Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday--Puerto Vallarta

OK....back to cruising.

On Tuesday, we made our first stop--in Puerto Vallarta. We took a snorkelling and sightseeing cruise to the little town of Yelapa. Ethan and I went on this same tour a few years ago, but were advised NOT to bring a camera (could get wet....), so we have no pics. The boat is large and dry, so we DID bring a camera this time. And an underwater one, too. Here are snorkelling pics. I was able to pet one of the big blue ones. Against his wishes. Scaly.

Justin and Kim decided to do some kayaking instead of snorkelling (since our Mazatlan kayak tour was cancelled). And here is our boat, the Vallarta Adventures 5. They are not creative with their boat naming, but this is an awesome tour company that I would recommend hands down. Every single tour we have done with them is awesome. They are now in cabo, too....

After snorkelling and lunch, we headed to the small, inaccessible by road town of Yelapa. Took a 15-20 minute hike through town and ended up at the town's waterfall. Pretty, pretty.

After the small hike, I conned the local rosewood carver into selling me a chunk of rosewood to take back to mom for use in inlays. Yes, she appreciated it and was all excited....

We headed back down to the beautiful beach, where we watched wildlife and wild dogs and cats, and had some beverages as we relaxed for an hour or so before reboarding our boat for the ride back to Puerto Vallarta.

The Oosterdam whilst in dock in Puerto Vallarta

After our tour, we reboarded the ship to shower and refresh, then headed back out into town for dinner and drinks and some generalized wandering and investigation. It turns out that, even though this is our third time in Puerto Vallarta, Ethan and I had never actually set foot in the town--we land at the airport, then head north to Nuevo Vallarta, where we have always stayed in the past. Huh. But PV is awesome, and we enjoyed the sculptures and sand creations we saw as we moseyed the boardalk area.

We finally decided on a restaurant and had a light dinner and drinks watching the sun set over the ocean. Then it was time to head back to the ship once again, where a towel elephant awaited us in our stateroom.....

Monday, April 18, 2011

I will eventually finish my cruise postings...

Just sidetracked by cats and cat issues and life in general. I did finally resize the pro pics so I can post them. Here is one, check out the others on my facebook profile....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Guilty as charged

After consulting with a surgeon, internist and my regular veterinarian, we have reached the conclusion that there is nothing I can do for the Shadow Man other than supportive SQ fluids and potassium replacement (his K+ levels are low).

At first, I was at peace with this. Then I learned that there is actually a veterinary hospital in New York that has successfully treated many, many cats with ureteral stenting, and also ureteral bypass for the past 5 years. With an extremely successful postop success rate. According to one of the vets there, they have had cats die since they had this surgery, but none from kidney/surgery related issues. Shadow is a perfect candidate. They actually consider the surgery pretty minor, and will even do it in very sickly cats, but Shadow is very young and healthy and perfect. He could live another 10+ years after this minor surgery.


Except I can't afford it. So now I feel really guilty. They estimate $6-8K for the surgery and hospital stay in total, maybe as low as $5k because Shadow is so healthy and would likely be able to leave the hospital sooner. I don't have $6-8K plus travel expenses. We can't do this. I feel guilty. If his owner had oodles of cash, he would/could live a long and healthy life after stenting or bypassing this obstruction. But we can't afford that, so his life span is now unknown, but likely to be quite limited. Sucks. I almost wish I hadn't heard about this, because I was feeling OK with the idea that we were doing everything possible for Shadow, within the guidelines of keeping his quality of life as our determining factor for what we will or won't do. To know that there is a minimally invasive surgery with a permanent solution for him, that I simply cannot do for him because of my own financial status is crappy. The combination of tripling what we owed the IRS as compared to last year, and paying off all of Boo's vet bills and our spendy cruise vacation before Shadow was sick and now all of Shadow's current bills means that we are already in some credit card debt, and can't really go that much further in.

Anyway. Supportive fluids and potassium supplementation. He doesn't mind the fluids as much has he does that nasty potassium. I tasted it--smells sickly sweet, but tastes like gluey gaggy nothingness. I sure wouldn't want it smeared in my mouth twice a day. But, he forgives me a few minutes afterwards, so we are doing OK.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

If it wasn't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all

Boo: After several thousands of dollars worth of tests and diagnostics and treatment, we now know that he has congenitally deformed kidneys, which are now barely functioning. He will be on every-other-day subcutaneous fluids and twice weekly calcitriol for the rest of his life.

Boo is currently thriving. His weight is up, he is happy and healthy and extremely energetic. His chronic renal failure is not holding him back at all.

Shadow: After XRays and ultrasounds and bloodwork, we now know that his left kidney is full of stones and all shrivelled up and not working. Probably been that way for several years now. No biggie, since you get two kidneys. Well, usually. His good (and now only) kidney is all dilated, and the ureter leading to the bladder is all dilated, up until some sort of blockage. It is not a stone--maybe some sort of infective process or hematoma or a tumor or god knows what. He does have a stone in his bladder, which could have come through his ureter and scratched it up, leading to any of the above. We don't know.

Within the next week, Shadow will either build up enough urine pressure behind the blockage (a little urine is getting through, so it is not a *complete* blockage at this time) to force it through, into the bladder, or the antibiotics we are giving him will shrink it, or he will have surgery to rotoroot it out, or surgery will show that whatever is there is not mobile and therefore not fixable, and Shadow will die.

Two random kidney problems in two genetically unrelated cats. Both congenital sort of problems, both diagnosed within a 6 month period. Both in kidney failure (one hopefully just acutely). Both living in my house, both holding a piece of my heart. This is really, really not fair.