Sunday, January 15, 2006

Auto Bon

So today we finally got the TIVO working.... I spent most of yesterday struggling to get it to work. Needlessly complicated, and very poorly documented.
Tivo is pretty cool so far.. We shall see how this changes our viewing habits. Hopefully less browsing and channel surfing.
We are jumping past commercials right now!

We also tried out a very strange gift from Senor Robbins, A roomba, dubbed 'Marvin' by Carly. We were pretty skeptical, but I will admit it is pretty cool. It does a good job of maneuvering around, and fits nicely under one of our couches. The kids were a little nervous about it, but it soon transformed into curiosity. Chicken too was curious, but when the robot jerked around and headed in his direction he moved faster than I've seen him go in ages.

So... so far so good. Maybe both of these automations will add some time to our lives. We'll see.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Chicken Update

Chicken, as many of you know is getting on the years (fifteen or so). And before Christmas we feared his days were numbered. For a month or so, he had serious diarrhea, and was wasting away (down to 8.5 pounds). So I took him to the vet, and she wanted to run a long serious of tests.
-Blood Tests
-Investigative Surgery

The possible candidates for his illness were, Pancreatosis, Inflamatory Bowel Syndrome, and Stomach Cancer (or other intestinal cancers). It was interesting trying to pry odds of survival, treatment, quality of life, expected lifespan answers from her, she was ill equipped or resistant (from experience) to make such guesses.
I pushed and she suggested that if the Blood Tests didn't show anything, then the MRI might tell her if there was an obstruction, and then the surgery would tell her if they needed to do another surgery or go to radiation and chemo.

So we did the blood test. Nothing obvious came from that.
I asked about the treatments following the more stressful diagnostic tests...Chicken would need general anesthetic for both. She said IBS and Pancreatosis could be treated with medicine (Steroids and an enzyme), the others would need surgery and chemo.

When I asked about just trying Steroids without the surgery she was unhappy about it. That was not the protocol! You needed to know the disease before attempting treatment. I asked about harmful side effects of doing Steroids if he did not have IBS, they were pretty minor.

I just could't see spending the thousands of dollars it would have cost to diagnose Chicken, and exposing him to so much trauma and pain (in his weakened state)for just satisfying our curiosity. I knew we couldn't afford the cancer treatments, and even if we could, I am not sure I would give them to Chicken, who might not benefit much from it at his age. So, grudgingly, the Vet wrote a prescription. This, was a week before we headed out to California.

Well, as it happened, even in that short a time, we saw marked improvement. First, no diarrhea. Second, less complaining during the day. And fewer hairballs.
When we picked him up from the trip, he had gained weight and was a happy strong cat.

He seems to be getting back into the habits of home, and whining a bit more these last few days, but everything about him seems much better and happier.

He is actually letting the kids touch and pet him, and he is enjoying the late night fires, and warm laps as inter finally hits us here. We are going back to the vet soon to check on his progress. Yeah Steroids!

Monday, January 02, 2006

War on Christmas

Okay, not really. But here is the winter recap.

We travelled out to California. As usual, it was a long and painful trip. The kids were great, but being poked in the side by a car seat for six hours gets old.
There was no snow, it rained to the point of a few Shining moments but otherwise it was pretty fun.

Towards the end we were erady to leave, that was made slightly more difficult by Sophie locking herself in my parent's bedroom. No key... so there was some panic. But my dad smashed his way in (okay, he popped off the siding and used a credit card, but still).

The kids were truly fun and really seemed to enjoy all of the Xmasy fun, the tree, the promise of carrot eating reindeer and a cookie eating present leaving Santa. Sophie in particular was super fun. Her imitations of my Mom (Gaarry Honey, Garry Honey) or her cousin Sadie (Oh-Kay) were inspired. Will started signing with apparant understanding. He had done the "more" sign before, but only at meal time, so he might have thought it meant "food", but once I was changing him, and took some time out for some baby belly raspberries, and he giggled and laughed and signed "more more" it was damn cute.

Here are a couple shots for posterity.