Friday, July 26, 2013

Felix, Kidneys, Heat

Oh my God, it's 90 degrees and I have the heat on!  This is what I thought when I went to lift the blinds a little higher, now that the morning sun had passed.  A great wave of heat was coming up from the radiator under the window.  But upon closer inspection I found that the radiator was cold (so to speak) and that the heat was not rising from there, but was sitting just outside the window,wanting to come in.  This explains why Spanish homes are so dark.  They keep their blinds down and windows closed during the day to keep the heat out.  I can’t do that.  I don’t like a dark house and it's too humid to keep the windows closed.  At least when they're open there is a chance, albeit a very small chance, of some breeze coming in.  So I compromise.  I keep the shades lower than usual until the sun passes but the windows remain open. 

Felix endured another blood test this week to see how his kidneys were performing.  Turns out they are performing the same as when we did the last blood test a few weeks ago.  Thus he is no better but no worse either.  Vet says he has glomerular disease.

The vet says that when the kidneys start to deteriorate, there is no going back.  All that we can do is try to keep it from getting worse.  So we will continue with the special renal diet that gives the kidneys less to filter, and we have put him on medication that might also help in preventing more deterioration.  All this may serve to maintain the status quo, or it may not.  If it does, that could be for for only a short while, or for many years.  The vet assures me that Felix is not in pain (he doesn’t look like he’s in pain).  He doesn’t play like he used to and isn't as spirited, but as long as it seems that he isn’t suffering and his quality of life is decent, we will continue on with the treatment and hope for the best, whatever that might be. 

The good news is that Felix's pancreas, which the vet thought was also malfunctioning, is OK.  The bad news is that it is hot and humid and so not only Felix, but Minnie and I also don’t want to make any moves that aren't absolutely necessary.



Friday, July 19, 2013


Felix, my adorable little tuxedo cat, is not well.  He hasn't been well since Avi left in early May.  At first I thought it was because of the disturbance of having a guest in the house, but eventually I realized it was more than that.

Felix is having problems with his kidneys.  I'm trying to do what I can for him.  His situation isn't desperate, it isn't kidney failure, at least not yet.  But he clearly isn't his usual happy, verbal, playful self.  He's had a change to a special diet that allows the kidneys to process less, he's been drained of blood and urine for tests, and pumped full of cortisone and antibiotics.  All this has yielded some improvement.  But we're not there yet.  And of course, I'm worried. 

This afternoon he and Minnie have spent considerable time under the bed.  This is not because of any illness, but because of standard cat behavior that when there is a thunder storm, you run for safety, and safety is always somewhere other than where you presently are.  It's good that I've got the balcony secured so that they can't jump off, or who knows where they would run for safety.

Unlike my cats, I love storms.  I admit that thunder sometimes frightens me too, but I find that living in an apartment (and not one on the ground floor, or directly under the roof) gives me a feeling of safety, even as the sky lights up, thunder cracks and crashes, and rain pours down.  Up here I have the distinctly safe feeling that none of this will touch me.  And I can safely sit by the window enjoying the aroma of rain and the spectable of the storm... while my poor cats cower in fright under the bed.

I'm sorry.  I can't help it. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


Although I’m not a collector (would be, maybe, if I had the means) I’ve always been interested in beautiful cars.  My family actually owned one once.  Back in the 60s, my dad had bought a secondhand 1958 Mercedes Benz 220 SE.  He didn’t pay an arm and a leg for it -- it wasn’t a classic, it was just a second hand car in a used car lot.  But my dad knew better.  He knew beauty and quality when he saw it and knew it had far more class than a Ford or Chevy.  It was cream colored with a wooden dashboard and red leather interior and looked just like the one in this photo.  Maybe that’s when my interest in beautiful cars began, although I’m embarrassed to say, I managed to destroy that car on a cross-country trip.

If there’s a classic car show nearby, I’ll go.  When I see an interesting car parked or driving by, if I can, I’ll snap a photo.  I didn’t have my camera with me when I recently went to an art fair on the Rambla in Figueres.  I’m not much interested in contemporary painting and only went because I had nothing better to do.  But I found, besides the art stands, several classic cars, causing me to run home and grab my camera.  (The Mercedes photo was taken off the internet.  It's for sale!) 






Friday, July 5, 2013

Left, Right, Straight Ahead

Last Friday night I had the worst asthma attack I’ve had in years.  The next morning, once I was feeling better, I went to see what additional medication or advice I could find at the pharmacy so that I could control it better if it happened again that night.

Unfortunately last Saturday was a holiday (Sant Pere) and my pharmacy was closed.  (You do sometimes get fed up with so many holidays.  Even locals get caught out.  I passed a woman with her shopping cart stopped in front of a small supermarket while I was walking and she asked me if I knew why the store was closed.  I told her it was Sant Pere.  She had nothing to make for lunch and realized she was going to have a problem.  I tried to cheer her by telling her that the outdoor fruit and veg market was open.)  On holidays and Sundays when pharmacies (and most businesses) are closed, there will always be one pharmacy in town that “stands guard” and is open.  My pharmacy had a sign up that informed me that the pharmacy at Carrer Gonzalez de Soto 71 was open that day.

I didn’t recall having ever seen this street, so I asked a passerby if he knew where Carrer Gonzalez de Soto was.  He pointed ahead and said “You know where the school is?  Well, the next street, or no, maybe the one after that is Gonzalez de Soto.”  I thanked him and walked ahead down Carrer Sant Pau.

I passed the school and looked at the next street.  Not it.  I went one more block, also not it.  While walking to the third street, I asked another passerby if he knew where Carrer Gonzalez de Soto was.  He thought about it a little and then turned, pointing back to where I had come from, and said that at the triangular plaza (where my pharmacy that was closed is located) I would find it.  I knew that wasn’t right, so I thanked him and kept on.

When I reached the next street I came across a man closing his garage door – a sure sign that he was a local -- and I asked him if he knew where Carrer Gonzalez de Soto was.  He gave it some thought and said he thought it was somewhere back in the direction from where I had just come and off to the left – somewhere near the post office.

I’ve walked to that post office from my apartment many times, up one street and down another, and neither is called Gozalez de Soto.  Even so, I had the feeling that his information was good, but as it was a little vague and rather than walk back and forth and get nowhere, I decided to walk home, which wasn’t too far away, and look at my map.

It turned out that all three men had been close.  I had been walking on Carrer Sant Pau.  The school sits on the corner of Carrer Sant Pau and Carrer Muntaner.  That is if I were to look to the left.  If I were to look to the right Carrer Muntaner is called Gonzalez de Soto.  This isn't the only street in Figueres that suddenly changes its name for no apparent reason.  I found several others while consulting my map.

Some blocks up (in the direction of the post office that the last man had pointed to) I found the one and only pharmacy that was open.  Unfortunately, when I told the pharmacist my problem she explained that they had no other medication besides the inhaler that I already possessed.  If it wasn’t helping, I would have to go see my doctor or the emergency service at the hospital.

Hoping I wouldn’t have another attack that night, I went home.  And as luck would have it, I didn’t have another attack and haven’t since.  I found the illusive Gonzalez de Soto, but I never did figure out what had caused the asthma attack.
While I was shooting photos two cars entered