Monday, 23 June 2014

The way it are today

Nicole and I quietly celebrated our 28th anniversary on Saturday. I made us a nice dinner and dessert. 

Notre Dame Hospital called me last week. I am going to have an echocardiogram there on July 4th. This is probably one of the two hurdles I have to get over if I am to get the lung transplant before it is too late. The other being a CT scan next April that shows no growth on that thingie in my left lung. So far so good. With the echocardiogram, at Notre Dame the heart decision will be rendered shortly. It is or it is not strong enough.  Be nice to find out. Maybe I actually will.

The last month has sucked both mentally and physically. I am weaker, less able to do things, get drained faster and more completely and it takes longer to recover. I can literally feel my lungs, deflated and spasming trying to get up again. So far they always do, sorta.  This is the new normal. There is no infection.  I feel somewhat angry and very alone. 

Spending far too much time worrying about friends, family and my blog.  I need to overcome this. I think you are supposed to die with nothing left unsaid.  I hate myself, sometimes, for self censoring my very thoughts as though they were toxic. 

I will get back to writing. I will find my direction. I will not die politely. Maybe the next time someone asks me "how are you", I will tell the truth. 


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Quebec recently passed a law making physician assisted suicide legal. 

The step they took brings me immense relief. 

I can keep living a good life and not dwell on the mechanics of how to end my suffering when the time comes.

This is a good thing.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Thank you to the Montreal & the Toronto Police Departments.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Rocky Raccoon

Nicole heard the shrill screams and cries when she was doing some work in the garage. The sound drew her to the double sliding windows at the back of the house.  In between the windows was a little terrified raccoon.  Nicole came upstairs and told me in horror about what she had just seen, it was 10:30 in the morning. We went outside and had a look, and, indeed the raccoon was not stuck, but he was trying to find some kind of shelter. We did not know yet that he could not see nor walk, that would take many hours to realize.  Our first instinct was to leave him be, to wait until his mother came for him.  He seemed uninjured.  We waited. He screamed, he cried. He got out from between the windows, and he moved around a bit as you would think a newborn raccoon would. He really could not walk. He moved by pulling with his claws, rolling himself. It was slow and agonizing to watch.  His loud screams and cries lasted for five hours. It was driving us out of our minds to stand back and wait, but the only thing we knew was that we had to do that. We had to give the mother a chance.

Around 2 or 3 pm the little raccoon stopped moving and he stopped crying. He was collapsed in the grass, unmoving, under a little table in the center of my yard. We still waited with heavy hearts. I went out to get a close up look at him. He did not move when I approached, nor did he react very much when I touched him, though it was clear he was alive. He was surrounded by a swarm of green bottle flies, hovering and fighting to get on to him. By then I had researched what to do and I took our first step towards helping him. We got a small box and a blanket, the box small enough for his mother and placed him in it, wrapped up loosely so he could warm up and still breathe, be protected from the flies, and, it would still be easy for mother to fetch him out if she showed up. We moved him to the side of the house, where it was quieter and more sheltered. There were no more cries. 

At 5:30 Nicole and I could stand it no longer. I had been online through the afternoon researching and chatting with a few people who had answered my post asking for help or advice, most notably +Susan Gabriel , and it was time for us to make a call. Mother was or was not coming back. We took him in and removed him from nature, or we did not. Either way whatever we did would be the right call as long as we stepped up and ended his suffering. I have a couple of friends, older guys, people who grew up on farms and they told me to dispatch it or to bring it to be euthanized. They are as kind and humane as we are. They would not turn their backs on someone or something in trouble in front of them. They also believe that if it happens in front of you, you own it. You walk away, turn your back you are worthless and inhumane. You step up cause it's yours. We took a different, but no more humane route. 

