Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 59: Kennedys in Splitsville; Streak Nearly Ends

Yep, we were in Splitsville yesterday. Well, technically it's only called Split, and it is a beautiful port city in Croatia.

The city is dominated by a massive palace and grounds built by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the beginning of the 4th Century to be his retirement home.

I am more than a little worried because LK was taking measurements and mumbling something about our retirement home in Tasmania needing an upgrade before we moved there.

Much of the palace remains in extremely good shape, and it is the heart of Split's Old Town. Shops and stands fill its squares and passages - except for a few very narrow ones.

And in the back of the palace is an amazing statue of Gregory of Nin, a Croatian religious leader of the 10th Century. As he glowers down at them, tourists rub Gregory's big toe for luck, leaving it bright and shiny. This is either superstitious, gross or oddly arousing depending upon your particular makeup.

During our wanders, we even came across an amazing a capella group doing some beautiful harmonies in one of the castle towers. I think of them as the Croatian Mens Choir.

Unfortunately, they wanted more for their CD than I have spent on any Bruce Springsteen album, so no sale, guys.

After our walk around Split, we spent a quiet Sunday afternoon on the ship - except for the Wii bowling tournament which we had to have. LK, bowling as Elvis, beat me, bowling as Michael Jackson.

And then late last night news from home. We got an e-mail from Caroline, who has been incredible by house-sitting for us for such a long trip.

It appears that our cat, Streak, managed to get in yet another losing fight and had to go to the vet. What had started as a minor cut became infected and required a simple procedure to clean it up.

Streak is one of those animals that really should be called "Lucky" if you recall the old joke (or know our friend Shirley).

Streak has been hit by a car and had some of her claws ripped out. Some animal gave her a deep bite on her right leg requiring stitches which are still there because I forgot to bring her back to the vet. She got in another fight and had her retina scratched, requiring them to transplant a dog's retina. (I know what you're thinking. Honestly, I didn't even think to find out what it would cost before I OKd it.).

And now Caroline took her in to have this simple procedure done - well, I will let Caroline's e-mail do the telling:

They said they would have to put her under a light anaesthetic and drain the wound. They did that but they made a mistake with regulating the pressure in her lungs during the operation and they leaked air into her body. They repaired the leak and stabilised her but needed to keep her in intensive care for 48 hours with constant monitoring to check oxygen absorption levels etc. . . .

I went up this afternoon (Sunday) to check on her again and she is looking great - up walking around and back to normal, I am picking her up tomorrow. The major thing is she needs to stay inside for two weeks without getting too excited (so for 6 days when you get back) just to make sure that the lungs form thick scar tissue around the wound and the stiches heel perfectly.

So again, it is all good, Streak is absolutely fine, in fact the last two days have been a bit like a spa for her. They have kept her on full nutrient drips, extra hydration, booster etc etc.

Caroline is such a sweetheart. She didn't tell us about Streak's problems until they were over because she didn't want us to worry. Actually, given how much I've spent on the cat already, it would be Streak who should be worrying about whether I am willing to shell any more out.

Anyhow, Caroline is also a great negotiator and the vet's bill is going to be for just the bit we would have had to pay if they hadn't screwed up. I know that's how it should be, but we all know that isn't how it usually is. At least when I am involved.

I do feel really bad for poor Caroline. She has done so many favors for us, and has really had to go massively out of her way during our trip. But what really makes me feel bad is that about 9 months before I retired, she organized a business trip for me and I had to work much harder than I wanted to that week. I think I complained way too much about that to her, because this is what she also wrote in her e-mail:

I hope you understand why I didn't tell you when it was happening.
To be honest I just couldn't believe it - it took Don long enough to get over your hideous Perth trip scheduled by me - thought there may be no coming back from your cat dying on my watch.

After all this, Caroline, it is official. I will never again blame you for scheduling too many meetings on my Perth trip. And on behalf of LK, Streak and myself, may I commend you for your kindness to animals and retired people.

No comments: