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Sammie's blood sugar was 36 yesterday morning, so I took her to the VCA. She's still there, and she'll be there until tomorrow. This visit is going to cost me close to $7,000, total, and I just don't have it. So I started a crowdfunding campaign to help me pay for the expense.



(If you can't see the widget, you can click here to go to the campaign.)

I've raised one-tenth of one percent of what I need so far. Please help! Thank you.

R.I.D.* 2016, you motherf***er...

The short list of prominent deaths in 2016:

January
10th: David Bowie, age 69, liver cancer
11th: David Margulies (actor: Ghostbusters, The Sopranos, etc.), age 78, natural causes
14th: Alan Rickman, age 69, pancreatic cancer
15th: Dan Haggerty (actor: The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams), age 74, spinal cancer
18th: Glenn Frey (of The Eagles), age 67, complications following intestinal surgery
26th: Abe Vigoda, age 94, natural causes

February
4th: Edgar Mitchell (sixth man on the moon), age 85, natural causes
6th: Dan Gerson (screenwriter: Big Hero 6, Monsters, Inc., etc.), age 49, brain cancer;
     Dan Hicks (singer-songwriter, principally of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks), age 74, liver cancer
13th: Antonin Scalia, age 79, natural causes (possibly helped along by having one of the most stressful jobs in the entire fucking world)
14th: Drewe Henley (Red Leader in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), age 75, natural causes
15th: Vanity (of the 80's pop band Vanity 6), age 57, renal failure
16th: Boutros Boutros-Gali (former Secretary General of the UN), age 93, complications from a fall
18th: Umberto Eco, age 84, pancreatic cancer
     Harper Lee, age 89, natural causes
28th: George Kennedy (actor: Cool Hand Luke, etc.), age 91, heart disease

March
6th: Nancy Reagan, age 94, heart failure
8th: Sir George Martin, age 90, natural causes
10th: Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), age 71, suicide by gunshot
16th: Frank Sinatra, Jr., age 72, heart attack
22nd: Rob Ford (former crack-smoking Mayor of Toronto), age 46, liposarcoma
23rd: Joe Garagiola, Sr. (baseball player and sportscaster), age 90, natural causes
     Ken Howard (actor: The White Shadow, 1776, etc.), age 71, natural causes
24th: Garry Shandling, age 66, blood clot
28th: Peggy Fortnum (illustrator of the Paddington Bear book series), age 96, natural causes
29th: Patty Duke, age 69, sepsis

April
6th: Merle Haggard, age 79, complications from pneumonia
8th: Scooter (oldest living domesticated cat), age 30, natural causes
12th: James Bond, age 70, natural causes ... What? No, not THAT James Bond. The Australian Navy officer. Geesh...
13th: Gareth Thomas (actor: Blake's 7, etc.), age 71, heart failure
17th: Doris Roberts, age 90, stroke
20th: Chyna, age 46, accidental overdose
21st: Prince, age 57, accidental overdose

May
6th: Candye Kane (former porn actress, blues singer-songwriter), age 54, pancreatic cancer
14th: Darwyn Cooke (comic book artist and writer: DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit, etc.), age 53, cancer
19th: John Berry (of the Beastie Boys), age 52, frontal lobe dementia
     Morley Safer (TV journalist: 60 Minutes, etc.), age 84, pneumonia
     Alan Young (actor: Mister Ed, The Time Machine, etc.; and voice actor: DuckTales, etc.), age 96, natural causes
28th: Harambe (gorilla), age 17, shot

June
3rd: Muhammad Ali, age 74, septic shock
6th: Sir Peter Shaffer (playwright: Amadeus, Equus, etc.), age 90, natural causes
19th: Anton Yelchin, age 27, blunt traumatic asphyxia

July
3rd: Richard Grayson (composer, pianist, and former sidekick of Batman er, whoops, wrong guy...), age 75, natural causes (Yeah, he was way too young to have been Robin...)
     ...but this one's for real. Noel Neill (Lois Lane), age 95, natural causes
17th: Fred Tomlinson (composer of Monty Python's "The Lumberjack Song"), age 88, natural causes
27th: Jerry Doyle (actor: Babylon 5, etc.), age 60, complications from chronic alcoholism