Once we had decided he was coming in and we were going to try to save him, I hit up the neighbours for help. The young family across the street who I was sure would be delighted to have the three teenage daughters participate had no time. They were on the way to the pool in the backyard. The hypocritical born again empty shell two doors down offered to arrange for jesus to fix shit up.  When I told him that jesus wanted him to get in his fucking car and drive Nicole to the pharmacy for formula and a bottle the living POS blessed the raccoon, turned his back and actually said, "keep me posted". My christian friends who hold their faith quietly in their hearts are not like this. Most christians are not like this. The hordes of programed robots that open every sentence with praise jesus, who turn away from life and do nothing for their neighbour because their jesus lip service will heal all are. They are fundies no different than the fucking taliban. Dead and empty. OK. Sorry.  Still pisses me off immensely.  I now classify myself an atheist who remains spiritual. I respect everyone with a deep quiet faith who walk the walk and don't bother much with the talk.

Nicole walked to the pharmacy to get a bottle and some formula. In the meantime, I brought him in.  No way I can begin to describe the comfort being touched and cuddled brought him. He stopped shuddering, drew himself tightly to my chest and purred. 

Nicole got home and we started to get formula into him. I have never taken care of a baby, Nicole either.  I can't say thank you enough to +Susan Gabriel  +Ken Green and others who stayed with me for hours and hours offering me links and practical knowledge based on experience in saving wildlife. Together, with Nicole supporting me we got him through the night. I got one hour sleep that first night.

The advice we were getting was invaluable. We treated the raccoon as if he were MERS or something even more vile. Rubber gloves, javel buckets, everything sterilized. No blankets shaken or open. Nothing could contact our house, leave residue for the cats. We were insanely vigilant about this for the first three days until we were sure he represented no danger to me, Nicole or our precious cats. This protocol made everything take longer but we were not going to take any chances. The first 12 hours or so with us he took in about 30 ml of formula. Far less than I now know he needed, but, enough to keep him alive those 12 hours. 

On Sunday morning we got real about what the hell we were going to do with him. I posted for help on FB and G+. I emailed all kinds of organizations, called every dept of the city, Mcdonalds College, the petting zoos. You name it I did it. Nobody came up with anything or anyone that I had not already thought of. I had a strong sense that we were on our own. We were going to have to find him a home or we were going to have to do "the right thing". We did not want to do the right thing. The little guy never cried once after we brought him in, despite his injuries and his suffering. Not once. He purred. I will always know that he was grateful. He knew. I remembered Jenn and Carl, the people we got Sugar and Spicey from. They were genuine cat rescue folks who went all the way for their foundlings. I called he early Sunday morning and they were in until we got it done. They would do anything it took. They did, too. At one point during the morning Nicole remembered that her sister Cecile's daughter Sylvie had worked as a vet tech and she had a lot of experience in fostering baby animals both on her own and on behalf of the SPCA. She had fostered four raccoons over the years. Serendipity was with us. Sylvie and Cecile had just that very day moved into a place in the country. They told us that they would take him in if we could not find another arrangement for him. We agreed that we would take a few days and see where we had gotten to.  Meanwhile Jenn had called us back to say she would come to our house the next day, take the raccoon to a vet who specializes in raccoons and get him checked out and treated. She was ready to come get him but when she asked if I could get him through the night, if I thought I was up to it and could I do it, I told her yes. I was invested.

We got him through Sunday and sunday night. He was eating a little more, and he now had enough strength to move his arms and legs around. Not much, but it was progress. There was one crisis where we were sure he was in the process of dying. I was trying to nap between feedings and Nicole was warming him. She woke me up in tears saying he was dying. I looked and I agreed. I took him and stroked him, rubbed him hard. He started to purr. I got the bottle into him and he noisily took in 30 ml. It was enough. He seemed ok after that. Ok for a severely sick animal. I got two hours sleep I think. Nicole was able to get a few more.

