Re: [feline-heart] Phoebe Going for Echo
I read somewhere that the grade of the murmur doesn't necessarily correspond
to the severity of the disease, so hopefully Phoebe will have a good echo.
I do relate to caregiver's fatigue. What bothers me the most is that, like
you, I have two older cats--so I'll have to go through this twice. And
though I've lost many pets, including two to whom I've been a mom, I've
never had a pet this long.
We also schedule our lives around our cats. My kids want to go to Disney
World, to England (hi, Helen!), to travel the U.S. We sneak in a few beach
trips, but I don't even know how we'll do that this year. Last year we were
gone for 4 days, and shortly after that we found out Lucky had diabetes
again and Kassy had lost a pound because her hyperT was acting up. Clearly
they can't handle the stress of us being gone (we even had a vet tech come
in every day!).
You're wonderful for looking ahead to another cat. I don't know if I can
handle that. I'm thinking a nice, calm dog would be a good companion to my
But for now, like you, I'm taking it one day at a time and enjoying the cats
until we meet again in the great beyond.
Purrs to Phoebe and Pongo.
Laura, Lucky, & Kassy
From: brunobaby <brunobaby@...>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2001 4:45 PM
Subject: [feline-heart] Phoebe Going for Echo
>Greetings, worried catparents. <G>
>We had Pongo's hyper-t twin, Phoebe, in for her checkup and T-4 this
>morning. She had a 2/6 murmur last September. Now it's up to a 4/6, even
>though we'd increased her dosage of Tapezole. So she's going in for an echo
>on Thursday morning.
>We're concerned, but not alarmed. Phoebe's always been a much sturdier cat
>than Pongo. Heart disease secondary to thyroid disease is supposedly easier
>to control than the idiopathic kind, which is what Pongo has. My neighbor's
>cat had been diagnosed with heart disease secondary to hyperthyroid at the
>age of 17, and the cat lived to be over 20 years old. And he was pretty
>active until a couple of months before the end.
>At this point, it's just another headache on top of a migraine.
>The vet who examined Phoebe today was the senior partner, not the guy who
>dealt with Pongo last week. I told him, "So, did you hear all about Pongo?"
>"Yeah, Kevin showed me the before and after on the EKG. That was really
>something. It looks like the Atenolol wasn't his drug."
>We asked if he thought that switching him from Inderal to Atenolol had
>caused the attack, or had failed to prevent one, or if the dosage had been
>insufficient. We reminded him that the cardiologist hadn't been sure back
>in December what was causing the arrhythmia, since there hadn't been much
>of a progression of the HCM and Pongo's heart had been deemed
>"well-working." And I can see this thought balloon over my husband's head
>that says, "Sue the cardiologist."
>The vet drew a little diagram for us. There are two nerve bundles that lead
>into the heart chambers and regulate the heartbeat. What may have happened
>in Pongo's case is that the HCM is causing a lesion around the nerve
>bundles, and the meds help to regulate and control the messages to the
>Also, that it was hard to tell exactly what had caused it, or when and if
>he'd have another one, since most cats who have an attack the size of the
>one Pongo had don't survive it.
>"What does the cardiologist think about this?"
>"He hasn't been told."
>"Hasn't been told!"
>"He's a hard guy to get ahold of."
>"Well, I should think he'd want to hear about *this*!"
>I think he'll tell him, now. I'm truly floored, though, because we've been
>bringing our cats to this vet all their lives and they've almost always
>been on the ball. Any vet who's worked with them who *hasn't* been on the
>ball doesn't last there very long, and thankfully, none of the rejects have
>caused our cats any permanent damage.
>Jill, I know what you mean about the Caregiver's Fatigue. In fact, when we
>thought Pongo was dying, one thought that was running through my head was,
>"At least I don't have to worry about him anymore." It's the same way I
>felt when my mother-in-law died, even though we were friends and I miss her
>very much. She'd been sick for a long time, and all of our energy had been
>spent looking for the best care for her. For weeks after she died, I'd
>reflexively think, "I'll have to check this out for Jim's mother," and then
>I'd remember that I didn't have to, that nature had written 60 to any deal
>we could struggle to come up with.
>As for what I'll do with myself when he's gone, grieving and missing him
>would be high on my list. But the terrible anxiety would be gone, too, and
>the constant focusing of our plans around his medication and his condition.
>And last Friday, I knew that we'd done everything we could, that it was up
>to a higher authority and whatever strength Pongo could still muster. I
>actually felt calmer that night than I have this week, when I've been
>dealing with the terrible uncertainty of what was going to happen with him
>I can calm myself now with the thought that he's been a strong cat despite
>all his problems, that we're doing the best we can for him. He's scheduled
>for a follow-up next Saturday, barring any emergencies. He's been spending
>most of his time sleeping, which can be attributed to a) he's had a massive
>assault to his system, b) Inderal sometimes causes fatigue, c) he's a cat.
>I also calm myself with the thought that when he does go, we'll make room
>in our hearts and home for a young, healthy cat and hopefully have all
>those years of pleasure all over again. That is, if Phoebe approves. <G>
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