Monday, April 30, 2007

long and winding road

I spent the long weekend with my parents, sister and her family up at a trout-farm near Dullstroom (famous trout area). Apart from spending some time with the family, it was a wasted weekend, because the only time I left the house was when we all went out for lunch on Saturday. I didn't fish, I didn't walk in the forests, I didn't go looking for the wild game on the farm. Basically, I slept. Got up to be sociable, for meals, then had my morning nap, lunch, afternoon nap, sit around a bit before supper in front of the fire, eat, bed. Very much what I would have done at home in JHB.

Only fun thing was that on the way home (I drove up by myself), I picked up a hitchhiker on the highway. Basically, because I don't like seeing pretty young women hitching on their own in the dark. Neither of us could really understand the other. I thought she wanted to go to the 'Formule 1' hotel in the next town - she meant the 'Formula 1' squatter camp about 30 kms off the highway. Once I'd dropped her off, I carried on forward, figuring I'd find the way to JHB sooner or later - I have a great dislike of turning around to drive back on the same road. So I found a little town, then another, then I phoned my brother-in-law, who knows the area well, to ask him which little town I should head for next, seeing as none of them seemed to have a handy 'JHB this way' sign. My mother hit the roof about me picking up hikers in the dark, and about leaving the highway to tour rural Mpumalanga. I loved it, driving through the dark, no real idea of where I was going except for knowing it was sort of south-westerly. Hoping desperately to find some exciting wildlife on the road that was mildly injured and could be rescued and taken back to JHB - not even a squashed birdie. But it was cool, anyway, other than doing about 200 kms more than I needed to, which made it quite a long journey.

Did first session of 'unpacking' with Sue the numerologist today. Was crying within about the first 5 minutes - don't want to really say much about the rest, except that if the results it brings are as much as the pain for now, it will be worth it.

Tomorrow is another public holiday here (so was Friday), so I expect most of it will be spent asleep. Must try to at least move some of the new furniture into place. And tidy clinic a bit. Feeding the ever-starving pigeons goes without saying....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

andy-shit, all else busy

Andy's leg is infected, so he is still cage-bound, and on antibiotics for a week. Serious shit though, as in he might have to have the leg amputated. We'll see next week though, after a week of a/b's and a different bandage. Found out though, that someone anonymous had given the vet R500 towards the bill. So somehow, Andy-cat still has fairies on his side. Pray to them, please....

Saw p-doc and t-doc, both sessions being really funny. P-doc thinks the idea of me talking to old ladies about pigeons is hilarious, told me that they have ZZ and ZW chromosomes as opposed to people's X/Ys, but that he wouldn't want to be a pigeon cos they don't have a penis. I told him that they probably still have sex more often than he does. Funniest thing though was that he went to Rome for a conference....and ended up at the wrong one! There are two in Rome that he was invited to, last week and next week, and somehow he ended up booking for the wrong one. But he loved Rome, and all the Latin history shit, so at least he had fun.
T-doc swears that someone drugged our coffee, because we ended up talking about such strange stuff. She is wicked, has a really off-the-wall way of looking at stuff sometimes, and somehow today it was just all coming out. From debate about feeding corpses to lions onwards - I'd like that, but I don't know if lions tolerate Nardil too well.
And then I met Mikey the mynah's new mom, to hand him over. She's the woman who was so heartbroken earlier this week about losing her mouse-bird, and I convinced her that a mynah would be good for her. I think she'll be a good home for him/her (can't really sex them) too - but I look forward to her discovering the difference in nature and intellectual ability. Mynahs don't only live in houses, they run them....

So I am wrecked. Didn't get to touch the couch, almost passed out leaving p-doc, and again leaving coffee shop where I met Mikey-mom. This postural hypotension bit is not so fun - not unless you like almost falling over, and I'm not too wild about doing that unexpectedly.

Off, not really willingly, for a family long-weekend of trout fishing and bonding, tomorrow. Love my folks, love my sister and her family, but at the moment, curled up on the couch by myself is way more likable then being sociable for 3 days. Ah hell... stuff we HAVE to do, I guess, in return for the huge amount of stuff that gets done for us...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Andy fund

Spent most of the day sleeping on the couch. It's become a bad habit - not sure if it's med related or not, but by 09h00 I'm exhausted, and my body is exhausted too, and the call of the couch is unavoidable. Up if I have to be by 12h00, and back again by 15h00. Up at 17h30 to feed the cats, and in bed by 21h00 most nights, sometimes earlier. I am literally planning my life around when I can nap, or at least just lie down and pretend to sleep.

Only constructive things for the day were fetching another Rameron pigeon from one of the local vets and feeding Mikey and the pigeon brats at just about the right times. And putting together a usable mail of the whole Andy story.....

Andy's story

On Good Friday, I got an emergency call for help from my ex next door neighbour, who runs Children of Fire - a burns victim charity. One of the families she knows from her work at Slovo squatter camp had just called, asking to borrow R100 before the Melville vet would even look at their cat. They had carried him in a pilllow case, all the way from Slovo, because, being a public holiday, the SPCA etc were all closed. Melville wouldn't even give him a pain killer without the holiday consult fee being paid first.

