stickmaker: (Marian Holst Adamant)
I have noticed twice in two days half of a cat thyroid pill, showing signs of having been wet but now dry, on the basement floor.

The first time was last night, right after I gave Michael his evening dose. The other was this morning. A few days ago I found an entire, dry pill (his morning dose) in the dry food bowl!

After last night I've been checking his mouth to make sure he actually gets the pill or half-pill down. I think he's learned to fake swallowing. 

This may be why he's so gaunt. His hormone level was still a little high the last time the vet checked, which is why the vet had me add the half-pill in the evening. 
stickmaker: (Default)
The forecast was warm and cloudy with a chance of storms later. I got my car washing stuff together and headed outside. Said hello to my uphill neighbor, who was spray painting something on her back porch.

I hadn't even finished the preliminary rinse when rumbling storm clouds came blowing in. And I do mean blowing. Within minutes we had a hard shower of fine, wind-driven rain. Even under my carport I got soaked. I waited for a lull, then disconnected the hose and piled all my washing equipment out of the way and came inside. 

I'll get the stuff in later, after the rain dies down a bit. I hope. 


Jun. 16th, 2017 02:15 pm
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)
The first Masks story ( ) is selling well enough that Doppler Press is already talking about the next one! 
Keep buying and recommending, folks! :-)
stickmaker: (Steamboat Abdominal Snowman)
I would love to see someone take sequences from the _Life After People_ series and insert Keith Richards wandering around, wondering out loud about "Where the *BLEEP!* _is_ everyone?!"

Sick Cat

Jun. 14th, 2017 09:45 am
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)
Twice in three weeks, Michael peed on the carpet in my home office. Both times I scolded him and promptly cleaned the mess, which involved both pet stain shampoo and Febreze. (Bizarrely, my three year old former male also peed on the carpet in there once between those times. All three incidents were in different locations.)

This morning I discovered someone had peed and pooped on the carpet between my bedroom, bathroom and home office. No way to prove who did it, but I'm pretty sure it was Michael. I did my usual cleaning, then put a new litter box with fresh litter on the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, just three feet from that part of the hallway.

Hopefully, both cats will get the hint. 

Michael continues to have a good appetite and to get around well, though with less energy than he used to have. Yesterday afternoon I napped in my recliner, and he jumped in my lap and napped with me. 
stickmaker: (Default)
Keith Richards joke:
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)

Gave Michael his second dose of chemo. Or tried to.

I wasn't expecting much trouble; the capsule is very small and it went right in the back of his mouth, first try. Then he spit it back out. After several tries the capsule fell apart. I got the pieces down him, as well as his thyroid medicine, but I don't know how much of the capsule he actually got. It was literally in pieces, which went on his fur, on the floor and on my hand. Afterwards I washed with soap and water, and left him peacefully eating his Fancy Feast pouch treat. 

The instructions were very emphatic about making sure he got the dose, either on time or late. Only, there's no way to tell how much he got. :-(

I am literally shaking. My hand are actually doing well this morning, but my gut was a bit upset before this debacle. I am just not capable of reliably giving cats pills, but there's no-one else. Unless I want to cage him twice a week and let someone at the vet's office do it. They've already said they'd do this for no charge. I bet they'd change their minds after a couple of times...

So Far

Jun. 9th, 2017 12:24 pm
stickmaker: (Runner Bluegrass Elf)
So good. Michael is a bit listless today, but there's no vomiting or other signs that he's having any adverse reaction to his first dose of chemo. In fact, his appetite is about what it was before. 
stickmaker: (Steamboat Abdominal Snowman)

With the success of the Wonder Woman movie, the studio decides to make the sequel an even bigger hit by replacing the production team with veteran (read: male) producer, director, etc.  

 Oh, and make the story more like _traditional_ superhero stories. You know; like the past few DC superhero movies. 

Sick Cat

Jun. 8th, 2017 07:36 pm
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)

My 12 year old cat, Michael, has been having some health problems the past few months. Most recently, his abdomen has swollen to the point that he looks pregnant. My vet had me take him to a specialist in Lexington (Kentucky) who had better ultrasound equipment. The good news is that his organs seem fine. However, the membrane lining the abdomen had several clusters of unusual cell growth. 

The vet said he thought it was cancer. He recommended against a laparoscopy to confirm this, because whatever type of cancer it is the medicine he prescribed would be about equally effective. 

The medicine is a mild chemotherapy agent which was mailed from a compounding pharmacy in Texas: Roadrunner Pharmacy. The box arrived this (Thursday) afternoon. I got Michael's first dose of chlorambucil in him just about half an hour ago. I'm supposed to give one capsule to him Monday and Thursday. 

