This is Elsa, the cat who’s ill. She’s a 14 year old tortoise-shell, and I’ve had her since she was 7 weeks old. I took her to North Shore Animal League’s Clinic yesterday. She likes to ride in the car. The barking dogs in the waiting area made her glad she had the safety of her carrier, but she wasn’t too freaked out. After all, they were out THERE, and she was safely tucked in her cage. One of the waiting dogs was a dachshund, and Elsa wants a dachshund of her very own, so she was happy about that. She was happy to meet the vet and make a new friend – that’s the kind of cat she is – she assumes that everyone is her friend until proven otherwise. If only we were all so open!

The problem is three-pronged. The first, and most important, is to deal with the respiratory infection that brought her there in the first place. She received two antibiotics, one in pill form and one in liquid form. Fortunately, she’s not bad with medication. Frankly, I think the Rescue Remedy with which I’ve been dosing her had a stronger effect, but antibiotics usually take a couple of days to work in people, so maybe it’s the same way in cats. So we’re optimistic, and we’ll see. Her appetite’s never wavered (always a good sign), she’s alert, friendly, sticking to her schedule. She smells different because of the medication, and that upsets Violet, who thinks there’s an imposter in the house, but Iris could care less as long as no one invades the Princess’s personal litter box. Elsa seems better during the day, but the nights are rough, and I’m feeling a little sleep-deprived from spending the last few nights up with her more than asleep.

The second thing they discovered was a mass on her underside. The vet said it could be nothing – it doesn’t bother her, she purred when the vet handled her, and tapped her with a paw to remind her it was petting time when she stopped. But they want to keep an eye on it over the coming months.

The third part is a procedure they want to do that would require her to undergo full anesthesia. Frankly, I don’t think she can survive it. I’ve had one cat and one dog go through this procedure as senior animals. Neither was ever the same after, and neither lived more than six months. Several friends of mine have had the same experience with the same procedure. I’m reluctant to put her through it.

When, at age 18, Felicia was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, my vet gave me a wide range of options, including dialysis and kidney transplant, both of which I refused. She was an 18 year old cat, and I felt that put unfair stress on her at such an advanced age. We actually got rid of a tumor via Reiki (I brought her in on Friday; they found the tumor and everyone looked grim. I brought her back in on Monday; they asked me if this was the same cat, because the tumor was GONE – we kept looking at the X-rays, the vet called in everyone in the building, and everyone was shocked. They even checked the X=Ray machine to make sure nothing was wonky). And, with a combination of fluid injections (which my vet taught me to do) and alternative therapies, we managed to give her a full year of good quality of life. When she was ready to go, she let us know. It was heart-breaking, but when it was her time, it was quick and painless, and she hadn’t been put through torturous medical procedures.

So, I’m looking into alternatives for the latter procedure, and I might also set up a Reiki session for her. I spoke to the wonderful folks at Whiskers, a pet store specializing in alternative care down in the East Village. They’ve been around for ages, advocating alternative therapies before it was popular, and they know their stuff. Stressed out as I was, I got quite emotional on the phone with them, and they were very helpful.

A few people suggested pet insurance. I looked into it a few years ago. First, it’s expensive. Second, there are so many caveats that basically, they don’t have to pay for anything unless your animal is hit by a car on the fourth Tuesday of the month when there’s a full moon. There are so many restrictions that it hasn’t made sense to get it, even in Felicia’s case.

It was quite a day, and it’s going to be a long haul for the next few months.

North Shore doesn’t work on installments, but is reasonably priced; however, this is still an unexpected expense during a recession. So, while I’m constantly pitching for jobs, etc., I’m also telling people that, if you haven’t gotten around to buying my books, my stories and/or my little e-booklets for writers, this would be a really helpful time so to do. E-book royalties get to writers much more quickly than traditional royalties. ALL royalties help decide whether a publishing house keeps or drops an author, so every time you buy any book by any living writer, you have a direct impact on their income and their future. Thirteen shows closed on Broadway in January, so I don’t have theatre work on which to fall back. And not much is filming, both due to the SAG uncertainty and the economy. The Republicans’ success in cutting out stimulus money to help production companies will keep thousands of people out of work for a longer period of time, instead of putting thousands of people back to work in the spring, which would then stimulate the economy in every location in which filming takes place. Just because someone works in the entertainment industry doesn’t mean the person is a celebrity making a zillion dollars.

For those of you who faithfully purchase my work as soon as it comes out, I am deeply grateful, and I hope to have some new, fun work out in the next few weeks that might catch your attention. And if you know of anyone you think would enjoy my work, I hope you’ll consider recommending it.

