Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vets and Blogs

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood briefly the other day – he said his cats were all doing pretty well, and that he would give me more details when he had more time. He also said he would testify again as to why he really likes their veterinarian.

Speaking of veterinarians, we got a card in the mail from The Cat Practice in Oak Park, announcing that Dr. Malin is retiring. Dr. Malin took care of our cats for many years, so best wishes to her, and to Dr. Coughlin, who is taking over the practice.

I was browsing through the blogs I read regularly during lunch hour today. Here are a few of the stories I read recently:

Jennifer Ouellette writes about apocalypses, with references to American Idol and Buffy.

Starbucks Gossip writes about a woman and her dog at a local Starbucks.

Aaron Barnhart at TV Barn writes about the recently nonrenewed Jericho.

Greg Kot writes about Anna Fermin.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Get Well, Old Girl

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood yesterday. He was telling me about his cats’ ongoing health problems.

“I talked to you last week, right?”

You did. You mentioned that your little guy had his surgery, and one of your old girls had an upper respiratory infection.

“Well, the little guy got his stitches out, and seems to be doing fine. He is switching over to a different food – the good news is, he’s been snarfing it. The bad news is that the ingredient list looks like crap.”


“The first ingredient is water, followed by ‘meat by-products, chicken by-products, and animal fat (preserved with BHA/BHT).’”

I keep meaning to ask the vet about special veterinary diets that seem to have less than special ingredients.

“I’ll ask him if I have a chance when I see him tomorrow – the old girl is going in for more tests.”

Tests? For an infection?

“They were hoping it was just an infection. The old girl took antibiotics for two weeks, and she’s still coughing, and the x-rays they took yesterday showed the shaded spot on her lung was still there.”

That doesn’t sound good.

“Well, the doctor said it could be several things. It could be a persistent infection that needs more or different antibiotics. It could be – I forget exactly what she said – some sort of twist in the lung lobe that shows up on the x-ray. She said it did not look like lung cancer, and it was probably not mold or fungus related.”

So what kind of tests?

“Well, two weeks ago she had an x-ray and an ekg. Yesterday she saw the veterinary cardiologist – I don’t think I knew that there were veterinary cardiologists prior to two weeks ago. And tomorrow there going to put her under anesthesia, and squirt liquid into her lungs and then suck it back out, and then test that for abnormal cells. And they’re going to aspirate the area and take a sample.”

Poor old girl. How’s she holding up?

“Okay, usually. I think the coughing is making her sore – she went and hid under the bed when I left home this morning, which she almost never does.”

I hate to ask about your bills.

“I think the last eight months or so have been the most expensive we’ve ever had. I was telling Mary last night, maybe I’m just tired and worried, but I’m starting to get the uneasy feeling that we’re paying too much.”

You don’t mean that your cats aren’t worth that much – you mean that you think you’re being overcharged, or strung along?

“Something like that. It’s frustrating when you get test after test, bill after bill. But I suppose that’s the way it has to be, and that’s the most thorough way to check the cats’ health.”

Have you had time to watch all the season finales?

“Actually, I have watched them all: Veronica Mars, Lost, Heroes. I think I’m done for the season.”

I was surprised at how good the Lost finale was.

“Yeah, that was pretty great. And as I think we discussed last time, I worry about the cats more than I worry about cancelled tv shows – but it doesn’t mean that I’m not really bummed about Veronica Mars.”

Walking out into the rain, out of our lives forever…

“Unless they do a movie one day, as is already rumored.”

I don’t see that happening. I don’t think the fans are as crazy, or as vocal, as the Firefly fans were.

“We’ll see. And we’ll see if we get a Jericho wrapup at some point.”

We will see.

“I’ll keep you posted on the cats. I’m spending my day off tomorrow going to the vet, to the car dealer, and then taking my mom shopping for her birthday.”

As Mary tells me, you’re a good son, and you’re a good kitty daddy.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Cats Are OK, Veronica Is Gone

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood earlier today. I asked him how all his cats were.

“OK, considering. The little guy had his surgery, and he’s been running around like a nut since we brought him home. He has stitches, so he’s supposed to be wearing a collar to keep him from touching the incision – but he keeps trying to pull the collar off. Since he hasn’t been trying to pull his stitches, we just gave up and left the collar off.”

And the other cats?

“One of the old girls is taking antibiotics – after an exam, and a chest x-ray, and an EKG, the vet said she hopes it’s just an upper respiratory infection. I’ve only heard her cough once in the past few days, and that was followed by her barfing her dinner mixed with globs of hair.”


“The vet was concerned that it could be a heart problem – older cats that have thyroid problems can have heart problems too. She’s going in for a follow up next week – hopefully we won’t have to see the veterinary cardiologist next.”