It helps that the capsules are *tiny* because that makes them easier for him to swallow. It hurts that the capsules are *tiny* because I can barely handle them!
The vet said this wasn't likely to make him sick, and even if it's not cancer it's a general anti-inflammatory and should still help. However, there were multiple warnings on the package about handling the medication, which is a cytotoxic material. I am supposed to wash my hands after handling the capsules. 

The vet said that on this medicine, if what Michael has is actually cancer, he should have between a month and six months. 

I lost a 15 year old cat to mast cell cancer three years ago. I'm not looking forward to this. However, it might, indeed, not be cancer. I'll just have to see. 
stickmaker: (Default)
I thought I had posted these to Flickr three years ago. Oog... 
Anyway, here they are:

Sick Cat

May. 30th, 2017 04:19 pm
stickmaker: (Default)
I have a twelve-year-old, black and white cat, long and lean with a long tail. He had to be put on thyroid medicine a couple of months ago and for a while was doing fine. However, I noticed his gut was swelling. 

I thought at first he was just putting weight back on. However, it got worse. The vet's assistant said it didn't sound like a blockage but couldn't figure out what it was. He had an appointment for today, for a thyroid checkup and I couldn't get in sooner, so I figured the vet would figure it out. 

However, last night he stopped eating. He was definitely worse this morning, and barely made a fuss going into the pet carrier, or at the vet's office. 

The gut turned out to be a buildup of a mysterious fluid, a sample of which was sent off when the Vet's in-office equipment couldn't identify it. Ironically, he's also dehydrated. 

The vet gave him an antibiotic (he got put on one his last visit, too, but the symptoms are different this time so a different medicine) an appetite stimulant, his thyroid medication and the antibiotic. 

I have a horrible time giving pills, mostly due to a loss of fine motor control in my hands. Hopefully, if Michael's appetite come back I can simply keep doing what I've been doing: crush the pills between two spoons and mix them with the gravy from a Fancy Feast pouch. Until last night that worked pretty well. 

The vet says he'll probably need a trip to a better lab. The closest is thirty miles away. *Sigh* I have no idea how he'll handle such a long trip in the pet carrier. Here's hoping the test will identify what's wrong and the treatment can be made here. 

On top of all this, I'm still under the weather and also managed to hurt my back yesterday. Here's hoping we are both doing better by the time the test results come in. 


May. 25th, 2017 05:53 pm
stickmaker: (Default)
Doppler Press has brought out my first Masks story as a Kindle e-book!
I have been writing these stories for over a decade, and am very pleased to see the first one published. 
It is a superhero story set in my own universe. The main character does not want to be a costumed adventurer. However, circumstances force him to adopt a female hero ID. (It seemed like a good idea at the time...)
stickmaker: (Default)

Archaeologists in Britain have found what may be the oldest continuously used
sacred burial ground in England:

stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)

Excerpt from an almost completed fantasy novel:

        "Another Carolingian stonehead?" said Bergen, sourly.
"He's an exception," said Llewellyn. "An open-minded, well-educated man. Moreover, one who speaks his mind and acts on what he believes. His rank is too high for him to be overtly disciplined for trying to bring improvement from within. It also doesn't hurt that he gets better results among outsiders than most of his countrymen. However, he is aging and when he retires is not likely to be replaced by someone equally able."
"Carolina used to select its representatives to other courts for their fanatical loyalty to their King," said Magda, a hint of amusement in her voice. "Eventually they realized they were being laughed at for their ignorance of the world. This was especially undesirable when this caused them to yield advantage due to not understanding the significance of something outside their experience. As well as embarrassing when it caused them exhibit confusion over well-documented matters of history."
"I'm not innocent enough to believe there's only one view of history," said Bergen, puzzled. "Is theirs really that different?"
"It's not just different, it contradicts easily provable facts," said Eadgar, actually scowling. He turned towards May-Belle, whom he knew had an interest in history. "At one function a few years ago, the Carolingian Ambassador kept bragging about how in 1705 their King Siegfried III conquered several small neighboring countries on the northeastern shore of the Mediterranean in order to acquire and improve their ports to take advantage of the increased trade the exploitation of the Western Lands created. When people pointed out that this was a decade before Abraham McWhirter reached the Western Lands the speaker enthusiastically exclaimed this proved the foresight of King Siegfried."
"Not that there was some sort of magical prediction," said Bergen, clarifying. "Just simple foresight. Of something completely unexpected, which even true seers missed."
"Exactly," said Eadgar, rolling his eyes. 
"Yes, that would make one subject to ridicule," said Bergen, in an ironic tone. 
"For the record," said Llewellyn, in a minor digression, "no-one seems to have made any confirmed predictions in regard to the discovery of the Western Lands. Whether oracle or vate, seer or soothsayer. The problem they all have is that information about the future provided by them is either very general or incredibly focused. Also, no-one thought to ask about new continents."   
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)
The Global Seed Vault in Norway is in trouble:
The short version is that unusually warm temperatures caused the entrance tunnel to flood (though fortunately the water did not reach the actual vault). The water then froze solid. The ice has been removed and the seeds remained below the required 255 kelvins. 
Maybe we could move it to Pluto?

