Matin sans photo [fr]

Ce matin, à l’annonce d’une journée magnifique, c’est la brume qui s’échappe des champs et vallons. Elle s’installe dans les petits creux, cottoneuse, elle se prélasse devant les bois, capturant les rayons éclatés du soleil qui les traverse, au gré du passage des wagons à travers la campagne. Une touche de givre fait pâlir le paysage, et toujours, derrière, les montagnes blanches qui découpent le ciel.

Comme hier, il n’y aura pas de photo. Elle ne rendrait pas justice à ce que j’ai pu voir. La faute à mes maigres talents de photographe, au smartphone qui cherche frénétiquement un angle à travers les reflets de la vitre, au réel qui parfois refuse de se laisser capturer.

Une idée aussi qui a pris racine dans ma tête, sans crier gare, comme c’est souvent le cas, de sorte que je ne sais même plus où je l’ai croisée, cette idée, et que je vais être bien en peine de retrouver sa source: le fait de prendre des photos a un impact, pas toujours positif, sur nos souvenirs de ce que l’on voit ou vit. J’ai oublié les détails, l’explication, mais l’idée a planté ses petites racines dans mes pensées, et elle me travaille.

Je prends beaucoup de photos. Depuis… pas tout à fait toujours, mais presque. Et ça fait longtemps que je sens que prendre des photos peut être un moyen de s’éloigner de l’instant présent, de sentir moins. Ça me revient: un élément de cette idée-qui-pousse, c’était que la prise de vue nous incitait à “déléguer” la fonction souvenir à notre appareil.

Est-ce que je veux plus de souvenirs-photos que je ne consulte que rarement, ou plus de souvenirs-cerveau accessibles immédiatement (au sens premier), mais surtout, qui font partie de moi?

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Lunettes de lecture [fr]

[en] Reading glasses.

Je crois bien que c’était à Kolkata, en 2015, que j’ai réalisé que je peinais un peu à lire, le soir. J’ai toujours eu une “bonne vue”, mais je me suis dit, passé les 40, ce serait peut-être bien d’aller faire un contrôle.

D’oculiste en ophtalmo, je ressors avec un oeil bizarrement astygmate et compliqué à corriger, et une presbytie pas tellement dramatique à +0.75. Enfin, strictement parlant, j’étais entrée avec aussi.

L’oeil astygmate, je pense que c’est la conséquence de l’éclat en métal qu’il a fallu déloger en rasant un peu de cornée. Etait-ce justement en été 2015? On avait accusé ma décapotable, mais je suis maintenant persuadée que le coupable est le store rouillé du balcon du chalet. Ne pas regarder en haut quand on le déroule…

J’ai donc acheté une paire de loupes toutes faites en pharmacie. J’ai trouvé du +0.75! Pas de garantie pour le style, mais pas de trou dans le budget, surtout pour des engins que je n’étais même pas certaine que j’allais vraiment porter beaucoup. C’était surtout utile pour faire des coloriages (et ne pas déborder).

Au final, les coloriages ont un peu pris une pause, et j’ai augmenté la taille de la police sur ma Kindle.

Deux bonnes années plus tard, je prends mes premières vacances (non-malades) d’employée depuis plus d’une décennie. Et je me dis que je pourrais faire un peu de coloriage, au chalet, pour me vider la tête. Et je retrouve mes lunettes. Et je les embarque. J’avais en passant regretté de ne pas savoir où je les avais rangées lors du diabète de Quintus: viser la petite veine capillaire dans l’oreille à 6h du matin, mesurer des mini-doses d’insuline entre les graduations de la seringue, tout ça aurait probablement été plus facile avec.

Premier coloriage, effectivement, ça fait une grosse différence! Le soir, sur ma Kindle, je me souviens que j’ai des lunettes, j’essaie, et oui, c’est vachement pas mal. Je prends gentiment le pli de la lecture avec lunettes.

Puis je me demande si ça aiderait devant l’écran. Surprise: oui!

Je passe donc deux semaines en compagnie de mes lunettes.

De retour au travail, je prends conscience que je suis en train de froncer quand même pas mal le front devant mon ordinateur de travail… Et si…? Parce que c’est comme avec les appareils auditifs, en fait, on réalise qu’on pourrait (devrait!)  faire moins d’effort, et le cerveau se rebelle. Se rendre la tâche inutilement plus pénible, c’est fini!