I was about to fetch a snake from Craighall vet, before they closed 20 mins later, so ended up taking Andy the cat with me. He had been caught in a snare (we think), torn all the ligaments in his leg and degloved about an inch of flesh, which was becoming septic. He had to see a vet, firstly for pain relief, and secondly for anti-biotics.

Now, because I took him to Craighall, he is going to have huge vet bills. I've kind of agreed to meet those, and although I will beg Dr V for all the discount possible, it was still an emergency holiday consult, and a lot of treatment to follow.

Children of Fire has donated 40 boxes of Belgian chocolates to me for Andy and I have been selling them at the rehab centre to help towards his vet bills. (18/04/2007)

Andy spent the day at the vet again today, having his leg cleaned and rebandaged, and, as the vet phrases it, 'his pockets picked'! So hopefully there will be less incentive to ramble into snares when he goes home. The leg is looking good, but needs another week of bandaging and confinement. Hopefully, by next week it will be ok enough to send him home.

Andy has a loving family - they cared enough to carry him in a pillow case from Joe Slovo to Melville, to try get him help. He is certainly a happy and affectionate (very!!) cat, and they are looking forward to his return. I think from the descriptions I've heard, that while it might be a poor home, it is a very loving one, where he is well treated. So the plan is to return him there as soon as possible.

His vet bill so far is R1880, so should come in at less than R2000 all told. Thanks to Ken Cosgrove of the Fury group, who bought 20 boxes of chocolates, we've raised half the costs. My hope is that we will cover the remaining expenses, have enough to send Andy home with a few bags of food and that anything then remaining would be given to animal care organisations directly active in the Slovo squatter camp, either as cash, or as subsidised food and medical equipment.

The best way of getting money (or supplies) or buying chocolates for Andy would be at the rehab centre. If you'd like to make a bank transfer, call me on *** and I can give you account details. (19/04/2007)

Thanks for all that you are doing. I have never seen any animal group do anything in Slovo in the past ten years. I have taken a couple of dogs for vaccinations myself and provided dog food upon occasion. I tried to get the veterinary college to sponsor deworming all animals if I did all humans but they wouldn’t assist.

Any surplus should be spent on actual animal food rather than cash being handed over.

But there are jolly big rats in Slovo so paper sacks of food might not survive long. (Bronwen Jones, Children of Fire 19/04/2007)

Update on Andy cat:

He went home to Slovo squatter camp today, although he stilll needs confinement for another week. He was starting to feel very sorry for himself, and only eating when F sat with him, so we decided that it was worth balancing the definite confinement versus the happiness and letting him go home.

I went with Bronwen of Children of Fire, who'd called me about Andy originally, as well as two of the burn victim kids that COF are currently caring for. Within seconds of our arrival, I think, one of the Slovo kids had run to call Busi, as she came racing towards us before we'd gone 50 m. We carried an ecstatic Andy in his crate home to Busi's shack, with an escort of about 30 children. When she picked him up he purred and purred, and rollled around in her arms. I will fetch him from her on Thurs morning, and take him back to Dr Shackleton at Craighall for (hopefully) his last checkup and bandage removal. Busi was in tears, especially when Bronwen told her what it had cost to care for Andy - care that she would willingly have given, but could never have afforded.

On the finances, thank you to Kristy, who donated the total balance oustanding on Andy's vet bill, Amanda, who made a direct deposit, and FM volunteers/committee members Phillipa, Becky, Phillip, Hillary, and Dr Jill Drake who have all bought Andy-chocolates. I am still hoping to sell the rest of the chocs, as I had illusions/delusions of grandeur last night while thinking of all the people who had so readily helped with Andy. I sent him home with food, and will continue to make sure that he has food supplied. There's just something about the way his mom cared enough to carry him all that way that has gotten to me, though. Expenses to date are R1970, income/promises are R2100. If the rest of the chocs are sold, we should reach about R3100.

My current plan is to use the remaining money to buy food and dewormer for some of the animals that Bronwen knows of. She says though, that none of the recognised animal welfare organisations are particularly active in Slovo squatter camp. So what I would really like to organise now, is that the Andy-fund becomes an unofficial helper of the animals in the squatter camp. That where possible, we could provide vet care for cases such as Andy, and that on a more regular basis, we could provide food, spaying/neutering, deworming to a few animals a month.

It's not much, I know, compared to the needs of the people and the animals in the squatter camp. But it would be something small and of real value to the animals there, most of whom are loved, even if they are not always able to be cared for properly. If there are a few people who'd be willing to help me, I would like to open an Andy-account, to which donors would be able to transfer R20 or R50 or R100....any amount would help....and on a monthly basis, I would then use this for food, spaying/neutering, deworming or any other medical treatment that the fund could afford.

As I said, this might be a somewhat grandiose idea, based on helping one special kitty. But, if there is anyone who would be interested in helping by providing regular funding, no matter what the amount, could you mail me? If even a few of us would be prepared to do it, I will then go ahead with setting up the 'Andy-fund' as a non-profit organisation etc. (21/04/2007)

I spoke to Andy's mom Busi earlier. She is still keeping him confined except when he gets a cuddle - he needs his loving, she says! She says he is eating well though, and seems reasonably happy. I'll see him on Thursday morning when he has his next vet trip to Craighall Village vet for a checkup.