Okay, not as serious - or as rare - as first reported:

stickmaker: (Default)
I was planning to clean my gutters today and unclog two downspouts. It's warm but cloudy with a bit of breeze. 
I got one downspout cleared and the gutter leading to it partially cleaned with a wand hose attachment. However, the worst downspout had a clog which I don't have a ladder tall enough to reach by hand, and the spray wand couldn't break through. 
I even took the bottom of the downspout off and shoved the hose - water running full - up as far as I could. Unfortunately, the clog is right at the top and I couldn't get the hose past that last turn. *Sigh*
I also noticed that there's so much shingle sand in the gutters that the spray wand wouldn't budge most of it. Water will still flow, but capacity is reduced. The  shingles at the worst section stick so far past the edge of the roof that I can't get my hands in to clean manually
After cleaning the drain I was also gonna' wash my old Mustang. However, I spent so much energy trying to unclog that downspout I'm putting that off. 

Still Here

May. 1st, 2017 09:21 am
stickmaker: (Steamboat Abdominal Snowman)
Well, I survived another Smith Family get together Sunday. This time I don't think there were even any serious injuries.  

We assembled for lunch at my mother's house, taking advantage of the fact that my sister is here on a business trip from where she lives in Wyoming, and she brought her oldest daughter and son-in-law and grandson with her. My youngest niece came with her husband and daughter. Several cousins participated as well. There was Kroger fried chicken, vegetable plates, my bread, and much other food with cake and apple dumplings for dessert. Then photos were passed around. (I brought a USB hard drive with the photos I've scanned, but for some reason when we plugged it into my sister's MacBook we couldn't find them!). 

One niece and her hubby brought a radio-controlled toy vehicle big enough for their daughter (and, later, the other niece's son) to ride in. I brought some leatherwork my sister and her oldest daughter and her family gave me via a gift certificate but which they had not seen before. 

All-in-all, a good time. :-)
stickmaker: (Default)
I have long thought there was a barometric component to my gut troubles. Last night was a good example. I had some Captain D's fried fish for supper and had no problems. Three hours later my gut was just starting to grumble; so were the heavens, with distant thunder. I actually had heartburn bad enough I took some bicarbonate of soda. That greatly helped with the heartburn, but my gut was still upset. I had a milkshake, which usually solves the problem. It only helped some this time. A couple of hours after that I had some green tea and crackers.That didn't seem to help or hurt. The TV was giving repeated warnings about the approaching storms. 
Not long after I went to bed I had to get up and start taking different things. This included a probiotic and some generic Bentyl. I was up and down all night. 
Several storms passed through, and in the quiet between those my cats (at least one of them) kept fussing. I finally got up at 8 - after all the storms were through - fed them, opened the cat flap and went back to bed. Got up for good a little before 10. Still having problems. (I'm not the only one. Michael, the 12 year old who has to be given thyroid medicine, is off his feed today and only got a partial dose.)
Managed to eat lunch but even with more probiotics and Bentyl my gut is crunching. Probably won't be going to gaming tonight. 
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)

The Saturday night gaming group I'm in is currently playing an RPG set starting in 1920 (now a few months into 1921) which involves the player characters and some other folks gaining powers. My guy was a veteran of the Great War. He was badly injured in an artillery barrage, and probably had both PTSD and TBM. He was working with Catholic Relief Services helping people - including veterans - when his powers kicked in.

He is writing essays trying to present rational, reasonable support for moral behavior without resorting to religion as a justification. He has also written a hymn, titled  "A Praise of Bravery; A Prayer for Peace". I was working with the GM over several sessions on these items, when one night I literally dreamed the following:
I dream of flying. 
I dream of soaring over the battlefields.
I dream of bravery and fear,
Of struggle and pain,
Of victory and death.
Of lives and bodies spent
To gain yards.
Or nothing.
I dream of the rulers.
Of how they waste their soldiers,
Their civilians, entire nations,
Without care.
As if playing some child's game writ large,
And in blood.
Their only goal to move pins on maps.
I dream I cry out to God:
We are so weak and small, 
And the world is so horrible
How do we make it better?
God replies:
You are greater than you know.
Raise your voices, raise your fists.
Show those you fear your true strength,
And they will fear you and listen,
And the world will be better.
I dream of a world of peace and plenty.
Where those few who wish violence
Are caught and taught
A better way.
I dream of flying.

It's not coincidental that his powers came with an angelic alternate form. I just he doesn't wind up becoming this world's Edith Keeler.

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