Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Max Update #3

This is an older picture of Max when he wasn't ill, looking clean and handsome and showing off what is referred to around here as his squirrel tail.

Max is at the vet tonight. I should mention that this isn't your average veterinary hospital. By day it's a specialty hospital with several wings in a custom made building, each for a different specialty. I have been going to the internal medicine part, but there is oncology, nuclear medicine, etc... It's open 24 hours and after the clinics close, it's an emergency/trauma hospital.

I had terrible luck with the Epogen injections. I just couldn't inject it correctly so Max never got fully dosed. I've been sick all week and utterly depleted, so I'm not surprised, but when on Sunday night couldn't find the Epogen in the fridge I started to worry. I found it in the trash can. I must have inadvertantly tossed it out with one of the empty pill bottles. Now that's tired and brainless!

Today at his appointment, Max's anemia was worse (no surprise). He needed a blood transfusion. I've been assured that this works like a minor miracle in restoring the body, even with humans, but the expense nearly ended my own life. I was able to apply for and received a special credit card for pet health care. I was crying so much and thought I should feel lucky that even though I'm leaving with an empty crate, it's only temporary. I felt less bad about it after using the restroom and seeing that I got my period. That explained why my emotions are running so close to the surface this week and every little thing feels so intense.

The tech for this appointment that drew Max's blood is the first I've met at this hospital that I didn't care for. Maybe there's no pleasing me today, but she took the blood from Max's most swollen leg and didn't apply pressure afterward so he bled and bled and bled under the skin, a huge marble-sized lump that grew even larger. It looked like she blew the vein. I immediately saw it and knew what was happening so I went through the forbidden door to the inner sactum and urgently told the first person to notice me that there was a problem. I got the tech to bring me and ice pack, but poor Max is now sporting a super huge bruise. These kind are very painful, too.

He's supposed to spend the night, but there is no way I'm leaving him there so I arranged to pick him up after the transfusion is complete after 1am. I called at 9pm for an update, it should have been finished by then, but it took almost three hours for them to notice that the pump that delivers the blood in a controlled way through an I.V. path, wasn't working or was not set correctly so he'd only been receiving 10ccs an hour instead of 30cc. This means he was would be another three hours when then whole thing should have taken only four hours.

I could have picked him up first thing in the morning, and I might have been open to leaving him there all night, but I have four daycare kids tomorrow so there is no way I can do that and I'm definitely not leaving him there all day until they are gone. That place is a true emergency room and pets are dying right and left. This isn't a good atmosphere for any animal to spend time in more than necessary. It's true that many pets treated and go home, and many are admitted for further treatment. It's busy and tense all the time, and noisy with all the beeping monitors. I honestly don't know if Max is located near all that hubbub, but animals are sensitive to the environment for great distances.

I spoke to a nice sound treatment nurse with the happy name of Daisy and she reported that Max is quite fiesty and does best covered up. He doesn't like being covered up at home so I'm glad she discovered this about him and he has a little hiding place. At home he likes to hang out over holes, like the hole in the top platform of the scratching post. His belly hangs through the hole and his head hangs over the edge. I don't have a digital picture of this or I'd post it.

Right now is doesn't look like his handsome self like in the photo. He's greasy and dingy right now because he doesn't have the strength to wash and I don't have the heart to dump him in the bathtub. He takes three hours to dry, and that's after the blow drier has done what it can. He's been getting a wash cloth bath and several brushings a day. I hope that this transfusion restores him in strength so he can be a cat again and lick himself clean and eat a nice full kitty meal and hang out in all his favorite high places again.

UPDATE: Oct. 3, 3:40am
I just got Max home and settled. He can barely walk for all the bruising on his legs from all the needles, but he's eaten a little babyfood and had tons of water and chicken broth.

Everyone kept asking me "how is he." I was confused at first and kept asking, "Before or after he got sick?" Then one woman kept asking if he's a lap cat. Yes, he's a good lap cat. Yes, he's sweet and loving. His nickname is Sweety Boy. Yes, he'll hiss if you try to do something to him like stick him with a needle or take his vital signs and temperature rectally every 15 minutes for 4 hours!

Apparently, Max tried to bite them! They all loved his long white fur and thought his eyes were gorgeous, but he was not sweet at all for them. It had taken three of them to draw blood, one to draw, one to restrain and one to be ready for anything.

I got a behind-the-scenes tour and everyone was super nice. He looked cozy but tortured in the kennel. He had on one of those big plastic collars because he tried biting someone and he was on a peepee pad because he wet himself (so would any of us if we couldn't get to a toilet for 12 hours!), but underneath it was a comfy baby quilt that was folded up and over him.

He has a red blood cell count at 20% now, whatever that means. Normal is over 20%, though. This morning he was at 14%. I'll get my discharge instructions from the doctor tomorrow.

I'm having a very early breakfast and then I'm going to bed!

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