Monday, April 13, 2009

Lately I've been concerned with the health of someone else....

Most of my reader(s) know that I have 5 cats. I didn't plan to have 5 cats and I know that 5 cats is an excessive amount of cats. Especially for someone who lives in a single wide mobile home. So all of that is what has been going on with me and one of my cats for the last week.

On Friday, April 3rd, I came home from a wonderful date with IMOM. We celebrated my birthday which was last month but I was too sick to want to do anything. I got an amazing birthday gift but that's whole 'nother blog post. Anyway....I came floating in to the house on cloud 9 and almost stepped in cat barf. OMG. It was everywhere. My first thought was that Nort, my kitten who had a rough start in life...(read back in my blog under "Nort Report"), but Nort was running around being her little goofball self so it obviously wasn't her doing the puking. I went in to the bathroom and there was poor Elijah. Apparently he had been throwing up for a few hours. I cleaned him up and then cleaned up my carpet and the bathroom floor and then I sat in the bathroom and held him on my lap hoping that would help him to feel better. He didn't throw up again until way early the next morning. He threw up 10 times between the hours of 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM.

Saturday early AM
I found a box and put a bath towel in it and loaded him in to the box. When he didn't fight to get out I knew he was a sick kitty. I put him in the car and he just layed there and cried. Of course by the time I got on to Pacific Coast Highway he decided that he didn't want to be in the box and was trying to climb out. Fortunately there is a vets office about 3 miles from the house so I was able to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand on Elijah. (No, I don't own a cat carrier. My kitties do not like to ride in the car and thus I do not take them for rides. )

The vet said that it sounded like he probably had a foreign object in his belly and they needed to do some xrays. About an hour later they called me back to look at the xray. That could have been an xray of a lizard and I wouldn't have known any different. The doc said that it looked like Elijah had a "linear foreign object" in his intestine. His plan was to give Elijah barium and then wait a while and xray him. He would do this repeatedly until they could see exactly if the foreign object was actually blocking the intestine or simply interrupting the flow of things. The doc told me to go home and they would call me later with a report. When the doc called he said that the barium xrays indicated that the foreign object was blocking the intestine 99% but that 1% of non blocked area would allow them to try to flush the blockage from the other direction.

On Sunday they were going to give Elijah an enema and hope that between the barium coming from one end and the enema coming from the other end it would pick up the blockage and move it out. After they gave him the enema the vet clinic called and said that the enema had really cleared Elijah's innards and now he was a dirty mess. (I found out later that they had given him 3 enemas.) They asked me if I wanted them to bathe him before I came to pick him up. I knew he wasn't going to like having a bath but he was a pretty dirty little boy just from throwing up and. I couldn't imagine how he must smell after having an enema so I told them to go ahead and bathe him. A couple of minutes later they called and told me that they would have to sedate him in order to bath him. I told them that would be ok. Then they called me again and said that since he was sedated did I want them to go ahead and neuter him. I thought that would be a good idea so I told them to go for it.

After work I picked him up and brought him home. He was not a happy camper. Who could blame him? He'd been poked and prodded from both ends and when he woke up he was missing body parts. I put him in his bed and I got him clean towels in case he wanted to lay on the floor. He wasn't allowed to eat or drink but I don't think he wanted to anyway. I held him for quite a while and then I put him in his bed so he could get some uninterrupted rest.

That morning he was supposed to try to eat and drink and I had meds that I was supposed to put in his food. He was not interested in eating so I just left his food in there with him hoping that he would feel like eating later. By the time I got home from work it was obvious that he hadn't even sniffed his food. He had thrown up a couple of times but I figured that was to be expected after having abdominal surgery. Later that night he started throwing up again but now when he retched he would scream. It was the most awful sound I've ever heard coming from a cat. I hate to say this but it reminded me of the sound my elderly grandmother would make when the grand kids would accidentally step on her toes. He continued to throw up through out the night.

By the time the sun came up I had him in his travel box so I could take him back to the vet which I thought opened at 7:00 AM. WRONG. They open at 8:00. I need to be at work at 8:00 and since I had just taken an entire month off of work I didn't think they would look too kindly at me coming in late. So.. I raced Elijah back home and flew to work. All morning long I fretted over taking Elijah back home when I knew that something was wrong with him so at lunch time I drove home as fast as I could and loaded him up and took him back to the vets office. When I got there the receptionist told me that the doctors were all out to lunch and that I had to wait for them to return before they would take the kitty. I explained that Elijah had just been in their care and was returned home in worse condition than when I originally brought him in. I begged her to let me leave him there and just have a doctor call me when he returned from lunch. To my amazement she agreed so I left him there and went back to work.

Just when I returned from work the doctor called me and told me that they had to do exploratory surgery. Since he had resumed throwing up that indicated that the blockage was still there. I agreed to let them do the surgery and was glad that something was really going to be done to take care of the problem.

About 30 minutes later the vets office called me and told me that Elijah had gone in to cardiac arrest. They wanted to know if I wanted them to do CPR. "YES!", I said. " DO CPR! DO IT NOW!" It took them about 20 minutes but they were able to get him back. They told me that they were not equipped to handle such a critical situation and I needed to come and get him and take him to an emergency hospital.

When I got to the vet they brought me a heavily sedated kitty wearing one of those stupid cone collars. He looked like he had been wrung through the wringer. His eyes were glazed over and his little tongue was actually hanging out of his mouth. His mouth and rear were both green from all the bile he had passed. It turned out that Elijah had swallowed over 6 feet of black thread. It had wrapped around the back of his tongue and then went down his esophagus and through his stomach, small intestine, large intestine and his colon. They had to open him up in 8 different places to take the thread out because it was tangled up all over the place. The doc said when they first found it they tugged on it hoping that it would just come out but when they pulled on it hard enough to dislodge it...both ends of Elijah's body came off the table.

