Print Story Right again.
By BadDoggie (Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:41:41 AM EST) cats, Germans, PKD (all tags)
Being right all the time doesn't help me in my quest to be a bit more modest. It does, however, help me spend a bit more time with those whom I care about.

Having drunk so much of it in London, I'm amazed at my ability to be thrilled by cat's piss.

Last night came a phone call from the veterinary clinic. "Your cat still isn't peeing. Can you come in?" No I fucking can't come in. I just worked all day in an office and tonight I'm running a bar. I'll be lucky to get out by 2a.m. I asked about my cat's stats and values: creatinin, hematocrit, all that good stuff. We discussed effects and I struggled to communicate medical terminology, resorting at times to Latin and English. The night doc knew I wasn't joking about all-out treatment for my cat.

"Are you a doctor?"

I get asked this a lot because I'm able to talk in medical terms. I discuss treatments and make suggestions (read: demands) like a doctor, not a patient. I've written before about the source of much of my medical knowledge due to constant hospital admissions for injuries, some control freak-ism in my wanting to know what the hell they're doing to me, and the med students meeting for test preps at my bar in my uni days, with me both referee and quizmaster. Then there was the EMT-track stint for the VFD.

I don't want to lie and it might be illegal in this country to make the claim, so I use vague language. It wasn't working, so I answered, "Not anymore." Boom! Now my opinion counts a lot more, and everything makes sense to them. How else could a non-doctor discuss the effects of treatment and handling of other symptomologies? Germans just can't get their minds around the idea that a non-specialist might know something about a specialised field.

Whether doctors, bakers, builders, Germans always act the same way. If it's their specialty, it's only their opinions which count. Unless you're a "colleague". If you've worked in the field only then does your opinion also matter. So when it comes to medical treatment, I'm "not a doctor anymore". Shit gets done... correctly.

I told them that there was no way I could come in last night and that I'd be there today, as mentioned in the Hole. Keep watching her; kidney function recovery after infusion can take 3-4 days. Neither BG nor I could sleep and the sun was up before our eyes were closed. A lot of beer and vodka disappeared down our gullets. I'd pretty much come to terms with having to do the deed. She cried a lot; I had to wait until she slept to have my 30-second eye leak. Over the past few years I've gotten very good at this.

Boy, the girl cat's brother, when not searching the apartment and calling her constantly until dropping from exhaustion, would take an occasional break to sit at the window and sulk. It's the first time the two have ever been separated and he needs her. I knew I'd have to bring him with me today, and if she was to be put down, he'd have to see her before and after. Despite most of his cat-ness being bred out of him, he's a cat, a carnivore, and must instinctively understand something about death.

There were a couple of missed calls on my cell phone from the hospital when I woke up around 11. I called up and they told me she'd produced "a very little bit of urine" and had diarrhoea. I set an appointment for 2pm and shortly before that, got the boy into the carrier.

Once in the room with the cat looking much better, I took her out of her hospital cage and him out of his carrier. She was looking almost normal and not being dehydrated played some small role in that. To the onlooker, the didn't seem that interested in each other but I know these two. He needs the attention and she got so annoyed by him that she hissed and batted a paw at him before walking away. He followed quietly. I've seen many similar marriages.

Along with the doc were a couple students. We went over the treatments available and prognosis some more. The students weren't going to learn a damned thing about dealing with "normal" patients, only about discussions with incredibly single-minded former Yank doctors hell-bent on saving the life of a small, quiet, 9-year-old Persian cat.

"Are you a doctor?" came up again after I asked about being able to continue infusion at home. My supposed medical history allowed her to consider asking the chief of medicine whether it would be possible in my case. If they want to question my skills I'm more than happy to demonstrate an ability to hit a capillary on my own pinky one-handed with an 18-gauge syringe, a skill I don't seem to need these days. A big-ass femoral artery on a cat is no challenge.

Doc said that the cat peed a little more earlier in the day. I re-iterated the fact that kidney function takes 3-4 days to return and this was clear progress. I wondered just how well I was balancing hope and knowledge. We moved to the resultant anæmia and thyroid problems. My cat has a crit of 16 and needs a transfusion. The long-term prognosis without a kidney transplant is guaranteed death. Only UC Davis does those. It's not completely out of the question and before anyone jumps on my case for such an expenditure, I also donate to groups like Doctors Without Borders. I haven't ruled it out but it's unlikely. Unless I can carry her as hand luggage there's no way she'd survive the flight in her state.

I said to keep her one more night so we can watch for further progress with the infusion as well as get some fresh blood into her. The doc agreed to check up on sourcing some frightfully expensive meds and I'm searching for some other experimental drug called "OPC31260".

