Monday, December 10, 2007

Broken Kitty

The nightmare started Friday afternoon when I came home from work. Gilligan was laying in a corner, curled up in an awkward position. His ears were hot, his nose was hot.

When the Spouse and I tried putting him in our laps he would stay only for a little while, constantly squirming and twitching his legs like he could not get comfortable.

Running thru our brains were possibilities... Did he eat something off the Christmas tree that's now lodged in his innards? Did he eat a bug that's made him sick? Has he fallen and hurt himself? Is it arthritis?

We assumed it must be something digestive so we decided to see how he was in the morning. If nothing had passed and he was still acting weird it would be off to the Vet we would go.

So guess where we spent our Saturday morning?

The whole time I was thinking it was something digestive but after an exam the Vet started mentioning scary things like heart disease, a thyroid imbalance and this horrible condition called Aortic Thromboembolism, which is basically a blood clot cutting off blood and oxygen to the lower legs.

They took blood and an EKG, sent us home with some morphine for Gilligan's pain and promised to call us as soon as they got the test results back.

Altho he wasn't his usual self Saturday, he would at least eat a little, go up and down stairs and use his litter box. And shake paws. Just like a dog. That's the one thing Gilligan always does for me when he feel fine is shake paws.

But Saturday night he kept crawling under the Christmas tree and would not leave. Out of frustration we moved the damn tree to another room and locked the door but he still went back to the same bare spot on the floor, laid down and would move. He did not sleep with us in our bed, either, which is very unsual. He ALWAYS sleeps with us.

Sunday morning he wasn't doing too good. He was having trouble getting up and when he did walk his hips and legs seemed hunched over. The Spouse and I had errands to run during the day and when we returned home around 3:30pm things were bad. Very bad. Gilligan would not get up. We tried giving him some of his moist food (the kind of food he normally will tear your face off to get to) and he wouldn't get up. We even brought the bowl to him and he would not eat. We tried bringing him some water. When he did finally get up to take a drink he sat at an odd angle and howled. It was a howl that broken our hearts.

The howls did not stop and we were frantic. I found the Vet's card and on the back it had the number for a local Animal Emergency Hospital. I called and explained the situation and the gal at the other end send to bring him in.

The few horrific minutes of mapquesting directions to the Hospital, trying to print out a map, and bundle the howling cat into a towel sent us both into tears and howls of our own. Halfway there the cat managed to settled down. While we sat in the waiting room he seemed calm, which may sound alright, but it's not him. When Gilligan goes to a new place he's one nosey son of a bitch. He has to wander everywhere and sniff everything. The fact that he was huddled in my lap with no interest in exploring bothered me more.

While we were in the waiting room, our regular Vet called to report the bloodwork and EKG were normal. Great, but that still doesn't explain why our cat is still broken and making horrible noises.

Finally, after 2 hours, we got to talk to an Emergency Vet. She, too, was gravitating toward this awful blood clot scenario. Even tho his feet were warm and his toes were pink (indicating good blood flow) she noticed his calf muscles were tight, like from lack of oxygen. He was also dehydrated from not drinking anything all day.

All we could do was leave him there under their care, allow an IV to be inserted so they could hydrate the poor thing, and wait until morning when the UltraSound Tech arrived so they could look at the cat's heart and aorta.

So we went home. Alone. No cat. You may now (if you haven't already) insert some seriously sad violin music here.

We did some internet research on this Throm-Bomb-O-Lism (or whatever he hell it is) and the more we read, the more we lost hope. This is a serious fucking thing. It happens most often in male neutered cats, ages 4-9. (Gilligan is 7... we think... he was adopted and the rescue group that had him may not have been accurate on his birthdate.)

The numbers and cases of this condition are scary. The recovery is not good at all. The mortality rate is bad.

Devastated is not a strong enough word for how we felt. For 3 hours all the Spouse and I could do was sit and weep. Hell, we even, as awful as this sounds, started discussing what we will do if Gilligan is beyond hope.

This morning was terrible trying to go into work. My brain just wasn't on it. Neither was the Spouse's. I called the Hospital twice to check on his condition, which was stable but not much change.

After not hearing anything about the UltraSound, the Spouse couldn't take it any more and skipped out of work and went to the Hospital to visit him.

He called me and told me that Gilligan was a little more alert and was walking around. There was an occasional howl or two but nothing like it was 24 hours before.

Then he called me back around 2:30pm with these words: "He fell."


"Gilligan fell and hurt himself. His heart is fine. There's no blood clot. He's injured himself from a fall."

In a fit of tears and giggles, we both rejoiced that the stupid little beast had fallen.

I, too, skipped out of work immediately and raced to join my Spouse and our boy. The Vet (the 3rd one we've seen) explained that the UltraSound showed a normal heart and no clot whatsoever. Gilligan had been more active today, altho still loopy from the mophine. He had simply suffered some kind of injury to his back or hips Friday while we were at work. So we have no idea what he did.

So, after a anti-inflamatory injection, and a nice bill totalling over $1,000 (for the initial visit and the Hospital stay), our buddy was returned to us.

Riding home in my lap in the car he was very calm but as soon as I pulled into the driveway his head went up and the meowing started. When he got in the house he ran (yes, RAN!) up the steps. I put some of his favorite food in his bowl and he devoured it, even licking the outside of the bowl. He's helped himself to several trips to the dry food bowl and he's ventured up and down stairs a few times, too.

Besides the fact he's still not 100% himself yet, the only other weird thing is his tail is not working. It's just sorta hanging like a wet rope. Even if you pick it up it falls limply to the floor.

The cat has done busted his ass. So he's still broken. And he has a bald band on his arm from the IV and they shaved his belly for the UltraSound. So he has a big, bald pudge. But he's not in pain anymore and he's home... alive...

So, how was YOUR weekend?


Stephen Parrish said...

Shit, you had me on the edge of my seat. I'm so, so glad it was only a "benign emergency."

Barbara Doduk said...

I am glad he is okay.

Sadly tomorrow I have to take my princess Lydia (kitty) to have her put down, she is suffering too much). My weekend, hell, these last 3 months, have been hard. I will miss her.

Cherish the purrfect moments.

Big hugs

(aka digTRIP)

KD said...

I'm so happy he's going to be ok!

lakelady said...

glad to hear he's ok and that you're ok and that I'm ok, whoops, slipping into 70s psych mode there sorry. Now I just wish he could tell the tale of how it all happened. (pardon the pun)

Sandra Cormier said...

Your story reminds me of my Trixie, the only cat that could fall out of a shrubbery and break her leg. She was the kind of cat that didn't bother to right herself if you dropped her on a cushion. She simply landed on her back.

Can you splint a tail? Guess not.