Another Brief Update

So, not too much to report, but I don’t want too much time to go by without your hearing from the Georgia Cat. Mike continues to heal. He is now 34 days post-transplant, and feels remarkably well. The last 2 nights he stayed up until 10PM. This is progress. Also, his hair has stopped falling out. We have before and after pictures, and will put them up as soon as we figure out how to do it.

In other news, we learned from the Fowl Party spokesgoose, Waldo, that he recently learned that they need a fundraising process in order to run a successful campaign. Talk about an amateur! So, they marshalled all the Happy Meadows ducks and geese to dive to the bottom of all the ponds in our area, and managed to retrieve 37 cents from the muck. Their candidate, Donald Donck is discouraged, and may pull out before he even has decided what office he was going to run for. I will let you know once Waldo sends out a press release. I had mentioned earlier that in my opinion, Happy Meadows could use a grammarian, and he could run unopposed for that seat. I am not interested in running for it, even though I am well-qualified, if I do say so myself. We shall see.

I wish I had more to say, but no news is usually a good thing. You shall hear from me soon. Until then, be well, be safe, and be sure to pray for world peace. So long from Happy Meadows.

Charmingly Goofy

So, Mike continues to tire easily, but otherwise is not feeling too badly, really. He has gone most of the day thinking that it is Wednesday, but now is reoriented to it being Thursday. That could happen to anyone who is not working. The days all seem the same. He has been pretty lazy today and did not walk his mile. Hopefully, he will go out tomorrow and get back on track. He finished reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl today, a book by Harriet Jacobs. It is the first slave narrative written by a woman. Michelle got him a special edition that followed the book with a series of essays dealing with various aspects of the story, including an essay by Michelle’s mentor, the late Nellie McCay. Mike is doing research for a book that I hope he writes. I will let you know if he drags his feet on the project. He has not let on exactly what he has in mind, so for now this will remain a mystery.

The weather guy on the 5 o’clock news today used the word “uniformitivity” in describing the similarity of current temperatures in the television viewing area. Sometimes the invention of new words serves a purpose. But I think “uniformity” already exists as a word, and must mean the exact same thing as “uniformitivity.” Hopefully, his producer will discourage further neologisms.

We got some positive comments from relatives who enjoyed my stories about Mike’s mother, Bernice. One of them described her as charmingly goofy. Mike says that fits, and he appreciated the phrase. Mike says he is going to enter one of my posts from 2019 in the Cat Writers Association annual contest in the category of “blog: humor and entertainment.” I’m not sure which blog he will use. If any of you have a suggestion please let us know. The deadline for entry is February 14. Mike won an award a few years ago from the Georgia Writers Association for my grandfather’s Autobiography of a Georgia Cat. So maybe he can get another award, even if he relies on his feline companions to do most of the creative work.

So, I have a suggestion. I want everyone in the world to pray for world peace. If everyone does so, it could happen. And why wouldn’t anyone embrace the idea of world peace? It’s worth a try. Mike and I have been doing it consistently every day since he went into the hospital a month ago. I’m not sure how we got started on this, but it feels right. I know many of you are already doing this. But I mean everyone, every day, pray for world peace. With that much prayer energy generated, I think people will act differently and learn to make compromises. This goes along with our meditative words for today: hope, love, compassion, and forgiveness. Well, that’s all today from Happy Meadows. Be safe, be well, and be at peace. Bye, bye!

A Setback for the English Language

So, Mike has been home for 10 days, and overall, he is doing very well. The shedding of hair has slowed down, and I’m starting to think he may not lose all of his hair after all. Time will tell. I will keep you posted on all developments.

