Saturday, August 16, 2008

Make a wish

I decided that I couldn't wait until Tuesday to take Pye to the vet. She was doing so poorly that I wasn't sure she'd make it. She hasn't been eating at all. I called and asked if they could suggest anything -- I thought maybe they could suggest something like some kind of high-protein . . . something . . . that we could give her. One of the guys at work said they had given one of their dogs some kind of gel to keep her alive when she wouldn't eat. The vet said there was a high-calorie food that he could give us, but thought I'd better bring her in. He had an appointment open this morning, so I got up early to take her.

Then we couldn't find her. She's been hiding in weird places; I know that's a reaction to not feeling well. This morning was the worst. We finally found her underneath Bob's recliner. I stuck her in the carrier so she wouldn't get lost again.

The vet examined her, took some x-rays, and had a consult with the other two vets in the practice. They came in and said that it looks like there's some kind of abdominal mass, but they can't tell for sure what it is. They suggested I take her over to a veterinary specialty clinic to have an ultrasound. Like I said before, we're not inclined to want to spend a fortune and put her through test after test if it's only going to gain a couple of months, and my vet said he understood that, but he thought that an ultrasound would at least (at Bob is fond of saying) give us a track to run on. She's lost more weight -- she weighs less than 8 pounds now. That can't go on much longer.

The younger vet went off to package up her x-rays and blood samples, and my vet stayed to talk. I asked him to please tell me what he really thought. He said he was going to be optimistic, but candid. He said he thinks there's something major wrong with her; he said he does still think she has an abcessed tooth, but that he doesn't believe that's the core problem. He said that (the tooth) is off the table for now. He said that it's possible it's something that can be treated, but we may also find out that it's cancer, and in that case we'll do what we can to keep her comfortable until we can let her go.

He called the other clinic and asked if they could squeeze us in, and they said they could, so I headed over there -- he told me not to worry about paying them today, just get over there, so I gathered up my stuff, the x-rays and blood samples and Pyewacket, and headed over.

So we spent a couple of hours over there waiting to see the doctor. I knew they were doing us a favor by squeezing us in, and it wasn't a problem. I took my knitting with me and finished most of a sock while we waited. I also met a really interesting woman who is a holistic vet in Lawrence. She said she refers patients to this clinic; she was there today with her dog who had some kind of spinal problem. I actually kind of like waiting in hospitals and doctors' offices -- it's enforced down time, you're not expected to do anything but wait, and as long as I have a book or my knitting, I'm perfectly fine with it.

So anyway, the doctor examined her and got her history, and said he'd like to do an ultrasound if that was okay. He said (and the ultrasound confirmed) that her spleen and liver are enlarged, and he said that she was dehydrated. He asked me if it was all right to take some samples to send in for testing, and I said that was fine, and he said he would like to give her subcutaneous fluids to hydrate her a little bit. Since it's Saturday, we probably won't have test results until Tuesday, and then we should know whether it's something that can be treated, or whether we just do what we can to keep her comfortable for a little while.

The doctor said he was kind of in a quandary about what to do in the meantime. He said we won't have the test results back until probably Tuesday, then we should have a better idea of treatment, if any, but what should we do until then? He said if it's cancer, he would give her prednisone, which would make her feel better, but if we need to have more tests done, then prednisone would make them unreliable. He decided to go ahead and give me the prescription, and said if she still wouldn't eat, to get it filled. I decided to go ahead and fill it.

I went in to the Target pharmacy and handed the clerk the prescription, which was made out for "Pyewacket."

He looked up questioningly at me, and I said, "It's for my cat."

He said, "Has your cat filled prescriptions here before?"


"Does she have any allergies to any medications?"

"Not that I know of."

Then he asked for her birthdate (he said I could guess), and I told him 5/1/99, and I asked, "Will this be covered under my insurance?" and he said, "Good try."

I know how to give a cat a pill, but it's hard to do, especially when you're trying not to hurt her. I tried crushing it, mixing it with water, and giving it to her with a big syringe by mouth, but that didn't go very well either.

We tried tempting her with various things; she'd sniff, or maybe lick, but wouldn't really eat anything. Bob said, "Maybe she'd eat some steak." He was going to grill one for his dinner, so he went out to start up the grill. She acted like she wanted to go outside, which was actually a good sign, so he let her. We never let them go out, but he let her, and stayed close to her in case she tried to go too far.

He just let her stay a few minutes, then brought her back in. He said he'd take her out for a little while every day. He said, "It'll be like the Make a Wish Foundation."

She has some big shaved places on her sides so they could do the ultrasound, and one on her neck where I guess they sampled the lump. Poor little ragged thing.

She still has a pretty face, though.

Tonight I got her to eat some salmon-flavored cream cheese off my finger. Maybe I'll get her some ice cream tomorrow.

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