Du coup, aujourd’hui, j’ai amené mes lunettes avec moi, et on va voir si elles m’aident avec mon écran au travail.

Ah oui! Depuis quelques années (?) j’ai des maux de têtes plus fréquents que par le passé. Et si c’était lié?

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Back to Lightroom [en]

[fr] Retour à Lightroom après deux ans et quelques d'infidélités avec Apple Photos.

Two and a half years ago I took the plunge and started using Apple Photos “seriously”. It quickly became my main photo library, and the comfort of having photos sync seamlessly across devices became something I was not willing to do without. Lightroom was just not there yet (I tried, it was a nightmare), so Apple won.

Over my holidays I peeked back into Lightroom, which I’d neglected since then. And it clearly wins when it comes to organising and editing photos. Time has done its magic, too, and syncing across devices now works! It’s still reasonably early days, but it’s good enough for me.

Here’s what I’m looking at:

  • my main photo library is (and remains) Lightroom Classic CC — or “good old Lightroom” that we’ve known for years
  • I have the mobile version of Lightroom on my phone and tablet
  • I have created a collection called “mobile” in which I stuff the photos I want to sync with Adobe Creative Cloud and have available on phone and tablet (right now, all my 2018 photos)
  • I have set my phone to “auto-add” any new photos from the camera roll into Lightroom: this means that if I take a photo with my phone or tablet (omg), it will be added into Lightroom mobile, synced over Creative Cloud, and downloaded to the correct monthly folder on my computer (“Lightroom sync” setting in preferences in Lightroom Classic CC)
  • I have also installed Lightroom CC (desktop client built from the ground up specifically for dealing with photos stored in Creative Cloud), without making it download originals (it’s in the settings), so that I can benefit from the AI subject detection to search photos
  • I also use the web client so that I can benefit from the AI “pick my best photos” functionality — this is seriously the killer, as far as I’m concerned
  • I have a monthly “photography” subscription which includes Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC (+Spark&Portfolio), and a measly 20Gb of cloud storage
  • I’ll certainly shell out what’s needed for the 1TB plan at some point, but as I’m only syncing Smart Previews to the cloud from Lightroom Classic CC, the 1000+ photos I have in CC don’t even take up 8Gb (my library is 70k, but a few thousand photos in the cloud is enough to play with it for a bit)

I do have a few headaches:

  • RAW and JPG: I’ll let you read the thread for details, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I should be working with JPG. I’m happy to not retouch photos if I can avoid it.
  • I’ve taken a lot of “RAW+JPG” photos with my camera, which means I have the JPG handy, but there is no way in Lightroom to say (like in Apple Photos) “hey, use the JPG for this one”; either the JPG is simply there as a sidecar, or it’s a separate photo, and there is no way for Lightroom to “know” that photos A and A’ are in fact the same photo in two different formats
  • I don’t like the idea of throwing away the RAW file, but the way Lightroom deals with RAW+JPG pairs is making me consider doing JPG only
  • I’ve taken some “RAW only” photos… so I’m going to have to deal with those. My photo post-processing skills aren’t great, and it’s not something I take pleasure in. I did get a Huelight camera profile for my old Lumix G2, which seems to help a bit.
  • I have a pile of albums in Apple Photos, and retouched photos, that I’d like to import into Lightroom. Apple Photos lets you export either the originals or the edited photos of any album, which can then be imported into the Lightroom catalog, and between the Find Duplicates and the Teekelesschen Duplicate Finder plugins I can figure out which version of each photo I actually want in the catalog. I’m still fiddling with the process but it’s workable. (I discovered the use of temporary working catalogs doing this, yay!)

 

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Not Giardia? [en]

As many of you know, I’ve been ill this winter. It started out with what seemed to be a simple stomach bug in early December, but it turned out I had a giardia lamblia infection — probably brought back from India in 2015 (at least), and mostly dormant (well, with hindsight, there were subclinical symptoms) until tiredness of a new job with a demanding schedule and winter funk pushed it (me?) over the edge.

I relapsed after the first treatment, and the second, and seemingly after the third. A month of being unwell after the third treatment led me to repeat the analysis to make sure the nasty protozoan was still around.

It wasn’t.

Much as having giardia detected in December came as a huge relief (I hadn’t been dreaming this last couple of years that my digestion wasn’t great and that my tiredness wasn’t normal), this negative result left me nonplussed. If I didn’t have giardia anymore, what was going on? And if I did it now, and my third relapse wasn’t a relapse, what about my second relapse? And the first?

