Sunday, April 20, 2014
Warning, there are some graphic pictures at the end of this post.
Henry is continuing to heal. I see progress every day, but it's painstakingly slow. He started turning the corner last Monday. I think the scale at the vet's office was very wrong because I finally unpacked mine and he was nearly a pound lighter than what the vet's scale indicated. Henry got down to 4 lb. 1.6 oz. That is absolutely skeletal! He has gained 8 ounces in the last 4 days!!! He's never gained that much that fast, 1/4 pound, but I could feel the difference when I held him. I feed him 150% what I was when he was healthy, in small meals around the clock, plus still give him sub-Q Ringer's Lactate every 24-36 hours since he can't drink enough yet to stay fully hydrated since a full stomach puts too much pressure on his lungs.
I can't begin to explain how I knew Henry would live and wanted to live, and he had more strength of will than I did. At one point I felt so terrible, that after all he's done to fight this awful pneumonia that he still wouldn't live and he'd have suffered for nothing, but I was wrong and I'm so glad I gave him a chance to prove himself.
Right now he's resting beside me on the sofa, lying on his side, something he can now start to do again periodically. It's been impossible for him to breathe in this position until just a couple of days ago. Even just a few minutes ago, his mouth opened and he started having trouble breathing, but I now know that when he does this, he's about to hack up some nasty mucus from his lungs and, sure enough, that's exactly what he did (but it's still scary to watch). And I took a picture of it to show you all how viscous and nasty this stuff is. The red stuff in it is a little bit of his food. Tonight's mucus was a new level of yucky, as he's finally starting to expel the stuff that's very deep in his lungs. The amount you see in the pictures came up all at once. I'm so grateful for this even though it's gross and messy and I have to stop him from eating it, because it gives him digestive trouble, just like Apple got when she kept swallowing her mucus when she had pneumonia. It's crazy how much comes out of such a tiny little cat. When I get a chance, I'll see if I can put pictures of his x-rays up for you all to see. I know when it's best to do coupage in his feeding schedule so he doesn't lose a meal with the mucus. He's started to groom again, but tires out very, very, very easily, then just sort of collapses where he is and rests up. He still uses his oxygen tent a few times per day, just for a rest, and I've found Brother in there with him a couple times now. I'm also still using a warm mist vaporizer and he actually likes it. He's on three antibiotics, but it's the Azithromycin that really kicked the mycoplasma and saved his life. He's also on Baytril and Clavamox. I give him feline digestive enzymes and probiotics, too, for his digestive tract.
I'm in awe of this little cat. Tonight as I laid beside him, he kept in constant contact with my body, if I moved, he'd reach out a paw to find me. I arranged for a friend to feed him the day I had to be out-of-town for Apple's casts removal and he was clearly peeved at me all the next day. He and Brother have more facial expressions than any animals I've ever seen. They are both very expressive and easy to read, it's amazing. The other night I settled Henry in the living room and then I pottered around the house a little bit more and when I finally came in and sat near him on the sofa, he was so clearly relieved to have me near. He's known from the very beginning that he's absolutely dependent on my for his life. He understands about needing his medicine. He takes ALL his meds willingly and without any problems at all.
Despite his skeletal appearance, Henry is comfortable, eating voraciously, eliminating well, and showing many signs of recovery. I know it's hard to see him this way, but he has been direly, desperately ill and it's a miracle he's pulled through. His recovery will take some time, but he will enjoy a very good quality of life again, and, hopefully, many more years filled with good health. All the pictures below were taken today.