Sunday, 25 July 2010

Tour de California & Tour de France

On the last day of the Tour de France, it is fitting that I found the list of those whose names are on the Radio Shack bikes.  (It appeared while I was in the hospital.)

27 cancer survivors, carers and relatives made it.  At No. 37, my friends, family, supporters and strangers got Nick and me awfully close.

Thanks you.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Puppy -- and Dog -- Blues

A few weeks ago we met some people who have bought a house in the village where we used to live.  It came up in conversation that his cousin in Marseille has two Chows.  He was going to check to see if they are registered.

Today we finally caught up with them, but the cousin doesn't have the dogs any longer.  They moved from a house to an apartment and "had to" give them up.  Sigh.  Chows are perfect apartment dogs.  A walk once or twice a day is sufficient and they don't care if they get any exercise or not.  They don't roughhouse, they don't chew and they don't bark.  Mostly they lay around like area rugs.

Also, the cousin says, one of them was mean.  Probably, I wanted to say, because they were left outside with the minimum of human interaction and training.  Not that I jump to conclusions or anything, but we've talking about people who seemed to find their dogs an inconvenience.

Watch out, I'm going to yell.  A DOG IS FOR LIFE!  They love you.  They will do anything for your love, no matter how badly you treat them.  Can you say the same for your kids?

You don't give your kids away and you don't give your dogs away.  If you're the type who can contemplate giving your dog away, DON'T GET ONE.

On the other hand, if you want to get one and are prepared to be responsible about it, please get some decent advice about their needs and care.  I'll be happy to help.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Puppy Blues

You may remember we were planning a wedding: Van-Ly and Asterix.  Things are not going well.

Why are those of the dog fancy such, well, bitches is the word that comes to mind?  We sent Van-Ly's hip x-rays off to the Chow Chow Club of France before I went to the hospital.  As yet, we have heard nothing, so yesterday I telephoned the president of the CCF.

"Well, why did you leave it so long?" she asked?  I explained that Chows are not thick on the ground in our neighbourhood and I'd acted as soon as I found one.  I didn't think it would take so long.  I mean how many damned Chows can there be being x-rayed at one time in France?  "But it takes at least a month and longer in summer," she said.

Summer.  Otherwise known as The National Excuse for Not Working.

We haven't started the procedure for Asterix's x-rays because I didn't want to spend the money if Van-Ly's didn't turn out well.  And Van-Ly should be going into heat mid-August.

Which basically means we've run out of time and I've wasted money.  "Money is not my concern," says Madame le President, "dogs are."


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Surgical skirmishes

Picture this.  No don't.  Just follow along; it will be graphic enough.

The evening I checked into the hospital, they gave me a third purge.  This is when you drink a perfectly abominable salt-tasting concoction -- 2 litres of it -- and then sit on the toilet until "everything runs clear."

So, there I am -- sitting -- when someone comes into the room, calls out and I call back.  And the bathroom door opens.  (Why do they have doors on hospital bathrooms?  Anyone?)

It's my surgeon and he'd like to know if I can take a 90-second break, so that he can mark me up for surgery.  Teeth clenched, I say, "No."  He thinks for a moment and then kneels in front of me, pauses to read my T-shirt -- "Behind every successful woman, there is usually a rather talented cat" -- nods, lifts the shirt and begins to draw with black marker.  "Will this stay on through my three showers?", I ask, cool-like.  "No problem," he says, rises and leaves.


When he came around on the day after surgery, I asked, "Did you say you got the tumour, the ovaries, and the uterus and I don't have a pouch"?  "Yes," he said.  "That's what I thought you said,", I said, but I didn't believe it."  "Neither did I, he said."

Better a great underconfident surgeon than a mediocre overconfident one, I say.

To my great disappointment, he didn't take out my appendix.  "It is normal procedure," he explained, "but only when things are optimal" -- which answered a dozen other questions.  Optimal is when they get it all and can clean up.  Sub-optimal" or Incomplete is when there remains 2 cm of tumour.  I got this out of the booklet from the hospital cancer library.

