Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Can We Live Through August?

I was talking with my friend TS Elmwood the other day. She called to make sure we were ok after last week’s storms.

“I was reading Tom Skilling’s weather blog. Looks like things were pretty bad in some places.”

We actually spent about twenty minutes down on the first floor of our office building that afternoon, because there was a tornado warning for the city.

“Everything ok?”

The building is fine. A street about half mile north is closed, and there are some trees down. I walked around by the river today, and there is some flooding on the bikepaths, and the small bridges are closed. And there is some more serious flooding on the Fox River, farther north.

“And your house is ok?”

Much to our relief, it is. We just had a bit of water in the basement. The tree out back lost a bunch of small branches. One of the houses across the street lost a huge old tree.

“When I was kid growing up out that way in the suburbs, the power would always go out during storms.”

It does go out more than I thought it would out here. Ours was out most of the day Friday – I figure ComEd may have shut things down while they were picking up power lines.

“Was there a lot of damage in your area?”

Not right around our house, but it turns out that a tornado touched down a couple miles north of us. Lots of trees down, power lines down – I drove home that way on Thursday, so I must have gone through there only about an hour after the tornado did.

“I’m glad you’re all ok. I saw some scary looking pictures in the news.”

We’re all ok. I was home most of Friday -- with the power out, I spent several hours sitting by the window, catching on my reading, and catching up on petting cats.

“Awww. Hey, how is Will’s cat doing?”

Unfortunately, she died a few weeks ago.

“Oh no, that’s too bad. How are he and Mary doing?”

OK, I think, but I know Will is pretty down. They had that cat for like fourteen years. And one of their other cats had cancer last year, and now they are afraid that his cancer is back.

“That’s so sad.”

I know. Driving home from work last Thursday, during the storms, I kept worrying about our cats, because I knew they would be scared of the thunder of lightning. And they would have been really scared if the tree in our backyard had ended up in our kitchen.

“You know, it is even worse with kids. Worries, I mean.”

I know.

“Take care of yourself, K. And take care of covivant, and take care of those cats.”

Thanks. You take care of your family as well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Farewell, Old Girl

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood last night – he called to pass along the sad news that one of their cats had died.

“The old girl died a week and a half ago.”

I am sorry, Will.


How is everyone doing?

“Well, Mary and I miss her terribly. Everything we do at home feels different, and the house feels empty, and every time I hear mention of a cat somewhere, I think of her... anyway, I try to not be too down about it -- so I came up with ten things that I’m thankful for.”


“It’s been fifteen years since any of our pets died. We’re thankful for that.”

Considering all the health problems you and your cats have dealt with over the years, that is pretty amazing.

“As hard as it is for us to deal with her death, it would have been very hard for her if Mary and I had died first.”

That is true – covivant and I should really come up with some sort of plans for our animals in case something happens to us.

“And the old girl was very close to the queen –- for many years, it was just the two of them -- the queen has seemed a bit depressed the past couple weeks, but I think it would have been really hard on the old girl if the queen had died first.”

What else?

“The old girl was in pretty good health for most of her almost fifteen-year life, and I think we did the right thing, letting go of her at the right time.”

I am sure that you and Mary made the right decisions, and you made them out of compassion.

“And I called in sick to work for a couple days, so I was at home during the old girl’s last day. And she did die at home, without having to go to the vet one last time.”

I am sure that she appreciated you being with her, Will.

“And we were once again thankful for having a great veterinarian – everyone there was very kind to us.”

I think you are up to about seven in your lists of things to be thankful for.

“Well, of course, the last three things are the most important – Mary and I could not get through any of this without having three more cats at home, who need us.”

You mentioned that the queen might be a little depressed – how are the guys?

“I think they can tell that something is different, and they probably react to Mary and I being down. And, unfortunately, the big guy is having more health problems.”

Again, I am sorry, Will. Not more cancer, I hope.

“We don’t know yet. He has been coughing a bit, and the vet did a chest x-ray and found a shadow on his lung. It could be a tumor, it could be some sort of abscess or infection, or something benign – we’re giving him antibiotics and hoping it clears up.”

Can they do more tests to figure out what it is?

“Well, that’s what the one vet suggested, that we should take him in for a ct scan and a needle biopsy. But Mary talked to the other vet, and we decided that would be adding too much unnecessary stress to the big guy’s life – and it’s not like we could do anything for him if his cancer is back.”

I guess they cannot do lung cancer surgery on a cat.

“No, I don’t think so. But anyway, I’m trying to think about those things I’m thankful for, and hoping I don’t have to go through all this again with the big guy any time soon.”

Good luck, Will.

“Thanks. I’ll keep you posted…”