Consumed By Her Disease

Unless we’ve personally confronted a cancer diagnosis and experienced the challenges of treatment, none of us really know how we’d react to this horrible situation. I’d like to think that I’d be brave, hopeful, and realistic. I’d also like to think that I would most want to spend time with those I love, but not be a burden to them. Of course I’d be terrified.

seven people share the stories behind their scars on allure.com

I’ve been following the Facebook posts of a young woman (she’s in her late 40s) with advanced breast cancer. She’s had mastectomies, chemo, and much more. The cancer has metastasized to her brain. It appears to also have taken over her life. She defines itself by her illness. She takes countless selfies and videos of her “flat” chest; she rails against her relatives whom she dislikes because they think she’s using her cancer to get attention; she bemoans that she’s all alone in her challenging journey; she’s angry as hell at her cancer, which seems to make her angry in general. 

She shares her physical reactions to her treatment and to the spreading disease in startling detail. The headaches, the vomiting, the excruciating pain. She implores people to accompany her to treatments, to order meals for her, to buy beauty products she likes. 

Now here’s the thing: I abhor the idea of an illness becoming the single focus of my existence. I don’t want to live if I’m spending the majority of my time having my disease treated and then suffering from the side effects of that treatment, unable to work. I wouldn’t want to rely on anyone, especially my grown children, to help care for me because I could no longer do it alone. I would feel like I’m imposing, which has always made me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to be consumed with a disease that was literally consuming my body.

I don’t want others to feel sorry or pity for me or feel obligated to help me. I don’t want to whine about the cards I’ve been dealt. I am my mother’s daughter. That’s exactly how she felt, even after having hip surgery at 86 and developing a raging and painful infection throughout her body from diabetes. She’d repeatedly cry out “it hurts, it hurts”-in a state of delirium-but never once asked me or my sisters for help. Of course we tried to help. She died weeks after the surgery. And, I am my father’s daughter. After being diagnosed with metastasized melanoma in 1988, when doctors were the only people who’d heard of melanoma, he never complained and rued his fate. When I leaned down to kiss him in the hospital bed in his den, these were what would be his last words to me, “The one who’s having the hardest time coping with this is Gerilynn (that’s my legal name).” 

Dr. Paul Kalanithi and daughter Cady

I often think about Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who died a month shy of his 38th birthday of advanced lung cancer, rare in someone so young. After getting the diagnosis at 36 years old, he didn’t spend the time left to him dying. He spent it learning how to die, and he chronicled what he learned in When Breath Becomes Air, a book that should be required reading for anyone over the age of 18. You ask yourself if you could possibly look at your own impending death as bravely as Paul looked at his, will yourself to do a job you loved, decide to have a child who would never know you. Could you evaluate the meaning of your own life, as it was about to end, as Paul so stunningly assesses his? 

I’ve often said I would end my own life if I knew I had Alzheimer’s. I would not want to wait until I was completely out of my mind and incapable of doing anything on my own, especially think. Cancer is another story, but if it or an equally dreadful disease dramatically changed my life, I don’t think it would be a life I’d want to live.

Mastering The Push-Up In Three Easy Steps

Nick Rizzo was determined to motivate his parents to “ditch their sedentary habits and get more active” when they entered their 60s. As director of Training & Fitness at RunRepeat.com, a popular athletic shoe review site, Nick wanted his folks to appreciate the innumerable health benefits of strength training as they aged. 

“Inactivity is extremely dangerous for the 80 percent of adults who shun the physical exercise they need to keep them in good shape,” Nick said. It increases risk for serious health conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, obesity,  diabetes, metabolic issues, depression and death from any cause, he explained. Light walking isn’t good enough.

To confirm the importance of doing more strenuous exercise like strength training as we age, Nick spent hours researching and reading over 200 scientifically backed, peer-reviewed studies. Hopefully, his list of 78 benefits will convince you to stop being a dumbbell, and pick up a dumbbell instead.  

In the meantime, here are five key takeaways from Nick’s research:


Weightlifting is the most effective treatment to prevent, slow down, or partially reverse age-related muscle loss/sarcopenia.

 


Volunteers from 61 to 80 years old added 2.4 lbs of muscle from strength training and looked an average of five years younger.

 


Lifting weights helps aging populations reduce risk factors for falls, improve functional independence, functional capacity, and quality of life. 