Not that I'm disappointed at being sub-optimal.  It beats dead and leaves a lot of room for improvement.  And no doubt 5 1/2 hours in the operating room was enough.  The booklet says 6 hours is the limit.  I'd have liked to have lost the appendix, though.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Take this Quiz

You have dogs.  The number doesn't matter.  You have been away from home for almost 3 weeks.  You burst into the prepared kitchen where your SO has thoughtfully placed a mat on the floor and you flop down waiting for fuzzy faces and sloppy kisses.  (Except from the SO who has already done his part.)

What happens next?

  1. Your dogs leap all over you and smother you with kisses.
  2. Don't know; never been away from home that long.
  3. You are Margot.
Nala came, but I think it was the mat that interested her. When I took it over, she left.  As she is wont to do,

Van-Ly cocked her head, squinted and wagged her tale.  I scratched her for awhile, but she must not have liked the feeling of handfuls of fur coming out with each stroke.  (Hey, it wasn't I who didn't brush her.)  So she left, too.  I'm  of the opinion that she'd have wandered over to anyone.

Remind me, someone, that I like Chows because:

  • They are house broken from stock;
  • They don't chew your socks;
  • They don't chew the furniture;
  • They don't eat a lot;
  • They don't shed as much as you might think;
  • They don't bark unless on door-bell duty;
  • They're independent and don't need amusement;
  • You used to like cats;
  • They're the cutest little things on earth;
  • They're loyal.
On that last point, how can you tell?

Returns and Replies

I'm home!  And this is all for today.  Tomorrow there will be all the news that I'm capable of.

*  *  *

CHERYL - No computers in hospitals here.  We've only recently been able to use our own cell phones.

JOHN & CAROLE - You lose John, but if makes you feel any better, you didn't lose to me.  The room mate had 42 staples.

GEORGIA - Bananas were the first thing I thought of.  But, also: does downing litres of water per day wash the potassium out of your system?

SUSAN IN CALIF - You've got your priorities right! No cake.  :-(  The nurses felt kind of bad when they hadn't noticed my birthday.  (I have pages and pages of bar code labels over my files, my wrists, all my medications, my charts, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g,  Each contains my name, place of birth and birthday  Every time they touch me, they have to verify who I am.  Stuff just doesn't stick does it?)  They thought they should have had at least a flower.  Since they didn't, we shared my little wooden and woolen cats.  I'd already had the best birthday present it was possible to have.

EVERYBODY - who wrote called and commented.  Thank you.  You might have to be there to realise how important the support is and I don't wish that on you.  Just use your imaginations.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Home next week?

I saw Margot again yesterday and she was disconnected from all the drips and infusions and ready to talk a short walk around the hospital. She is still having to take quite a few pills for pain and tires easily but I hope this means she will be coming home sometime next week.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

X-ray revealed nothing amiss

The only news today was that the X-ray showed that nothing looked wrong so it is just a mater of time before Margot becomes more comfortable.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Not eating and more

I had another visit with Margot today and I was able to get all the latest. Margot is still bloated and constipated and hence was not allowed to eat today so they can give her a scan tomorrow to check what is going on. We also got to talk with the surgeon who explained that the main tumour is gone but he saw a lot of metastasis around the pelvic cavity and so she will still need chemotherapy but hopefully will be much more comfortable.

As a distraction, Margot helped rescue her room mate last night. As her companion became sicker and sicker Margot repeatedly called the nurse and eventually the 'crash' team arrived as the poor woman went into a coma. Fortunately, after a night in intensive care, they found that the woman had an overly high levels of potassium and now they have her stable again.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Birthday party

I arrived just before lunch today and thanks to Margot's room mate, who did not feel up to eating her lunch, we both ate a birthday meal together. Then we passed a pleasant time opening many cards, messages and presents. Most of the presents were books so she is well set for her convalescence. Many thanks to everyone for these.

Margot has had half of her 38 staples removed and is having regular physiotherapy and massage and has to sit up in a chair for a few hours each day. All this activity does not help the pain but is a necessary torture it appears.