I had to drive about 7 miles to the emergency hospital and apparently that is just enough time for some of the sedation to wear off and cause Elijah to want to attempt to climb out of the box and try to sit on my lap. This made the drive very challenging.
The emergency hospital took him in right away and had him hooked up to fluids and pain meds. I had to stay in the lobby while they took care of him. After about an hour they came out and told me that Elijah was a very sick kitty and was going to require a lot of care. I had to fill out forms and pay in advance. They took xrays and did an MRI and they looked at his incisions. He had a pretty bad infection and they were going to treat it with antibiotics for 24 hours but if the incision drainage didn't improve greatly they were going to have to do another surgery to find out what the heck was going on.

Elijah had a pretty rough night. His drainage was still very heavy and he was still throwing up in spite of anti-nausea meds. They put him in the hyperbaric chamber in an attempt to flood his body with oxygen. Oxygen should have caused his infection to start to clear up but it did little good. They called me and asked me to authorize a 3rd surgery.

They opened him up and did a lavage on his abdomen and they discovered a thrombosis (blood clot). They removed the thrombosis and left his incisions opened so that it would drain faster and heal better. The surgeon also installed a pik tube. This is a feeding tube embedded in to the stomach. They wrapped him in gauze and red ace bandage from stem to stern and took him to the recovery room. They let me come in to see him and he was still quite "gacked out" on anesthesia. He was the floor, on top of several blankets with a warming blanket on top of him. There was a tech holding oxygen tubes up to Elijah's nose. I wasn't able to stay in recovery with him for very long. I guess they just wanted me to be able to see that he was still alive and didn't have another post surgical cardiac arrest.
Good Friday
Early in the morning they offered Elijah some baby food meat. He gladly ate it and then spent the rest of the day throwing it up. They gave him anti nausea and pain meds so he had a very quiet day. Later in the evening they tried to feed him again and had the same results so they fed him through his pik tube and resumed his anti nausea meds.

Still throwing up. Still on major amounts of drugs. Spent 90 minutes in the hyperbaric chamber. When I came to visit him for the evening visiting hours he was much more alert and even seemed happy to see me.

Imagine my utter happiness to walk in to the critical care ward and see my beautiful little boy sitting up!!! He had been laying down for over a week. It also looked as though he had attempted to clean himself up a little bit.
Well now he's just showing off! They have taken most of his heart monitors off and they have removed some of his IV lines. He was sitting up and his eyes were wide open. When he saw me he chortled in his own cute little way and he purred. He rubbed all over me and talked to me as much as he could. The surgeon saw me and came over and told me that Elijah was finally holding ground and they were going to go back in and clean things up one last time and close all of his surgical openings.

Tuesday (Yesterday)
Elijah looked really good when I went in to see him in the morning before work and then again when I came back after work. He was still unable to eat without throwing up but the doc said that he wasn't throwing up as violently as he had been. They resumed feeding him with the pik line so that he would be in better shape for his last surgery. He continued to talk to me and squirrel around my hands and arms.

Wednesday (This morning)
I went in to see him at 6:45 just like I have done every day that he's been in the hospital and they told me that he had just gotten out of surgery and was in the recovery room and that I would have to wait a couple of minutes before I could go back. After waiting 25 minutes I asked what was taking so long and I was told that I wasn't allowed to go in to the recovery room. I told them I was in the recovery room last time he had surgery...what had changed? They told me that there was already 4 people back in the critical care unit and that was their visitation limit. I was already going to be late for work so I didn't argue with the girl at the desk. I just left the office with flames shooting out of my ears. As I walked outside I wondered if those 4 people that were already in recovery had walked to the hospital because mine was the only car in the parking lot. I was trying not to think the worst, but failing. Luckily as soon as I got to work the surgeon called and told me that everything with Elijah was fine. He repeated the story about already having 4 people in the critical care unit. I didn't tell him that I had been at the hospital every single day since Elijah had been admitted and there hadn't been 4 other visitors in that until COMBINED. I have to convince myself that there must have been some new sick animals admitted during the night and their keepers all stuck around unlike the 40 or 50 other animals that had been through the hospital that week.
I will be heading out to see him as soon as I get off work. We will take all the prayers we can get.
My sweet, sweet Elijah

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Anonymous katiejae said...

Poor guy. My prayers are with him

I bet Lorenzo made him do it.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Oh sweet little dude. Hurry up and get better.

Tami - I can't believe you have had to endure this along with Elijah. You take care of yourself - this must have been exhausting.

Eliot is sitting right next to me on the desk and purring like mad. He has given a shout out to Elijah but is intent on simply purring his head off next to me.

Wishing all of you well.

(And I can't WAIT to hear about your b-day present!)

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Kristy K said...

How traumatic. I am glad that he is doing better! I was in tears reading all this. GO KITTY GO!! I hope he is up and better soon!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Jason, as himself said...

What a nightmare of a story! It is amazing that he is still alive, especially after going into cardiac arrest! What an emotional rollercoaster.

I hope he continues to get better.

This may seem insensitive, I hope not, but vet bills are unbelievable. I can only imagine how big this one will be after all is said and done. I've said it before and I'll say it again...having pets is more expensive than having children.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Drama Queen Jenner said...

Not even remotely a cat person, but I was on tenterhooks through the whole read! Hope he gets better and fast! Poor kitty!

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Now that Elijah is home and getting better I can tell you that in his sick picture with all his hospital accoutrements he kind of looks like a Dr. Seuss character. With his red and white taped up feet and his clown collar.

4:02 PM  

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