When you pet doesn’t feel well…

It’s awful when your pets aren’t feeling well, even if it is self-inflicted on their part!

Sylvester, our 13-year-old Tuxedo cat, has a penchant for mischief. Even at this stage of his life he likes to surprise us. Several days ago, I’d forgotten to take something out of the freezer for dinner, so at the 11th hour, I grabbed a small pork loin roast and threw it in some cold water in the kitchen sink to defrost. I do it fairly often (brain fogged menopause brain syndrome) and thought nothing of it and ran down to the basement to finish cleaning. When I came upstairs, I found Sylvester hunched over the pork roast, with remnants all over the floor and 2 big holes bitten in the plastic. Pork blood and tiny pieces of meat hung around his whiskers! I didn’t think too much about it because, well, this is not his first rodeo, and he had stolen frozen pork chops once before as a kitten! I cleaned it up and he still ate a nice hearty dinner later.

The next day I knew something was up with him. He only had a few licks of breakfast and was starting to vomit, mostly just liquid and phlegm. He has asthma and we’ve been monitoring his inflammation, which includes how often he throws up phlegm and I have a pretty detailed log that I keep. When he started to vomit bile, I knew it was time to contact the vet.

I emailed back and forth with his doctor who recommended a couple of medications. By this time, he’d also stopped drinking water and was looking a little shaky and miserable. I was told to withhold food from him for 24 hours and if he was still like that, take him to the emergency clinic the next day.

The next day was no better. He threw up on our bed during the night, so I got up and took him downstairs to the basement and we chilled on the couch for the rest of the night so that we could give Greg some peace. He just lay on top of me all that time and was very miserable. I tried to coax him with all his favourite foods and treats and even tried to get some water into him by using a syringe, but he was having none of it. Later, that morning he came upstairs and tried drinking some water but brought that up almost immediately. I called the vet and collected the meds, but they advised that I take him to the emergency clinic and don’t start the meds so that they can get a full picture of what’s going on.

The emergency clinic doctors only arrived at noon (yes, I know!) and we were there a little before. There are renovations going on there and no one is allowed in with their pets, so we consulted over the phone, and they came and took him from me so that he could see a doctor. The doctor examined him, and I’d given them a copy of the log I’d kept, as well as the meds I got from his vet, and she called me back and said she suspects it’s gastritis from eating the pork which was exasperated by his feline asthma symptoms. To be on the safe side she recommended taking an x-ray of his abdomen to ensure that he didn’t eat any of the plastic around the pork and that it wasn’t stuck somewhere in his tummy. Once the x-rays were completed she called me back to say there was no foreign body inside and there’s just an inflamed fold in his tummy that she says it’s fairly typical when a cat has been vomiting so much. She didn’t see any growth or obstruction, but she was going to send the x-ray to a Board-Certified Radiologist to confirm her findings. If I don’t hear from her, all is fine. I haven’t heard from her!!

She didn’t think Sylvester would be able to tolerate the oral meds at this stage, so recommended giving him an injection to stop the nausea and vomiting and an injection to stimulate his appetite and I totally agreed (one less pill to give him!). He could start the oral meds the next day. Within 15 minutes he was back in the car while I tried to be a brave girly and not cry!

I got him home and he was very happy to be back. In fact, he must have been feeling a lot better already because he went straight to the water bowl and sucked down a bunch of water. I followed him around like a hawk, making sure he didn’t throw that up, and he didn’t! Bit by bit, he returned to the feeding area and ate a little and drank more water. At dinner time he inhaled everything. I didn’t want to give him extra food, even though he hadn’t eaten for nearly 48 hours, because I didn’t want to upset his tummy, so I gave him a random treat here and there. He managed to keep it all down and there was no vomiting involved. He was perkier and getting stronger, but still not quite himself.

That night, after a bit of wailing and pacing, he finally jumped into bed with us and fell asleep. We were all exhausted and slept well. No vomiting through the night either. At breakfast time, his food bowls were empty so that was a good sign and he ate well again and was still drinking a nice amount of water. He started his meds and seeing as he loves pill pockets, it wasn’t very difficult to persuade him to take them.

Today, 4 days later, he is still a little sleepy and not quite 100%, but he is eating and drinking and doing all the cat related things. I’m just giving him some space and letting his body recover and giving his vet regular updates.

I’m incredibly grateful and thankful for everyone’s help, from the staff at his regular clinic, to the emergency clinic (who didn’t treat me like a crazy overprotective cat mom) and took everything I said very seriously. Now we will work on getting his asthma totally under control, but first he has to finish the gastritis meds and bounce back a little more.

Feel better Vestie-pestie. Your fan club is banking on it!