On the financial side, thanks to Carol for a very generous donation. We have now received R2150, with another R300 promised, and (touch wood) only R1970 spent. (23/04/2007)

The Andy-fund

We also have commitments to R500 at least, on a monthly basis, so it looks as if the Andy-fund will go ahead! Children of Fire have very kindly said that it can be run as a special project under their NPO status, as they already do huge amounts of work for the people of Slovo, and have the community knowledge that will help us greatly. I'll be opening Andy's own bank account (wonder which paw he'd need to sign for withdrawals....!), speaking to the PDSA and SPCA, as well as the local vets and other animal organisations doing similar work. Any advice or assistance would be appreciated.....I've never done anything like this before! (23/04/2007)

The intention will be to provide spaying/neutering, deworming and vaccination to as many of the animals at Joe Slovo squatter camp as is possible. I'd like to arrange that a set number of dogs and cats be treated monthly, with some surplus being accumulated for emergencies such as Andy's (I'd like to keep a balance of about R2000 for this), and anything extra being spent on food. And of course, making sure that Andy himself has an ongoing supply of food!

You have received this mail (and my apologies for duplications), because you are on the mailing list of an animal welfare group, or because someone you know thinks you might be interested in our work. If you'd like to receive ongoing info on Andy and his fund, or would like to make a contribution - monthly, or one-off - please contact me, as I will be setting up an 'Andy' mailing list.

SO....over the space of a week, this has turned into a whole project. Scary!! Especially when, if I get other people involved, I have to still set it up to run without me. Kind of feel like I'm setting up a legacy project.....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

ugh...long day

So my quiet day at home turned into going through to the centre with the very sick owl from Friday night, staying there most of the morning. Got home and was just making coffee, when my sister phoned to say their car had broken down and she, BIL and 2 kids were sitting on the side of the road with two weeks worth of holiday luggage about 2 hours south of JHB. So it was off to fetch them, pack everything into my (luckily) capacious bakkie, wait for the tow truck to get there for their car, and back to JHB. Long afternoon, but I was so impressed by my niece (9) and nephew (8) who sat on the side of the road for 4 hours, then crammed into the back with all the luggage and my BIL, and both remained cheerful and happy all the way home. Actually, my niece was in such a good mood that she sang and told jokes for most of the trip - sister whispered to me that after that marathon interactive session, BIL was going to deserve a drink the minute we got home! A kid can tell an awful lot of bad 9-year old 'knock-knock' and 'chicken' jokes in 2 hours.

I dunno, Lily...don't see any hope. I'm just being a bass-ackward idiot as usual. I don't know that having one reason not to die, and that being something I can't even ask for, is really too smart. It works on a day to day basis for now, until I finally realise though that sticking around for something that isn't available even though I don't want to die without it is just more of a waste of time and energy. Day to day, though....

Friday, April 20, 2007

work, damn work! and some good news too

So do I whine about work first or share the good bits.....hmmmm.

Good news I think: I had two calls today who between them have covered the remainder of Andy's vet bills. So now anything that comes from the chocolates is going to be used to buy food and dewormers, which Children of Fire boss will distribute in Slovo, as she says none of the recognised pet-helpers really do much in the camp. I'm hoping for close to another R1000-00, which will deworm and feed a couple hundred cats for a while. Yay. I am overwhelmed by the way this has just 'happened', all along. Andy showed up, I had to help, but I was really expecting that it would end up being just me and a big vet bill. To see the way that other people have willingly chipped in has been great.

Although it was not my intention originally, I think I might look at whether it would be possible to keep the Andy-fund running in some way. Especially if I can abuse Bronwen as a distribution service - she knows the whole structure of the camp, the people, the animals etc. It's more ambitious than I had thought of, but if I can get a couple of hundred rands worth of food and meds in every month.....WOW!

Work was good and bad. And long. I ended up spending 8 hours there, which is way longer than I am used to! And the Nardil postural hypotension bit has kicked in big time, so when I sit for a while and then try walk across the room, there is some serious disconnection between brain and body. The one time, I was trying to talk intelligently at the same time, and I was seriously wondering whether I was going to fall on my face before I reached something I could hold on to. Interesting, but not the most fun drug abuse I've ever had!

There might be more work that I will have to do. From everything I know about being a damn good DBA, the new site take-on is an important, deserving of care project. But it doesn't justify a full time on site person for two months (which the guy who wants the two month contract is telling them) and another application DBA person as well. It's about a half day position most of the year, with 3 months of an hour or two, and 3 months of full day. Not 2 or 3 people! It's the sort of site that I have run on my own most of my life, and to me, the big reason for outsourcing the DBA services is so that you never have to rely on only one person knowing the site, and so that when your prime DBA goes away, you have someone available for day to day stuff.

The good news is that they still want to keep me, the bad news is that they want to make it more formal, by making me go through a contract house. On the other hand, at least that should remind me to bill every month!!

