Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Update on Socrates (kitty)

Yesterday I walked to the vet's office (Dierenkliniek Aerdenhout) in Heemstede, which is just south of Haarlem. I took Sammy (our dog) with me. Sammy and I walked through the woods on the way there which gave him a chance to run and play.  When I arrived they had the medication for Socrates ready for me to pick up.  The medications they prescribed are:
Atenolol Actavis, 25 mg. 1/4 tablet once a day. This will lower his heart rate.
Acetylsalicylzuur, 80 mg. 1 tablet every three days. This one will thin his blood.
and  Aantal Furosoral 40 mg. 1/2 tablet once a day as needed if respirations over 30 per minute.

The cost for all the medication (3 months supply) was about 21 Euro.

Socrates has early cardiomyopathy. From Wikipedia:
Cardiomyopathy (literally "heart muscle disease") is the measurable deterioration of the function of the myocardium (the heart muscle) for any reason, usually leading to heart failure; common symptoms are dyspnea (breathlessness) and peripheral edema (swelling of the legs). People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of dangerous forms of irregular heart beat and sudden cardiac death.[1] The most common form of cardiomyopathy is dilated cardiomyopathy.

Apparently fluid can build up around his heart and lungs which will increase his chances of thrombosis. I need to keep an eye on his rate of respirations when he's at rest. If it increases to more than 30 per minute we will start giving him the Aantal Furosoral which is a diuretic.

Socrates was diagnosed with this problem four years ago. He is now ten years old. The person that did the ultrasound here in the Netherlands could tell from looking at previous records that his condition has worsened over the past four years.

On the way home from the vet Sammy and I took the most direct route (about 3/4 mile closer!). Sammy started limping while we were walking, so I took a look at his paw. I couldn't see anything between the pads on his foot, so I just held his paw in my hand to warm it up. I think he may have gotten snow in there and it was just too cold to walk. After warming him up for a few minutes, he was fine. Thank goodness!!! Now I know why they make doggy boots!!! We were still about 1.5 miles away from home and I was wondering what I was going to do if he couldn't walk. It's not not I could just pick him up and walk with him that far!!!  After that we stuck to the bike paths, which was kept clear from snow. Luckily that time of day there weren't many bicyclists on the road!


Yesterday morning I went over to Hetty's for coffee and we sat and talked for a couple of hours. She is such a wonderful woman! While I was there the postman knocked on the door saying he had a package for the neighbor (me!!!) and would she hold on to it?!?!?  What a sweet surprise!  Sally and Jen (my sweet friends in CA) sent me a package of yummy goodies!  My favorite teas and Butterfinger candy bars being the best items in the box!!! So sweet and such a surprise!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Life in the Netherlands

Last Thursday, January 17th, I met with a few women from the American Women's Club of Amsterdam for coffee at a home in Heemstede. It was about 1.7 kilometers away, so I decided to walk. The walk was okay since I could go through the woods most of the way (not icy there!). We discussed health and one of the women was selling raw vitamins. It seems to be a good product, however, to pay for it they take the money out of your account automatically every three months. So, I told her I would speak with my husband about it before committing to it. It's also not inexpensive....50 Euros a month. 

I took a couple of pictures on the way to Heemstede:

While I was walking home from Heemstede I was on the phone with Louise and I fell on the ice coming around the corner to the house.  I was not I got up and walked home. I cannot multitask anymore, which I should have realized.......sooooo no more walking and talking on the phone. Aye...very frustrating. I had a little lunch and took the bus up to the train station where Louise met me. From there we walked to her house. We sat and had a cup of tea and talked. She showed me around their home....very cute and cozy!

Saw this interesting use of duct tape at the train station:


This past Friday, January 18th, Andrew took a couple of hours off from work to drive us (Socrates and I!) to the Warmerdam Veterinaire Radiologie in Noordewijkerhout which is about 27 kilometers away. Four years ago he was diagnosed with a heart problem and was put on a medication called Diltiazem. Last month we took both pets to the vet here and discovered that Diltiazem is not available here. I provided our vet records (including previous ultrasound results) from four years ago. Before prescribing a new medication our new vet wanted to get a new ultrasound done in case there were any changes in his condition. The drive took about 35 minutes, as it's down some twisty little roads going through small towns. When we arrived they took him right in. They shaved some of his hair away and we laid him down on the table, where they started the ultrasound. While he was doing it he explained everything he was seeing, which was pretty interesting. Before leaving, we were told our vet would have the results shortly and we could call them to decide what the next step will be.

When we arrived home, there was a large truck blocking our street, so we were unable to park next to the house to drop off the cat. Sooooo, I got out of the car with the cat (who was in his crate) and started to walk to the house. The road was very very icy (I had fallen the day before...and didn't want that to happen again!), and the cat is not light (he weighs about 16 pounds!). Sooooo, I put the crate down on the icy road and started pushing him towards the house on the worked!  Socrates was not happy, but I just couldn't carry him home!  I was able to get inside without incident while Andrew parked the car! Whew!

When I woke up Saturday morning I decided to make a big breakfast of french toast and bacon. Oh myyyyy...that was good! Thanks to my Mom, (she had sent a large package with lots of goodies for Christmas) we had Mrs. Butterworths for the french toast!!! Yum!

Adventures in shopping at Hanos---

Yesterday we decided to check out a store the women in the American Women's Club had been telling me about. With my membership card to the AWCA I was able to get a membership card (at no cost) at this store. It's called Hanos. It's in Amsterdam, about 20 kilometers away (all freeway).

It kind of reminded of us Costco...a big box store. However, you can also buy small quantities of quite a few items. We ended up buying quite a few things, but probably won't be shopping there on a monthly basis like I did Costco. It's nice to buy certain things in bulk, especially since I have to carry everything home here...but we found we weren't saving much, if any, money there. We did notice that there were very few customers in the store. They do have a lot of beautiful displays, a very nice array of wines from all over the world, spices and all kinds of food items from all over the world, etc. They sell appliances, some furniture, household items, etc. We enjoyed our shopping experience, but probably won't be going often. It is the perfect place to go to get pretty desserts for a party!

We've driven by this building so many times and I've always wanted to take a picture of it....and finally got it. It's the ING building. There are many buildings in The Netherlands built like looks like a big ship..pretty cool!!!

This morning we got up and took Sammy on a walk through the woods. We stopped at a pancake house Called "'t Elfenbankje" and had some pannekoeken. Sammy sat under our table and chewed on a bone we had brought:

When we were walking around town I found these cute Bokfietsen:

and this cute little "car" parked on the sidewalk: