Monday, November 26, 2007

A Christmas Carol

Thanksgiving is barely past, but we are skidding headlong into the Christmas season. So don’t blame me if I get a carol or two rattling around in my head. And, please, don’t blame me if, while I’m swimming, I start to change the words and make a carol about my favorite subject, the object of obsession, the source of great fascination and frustration… my cat’s pancreas.

It’s a completely normal and natural thing.

And so, with great pride and confidence that I am not, in fact, crazy, I present the song I hatched during tonight’s workout.

(To be sung lovingly and loudly to the tune of O Tannenbaum.)

O Pancreas

O pancreas, O pancreas,
Why did you have to leave us?
Since you’ve been gone we now rely,
On insulin called PZI
O pancreas, O pancreas,
Why did you have to leave us?

O pancreas, O pancreas,
Sometimes you rear your head
And when you do, blood glucose drops,
So I give food to make it stop
O pancreas, O pancreas,
Sometimes you rear your head

Try TID, try BID
Or change the dose, no guarantees
Tomorrow morn, she could be high
Or might be low, I can’t deny
That even now I have no clue
From day to day just what she’ll do

O pancreas, O pancreas,
Why did you have to leave us?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Statistical Obsession

I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning waiting for the vet to call me back. Isabella started vomiting last night and is really not well at the moment. So while I wait (and hope that it’s just a passing intestinal bug) I’ll document my growing obsession with my blog statistics.

Let me be frank: this blog is not exactly setting the world on fire. In fact, I’d like to thank everyone who reads it – the number may run as high as a half dozen. You all must be very optimistic that someday I’ll put something here that actually worth reading. It’s good to have hope.

While you’re hoping, let me tell you about my sad, sad fixation. I’ve signed up with a free statistical website called Site Meter. By putting a little bit of code in the blog layout, I allow Site Meter to monitor who’s coming to read, how long they hang around, how many and which pages they look at, etc.

So far, there have been 383 visits to my blog. Now, I know you’re thinking Yeah, and 350 of them are you, but I assure you, I’ve trained Site Meter to ignore me. It’s only watching you.

The longest visit was almost two hours. I feel pretty confident that was someone who clicked on the blog and then was rushed to the emergency room or something before they could click away. Even I realize that there’s not two hours worth of material here.

The vast majority of the visits log this duration: 0:00

That’s right. Not even one second. I never dreamed it was possible to click away that fast. But the folks who find this blog – well they manage it. Repeatedly. Ouch.

My favorite feature is the one that tells how the visitor found my site. Most of them say “unkown,” but now and then Site Meter admits that the blog appeared in a list of Google search results. My favorite search so far is this:

diabetic cat cranky

If that doesn’t exactly describe Isabella, I don’t know what would. And somehow it’s comforting to know that somewhere out there is someone else with a cranky diabetic cat, and that person found this blog to be worthy of 51 seconds of their time.

People with puking diabetic cats have been directed here by Google more than once. And now that I’ve used both “puke” and “vomit” in this entry, I’m sure that more will stop by in the future. Welcome!

Site Meter does more too, but I don’t want to freak you out. Rest assured, it’s not giving out your name or your email or anything. But it gives me enough stuff to simultaneously satisfy my voyeuristic needs and make me feel like a loser. Because let’s face it: visit durations of 0:00 are not exactly a raving endorsement.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

We experience moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic. ~Cullen Hightower

That quote sums up life with a diabetic cat. My life, anyway. Could be that I’m an anal-retentive control freak worry wart, or maybe all people with diabetic cats feel this way. The point is, I worry. At the beginning, it was constant. Now, a year into this adventure, the worry is toned down and yet always ready to spring forth in the form of panic at the slightest provocation.

For example: A couple months ago I was listening to the keynote speaker at a writers’ conference when a cell phone rang. It was my phone’s ringtone and it was about 6pm – the time I imagine the pet sitter will be checking in on the cats. In the two seconds it took to realize it wasn’t my phone, my level of anxiety skyrocketed from “bored” to “aneurysm,” completely mystifying my sister in law, who, I’m sure, has never seen such a reaction to a phone ringing.

Another example: This morning Casey woke me begging for breakfast. My sleepy brain spit out a few bits of reality:

1) it was Casey begging, not the gluttonous Isabella;
2) Isabella wasn’t on the bed like she usually is;
3) it was 6:15 – a full fifteen minutes late.

That last bit jolted me fully awake. Isabella’s internal time mechanism operates with a precision that rivals an atomic clock and she wants her meals served on schedule. This, coupled with the fact that I was expecting her blood sugar to be running lower than normal – well the picture my imagination painted wasn’t pretty. I shot out of bed and down the hall, veered into the living room and flipped on the light. No cat. (Except Casey, still begging.) Full panic now. “Where’s Isabella??!” I asked out loud, sort of high pitched and gulpy, conjuring images of seizures and a foaming mouth. I circled around to the kitchen, where Isabella was sprawled on the rug in front of the sink. Relaxed. She hopped up at the sight of me, stretched and sauntered to her bowl. Fine, not foaming. Elapsed time since Casey woke me: 15 seconds. Years taken off my life: at least six.

Yes, this is what it’s like with the worry toned down. You don’t want to know what a wreck I was the first few months. Really, you don’t.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I just got back from a trip to the big apple. NYC. The most awesome place on earth. There was no point to the trip besides the fact that Virgin America had an airfare (San Francisco to JFK) that was too amazing to pass up. Never mind the million and one things I could do to improve my house (or my cat), I spent the money on a random trip to New York.

It was a short trip – only four days – but it was the sixth trip I’ve taken this year, and this one seemed harder on the cats than the others.

When I got home last night at two minutes to midnight, both of the cats’ bowls were full of food. Odd. Isabella and Casey are normally pretty enthusiastic eaters – Isabella in particular – and yet here were two bowls that seemed barely touched. A note from the sitter mentioned that she was concerned too; Casey hadn’t eaten his last three meals (which meant the fourth was rotting in the bowl). But both cats seemed basically OK so I decided the problem could wait until I had some sleep.

In my own cozy bed. With my cozy cat curled up next to me. Until …

Have you ever been awakened by the sound of a cat erupting? It’s not good. Isabella spewed the little she had eaten in no fewer than three places, including over the edge of the bed onto the floor (splash!). That woke me enough to a) wipe floor, b) peel the comforter out of the now-barfy cover, and c) add another problem to the list of things that I’d deal with after I had some sleep – now curled up tight in a little chilly ball in my no longer cozy comforter-less bed.

This morning I got Casey to eat with a bit of encouragement, tested Isabella’s blood sugar (it was not great but not awful), and started some laundry (bye-bye-barf), which took care of the obvious problems. But I’ve got the nagging feeling that all is not well with Isabella. She seems a little off, sort of depressed -- which means the next trip I take is probably going to be to the vet.