She's coming home tomorrow. She could hold out for two months or two weeks or only two days. That's still better than nothing. Yes it's about quality of life but we have pets to improve our own quality of life. She's not in pain. If she does fade fast here, their belief in my former medical credentials may get them to hand over the needle and barbiturates so that she can die here, at home, something that her brother needs to experience.

Having seen her and then being stuffed back into the carrier for a public transport ride home has done wonders for Boy. He's stopped searching for his sister and isn't sulking. He's more or less his old self. I was right that he needed to see her far away and know that she's not here. I'm just curious about whether he'll sit by the carrier. He hates it but knows that's what got him to his sister today.

I got a phone call an hour ago from the hospital. No blood of her type on-hand. I'd scheduled an appointment for Boy on Thursday to be checked for the same disease (PKD, "Polycystic Kidney Disease") since it's caused by a dominant gene. This requires blood testing and ultrasound. It'll now be done tomorrow. They'll check to be sure he has the same blood type and during the day, they'll sort out the other tests. Tomorrow after work I come back home with both cats. They're fucking heavy in those carriers.

Sorry for the rambling; I had to get this out. The girl's not in pain so I have no qualms about further treatment, but if she crashes shortly after coming home, I know I'll have to give up. I think I'm as ready as I can be.

If you know anyone with a Persian cat, tell him or her to have the cat checked for PKD. It can be detected with a simple ultrasound check (requiring no shaving) as early as 3 months and always within the first year of life. It's incurable but specialty food is available -- low in protein, balanced for potassium, results in low urea waste, and isn't too expensive. One third of all Persian cats have this disease. We never knew.

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Right again. | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)
Here's to more time... by toxicfur (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:56:56 AM EST
and to a good quality of life. It's so hard, when it comes to these decisions. I'm thinking about you all.
If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco
Germans and hierarchy. by ti dave (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:11:40 AM EST
If it wasn't Hitler, it would've been someone else.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

Maybe even ti dave by debacle (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 02:32:22 PM EST


[ Parent ]
I'm sorry by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:14:21 AM EST
I'm sorry to hear your cat is ill.  You have done the best you can for her.  You and yours will be in my thoughts.

"It is virtually impossible to effectively aim a jellyfish, a creature created by God almost solely for the purpose of not flying."- CRwM

sorry to hear man by cam (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:41:39 AM EST

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 11:16:57 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

Shit I forgot by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 12:06:13 PM EST
When the repeated the bit about Stelpa having diarrhoea: Of course she's got diarrhoea! She's been loaded up with salt/sugar/electrolyte infusions and has next to no kidney function. The water has to leave somehow!

Thank for the condolences. I'm almost angry with myself for feeling so strongly about the beasts that I'd consider a fucking kidney transplant for the damned cat. For fuck's sake! I've got something like €1000 in hospital bills instead of €30-50 for putting her down gently and I can get a new one with really low mileage for free.

Plus, kittens are the shiznit and you can get some cool lolcat photos out of 'em. The downside is having to put the toilet paper on the roller the wrong way around with the free leaf towards the wall so that when they spin it you don't end up with the entire roll unraveled on the floor. Oh, and also the claws.

In all seriousness I'm considering getting a kitten. It's much better that Stelpa will be with us for a short time still, meaning the kitten is more likely to be accepted rather than seen as a pretender by Boy. This is guaranteed if Boy fails the PKD exam tomorrow.

I can't decide whether to get a "real" cat next or another fucking hairy, high-maintenance cat like the ones I have. They're a lot of work but they've really grown on me. It's a sort of cuteness one expects from the Japanese. But I'm a softie sometimes and I'll probably take the most unadoptable creature I can find.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

Persians are the best by Imperial Mince (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 01:12:11 AM EST
But my parents have never had another since one of our two had kidney failure.
This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
[ Parent ]
Persians are best... by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 01:52:46 AM EST
...if you really, really want your computer fans clogged and hair "clumps" everywhere, floating and bouncing around like tumbleweed. The cats are so damned high maintenance they make a cotillion's attendees look like just so many hillbilly housewives.

And then there's the kidney disease problem.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
cathair by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 02:32:42 AM EST
Even my shorthaired mystery moggy has broken one printer with her hair. I guess you have to vacuum daily or something with persians?

[ Parent ]
When you own a persian by Imperial Mince (4.00 / 2) #11 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 04:25:02 AM EST
You just buy furniture and carpets to match
This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
[ Parent ]
Right again. | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)