Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Obligatory Paper and Cat Update

Blogs are funny things. In my case, for instance, it has the ability to remind me how much I've done in the last year, while simultaneously and in technicolour detail demonstrating exactly how little I've done in the past month. Neat.

The paper is not yet written. In fact, the draft is only marginally longer than it was a month ago at this time. My EPAWS (Eternally Patient and Wonderful Supervisor) is still exactly that, and I'm not certain how she continues to respond to my weekly assurances of "it's going well" and "soon, I'll have a big section to you soon" with nothing but serene calm and "just keep working at it, as long as you're working, I'm not worried." And I am indeed working - except I write three sentences, reread them, highlight two of them and turn them into footnotes. This is the first time I've written a paper in Word, and I seem to be enamored with and have a newfound respect for Word's ability to handle footnotes with ease. The paper is probably 1/3 - 1/2 footnotes right now, which would be funny if it weren't completely exasperating. But I'm working. See, working, can't you tell?

There was a horrific paper SNAFU last weekend, though, which involved me putting the Word file in the trash and emptying it (accidentally! long story! everybody's nightmare!), some hyperventilating and tears, and the purchase of a file recovery software in record time. In the end, nothing major was lost save for a little time. All is now back to staus quo, and EPAWS and my husband are gently but persistently reminding me to back up more frequently. We've also discovered that when I'm panicking, I apparently develop an overwhelming need to compulsively check my email and delete evil spam messages:

Me (with increasing hysteria): "But can't I just check my email? Just once? I probably have, like, 30 spam messages sitting in there in the last 10 minutes, with more accumulating! Please?"

Husband (very patiently): "Dear, you know that any use of your computer right now decreases the chances of your Very Important Document being recovered intact. Here. Use my computer."

Me: *sniffle*

If only I could channel that obsessive-compulsive streak into a need to do dishes or vaccuum or scrub the bathroom spotless. But I digress.

I visited my family in PA the weekend before last. All I can say is, it's not really a visit home until the PA State Police have knocked on someone's door. Just the average family chaos, you know. That story has been filed away for telling at a later date.

Ford, my knitting model of the previous entry and normally fuzzy, snuggly grey ball of hugs and occasional Holy Terror, spent a reluctant day with the vet today, returning victorious (i.e. he repaid their 6x drawing of his blood with his drawing some of theirs). He is currently recovering from battle by napping on the coffee table between the two laptop computers so that the fans blow warm air simultaneously on his belly and bum.

Ford was diagnosed diabetic in late March. For two months now we've been valiantly struggling to get his insulin dose regulated with occasional morning blood tests, to no avail. Despite the fact that the vet originally felt he was "not a good candidate for a blood-glucose curve", I insisted. Doing a BGC involves a full day at the vet, where they administer his insulin and test his blood every two hours to see how his system is metabolizing it. But an accurate result involves the cat being calm, relaxed and eating normally throughout the day, which are only three of the long list of things that Ford will not, under any circumstances, do while at the vet.

I ended up going over at mid-day at their request to see if I could get him to eat. He did, but only once he was out of the cage and allowed to roam free in a room, and after I pulled out his favourite china plate (yes, really) and a can of moist food. I also had to help them get him in and out of the cage while I was there, because he was, in their words, "Not very happy with us right now". That is vet-code speak for much hissing and growling and swiping with claws.

The vet is glad we did it, though, because we learned:
1) that the insulin is working fine (insulin resistance was a concern)
2) his urine always reads high for glucose even when his blood sugar is in the normal range or even a little low (this can sometimes happen, and means that urine tests aren't a very good indicator of how well he's regulated)
3) we might be able to decrease his dose (YAY!) if we can control his diet better (*sigh*), and
4) that his claws are, indeed, still very sharp (he got the poor vet pretty good on the arm, hazard of the job, I guess).

Now that he's home, he's reverted to his normally angelic, snuggly, hungry self. He gave me no problems for his evening insulin shot, he chased and was chased by Tiger for a bit, and he later feigned perfect innocence when he kicked a mug of water off the coffee table while "stretching". The mug was followed by a nearby magazine, which landed in the water, followed by a half-dozen CDs, which didn't. Although I'm pretty sure he was aiming for the water. Dat's my boy.

It has not escaped our attention that his name - unsurprisingly inspired by Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - can also be used as an acronym for Force Of Random Destruction.

Actually, it's been a bad couple of months for us at the vet. Or, good, if you're the vet, because I think we're contributing considerably to their new equipment upgrades. Tiger (age nearly 13) started limping sometime in late April. When it hadn't gotten any better by last week, I loaded him up and took him over. He was treated to much prodding and some x-rays, with the conclusion being that he has a touch of arthritis in his left rear ankle. Some anti-inflammatory meds later, and he's doing much better, though he'll probably have to continue to use it sparingly for his remaining years. They LOVE him at the vet. They can poke and prod him to their heart's content and he never complains or makes a sound. They didn't even have to sedate him to get him to hold still enough for x-rays. What a trooper. I will have to get some pictures of him up here soon.

So, this has turned into a cat post. And just like that, it's June. See? Blogs are funny things.