So now, I need to check on baby Miky the mynah and his two pigeon friends, the snake, who I gave blupper to just now (what do you call it, when you only get fed once a week??), the ten little mice who don't know yet that they have just joined the food chain and are busy running around being so cute that I might just quietly release them instead, the sick pigeon, and the very sick owl who has bad trichomoniasis, which is what owls who eat pigeons that are carriers get, and which is why people say pigeons carry disease. He is really really sick - nose and throat full of maggot eggs, big plug of yuckky mucus wedged in throat (takes about 1 month to 6 weeks for mucusy hole to heal), so has been cleaned up, given two different antibiotics, traumeel, fluids only until he is stronger.....I have put him in the kitchen rather than the clinic because I don't want him infecting my healthy pigeons. Can't wait to use that line, as normally it's the other way round!

And apart from all that, I realised today that there is actually only one thing that I am staying alive for. Might sound dumb, but I figured today that there is one man who I would like to kiss - and apart from that I can't think of any good reason for staying alive. The rest of everything - work, family, animals, birds, day to day stuff is just that. Stuff. None of it justifies wasting this much oxygen, none of it justifies sticking around. Guess the saddest bit is the man concerned is not someone I would ever actually approach, it means either I drag on until I give up wishing for that, or I just die knowing that I'm doing it without achieving the sweetest thing out.

Or, in my dreams, the meds start working, and the psychotherapy makes me confident and happy and the pigs flying past the window all wave their fat little trotters as they pass...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

birds, beasts and chocolates

Half the insane people in JHB have my cell number. They pass it on to each other, as well. My phone-book is full of entries like 'pigeon ros', 'mynah sandy', 'duck louise' - so that when they call again to say 'I brought you a bird last year and now I have another one....', I can make intelligent remarks like 'yes, it was that beautiful pigeon'.

It would probably be better for me if I pretended ignorance of any bird prior to yesterday, but I can't - when people care enough to get hold of me, and then to follow up on 'their' babies progress, I feel obliged to at least try to know what it was and where I got it from.

Monday's call came 5 minutes after I'd curled up for my afternoon nap. I felt guilty, but arranged to come out in about 2 hours - before that happened, they phoned to say building management had called someone. I asked them to get his name, because if there is some other sucker out there caring for baby mynahs, it would be useful for both of us to have backup. Tuesday's call came - again, as I settled in for a morning nap - but this time I leaped straight into action. Turned out building management had called pest control, and the girls involved had refused to let them take the baby.

I arrive. Baby is a mynah nestling who has fallen through the steel grid of the roof where they nest, onto the 3rd floor balcony of an office building. Mom and Dad are guarding him fiercely. Very fiercely. When the sliding door had been opened to take baby a saucer of water, the parents had flown inside, terrorised everyone in the office, and then patrolled the balcony. When I looked at him, he was a just-fledgling, who would have needed another week at least of care. The bird-lovers in the office said they hadn't seen him being fed, and couldn't stand to find a little body there. The smokers and coffee-drinkers said they weren't prepared to walk up and down three flights of steps for 2 weeks just because some damn bird wouldn't allow them out the door! As a smoker, coffee-drinker and bird-lover, I had to agree with all 3 groups. problem, I say - I'll take him. 'By yourself?' they ask. 'Without protective gear?' No problem....macho girl says, it's just a little bird! I got nailed. Hard enough that I checked for blood. Mom and Dad did not approve of me going out there, of looking at baby, of picking up baby, and of taking him away. Baby didn't really approve either, until he got fed, and then he was happy.

I haven't spoken to the office since then, but, based on my last sighting of two parents watching beady-eyed through the glass door....I wouldn't bet on a peaceful smoke out there for a few days yet!

Today's unwilling call was a duck with a broken wing. So he'll need taking to the bird vet before tomorrows shift - yep, got bullied into a shift as well.

And Andy-cat has an early vet delivery for his leg to be cleaned and checked, and while he's prone, will have his nuts denutted as well. Might help prevent future problems.

The heroes for the day though, are Dr Marc Verseput of Craighall Vet who has promised to keep Andy's bill under R2000 - lots of leg work, 3 days of public holiday, a week of care, bandages, neutering, more sedation etc. I was expecting something closer to twice that. Thank you Marc. And thank you Ken Cosgrove of the Fury car dealer group. Ken already supports the wildlife rehab centre at every event, plus he has become a 'volunteer husband' and he and his wife are the recognised chimney experts - even though he doesn't like heights! When he heard of Andy, and my hope for some help with the medical bills, he immediately bought 20 boxes of the chocolates that Children of Fire had donated to Andy. Thank you Ken, thank you Fury Auto group, and thank you to the Fury management team who are eating expensive chocs whether they wanted to or not! Now if only Ken had 40 unmarried brothers.....

Monday, April 16, 2007

sick and sorry

I spent most of last week asleep on the couch. On Friday night I had to go to a compulsory fundraiser, which was tortuous and I know I drank more than I should have. On Saturday I spent most of the day thinking of how much of a relief just dying could be, and blamed it on a hangover. By Sunday, I started thinking that 6 days of diarrhoea, two days of death-warmed-up, and a week of oversleep might be not entirely signs of health.

So being a chicken in terms of physical my p-doc, hate seeing any other something for the diarrhoea from the chemist. That helps a bit, but I still spent most of the day asleep.

