one of my fiv boys, gumby, has done well in the year+ since fiv
diagnosis, on some steroids and antibiotics... very well, in fact. he
was a true feral who is my baby boy now, (but still cant be pilled,
but loves mom's lap, to give you an idea of his personality).
i had to go away this weekend on personal business, did not intend to
stay over (too many nursing chores here!) but had to stop over, was
doing head-bobs while driving at 1 a.m.... when i finally returned at
10 a.m. next morning, i did notice gum didnt feel good. it was just
the expression on his face. spent the rest of the day trying to figure
out what was bothering him, not getting anywhere, he didnt want to
eat, either, THAT gets to me! EVERYBODY MUST EAT!
come evening he finally started stirring around and he seemed to be
having pretty severe pain in his hind leg, not putting any weight on
it, holding it sort of curled up, SO PATHETIC!. i could not feel
anything nor did it seem tender. i feared a tumor somewhere further
up, maybe... i gave him one of mikey's pain pills, in food, managing
to get that down with mackerel juice, plus a double dose of
dexamethasone... he obviously felt better in an hour and ate more.
this morning i took him to my vet's office, saw my "least favorite"
vet and came away with a probable diagnosis of a clot (or possibly a
tumor) but he is treating the clot diagnosis. i am going to try to get
another cornell consult tomorrow (not open today) on this issue
because NATURALLY it has to be something i know nothing about...
this vet HIGHLY, STRONGLY recommended putting gum to sleep right then
and there "since he was knocked out anyway" which they have to do, to
examine him, he gets so hyper. he said he had "cold leg". indeed i
could feel the coolness compared to the other leg... he further said
no matter what you do, 90% of these cats (with clots, he was referring
to) (or it might even have been 99%) will "go into excruciating pain
and do nothing but cry, and there is NOTHING that can be done for that
kind of pain" and he wouldnt even put a cat thru it at all. he has
urged me to put several other cats to sleep immediately, he has even
said one organization cat should not have money spent on it, it had
health issues and that money should be spent elsewhere, etc.
at any rate, i tried to ask him how to be SURE of a diagnosis, since
we are talking the final solution. would xrays help? no. there IS no
way to be sure, but there are only those 2 things that would cause
cold leg, something is cutting off the circulation and neither of them
are good (and never mind mikey with his inoperable tumor who has lived
two happy, healthy years after being given a 2-4 month prognosis and
if this is a tumor instead of a clot, maybe he could be treated the
anyway, i decided we would try the available treatment, haldol to thin
the blood and acepromazine to dilate the blood vessels, plus
torbugesic shots for pain (because pill form doesnt work AT ALL in
spite of my telling him what a HUGE difference they make for mikey -
THEY DONT WORK AT ALL, he says). he told me to give one thing every 6
to 8 hrs, something every 12 hrs, and something else sometime.... at
the counter paying, i wanted to verify. asked the vet tech to ask him
when i should start these meds. i knew he had given some haldol and it
was written on the chart. i didnt know if he had given ace or valium
to knock gum out and since ace is a pain killer, needed to know when
to give the torb. didnt want to overdose gum on ANYTHING, especially
since we had just discussed that too much haldol will cause internal
bleeding to death (this is the same thing as rat poison which i would
not wish on a rat or any other living creature). tech came back and
said "you can give them all anytime". laboring the point, i said
(again) i knew he gave a couple shots and wasnt sure what all they
were, so i would not want to go home THEN and give them again, would
i? and if he could check again....
he came back and said "sure, it's fine, you can give them when you go
home". i am having visions of gum dying a grotesque death AT MY HANDS
after i OD him on haldol and how on earth i WOULD LIVE WITH THAT....
and ask the tech to go back A THIRD TIME and ask exactly what he DID
JUST GIVE GUM, then i figured i'd go look it up in the merck or
somewhere, for myself. how else was i going to find out how to be safe
with these drugs?
that time, he returned to say "oh, you are right, i did give haldol
and she needs to wait 6 hours before giving any more".
i spent the rest of the day SHUDDERING to think i almost came home and
gave him haldol and went merrily off to work while he laid here on the
living room floor on his velour blanket, slowly bleeding internally to
death! IF I HAD JUST BELIEVED HIM! IF I HAD JUST TRUSTED HIM!! IF I
HAD JUST TAKEN HIS WORD AS THE AUTHORITY!! IF I HAD JUST TAKEN THE
FIRST ANSWER,OR EVEN THE SECOND ANSWER.... i am still upset.
gum was in a very good mood when i came home from work, and he ate
very well and he DOES love me doting on him and babying him, always
has. he does not seem too wretched or in severe pain. he COULD be
having some discomfort with that leg. but overall it is obvious he
feels better than he did last night. gave him the haldol and
torbutrol, going to give some ringer's and ace pretty soon, then more
food. moved a litter box close to his bed, and food/water dishes
closer. he seems happy. laid by the louvered, floor-level vents
looking out at the shrubs as it rained, sniffing the fresh cool summer
air, purring and looking happy at mom's company and moral support...
i don't know if the vet is right or wrong. i dont know what my
gummerboy will feel like tomorrow night. but we really dont know, do
we, how ANY of us will feel tomorrow night? we could be JUST FINE
tonight, and have terminal cancer by tomorrow night... we just dont
know. if some of us are less than perfect, should we all just shoot
ourselves without even getting a diagnosis? is it a waste of
resources for anyone to try to help us? DONT WE EVEN DESERVE TO TAKE
UP SPACE ON THE PLANET with the perfect ones? ARE WE JUST GARBAGE, to
be thrown out at the first possible minute it is discovered that we
have a flaw?
as a very loving person on this list once said, there was only one
perfect one who ever walked this earth. the rest of us are various
degrees of imperfect. we are not required to be perfect. but we are
required to be loving and generous in sharing the gifts of life on
god's green earth with those less perfect than our "today" selves. and
i dont take that to mean refusing to lift one finger to help them out.
to me, easing them out of an impossible intolerable situation should
be the last resort, NOT THE FIRST.
some people think i hate vets. i do not hate vets. but i do get very
depressed to see this "eagerness to kill" in a profession sworn to
help the sick. i do get cynical when i see it again and again AND
AGAIN. i understand it is just the imperfection of MAN that i am
as i wrote that, i hear a sort of "scratch, scratch" in the hallway
and who sort of scuttled by me slowly, sort of dragging his one hind
leg but not looking bothered by it, and who, when i slapped my lap
lightly, did an about face, and chirped happily at me (yes, lap
please!) EXACTLY like the gum WHO HAD NO GIMPY LEG.... my gummerboy.
and he is warmly curled in my lap, purring as i write this. we are two
happy people. i dont know what tomorrow will bring, NONE OF US DOES,
but for tonight, life is good.
Teresa Strano - Please see my 4 "Twice Abandoned" kitties at