Sunday 28 March 2021

Sunday, March 28th, 2021 - Dental Visits, Cat Health, Farewell Hoover 550M + Recent Wristwatches

Okay, so my last post ran the risk of becoming a very long one, so I stopped it and figured I'd just pick up from where it left off. 

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has still been getting a lot of wear, but I thought I should wean myself off it a little. I decided to replace the ribbon on my 1981 Olivetti Lettera 32. Man, it took me over half an hour! I've been out of practice. 
I wanted to keep the original spools of my machine, although one of them was lost a long time ago. 
Anyway, I thought I had the spools correctly loaded, only to find that one of them was positioned so that it would turn in the wrong direction.
Off they came and I tried again. And again. 
Purple fingers by the time I was done. 

Madame appeared on our doorstep (literally) back in March 2009. The vet that we took her to back then surmised that she was about a year old. Our current vet thinks that she may be older than what we thought. If she was born in 2008, she'd be thirteen now, but we're all thinking that maybe she's a year or so older than that. Either way, her health has declined somewhat over the last year. 

Regular readers may recall that she was diagnosed with kidney failure last year. She's on a special diet and seems to be doing well. However, she began coughing about seven weeks ago. We figured it was a fur-ball, although she's never coughed one up. Quick trip to a nearby pet store and the vet there suggested a very small dose of laxative, to help work the fur through her system. The vet suggested I got to the nearby pharmacy and buy a bottle of laxative. She told me to get a brand that comes in a green and orange bottle. The cat would require 0.5 of a ml. Well, I headed over to the pharmacy and asked for a laxative with the green and orange label. The pharmacist asked me who it was for. 

My cat, I replied. The vet suggested I give her half a mil over a couple of days, I added.
Well, the chemist was now reluctant to sell me this laxative. Oh, I don't think it's made for animals, she said. I informed her that the vet suggested it, saying that the pet store normally carries it, but they are out of stock. 

No dice. They wouldn't sell it to me. I thanked her and headed back to the pet store. 

I spoke to the vet again; They wouldn't sell it to me. I can get heroin easier!   

The vet kept a straight face on hearing that line. Oh dear, did she think I was serious? I wasn't born here.*

She reiterated that this laxative would be safe to use on pets, so I went back to the pharmacy, grabbed the bottle of laxative and headed to the cashier. Paid for it, and got the hell out of there. I gave the cat a couple of doses over the next few days. About four or five days later, she was still coughing. Okay, it wasn't a fur-ball. Time to go back to the vet.

They took a blood sample and ran some x-rays. She has asthma. Two options; a course of steroid tablets or an inhaler. We tried the first option to begin with, which I wasn't crazy about because these tablets have to be broken down by the liver, whereas an inhaler would go directly to the lungs. Half a tablet per day for the first week, then half a tablet every other day for the second week, then monitor the situation from there.The tablets appeared to work, but I didn't like the idea of their long-term use. So, I began getting her used to having a mask against her snout. I used a small plastic container and gently placed it over her nose and mouth. Of course, she resisted this. There's a YouTube video of a lady in Sweden or Denmark showing how she trained her cat to get used to the mask. It takes about a month, with lots of food rewards thrown in, because cats don't do anything for you unless there's something in it for them. 

Tudor Black Bay 58 continues to get a lot of wear, despite the not-100% perfect fit on my wrist. 

Anyway, back to the cat. I ended up purchasing the inhaler from my local pharmacy, since it's the same medicinal version as what we humans would use. Next, I needed a spacer. A number of years ago, it was found that using a spacer with an inhaler would provide a more effective dose. Being a mild asthmatic myself, I would use a Ventolin inhaler like anybody else. Give it a few shakes, put the mouthpiece in your mouth, press down in the inhaler tube and a dose of the medicine would be aerosol-sprayed into your mouth. You would take a deep breath as you press down on the inhaler. Nowadays, doctors and pharmacists highly recommend using a spacer. In layman's terms, let's say you have an aerosol can of, oh I spray, for the purposes of this explanation. Now, if you hold the can about six inches away from a wall and you spray it, you end up with a moist patch on the wall. If, however, you stand back and spray it from three or four feet away, you instead create a light mist on the wall. 

The spacer works along the same lines. Using the inhaler in your mouth, it's a very short distance from your lips to the back of your throat and this deposits much of the medicine onto the throat area. Apparently, you only get around 40% of the inhaled dose delivered into the lungs. Using a spacer, which is about the size of a soda can, but narrower, means that the spray is delivered inside the spacer canister as a mist, which you then inhale, thus providing a higher percentage of the dose. 