 


Weight training has been shown repeatedly in studies to reduce a wide variety of general aches and pains associated with aging, as well as many disorder-specific pains.

 


Exercising only 20 minutes a day reduces the risk of early death by as much as 30 percent, and strength training twice a week reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by 46 percent. 

 

“Strength training exercises work your muscles by applying a resistance against which the muscles need to exert a force. 

We want the exercises to be functional movements so that the strength translates into our everyday lives and compound movements that help target the largest and most amount of muscle groups in a single movement,” Nick advised. 

A typical beginner’s strength training program involves 8 to 10 exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body. “You start with the basics and slowly work your way up to more advanced variations of an exercise. These exercises are usually performed two to three times every week,” Nick added. 

To help get you started on a strength-training program, I asked Nick to recommend the five most powerful exercises and guidance on doing them properly. We covered squats last week. Today, we’re covering pushups. 

THE PUSH-UP: NUMBER TWO STRENGTH-TRAINING EXERCISE 

While squats address your lower body, push-ups help improve the strength and muscle in your chest, core, shoulders, triceps and forearms. They are tried and true. They are simple, safe and effective.

(Step 1) Before attempting to do full fledged push-ups, take Nick’s advice and begin with wall push-ups, which will reduce the weight on your body. As you’ll see in this easy-to-follow video, you can start by standing straight up and progress by moving your feet further and further away from the wall. (STEP 2) After you’ve mastered wall push-ups, move on to knee push-ups. This well done Mayo Clinic video shows you perfect form. (STEP 3) And, once you’re comfortable with knee push-ups, think about graduating to the traditional full-body push-up. But please don’t overdo it. You surely don’t have to complete as many push-ups as the young woman recommends in this video.

Don’t Be A Dumbbell. Pick Up A Dumbbell Instead.

Nick Rizzo was determined to motivate his parents to “ditch their sedentary habits and get more active” when they entered their 60s. As director of Training & Fitness at RunRepeat.com, a popular athletic shoe review site, Nick wanted his folks to appreciate the innumerable health benefits of strength training as they aged. 

“Inactivity is extremely dangerous for the 80 percent of adults who shun the physical exercise they need to keep them in good shape,” Nick said. It increases risk for serious health conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, obesity,  diabetes, metabolic issues, depression and death from any cause, he explained. Light walking isn’t good enough.

To confirm the importance of doing more strenuous exercise like strength training as we age, Nick spent hours researching and reading over 200 scientifically backed, peer-reviewed studies. Hopefully, his list of 78 benefits will convince  you to stop being a dumbbell, and pick up a dumbbell instead.  

In the meantime, here are five key takeaways from Nick’s research:


Weightlifting is the most effective treatment to prevent, slow down, or partially reverse age-related muscle loss/sarcopenia.



Volunteers from 61 to 80 years old added 2.4 lbs of muscle from strength training and looked an average of five years younger.


Lifting weights helps aging populations reduce risk factors for falls, improve functional independence, functional capacity, and quality of life. 

 

Weight training has been shown repeatedly in studies to reduce a wide variety of general aches and pains associated with aging, as well as many disorder-specific pains.

 

Exercising only 20 minutes a day reduces the risk of early death by as much as 30 percent, and strength training twice a week reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by 46 percent. 


“Strength training exercises work your muscles by applying a resistance against which the muscles need to exert a force. 

We want the exercises to be functional movements so that the strength translates into our everyday lives and compound movements that help target the largest and most amount of muscle groups in a single movement,” Nick advised. 

A typical beginner’s strength training program involves 8 to 10 exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body. “:You start with the basics and slowly work your way up to more advanced variations of an exercise. These exercises are usually performed two to three times every week,” Nick added. 

To help get you started on a strength-training program, I asked Nick to recommend the five most powerful exercises and guidance on doing them properly. Today, we’re covering squats, and each week we’ll add one new exercise so no one feels overwhelmed. 

THE SQUAT: NUMBER ONE STRENGTH-TRAINING EXERCISE 

Squats primarily target the lower body, helping you to develop stronger legs, as well as improve core strength and stabilizer muscles throughout your body.

The overall movement of the squat is the same, whether you’re doing it with or without weights. “I suggest starting with chair squats, which are simply squats where you’re sitting back until your butt is actually in a chair. This allows you to have that extra level of safety and reassurance while you learn to get comfortable with the movement. When you’re ready to graduate to the next level, remove the chair and work to develop a full range of motion doing bodyweight squats,” Nick explained.

