Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A ladies man?

This morning at the vet's: Mr Cat is trying to hide in the corner of the bottom half of his transportation box (the top half can be detached for easy access to the patient). He is surrounded by five lovely ladies, who all pat, stroke and cuddle him: two vets, two vet assistants and me. He clearly is the focus of the whole clinic's attention. Ok, it's 8:45 am and he is the first patient of the day, the waiting room is still empty (officially the clinic opens at 9:00), but we all clearly think he is a star. His blood sugar has considerably dropped already, his appetite is back and he is much more active. Unfortunately he now also has an infection in his right eye. He was diagnosed as FIV positive five years ago and now that he his defences are down for a while, he is more likely to catch other illnesses. So an eye infection is not good, but it could have been worse. Of course he is not happy about the treatment, cooperation is minimal.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Signs of improvement?

Day 1 of the insulin treatment. This morning Mr Cat and I had a little disput about the necessity of the insulin shot. I won, but only because he is still a bit weak and currently only has half the power he used to have (ever tried to hold 10kg of cat that wants to get away?). He didn't eat a lot, but immediately started drinking lots of water and then just sat there with a droopy head. I went to work worrying about him.

My dad looked after him during the day and when I called my parents in the afternoon, they told me he had been very passive and hadn't eaten and didn't beg. I was even more worried then. When I came home tonight, he wasn't at the door to greet me as is his habit. He was still lying on his pillow (like on the picture currently in my profile) and only got up slowly when I called him. He wouldn't open one of his eyes and looked ill. I gave him the second insulin shot and opened a tin of his favourite food (which is sugar free, thank God). And then... he ate!

And he begged for a little more. For the first time in the six years that he has been with me, I was happy about this! And he did not drink at all. Instead he started cleaning his fur. Now he is back on the pillow, but his head is up and he is watching me. I hope this means that the insulin is working and he is improving. Tomorrow morning we have to return to the vet for a check up. Fingers crossed he is even more restored to his old self then.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Mr Cat update

We have just returned from the vet. Mr Cat is still a bit drowsy and moves like a ship in heavy seas. His teeth have been repaired and all is well on that front. But the blood test has confirmed the tentative diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. His fructosamine concentration is 535.9 μmol/l, the maximum value acceptable is 340 μmol/l. I have to give him insulin shots twice a day now to get the value down. On Friday there will be another blood test to check for improvement.

It is still possible that Mr Cat is only in a so called "honeymoon" phase, i.e. the blood sugar will get back to normal after the treatment and remain below the level without further insulin shots. If it is bad, then we will have to give him insulin for the rest of his life. The shots must be given at the same time every day and within 12 hours of each other. This means a change of lifestyle for me. If he has a shot at 7 a.m. I have to give him the second one at 7 p.m. every night. It's not a problem with the running, I don't go running before 7 p.m. anyway. But I work late often and I have to travel for the company. But I have talked to my parents and we will manage. Dad has diabetes too, but doesn't need insulin. Still he sympathises with Mr Cat and will give him the shots whenever I am travelling or have to work late.

Mr Cat will manage, I am sure. He is a tough guy. In 2001 he was diagnosed with FIV, he has food allergies and had an operation on his eye. I have never added up all the amounts I have paid to vets since he decided to live with me in 2000. It must over a thousand Euros. But I don't regret a single cent.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stats of the week - week 1

A new coach means a new start for the "stats of the week". For this week Jens had given me three training units, two continous runs (pulse 150) and one interval training. Done.

Total running time this week: 3 hour 13 minutes

Total distance run: 22.5 k

Total steps: 86,600 (until now)

I am quite shocked about the fact that my pulse is up to 150 at a speed of 7.0! I am fat, I am slow, I am untrained. Jens... there is a lot of work to be done.

Over in Witten
Uli is making me very jealous. It was already bad enough when he announced B to be his favourite running mate (Still Dreaming)... but now he has officially informed me that this B has booked London 2007! Does this mean war? She will eat my dust! Jens... I want to run in 3:40 (B's personal best is 3:45)!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cat fight

To cheer myself up a bit I decided to make a couple of pictures of Mr Cat. He wasn't happy.

"Oi, aren't you the one who starved me this morning, put me in a plastic box, held me when the horror lady took my blood and drove a needle into my bum?"

"Eh, yes. That's not quite the way I would look at it, but yes."

"I knew it! I am not talking to you. Go away."

"Oh, wait a minute! What's that?"

"It's called a camera."

"I know that, stupid. I am talking about that thing there, dangling in front of my nose."

"You mean the wrist strap?"