Doubting myself, again.

Thankfully, by the time I got the results I’d gone about a week feeling better. Lots of rice and no dairy, had said the doc. I’d been doing that since before the third treatment. Maybe my gut was finally rested enough that it had stopped misbehaving?

I don’t know if I had a third relapse and got over it myself. Though giardia can be really hard to get rid of, you’re also supposed to be able to eliminate it yourself. And a week or so after the end of that third antibiotic treatment, I found myself extremely tired and sleeping a lot. Maybe it was my body putting up the fight?

I’ll never know.

Now, things are quite good. Two weeks of holiday also helped. It’s hard to recuperate from a long illness when you’re working nearly full-time over an hour from home.

I can now eat cheese without any trouble. I’m going to take a second batch of probiotics (s. boulardii). I took the first early in my holidays, a bit less than three weeks ago. I’m careful not to overload my digestive system, particularly with raw veggies (salad) or dairy.

I’m much less hungry than I was. I can actually “stand” being hungry. I used to get frantic if I didn’t have food. It seems much better now. Was it giardia? Was it something else that all the antibiotics got rid of? How long have I had giardia?

Again, I’ll probably never know.

So, I’m less hungry, and eating less, and I can wear the trousers I couldn’t fit in last autumn again. I’ve lost weight, in between being ill and having less of a “stuff myself” drive. Maybe I’ll be able to reduce my grocery budget 🙂

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Je dors [fr]

…trop.

Franchement, je pourrais me demander si ma copine n’accompagne pas la maladie du sommeil. Je fais des nuits de passé 8h, à la chaîne, et je me réveille comme si un camion m’avait passé dessus. Avec 12h par jour environ loin de la maison, c’est vraiment mode survie. Je rentre, et en fait je pourrais aller me mettre au lit tout de suite. CFF, boulot, dodo. Mais je me fais quand même un truc à manger, hein.

Bref, heureusement que les chats vont bien, juste là. (Enfin, il reste des investigations à faire pour Erica mais elle est stable et semble OK côté symptômes.)

Alors, what next? La balle est dans mon camp. On va refaire des analyses histoire d’être sûrs qu’on passe pas à côté d’un truc, que la giardia n’est pas l’arbre qui cache la forêt. J’essaie d’attendre un peu depuis la fin de mon dernier traitement (début février) histoire d’être sûrs que si l’analyse est positive, elle est vraiment positive, et que ce n’est pas des “traces” de l’infection précédente. Je me rends compte que je n’ai pas suffisamment d’infos sur les faux positifs par PCR pour savoir à quel point c’est vraiment utile d’attendre.

Mais bon, là, de toute façon, je ne peux pas continuer très longtemps comme ça. Sans compter que je suis supposée partir en vacances dans deux semaines, et on sait tout comment ça se passe, les vacances, quand on est malade pendant qu’on travaille mais qu’on “tient bon”.

Donc, aujourd’hui, c’est le jour où je rappelle le médecin pour dire que “ça ne va plus”.

(Je précise que si j’avais voulu, il m’aurait donné un traitement quand j’ai appelé la semaine dernière. C’est moi qui me sentais assez bien pour continuer à attendre.)

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Giardiose: ma copine giardia lamblia [fr]

[en] My friend giardia lamblia has probably kept me company for a good couple of years. Two antibiotic courses later, looking at a third. If you have any kind of tropical parasitic infection, go see a specialist.

Je dis que giardia lamblia est ma copine parce que ça fait probablement deux ans ou plus qu’on traine ensemble. Oui oui, probablement chopée en Inde, mais ça existe aussi dans nos contrées (chats, chiens, et jeunes enfants).

L’histoire? Je vous la résume, si vous n’avez pas suivi le feuilleton sur Facebook. Début décembre, “gastro” qui tarde à passer. Analyse de selles. Giardiose! Premier traitement. Rechute. Deuxième traitement. Rechute. Médecin spécialiste des maladies tropicales.

Si j’ai un tuyau à vous donner: la prochaine fois que vous avez un truc tropical, allez directement voir un spécialiste.

