Monday, March 24, 2008

Stalking Casey

Casey is my other cat. The one you don’t hear too much about. The innocent bystander. The civilian. The one with normal blood sugar.

Normal blood sugar. Oh, how I wonder what normal blood glucose looks like in a normal cat. Lately, I’ve been wondering that a lot.

I guess things with Isabella aren’t exciting enough, so I’ve been looking at Casey’s tender, un-poked little ears with longing. Would he let me? Could I get blood out of those? His ears are always so warm… The blood flows out of warm ears so easily…

The problem, I feared, was that Casey was an eyewitness to the early, gut-wrenching efforts to test Isabella. Those were, uh, dramatic, times, and poor little Casey would make himself scarce whenever the meter and lancet appeared. Nowadays, they both come running when they hear the snap! of the test strip vial (can you say bonito flakes?) but Casey, like an elephant, never forgets.

Nonetheless, this past weekend I decided to give it a go. I knew he’d never just sit in place like Isabella, so I planned to poke, then scrape the blood droplet onto my fingernail and set him free. Piece of cake.

On Saturday I told him what I had in mind, picked him up, and carried him to the couch where I test Isabella. He squirmed; I lightly restrained. He feinted left; I talked sweet to him. He ducked under my arm, hopped to the floor and looked back at me as if to say “you’ve got to be kidding.” That was that.

Alrighty then, I’d have to come up with another approach. On Sunday, I saw my chance. The little guy was taking his midday snooze on a chair. He was relaxed and warm. I grabbed the lancet pen, crouched down, and grasped his as-yet-unmolested right ear. Poke! Casey flinched, but wasn’t distressed. Alas… no blood. Again: poke! Bigger flinch this time (and now I’ve got his full attention) but still no blood. I figured I could get maybe one more poke done before he’d flee the scene so I quickly cocked the pen and pressed it to his ear. I was right: now I had no blood and no cat. (Along with a much greater appreciation for how easily Isabella’s ears bleed.)

Undaunted, I tried again tonight. Same scene: Casey snoozing in the chair. Different reaction: as soon as I leaned over him and touched his ear, he flattened them and gave me the stink eye. I determinedly unfurled an ear and whipped out the lancet pen, and Casey, just as determinedly, shot off that chair and out of the room.

But he paused long enough to look back at me: you’ve got to be kidding.

Score: Casey -3; Me – 0
And that, I think, is that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Something You’ve Never Seen Before

The web is a resource for all the strange-but-true things in the world, and then some. Today, for you crafty types, I present something I’ve never seen before: a complete digestive system created entirely by knitting.

From tongue to anus, it’s all there. I especially like that bright green gall bladder (because gall bladders really are green). And the pancreas – how can such a pretty little specimen cause so much trouble?

My knitting skills are rudimentary at best, but I may just see if I can conjure up a pancreas for Isabella. Why not? I’ve tried writing letters, poetry, and Christmas carols to bring her lazy islet cells back to life. How could a knitted endocrine organ be any worse?

(More pictures and patterns are here.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I’m at a crossroad with Isabella’s diabetes. It’s been nearly 18 months since diagnosis, and her blood glucose is really no better now than it was the first day. I’m seriously considering a switch to a different insulin – Lantus – to see if that will help. Unfortunately, I can’t just go to the drugstore and get Lantus; it requires a prescription. A prescription requires the vet’s OK, which makes me anticipate all the questions the vet might ask before she agrees to write that prescription.

Such as:

Have I really done all I can with the PZI?

The truth is, I’m not sure if I have done everything. I have not seriously tried aggressive dosing with Isabella. I lean heavily toward the timid when it comes to injecting insulin, but lately there’s been this little voice whispering (OK, screeching) in my ear: Try higher doses. Don’t be such a weenie. She’ll be fine, and (gasp) maybe even improve for a change.

In other words: buck up baby and try something new.

In the PZI insulin group on the Feline Diabetes Message Board, braving the higher doses is known as putting on the Big Girl Panties – or BGPs. (In my mental picture, the BGPs are silky nylon and feature rows of ruffles across the backside. Much like the pair that was given to me for my 8th or 9th birthday by up-the-street neighbor Denise M. They were red, for pete's sake, and yes, I opened them at a party. Yes, in front of all my friends. The humiliation is only just now starting to fade. So, a side question to Denise’s mother,who I feel certain is the truly responsible party here: What on earth were you thinking?)

But I digress.

I decided yesterday that the time had come to pull on the BGPs and wear them proudly. In the morning, I gave Isabella 2.6 units – her current “normal” dose. I tested several times throughout the day to see how she responded to the insulin, and the answer was: she didn’t. It was like nothing was there. So, after seven hours of nothing, I shot her again, this time with three units. (Never, in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d give a dose that big.)

Well? What happened??

Her blood sugar went up. And then up come more. Screw it. Off came the BGPs, ruffles and all. I waited until this morning to give another dose – this time only 1.6 units.

The result: all day I’ve been watching her blood sugar drop, just like it’s supposed to. To me that means my plain ol’ cotton panties are just fine, thank you very much.