Homecoming

Jocelyn is symptom-free from Covid, and it's been 10 days since her positive test, so she is free to travel according to the CDC. Things are interpersonally challenged in San Diego with the Circus Center and her roommates and so forth, and she decided not to stick around for the last 4-6 weeks of the program. So she parlayed a year ago canceled flight into a redeye, dashed about with packing (acquiring an additional bag was step one), and she's on the plane now, landing early tomorrow morning.

She actually has a job, which she can "start anytime" – she's going to work for the moving company Gentle Giants. Her boyfriend's dad is an architect, and he thought he could get her into some construction crew, which she thought would be interesting, but the construction guy said he didn't have any use for such a junior person, but he knew that the moving company would be happy to have somebody who was strong, even if they aren't a giant. So she applied, and they said sure. We'll see how actually getting hours works out, and whether there are issues involving bias. Meanwhile, she still has to finish out the Reed semester online.

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OMG the kid has covid

Apparently the people at the Circus Center she's been training with are loose about infection control. From her discussion of behavior of her housemates and others at the center, it has always seemed a little dicey, safety wise, and apparently it was. So they had everybody tested, and one other person tested positive. If it had been two other people it would of been considered an outbreak and they would've had to shut down. I think that would've been better, because I'm sure that someone must be in the early stages and they're just going to pass it around.

Jocelyn is doing okay. She had a fever, but not high, and a cough, which was annoying but not debilitating, and she lost her sense of smell. She's on the mend and talking about coming home earlier than the planned "end of May". There had been some issues making her think about coming home early even before she got sick.

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Health updates

1st Pfizer shot down, 2nd scheduled. Having a 5-week gap because of planned CA trip. I don't want a potential fever at the airport, so I'm delaying until after my return. This confused bureaucrats but they coped. I figured this is what they're doing in Europe as a matter of course, so it must be okay.

Separately, Valerie has been part of a health-related study for the past couple of years, for which they outfitted her with a fit bit. The study is now over, and she has passed the fit bit on to me. I've had it for about five days. I'm finding it fun to look at my sleep patterns, and I'm amazed at its ability to figure out what I have been doing for exercise. It accurately detects brisk walking, outdoor bicycling, and running on the elliptical. It did not detect kayaking. Valerie said that it often detected kayaking as "outdoor activity", but it didn't detect it at all for me today. I haven't yet done yoga with it, so I don't know what it will say about that. I have not been so impressed with its ability to count steps. It gave me like 25 steps for sitting and changing my clothes. There was a lot of waving my arms around as I changed my shirt and tied my shoes, but there was only a little bit of standing up in order to pull up my pants, and there was no walking at all. I think it's doing a little grade inflation.

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Bad cat day yesterday

So I had been pretty happy with how Jetty was responding to the new food – her bowel movements were improved, and she was happily eating it. There was one day where she didn't eat (Tuesday or Wednesday), but she had done that one time before, and chow down the next day. So, on Saturday when she again didn't eat anything, I wasn't completely alarmed. But then late Saturday night she was having a lot of trouble walking. I thought maybe it would help to get her to eat, and so I tried to entice her to have something, but she really wasn't interested. So I went back to bed.

Sunday morning she was having even more trouble, and she still wasn't eating, even tuna water and her old food and anything else I could think of. Plus I gave her an anti-nausea pill in case that was the problem. Now I was getting alarmed. By Sunday night she was having an enormous amount of trouble walking and still wasn't eating. By Monday morning she couldn't even stand up, and now had stopped drinking.

I don't think this was just a random reaction to the food, I think that something more serious had gone wrong inside her, and she was just shutting down. She was still using the litter box (until Monday when she ran out of output and steam), so I don't think it was a intestinal blockage or something.

Anyway, I saw the vet Monday evening, and we had the "last vet visit". As I reported earlier, it was a little surreal sitting in the parking lot – I asked before making the appointment whether I could come in for the last vet visit, and the answer was "yes" – they've got a little room in the back where you don't have to pass by any people, so it's just you and the vet in the little room in the back. Which they have put little artwork and stuff on to look very compassionate and all that.

Anyway she was pretty much comatose by then, so I just sat there petting her until the end. (And a little bit longer.) Then I came home and spent a long time petting Downy, who is still very much alive.

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First kayak ride!

The lake is half unfrozen, and it's the half that's next to our land, so kayaking was possible. Circumnavigated the open water, and at the downwind-most point, some junk had accumulated. This included a dead bird, and a kayak. The kayak was kind of waterlogged, and upside down. We couldn't flip it and keep it right side up, not sure why – we first thought it had to do with perhaps ice inside the kayak. Anyway, with two of us tied to the upside down kayak, we managed to drag it over to the shore. That was the real exercise! (We left the dead bird behind.)

Once at the shore, I could stand in the water (wearing my waders) and work more on getting water out of the kayak. Now it was stable right side up, and much easier to tow back to our shore. But still kind of full of water, and too heavy to lift. We were able to kind of roll it over (more water poured out), and then we worked for a while trying to figure out how to remove the last of the water, with eventual success. It is now up on our land next to the road where it will be convenient for the owner (or a thief) to retrieve. We've posted on the local Facebook group and also left a message with the police. If nobody comes and gets it, I guess will have another kayak for the summer.