So, for cats and dogs, you use a spacer. The better one is called AeroKat. It has a tiny plastic flag inside it which dips down when the animal inhales. Because, a pet isn't gonna tell you that it breathed the dose in correctly. They're funny that way. This spacer comes with two different-sized masks. They're made of soft rubber and they resemble the mouthpiece off a trumpet. I used the smaller one, since cats have a very short space between their nose and mouth, and this one covers both. Madame doesn't inhale with her mouth open, so her nose would be doing all the work. 

First, I practiced with the mouthpiece over her face for a week or so. Followed by the signal word Prinzi , and a few dry treats as a reward. I used the word Prinzi (hopefully, it's a made-up word, but I'm sure it's probably a surname as well. Ha! I just Googled it. It's a suit hire place in Carlton. I've probably driven/walked past it a million times) because I didn't want to utter any actual word that she might here at any other time. Well, as long as she never has to hire a suit...

Anyway, I've been using the spacer with her for about a week. I weaned her off the tablets and introduced the inhaler. If she can get seven or eight inhalations out of it, that should do. Although, she does begin to turn her head to the side, and I'm reluctant to hold her down by force. And she'll also try to swat the mask away from her face with a paw. Her breaths are shallow. The little green plastic flag inside the spacer flutters rather than dips definitively, but it's a start. Anyway, all I can do is try. The rest of the family will also be getting familiar with doing this.  

After all, why should I have all the fun? 

I wore the Tudor Ranger towards the end of February. I got a straight-edged bracelet for it from Geckota, a website that sells various straps and bracelets. I must say it's a great quality bracelet. Very well made and quite sturdy. 

That pamphlet in the photo was given to me by the dentist who would be performing the 1st stage of a titanium implant procedure on two of my teeth.

March 18th.
                      I had the initial consultation with the dentist a few weeks ago and today was the day that a deteriorated root canal - done four years ago - would be extracted. I felt a little nervous in the car on the way to the surgery. 
While this type of operation has become routine in the last few decades, it would still be an intrusive surgery, drawn out over six to 12 months. My primary dentist discussed the two main options. I could have these two implants fitted, or I could get braces. At 55, I'm too old for braces. I pictured myself sitting in my manager's office at my next performance appraisal, negotiating a pay increase with a mouth full of steel. No thanks. 
My wife had braces fitted about ten years ago. She told me that if she could have had the choice all over again, she would have opted for removal of one or two teeth and crowns fitted. The process with braces involved routine adjustment and tightening of the wires over a two year period. This was after the removal of four teeth. The braces basically had to close up the gap left by the extraction of those teeth. 
So, I spent a week thinking about it and decided on the implant surgery instead. This in itself would involve a sinus lift on one section of my jawbone. I lost a tooth about ten years ago and the gum has receded a little, and the bone - which will provide the base for the titanium screw - has thinned out. 
Anyway, I found myself lying in the dentist's chair just over a week ago and this guy deftly removed the crown, after giving me two injections (the second one hurt!). It all went smoothly enough, although I did hear the sound of breaking porcelain as he extracted one of the roots. It was all done within around 25 minutes. He packed my mouth with gauze and gave me prescriptions for a couple of antibiotics and a painkiller. 
I paid for the consultation and tee'd up my next appointment for early June. The gum needs to heal. I bought the medications from my local pharmacy and went home. An hour later, I changed the gauze padding in my mouth and began to feel the slow creep of pain. I've been down this road before. When I had that other tooth removed ten years ago, I played tough guy when I got home and didn't take any paracetamol tablets. An hour later, my jaw felt like it was clamped in a vise. This time 'round, I popped two of the painkillers. 
Soup for dinner later that evening and then one more painkiller before going to bed. Didn't need any more of them after that. This was a very smooth dental procedure. 
That was nine days ago. The area still feels tender, but it's healing nicely, from what I can tell. Stage 2 of this entire procedure will be the big one. They're gonna drill into my gum-line and then put in two titanium screws. And the sinus lift. Apparently, you're not supposed to blow your nose for a couple of weeks after that. Man, if I catch a cold, I'll be in trouble. 

Wednesday, March 24th
                                       I had the day off, and it would be a busy one. Our washing machine finally died on us. It has had some issues in the past and we've had it repaired, but this time, the drum wouldn't spin. We considered getting it repaired, but felt that if it had anything to do with the motor, the logical step would be to replace it rather than repair it, as the price difference between these two options would be marginal. 
We bought this Hoover 550M back in 1999, just after we bought our first house. Needless to say, it has served us well over the two decades that we had it. My wife got online and did some price and feature comparisons. The new machine, a Fisher & Paykel, would be delivered today sometime between midday and 2:00pm. 
Meanwhile, the cat was due for her worming treatment, which I could have done myself, but I had some questions to ask the vet about the asthma treatment. So, an appointment was scheduled for 11:20am. The kids were home, so if I got stuck at the vet, they could deal with the washing machine delivery. 
And, our coffee machine had been playing up lately, which is an indication that it's due for servicing. 
So, I'd be taking that to the repairers as well. 