And Andy has gone to semi-sane cat lady. She keeps justifying not having a tenant in her cottage due to kitty needs for it. And I had need. I had 4 kitties who wouldn't leave me alone the whole weekend, but who had a fight over every meal. All fights started by 5-year old neutered Toby, who has never had a testosterone related thought in his life. Until now. Supper tonight was a pleasure - everyone ran for it and hunkered down as normal. I have promised cat-lady friend whatever rental she desires, for the next two weeks of her cottage. I think my last offer was dinner at any restaurant she had ever wanted to go to for every two days that Andy stays with her. Cheap at the price of peace in the house....

Still feeling not so good. Don't want to blame it on p-meds, cos then I have to tell p-doc. See how much of tomorrow I spend being sick or asleep before I decide.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

beastie things

Good and bad.

My cybervet friend has had the week from hell with her cats, one (sickly) youngster dying, one semi-feral being hit by a car - they live on a very isolated bit of a farm, so there is only about one car a week - and today, her big old boy died of kidney failure. Big hug, my friend, and remember that they all had good lives with you.

Andy the squatter-camp kitty is now staying with me, as he needs medicating twice daily, and confinement. And has to go back to have his wound cleaned twice weekly under sedation. So he'll be with me for two or three weeks. Told burn-victims friend I might not give him back after that, because he is just such a sweet cuddly boy!

My own horde are not sure yet about having a cat in the spare room. They already feel deprived because there are normally birds there, so they aren't allowed in anyway. But now there's a talking kitty! They have all been very affectionate today, while they decide whether to be upset with me or not.

There's been a dog-food crisis here again. After an anti-freeze contamination (very exclusive supermarket brand, 35 dogs dead) a month or two ago, and the whole Menu Foods in the US, I am just so impressed with how Royal Canin have handled this. Well, other than the question of why dog food and anti-freeze are anywhere near each other to begin with. Nineteen cases of renal failure, all on dogs being fed a RC local vet-only brand of senior food. So some of them could have been semi-expected. RC got feedback, immediately asked all vets to pull all varieties of the food, and to ask clients not to feed it until more is known. Partial bags can be returned for a refund. Vets and clients are being kept up to date daily. I was at two local vets today, both with phones going crazy and food piling up behind the desks, although neither had yet had a problem.

Comparing this to the whole way Menu Foods has had to be virtually coerced into admitting a problem, the huge temporary loss on returned foods, and what will inevitably be a loss of future sales for a brand that was positioned as the local top food....

If they can provide a reason for the contamination, and, more specifically, why it will not happen again, I think I will go back to using the brand. I know they are in business to make money, but I like to know that they care enough about my animals to be honest when health versus profits arise.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

too lazy for much

- missed out on afternoon nap (I rather like GG's theory that it's not laziness, it's allergies!), have taken night time meds already, so am hoping that the combination will result in early to bed and maybe sleep through a bit longer.

So just one pic, of some of our babies born at the centre.

Currently, we have 3, including one baby, but the adults refuse to accept her, so the poor little thing is stuck on her own in the clinic. Where one of the daily jobs is 'take meerkat out and play with her....(until she bites, and then you are allowed to sling her back into confinement)'. Playing chase the cricket is a favourite game so far.

reliable thermometers

never mind all the debate on celcius vs fahrenheit, or kelvins and other arcane scientific measures. They should run the world on kittytherms, a consistent, dependable measure of actual temperature as it pertains to life.

I can tell winter is almost here, because I have a kittytherm of 3.5. When Tess finally moves between my calves, it will be winter. I don't need to know the actual number of degrees on any scale - I can tell immediately by how many bodies are under the duvet before me, and how many stay there for the night.

Of course, for extra measurements, there are factoids like how close Toby can put his luxurious whiskers to the heater without setting fire to them (never, touch wood), and whether the relative warmth of a kittytherm is related to the number taking part in the thermopile - I think it must be.

And then of course, with my friend F (don't want to call her the mad cat would be too close to what I worry about for my own future), who has 20 odd cats. Her kittytherm calculation is based around not only heat and the desirability of it, but factors like the relative status of mommy's armpit versus a hip, under duvet versus on top. She said that she had worked out once that it had to be the middle of winter when she was sweating and unable to move because of the optimum arrangement of eleven kitties.

Hmmm, maybe a thermometer that varies depending on how many you have might not be the ideal scientific method.....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

they happen...days do...

...and then at least they end. Somehow one feeds the requisite number of small birds and animals enough food.

My vet called to say that although our variety is not yet implicated, there is another dog food scare, and until more is known she'd rather I avoided giving Zac anymore. He loved it - kitty kibble and stew for dinner!

I made a list of the currently scheduled meetings with boss, including this mornings rescheduling for tomorrow. Sent him a mail saying I was totally confused by all of the 18 variations of what I thought were actually only 3 meetings and got back a reply saying that today's one was actually already rescheduled. Never mind billing him for hours spent going to and attending meetings, I am tempted to bill at about 5 times my normal rate for the amount of time it takes to work out whether there is or isn't a meeting, and when it might actually be.

I did the washing, and hung it up. But it can stay out for the night.

I slept. A bath nap. A couch nap. Another couch nap after I drove to the corner shop for eggs. Have managed 4 hours awake, including cooking and eating of eggs. And three large vodkas.

