Saturday, January 20, 2018

As :: aka Arsenic :: aka Arnold

It has been a year. 
A year since our little kitty Arnold was so sick and his future was so uncertain. 
I blogged about it a little while it was happening,
 but to be honest I couldn't really put into words how hard that time was for us. 

I never blogged the process or all the visits 
because honestly we weren't sure he was going to make it out the other end 
& it was just too hard.

It is so hard to have those conversations like "even if we spend all this money, he may not survive"
& "he is so young, we have to give him the best shot, no matter the cost."
That is the side to being a pet owner that is so difficult. 

There really is nothing better than coming home to a little, soft, furry creature 
that is so excited to see you. 
Than cuddling up with another living being that is so trusting, despite their predator instincts. 
And to almost have that all taken away was unfathomable. 

We don't have human children {yet} so these animals is the closest we have.
& I know they won't live forever, but I'll be honest, I wish they would.

I wanted to share a little bit more about his struggle last year,
and how thankful I am that he pulled through.

It all started with some blood that we found in the upstairs sink in the summer of 2016.
We knew it had to be him because obviously the dogs are not jumping on the sink.
We took him to the vet and they ran some tests and gave him a course of antibiotics.

They seemed to be working so we went on, business as usual. 
This cycle happened 2-3 times. 
But then we noticed that he was getting really sick. 
He stopped sleeping with us at night, we woke up to vomit in the hallway, 
he wouldn't greet us at the door, he just seemed out of it and unhappy. 

One night we looked all over for him and found him laying in the litter box. 
Looking really unhappy.
He was squatting but nothing was coming out.

I knew this couldn't be good. 
We had a big discussion about whether or not to ride out the night 
and bring him to the vet for more antibiotics the next day 
or bring him immediately. 
My gut was telling me that it was time to go to the vet. 

We packed him up and took him, 
it was around 6:30 at night so the vet saw us as the last emergency visit of the day.
The vet gave us some medicine, gave him some fluids and pretty much asked us if we wanted to keep him at the vet overnight or take him home and bring him back first thing in the morning. 

We decided to take him home and monitor him, 
{let the nights of not sleeping begin}

Charlie dropped me off at work with Arnold in the car to take him to the vet immediately after.
I had just started my new teaching job and we had just sold Charlie's VW back to VW
{it was one of the cars involved in the whole carbon emissions scandal thing}

Charlie left me a message saying that Arnold's entire urinary tract was completely blocked
and he needed to be taken to the emergency room immediately. 
The vet said if we had waited any longer his potassium levels would have killed him. 

I couldn't help but be livid with the vet. 
We brought him the night before, we had been having these issues for 6 months already. 
They acted like everything was okay, what did they want their $500 payout 
before knowing we had to take him to the emergency room? 

Charlie took him to Northstar Vets where he immediately went into surgery. 
While in the urinary tract surgery they noticed kidney stones that he couldn't pass,
that also needed to be operated on. 
They also noted that his little pee-pee was swollen and inflamed, 
yet another reason why he couldn't go to the bathroom.

They initially said they were going to keep him for a few days to monitor him,
we visited as much as we were allowed to.
Spending that much time in an emergency room vet was disheartening in itself, 
seeing so many people come in with a beloved pet and leaving with out them broke my heart daily. 
{Weird side note- I had no idea so many people owned parrots in this area, so.many.birds.}

He was our same little kitty but disoriented from pain medication 
and desperate for cuddles and affection: 

 They would bring in a litter box to our visits and we would pray he would use it.
He didn't.
He would squat and nothing would come out. 
I spent days praying that he was just take a damn piss already. 

He didn't.
He needed a catheter to be able to get any relief at all.
When they took out the catheter, they realized he had a bladder leakage, 
urine was leaking out and collecting in his belly. 
We were informed that they needed to do another surgery. 

The vets were very upfront with us and said that he needed to go into intensive care 
and that this was his last shot because they didn't know what was causing the blockage 
or what to do after this point. 

The vets also said that they recommended a Perineal Urethostomy
aka removal of the penis and creation of a new exit site for urine, 
aka sex change.

Initially they were going to do the second bladder surgery and perineal urethostomy at separate times to avoid too many traumas at one time,
 but they ended up doing both at the same time as a last ditch effort to save his life. 

Arnold was moved to ICU and was still issued a "Caution" & "Will Bite" warning, 
even under heavy sedation and pain pills he was still a bad ass.

Visiting Arnold in the ICU was one of the saddest things I have experienced.
There were dogs getting surgery, other kitties in crisis, 
and our little baby blitzed out of his mind, hooked up to tons of lines,
 still trying to stand up.

Even with his "Caution" & "Will Bite" warnings, he made friends with the doctors and nurses, 
they showed us a video of him eating cream cheese, high as a kite,
and let us have a giggle while dealing with this traumatic experience. 

All in all, Arnold came home after about 3 weeks in the emergency hospital. 
3 weeks of no kitty cuddles, no kitty at the door. 
So many nights just crying on the bathroom floor, 
missing him and hoping that he was doing okay. 

It was so hard. In so many ways. 
This experience really tested us and our marriage. 
We knew we both wanted what was best and to save Arnold,
 but the emotional stress and financial commitment was difficult to swallow. 

It ended up costing us about $8,000 
which we would have never had if it wasn't for VW buying back Charlie's car,
I guess everything happens for a reason?

We do have Nationwide {formally VPI} pet insurance for all of our animals, 
and we did get back a good chunk of that money.
Thank god.

Our little nugget got to come home, 
and live the cone life for another couple of months while he healed up. 

After all of his surgeries he came back almost all shaved, 
his whole stomach, arms and tail were shaved in sections for various lines and monitors

His little tail took the longest to grow back, 
a year later and I think it is finally all back.

I still can't believe that this experience was a year ago. 
Every time Arnold jumps up to cuddle and kiss me in the middle of the night,
or runs in to cuddle in the morning, 
I am so thankful. 

Since his surgeries, he is even more cuddly, he cuddles and purrs so hard 
that he forgets to swallow and ends up drooling.
He sleeps with us every night, greets us at the door every time. 
He is honestly more attentive than the dogs. 

I mean he is a cat, so it is all on his terms...
exactly like this post by sarahandersencomics on Instagram

But he accepts us under lots of circumstances. 

& we are thankful to get to share many more years with this fur baby. 
{Side note: he is on prescription cat food now and we get it auto-shipped from Chewy,
it is so much cheaper than getting it from the vet and they are a great company!} 

Thanks for reading and sharing in this experience. 
I don't usually share the hard parts of life on this blog, I try to keep it positive,
but sometimes being a pet owner is really difficult. 
& we got really lucky.

I don't care what anyone says, my babies have four legs.  

On a lighter note:
Arnold got this new toy for Christmas and has been loving it,
and it is oh so entertaining.


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