Saturday, June 11, 2005

Belle's condition seems to have stabilized. Most of the time she's just lying down in one position or another, then she'll get bored and go find some other place to lie down in. So more or less she's back to normal. Except that her hind right foot she's still dragging; and the fact that she's not eating like she used to any more. A few nibbles of her meal seems enough for her, though she's started to like drinking milk in the morning. It's almost like she knows Dr Casey will put her on a weight-loss programme as soon as she's walking properly and she's pre-empting the process. Smart girl. Meantime, her treatment still goes on: a syringe dose of meds followed by frequent leg massages throughout the day in the hope that she'll start feeling that right foot of hers again.

Other than that, there are still a few kinks to work out with FM broadcasting my i-Pod mini to the M2's radio. I need to find an FM band that's completely free of any traffic whatsoever. This is turning out to be harder than I expected. It's easy to avoid known local radio channels, but it still depends on which part of the island you travel to. A band that's clear in the north may pick up a broadcaster, say in Indonesia, when you travel east or south. North, you pick up transmissions from Malaysia. All this interference causes so much distortion that the music from the i-Pod becomes unlistenable. I'm sure there must be a frequency I can claim for myself somewhere out there; I just have to take time to find it. I wonder what frequency Amy's is tuned to?

And Anthony's invited us to his wedding in July. The venue is in KL, so he's promised to put us up for a night at the Ritz Carlton. That's something to look forward to! More on this thread as we get closer to his big day!

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's quite dangerous to leave the house with the intention to spend money. I got the urge to splurge and went to a once-favourite hangout where much of my disposable income in the past disappeared into -- Funan Centre.

After much internal debate and dramatic hand-wringing (no, not to June, but to myself) I succumbed to temptation and picked up a beautiful metallic blue 4GB i-Pod mini! This, despite my crusade against greedy record companies who won't compete against file-sharing technology. Guess they won after all.

What do I want an i-Pod for? Inspired by Amy who has a similar set-up, I intend to connect it to an i-Trip accessory and play my own song selections on the M2's stereo. After all, I was getting bored with the limitations of the CD player. You hear the same songs over and over again and it's kinda' troublesome to keep changing CDs all the time just to stay fresh.

The i-Trip attaches to the headphone jack and broadcasts the music files via FM band for the car radio to pick up and play. I just have to set one of my radio channels to FM87.9 and it's all my own music, baby! Now to let it charge overnight, then put it to the test tomorrow!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Belle continues to convalesce. Her right leg is still a major problem, but emotionally and psychologically she seems much happier. We don't need to confine her to quarters anymore, and she comes and goes as she pleases, with frequent rest stops in between. One new behaviour that she's developed is that she now likes to sit with us on the living room carpet while we watch TV, at least in the early evening. She usually kept her distance before, so all the pampering we've been indulging her with may have made her a bit more manja with us.

Meantime, we've been trying to live our lives as per normal. I went back on campus today to sort out the last few details of our Drama Night accounts, and I'm really glad I didn't pursue my 'opportunity' to study accounting when I was younger. Making every dollar and cent count is such a painful, tedious process, especially when doing it with someone who is professionally trained in accountancy. Doing it once in a while is frustrating enough; imagine building your whole life around this mind-numbing task.

There's still some outstanding matters in terms of payments yet to be made, awaiting receipt of official invoice from vendor; so I called him to mail us (fax invoices are not acceptable for payment). And so pending this important postal delivery, there wasn't much left for me to do today so I went out to lunch.

I have a car. I am mobile. I can go anywhere I want. The only limitations are within my imagination. So I went to Northpoint -- a short 10-minute bus ride from home. Doh, what's wrong with me? Had fish 'n' chips at the newly renovated food court. Fish was breaded, not battered; not bad, though neither was it outstanding. Chips could have been more generous in terms of size and quantity. Stay away from the coleslaw unless you like it sour.

Got the M2 a long overdue wash and wax at the Wash 'n' Run, so that was my justification for coming home early today.
More good news. Belle is improving in stages. She finally got fed up with her confinement in the guest room and actually walked -- limped, rather -- into the living room to rest on the carpet. That was the furthest she had walked since Saturday. She even had the motivation to put her forepaws on my stomach, the way she does when she is asking for a snack. I picked out a couple of snack sticks and she ate them. The bowl in her room was also empty, so I suspect she had also eaten her breakfast kibble this morning, though I didn't actually see her do it. There was also poop near her sand-box. I guess she couldn't make it in time, but in this case, seeing poop is a good sign. I did see her grooming herself again, which shows her morale is starting to come up. She purrs again when I stroke her, and Dr Casey was happy to hear this report from us when we went to see him this evening.