Monday morning Jenn called to say she would bring him to the vet at 4.  I was so happy about that.  He was in critical condition, severely dehydrated. The day passed without much incidence other than a deeply disturbing phone call that I got late morning. The voice on the other end identified themselves as being from "Animal Advocates". She told me that they had heard we had found a baby raccoon. I had in fact by then posted for help. At first I was elated, here is more help.  That did not last long. She said well you know it is really too bad but he is too young to rehab, nobody will be able to do anything, we really are the only people who will help you. She said we were really lucky, that if I gave her my address they would come to our house, take the animal to be euthanized, or more properly that would arrange to kill it for us. My home phone is listed in Nicole's name. Her name don't show up on my FB nor my G+. This was a scam. A company called Berger Blanc, I think. They are the official animal killers for the City of Montreal. They get a bounty for every animal that they kill legally. Dirty bastards.

Genn came, took raccoon to vet. Drama ramps up to 10. First call, vet's first impression is that we can do nothing. This is a vet who has 4 raccoon. This guy loves raccoons. Jenn says it looks bad. He is blind, probably in both eyes, maggots have now appeared exiting his dead eye and his anus. We had not seen the eye ones, but we had seen the ones that came out his anus. We thought it was worms.  Another call from Genn two hours later and the message is considerably different. He has one eye that might be saved. They spent two hours pulling maggots out of his eye and his butt. He got shots of antibiotics, and, he ate like a pig. Vet now says this guy deserves a chance. He might just make it. It was clear though, the vet told us, that he could not be rehabbed back into the wild. The vet could do nothing to place him for us, nor take him in. We called Cecile and told her that he had one chance only now. Her and Sylvie.  Nicole and I had decided we would not suffer a blind raccoon to be released. We would do what had to be done if it came to that. They said we want him. I told them that we would nurse him for a bit and if he indeed did have a good eye, and if he could survive the maggots we would let them take the raccoon. They agreed, and we agreed to keep the raccoon until the weekend when they would come to get him.

Jenn and Carl brought the raccoon back to us early evening on Monday. They spent two hours with us going over the vets instructions and they also taught me basic baby skills. For two days the little guy fed for about ten minutes. I just did not know any better. Afterwards, I knew to make it last 30 minutes or more. Monday night went much easier for both Nicole and I. The raccoon was carrying nothing that was any danger to either us or our cats. All I had to worry about was baby poo and baby pee. The workload went way, way down. Baby poo now makes me happy. Baby pee all over you is a wonderful thing. I never knew that before! I got about 4 hours sleep. The entire time with us the raccoon was wrapped in a blanket pulled against my chest or on my lap. Between feedings when I tried to sleep, we did it on the recliner, me under one blanket him wrapped up in another under mine, hard against my body. I could feel his purrs and the warmth. Body heat had a lot to do with keeping him alive.  I know it.

Tuesday brought lots of little imagined mostly, problems. I was ready with the tweezers to get any all the time. I checked every few minutes through the day. We did not see any and that was a great sign. Hatched fly eggs, the maggots, can only live inside a living body for between eight and ten days. They die if they do not morph by then.  Things were looking good.  Jenn had offered to come and get him anytime that I needed a break. She knew I would not make it through the week, and I did not. I was delirious by dinnertime and I made the call. I told her we needed help and to please come and get "Rocky". I had named him, finally. She did and I was to get a two day and two night break.  I slept like a stone for ten straight hours.

We got regular Rocky reports through the day. He was doing even better under their wonderful care. They are fierce about animal welfare and staying up every night, driving anywhere, doing whatever it takes for a critter that ends up in front of them. They are magnificent. Cecile, being Cecile, changed everything at around 4:00 pm yesterday afternoon. They wanted to come and get him that very evening. I called Jenn, she moved her world around and promised to bring Rocky over at 10 pm, meet Cecile and Sylvie and brief them on exactly what had happened and what would have to happen in the future. Rocky will come back into Montreal whenever he needs to, and there are still issues to address, and Jenn will make sure our fees stay down. She is doing a fundraiser for the operation he will need later this summer to clean up the dead eye. 

I can't describe how wonderful Nicole and I feel.  I am still beaming from inside this morning. Rocky has his forever home. Rocky will have his own little house.  Jenn and Sylvie are going to build it together. We get pictures every day. We have a party scheduled for later in the summer at Rocky's place. 

We got it done. Life. Love. There is nothing else that matters.