I tried to write about the events of the past week — month or two, actually — but my emotional and mental reserves were too fried.
On Feb. 15th, our black long-haired polydactyl Onyx abruptly died of a heart attack. He’d given no warning that anything was amiss: he was running around, eating, and largely acting normal.
Around the same time, our little black tuxedo Kadie became sick what seemed like a bad GI bug. On the 18th, I took her to the vet as she had lost a hell of a lot of weight in under a week. Diagnosis: inoperable terminal lymphoma, only viable treatment 10mg prednisone (a high dose). The vet believed we’d have a month or two together.
I spent the next few weeks camped out in my office/room with Kadie and her brother Casey, where they’ve spent most of their time for the past several years. As she began weakening, I rearranged furniture so it’d be easier/safer for her to reach her favorite perches, then switched to slipping my hands under her just as she jumped in order to boost her just enough for her to land safely. Then to supporting her whenever she walked near edges…then to when she walked.
On the 9th, I woke to find my left heel and ankle numb in an odd way that threw my balance out of whack and made it hard to stand on it. “Pinched nerve,” I thought. The next day, I woke with my left calf puffy, simultaneously numb and sore as if I’d run a few marathons. I looked up the symptoms and found that they only really matched deep vein thrombosis, which I’d read about in an article by one of my favorite musicians. By the time I reached the ER, though, the symptoms were rapidly fading; an ultrasound showed no current occlusion, but given everything else pointed to one (including my blood’s high clotting factor & even higher blood pressure than usual) the doctor suspected I’d had a small one. So, I have a new drug to take, and a leg that’s very slowly regaining the ability to function without pain.
3/11. We’d scraped up enough money (in large part due to my mother loaning me money she’d saved for dentures) for Azrael to have her operation, so at 11am we dropped her off and went home to wait. I discovered that Kadie was fading and in pain, so I had to have her put to sleep. I came back home feeling empty and tired, so I took a nap.
At 3:30pm the surgeon called to tell us the operation was called off. The CT scan showed Azrael’s growth was on (likely originated from) on her skull at the hyoid process, surgeon refuses to touch anything unless she can remove all of it (which she can’t), and there are signs on a chest x-ray they’re interpreting as indicative of lung involvement. Based on how well Azzy did in the HEPA-filtered environment, she insisted there was no compromise in her quality of life, which was totally different from her airway outside or at home.
What makes this mess worse is that this is a vet hospital that has repeatedly mixed up crucial test results, misdiagnosed, and refused to take any action beyond “aggressive” and “euthanize.” To add to that, I remembered after the diagnosis that they’re missing a set of chest x-rays from 2012 that matched the description… So now we have a cat that with a terminal diagnosis that may or may not be right to any varying degree, no idea what we can do since all they did was hand us a bottle of prednisone and tell us to make an appointment with a doctor I haven’t heard of.
I’m going to get in touch with a traveling surgeon in San Francisco who specializes in minimally-invasive procedures, potentially striking the right balance between avoiding extra trauma/pain (in the event that she truly is terminal) and improving her quality of life (which seems even more important if she’s low on time, dammit). I’m not sure how to go about getting the x-rays compared just yet.
After all of that, I had a strange dream I’ve never had before, but that really deserves its own post. For now, back to bed…