and Emma. I didn't mean to leave Emma out.
10 minutes later she was gone. The hospice nurse said it was a photo-finish and not the first one she had seen. She said most don't even make it to the bed. Mom did. We are relieved her agony is ended.
The night doctor said she wasn't stable enough for transport. Her day doctor disagrees and we're taking her home!
My mom's feet are purple and cold. Her doctor says she's going to decline rapidly tonight. She won't be going home to her house tomorrow, but she will be going home.
Today I spoke with my mom's doctor who said they were unable to manage her fever with three strong IV antibiotics but was still talking about transitioning her to oral meds and sending her home on Thursday. That seemed wrong to me. If strong IV antibiotics can't control whatever infection is causing the fever, how are we supposed to manage it at home when she can't swallow pills?

At the nurses shift change yesterday, Sherrie heard them say Mom had been admitted with Sepsis due to extreme constipation. That's the first we heard of sepsis. If that's really Mom they were talking about and not some other patient, it explains her rapid failure.

Two days ago, when she was in her altered state, she refused food saying "I'm going to be dead in three days!" Now she has slipped into a coma with labored breathing. I'm having my dinner and heading to the hospital to join my sister at her bedsde. We both think the end of the ride is approaching. We think Mom had a premonition.
Mom has rallied, is eating a little puréed food and might go home for Hospice after all! Of course, this could go downhill at any time. Today she's rational for the most part but has yet to gain control of her body and speech. Just in the five hours I've been here, her words are noticeably coming back. I found a plush kitty in the gift shop and she enjoyed that very much. I also got her a get well balloon to brighten up her room. We're really hoping most of her problem is the morphine slowly leaving her system. Sherrie is trying to arrange the live-in caregivers, a lift, a bedside table and a wide wheelchair to have them in place before they let her leave the hospital. She already has a hospital bed. I guess we will need the ramp finished after all!
Mom went into a-fib ths morning. She has a DNR in place. They called my sister who approved a transfusion that stabilized her. If it had been my decision, I would have refused the transfusion and let her go. But then, I don't know if they need my signature on something to honor her DNR. My Gramma had a DNR back in the 1980's and was in a hospital with inoperable colon cancer. I stayed with her overnight on her last night conscious with instructions from the family to hold off the resusitation team until 10 minutes after she passed so they couldn't bring her back because they required all of her children to sign a paper agreeing to honor the DNR before they would and my oldest aunt hadn't arrived yet to sign it. I sure hope laws have changed. A person's wishes should be honored.

They moved Mom to a different floor for a higher level of care. We meet with the Palliative care team today to make plans for her care these final days.
Hello, I'm my mother's tech support and while I know a lot about Windows and a decent amount about corporate networking, my knowledge for home dsl modems is limited.

Her AT&T DSL modem is overheating and shutting down. Apparently they sold it to her and it's now out of warranty.

Their choices are 2Wire, Motorola and Westell modems. I believe she has Motorola now. From the reviews I've read, the first two brands have overheating problems. There's not much available about the Westell F90 other than there are quite a few available used. That's not a good omen to me.

From information gathered by googling "dependable dsl modems", I'm tempted to pick up an ActionTec GT724R at Fry's.

My mom is fighting terminal cancer and doesn't like to bother me so she'll go days without a connection before she asks for help. I don't like for her to be cut off from her email and online medical care.

Dependability is a huge issue for us. Any advice?

*** whoops! This was meant for the ITProfessionals journal. lol, oh well. ***

Thanks in advance.
How did you know when you were recovered enough to go back to work? My doctors have not been helpful with this.

I've had brain damage yet they expect me know know when I'm better? My judgement has been off so long, I don't trust it anymore.
We knew when we rescued Freeway from the pound that it might simply be hospice for her. As things turned out, that's exactly what it was.

After a week of trying to get her to do more than taste the many foods offered to her, my mom let me take her to the vet on Saturday. We got the blood test results yesterday. She's dying of advanced kidney disease. We could do daily hydrations to keep her going for a while, but they'd only be postponing the inevitable. My mom and I discussed it. I'm experienced in home hydration but the reality of the situation is she is still refusing to eat. She only has days left, miserable days of pain. Mom is taking her in this afternoon to do the kind thing and help her leave.

She got one extra day the shelter wouldn't have given her. She got 10 days of comfort and love instead of the cold impersonal cage she was in. She has been a total snuggle baby. Mom says she looks at the money spent as a donation she can't take off of her taxes.

Poor Freeway. At least she got love the last 10 days.

Freeway at Mom's Freeway at Mom's
Freeway exchanges blinks with Eric Freeway exchanges blinks with Eric
Freeway snuggles with Mom Freeway snuggles with Mom

I think the people at the animal shelter think we walk on water. Last night I got a phone call that Freeway Miracle, a 17 year old cat we gave away to a friend 15 years ago had been found abandoned and starving by a Cable guy and was brought in.

