And finally it was Kazon’s turn

Yesterday was Kazon's turn to visit the vet for his annual exam and vaccinations.  Despite his dislike of being taken out of his element, he did fine.

The vet said he was in perfect health — teeth look good, heart is strong with a better-than-average rate, lungs are clear, muscle tone is excellent, and the list goes on.

Hiding his head as far under my arm as he could get without coming out the other side, he was calm and relaxed while being poked and prodded.  Despite being violated in such a horrific manner, Kazon was a very good boy for the vet and got his claws clipped, temperature taken (the worst violation of all), and all the other activities they must endure every year.

He got his rabies shot, the only vaccination he's getting this year, and was sent home with a clean bill of health.

Because I was too busy yesterday to do it, today will be treat day for The Kids.

Get well soon, my friend

In what can only be described as the perfect reaction to a terrible situation, Derek's family swept into town en masse and quickly took charge of his situation.  After two years of taking care of him through some very terrible health crises — most recently the realization that he had an aggressive form of lymphoma — I couldn't have hoped for a better response.

I've spent the last two weeks getting them up to date on every aspect of his life to date — from health to finances and everything in between.  Like me, his family saw how well he responded to their presence, so he readily agreed that moving back to his hometown to be with his family was the best option.

So last Thursday he was flown out of Dallas and transferred to a hospital near his family in New York state (I'm intentionally being coy with the details so as not to parade Derek's private information around the world wide web).

I and my friends helped get his things packed and shipped to New York, worked closely with the family to bring them up to speed on his diagnoses and prognoses, assist with their assimilation of his financial status, and prepare and execute all of the appropriate paperwork to grant them access to his life — from medical information and doctors to finances.

Only a few days after his departure, it amazes me how much I miss him.  The apartment seems so very empty now, albeit part of that is the size of the place.  One man and four cats simply can't make a three bedroom, 1200-square foot apartment feel completely occupied.

Yet I am left with a hole in my life, a hole which had been filled with the very overwhelming activities related to caring for a terminally ill person.  But that's not all.

Derek and I are kindred spirits.  We shared a home for many years as close friends, enjoying intelligent conversation, similar interests in food and entertainment, enjoying mutual friends, and the list goes on.

It's important to understand that I've practically lived alone for the last year-and-a-half.  For all but two months of that time Derek was in the hospital.  But that failed to prepare me for his departure.

Even while he was in the hospital, there was always the very real possibility that he would be returning home if his health warranted such a move (equaled by the very real possibility that he would never leave the hospital alive).  Now that he's gone, being alone is a very real thing, not just a temporary state of being.

Yet my apprehension at being a lone bachelor again (something I've not experienced in 13 years) is balanced by my happiness that Derek is in a place where he can be happier and better cared for.  It's not that he wasn't happy here or that his care was sub par, but I am only one man who was trying to be all things for someone who was no longer able to care for himself.

With his family, on the other hand, he has more than two dozen people who love him and want to help take care of him.  As I explained to them before they left to take him home, the sacrifices I made to take care of him were massive and overwhelming, but they don't have to worry about that because, with such a large family, if each person sacrifices only a little it will more than adequately cover everything.

Before they left we saw a very real improvement in Derek's situation.  I believe it was in response to his family's roborant presence.  They were with him all day every day, something I and my friends couldn't offer or provide.

I am now in the process of getting my life together so I can move on, looking for a new place to live temporarily while Rick and I plan something more permanent (more on that at a later time).  The sooner I get out of this apartment the better, as it's a reminder of the life that was but is no more.

So, as I prepare to step out in a new direction with my own life, Derek is doing likewise under the care of his very loving family.

I wish you luck, my friend, and I hope the environment you now find yourself in is conducive to continued improvement in your health.  Don't lose touch, don't forget your friends in Texas, and remember that we love you.

Get well soon.

Loki’s recent vet visit

Loki went to the vet on Saturday for his annual exam and shots.  He was a good boy, albeit a bit pitiful in the crying and moaning departments.  Not as laid back as Grendel, Loki doesn't like being taken out of his element (home), but he survived.

The doc said he's in great condition — teeth look good, muscle tone is excellent, heart and lungs sound fine, and the list goes on.

So he got his rabies and distemper shots and was sent home with a clean bill of health.

Because my schedule Saturday was so hectic and yesterday was even worse, there was no treat for him.  But I'm making up for that today.  You see, when any of the kids have to suffer trauma like that (although I think it's drama, they think it's trauma), everyone gets a treat to make it all better.

So tonight's treat night for the whole lot of them.

I’m still alive… I think

I've been too busy over the last week to post here.  I finally called my roommate's family because his condition was so serious.  Well, they all showed up — in force.  At least 20 people came to town from all over the country.

It's been wonderful to see a family with so much love.  They're working diligently to get Derek moved back to his hometown so the family can care for him and be closer to him.

Needless to say I've been busy helping them get up to speed on his health and finances and blah blah blah.  If things keep moving as quickly as they are now, he'll be home — not here but with his family — within a few weeks at most.

That will of course force me to move out of this huge place we're in now and to something smaller until my new digs are ready (more on that at a later time).  That won't be any fun, but it's a necessary evil.

Having spent the better part of the last two years taking care of Derek, this will be a tremendous load off of my shoulders — but it will also leave a huge hole in my life where those activities once were.  Separation anxiety aside, I think getting back to my own life after such a long period of time will be a welcome change of pace.