Des mots dudit spécialiste, c’est une “belle saloperie” pour s’en débarrasser. En fait ça me rassure et me soulage infiniment d’entendre ça. Il confirme que je me balade certainement avec depuis au moins deux ans. Oui, l’intolérance passagère au lactose, c’est ça. Les douleurs, ballonnements, gaz, et diarrhées intermittentes. Moi qui croyais que j’étais un peu trop relax avec le nombre de jour que je gardais mes restes au frigo (ou le nombre d’années au congél).

Semblerait que dans nos contrées, ce sympathique protozoaire soit même responsable de “mauvaises classes” chez les enfants. Celles où ils sont fatigués, pas à leur affaire, absents…

Je n’ai aucune peine à l’imaginer. Depuis des mois voire des années (et maintenant, je me dis “depuis en tous cas octobre 2015”), je me trouve fatiguée, sans énergie, et à la digestion souvent pénible. J’en ai même parlé à mon médecin, on a fait des analyses sanguines, quelques mini-carences, mais rien de profondément anormal. Et c’en est resté là.

On est toujours plus intelligent après: en gros, ça fait probablement deux ans que j’ai une infection parasitaire qui a un impact négatif sur ma capacité à être active dans ma vie. Con, hein.

Ce qui me fait penser ça?

Après le premier traitement (3x250mg de metronidazole par jour pendant 5 jours, un peu léger en première instance semblerait-il) je me suis sentie plus en forme et pleine d’énergie que je ne l’avais été depuis “des siècles”. Digestion nickel, je dormais même pas plus que d’hab, mais j’avais la pêche. Et patatras dix jours plus tard.

J’ai vu quelque part (je ne retrouve plus où) qu’il suffit d’une dizaine de ces bestioles dans un verre d’eau pour vous faire une belle infection.

Deuxième traitement, albendazole (400mg 1x/jour pendant 5 jours, bon choix en deuxième instance selon le spécialiste). Et moins d’une semaine après la fin de ce traitement, me voilà de nouveau HS (vive les vacances de ski).

Au programme:

  • éviter les produits laitiers pendant 2 mois (intolérance passagère aux produits laitiers)
  • si dans 10 jours j’ai toujours des symptômes, commencer mon troisième traitement d’antibios (histoire de se donner une chance que les symptômes soient dus à l’intolérance passagère)
  • troisième traitement, dose de cheval: ornidazole 500 3x/jour pendant 10 jours, qui devrait liquider l’éventuel ami blastocystis aussi.
  • si dix jours après le traitement je pète pas le feu, je retourne et on relance les analyses.

Au-delà de mon propre cas et des conséquences de cette infection sur ma vie (qui est encore à mesurer, une fois que je serai guérie, et que j’aurai un point de repère pour ce qu’est “aller bien”), ce qui me fait vraiment frémir c’est l’impact des infections à large échelle sur des sociétés entières. Si giardia lamblia peut nous donner une “mauvaise classe”, on ose à peine imaginer son impact sur les populations de pays en voie de développement où 30% des gens peuvent être infectés.

Ça ne m’étonne pas d’apprendre qu’elle a été largement négligées jusqu’à il y a peu.

Cette expérience me fait penser à Unrest — de nouveau, on est à une autre échelle de gravité que ce qui m’arrive, mais il y a des parallèles: le mari de la réalisatrice explique à quel point il est délicat d’obtenir de l’aide. Si on dit trop peu, personne ne peut nous aider, et si on en dit trop, on passe vite dans la catégorie “patient psy”.

Que faire avec ces symptômes vagues ou sub-cliniques? J’ai mal au ventre, je suis fatiguée, j’ai des coups de barre digestifs… C’est vrai qu’à force de revenir à la charge avec ces choses qui objectivement ne sont “rien”, on finit aussi par se demander si on imagine des choses.

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Some Podcasts to Listen to [en]

[fr] Des podcasts à écouter.

Here are some episodes I recommend you listen to. There’s more to say, about these, other stuff, and life in general, but it’ll have to do for today.

By the way: if you use the Apple Podcasts app, like me, you probably also cursed the dreadful last update. Amongst other things, there’s no way to see what episodes are in my “play next” queue. I had high hopes when I saw there was a “recently played” list, but at least for me, it’s polluted by dozens of episodes supposedly played “yesterday”, at the top of the list. Thankfully, further down, there are the latest podcasts I’ve actually listened to. Which is something I’ve always wanted to be able to see.

So, here we go. A first batch on sexism and harassment at the workplace (you didn’t think I’d spare you that, did you?). Listen, particularly if you’re a man. Or if you think all this #metoo stuff is way overblown.