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The naming of cats is a difficult matter

We've been thinking of a million different names. I just thought of "Downy", because this cat is EXTRAORDINARILY SOFT. She's also the downstairs cat. Ken is threatening to call the upstairs cat (who has a perfectly nice name) "Uppy" if we do this, though. Not sure that threat is sufficient to dissuade me.

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It never rains but it pours

We seem to have another cat.

A friend of mine's mother passed away a few weeks ago, and left behind an elderly cat, and none of the heirs was really able to take it. Since I had just gotten my own elderly cat, I didn't think I could take it either. So, my friend Peg volunteered to at least foster it so they could have one problem off their hands.

Turns out this cat has not had much in the way of veterinary care, so off she went to the vet, where they discovered horrible teeth, but surprisingly healthy in all other regards. We're working on getting a dental appointment. Turns out there's not enough veterinary dentists in Massachusetts, and so there's a long waiting list everywhere!

Meanwhile, she seemed lonely because Peg is here a lot, and so the cat is alone when that happens, and when Peg is home, it's just one person. So, we decided that maybe the cat could live here. We'll find out how this works.

My kitty, Jetty, is still kind of hit and miss about the litter box, so she is confined to the third floor, where she visits me at night, and I occasionally go work or read up there so that I am with her and she is not lonely. She does not really seem to mind being lonely – there are many times in which she could be hanging with me upstairs, and instead she goes somewhere else (mostly back to her little bed) and hangs by herself.

The new kitty, not yet named (there's a contest, we didn't like the original name), will be a first-floor kitty. So far we have blocked off the stairs, although not thoroughly, so she can get past, though she will probably make a clattering so we will know when she knocks down the cardboard I've put up. The second floor is no-cat's-land at the moment, although the new kitty will probably be allowed there after she has proven her cat potty abilities downstairs. So far she has been happy to sit next to the table where Valerie and I were working on a jigsaw puzzle (of cats, appropriately) and receive occasional pettings.



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I had a birthday

Last year, I had a big birthday bash. This year, obviously that wasn't happening.

I had a pretty good birthday anyway. I made blueberry French toast casserole the night before for Valerie to put in the oven in the morning (since she gets up earlier) so we could have it piping hot for breakfast. Since she was up early anyway, Valerie had borrowed this object, and had plenty of time to inflate it before I got down for breakfast, so I walked into the dining room and there was this ridiculous thing!

Just the previous day, somebody at work had decided we should be having social hour occasionally, so I had said "let's start Wednesday at lunch and wish me happy birthday!" So I got to put the ridiculous thing on video, and that was kind of fun.

In the afternoon, I had an optional errand in Somerville, and I decided to take my motorcycle since it was 52°. I got a little cold, but not bad. There was a lot more traffic than I expected, since I went at 2pm, I expected there really not to be much. Anyway, it took longer than I expected, so the amount of work I got done that day was not very much. But, it was my birthday!

Then, for dinner, I decided that we should have party food. See, for the big birthday bash the previous year, I had purchased a bunch of those frozen hors d'oeuvres, and had not managed to put them out, because there was so much other food. At some point earlier in the year we had party food for dinner, but there was still some left. We still have some of the little hot dogs wrapped in dough, and the first time there is some potluck or party, I will bring them.

And of course, we had cake for dessert. Jocelyn wasn't home to decorate it, but our friend Peg rose to the occasion.


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Kitty update

So I took my bad kitty to the vet, where we learned she is developing diabetes. This is apparently a known side effect of long-term steroid use. So, we are going to be switching to a new thing, Atopica, which is an immunosuppressant, and has less severe side effects, but will have similar inflammation reducing effects to work on the inflammatory bowel disease. With an improved diet (I'm only serving her the food that she came with), the diarrhea has abated, and improved litter box behavior has resulted.

Atopica takes a week to take effect, so we'll be continuing the same steroid dose for that week, and then tapering off the steroid over the next two weeks. Then a week after that when we'll have only Atopica, we'll go in for bloodwork again and see how diabetes is progressing, hopefully also abating.

We're not going to do anything about the high blood sugar during that month; apparently it's not currently excessively high, and blasting more stuff at her little system is maybe not best. Hopefully the diabetes will recede after the steroid is gone, and we won't be having to go to insulin. I have had a diabetic cat before (Mottle), and she was extremely cooperative about everything, so it was very easy to even monitor her blood sugar myself. I'm not so sanguine about Jetty's cooperation, so I really hope the diabetes does abate...

Annoyingly she doesn't like the taste of the new medication, so it's been a struggle to get her to eat the little splodge of food I mix it into. I'm about to try tuna water, although that's not on her diet, so I hope it doesn't have the usual bad side effect of improper food.

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Reduce, reuse, recycle

What do you do when you have left over political lawn signs?

Use them to insulate your floor!

My kitty has been bad, as I previously reported, so I took away all the rugs in my bathroom. But, it is a tile floor, and her feet were getting cold. And I felt bad for her. I mean, she did have a nice bed to sleep in, so it's not that I was leaving her in a cold room all the time. Anyway, I suddenly realized that we had all of these left over political lawn signs from old elections, and they were plastic (washable) and insulating. So I put her food and water bowls on them, and her feet are warm when she eats now. (The tray is also plastic, and is an attempt to make clean up somewhat easier.)



She has been improved in her litter box behavior, and so I have been letting her out into more rooms on the third floor, but not yet downstairs. If she's good for a week upstairs, I will let her downstairs and see how that goes. I confess to a little concern that she will think it's too much trouble to go back upstairs when she needs to use the litter box.

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