The big local news is the changing of the Home of the Atlanta Braves from Sun Trust Park to Truist Park. When the Braves moved to Cobb County and built a new stadium,  Sun Trust Bank bought the naming rights for a lot of money. Last year they merged with another big bank, BB & T, and renamed their company Truist. I’m sure they paid a PR company a lot of money to come up with that name, but they clearly overspent, as the name is just pain dumb. Steve Hummer, a sportswriter for the Atlanta newspaper said it was a “setback for the English language.” I have tried to apply logic to how this ridiculousness happened, and it occurred to me that in trying to inspire confidence that the merger is a good thing they started with the word “Trust.” They then, for reasons not immediately clear, tried to modify or improve on it by adding a letter. They could have added an “h” and come up with “Thrust.” Or added a “y” to produce “Trusty.” Or they could have changed the “u” to a “y” and they would have had “Tryst.” Or they could have made an anagram of trust and called themselves “Strut.” If they were stuck on adding an “i” they had other options on where they could put it, to wit, “I Trust,” “Tirust,” “Triust,” “Trusit,” or my favorite, “Trusti.” Considering the amount of money it will cost to do all the name changing, including all the signage at the ball park, it doesn’t inspire confidence in the company, if for no other reason that the name is so stupid. But nobody asked me.

In other big news, Spoiled Donald is getting himself ready for his impeachment trial. I’m no expert on all of this, but I do know that he has gone out of his way to piss people off ever since the campaign, and what I do know is what goes around, comes around. I don’t see any winners in all of this.

We have had an unusually warm winter. Our camellias are already blooming, 6 weeks ahead of schedule. And after a year of below average rainfall, it has been raining cats and dogs, so to speak. I have heard competing theories about this odd idiom. One is that the drainage of English streets was so poor in Victorian times that the outdoor cats and dogs would drown in the flood after a heavy rain. I hope this isn’t true, and I doubt if it is. Another theory, also from Victorian England, is that cats and dogs often slept outside on the roofs at night, and would be washed off in a heavy downpour. Better, but I’m not convinced. It’s funny how many idioms there are that make no sense if you think about them.

The Fowl Party here in Happy Meadows is having some internal friction about what issues they want to run on. They could break up before they ever really get started. Waldo, their spokesgoose, promised to hold a news conference in the next few days. I can hardly wait.

This coming Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Day. It is a good time to reflect on what values you would be willing to die for. Give it some thought. I’m sure Dr. King did.

Well, that’s what’s happening now in Happy Meadows. Thanks to all of you for the love and prayers, without which we would not be doing nearly as well, I am certain. We love and pray for all of you as well. Bye, bye.




Nothing strange here

So, we have been home for 5 days, and it is starting to feel normal again. I am getting out and making my neighborhood rounds. A few people and cats noticed that I hadn’t been around. Some of the people had heard that Mike was sick and in the hospital, but no one believed that I had been there with him the whole time. Mike is doing amazingly well. He tends to tire out easily, and  his hair is falling out and getting all over everything. That is probably compliments of Brother Chemo. If he goes bald I will post a picture. It will be weird to see him without a beard. He says he grew it in 1967, shaved the following year, but immediately grew it back. So basically, 53 years. Mike says he grew it his senior year in medical school. Dean Grove told him he had to shave it before graduation, but Mike was rebellious (imagine that), and didn’t do it. It’s a good thing he didn’t need a recommendation from the college for anything after he graduated.

Mike got to sharing stories about his mother with us one day in the hospital. The first has to do with her father who was very strict and very much a prude. When Bernice was a teenager she had a get-together at home, and the kids were playing a game. It was a guessing game in which one person would think up a thing, or an activity, and the other kids would ask for clues. The name of the game was “coffee pot.” When a kid would ask for a clue the phrase “coffee pot” was substituted for the actual thing or activity. On one occasion, Bernice’s father had just walked into the room when someone asked, “Do you coffee pot standing up or sitting down?” Her father made everyone go home.

Mike was a witness to an incident when they went over to visit a cousin, Ronnie H.  When they arrived, Ronnie shared some good news with them. Bernice said it made her want to jump for joy. Then she suggested that everyone jump for joy together. Ronnie said he did not want to jump for joy, and Mike declined as well. So Bernice jumped for joy, solo. You may have heard that white men can’t jump. Well, the same applies to white women in their mid-seventies. Mike says she got about 1/2 inch off the ground, tops.

