Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Is it over yet?

I am so ready for the weekend. Yes, I'm aware that it's only Tuesday and I just had a four day weekend that was preceded by two days off. And that I had two days off the week before that. Here's the stuff you don't know...

My mom had a lumpectomy to remove a 1.25mm cancerous tumor from her right breast on November 20, so the two days off that week were spent waiting for her to get out of surgery and then taking care of her at (her) home the following day. Her lymph nodes, left breast, liver, pancreas, and stomach are all clear, so that's good, but the doctor just informed her that the "margins" around where the tumor was removed are still positive for cancer cells, so she's going to have a mastectomy either late this week or early next, and then we're moving on. (That's her attitude...take it all off so that I can move on. Go Mom.)

When I came home from the OC (home of the parental units), I found that my 14 year old cat, Dave, had gotten very ill while I was gone. He wasn't eating, couldn't focus his eyes, was wobbly on his feet (running into the walls), vomiting, and drinking water like crazy. By Monday night when I got home from work, he could barely lift his head. I cradled him in my arms while I watched TV, let him sleep at the bottom of my bed that night, and tried to come to grips with the fact that I'd have to put him to sleep the following morning. When I went to the vet's on Tuesday, he wanted to run tests to see what was going on before euthanizing, as he'd never seen Dave as a patient before. He sent Dave home with me Tuesday while we waited for the test results and it was miserable for everyone because Dave was even sicker than he had been and was confused and scared about having been at the vet. He couldn't/wouldn't settle on the bed, he threw up several times on the bed (while I was in it, sleeping), he went to the bathroom in the corner of my room (multiple times), and began to wail. I waited until the vet's office opened at 8:00 am on Wednesday and then marched in, ready to tell them that I couldn't wait for the tests and that they needed to put him out of his misery immediately. The vet was at the front desk and told me that he'd received some of the test results and that they indicated Dave was in renal (kidney) failure. His levels of some minerals were 700x normal and his liver was beginning to be affected, too. The vet told me that I needed to bring Dave back in immediately, that they'd put in a catheter to regulate his fluid intake, pump massive quantities of fluid into him as well as anti-emetics (Pepcid) to help him start eating again, and then just hope that a few days of that would bring about some change. Bless Dr. Barnes (the vet - we're practically on a first name basis now) because he went in three times on Thanksgiving Day to check on Dave and call me with progress reports. Each time he called, the news was a little better: he was eating, he had more energy, he was hissing and scratching at the staff. Friday afternoon the technician called and told me Dave was ready to come home. The end result? $1,500 worth of vet bill, Dave on a special diet, daily Pepcid tablets, and subcutaneous fluids for the rest of his life (administered by me, with a needle and IV set), and a 50/50 chance that he will survive long-term. I know what you're thinking, but I couldn't NOT do it...I just couldn't.

Finally, I've somehow hurt my back so that it's not a constant pain, rather it's just the occasional jolt when I'm not expecting it, so that I can never really relax. I'm signed up for a volunteer opportunity with the Junior League this weekend, cleaning out a school garden for re-planting...not sure that's going to happen but we'll give it a go.

I just want it to stop for a little while so that I can rest, but that's not how life works, is it? Whoever said, "I'll rest when I'm dead," was a smart woman.

4 comments:

Lori said...

Hi Denise, So sorry about your mom and now your cat. I had a cat that had kidney disease and had to administer IV bags too. I did it for a couple months but she never got better. Email me if you need someone to vent over this, I've been there.

MARLA said...

That is a hell of a week. Best wishes for your Mom's recovery!

And what an ordeal with Dave. My cats both died of renal failure - they were 17 and 18 years old, so that's quite common. We also went through the subcutaneous fluids, and it did buy some time, although at that age you always understand that's the best you can achieve, a few months. One thing I'm glad I learned - many vets will come to your home to euthanize your pet. It's so much easier on them that way, they can be with you and in familiar surroundings.

Tell poor little Dave I'm rooting for him!

altopower said...

Wow, what a lot to deal with. Your mom sounds very centered and clear about what she wants to do, and that makes it so much easier for everyone else even while cancer is a hard diagnosis.

My heart goes out to you about your kitty. Love him lots and lots and cherish all the time you have; hopefully it will be a lot.

Peg said...

My cousin recently went through what your mum's been through and she's doing really well. I swear it's all about the attitude!! I'm glad to hear that Dave's a fighter. The vet bills are scary but I agree with you girlie, I'd have spent it. When we got our puppies, I took out vet insurance. I've only had to use it once but I'm really glad to have it. Reading about Dave just reinforces how I feel about it. Eventually, pets do get sick and I don't ever want to be in a position where I have to think about money over a treatment that could save their lives.