I had to remove the hoses from the old machine and then get it out into the driveway. The guys delivering the new machine would take away the old one. Time to put on the Hamilton Khaki Auto, which is the beater watch that I use for duties where there's a risk of scratching or scuffing the watch. In saying that, this watch still has no marks on it. I must be more careful than I realise. 
Once I removed the hoses, I tilted the machine at an angle to remove as much water from it as possible. I then wrestled the machine onto a flat trolley that I made ten years ago and wheeled it out to the carport. Took a photo of it, for posterity's sake, and headed back inside. 
Then it was time to coax Madame into her carry-cage for her trip to the vet.
I made the appointment with the same vet I spoke to the last time. The time before that, I dealt with another vet, but I didn't like his bedside manner. Anyway, this vet checked her breathing and heart-rate. She also did a blood-pressure test and took a blood sample. We discussed the management of Madame's asthma. Back to half a tablet every second day, for two weeks, in conjunction with using the inhaler. Drop the tablet dosage to half a tablet every three days for two weeks after that. Hopefully, the inhaler will have taken over after that four-week period on tablets and the condition will be under control. Fingers crossed. 
After the consultation, I stood at the reception counter and was presented with the bill for today's visit. I took a look at it;
I think there's been some mistake. I brought in a cat, not a cheetah, I wanted to say. 
I paid the bill and got the hell out of there. 

Got home, gave Madame some dry treats to take the edge off her ordeal and then decided to clean the coffee machine before I'd take it in for repair. Switched over to the Omega Planet Ocean;

This machine is a Rancilio Silvia V4. It's made for home use and is an absolute workhorse. Especially since my son began drinking coffee. I've told him that three cups a day is considered enough, but I think he's up around five. 
Around 1:00pm, the delivery guys showed up and dropped off the new washing machine. They took the old one away. Vale, Hoover 550M! Your services were greatly appreciated. 
Hooked up the new machine and then took the coffee machine off to get serviced. 
Back home by around three pm.

For the next week or so, it's back on to caffettiera coffee, which is fine. Certainly, it's weaker than an espresso machine's output, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. These Bialetti Mocha Express coffee percolators are permanently stamped into my memory, having seen and used them all my life. Originally designed in 1933, no Italian household was without one. My mother had a standard six-cup model, as well as the huge 12-cup version, which was used for larger gatherings like funeral wakes. Soon as one batch of coffee was made, it would get a quick rinse of hot water before being refilled with ground coffee and water. Then back onto the hotplate it would go. Six or so minutes later, the steam-release valve on the side would start to hiss while the machine itself would emit a sound like a distant steam train as the fresh brew bubbled out of the internal spout, filling the upper section of the pot with steaming hot coffee. The aroma of this coffee always takes me back through my life.
Okay, I think that's it for this post. The Tudor Black Bay 58 has gotten the lion's share of time on the wrist since my previous post. I managed to sell a couple of vintage watches that weren't getting any wear. Still a couple more to go. More about that in my next post, I suppose. 
I'm getting a clearer picture of the type of collections I'd like to have. Some items, be they watches, cameras or typewriters, are getting used more than others, so this helps me decide on what to keep. Typewriter-wise, I'm thinking of moving along the Olivetti Studio model. It looks sensational, but man, is it a loud typewriter!
Some more thinking to do on that one.
COVID restrictions have been greatly relaxed as of a couple of days ago, but I still take a mask with me when going into a crowded store. I hope you're all keeping safe. 

Continue doing so, and thanks for reading!

* My wife once told me that when the stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce told a joke on stage that didn't get a laugh, he'd remark; I wasn't born here, but I'm gonna die here, referring to the comedian lingo of 'dying on stage'.

So, whenever she or I make a crack that doesn't get a laugh (usually from our kids), we'll say; I wasn't born here...


  1. I hope everything works out with your teeth, and your cat.

    1. Thank-you, sir! We’ll see how it all goes. Hope you’re well.

  2. Oooh, poor kitty! ):
    Good lucks with the new teeth, too bad you couldn't get an all-stainless steel Jaws-style set. You'd never pick up a bolt cutter again! :D

    1. I'd have liked gold teeth, but nobody does them these days. Probably cost a fortune, too. Kitty is doing okay at the moment. Haven't given her a tablet for seven days and we're administering the inhaler instead. She hasn't coughed for a week, so, fingers crossed, it works over the long term.