Nope, not going out today. What are you guys doing?
Yesterday I woke up to the sound of RAIN falling on my laundry on the roof (damn) but after that the skies cleared and it turned into a fabulous birthday. Peter had come up with a plan for the day and it was a good one. We started off in the best way possible – a plate of jamón Ibérico and some lovely sherry at Las Teresas. Then it was off to do some birthday shopping (more on that later!). And then it was time for lunch.
I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go and so Peter came up with the idea of going back to Porta Rossa, which used to be my go-to spot for birthdays (back in the day, before I became queen of tapas). I hadn’t been there for years and it was like revisiting an old friend. It was difficult not to just order “all the usual favourites” and try something new, but Piru the owner made some great suggestions, including giving us two half orders of pasta when I couldn’t decide between two of them.
The dishes were: artichoke crepes with mascarpone and parmesan sauce, spinach and cheese gnocchi and ravioli in butter sauce, grilled beef tenderloin in black peppercorn vodka sauce. All absolutely delicious. I never order desserts, and even if I did wouldn’t have been able to eat anything else after this fabulous lunch, but Piru brought me this one perfect profiterole with a birthday candle, which was lovely.
The plan for after lunch was to go for a penúltima at nearby La Azotea in Calle Zaragoza and then take a ride on the C5 bus (really, it’s such fun). But I was so FULL and suddenly tired (the now constant abdominal pain is wearing me down) that I suggested taking a break and relaxing at home for awhile. I reckoned that after a short rest I’d be ready to go out again. Wrong! So we ended up spending a quiet evening hanging out, watching a film, and had an early night. But it was all very nice – thanks for a great day, Peter!
It’s been a long and difficult week with this guy, but I am happy to report that Loki is eating well again (and keeping it down!) and seems to be properly on the mend. He’s even back to pestering me for breakfast in the morning – something I never thought I’d miss. Thanks for all your best wishes, and I know that Deb will be especially glad that her favourite boy is feeling better. 🙂
So I’ve just ordered this from Amazon. I saw it yesterday at El Corte Inglés, but it was 20€ more (!!), and so although I may still have to take Loki back to the vet’s this weekend (hope not) I decided to save some cash and order it online, even if it means having to lug him in the normal carrier again. But it will be great for future vet visits – as you can see, I could either wheel Loki along or carry him backpack style. On Tuesday my arms almost fell off trying to get him to the taxi, and I was sure I was going to put my back out. That guy weighs a ton.
It will also be useful in case of emergency. Remember when my previous house caught fire at 4 am? Well at that time I just had Azar and Loki, who both fit into a larger carrier I have, and Peter carried them out while I grabbed my laptop. And while I could probably fit all three cats into the big carrier now, I’d never be able to lift it. So with this set up I could put Loki and Luna in the wheelie bag and Morcilla in her little travelling shoulder bag, and could manage them all that way. Of course I hope this won’t ever be necessary, but better to be prepared (especially with a chain-smoking 80-year-old neighbour).
Loki update. He’s still vomiting a bit. But otherwise he’s mostly keeping food down, plus he’s drinking water and doesn’t look/act sick Still might have to take him in for that blood test though, even if just to eliminate other possible causes. Still annoyed with myself for not insisting it be done the other day. Oh well.
When I walked in with Loki yesterday the vet on duty was very good with him, letting Loki take his time coming out of the carrier, talking nice to him… I liked her immediately. Then after some poking and prodding she pronounced that he had no serious abdominal pain and that he looked perfectly healthy otherwise, not dehydrated, not drooling, no other obvious symptoms. She thought he had an acute gastroenteritis, gave him a shot of something to soothe his stomach and also an antibiotic, and said that I could treat him at home with special food and a stomach protector (to be squirted into his mouth twice a day), and said if he hasn’t improved by Friday I’m to take him back for blood tests.
At first I suggested she just do the tests NOW and get it over with, to avoid another hellish trip there and back, and so we could find out for sure. I mean, Loki is 8 now. Wouldn’t a general blood test be a prudent thing to do anyhow? At this point Eva could see that I was more than a bit stressed and she even started snipping off the fur on his front leg… and then stopped again and asked “are you sure?”. So I finally agreed to do it her way, step by step.
And then imagine my surprise when she looked up Loki’s file and saw that his last visit there in 2013 WAS FOR THE EXACT SAME THING. Seriously. She showed me Begonia’s notes and they were word for word the same diagnosis and treatment. Which obviously worked last time, so that helped me relax a bit.
But after all that I’m still not sure if Loki is on the mend. Last night he immediately threw up his “easy to digest” paté right after eating it, though I thought perhaps the meds still needed a bit more time to kick in. Then things weren’t looking any better this morning. I gave him the oral med (liquid stomach protector) and then, as the vet prescribed, just 3 teaspoons of the paté, which he gave up on eating until I held out bits of it on the end of my finger for him to lick off. He was clearly hungry and finished it all off, but then 5 minutes later up it all came again – and probably the meds too, dammit. So I was beginning to despair, dreading another trip to the vet and wishing I’d insisted on her doing the blood test yesterday. But then I tried another tactic, giving Loki just a small bite of paté off the end of my finger, maybe a third of a teaspoon. He ate that about an hour ago and – so far – has kept it down. So I will continue doing that for the rest of the day, just a small bite of food every hour or so, and see how it goes.