Then, about animal rights activists’ craziness. Remember the photographer sued for the “monkey selfie”? Well, listen to all the work he put in before thinking he’s benefitting from “animal labour”. (I’m leaving aside the discussion on the deeply flawed thinking – from a philosophical point of view – that underpins a lot of the antispeciesism animal rights ideology. Francophones might enjoy this piece by lawyer Maître Eolas on animals as subject vs. object of the law.)

99% Invisible is a podcast I didn’t think I’d like. But I do. It’s fascinating. Here’s a selection of stuff I’ve recently listened to, and that you should listen to too:

If you haven’t heard it yet and are up for a serial, you shouldn’t miss S-Town. And one of my favorite podcasts these days is Heavyweight — true stories, true people, going back to where things went wrong and trying to untangle things. Beautiful storytelling.

Happy listening!

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They Chose Tears [en]

[fr] Aimer un animal, c'est choisir les larmes, parce qu'on sait qu'on va le voir mourir.

7 years ago today, Bagha.
In less than two weeks, it will be a year since Tounsi’s death.
I don’t know how long Quintus has got. I hope it’s longer than I fear.

I’m not big on the whole “pet parent”, “rainbow bridge”, and “mommy” thing. My cats are my cats, even though there is a kinship of caring for children and pets. I don’t believe in anything outside of this material world, in any god or afterlife. I’m also not into lengthy quotation posts. But this tale tells a deep truth about loving a pet: it’s choosing tears.

THE LOVING ONES by Anne Kolaczyk

The little orange boy stopped. Behind him, kitties were playing, chasing each other and wrestling in the warm sunshine. It looked like so much fun, but in front of him, through the clear stillness of the pond’s water, he could see his mommy. And she was crying.

He pawed at the water, trying to get at her, and when that didn’t work, he jumped into the shallow water. All that got him was wet and Mommy’s image danced away in the ripples. “Mommy!” he cried.

“Is something wrong?”

The little orange boy turned around. A lady was standing at the edge of the pond, her eyes sad but filled with love. The little orange boy sighed and walked out of the water.

“There’s been a mistake,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be here.” He looked back at the water. It was starting to still again and his mommy’s image was coming back. “I’m just a baby. Mommy said it had to be a mistake. She said I wasn’t supposed to come here yet.”

The kind lady sighed and sat down on the grass. The little orange boy climbed into her lap. It wasn’t Mommy’s lap, but it was almost as good. When she started to pet him and scratch under his chin like he liked, he started to purr. He hadn’t wanted to, but he couldn’t help it.

“I’m afraid there is no mistake. You are supposed to be here and your mommy knows it deep down in her heart,” the lady said. The little orange boy sighed and laid his head on the lady’s leg. “But she’s so sad. It hurts me to see her cry. And daddy too.”

“But they knew right from the beginning this would happen.”

“That I was sick?” That surprised the little orange boy. No one had ever said anything and he had listened when they thought he was sleeping. All he had heard them talk about was how cute he was or how fast he was or how big he was getting.

“No, not that you were sick,” the lady said. “But you see, they chose tears.”

“No, they didn’t,” the little orange boy argued. Who would choose to cry?

The lady gently brushed the top of his head with a kiss. It made him feel safe and loved and warm – but he still worried about his mommy. “Let me tell you a story,” the lady said.

The little orange boy looked up and saw other animals gathering around. Cats – Big Boy and Snowball and Shamus and Abby and little Cleo and Robin. Merlin and Toby and Iggy and Zachary. Sweetie and Kamatte and OBie. Dogs too- Sally and Baby and Morgan and Rocky and Belle. Even a lizard named Clyde and some rats named Saffron and Becky and a hamster named Odo.

They all lay down near the kind lady and looked up at her, waiting.

She smiled at them and began:

A long long time ago, the Loving Ones went to the Angel in Charge. They were lonesome and asked the Angel to help them.

The Angel took them to a wall of windows and let them look out the first window at all sorts of things – dolls and stuffed animals and cars and toys and sporting events.

“Here are things you can love,” the Angel said. “They will keep you from being lonesome.”

“Oh, thank you,” the Loving Ones said. “These are just what we need.”

“You have chosen Pleasure,” the Angel told them.

But after a time the Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge. “Things are okay to love,” they said. “But they don’t care that we love them.”