Once you’ve mastered the movements Nick described, you can start to use weight, whether it’s a kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell, or even a jug of water. Adding weights will allow you to continue to develop greater and greater lower body strength that  isn’t possible with bodyweight squats alone.

“Remember though, this isn’t a sprint. We want to take it slow, steady, and safely,” Nick wisely said.

Watch this video to see how to squat. Or this video.

The Two Faces Of Boomer Women

Older baby boomer women, 65 to 73 years old, seem to be less progressive than their younger 55 to 64 year old counterparts. Considering women didn’t start to make meaningful strides in business, education and elsewhere until the late 1960s, this makes sense. Before then, the first boomers remained heavily influenced by the “Silent Generation” that came before them! 

Take the issue of women’s rights.  When we asked in a survey whether you consider yourself a feminist, 49 percent of the 84 respondents said “yes” and 51 percent said “no.” While the overwhelming majority claim they fight against sexism in society when they see or experience it, half still wouldn’t call themselves proponents of “feminism,” the theory of the policial, economic and social equality of the sexes.

An Eye-Opening Gift For Someone You Love

This is a sponsored post. VSP Individual Vision Plans compensated FabOverFifty with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be informative for our readers. —Geri Brin

The best gift we can give to those we love is something they really need, but might be hard pressed to buy themselves. It’s even better if we present it out of the blue, not just for a special occasion. Since we don’t always know what’s on someone’s wish list, however, we might take the easy way out and buy a gift card, which is pretty impersonal. 

When I asked my 6.5-year-old grandson where his glasses were at the end of the school year in June, he said, “I lost them.” Surprise! Surprise! I thought. Many six-year-old boys would misplace their heads if they weren’t attached to their bodies. Primo’s mom, my daughter, works with me at FabOverFifty and her health plan doesn’t include eye exams or glasses. Buying new glasses is costly these days, especially if you want to get properly fitting frames and quality lenses, and my daughter’s budget is tight. 

So when I recently heard from VSP Individual Vision Plans, which provides great savings on frames, lenses, eye exams, and more, I thought what a perfect gift it would make for Primo. Well, maybe not for him (he’d rather get baseball cards), but for Simone! The timing couldn’t have been better since the new school year was about a month away.  If you don’t have a grandchild who needs glasses to play sports and see the blackboard, think about the people in your life like Simone, who don’t have vision insurance. They might be retired on fixed incomes, between jobs, college students or self-employed.

VSP CAN ALSO STAND FOR VERY SIMPLE PROCESS

It’s a breeze to gift a VSP Individual Vision Plan online. A day or two after I completed the enrollment form and paid the very reasonable annual premium, Simone received an email about my gift, which included Primo’s ID card and a detailed membership packet. She entered her zip code on the website to locate a provider where Primo could get his comprehensive eye exam and choose frames, and discovered one that had recently opened two blocks from her apartment. Over 34,000 private-practice doctors across the country accept VSP vision insurance, so chances are the beneficiary of your original gift also will find one that’s convenient. Simone was delighted that Primo could have his eyes examined and select frames in one spot!  

Harlem Vistasite Eye Care is spacious, filled with light and beautifully decorated. Most importantly, it offers an impressive selection of children’s (and adult) frames. “I tried on at least three styles I could have bought,” Simone told me. “Primo’s eye exam was as thorough as any I’ve ever had,” she noted. The optometrist even dilated his eyes to be able to fully examine the health of the optic nerve and retina.  Her calm and friendly demeanor during the process kept Primo focused!

PLAYING THE FRAME GAME

Now time to pick his frames, Primo was calm no more, having exhausted his calm quotient for the day. He tried on about a dozen styles–including four frames at the same time–and confidently selected navy frames with red accents. The tips of the temples are flexible, so Primo can adjust them himself to make sure they fit comfortably on his ears. Note: This innovative feature should come standard on all frames, so we don’t have to run back to the frame store when the  temples have to be tightened. 

Simone ordered a scratch-resistance feature for the lenses, as well as anti-glare coating, UV protection and an anti-reflective treatment that blocks high-energy blue light emitted by electronic devices, including computers, e-readers and smartphones. Even energy-efficient light bulbs discharge this light, which can damage the eyes over time. What’s more, the sun is the biggest source of blue light. 