August
2nd: David Huddleston (actor: The Big Lebowski, Blazing Saddles, etc.), age 85, heart and kidney disease
8th: Ali Baba, age 75, natural causes ... What? No, not THAT Ali Baba. The Pakistani writer. Geesh. THAT Ali Baba would be, what? Something like 1,500 years old now?
9th: Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), age 75, acute myeloid leukemia
11th: Glenn Yarbrough (folk singer), age 86, complications from dementia
13th: Kenny Baker, age 81, undisclosed illness
29th: Gene Wilder, age 83, complications from Alzheimer's disease

September
1st: Jon Polito (actor: The Rocketeer, Homicide: Life on the Street, etc.), age 65, multiple myeloma
24th: Bill Nunn (actor: Do the Right Thing, Spider-Man, etc.), age 63, leukemia
25th: Arnold Palmer, age 87, natural causes

October
20th: Michael Massee (actor: The Crow, The Amazing Spider-Man, etc.), age 64, stomach cancer
22nd: Steve Dillon (comic book artist: Hellblazer, Preacher, etc.), age 54, appendicitis

November
7th: Leonard Cohen, age 82, complications from a fall
     Janet Reno, age 79, Parkinson's disease
11th: Robert Vaughn, age 83, acute leukemia
24th: Florence Henderson, age 82, heart failure
25th: Fidel Castro, age 90, natural causes
     Ron Glass (Shepherd Book on Firefly), age 71, respiratory failure

December
8th: John Glenn, age 95, natural causes
11th: Bob Krasnow (co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), age 82, natural causes
13th: Alan Thicke, age 69, ruptured aorta
14th: Bernard Fox (actor: The Mummy, The Rescuers, Titanic, etc.), age 89, heart failure
18th: Zsa Zsa Gabor, age 99, heart failure
24th: Richard Adams (author: Watership Down, etc.), age 96, natural causes
25th: George Michael, age 53, suspected heart failure
27th: Carrie Fisher, age 60, complications from a heart attack
28th: Debbie Reynolds, age 84, stroke
29th: Cyril deGrasse Tyson (civil rights activist and father of Neil deGrasse Tyson), age 89, natural causes
31st: William Christopher (Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H), age 84, small cell carcinoma

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* Requiescat in doloribus = rest in agony

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How cool is this?

My friend Brooke marieoroumania* Binkowski, who is Managing Editor of Snopes.com, was on the front page of the New York Times on Christmas Day!

For Fact-Checking Website Snopes, a Bigger Role Brings More Attacks

Way to go, Brooke!

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*Also, I think her LJ handle is the best ever! It's from one of my favorite Dorothy Parker poems:

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Pacific Islander Superheroes?

Now that I've seen Moana, I want to record a mashup of "You're Welcome" with Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man".

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Sammie is doing MUCH better!

This morning, Sammie was sleeping next to my head. When I woke up, she "Enh"ed at me (which is the semi-voiced meow she does when she wants food) and sat on my chest. When she did this before, it was annoying. When she did it today, I was almost crying with joy.

I got up and fed her, and she ate nearly all of it, so I gave her a little bit of kibble to munch on throughout the day (as the doctor told me to do so she can put on some of the weight she's lost). She fought me giving her pills, but did swallow them eventually. Her blood sugar was elevated, but not stratospheric, so I gave her one unit of insulin.

If she continues like this, I expect that tomorrow she'll be knocking things over and chewing paper again to wake me up. :)

She's coming home!

I'm at VCA, and they're getting Sammie ready for me to take her home. I've got a new treatment plan and a lot of drugs for her, but I feel a lot better about her future than I did on Sunday night.

Second update on Sammie

The ultrasound revealed that Sammie's pancreas has some nodules on it that they say are likely scar tissue from previous bouts of pancreatic inflammation. This scar tissue, they said, is probably contributing to the glucose spikes she's been having. I'm going to talk to their feline diabetes specialist this afternoon to work out a plan for controlling her glucose better so that her pancreas doesn't get this badly inflamed again. Then I'll be taking her home and watching her very closely for a while.

