julius “squeaks” schulman, nov. 2002-july 2008

it’s going to be hard to get used to life without julius. i know i’ll instinctively reach up at night to see if he’s sleeping on my head or call him into the bathroom when i shower for security. and eating dinner just won’t be the same without him swatting at joe’s hand and trying to steal a bite.

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but i know he’s much better off now. it was tough seeing him this afternoon. he was in bad shape. in fact, the doctor came in and told us he really hadn’t thought julius would make it through the afternoon. he screamed as he was brought in, and we quickly realized we wouldn’t be able to hold him. touching his belly was just too painful for him. his breathing also was much more labored. we took his three favorite foods — a hamburger, popcorn and cat treats — but he was too sick to eat. i’m just so glad that he held on until we arrived. i like to think that he did that because he wanted us to be able to say goodbye to him. and i’m glad that the last thing he saw was my face.

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the doctor said the lymphocarcinoma julius had is a cancer that spreads very quickly. he wasn’t surprised that just a few months ago, julius seemed to be in perfect health. i’m just so surprised at how fast he deteriorated. in just days he went from an active, snuggly cat to one who was too sick to come out from under the coffee table. his blood and lymphocite count tests weren’t good either, another indication of how sick he was. normal blood count ranges are 40-50; julius’ was 9. the range for the lymphocite count is 0.4-6; julius’ was 70,000. the doctor said he’d never seen a cat with a count that high. we buried him tonight with several of his most favorite toys. i think he would have liked that.

julius' toys

i’m also glad that this experience was so different than when we put sasha to sleep last year. the vet today was *so* nice compared to the one who put sasha to sleep. he seemed to get choked up when he was giving us his condolences. that was really nice.

when i got julius, my landlords did not want me to have a pet. my parents found julius abandoned on their road and, after he ran right up to them and jumped in their car, they brought him to my apartment. my landlords were wary at first, but they soon fell head over heels in love with julius. i’d look outside in the afternoons and see them playing with him. when i moved, they didn’t want him to leave. he was just such an endearing cat.

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i can’t express how much we will miss our sweet squeaks mcgee. he got that nickname from the fact that instead of meowing he squeaked. it was the cutest thing ever. he was with me for 5 1/2 years through numerous failed relationships, through the death of his brother, caesar and through the combining of our home with joe’s. i will miss him cuddling with me while i watch tv. i’ll miss him sitting by the bathtub while i shower, poking his little head through the shower curtain and squeaking if i’m in there too long. i’ll miss him running to the food bowl every time joe stands up. i’ll miss his running outside when we open the back door and then making an immediate u-turn and hightailing it right back inside. i’m just going to miss him more than anything. it’s going to take a long, long time for this pain to go away.

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julius, you were my first baby, the first pet i had on my own. i just can’t imagine life without you. it’s going to be rough for a long, long time. i just hope you knew how much your dad, brothers and i loved you and will miss you. life just won’t be the same without our squeaks. we love you buddy.

julius and teddy

a broken heart

this is a post i never thought i would have to write. ever. tonight, joe and are putting my sweet julius to sleep.

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julius watching the couch

i took him to the vet today because he’s been lethargic for the last couple days and hasn’t really been eating, drinking or going to the bathroom. as soon as the doctor came into the room, he could tell julius was very sick. he said julius was very pale, and when he took julius’ temperature and listened to his heartbeat, julius started screaming like i have never heard him scream before. it was all i could do to keep my composure. and, julius peed all over the table and the doctor, which i knew was a bad sign.

the diagnosis is some kind of heart condition. the doctor thinks it’s a heart tumor, but he won’t be 100 percent sure unless he does an ultrasound. his lungs are filling with fluid, and he’s *severely* anemic. if we did want to try to keep him around for another couple of days to spend some time with him and say goodbye, he’d need a blood transfusion. but, after joe talked to the vet this afternoon and heard how much trouble julius is having breathing, we decided to take his recommendation and put him to sleep tonight. i don’t want him to suffer any more than he already is. joe’s going to pick up a hamburger for julius (he *loves* any kind of meat), and we’re going to be able to spend 30-45 minutes with him. if there’s anything good that can come from this, it’s that julius tested negative for feline leukemia. that was the first thing the doctor thought it was, and the fact that he doesn’t have that means that aj and dizzy are safe.