Simone’s out-of-pocket expenses for the comprehensive eye exam, frames and optional enhancements for the quality lenses was $174. This included affordable copays of $15 and $25 for Primo’s eye exam and lenses, and a $150 allowance towards the frames. Considering this transaction took place in New York City, where prices are higher for practically everything, that’s an excellent value. Without my individual vision insurance gift, the total would have been about $600, the optometrist told Simone. 

I’m delighted that the VSP Individual Vision Plan worked out so well.  Simone is pleased. And, happily, Primo has been wearing his new glasses so he’ll be comfortable with them when school starts tomorrow. Now, we have to hope he doesn’t lose them, at least not before Thanksgiving! 

Gift an individual plan today!Or call 855.958.4746.

Treat Dry, Crepey Skin All Year

This is a “sponsored post.” Crepe Erase compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

The pipes in one of my bathrooms froze this winter during the incessant frigid temperatures plaguing much of the country. The good news, though, is that my skin continued to feel soft and supple for the first time in years, despite the harsh winter cold. Imagine, 11 degrees outside, and the skin on my body stayed sensationally smooth! My legs, my arms, my hands, my neck– all smooth! I’ll tell you about the thrilling reason why in a moment.

Dry skin is common in later life.

We naturally lose oil glands as we age, and the overheated indoor air we rely on to keep our homes comfortable during the winter makes the problem worse! Think about a favorite pair of leather shoes that’s stretched out and cracked after years of wear.  Like leather, your skin has countless pores that absorb or release moisture. When it releases too much of its moisture, it will dry up. If it dries up too much, cracks may form, especially on your elbows and feet. What’s more, your skin loses its wonderful foundation of collagen and elastin, making it loose and saggy.  

(more…)

A Drug I Take To Help My Bladder Can Harm My Brain

First the bad news, because there doesn’t seem to be any good news concerning the subject I’m about to cover: I recently learned that anticholinergic drugs (these can help treat a variety of conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, incontinence, depression and high blood pressure) are associated with an increased risk of dementia in older people who have used them for longer than a few months. Vesicare is one of these drugs. I’ve been taking it for years for bladder issues.  

One study says Vesicare increases risk only in those with diabetes (I don’t have that YET), while the rest don’t mention diabetes. No one is claiming that anticholinergic drugs actually cause dementia.  And, the increased risk to individuals is small (I guess that’s a scrap of good news).  It’s a risk to take them nonetheless, and Alzheimer’s petrifies me. It represents the majority of dementia cases, in case you didn’t already know! 

I’m writing to tell you this news, in case you or someone you know is taking one or more of the culprit drugs. I was surprised that Dr. Alan Garely, the New York urogynecologist who prescribed the Vesicare, hadn’t notified me. I don’t see him often, but I’ve known him for years.  I serendipitously Googled “Vesicare” last weekend and read about its link to dementia. A couple of studies are almost two years old, which alarmed me even more. How did I miss reading about them? Stress urinary incontinence is prevalent in US women: 30% to 40% have it in middle age, and 30% to 50% have it in older age. Did the media bury the stories? Why did The New York Times website report about the dementia risk at the end of June as if it was new news?  

Coincidentally, I’d made an appointment weeks ago to see Dr. Garely because I needed him to refill my Vesicare prescription. I’d bring up the studies first thing, I thought.  

“We have to change your Vesicare prescription,” he said, immediately after greeting me. 

“Why didn’t you notify me earlier?” 

“The American Urology Association, The American Urogynecology Society and the FDA haven’t issued any advisory for us to stop prescribing anticholinergics in patients who don’t already have cognitive impairment. All patients in the practice need to see me once a year and call in for a drug refill every six months. Since it’s not the current standard of care to stop anticholinergics with all patients, we decided that when patients call for a refill or show up for the yearly visit, we would switch them all off of anticholinergics. We are being proactive and not waiting for an ‘official’ warning.” 

The FDA doesn’t say to stop taking these drugs unless you already have cognitive impairment. Yet, the studies say they increase the risk of getting dementia in the first place. That makes no sense whatsoever.” 

“I don’t agree with the ‘recommendations’, which is why I’m switching all patients off of these drugs.”

“So, now that I’ve been taking Vesicare for about 10 years, I definitely have an increased risk for dementia.” 

