Thursday, 13 October 2011

Back home

Three mountain goats. THAT WAS ALL!!!
I will have to come back now...
I've been home now for just over two days and I am still getting used to Dutch time. Especially on the day I arrived, I was able to sleep standing up, I was so tired. But first things first...

On Sunday I had decided to go and see Jasper. I had all those promises of bears, moose and elks in my head and was determined to snap a photo of any of those. There was one small problem with driving up to Jasper though, since it was quite far, I wouldn't have a lot of time to spend there, because my car had to be back in Edmonton by 5.30pm! But the promise of critters was too much to ignore and I headed out anyway. I started the day at 7am and drove up the long and not so winding road towards the West. I entered the park around 11am and was in Jasper about half an hour later. I had already chosen my destination: the tramway up the mountain, which was located just a few km south of Jasper. 

The Jasper Tramway going down
Even though the tramway was quite dear, it was a brilliant thing to do. We went up the mountain in this little basket and we arrived at the top station in about 5 minutes. From there you could take a walk to the top of the mountain, but my outfit didn't really go with the conditions: it was lightly snowing and I wore a summercoat! Besides, I had my timing to think of. After looking around for about 20 minutes, taking photos of the snow, having photos taken of me in the snow and chatting to some people, I made my way down the mountain again. I left almost immediately again, since I had to drive for another 4 hours to get back to Edmonton.

Monday morning saw me rise really early again. My agent was going to pick me up at 5am to take me to the airport. Fortunately I had already packed my suitcase the night before and didn't need much for breakfast, so by the time he arrived (ten minutes early), I was ready to go. The line at the check-in desk wasn't too long, even though us peasants weren't seen to at all: it was first class passengers only it seemed! Very annoying, but in the end we all made it on to the plane. I had a windowseat and was able to look out over both Canada and the USA as there wasn't a lot of cloud covering.

Me in the snow on top of the mountain
In Houston I had to wait for three hours, but I didn't have to pick up my luggage or change terminals. I had another window seat and enjoyed switching between the country side below and the film in front. We arrived in Amsterdam just after midnight Canadian time. Unfortunately Dutch time is 8 hours ahead, so it was already gone 8 in the morning! I was home by ten thirty Dutch time and was met by my parents.

My parents and I had agreed to meet on Wednesday, so to see them at my place on Tuesday was quite a surprise. And not a good one as it turned out to be. My neighbour who always looks after my cats had found Mathilda on Friday, sitting in a corner and being in quite bad shape. Mathilda is normally the first one to meet you, together with Wuppie, so to find her sitting in a corner is a big sign something is wrong. She phoned my parents, who weren't home and decided to leave it one more day. On Saturday she could see the situation hadn't gotten any better and after phoning my parents once more (who still weren't home), she decided to take Mathilda to the animal clinic. Where they discovered she was very dehydrated. It turned out, she wasn't eating or drinking at all anymore.

Finally on Sunday my parents got home and phoned my neighbour. And then on Monday my parents picked Mathilda up and decided my mum was going to stay at my place for the night, looking after the monsters. Mathilda had to be force fed every two hours, using a syringe and some heavy duty food (ie high in energy). Unfortunately after I arrived she didn't get any better (which the vet had hoped for, thinking it might just be homesickness), only worse. She couldn't keep the little food she got down and when my parents arrived yesterday, we took her to the vet again. After feeling and touching and measuring and doing all the things vets do, it was decided to do an echography (like they do on pregnant women) to find any underlying problem in her belly.

Which they found. A thickening of the colon wall indicated a high probability of colon cancer, which would of course explain all the symptoms. Normally food passes from one end to the other, but if the colon is obstructed, it has to come out the same way it went in: the mouth. So, if we feed her using the syringe, at some point her stomach is full again and it will have to come out, causing her to throw up. She has lost quite a bit of weight due to all this and keeps hiding in places she never used to go, like under the dresser or in the little scratch pole box.

Amsterdam from above
Today the vet will be phoning me again, since the oncology vet wasn't in yesterday. What to do? An operation and perhaps not getting all of it out or chemotherapy, which can take months and months and isn't a cure, it just slows it all down. Either way I have to think of her age: she is 13 1/2, which would be about 94 in human years and I want to move to Canada. If it all goes as speedily as I hope, the chances of her being considered healthy and being allowed to come to Canada are slim at best. So, the best option is probably letting her go.


  1. It's too bad you didn't get to spend more time in Jasper. For whatever reason, I liked it more than Banff, and I loved Banff.

    Sorry about Mathilda. It seems to be her time. Unfortunately.

  2. Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry you had to come home to face something as drastic as Mathilda's colon obstruction. How awful for you, but also awful for her. She can't be having any quality of life, being force-fed and then vomiting, the poor cat.
    My cat Herman, who was 12, wouldn't eat or drink, and I was force-feeding him, then giving him sub-cutaneous fluids to keep him hydrated. This went on for months as I took him from one vet to another. I didn't want to lose my best friend, but it turned out he had a brain tumor and I had spent a great deal of money (which I didn't have).
    I wanted so desperately to save him, because he was a cat of great charm and sociability, who loved people and dogs and kittens and puppies, but keeping him alive and running up a lot of debt was for myself, because I couldn't give him up.
    It was an awful time, but I had good friends who wouldn't let me go through it alone.
    I hope Mathilda gets better, I really do.
    Love, K

  3. I'm so sorry about Mathilde. Not a good way to end the trip.

  4. What a bad homecoming !! Must have been awful for you. I wouldn't start to get poor Mathilda through all these treatments. she will be stressed and even more miserable. As hard as it is, just let her go ! That's what I would do. It is rather egoistic to insist. A cancer is something very serious, that's not just a cold.

  5. This is very sad news. Praying that it's not what they think it is and she can recover quickly.
    ((HUGS)) Your trip sounds amazing and so glad your went up the mountain top.


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