~By Greg Zangari
What a busy couple of months it’s been! Our readers have probably been wondering where we’ve been the past couple of months and I just wanted to give everyone a head’s up. between my disability from failed lower back surgeries and Wendy’s autoimmune disease, when the season changes to Fall and the temps drop, lots of pain returns. I remember back to this Summer, working in the garden and how great we felt while growing food and getting lots of sunshine.
Things have been so busy that we haven’t even had a chance to clear out the now dead veggie garden! However since we’re having some weird warm weather here in our part of Pennsylvania, we may just get out there this week, between the raindrops, to clear out the old and start prepping for the Spring planting. As you know, mid-October, just as the temps were changing, my Mom passed away. For the next couple of weeks, we spent nearly every day at Mom’s apartment, going through memories, making piles for charity and deciding what I would take and what my sister would take. In the middle of all that Hurricane Sandy happened so we were unable to finish up until November 2nd.
We still have lots of Mom’s things to sort, put away and lots of furniture to rearrange, however we had to delay that when Wendy got bit by a big dog on November 11th. She got a very bad wound on her right forearm and a small bite injury to her lower lip when the dog went for her face. It got very infected, although we cleaned it out well and bites like these are rarely stitched up, as they leave them open to heal due to the chance of infection after an animal bite. So a couple days later, we had to go to the ER for them to check it out. Since then it’s been weekly visits to our GP to check the progression of her healing.
The bites on her lip healed quickly and were very minor, although they did leave some scar tissue. Her arm feels much better and is healing well according to her last doctor visit yesterday. The only problem at this point is that the skin between the area of the dog’s top teeth (which did the most damage) and bottom teeth (which only was punctured) is hard and numb. Our doctor wants to keep an eye on that to make sure the numbness goes away, otherwise there may be a chance that she could lose some function in her arm or hand. So Wendy’s had a tough time typing due to the injury and that’s the main reason she’s not written in a while.
On top of all that, we adopted a cat around the same time and I wanted to introduce her to our readers. It turns out, my brother-in-law, was driving near his home and saw someone pull over to the side of the road and throw something out of their car, then speed away. When he got closer, he noticed it was two tiny kittens. He was able to catch one, but the other ran into a field. He rounded up at least half a dozen people to search for this little kitten but she ran under a shed and there was no way to grab it. The next day, they were in the process of putting in a trap to try to catch the kitty, but on their arrival they found the kitten outside of the shed and it had died.
My sister took this new kitten to the vet a few days later and the vet said she was about 5 or 6 weeks old and estimated her date of birth to be October 8th. That makes her a Libra and we’re thankful to have more “balance” in the house. Unfortunately she had an infection in her left eye and you really couldn’t see much of that eye as her inner eyelid was half-way closed. They gave her some Tobramycin drops for the infection, gave her some de-wormer just in case, but otherwise the kitten had a clean bill of health.
When my brother-in-law first got her home, they had to bathe her because she was filthy with dust and dirt. When we met this new kitty we had no intention of getting another cat, as the ones we do have are so much work and in our current state of health, we didn’t think we’d be able to handle it. But then she stole our hearts. That’s when we decided to give it a go and see how she did with the other cats. My sister said if it didn’t work out, then we would try to find her another home.
This cat was unlike any of our others as it refused to stay by itself for a week to let the cats just smell her under the door. So the second day she was here, I went in to feed her and she escaped. At that point, we thought it was useless to try to contain her as she was having so much fun running around and trying to interact with the other cats. After a day of bugging the others, they started playing with her and sleeping with her so we knew she would fit in and she would be our newest edition! After thinking about names for a couple of days, we decided to call her “Majik” – which she responded to immediately when we called her by a couple of different names. It was down to “Onyx” and “Majik” and Majik won.
We noticed Majik was scratching a lot and my sister’s vet didn’t say anything about fleas, but Majik’s skin was very rough and when she scratched, sand would fall off. Although my sister said she gave her a good bath, it still seemed that she had stuff on her skin. So Wendy found an all natural herbal shampoo and gave her a good bath in the sink. Not too long after her bath, she scratched and there was still this stuff on her skin. It didn’t seem like flea dirt, just some type of sand with very tiny granules. We wondered if she was born on dirt or wasn’t cleaned properly by her mother.
Unfortunately we couldn’t get any of her kitten shots since she had an active infection so we made an appointment to see our vet the day after the antibiotic eye drops were finished. So, after two weeks on the eye drops, we took her to our vet, Aston Veterinary Hospital, where I’ve been taking my cats since the early 80s. I can’t speak highly enough about this place. Most of their vet staff are graduates of University of Penn Vet School, which I hear is harder to get in to than Penn’s medical school! The wonderful Dr. Hiller saw her and gave her a thorough examination. We told her about the sandy stuff on her skin so the doctor grabbed a flea comb and a flea jumped on the table. We didn’t see any fleas on her at home or while at my sister’s.
Then she checked Majik’s ears. It turns out she had a bad ear mite infection too. She must have used 20 ear swabs and I didn’t know that much debris could fit in a kitten’s ear! It was a mixture of mites, sand and mite dirt. When she checked out Majik’s eye, considering the fact that Majik’s inner eyelid was still half closed, the doctor suspected that it may be a Herpes viral infection. So she sent us home with ear drops and more eyedrops, this time an anti-viral medicine. Finally, she put a dose of Revolution on her which is supposed to work for both fleas and ear mites. So twice a day for two weeks, Wendy had to give 5 drops in each ear of one medicine and one drop in her left eye of the other medicine.
The doctor told us to wait a couple of days, then give her a bath in Ivory Soap. She also told us that we should assume the fleas have spread to the other cats. So we had to buy Frontline Plus for the other cats and we have to do this once a month for three months. Some web sites also indicated that we should vacuum the rugs and upholstery each day, including under the couches, for those three months, throwing out the vacuum bag each day. The doctor told us to buy a flea comb and to use it on our other cats a couple of days after the Frontline Plus treatment.
So just what we needed, more work at a time when we were both hurting and almost at the same time as Wendy’s bite injury so we had our work cut out for us. Other than the one flea we saw at the Vet’s office, when we combed Majik, all we saw was a little flea dirt, but not one flea. We combed the other cats, not one flea nor any flea dirt. So I think we got off lucky to be honest, it could have been much worse! After her combing and bath in Ivory Soap, she was no longer itching and her skin so soft and smooth like it should be. Below is a gallery of our latest edition, Majik, that we’ve taken over the past few weeks.
So we’re finally getting back on track and you can assume that Wendy will be back soon. Hopefully before the end of the world hehehe.
© 2012, shiftingtimesarehere. ™ Wendy & Greg Zangari, All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute these articles on the condition that the content remains complete and in tact, full credit is given to the author(s), and that it is distributed freely.