“Cognitive decay secondary to anticholinergics (drug-induced dementia) is usually reversed once the drug is stopped. Patients will revert to baseline.” 

“That’s encouraging. But can I try to stop taking drugs altogether?” I asked, after Dr. Garely told me he was writing a prescription for a different drug that might be more expensive, but didn’t have the dementia connection. 

“Rather than stopping all medication cold, you should first take the new drug every other day and see how you do. If your bladder isn’t giving you issues on that schedule, see how it does if you stop taking the new drug entirely. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in medication dosing. I want to work with each patient to do what is best for her.” 

I’ve reported about many drugs since launching FabOverFifty nine years ago, and each one can be a double-edged sword. They’re often essential to keeping us well, BUT the overwhelming majority of them have the potential to produce side effects. These can range from minor problems like a runny nose to mega problems, like increasing our risk for dementia. The alternative bladder drug Dr. Garely recommended could increase my risk for high blood pressure.  My pressure has always been perfect, without medication. Do I risk raising it to take a drug that will reduce my bladder problems? I certainly don’t want dementia and I’m not too wild about hypertension, either. 

“Hypertension on the new drug is low, but not zero. We’d check your blood pressure six weeks after starting the drug,” Dr. Garely told me. “If overactive bladder is affecting someone’s quality of life, the low risk of short-term hypertension can be outweighed by the therapeutic benefit of the drug. This is only something that each patient can determine for herself. Obviously, if the drug caused hypertension, we’d stop it.”

I’ve made my decision. If I don’t wait to urinate (that would be a good tagline for a bladder campaign), my bladder doesn’t become an issue. So I’m going to forego the new drug.  High blood pressure can have far worse consequences than a little bladder leakage. If I did develop hypertension, it likely would be reversed once I stopped the new drug, Dr. Garely said, since it would be considered “drug-induced hypertension.” NOTE: Likely isn’t a strong enough word for me. 

What would you do in my situation? Please make sure to research every drug you’re taking to see if the side effects outweigh the benefits or vice versa.  

Dr. Alan D. Garely is Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology & Director of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at Mount Sinai South Nassau. He also is a professor at the School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Survey: Where Do You Stand On Women’s Rights?

This Kind Of Stroke Has Nothing To Do With Good Luck

Pointing to the locations of my carotid arteries

I was surprisingly calm while I waited for Dr. Marin’s nurse to call my name. Michael L. Marin is the Chairman, Department of Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Surgeon-In-Chief at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. His specialty is vascular surgery, which means (simplistically) he diagnoses, treats and manages conditions in the arteries and veins, also called blood vessels.  A recent scan had revealed that moderate plaque buildup has narrowed my right carotid artery. Clinically, it’s called extracranial vascular disease. In my terms, it could be the prelude to a stroke. Dr. Marin would assess my situation a lot better than Google. 

I needed to get answers to two questions: 1) What’s the likelihood I will have a stroke? 2) Would I need surgery to remove the plaque (Google told me it’s risky surgery)? 

After introducing himself, Dr. Marin immediately, and warmly, announced: “I’ve carefully reviewed your scans and medical history,” and took out a pad and pen so he could show me what’s happening in my carotid artery. I also wanted to know what the artery does in the first place!  I was a horrible science student but I continually force my brain to understand everything happening in my aging body! That way I can ask the right questions to get the answers I need to help me make informed decisions about my health. 

                                           www.pridgeondesign.com/

“I’m not a good artist, so bear with me,” Dr. Marin said as he started to draw a picture and deliver a little medical tutorial. In minutes he taught me that my right carotid artery is one of four arteries located on the sides of the neck (there’s a second carotid artery and two vertebral arteries).  The gang of four meet in a circle at the base of the brain, then branch off into many smaller vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the brain. Without this blood, brain cells die pretty quickly. Without a functioning brain, we die. 

The good news is that the arrangement of smaller vessels feeding the brain pretty much guarantees that blood will still flow into it, even if three of the four major arteries are completely obstructed. The not-so-good news is that the plaque (formed by fat deposits) in my right carotid artery hasn’t closed it off entirely. Blood can still flow through it, but at greater pressure since the normal opening has narrowed. If the increased pressure caused a piece of plaque to detach from the wall of the artery, it could make its way into my brain, rupture, and trigger a blood clot to form. If the clot blocked one of the small blood-supplying vessels to the brain, part of my brain wouldn’t get blood and oxygen, causing brain cells to die after just a few minutes.  Voila, a stroke! 