there is just so much more i can say about this awesome cat who is taking part of my heart with him, but it will have to wait. right now, i need to go pick out some of his most favorite toys to bury him with.

the second leg

ryan called, and we were able to talk for a few minutes. it was nice being able to talk to him one last time before he leaves the country. he and ori spent about an hour with some of our relatives, who were meeting harrison for the first time. kirk, my dad’s cousin, called my mom to tell her that ryan and ori had gone through security and mentioned what a sweet, nice, good kid harry is. he really is. he’s awesome. i’m glad they all got to spend some time together. it was the first time my mom’s mom has met her newest great-grandchild.

now, they’re settled on the plane, which is supposed to take off in 13 minutes. they got upgraded to economy plus, which i’m guessing is between economy and first class, and have enough room for them to put the bassinet the airline provided for harry on the floor in front of them. ryan says harry did really well on the first leg of the trip, which was the first time he’s been on a plane, so i hope the second leg goes just as well. ryan and ori could use the sleep. 🙂

it’s so hard to say goodbye

today has been rough. we spent last night at a motel near the atlanta airport and woke bright and early at 4 a.m. to pack up and get ryan, ori and harry over to the airport. it was hard. i’ve never been particularly close to ryan, although i hope we will become closer now, and i really didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was. i’m tearing up again just picturing them going through security and walking out of sight. it’s tough knowing we won’t see them again until may.

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airport 2

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last night was such a nice family time. ori’s parents stayed at the motel too, so when they arrived with ryan and ori (my parents, randy and i had gone down earlier with harry, and joe drove down after work), we went out to dinner and had such a nice time together. when we were trying to decide where to go ryan said he wanted to go to an asian restaurant, which i thought was hilarious since they are moving to taiwan. at least he likes the food!

joe’s mom told us about the flight stats web site, on which you can enter a flight number and track the flight. it’s pretty neat because you can track it in real time and see where it is. my dad and i had it up on our computers this morning, and it’s bittersweet. it’s a neat thing to be able to do, but seeing how far they’re getting from home makes me sad.

we had a few interesting experiences at the airport. the first was our shuttle driver. he drove the nine of us and another man, who sat in the front, and pulled up first to the delta ticket counter, which is the airline the other man flew on. he got out, and the driver came, opened the side door and started unloading ryan and ori’s bags. we told him they were flying united, and he lost it. he shouted, “that…IDIOT….he acted like you all were together and that he was your leader. what an IDIOT.” what he had done to make the driver think we were all together was to ask if he could turn the air on in the back after ori’s parents had asked several times without receiving a response.

then, after we checked them in, we found a place to sit down so ori could have something to eat. another woman was there sleeping in a chair, and we sat down next to her, leaving her plenty of space. she threw her jacket off her, jumped up, sighed very loudly and pushed her chair away saying, “these PEOPLE are taking my space.”

of course, i had to respond by mentioning to joe that it was nice that there was so much room for everyone to sit and relax. she got mad, got up and stalked away, turning to glare at us several times.

when she returned, she pushed her chair over until she hit joe with it and plopped down. joe said, “you don’t have to act like a 12-year-old. there’s room for everyone.” then he gave her a nice smile and said, “have a nice flight.”

that was the talk of the morning for us. when we left, we passed by her sitting in a different seat. my dad dared joe to go sit next to her, pretend like he didn’t know her and say, “hi, there. what is that you’re reading?” that would have been awesome.

well, ryan and ori are scheduled to leave san fran in just more than two hours. hopefully right now they’re spending sometime with our grandma, great-uncle and a few other relatives who met them at the airport. i’m sad that they’re gone, but i’m excited for them. i know this will be a fabulous adventure and experience for them.

i think you have my stapler

we planned a low-key day in new york on sunday. i had a pretty bad arthritis flare up from all the walking we did on saturday (more to come on that later), so we thought we’d hang out at our hotel. we had lunch at a pretty authentic mexican place about a block up the street (it was *fabulous*), and then we decided to spend the afternoon at the pool.