The next 2 stories came from cousin Barbie who was a witness. Mike’s mother had strange ideas about what clothes she looked good in, and it drove some of her cousins wild. She would never wear anything that her father wouldn’t approve of.  For the last 15 years of her father’s life they lived together. Cousin Harriette took Bernice shopping one day, and they came home with clothes other than the white pants, white blouse, and white jacket that she customarily wore. Barbie had stopped by just as they returned home. Bernice put on a fashion show for her father. She went into the bedroom, put on a new outfit, and came out twirling around and asking, “What do you think, Pa?” He would make a face and say he didn’t like each outfit as it was paraded in front of him. Harriette was disgusted, and Barbie didn’t think she had seen anything quite that funny in a long time. Needless to say, everything was returned, and Harriette never offered to take Bernice shopping again.

Once Mike’s grandfather had a skin cancer removed from the top of his head. He couldn’t stop picking at it. Bernice fashioned a cone-shaped cap out of aluminum foil and taped it to the top of his head. To say that it looked silly would be an understatement. This was also witnessed by cousin Ronnie.

The last story for today comes from meal time. Every time grandpa ate it would cause his nose to run. So he would dig at his nose as though he hoped to find gold inside. This habit drove Bernice crazy. One day Mike was there and the performance began. She said ,”Pa, what is it with you? Why do you have to dig at your nose?” To which grandpa responded, “If it was your nose you would know.”  It just goes to show that no matter how much people love each other if they spend too much time together they can get on each other’s nerves. One amusing aspect of all this strangeness, according to Mike, is that Bernice and her father would frequently talk with each other about other people’s peculiarities.

So I suppose you have strange people in your family as well, yourself not included. It helps keep life entertaining, and we, hopefully, learn not to take ourselves too seriously. That’s all today from Happy Meadows. Be safe, be well, and you be the one to decide if you want to coffee pot standing up or sitting down.

Home again, home again, Jiggidy Jig

So, Mike and I came home today a day earlier than expected. His transfused bone marrow cells have engrafted, and are now making white and red blood cells and platelets, enough that it was safe to let him come home. Mike, Judy, and I all fell asleep when we got home, and I for one, remain pooped. I will have a lot more to share in the coming days, but wanted to let you know the good news. Sholom from Happy Meadows!

Positive signs

So, Mike continues to make good progress. It looks like his bone marrow is stating to produce cells. The estimated discharge date is Wednesday. Thanks for all your love and prayers.

We continue to get signs from the universe.Several weeks ago Judy saw a lady in church who reminded her very much of Mike’s mother. Mike told her it was his mother at work comforting them. I agree. Then one day Judy saw 7 hawks driving home from the hospital. The following day we saw 3 hawks from Mike’s window. As I have mentioned before, the hawk is Mike’s spirit animal.Another good sign. Today Mike heard  a knock on his door. A gentleman came in who was the spitting image of Mike’s late sponsor, Don B. Another sign from the universe that Mike has spiritual energy on his side. The fellow was a volunteer chaplain from Jewish Family services.

We had a wedding on our unit today. Another sign of hope.

So, I will keep it brief today. Thanks for all the love and prayers you are generating on our behalf. We love you all.

Brother Chemo

So, Mike is now 8 days post-transplant of his stem cells. He is doing extremely well, and his doctor says he is the most boring patient on their unit. His side effects are quite minimal, and probably won’t get any worse. He has been able to eat for the past 4-5 days, and stopped losing weight. His blood counts are following the predictable pattern, so right now they are very low, which is why they want him to be under the watchful eye of Emory. He was visited by a yoga therapist today, and had a session of medication. No, meditation. He looked very relaxed. I tripped along with the session, and it was okay, but for a cat meditation is second nature.

Judy and Michelle were here for a nice visit today, and they both brought me treats. Judy’s brother, Greg, also came by for a visit. We also had a visit from the rabbi who makes hospital rounds, and that was good as well. She said a Hebrew prayer for Mike’s recovery. We were also surprised by a visit from Richard Donkle. You may recall that he is the HOA president of Happy Meadows. He brought good wishes and prayers from our neighbors. He was surprised to see me here. He didn’t think they would let cats up on the unit, but as I have said many times, I am no ordinary cat.