The Angel in Charge led them over to the second window. It looked out at all sorts of wild animals. “Here are animals to love,” he said. “They will know you love them.”

So the Loving Ones hurried out to care for the wild animals.

“You have chosen Satisfaction,” the Angel said.

Some of the Loving Ones worked at zoos and wild animal preserves, some just had bird feeders in their yards, but after a time they all came back to the Angel in Charge.

“They know we love them,” they told the Angel. “But they don’t love us back. We want to be loved in return.”

So the Angel took them to the third window and showed them lots of people walking around, hurrying places. “Here are people for you to love,” the Angel told them.

So the Loving Ones hurried off to find other people to love.

“You have chosen Commitment,” the Angel said.

But after a time a lot of Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge.

“People were okay to love,” they said. “But sometimes they stopped loving us and left. They broke our hearts.”

The Angel just shook his head. “I cannot help you,” he said. “You will have to be satisfied with the choices I gave you.”

As the Loving Ones were leaving, someone saw a window off to one side and hurried to look out. Through it, they could see puppies and kittens and dogs and cats and lizards and hamsters and ferrets. The other Loving Ones hurried over.

“What about these?” they asked.

But the Angel just tried to shoo them away. “Those are Personal Empathy Trainers,” he said. “But there’s a problem with their system operations.”

“Would they know that we love them?” someone asked.

“Yes,” the Angel said.

“Would they love us back?” another asked.

“Yes,” the Angel said.

“Will they stop loving us?” someone else asked.

“No,” the Angel admitted. “They will love you forever.”

“Then these are what we want,” the Loving Ones said.

But the Angel was very upset. “You don’t understand,” he told them. “You will have to feed these animals.”

“That’s all right,” the Loving Ones said.

“You will have to clean up after them and take care of them forever.”

“We don’t care.”

The Loving Ones did not listen. They went down to where the Pets were and picked them up, seeing the love in their own hearts reflected in the animals’ eyes.

“They were not programmed right,” the Angel said.

“We can’t offer a warranty. We don’t know how durable they are. Some of their systems malfunction very quickly, others last a long time.”

But the Loving Ones did not care. They were holding the warm little bodies and finding their hearts so filled with love that they thought they would burst.

“We will take our chances,” they said.

“You do not understand.” The Angel tried one more time. “They are so dependent on you that even the most well-made of them is not designed to outlive you. You are destined to suffer their loss.”

The Loving Ones looked at the sweetness in their arms and nodded. “That is how it should be. It is a fair trade for the love they offer.”

The Angel just watched them all go, shaking his head. “You have chosen Tears,” he whispered.

“So it is,” the kind lady told the kitties. “And so each mommy and daddy knows. When they take a baby into their heart, they know that one day it will leave them and they will cry.”

The little orange boy sat up. “So why do they take us in?” he asked.

“Because even a moment of your love is worth years of pain later.”

“Oh.” The little orange boy got off the lady’s lap and went back to the edge of the pond. His mommy was still there, and still crying. “Will she ever stop crying?” he asked the kind lady.

She nodded. “You see, the Angel felt sorry for the Loving Ones, knowing how much they would suffer. He couldn’t take the tears away but he made them special.”

She dipped her hand into the pond and let the water trickle off her fingers. “He made them healing tears, formed from the special water here. Each tear holds bits of all the happy times of purring and petting and shared love. And the promise of love once again. As your mommy cries, she is healing. “It may take a long while, but the tears will help her feel better. In time she will be less sad and she will smile when she thinks of you. And then she will open her heart again to another little baby.”

“But then she will cry again one day,” the little orange boy said.

The lady just smiled at him as she got to her feet. “No, she will love again. That is all she will think about.” She picked up Big Boy and Snowball and gave them hugs, then scratched Morgan’s ear just how she liked.

“Look,” she said. “The butterflies have come. Shall we go over to play?”

The other animals all ran ahead, but the little orange boy wasn’t ready to leave his mommy. “Will I ever get to be with her again?”

The kind lady nodded. “You’ll be in the eyes of every kitty she looks at. You’ll be in the purr of every cat she pets. And late at night, when she’s fast asleep, your spirit will snuggle up close to her and you both will feel at peace. One day soon, you can even send her a rainbow to tell her you’re safe and waiting here for when it’s her turn to come.”

