A journal of a "post-lingual acquired hearing loss in adulthood", or how I went deaf - and got a cochlear implant - at 39.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Mojo in Motion
An email from dear M.E. reminded me I owe you an update on the Mojo sitch. I mentioned that he had an ultrasound; results weren't definitive. There is some thickening of his stomach lining which may have been causing his vomiting, which could possibly be cancer (!) or something else, according to the vet. She suggested a series of options, ranging from doing nothing, to doing a biopsy of the stomach lining via an endoscope (a tube down his throat - I've actually had this done myself), to sending or taking him to the veterinary college in Charlottetown, PEI, for further investigation, to - and here she always couches her language very carefully - she "always leave[s] it up to the owners to determine how far they`re willing to go". This is code for euthanasia.
She also said that if we weren't going for further treatment options, steroid shots might mitigate inflammation of the stomach lining which might be causing the thickening and the vomiting.
All of this would be so much easier if cats were transparent!
We pretty quickly ruled out the more invasive and upsetting options including the biopsy and sending him to Charlottetown. We want to keep him around, but not at the cost of making him go through a series of really confusing and upsetting experiences. (Have I mentioned I've had the endoscope? Not. Fun. Even. Drugged.) We were somewhat dubious that the stomach condition was cancer since he was almost completely asymptomatic except for the vomiting and is gaining/maintaining weight. That left making a decision about trying steroid shots - a literal shot in the dark since we didn't even know if his stomach was inflamed.
Happily events overtook us. The vomiting stopped completely - perhaps in part due to him now getting sub-q fluids at home every other day and avoiding dehydration - and he has been in the best possible spirits and health for the past month.
Well, except for the 20 minutes or so every other day when we prepare and administer his sub-q. It is a misery for everyone involved, he tenses and struggles and fights and claws his poor Dad`s hands and wrists to bits, and I don't come away unscathed either. (Second-last treatment we administered the fluids to him in between alternately swabbing both our hands with paper towels so we didn't drip blood all over everything.) After fighting for five minutes or so, he usually becomes more-or-less resigned and tenses but doesn't actively fight, and we can hold him still enough to get the fluids into him. Then the needle comes out and he casually strolls to the kitchen to wait for the treats he knows are coming.
Aah, good times. We will go through this because it is so worth it due to his current quality of life. Outside of those hated sub-q sessions, he appears to be extremely healthy and happy. Healthier and more playful and happier than he's been in about a year, in fact.
Oh, and we're shopping for leather gloves for Husband.
Thursday, January 05, 2012
Cuba’s Fidel: The Most Well-Foretold Death
I want to share with you a very interesting article from Havanatimes.org, a very unbiased source (overall) publishing from within Cuba. It really explains a lot about the Cuban reality through a rumination on the never-ending rumours about Fidel Castro's death that eminate - usually - from Miami's anti-Castro Cuban expatriate community. The last spate came on New Year's Eve, if I recall correctly, and was all over Twitter. This particular piece does not originate with Havanatimes.org, but has been translated into English with authorization from a BBC Mundo article.
The Havanatimes.org site is required reading for anyone interested in Cuba. In their articles they are not afraid to either praise - or criticize - what is happening on the ground in Cuba today.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
In which I finally make it to "Ché Stadium" and cross it off my bucket list.
Some photos, with commentary, of our trip to Remedios and Santa Clara, Cuba.
The most remarkable part was the trip to the Ché Guevera mausoleum and museum. All bags must be turned in at a check before entering. Absolutely no photos allowed. There is a lineup at the entrance. Tourists from all over the world. For some it's a stop on a guided tour. For some it's a pilgrimage. You tour the museum first; it's small but well-equipped with artifacts. They even had one of Ché's inhalers (he suffered badly from asthma). One or two of his iconic berets. The surgical tools he used to care for the rebels in the mountains. You aren't sure any of this was truly used by him, being torn between the Cubans' genuine reverence for the man contrasted with their pragmatism when it comes to propaganda and protecting the revolution. (Bullet holes made in buildings along the Malecón during the fighting were dutifully re-drilled, we were told, after having been repaired, when their value as propaganda tools was realized. So they're not the original bullet holes, but they're where the original bullet holes were. That's Cuba in a nutshell for you).
Then you go to the Eternal Flame room, which is really a bit of a punch in the stomach. That's because it's not just a tribute to Guevera, it is a tribute to the young men and women who died beside him in the revolutionary fighting. And they are young - so young - their faces reproduced from photographs of them in life rendered in a sculpture the length of one wall, men and women side by side. Guevera's face is not among them. Him, you already know about, or you wouldn't be here. It is absolutely silent in that room. It is such a cliché to say "the reality really hits you" but that is what it felt like. Young, beautiful, vibrant, real people, cut down in their prime, for political ideals. Gone, and dead.
Just like Ché, whose body reposes under this massive structure that is in itself a triumph of propaganda, covered as it is with the rebel's revolutionary quotes and admonitions to always remember to defend the Revolution.
Hasta la victoria siempre!
Otherwise, what we noticed on this trip was that Villa Clara province was looking good. I don't know if it's just this region, but there is some prosperity happening. Places are freshly painted, commerce in Remedios and Santa Clara has skyrocketed since our last visit. There is a fruit and veggie vendor on nearly every corner; much more land under active cultivation; ice-cream and pizza carts scattered all through the town shopping districts; folks selling food out of the windows of their homes. And new homes being built, of brick, in the countryside. For now, at least, for this region, the reforms seem to be working remarkably well for people. We were genuinely surprised.
I couldn't help but wonder what Ché Guevera would make of it all - of the propaganda project the government has turned him into, including his massive mausoleum and museum, and of the admission, finally, that neither pure communism nor pure socialism work and the grudging adoption of private enterprise. It's too bad he was so stubbornly idealistic that he didn't live to be able to come to his own conclusions about that.