Her name explains where I found her. She was sleeping on the center divider of a freeway at rush hour one morning. I couldn't leave her there so I took the next exit and came back on the emptier side to snatch her from the divider and put her in my car. The only reason we hadn't kept her was that she hates other cats and had started a marking campaign to exert her dominance that ruined our house. We tried to get her to adjust for 7 months. When she peed in Eric's Christmas candy, that was it. We've never been able to stop the marking since. Our house is ruined.

So Sarah took her. She wanted a cat, she said. As an only cat, Freeway didn't spray. She was perfect other than breaking out of windows to beat up cats she saw outside. Then Sarah married. Freeway looked happy with a new "Dad" and "step-brother". Then Sarah had two baby boys a couple of years apart. Freeway loved toddlers. I figured it was a perfect situation for her.

I didn't hear anything more from Sarah. The Christmas cards stopped. Mine to her were returned because they moved. Then around the time my dad died, I got an email asking if I could find another home for Freeway because they weren't home much. It was a bad time for me. I couldn't help and told her so. I never heard anything more from her.

Then last night came the call that Freeway Miracle was at the animal shelter. Her microchip registration had two disconnected numbers from another person and us listed. Only one of our numbers was still good. She'd been found by a cat-friendly cable guy. Good thing he didn't try to take her home. He has three cats at home. That would have been bad. Wendy, the lady who called said she was old and so weak that they'd put her in the hospital to hydrate her but the vet noted that she was alert and active. She wasn't going to last long at the shelter. They don't put old, fragile animals up for adoption. She had 10 days and then she'd be euthanized. Eric agreed we couldn't let that happen. We had to come up with a solution and before Freeway caught anything from the other cats at the shelter. He said he never liked Sarah. He didn't trust her judgement. There were things I didn't like about her by the time we drifted apart but I never thought she'd be careless with the life of an animal.

I told Wendy someone would be there the next day to get her. She was delighted.

I tried to find my email address for Sarah. It wasn't on my computer or the online address book of my provider. I found her online. I sent a message on facebook and left a voice mail. There has been no response.

My friend, [ profile] finickynarcane thought she might be able to take her but realized she really can't fit an animal into her life right now. She is overwhelmed with life as it is. I know the feeling. It's why I'm hardly here anymore. I still love you all, I just had to cut back on things somewhere to manage my stress better.

We pretty much had a choice of locking her in one room in our house for a while until we found a forever home or maybe my mom would let her stay temporarily if I came by to clean the litter box and took care of vet visits. My mom agreed! I scrubbed and sterilized a litter box, packed some food and Eric carried an unopened bag of litter out to the car.

The shelter people asked how long it had been since we'd had Freeway. They were shocked when I said 15 years. I burst into tears and said I never would have given her to the person I did if I'd known she'd end up in the shelter like this. We bailed her out with all the fees and cost of a rabies shot coming to $61. From adding things up on their posted fees, I think they gave us a discount. It should have been more than $80.

Everyone involved did a double-take when they were told what was happening and how long ago we'd had Freeway. They all said she was special and very sweet. Yes, we said, as long as she's an only cat. They were amazed people from so far in her past would step up to take responsibility for her. I risked my life for her all those years ago, how could we not rescue her from this?

We got her to my mom's only to find she'd pooped in the box. She calmly let me wash off the areas that had touched the poop, kneading my arm and purring while I did it. She only weighs 4 pounds. She's nothing but skin and bones, poor thing! Her skin is broken out from flea allergy. She used the litter box right away then ate some of the canned food we brought. She huddled on the kitchen rug by the sink, nibbling a little wet food and having long drinks of water for a long while.

As we stood there watching her, I assured my mom that I would keep looking for a permanent home for Freeway if Sarah didn't want her back. Mom said she had actually been wanting to have a cat and had decided if a cat came her way she'd accept it. She actually looked grateful. She says an elderly cat is perfect because she won't worry about the cat outliving her. YAY! Freeway has a permanent home if Sarah doesn't want her back. I doubt Sarah wants her back. We don't want Sarah to get her back after the way she was found.

After a while Freeway was ready to wander the house a little. My mom held her and sat in her recliner. Freeway didn't look comfortable. She kept staring at Eric. She tried to find a comfortable spot then wanted down. She wanted me to hold her. Then she wanted Eric to hold her. She wandered the room and lay down on the brick hearth.

We left to run our errands and pick up a few groceries for my mom. When I popped in with her things, Mom said Freeway had a little more to eat and then disappeared. She's probably exhausted from all the changes and found a quiet place to sleep.