I suspect it's not the meds, that it is purely the fact that I am a useless human being. Although Sam the cat reckons the fat squishy bits of me are good for kneading at least.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

days...where are they going?

I was sitting here mid-morning wrapped in nothing but a bath towel, thinking thoughts of the household tasks that I really have to accomplish before my domestic worker returns on the weekend and disowns me.

And the first task leaped up and bit me - it's Tuesday, not Monday, and I was due at my p-doc halfway across town in less than an hour. Good thing I was already bathed, not much else about denims and a t-shirt takes much time.

After which, it was a back and forth progression across town, fetching and catching birds, until returning home to feed my birds and cats and dog.

I suspect it might be the meds, either the increase in Tertroxin, or the increase in Nardil. I sleep appallingly at night, waking up 5 or 6 times at least. But from about 09h00 until 17h00, I can achieve one succession of naps after another, literally waking only to feed animals before another small nap returns me to the couch.

Said to p-doc today that excluding cat and dog children, I don't want any more visitors. I have run out of caring. I know that I will take them because no one else will. But I wish that people wouldn't make me. I just want Joyce to come back and care for the dogs and cats, and then I want to go hide out.

Ha-ha. Good timing, just as boss discovers me and declares at least two meetings a week. He owes me though, because someone - and it wasn't me - stuffed up yesterday morning, and at 05h00 I was busy fixing problems I hadn't a clue about how had been broken in the first place. Think I might need that favour to claim.

I'm tired. I'm enough. I just want out.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

more little meerie pics

Just a bit to the left....mmmmm...that's it! Tripod gets a scratch with a goose feather.

A small donation would be appreciated! Maybe a mealworm or two?

Digger and his babies.....does this make them diglets? (And yes, they do both have heads!!)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

weird and wonderful and everything else

Public holidays and Easter stuff. I was about to leave the house to go fetch a snake who has had to have part of his tail amputated from one of our 'rehab-friendly' vets, when I got a 'desperate' call from ex-neighbour who runs a charity for burn victims. She'd just had a couple from the squatter camp where she does a lot of work, contact her, asking if she could lend them some cash so that the local vet would look at their injured cat. She said no ways, we'd sort something out instead. So I took cat and owners with me to the other vet, will twist his arm into a bit of a discount, but am likely to end up paying for it myself. These people, living in a tin shack with no water or electricity, cared enough for their cat to walk 3 or 4 kms carrying him in a pillowcase, only to have the so-called vet refuse to even see him without payment in advance. It's a public holiday, and a long weekend. "Andy" is a very healthy, happy looking male of almost a year. It looks as if he caught his leg in a snare, so apart from a raw, open wound which is showing signs of infection, there is almost definitely a break as well. It needs major treatment, which could have waited until he could be taken to the SPCA tomorrow. What couldn't have waited was pain-relief, and getting him started on anti-biotics. The vet is a private practice, so I wouldn't expect them to donate x-rays and ops etc. It would have taken them 5 minutes to look at Andy, explain to his owners about restraining him till he could be taken to the SPCA tomorrow, and to give him about R20 (retail, cost price about R5) worth of immediate meds. Owners had brought R50 with them - all they had, but they were willing to spend it on the cat. Instead of on food for themselves for the next few days.

Melville Animal Clinic (Melville Vet, Melville vet hospital, Melville Animal hospital)....yes guys, I want this to show up on every site that you do..., JHB, South Africa. You SUCK. BIG-TIME. Yes, you are a business, but there are times when a small financial loss for people who are in business PRIMARILY to care and love for animals would be worth it. As it burn-victims charity friend will be publishing your lack of care in her newsletter. She is a loud-mouthed activist. That's probably going to be the most expensive R20 you ever threw away...

That was my effort and energy for the day. P-doc is not too happy about it, but at the moment I'm taking 4mg benzos, 15mg others and a large shot of vodka to make me sleep. Even after that, I wake up 5 or 6 times a night. The cats claw me awake for breakfast, I feed the birds, and then sleep for another 2 or 3 hours in the bath. Feed birds, and fight off another nap - today I lost the fight. Doesn't matter whether I do or not, sleep at night is forced and feeble, but can sleep the whole day without even trying. Maybe I'm being an atypical idiot again, and can get written up as the first person who gets flattened by Nardil. Really don't need that.

On the lighter side, I am getting all keen on what and why people end up visiting here. My best so far? 'Daniel Radcliffe Equus pictures'. Yo...well I don't have any, but if someone wants to send a few I'll publish them under a title of 'dirty old women....' or somesuch!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

hmmmm.....not so much fun, I don't think

Having realised that one of the 4 meetings I have suddenly been scheduled for coincided with my p-doc appointment, I sent new boss a polite apology saying that I can never make meetings on a Thurs morning due to a "regular class".

Ha f-ing ha. I got two compulsory ones in return, both scheduled for 14h00 - 15h00 in Midrand, one on Weds, and one on Fri. Which means basically, 1 hour in a meeting, 3 hours in traffic, if I'm lucky.