But they also say that she's been doing much, much better since I brought her in. Her appetite is back in full force, and she's drinking and urinating normally again. Also, not vomiting! Yay!

Update on Sammie

I left the VCA last night around 1am. At that time, the vet on duty said that she was dehydrated, her pancreas was inflamed, and her glucose was still very high, but they were going to put her on IV fluids and give her insulin and anti-inflammatory drugs. About 3am, he called me to say that she was responding to abdominal palpation as if it hurt her, so they wanted to do an ultrasound, and they were going to give her pain medication and an antibiotic just in case the inflamed pancreas was a bacterial infection. He said someone would call me some time this morning to let me know how she was doing.

I ended up calling them about 10am (a little over 20 minutes ago as I write this). She responded very well to the pain meds and the fluids, and her appetite came back. However, her glucose numbers were all over the place, so they said that they want to keep her for another day. They hadn't yet done the ultrasound, either.

So bottom line: Good news is that she's eating again, she's apparently not in pain (though that's probably the drugs), her glucose isn't consistently through the roof anymore, and she's stopped vomiting. Bad news is that her glucose is now fluctuating, her pancreas is still inflamed, and they still don't know if there's something else that may be causing both of these things (which the ultrasound could help determine).

Also bad news: this whole thing is going to set me back about five grand. Sammie is worth it, but ... ouch.

At the emergency vet

I'm at the VCA emergency veterinary hospital in Mission Valley. Sammie is not doing very well. She was vomiting about once every hour this evening, was extremely listless, and her blood glucose level was sky high. I gave her her insulin and watched her for a while, but she didn't seem to get any better, so I decided to bring her here.

I spoke with the doctor on call about a half hour ago, and he wants to keep her here overnight for observation. I'm waiting for them to do some tests and so they can decide on a course of treatment and give me an estimate.

I have a bad feeling, though...

Awesome Dream Channel

I had one of the most kick-ass dreams in recent memory last night. This might take a while to transcribe, so bear with me.

Unlike a lot of my dreams I wasn't a participant, but just an observer, like I was watching a movie. The setting was a fantasy world something like a cross between that of The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age. I was following a group of vampires led by a woman, and they were definitely the villains of the story. My memory of the dream picks up at a point where this woman is experiencing a vision of her victory.

In her vision, she is on a grand throne in "Heaven", surrounded by ... nothing. There's just a vast emptiness. As my view pans around, I see that she's actually in what's called "The Fade" in the Dragon Age setting, a dream land where spirits and demons live and where the fabled Black City (supposedly once the Golden City and the Holy Seat of the Maker himself before it was corrupted by the touch of humankind's hubris) can always be seen in the distance, but can never be reached. Her throne is surrounded by the ruins of everything she's tried to create, shadows of the empire she's envisioned. And she understands (because she's saying it out loud--I don't see into her thoughts or experience her feelings or anything) that no matter if she wins or loses, this will be her fate.

At that point, she looks up at the Black City and hurls invective at the Maker for so cursing her. But I notice, as does she, that beyond the Black City is a light. And that light is a sun (and anyone who plays Dragon Age games knows that the sun doesn't appear in the Fade). And that sun ... is the Maker himself, looking upon the vampire in her throne.

A doorway floats between the sun and the throne, and the doorway is a lens, and suddenly the sun is a thousand times brighter. Any flesh and blood creature would be reduced to ash by that much light, let alone a vampire, but the light doesn't burn her. Instead a voice comes from it, warm and compassionate. I can't clearly remember the words (it's been over an hour at this point since I got up), but the gist of the exchange was this:

MAKER: Child, this is not a punishment. This is a redemption. A cleansing.

VAMPIRE: But I've lost everything!

MAKER: Except what is most precious. Your soul. The vampires say "The blood is the life." They are wrong. It is the breath. And it is my breath that will purify you and give you back that which you have lost.

VAMPIRE: Who are you?

And there was a terrible, ferocious, roaring wind as if the entire universe were inhaling. And upon the exhale, the Maker said:

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