Friday April 22, 2011 5:28 AM Chula checking out Baloo's new cut. I wondered as we were on the way home, do dogs actually have a perception of changes like a new haircut on one of their companions? My question was answered by Chula's look when she first encountered Baloo, she was very cautious in approaching him and of course they had to do the customary butt sniffing!
Stimpy woke me up this morning at 3:30 AM. She wasn't distressed or anything, she was just wanting to cuddle. I moved to the side and smoothed out the pillow and she actually laid down facing me with her head on the pillow. She was purring so deeply and she was so calm. It was incredibly relaxing to me, almost too much as I started to drift off to sleep again and then she reached out with her big fluffy paw and placed it on my chin, almost as if she was telling me that the job was not finished yet and I had more to do. So, I started scratching her on the neck and behind the ears so she continued purring again.
It occurred to me that I did have more work to do. As I laid there looking at Stimpy, I decided that I need to move forward. It took Boehringer Ingelheim nearly a year to write me a letter. The more I read that letter, the angrier I become. They are so arrogant in their attitude that they can get away with it simply because they can. I think the part that makes me most irate is where Mr. Herman quoted the AVMA in a clear attempt to justify their apathy, and it only served to show how this does need to change. He quoted them as saying in some instances, serious side effects may occur, particularly, sarcoma's. OK, so he wants to use the AVMA as a model for disclosing the risks of vaccines. Why then, is the only warning on THEIR label, is an over simplified one calling this serious side effect "a local reaction".
I could continue writing in this journal about my problems with Boehringer Ingelheim.I can continue documenting Stimpy's day to day life as she lives with this cancer. That was the whole point of starting this journal, "A day in the life of a cat with cancer". That does include my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim for certain, but I need to move forward.
It is obvious that Boehringer Ingelheim and the other pharmaceutical companies sit back and laugh at people like me. People like Rodney who lost his beautiful cat to VAS (another Boehringer Ingelheim victim). People like Jenny, who is fighting to save her cat Chicken, and she has gone through a lot of the same things I have with Stimpy. A month of radiation after surgery, and then an attempt at chemo but only to find it was too harsh on Chicken (read Chicken's blog here http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/ ).
There are too many people to list. Every time a new person joins the VAS support group, I have to keep asking myself, why does this go on like it does, with the pharmaceutical companies hiding behind their government buddies? Every time I read another e-mail from someone, telling about those last precious moments of life they spent with their beloved cat, it is hard to take at times. I just cannot imagine or even begin to comprehend, the agony of holding your cat in your arms as it is euthanized, taking its last gasps of breath as it lays there looking up at you. It is all so senseless too. There are some in the group who want to blame the veterinarians. They do hold some responsibility but I have been connected to the medical and pharmaceutical world too long now to know the blame lies with the pharmaceutical industry. How they can actually sit back and make billions of dollars every year (Boehringer Ingelheim posted sales of $17 billion alone in 2008, and that was even before they acquired the Fort Dodge Animal Health division. "Animal Health"...it is a sickening thought) and accept no responsibilty for their immoral actions is beyond comprehension. It is criminal, plain and simple in my opinion. They all act like they are such saints, offering a "reimbursement" program. That reimbursement doesn't even touch on the actual costs of this cancer. It doesn't even come close to the emotional impact it has on our lives.
So, where do we go from here? As I laid in bed, I thought, let's go ahead and file a suit against Boehringer Ingelheim. I have nothing to lose from it. They will argue that they are protected and it is a frivolous lawsuit, but in order to move forward and make changes to this negligent act by the pharmaceutical industry, you must first start with a lawsuit. I have tried to reason with Boehringer Ingelheim and they just tossed me to the side. That is very clear by their actions in taking nearly a year to even send me a letter. At this stage of the game, it is not about monetary damages. I do still hold them accountable for Stimpy's health care costs, but the deed is done. I have paid over $25,000 in care costs for Stimpy and it is a moot point right now. I want to have them in front of a jury, and I want to be able to tell Stimpy's story, Little Girl's story, Chicken, Job, Sakura, Cassie...there are too many to name here. I want this to become an issue in the pharmaceutical world. I want them to start listening to us and stop hiding behind their government bedfellows. As I laid there looking at Stimpy, I knew that is what I needed to do. Now is the time to file this lawsuit. What am I waiting for? For a while, I was hoping Boehringer Ingelheim would sue me, after all Mr. Herman has publicly accused me of defamation at this point. I wondered, what are they waiting for? If I truly am defaming them, why would they tolerate it? I was hoping they would serve me with papers, trying to intimidate me into backing off, but those papers have never arrived. It would be an embarrassment to them to sue the owner of a cat who got cancer and had her leg amputated from it. So, what AM I waiting for? The answer is, "I am not waiting for anything". It is time to move forward.
Another reason now would be an appropriate time to file a suit against Boehringer Ingelheim is we are approaching Stimpy's one year anniversary. I have not had any satisfactory answers from Beohringer Ingelheim. I have not had any satisfactory acceptance of responsibility from them. Indeed, I am still waiting for the Freedom of Information documents I requested. Supposedly, those have been sent to Boehringer Ingelheim for "approval" as it contained some trademark secrets, sales figures, etc. I was supposed to have those months ago.
It is time to move forward.
It is amazing how this has impacted my life in the past year. My headaches have increased, largely due to stress. My personal life has been put on hold. I do not want to travel out of fear something will happen to Stimpy while I am gone. I find myself leaving the house on the days I have to give her the Mirtazapine. She has such a low, mournful wail on the first day and it is too heartbreaking to listen to her. It reminds me too much about that night I went to visit her in the hospital after having her leg amputated. It is a sound that will live with me forever and every time this Mirtazapine kicks in, she cries like that. I hate to not give it to her, as it does stimulate her appetite. She just cannot afford to lose any more weight.
The other day, a friend called me and offered me a job at their high end gift shop in Nichols Hills. I could do it as they are the same kind of clientele I had in Tucson, very wealthy society people. At first, I thought, it could be good. I have not worked in years and it would give me something to focus on. That thought quickly disappeared though when I realized I have to take care of Stimpy. I do not want to be strapped down to a 9-5 job ever again. I did not want to schedule my life around a job, not being able to give Stimpy the best of care possible, not now, not while she is dealing with this cancer. So, that thought set aside, I need to focus on the task at hand. Taking care of the houses, the animals, it already is a full time job.
Speaking of the animals, Baloo went in for his haircut yesterday. It was almost a year ago too, that I took Baloo in for his haircut. It is too hot and humid here so he is shaved for the season. He almost seems to be proud of it, the way he romps around with the other dogs when he gets home. Frida will be next and Chula has nothing to shave. Here are a few pics of his new style:
Doesn't Baloo look thrilled to death here?
The other day on the news, they were talking about the drought here in Oklahoma. They said we are down 5" from what is normal for this time of year. It is very apparent by just looking at the pond. It does not look like it here, but I would guess the pond has dropped a good 8' here at the house. You can see where the water line was but even that was lower than usual. I wonder where the turtles have gone to? I have rescued many turtles from the road and have released them near the pond but maybe they have moved on. They always did so well here when the pond was full.
It is nearly 7:00 AM now so I guess I will go over to the renovation house and get some work done there. I keep telling myself, one more month and it will be finished but I know that is not true. I am too picky about how I do things. People have often told me I should have been a lawyer or something on a "professional" level. That just is not how I operate. I like creating things too much. I like building things, fixing things, etc. I get so much satisfaction from that. I am pretty proud of how the coffered ceiling turned out at the house. It was worth the effort so now I must do something creative like that again to keep me out of trouble!