I did mention, when we scheduled last weeks compulsory-for-that-day performance appraisal, that generally I will come to meetings in Midrand - which is about 30 kms away - if they are between the hours of 10 (start) and 14 (end), otherwise traffic is just horrendous. I suspect he is making a subtle point here. I suspect I shall make an even more subtle one back in hours billed. Hey, to me, time spent sitting in traffic when it doesn't have to be done, is worth about 3 or 4 times the actual hours. What new boss or anyone else doesn't quite realise is that I actually couldn't care less if they fire me. I would feel a bit bad for my client, given that no-one else would actually give them as good service as I do without it being noticed in any way except lack of down time.

But it would give me that just one more reason for taking the quick out. And mostly just one more would be enough...

Not quite a reason yet, but heading there, is that my parents are keen that I go do some genteel, residential program. Basically it's a rehab centre. But they cover their bases by saying that "they appreciate that substance abuse is often associated with an underlying psychiatric disorder". Think my parents are probably really pissed off with me after last nights email, where I said no way, in fairly definite terms.
Reasons :
1.P-doc doesn't practice there, and I would have to see some arb dude, who, from his (claimed online) work load, would see me for about 5 mins a week.
2.T-doc wouldn't be allowed there, as they have a bunch of 'specially chosen' psychologists and nurses. They do allow for external 'consultants', but only under exceptional circumstances.
3.They would take one look at my current meds and whip them away. Meds might not be working, but I doubt whether 20mg of Prozac would help much either. P-doc, amongst many of his other skills, is renowned for being really good on psycho-pharmacology. Like knowing how to mix TCAs and MAOIs, generally regarded as a no-go. So 3 weeks there would probably be just about enough to go cold turkey on my psych meds. Of course, they would be congratulating themselves on the 3 weeks of no alcohol, and the compulsory AA,NA and CA meetings (all three, regardless of one's personal drug of choice....). Wow. Should be just about enough to hang myself from one of the trees in the beautiful gardens they pride themselves on.

I am pretty close to giving up and letting p-doc check me into his consulting hospital. It's not a psych hospital. Even the psych ward is pretty useless. But that's where p-doc is, and it's close enough to her home for t-doc to see me most days. And they're what's making me hang on right now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

this could be either fun or fired....

I didn't post about this last week, because I'm still not actually sure what will happen.

Lying in the bath on Friday morning, 90% asleep, when the cell rings. It's my current boss, asking why I haven't responded to his emails for two months. Irreverent thought of why it has taken him 2 months to ask this goes through mind, but I restrain myself, and ask if he is using my correct address. Which almost everyone else in the office manages to use. Turns out not. He tells me he needs to do a performance appraisal. I say sure, anytime. He says how about today. As is the last day of March and they obviously are due by then. I am still 90% asleep, and therefore co-operative, so I agree to come to the office for a meeting.

First mistake - he needs to be reminded that I don't do meetings, if I do very grudgingly do them, I bill them from the second I leave home until I return, and I don't do them at my employers offices because I hate going halfway to Pretoria through bad traffic. I do them at client's offices, coffee shops or my house. However, we'll give him this one as a 'new boss' bonus.

Oh boy, meeting. Now as background, I resigned from permanent job, where I was supporting 6 clients. One took their services away (planned). One took their services away (unplanned) - they just weren't willing to have any of the other people in the team working on their system. One was my client only, because of the specific software they run. No problem says my company, we have hired someone with those skills. Took him 4 months to screw up, and given that client is a major retailer who does 30% of business between Nov and Jan, it was not happy. I got called, asked if I would come in, fix, sort paper out later. So I did.

And sort paper out later has become the norm. My boss left about 3 months after I did, and since then, management has been done by a series of "borrowed" managers. And for me, it's worked well. They keep paying me, which is all that really matters.

So new boss says that he needs to confirm my contract, but can't find it. Oh, says I, that's probably 'cos I don't think I have one currently. But you must! he says looking horrified. I say why, as long as they pay me, that's OK. But at what rate,, he asks? Not enough. say I, but it it's still borderline fair. He looks weak, and decides to change points.

"Now we need to do your performance appraisal" (by the end of the day, hmmm??) "and I can't find a performance agreement for you". Oh, says I joyfully, I don't have one of those. Boss looks weaker and paler. I decided to let him off the hook a bit. I point out that I am not a permanent employee, so don't need or want a career growth plan. I have one client, and one client only (who happens to be the most important one by a huge factor). I look after one area of their systems, which was supposed to have died about 6 year ago, and they are currently talking another two years.

If I need space, or downtime, or uptime, it's arranged between me and a select group of people who have the same goals. It works. Client is happy. Client hasn't had unscheduled outage on my bit of the system for two years. Client couldn't care less about what my performance agreement or appraisals say.

Unfortunately, poor new boss does. I think I will hit him for at least a 10% rate increase, just because he is making me do this paperwork. And paperwork it the kilogram. Since he got my actual mail address....there have been 17 mails, all with large attachments. Not sure yet what I should be doing with them, because I haven't read them. Just seeing them was enough to make me go have a nap instead....

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

things that really really hurt

I saw my last p-doc for over 5 years.

Then there was a stuff-up, where he told me he wanted to do 10 ECT's, and did 6, and then he went away for a week. And didn't come back. And all his rooms would say was that they'd put my name down for an appt when he did get back but they wouldn't say when.