Tomorrow is the baby shower for my nephew Mike and his wife Katie. When I get back, I'll go shopping to get a scoop for the litter box and smaller cans of food. Then I can pop in to see how things are going. I'll take a flea treatment from our supply. They don't treat for fleas at the shelter.

When we got home, I sent Sarah another message on facebook letting her know Freeway had a permanent home with my mom and asked if she could help us get vet records.
Oh Jogger! I cannot see you
Running in the night
For you wear nothing reflective
And do not wear a light.

Oh Jogger in the drizzle
running in the gloom
The white trim on your green suit
Will not stay your doom.

For it is small and invisible
Until it's near too late
I'm glad you left the stroller
So your child won't share your fate.

You have the legal right-of-way
We know that to be true,
But rights don't mean I see you.
You don't seem to have a clue.

For you see, I've nearly hit you
Many times in recent years.
Your suicidal tendencies
Will lead to many tears.

Remember our streets are dimly lit
So astronomers can see
The wonders of the universe
and find a new galaxy.

So please Oh jogger, change your clothes
Please wear something bright
Make sure we can see you
As you run through streets at night.

Please continue to leave your baby at home, fool.
Last weekend we had a slumber party in a hotel about an hour from home near our local Renaissance Faire. Much fun was had by all.

There are more pictures if you click the first one.

Dinner at a restaurant wearing plastic birthday tiaras and fancy plastic jeweled rings Dinner at a restaurant wearing plastic birthday tiaras and fancy plastic jeweled rings
We got a lot of smiles from people, walking in like we were royalty! lol
Me in costume Me in costume

All of the photos are in the same gallery. You can jump to different episodes by clicking the thumbnails below. I took 1200 pictures. These are the best of them.

Frys Electronics in Las Vegas is a slot machine Frys Electronics in Las Vegas is a slot machine
Mom and baby dolphin at Sigfried & Roy's Secret Garden in Las Vegas Mom and baby dolphin at Sigfried & Roy's Secret Garden in Las Vegas
In Saint Somebody's square at The Venetian, Las Vegas In Saint Somebody's square at The Venetian, Las Vegas - before seeing Blue Man Group
Meteor Crater photo composite Meteor Crater photo composite
From rim to rim is 2.5 miles
Petrified Forest Petrified Forest
Painted Desert Painted Desert
Frys Electronics in Phoenix - Aztec decor Frys Electronics in Phoenix - Aztec decor
The actual OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona The actual OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona
Pima Air and Space Museum Pima Air and Space Museum
Cute Grasshopper at Kartchner Caverns Cute Grasshopper at Kartchner Caverns
Grand Canyon, South Rim Grand Canyon, South Rim
Route 66 Museum Route 66 Museum

I'm going to be a Great Aunt! My nephew Mike and his wife Katie are expecting in April! :D

My mom called me to chat about it while I was on my weekend with Boomer Babes so I called her back. She told me she'd shared with her friend that she was not feeling well and didn't think she'd be here much longer unless something happened to make her want to live. A few days later she got the good news and now wants to live.

I wonder if I should call her more often? It's hard because I'm having a hard enough time dealing with my own feelings. The last several years have really taken a toll on me. Scampi's last couple of years were so traumatic that I'm only now starting to process her loss. My historic issues with my mom are still there. It's stressful for me to interact with her.

Mom's right. The new baby helps a lot! I found an adorable happy sheep puppet at Renaissance Faire, stuffed enough for snuggling and couldn't resist buying it. Yeah, I've started spoiling already. ;)
Every year we have to start over convincing the neighborhood tomcat that we are trustworthy. Every year we hope to get him to trust us enough to get him neutered. Until two days ago, it looked like we were again going to take a long time just to get to pet him. He flinches and runs away when we try.

The day before yesterday, I was able to pet him a little. Eric was able to pet him a little more in the evening. Last night, I brought rotisserie chicken home for dinner and put the container on the floor for the kitties to enjoy the chicken fat with bits of chicken floating in it. He loved that so much, Eric was able to give him a thorough petting. This morning, he came for breakfast, flinched when I first touched him but didn't run. He flinched less the second pet and then pushed his head up into my hand and purred!

I'll bet I'll be able to pull him onto my blanket-covered lap tonight if I try. Wow! Fastest time from feral to tame ever! Maybe this is the year we can reduce his meanness by neutering him. He is pretty sweet between mating seasons.
I was fixing my breakfast this morning when I heard her calling the way she did the first few months she lived with us. It was a lost sound, "MMMOUUUU? MMMOUUUU? MMMOUUUU?" In the past we would call to her, "Here we are!" and she'd come running. But this morning Eric was still asleep so I went to find her. She was sitting on the closed toilet calling to something in the overgrown dish garden that sits on the tank. That was her personal jungle as a kitten. She kept diving her head and paws into the foliage and calling as if she were lost. Silly kitty!