When we came home, Belle refused to go back to her guest room, but instead returned to her routine of sleeping in her basket under our bed. She's been there ever since.

Dr Casey is helping us restore mobility to her draggy leg. He reminded us to continue the massage and physiotherapy for her and suggested that we try alternating hot and cold compresses on her weak leg to improve circulation. Apparently, the blood vessels expand and contract according to temperature (we learned about this in Sec School physics) and this movement encourages blood to flow. If the heart isn't pumping hard enough, another kind of pump will have to do.

Belle still has a lot of recovering to do, but today's progress has really been amazing. Good girl! Keep it up!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Belle's 3-legged walk is a little stronger today. She can now lift her body completely off the ground and move short distances, and her tail is getting twitchier, though she gets tired very easily. We're still syringing water into her mouth 'cos she still refuses to eat. We're trying her out with milk as a food substitute, also having to deliver it through the syringe. That should give her at least some nourishment and keep her hydrated at the same time. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Meantime, I caught "Episode III" for the second time. We went to Great World City just to remind ourselves that we were on vacation, so why the heck were we still meeting on campus working? Guess "vacation" is just a technical term. It means "working without having to follow a fixed schedule." I can live with that.

What new insight did I gain from a 2nd viewing? Well, if Anakin Skywalker became a Dark Lord of a fried food franchise, he could serve chicken in 3 different styles: mild 'n' tender; hot 'n' spicy; and extra crispy. Haha.
Belle is grouchy. Not violent, so maybe coming home did help her disposition somewhat. She still makes unhappy noises, but at least she allows us to pet her and massage her legs for her and carry her between bed and sand-box. She even let us bathe her without attempting to claw our eyes out. She growled and protested but that was it.

For brief periods, she actually tried to walk, supporting herself on a stiff back leg but, sadly, dragging the other behind like deadweight. But in her current condition, 3 legs are still better than 2. Small blessings.

The worrying thing about her is that she isn't eating or drinking. She's still too distressed and probably depressed as well to indulge in this, her favourite pastime. Dr Casey prescribed a Flower Essence rubbing oil, the fragrance of which is supposed to help calm her down and hopefully put her back in the mood for food again. Hasn't worked so far. Belle needs to eat and keep herself hydrated or she might develop complications.

We'll have to take her back to Dr Casey if things don't improve by tomorrow.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dr Casey called us into the clinic this morning. Belle had refused any sort of treatment and charged and swatted at anyone who came close to her cage. Dr Casey hoped that with our presence she would calm down so they could continue her therapy.

When we arrived, we saw Belle crouched in a corner of her cage. She wore a lampshade to prevent her from ripping out the drip like she had the previous night. Within the lampshade was the head of a vicious, hissing, spitting, growling feline; quite a different cat from the one we knew with the always-gentle disposition. Obviously she was incredibly stressed with her large canine neighbours, the unfamiliar surroundings and people, and the fact that she's still immobile just makes it worse for her. Even we were a bit intimidated by her demeanour but I opened the door and stuck my head inside the cage anyway to stroke her and reassure her that everything was still fine.

She relaxed, just a bit, and let me pet her head, though growling with every breath. Things remained like this for a while but when the big dog in the lower cage stirred a bit, Belle reared up and slammed her forepaw onto the floor of her stainless steel cage with shocking force. If not for my reflexes her claws might have ripped my forearm open, but it was clear she wasn't happy where she was and there was no way she was going to get any treatment like that.

Plan B then. Home nursing. We brought Belle home and prepared our guest-room for her. Her personal bed, dining area and sand-box. She is still immobile from the waist down so we have to regularly carry her into the sand-box so she can take a leak or a crap. In her condition, it's a messy process but we hope it will only be a temporary situation.

My main concern is when we have to give her her meds tomorrow. She's off her food tonight -- no appetite -- so maybe she'll be hungry enough in the morning to eat her pills along with her breakfast, else we'll have to syringe it down and I'm not looking forward to this potentially hazardous procedure one bit. And Dr Casey recommends we give her some physiotherapy too just to keep the circulation flowing back into her legs. Sweet as Belle is, she's a scary mother when she's riled. She's strong too, so we're expecting to be shredded quite often this week. Yikes.

Poor Belle. Get well soon. Please.