Sylvester making himself a comfy nest.

Farewell Service Club for the Blind

So last week, June 17th, 2020 I got terminated from my job. I’m a little confused, very angry yet also a little relieved. There were only 2 paid staff members and we were both terminated. We have 89 clients that we service and I’m confused about what will happen to them. I know the business is not closing. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmm. Instead of eliminating our positions or whatever they want to politically correctly call it, why didn’t they put us to work doing fundraising, getting a plan together to do that? No fundraising has been done in decades!

I have been there for 13 years, been through 3 different president’s, witnessed some amazingly lackadaisical business practices and “management” and heard the most incredible amount of gossip and back-biting ever.

I reckon I’m a fairly good employee. I follow rules, I go the extra mile and I’ve never had a bad evaluation. Work ethic in the USA is very different to what I was used to in South Africa. Even job hunting in the USA is very different. Here, if you don’t have a degree (any degree) you are placed on the “nah, not now” pile of resumes. In South Africa, experience does count. Secondly, if you are not American it can be a little sketchy. Then add the fact that you may be over 50 – they say they can’t discriminate, but well, you know how that goes!

Everything about this termination annoys me, the timing of it (during the Corona pandemic), the way it was handled (telephonically) – incidentally I was on my way to the post office to collect the office mail when I was called, and the total ignorance as to how the business will be run going forward.

Nonprofits are made up and run by a Board of Directors. You’d hope that this Board of Directors would have a ton of business knowledge to impart or have business connections in order to solicit donations, have major fundraising experience. They are volunteers who are unpaid with no other aim except to govern and direct the running of the business. In order to remain in operation, they HAVE to do fundraising, solicit bequests and donations and of course, meet the needs of the clientele they are serving. Has this Board done any of that? Oh hell no!

What will I miss (besides a pay cheque and health insurance)? Well, I will miss my book club group the most. I’ll miss the Christmas shopping day, I’ll miss decorating the Christmas tree for every occasion during the year and I’ll miss having a laugh with my colleague. What won’t I miss? I will not miss the gossip, back-biting and the indecisive decision making and lack of business skills, lack of ethics, laziness, ignorance and the attitude that “someone else can do it”.

Unfortunately the blind community seem to be their own worst enemy. It’s a catch 22 situation. They have some good ideas but due to lack of education, business and experience, they deliver it poorly and are not taken seriously. Their expectations are irrational. Most blind people who want to study further and gain business skills are not given the opportunity due to discrimination or an unfair assumption that they are unable to perform a duty. Missouri is a state that chooses to give a “help out” instead of a “help up”. Even the Missouri School for the Blind does not seem to provide adequate social and living skills to their students. Gone are the days when blind people would be taken seriously and do everything and anything to provide for their family. I’ve heard stories of blind people going door to door selling brooms and mops, take many forms of transportation to get to work that was located miles away and get involved in making a difference. This is how the Service Club for the Blind was formed in 1934. It had the potential to do great things and be well known and appreciated in its neighbourhood. Instead, when I mentioned where I worked, I’d hear “I never knew it was there and I’ve lived here all my life”. I had so many ideas and thoughts of what I would have liked to see us do there. Fundraising ideas that are always knocked down.

So why are they terminating us? Who knows! We were told the Board was restructuring. That could mean anything. Personally, I think they wanted to get rid of the sighted people. I know the Board members are not very computer literate or business savvy and few (if any) of them have had jobs in the corporate or business industry (or any real job). It’s very much a self-serving Board, reeking of conflict of interests. Their hearts are in the right place. They want it to work, they want it to prosper, but they want someone else to do it. For many years, they’ve gone round and round making decisions that are irrelevant to the general running of the place, due to their lack of experience.

2 years ago with new leadership I thought we were starting to head in the right direction and I could see change on the horizon, but then fear and panic kicked in and too much “he said, she said” started to raise its ugly head, and I could see once more, that the renewed positivity was taking a downward dive. When you’re dealing with blind Board members who have seldom held down a full-time job in the business world, they do not understand how an office is run. In the 21st century everything is done on the computer. EVERYTHING! So, when I sit at my desk, I’m working.

To terminate the only 2 staff members while the business is closed during a pandemic with no severance package, when they have done nothing wrong, is vindictive, personal and irrational. It’s a 501(c)3 Private Foundation. Go look online at their investment and financial documents. You’ll see they are not hurting. We, the ex-staff on the other hand, are.

Unfortunately this is the last charity I will ever support. I know their background. I know they do nothing substantial for their clients. I would advise you to do the same. Please make sure you all lose my phone number and email address. Don’t ask me for anything.