I’m sticking to my deadlines, turning around as much work as I can, and hunting down new work – while not falling into the trap of working for the mills that want 20 articles for $5, because let’s face it, all I’ll do is make myself sick and not get paid properly. I’ve sent out some really strong proposals this week to my prospect list, and will follow up with them in the next couple of weeks. But all of that takes time.

It was really discouraging to return from the half-day it took to get to Long Island and back, sit in the waiting room for over an hour, and then go through the examination, get the prescription filled, etc., and find a response from yet another company that turns out to be a mill rather than a legitimate site. I’ve got a much better shot at properly paid work with the proposals, once they work their way through the various layers that need to make a decision on it.

One of the little courtesies North Shore provides is that you get the medication right there, instead of having to go somewhere else to get prescriptions filled AND they cut up the pills for you. It’s a big help. I remember when I lived in the city, had to fill a prescription for Olivia’s valium and had to go to the local Duane Reade, where they treated me like some sort of junkie forger. Considering I rarely take anything stronger than an Advil, it was especially insulting.

I’ve got the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, and I hope to turn it around in the next few days.

Not much creative work done in these last few days. I’ve got some business letters to get out and to the post office today, and pay some bills; hopefully, I can also complete the assignment for Confidential Job #1 (it’s very good) and get that out by the end of the day, too.

Maybe Billy will get some more attention this weekend. It’s frustrating not to work on his story, since I’d finally made a breakthrough.



Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 8:52 am  Comments (16)  
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  1. Elsa is absolutely beautiful. I hope that she is better soon and back to her old self. 🙂

  2. I often wish I had more of Elsa’s sweet nature in my own! 😉

  3. She’s such a sweetie. I love that she has her own Christms ball in that picture. hehe I hope she’s okay.

    Sent you an email, by the way.

  4. Snuggles to Elsa. I’ll be keeping her and you in my thoughts.

  5. Hugs to Elsa AND her mom!

    Take care.

  6. I think a lot of it is down to the actual animal and only you will know what’s best for her. Roly was 17 when he died (my dog) and I was always argung with the vet over whether they knocked him out or not. Only one I gave in on was a cataract because they didn’t think he’d see any better after anyway. But other stuff, like having teeth removed, I insisted on and he lived for years after they said he would.

    You will do the right thing for Elsa and ensure she has the best quality of life that she can. But it’s a difficult time and very expensive (although we always find the money for our pets, don’t we?). Good luck with all.

  7. {{{BIG HUGS}}} to you and Elsa.

  8. Elsa Is so lovely – I miss having a pampered cat around the house. They bring such a cozy, comfortable feeling into a home – wonderful late night companions for writers.:)

  9. Elsa is just beautiful.

    Yes like with humans it take a few days for antibiotics to kick in. Hopefully she will feel a lot better soon. Hopefully the mass is just a fatty tumor and nothing to worry about. As for the anesthesia each pet is different and you know her the best. Has she had any procedures in the last few years? If yes how was her reaction to the anesthesia? If you decide to put her under it probably be best for her to be over the respitory infections.

    On the insurance. At her age and with pre existing conditions there isn’t much that would be covered and not worth the cost. Personally having 2 dogs (13, almost 10) and 2 cats (12 1/2) I did look into it and found it tooo expensive. I’ve promised myself that my next pet will have insurance from he/she is a baby since it is much more reasonable then.

    Please keep us posted about Elsa. Hugs to you!

  10. Elsa looks like a very lovable comrade. Best wishes!

  11. Aww, Elsa is gorgeous. I will be keeping you AND Elsa in my prayers.

  12. Hi Devon,

    I’m sending positive thoughts to you and Elsa today. She’s a cutie. About Felicia and Reiki – an amazing story. I wish I had known to try this with my beloved Morgan (German Sheperd) and Blackjack (Rotweiller) both had cancer. Good luck with finding great writing jobs!

  13. I will keep both you and Elsa in my prayers.

  14. Bless the wee soul – I really hope she’s back to her wonderful self as soon as possible.

  15. Hi Devon,

    Hope it all turns out okay. I went through something similar with my 18 year old cat two years ago.

    I think you’re right about the antibiotics. It takes a while for them to kick in.

  16. Quick Care is one of the most affordable online pet insurance companies. Quick Care insures both cats and dogs and offers policies that start from $9.95 a month. If you are looking for pet health insurance on a budget, Quick Care is the company for you!

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