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Thursday 26 May 2011

I loaded up Word 2010 yesterday – what a pain, now our already slow computer is down to snail’s pace & the screen looks so different, it will take an age to figure it all out. I only did it so I could open .docx files sent to me from other people. I wonder how many people have need of all this functionality. It takes many more clicks now to do the simplest task.

As soon as I sit at the computer, Murphy-cat appears as if by magic to sit under the heat of the angle-poise lamp & then make himself comfortable on my lap with his chin resting on my left elbow (which I now can’t move). He’s been sick throughout the night, all around the wood-heater. That’s the next task, to clear that up. I’ve poked furball laxative down him in the hope it will do the trick. He’s such a thin shadow of a cat now – big golden eyes in a tiny pointed brown face, fur & bone, & that’s all there is. I’m used to him being like it now so at least it doesn’t make me sad to see him, but I worry & wonder if there’s anything more we can do. He went downhill a few months back & when I first took him to the vet, they diagnosed diabetes, but the insulin they prescribed nearly killed him on two occasions. He was only saved by copious amounts of honey spooned painstakingly into his mouth (while he bit me in his stupor), warm baths & hot water bottles (when your blood sugar is very low, your body temperature plummets).

Eventually, I bought a glucose monitor & tested him daily for two weeks (it requires a drop of blood from an ear which is not easy to obtain from a small, frail cat with cold ears & apparently rotten circulation). At no time did he need insulin – the vet had not allowed for the ‘Murphy factor’: ie that Murphy is neurotically anxious & suffers much more from stress hyperglycaemia than other cats. So he always appeared to the vet to be diabetic. This wrong diagnosis cost a fortune of course: glucose drips & overnight stays, regular visits to the vet etc, all adding up. The last set of bloods taken showed nothing except a possibly slightly reduced liver function, for which nothing can be done. He was on cat anti-depressants for years (if at all stressed, he’d break out in eczema & his fur fell out in clumps. Even if un-stressed, after days with no pill, he’d become so itchy & scratchy that he couldn’t settle. You’ll understand that Murph is no ordinary moggy).

Now he lives in the main upstairs area, only venturing onto the deck on very warm, sunny days. He’s mostly as close to the base of the wood-heater as he can get, otherwise on someone’s lap or shoulder, or in his cosy house with a hot water bottle. He has a litter tray, food & water on hand & tit-bits of food to tempt him to eat at regular intervals. If his litter tray is outside, he pees in the bath! He seems happy, purry & contented in his own way & looks like a supermodel. We’d miss him so – he’s an important, eccentric element of our family. All our WWOOFERs have fallen in love with him & even Bronte’s teenage nephews spent hours nursing him.

Luke and I have begun walking to and from the school bus. I’m not sure how long this will last – it’s about 1km each way, on steep gradients – but it certainly gets the cardio-vascular system pumping & is probably doing us the power of good. The dogs enjoy it too & it gives us an opportunity to put Rosie on the lead & try to teach her to sit while we wait for the bus. We ran part of the way this morning as we dare not miss the bus – if we’re not there it goes right on past & we’d have to tramp back home so I could drive Luke to school. We’re pretty high here, about 220m altitude, so we can look down the valley as we walk & can see the bus parked across the hill at one of our neighbours’ houses (handily, she drives the bus). It was frosty again today, so I’m hoping for a sunny day like yesterday. The days are getting so short now though & by 4pm the chill is really setting in again.

Apart from the usual chores, on the agenda today is: marketing work, research into micro-hydro costs, cooking animal food & clipping the big goats’ hooves. The latter is a long job so may not get finished today. Then it’s off to pick up the bear (Luke), animal scraps & shopping.

Murphy before becoming so thin

Recent photo of Luke and Murphy-Cat

Murphy's domain