More good news: Based on the “moderate” amount of plaque in my right carotid artery, it’s highly unlikely the scenario he just described will play out in my brain, Dr. Marin told me. I’m also asymptomatic, another positive sign. And, I don’t need surgery, at least not now.  When Dr. Marin recommended that I have scans of my carotid arteries every six months, I asked if more plaque can accumulate. “ It can,” he answered.   

              Dr. Michael L. Marin

“Is it possible the plaque formed in my artery because my cholesterol shot up when I stopped taking estrogen, I was eating all wrong and gaining weight, plus I was hardly exercising?” I asked. 

“Absolutely,” he said.  

“I recently lost 17 pounds and want to lose 17 more. I’ve started exercising again and I’m taking statins so my cholesterol numbers are excellent. I also take a low-dose aspirin,”  I went on, perhaps to show Dr. Marin that I’m a ‘good girl.’  

“That’s all important, but the one factor over which you have no control is genetics,” he explained.

Got it.  So what happens if the amount of plaque reaches a dangerous level and you think I need surgery to clean it out and avoid a stroke? I read that the surgery actually can cause a stroke,” I added.

“Yes, there’s a risk of that happening because a piece of plaque could break off during surgery. That’s why you should choose a surgeon who has done the procedure more than a few times,” Dr. Marin advised. 

“When I do it, the risk is less than 1 percent,” he said, smiling.  

That was more good news. As I wrote on the review of my visit, “I would put my carotid arteries in Dr. Marin’s hands without a moment’s hesitation.” 

The moral of the story: Take charge of your own health, understand the issues confronting you, and do the necessary research to find the experienced doctors who can successfully treat your condition.  You don’t have to love them. You’re not marrying them. (Although Dr. Marin would be a good candidate if he wasn’t already married.)

PS  Also consider having a scan of your carotid arteries if you’re over 50. It’s quick and painless. And, you may not have a single symptom!

 

The Dinner Party That Turned Into A Rescue Party

                                         Geri & Anna

I invited my new pal Anna to dinner last night. She’s come from her home in Athens, Greece, to visit her son and his family, who are my lovely next door neighbors. I met her only last week, but we hit it off instantaneously.  When I answered the door, Anna looked frantic. Out walking, she heard meowing and tracked the sound to a trash bag, where she discovered a kitten that couldn’t be more than a couple of weeks old. She took the kitty to her son’s house, cleaned it up and fed it milk through a syringe. But, Anna wondered why there was only one kitten in the trash bag. Was there something wrong with it that prompted a cruel person to throw it out? Returning to the trash bag down the street, she heard more meowing but came to my house first. Out we ran to rescue the second kitten.

The garbage bag was filled with leaves, branches and dead sunflowers. Anna rooted around with her hand and found the second kitty, but we heard more meowing coming from the bag. Emptying the contents on the sidewalk, we met the third sibling! Back at my house, Anna cleaned up our guests, while I found a box for them and lined it with a towel. Anna dashed to her son’s house to retrieve the syringe so she could feed them.  

Anna is returning to Greece on Monday. And tempted as I was to keep one of the kittens, I knew I couldn’t properly take care of it since it would need to be cared for like an infant. That would mean frequently feeding it special milk (our homogenized milk wouldn’t provide the proper nutrition), burping it after each meal (yes, burping it), helping it go to the bathroom, and regulating its body temperature!  BTW, I’m not a kitten expert. Anna and Google filled me in. In the interest of transparency, I could surely tend to the kitten if I had to. I didn’t want to. 

 

While Anna and I had dinner we decided the best thing to do was to take the kittens to the 24-hour animal hospital that took care of my dog and my son’s cat when they were sick. Anna’s daughter-in-law, who was caring for the third kitten, wanted us to take it to the hospital, too. She and Anna’s son have a 19-year-old cat and a two-year-old, so it wouldn’t have been practical for her to keep the kitchen either. 

At first, the nighttime employee at the animal hospital didn’t want to take our rescued kittens, but she changed her mind when she opened the box and saw them. She filed a police report since it’s illegal to dump a living animal into a trash bin. I’m not quite sure what that was going to accomplish since it would be pretty difficult to find out who did the dirty deed.  

We left the three babies with one of the vets. We knew they were in good hands.