bites of food from his vet student’s hand. When my husband got there and held him in his lap, Mystic ate a handful of dry food and another handful of wet food! Everything in his lab work is much better today, and we are thrilled to see some progress and hope it continues so he can come home and continue the recuperation here.

For those who don’t know, Mystic is 10 years old. He contracted cytauxzoonosis from a tick that had been on a bobcat several years ago and was in the ICU at that time. Cytaux is a very fast-acting disease that is fatal for close to 70% of cats. He beat it. A few years later he had an episode of congestive heart failure and was in the ICU and on a respirator for a period of time. He made a full and complete recovery from that as well! Mystic at home is a finicky cat who doesn’t like people other than us very much, but in the hospital we learned he is a total ham and ends up being the darling of the ICU when he’s there. His caregivers have always been devoted and caring and we appreciate all they’ve done for him.

This is a favorite photo of Mystic. He’s a very special cat and we hope he’s home with us soon!