"Yeeesssssss! It's as good as dead!"

RIP wrist wrap.


These are bad days. Yesterday I went to Paris with my boss to meet with the new "maman". About half-way through the meeting my boss said that he felt like a train had just run over him. I couldn't have agreed more. New requirements and tightened deadlines. The next six months will be hell. Monday morning I will have to figure out a way to make it work.

And if that wasn't enough, Mr Cat is making me worry too. I took him to the vet today, because it looked like his teeth were troubling him. He makes a mess when he eats and doesn't eat as fast as he used too. He has very bad teeth anyway, so I new it was time for the dentist again. Furthermore I felt that he was drinking more than usual and was worried he may have kidney problems, which are often fatal.

I didn't feed him this morning, because I thought they could do it straight away. (Cats need to be anaesthestise for dental repairs to be carried out and hence must not eat anything for hours before.) You can imagine the mood he was in! The vet agrees that something needs to be done about the teeth urgently, but informed me that she doesn't anaesthestise cats on Saturdays because she wants them to wake up in the clinic, which is only open until early afternoon. So we made an appointment for Monday morning and I can pick him up on Monday late afternoon, when he is awake again. She also checked his blood after I told her about the increased water intake. Weighing showed that he has lost 1kg! She also didn't like the look of his fur. I thought it wasn't so shiny in certain parts, because he is old and ... slightly overweight... he cannot reach everywhere to lick and clean his fur. Therefore I brush his coat every second night to help him. Looks like I was wrong.

Her diagnosis has to be confirmed by another blood test, but it's very likely my little furry friend has diabetes. We sent a blood sample to the lab immediately, but all the symptoms she described are there: increased drinking, weight loss, fur problems. He will have to eat special food and, in a worsed case scenario, get insulin injections. On the one hand I am glad that he doesn't have kidney failure (all other tests apart from the blood sugar had very good results), but he is old and FIV positive. He really doesn't need another illness.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am back in the saddle again...

... riding into town alone... well, not quite alone. I have a new trainer! "But who is it?" I hear you cry. Well, a couple of months ago my friend and fellow running addict Anna started to get faster and faster. In fact, she got so fast that I thought she was secretly doping herself. Eventually she told me the secret to her success: His name is Jens Karass and he is known to the Spiegel Online reading world as "Klemmbrett-Karass" (the English translation of "Clipboard-Karass" doesn't alliterate quite as nicely). Where does the name come from? One of the people Jens coaches happens to be a journalist who writes about his runner's life in the very enjoyable and highly recommended column Achille's Verse. (Best of all: Achim is one of us! He thinks walkers are a pest, too.) He calls Jens "Klemmbrett-Karass", because Jens' favourite coaching accessory is a clipboard. Never leaves home without it apparently!

So, Jens is now my coach, too. Online, because he lives in Berlin. His mission - make me faster, too! More precisely: make me run the London marathon 2007 in 4 h 15 min. It's 5 months and 7 days away. Jens thinks, he can do it. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Small is beautiful

On one of my journeys through cyberspace, following the links from a
duffypedia related google search, I ended up on the homepage of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. I stayed for quite a while and returned several times. They are one of the coolest orchestras I have come across and I recommend them to you. If you only listen to one of their recordings, choose their version of Ms Dy-na-mi-tee (eg in the mp3 downloads part of their website). But you really should listen to all of them. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back again

Hi, I am back from London. I spent two days in a conference room that had a subaqueous atmosphere: green and blue where the predominant colours, there were no windows. The only thing missing for the full Nemo experience were some effervascent sound effects. But the conference itself was good again and I soaked up information like a sponge.

On Sunday afternoon I met C. for coffee and a chat. He is a erally lovely and funny person and unfortunately he had to leave after two hours. I found the almost perfect vegetable korma in a Indian restaurant just down the road from the hotel. It was only "almost perfect", so the search continues. N. had recommended a restaurant called Govinda's , but it was closed on Sunday. Apparently that is Lord Krishna's day off. He doesn't seem to have a deputy.

I did not have many opportunities to take pictures, but here are some:

London, night view from hotel window

London, morning view from hotel window


On Monday evening we went to see a musical called Avenue Q. I am not a great musical fan, but this one is really funny, sometimes a bit rude and there is no Andrew Lloyd Webber anywhere to be seen! I really enjoyed it and A. who had organised everything, saw it for the second time. So, it cannot be bad, right?

At the airport we sat a little to close to this shop:

S. was staring at the scarves, I was staring at the handbags. We both resisted the temptation, but it was tough.