I hate to ask about your vet bills.

“I think I’ve already put the vets’ kids through college, now I’m working on grad school.”

How was Norah Jones?

“She was really good, I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. Ted Cox had a good review in the Herald. I got to meet the person to whom I had sold my extra ticket – a nice young woman from Virginia.”

I’ll get you a copy of the show – I downloaded it from dimeadozen.

“Thanks. So, are you as pissed off at the tv networks as I am?”

It does suck that Veronica Mars is gone, after next week finale.

“And Jericho – I can’t believe they screwed me over, just like with Invasion – you watch a show for a year, they leave you with a cliffhanger, then they cancel it.”

Like reading the first part of a novel, and someone takes it away from you.

“And Gilmore Girls is over, but at least that was planned, and they did give us a nice ending.”

I was reading that NBC is going to give us more sci-fi shows, after the success of Heroes.

“And I’m not going to watch any of them. I don’t think I’m going to watch any new shows next year.”

We have said that before…

“… and we always end up watching some new shows. I know. Maybe I’ll just wait, and see what looks like a hit, and get caught up online like I did with Heroes, or just watch reruns, like I did with Ugly Betty.”

Did you ever get around to buying the dvd’s for the cancelled shows over the past few years?

“Well, I did buy the Firefly dvd’s, of course. But no, I haven’t bought Invasion, or Kitchen Confidential, or Threshold, or Commander In Chief, or Point Pleasant…”

It’s hard enough staying current with the current shows.

“I know. My wife keeps telling me about the free time I’ll have, now that most of my shows will be in reruns, and then I’ll have free time in the fall because I’ll be watching fewer shows. And, to tell the truth, having a house full of sick cats kind of puts my tv shows into perspective.”

I suppose you worry a lot more about the cats than about Veronica Mars.

“At least I can do something to keep them from ending before their time."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sick Cats, Lost Cat, and Norah

My friend Will Briarwood sent me an e-mail this morning.

“Wanted to update you on a few things. First, all the cats are doing ok, thanks for asking. Little guy is having surgery Thursday. Big guy doesn’t seem to be having any new problems, and his fur is growing back from his surgery last month. And one of the girls is going in to vet tomorrow, because she has an occasional cough, which I’m hoping is just a hairball problem.”

He also mentioned some stories on the pet food recall.

“The New York Times had a story about the Chinese arresting someone for the contaminated wheat gluten. And the Los Angeles Times says the FDA has reports of over four thousand – 4000! – animals dying.”

And regarding Lost:

“You probably saw the stories about Lost, how ABC wants to do only sixteen episodes for each of the remaining seasons, and run them all in a row, with no repeats. And you probably noticed that, even though Eyepatch Guy returned, there have been no sightings of his cat, which was abandoned in the jungle.”

And regarding Norah Jones:

“I did sell my ticket – I got less than I paid for it, but at least I made another fan happy. Will let you know how the show is.”

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Get Well, Little Guy

I talked to my friend Mary Briarwood the other day. She’s married to my friend Will Briarwood.

“He’s out mowing the lawn. And then he’s going to check his bird feeders, and pull some weeds – assuming he survives all that, I’ll tell him you called.”

Thanks. How’s the cat?

“Jeez, which one?”

Ummm… is there more than one cat with health issues?

“There is always more than one cat with health issues. The latest is the little guy – we just found out that he needs to have surgery, because he has another stone in his bladder.”

He had surgery before, right?

“About four years ago. I’m so tired of seeing my cats with their fur shaved, and with stitches, and…”

I’m sure he’ll be ok. As I always remind Will, the two of you are the best cat owners around.

“I just wish there was more we could do to keep them healthy.”

If there is more, I’m sure you’ll do it. How was Las Vegas?

“It was fun. The Beatles show was great, my daughter and I did some fun things, she tried on wedding dresses, and I got my picture taken with the sexiest man in the world.”

Wait, don’t tell me, Will told me about you and… Johnny Depp?

“Jack Sparrow, actually.”

I didn’t know he was doing a Vegas show.

“The wax museum version of Jack Sparrow.”

Got it. I hope the house was still standing when you got home – Will said he had some wild times planned while you were gone.

“I know, wild times. He locked me out of the house, so I had to ring the doorbell and get him out of bed when I got home the other night. He said the cats missed me.”

He did say that he was not looking forward to trying to pill a cat without your help. Did he leave the electric blanket on for them?

“He said he did, and it was on when I went to bed last night.”

I’m sure they appreciated it. I’ll let you go – good luck to the little guy on his surgery.

“Thanks. Tell covivant to call me sometime.”