My t-doc phoned about another patient, and got the same story, other than that she was told if it was an emergency, his partner (in the practice, and as in girlfriend type partner), would see patients but only if it was important.

My sister somehow got me in to see current p-doc.

When M eventually reappeared, it turned out he'd collapsed while hunting, and had ended up having all sorts of heart surgery. I asked why his receptionist hadn't said anything about health problems, and he got very angry about not wanting to share his health issues with the whole world.

I went away and thought about the way the whole issue had been handled. And about M wanting to leave the country. And about current p-doc's rep. And then I did what I thought was moral, and right. I made another appt, and went to him and said 'M, I'm going to keep seeing J for the following...'. Didn't really get into the reasons, he said straight out that he wished J luck, because I had been enough of a headache to him already. And a couple of other nasties about ditching him when he was down, etc

T-doc told me about a week ago that he is closing practice, and moving to Holland. I sent a bland email to the common address, saying I wished him luck, and if he had time, I'd love to see him for coffee. In the last two years, I've sent 4 or 5 mails, when I've thought of him, just saying that I hope stuff is going well.

So tonight I was just really thinking of him, and how much I hope his move goes well, and that somehow I still really care for him. So I phoned his cell, from my landline (cos my cell was charging). It didn't go to voice mail, so I hung up after about 10 rings. An hour later, landline rings, which I very seldom answer. But I did.

"This is Dr x, returning your call." I'm like so ecstatic to hear his voice! I say 'hey, M, this is jcat, how are ------

He hung up.

I hoped, really hoped, that it had been a dropped signal. So being the dumb stupid thickskinned c**t that I am, I called back. No reply.

Two hours later. I haven't cut, because my left arm is so stuffed that I already went today and bought long sleeved T's. And I don't want to start on anywhere else, because i probably wouldn't stop. And I already took the meds plus extras plus vodka mix.

And I just can't stop thinking about a man - not only p-doc, he did the t-doc bit as well - who knew me so well for so long. He knew me eventually in ways that it will take 100 years of marriage before I ever open up that deep again.

He couldn't even have the balls to tell me to piss off, that two years after I stopped seeing him in as professional a manner as I could manage, he still hates me.

He just hung up.

I must be a really loathsome, cretinous asshole in his opinion...

Monday, April 2, 2007

double doc day

As I was on my way across town this morning, I got a call from p-doc's rooms offering me his last appt of the day.

So I delivered 3 mynahs and 6 pigeons to their new daddy, ended up getting another baby pigeon, and then went to see t-doc. Guess it's a total waste of her time, because there's not much she can tell me, or get me to think about. I just about don't even cry, am just too lost and sunken in pain. All she can do for me is a bit of psychological hand-holding, and I wish I could tell her how very important that is to me.

Hey, and as per Shrink Raps recent posts 'your doctor is making jokes about you' and 'laughter is a drug', we still manage to make jokes. Except they're mostly about suicide, and she doesn't really find them funny. Very black humour.

And then a few kms up the road to p-doc. Went and ate lunch. Twice. Had a nap in the car. And then went and wasted his time too. Although he thought nearly being arrested for the bike helmet was funny. He can't do much on meds, he's already increasing the Nardil and the trimipramine as fast as possible, especially when he knows that I am being so non-compliant about everything else. Because I just don't give a damn. He offered me hospital three times - which in his terms means he thinks it would be a very good idea. I can't. The only person who I trust with my cats and dogs is Joyce, my maid, and she is going home to Zimbabwe for two weeks on Weds.

Dogs. I have to get used to saying dog. At the moment, I can't get another dog, because it would be just one more animal to make arrangements for.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

irony, irony, irony....

A sunny afternoon, one of the few this month. A complete shortage of vodka. So decided to take new bike for a bit of a race around the neighbourhood in pursuit of an open bottle store. Looked at helmet, decided against it. So what happens?

I get pulled over by the Metro cops. They give me lots of hassle about confiscating the bike and arresting me, until the one guy says to me 'you know it's illegal. So why?' And I said 'cos the sun is shining, it's a new bike, I just had to....'.

He rolled his eyes, pulled his own helmet out from the back of the van, said they'd follow me home (only about 10 blocks), and don't ever do it again. Thank you, cops!

So having put my own helmet on, I go back out on the vodka mission. Still dead sober. Pull over to get a soft drink. Moving too slowly, misjudge the weight of the bike, and can't hold it through the turn. Drop it on the right hand side - break the hand-brake and the mirror off, put a couple of small scratches on the exhaust. Fuck.
Dead sober and I drop the bike. How stupid is that.

Am almost at ex b/f's house, so phone him for help. He's out, will only be home in 30 mins, so find a pub I didn't know existed to wait at, that is only two blocks from his house. Ha. 4 double vodka's later, and they sell me a take-away bottle too.

I've lost it. I'm losing it even more. This morning along with my 75mg Nardil I figured bacon and eggs was a good idea. It's not only the drinking, although that is probably the worst of it. It's the whole death wish thing. If I don't have the guts to go right out and do it, it seems that I'll push it in every other way possible.

Left a msg for p-doc asking for an appt sooner than Thu. See if I get it. If I do, will throw up hands metaphorically and ask for help. If not? If not..