“I would like that,” the little orange boy said and took one long look at his mommy. He saw her smile slightly through her tears and he knew she had remembered the time he almost fell into the bathtub. “I love you, Mommy,” he whispered. “It’s okay if you cry.” He glanced over at the other pets, running and playing and laughing with the butterflies. “Uh, Mommy? I gotta go play now, okay? But I’ll be around, I promise.”

Then he turned and raced after the others.

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Le ronron du vieux chat [fr]

Dimanche 23h

Je voulais me coucher tôt, parce que demain sonnez clairons à 5h pour aller à Fribourg, après près de 10 jours de maladie.

Mais je ne dors pas, parce que sitôt la lumière éteinte avec Quintus contre moi, j’ai fondu en larmes, parce que bien sûr, si je suis en train d’apprendre tout ce sur quoi je peux mettre la main au sujet du diabète félin, de surveiller sa glycémie comme un aigle, de me demander comment je vais gérer les injections d’insuline à 6h et 18h tous les jours, c’est bien pour ne pas sentir combien je suis triste à la perspective de perdre Quintus.

L’anniversaire de la mort de Tounsi approche à grands pas, et je suis tout sauf sereine face à son absence qui s’éternise.

Aujourd’hui Quintus aurait pu faire une hypo. Il en a peut-être fait une, petite, sans signes cliniques. Hier et samedi soir j’ai veillé pour vérifier qu’il ne descendait pas trop bas, et frémi en voyant les mesures se rapprocher des valeurs préoccupantes. Je l’ai trouvé fatigué aujourd’hui. Hier aussi. Peut-être ce grand huit de la glycémie qu’il nous a fait. Il y aurait de quoi. C’est plus facile d’imaginer qu’un vieux chat va mourir quand il ne fait plus que dormir et semble n’avoir plus d’énergie.

Alors je ne dors pas. Il a fini par quitter mon lit, boire un peu, il m’a fait peine à voir, il a dû s’y reprendre à deux fois pour trouver sa gamelle, puis il est sorti direction le couloir, où est la nourriture. Je l’y ai amené, j’ai sorti l’écuelle de la gamelle à puce, parce que je commence à voir que ça le retient un peu de manger et que la pâtée un peu sèche ne le dérange nullement.

Après avoir bien mangé, il est revenu d’un pas plus assuré, a sauté sur le lit pour s’installer sur l’oreiller.
Et soudain, alors je m’occupe à ne pas dormir ni trop sentir, j’entends ce bruit régulier que j’avais cherché en vain aujourd’hui et une bonne partie d’hier: il me regarde et il ronronne.

Il n’a pas dit son dernier mot.

Vous pouvez suivre le grand huit de la glycémie en temps réel.

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The Speed of Time [en]

[fr] Réflexion sur le temps au travail et le temps à la maison, les chats malades et l'hiver.

Routine is settling in. As I have mentioned, my time seems to be shrinking. Or speeding up. It’s a good sign when time flies by, but it scares me. I look at my colleagues, some of whom have been in the same position, doing pretty much the same job, for decades — and try to imagine waking up ten years from now, getting up at the same time in the morning, going to the same place, doing the same thing with the same people. This is the life of many, but there’s something scary about it for me.

A year has passed since Tounsi started being ill. It was early November. He had his MRI early December. He died January 1st. It still feels very recent. His ashes are still in a little box in my bookcase — I haven’t felt ready to spread them in the garden yet. I think I should just do it.

Quintus hasn’t been well lately. I took him for a checkup before starting my new job. He has pancreatitis, and developed diabetes as a result. He’s on insulin now (it’s been 10 days) and we are hoping to get the pancreatits under control. He’s been improving, slowly, with a bit of back and forth. But I have to face things: he’s an old cat, going on 17, and we’re lucky he’s still around. I treasure every extra week I get with him, and hope it will be months. But there are no certainties.

And so I face another winter with the prospect of possibly losing a cat. Bagha died just before Christmas, too. I don’t believe in magic, so I’m not scared winter is “more dangerous” for my cats than any other time of the year. But it does mean that I have had some difficult winters — including the one following my mother’s death when I was a child.

My preoccupation with Quintus makes me feel my hours away from home with a particular awareness. My days at work don’t feel long, but my time at home feels short. A week is a handful of waking hours. I’ve become somebody who doesn’t want to spend any more time away from home than absolutely necessary.

My professional ambition right now is a job that allows me to come back home for lunch. That would be just wonderful.

 

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