Meanwhile, Loki is clearly looking for comfort. I built him a little “cushion fort” on the sofa yesterday, with the small duvet for him to lie on. Otherwise he is sitting on my lap when I am in my chair, getting plenty of cuddles. I really hope I have more positive news tomorrow.
My darling boy started feeling poorly late Friday evening when all of a sudden he vomited what looked like his entire day’s cat food intake. But of course, cats vomit all the time for all kinds of reasons, so I wasn’t too concerned at first. The next day he ate well, but when I got back from shopping I saw that he had thrown up his breakfast (all over the freshly washed sofa cover!). Meanwhile, I had bought some malt extract while out, thinking that if he had something blocking him (though it’s not really hairball season) then it might help let it pass through naturally. Next day things hadn’t changed and I realised that by then my choice was to either look for an emergency vet service or wait until after Christmas. Since Loki still had an appetite and looked more sad than sick, I decided to wait and either go to a vet I already know, or try out a place I’d noticed in my new hood (even though on their website the Team all look about 12 years old). I thought if they were good then it would be fabulous to have a trusted vet a short walk away.
So this morning I first went over to their clinic on my own, to have a chat with the vet and check the place out a bit before bringing Loki in – and thank god I did. It’s mostly a dog grooming place and all the services they offer on the website (xrays, biopsies, ultrasound, etc) are done at another vets. Rude 12-year-old receptionist said the vet wasn’t in and didn’t seem to know anything so I hightailed it out of there and called the other vet, Begonia. Will be going over there in an hour. Fingers crossed for Loki… I’ll update this when I get back.
I’m back! Just a quick update because I am totally wiped out after lugging a 7 kilo screaming Loki to and from the vet’s (though he was good as gold while there) and I have to work this evening, so I really need to relax for awhile. And so briefly… they think it’s acute gastroenteritis. He’s on a treatment now for the next week, but if he hasn’t improved by Thursday the vet wants to see him again on Friday to do a blood test. I was all for doing the blood test today but Eva said she preferred to take things one step at a time, because given his symptoms, she felt it was unlikely Loki has any of the things they would be testing for. So I calmed down and let her do her job. Anyhow, more mañana. I need to go put my feet up and nurse my cold for the rest of the afternoon. Thanks for your kind thoughts! xx
I grew up in an abusive chaotic household and, probably as a result, I strove to create my own happy rituals when I finally got away from there. And my two favourites ended up being birthdays and Christmas. Not just my birthday, I should point out. I would make a huge fuss of any friend having a birthday, the celebration of arriving here, the happiness I felt that these people were actually in my life.
But Christmas… that wasn’t just a day. It was a whole season. Not being religious I always focused on the “goodwill toward men” bit, and films like It’s a Wonderful Life and the Alistair Sim version of Scrooge would raise my hopes that there truly was good in the world, and that positive change was just an epiphany away.
Also… hey, lights! And decorating the apartment, and finding that perfect something for someone. I mean, what’s not to love? The gift bit was never a huge deal in itself, but the quest of finding something that would make someone’s eyes light up (“oooh, how did you know??”)… I always took that as a personal challenge, often starting my stealth Christmas shopping as early as September.
Back in my “baking days” I would start my rich dark fruit cake just after Halloween, and booze it up weekly until it was ready to eat on Christmas day. And back in Toronto my “shortbread boxes” became a thing of legend among friends and co-workers who would receive a white box filled with a dozen buttery biscuits, tied with a bright red ribbon.
In Spain Christmas changed in that I was pretty much always living on my own. But that didn’t stop me from putting up lights, taping Christmas cards from friends around window frames, and usually inviting a few “Christmas orphans” (expat friends stuck here over the holidays) over for a meal. In later years I would make Christmas dinner for my flatmate Peter, sometimes with, other times without, additional friends. And last Christmas was extra special when my dear friends Julie & Steve came to Sevilla just to spend Christmas with me!
Which brings me to this Christmas. I’m once again living on my own, though I’m sure that I could find some people to invite over for a meal. That’s not the issue as I don’t have to be alone unless I choose to be. The problem is that somehow, in my heart, I seem to have misplaced my Christmas spirit. There are no decorations up, no cards or gifts have been sent (well, okay… I did send one on Monday and that made me smile). But otherwise I find myself looking around at all the pretty lights here, listening to carols in the streets, all that, as if I’m in a bubble. I can look and listen, but I can’t touch or feel it.
I really don’t know what to do about this, but I don’t feel like I should just give in. Heck, I’ve got four whole days. It could be that my misplaced Christmas spirit is just around the corner, down the back of the sofa, or perhaps even just a smidgen of an epiphany away.
Almost 10 years ago I bought this vacuum cleaner. And it was the best thing ever! So I’m not sure why I completely stopped using it when I moved to the previous Casa Azahar, though I suspect it was a combination of the stairs and long corridors, requiring too much faffing with plugging and unplugging, and lugging. In any case, it sat unused for those 6.5 years. But I recently rediscovered the Growling Sucking Monster (as it is known to the cats) and put it back to work.
To think I almost gave this away in my flurry of ruthless downsizing during the last move (I actually now regret giving away quite so much stuff…) because it’s perfect in the more compact, one-level new Casa Azahar. I won’t go as far as to say it makes doing the housework enjoyable, but it’s way faster and more efficient than sweeping. So… yay!
Yeah I know, but hey, it’s my blog. 😉