Once I petted her and offered her catnip, the calling stopped. She didn't want catnip. Fresh catnip is too strong for her. She wanted to play jungle kitten!

I wonder if a moth flew into the foliage to hide?
We celebrated 17 years of marriage on Saturday. Our tradition is to exchange roses as a renewal of our vows. As Eric said from the first year we did it, one is not enough so now we have two dozen beautiful red roses in a vase I gave him last year. It was a good thing I picked his up on Friday because for the first time ever, he forgot. I nearly forgot so I wasn't upset.

Saturday was my appointment to pick up my new computer glasses for the fourth time. This time, I'd asked for a second opinion within their group of three optometrists and got my terminology straightened out. I needed "Close-up reading glasses" and not "Computer glasses". Apparently, the first optometrist couldn't get past my term to understand I needed to focus closer than an arm's length away. This time it was right! YAY!

While I was gone, Eric took one of the 10% off coupons the florist gave me and went off to get my roses. When I got back, I dug a card out that I'd picked up for him years ago that I kept forgetting about. It had two mice snuggling on a beach that said something romantic about love that lasts a lifetime. He showed up with my roses and a card with two middle-aged people on a beach pictured from the neck down saying, "One way or another we still turn heads." lol

We agreed it was too freaking hot to do anything and that we'd actually celebrate on our vacation. Our "anniversary" dinner will be the buffet at Mirage in Las Vegas. :) I think I'll insist on seeing Blue Man Group, too.
Some kitty ate the baby bird during the day. All I found was a little wing and a lump of something I didn't recognize. :(
Yesterday, Loki didn't greet me as he usually does. There were NO kitties in the front yard. I went to open up the back windows to get some fresh air and there he was on the little patio in the back corner of the yard. I fed the kitties and he didn't come so I went to see if he was sick or something.

Or something turned out to be a young finch he'd obviously been playing with until they were both exhausted. It was perched on a fallen branch right next to him, sleeping. Squeakers was sitting about a foot away with an excited look on her furry little face as if to say, "Look Mom! A BIRD!"

I gently picked it up and looked it over. It held onto my hand with even force with its feet. Aside from one ruffled feather on its back, it looked fine. I put it in a branch of a tree and the kitties circled my feet. I chased them away. Squeakers loves playing chase and ran away only to circle back toward the bird, so I got the industrial sized spray bottle I have for prepping wrinkled laundry for tumble-press in the dryer and set it to squirt.

She was in the tree by the time I got back. Baby bird's parents had taken it higher in the holly tree and she was following. She's a smart little cat and learned what the squirt bottle meant. I finally convinced the damp cat to leave the birds alone, at least while I was out there.

This morning we had an alarm of a finch outside our window. TWEET! it yelled, TWEET-TWEET! TWEET-TWEET! TWEET-TWEET! I got up and shooed it away only to see all three cats gathered around the baby bird, again perched on the fallen branch. I went out and put the baby bird back in the tree and the parent bird stopped yelling. This time, baby bird was a bit alarmed to be picked up and hopped into the tree from my hand. I told it to stay high in the tree.

I shooed the cats. The two older ones shooed. Miss Cactus came into the house like a good kitty. Squeakers needed to be chased, again playing the chase game. I got the water bottle and discovered Loki had come back. I shook the water bottle as I approached and he left. Squeakers followed and doubled back, hopped up onto the fence and playfully leapt onto the neighbor's garage roof that the tree touches. I started shooting water at her. She ran past the top of the roof to hide behind the ridge and peeked at me. I squirted toward her. She ducked and cautiously peeked from the other end, then ducked, and peeked again. I squirted toward her and she disappeared. I waited. Then I saw Loki sneaking back along the side of the house and shook the bottle at him. He reconsidered and went back. That's when I saw Squeakers leaping through the branches of the neighbor's tree that overhangs our yard, heading for the front yard. I called out that she was a good kitty. Positive reinforcement!

I know darned well they're probably back under the holly tree waiting for that baby to mess up and land on the patio again.

That little bird is very lucky Loki is the dominant cat and he has no front claws. Its also very lucky that our cats don't know birds can be food. We'll see if it survives the day. I would bring our cats in but if I did I know Chloe, Dempsey or some other neighbor cat would come and take that baby bird. Loki out there is the bird's best chance of survival.

I've taught one cat in the past to leave birds alone. Hopefully, I can teach these. Ha! Loki and Squeakers both have such strong personalities, I doubt they'll listen. Miss Cactus probably is teachable.



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