joe hopped in (because the “deep” end was only five feet deep so he couldn’t dive) and swam the width of the pool to where i sat with my feet in the water, trying to get used to the temperature. he popped up to swim back across, and his face was covered in blood.

i started freaking out. everyone else at the pool pretty much ignored my comments of “ohmygoshyou’reBLEEDING”. joe couldn’t get his head to stop bleeding. i took a picture to send to my mom, who’s a nurse, and she said we needed to go to the hospital. as we walked out of the pool area, a jackass sitting by the door said, “that’s why the sign says not to dive in.” right, and that would be why he *didn’t* dive in. if anyone had been watching, they would have seen what had happened. joe had to move me along before i hit that guy. he really pissed me off.

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we told the clerk at the front desk, and the manager called us a car (and paid for our round-trip ride) to take us to the nearest hospital.

flushing hospital

flushing hospital is as ghetto as they come. i was not impressed. the triage nurse filled out joe’s paperwork by hand (i don’t think i’ve ever seen a hospital that wasn’t computerized), and she really didn’t seem to know what she was doing.

nurse: when did this happen?
joe: an hour ago.
nurse: how long has it been hurting?
joe: um. an hour. it didn’t hurt until i cut it.

after triage, i had to wait *forever* in the waiting room to register joe while an er nurse came and took him back. i got pretty upset watching the registration employees sitting around talking while i was getting text messages from my husband asking me when i was coming back to be with him.

joe ended up getting seven staples to close the wound because they couldn’t stitch him up in that location. he also got a tetnus shot, which, the way the doctor said it, sounded like he had won a prize.

doctor: when was the last time you had a tetnus shot?
joe: about 10 years ago.
doctor: well guess what *you’re* getting today!!

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joe has to have the staples in for 5-7 days. when the doctor said we could have his pcp take them out, i mentioned that i have a staple remover at home. he didn’t really get the joke.

now, joe is a celebrity at the hotel. every employee there knew who he was. today when we left, the new desk worker asked joe how he was doing, and a man who works at the restaurant came up to us and said, “you’re the guy who hit his head in the pool! i’ve heard about you.” but, when the shuttle arrived to take a large group of us to the airport, no one cared about letting the guy with seven staples in his head on first. 🙂

we have a new vacation goal now. in addition to hitting every major league baseball stadium, we’re going to try to go to a hospital in every city we go to. i think we’re well on our way to reaching that!

baseball and bagels

have i mentioned how excited i am about our trip to new york city this weekend? i haven’t? oh, well let me tell you then. i am SO FREAKIN EXCITED. it’s going to be a short trip, but it will be fun.

we’re leaving tomorrow morning, and as soon as we get settled at our hotel, we’re heading to queens. we’ll have several hours in between arriving and tomorrow night’s mets game, but we want time to find lunch and wander around the area near the stadium. i’ve heard there are a lot of neat shops there.

tomorrow night’s mets game is the whole point of our trip. we had to go to shea stadium before it’s torn down after this season. our friends who are going with us have been in nyc all week to catch a game at yankee stadium. it, too, is being torn down after this season. i’m pysched about this game. i’m so excited about possibly really pissing off the mets fans. we hate the mets down here. not only are they one of our big division rivals, but their fans just suck. so, in the spirit of good fun, i’m going to wear my chipper jones shirt. the mets fans *hate* chipper. to taunt them, he named his son shea after the mets stadium because he hits so many home runs there. so, if you hear on the news of someone being stoned out in the parking lot (and by stoned i do not mean getting high), that probably will be me. 🙂

our first priority sunday is to track down a good ol’ jewish deli for some bagels. once you’ve had a new york bagel you can’t go back. after that, we have no plans, which is good. last time we went to new york we did a lot of the touristy thing, so this time we may spend time on 5th avenue. and, i’d like to hit rockefeller center and central park, since we didn’t have time for those during our last trip.

and then on monday we’re coming home. i’m also taking tuesday off, since my parents are coming to spend the night before our early morning trip to the airport on wednesday to see ryan and oriona off. i probably should take wednesday off too. i’ll probably roll in a little late that day.

what are your plans for this weekend?