So, Mike says he has been thinking about the chemo process that he is undergoing. On the one hand it is high-tech, ingenious, and probably dramatically life extending, but at the same time seems barbaric. They harvest your bone marrow cells, give you a lethal dose of chemo, and then rescue you by giving you your cells back. The lethal dose of chemo is the barbaric part. Barbarism used to be the norm in medical practice. Treatments included blood-letting, leeches, grotesque surgeries, and cauterizations. Women used to die at a rate of 50% in childbirth, mostly from puerperal fever, a streptococcal infection spread by the doctors not washing their hands as they went from attending one patient to another. The wealthy always had a higher death rate in smallpox epidemics because they could afford doctors.

There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi who used to cry all the time because he thought so much about the suffering of his Saviour. His crying led to keratitis, an erosion of the corneas. This was very painful. You may recall that he used to refer to the creatures of the woods as brother fox, brother wolf, etc. He was brought to a doctor who proposed to cure his keratitis by cauterizing his eyes with a hot iron poker. The saint agreed to the procedure, and referred to the poker as brother fire. If this story is true, he died a blind man. I hope it isn’t. Anyway, I have heard Mike refer to the chemo he received as brother chemo. You might think he is crazy, but it can help to reframe a situation to make it more palatable.

We hope the new year has been good for you so far. We hope to be home by the middle of next week, but that is entirely up to Dr. K. Please keep the prayer energy going, because it is the most important element of our recovery. We love you all! Bye bye from Happy Meadows!

Paint Your Nose Day

So, today is 8 days since Mike got his heavy dose of chemo, and 6 days since his stem cells were transfused back to him. He saw Dr. K. today, back from vacation, and Dr. K. is happy. If he is happy then I am happy, even though there is not much for a little black cat to do up here. Judy came for a long and delightful visit today. Michelle was a little under the weather and stayed home. The other 3 cats, according to Judy, are weirded out by the change in the household routine. Where are Mike and Black Magic, they want to know? Mike is making friends up here, as,of course, am I. Who could resist my charm? Mike and Judy were talking about books with one of the nurses, and Mike told her about my grandfather’s book, “Autobiography of a Georgia Cat.” Judy brought 2 or 3 books up and 2 nurses are reading it now. I hope they enjoy it. One of the nurses says Mike is her favorite patient, and by extension, that means that I am her favorite cat (except for the one she has at home.) Judy also brought the boom box and some CDs (Car Talk classics, and a Bill Bryson book.) This will help fill the idle hours with laughter.

Mike was able to eat yesterday, finally, after no appetite since the chemo. So naturally, he overdid it, with a resultant digestive disturbance that shall go undescribed. But we are not going to dwell on it, nor is he going to overeat again. Mike continues to get calls and texts from good friends who love him. Cousin Barbie called last night just before the transition to 2020. It was great to hear from her and Tony. They have a couple of nice cats. Sister-in-law Amy will come for a visit later. I just love her, she is so nice and cat-friendly. I shouldn’t say this, but she is one of my favorite people. But despair not, I love y’all!

So, the 12-step meeting by remote went very well last night. Good audio, and great vibes from people who are supporting each other in living the best possible life.

And speaking of 12- step programs, Pauline Phillips ran the “Just for Today” daily commitment from Al-Anon in her advice column today. I think she starts every year with this. You might want to check it out. She also ran the Prayer of St. Francis, which we talked about very recently in another blog.

The Bulldogs play Baylor tonight in the Sugar Bowl. We will watch for a while, I suppose. I think a Midsomer Mystery is on also. These take place in this creepy county in the UK where all these people keep getting murdered. Motives are resentment, lust, money, money, jealousy, and did I say money? Some of the murders are quite gruesome. We love the show. In my opinion, what Midsomer County needs is more cats to bring a greater sense of positive energy and love.

So, today was paint your nose day (the inside, not the outside) up on  the 9th floor of the Tower. This is done by every patient on Wednesdays to prevent MERSA outbreaks. If Mike didn’t want to paint his nose  I would be happy to help. But he just did it all by himself.

We are looking for a happy and healthy 2020 for ourselves and for all of you. Stay tuned for more updates from Happy Meadows. Bye, bye!