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Another Day without Bob

Exhaustion and stress have been all I've known for the past 9 days. It's been a nightmare trying to find out why Bob can't keep his food down and how to help him feel better. The diagnosis ranges day to day, from pancreatitis to inflammatory bowel disease to a bacterial infection in his GI, or cancer or who knows what.

My resources are strained beyond. I hate that I have to consider that. Bob deserves and gets everything I can give him, but the costs are very high. At the end of the day, I might not even have Bob back. I might have to put him down. I might find out he can come home, but that his days are waning. I don't mean to be so down, but I'm tired.

Last night, after a trip to Dr. Larry in the morning where Bob got some injectable meds and some SubQ fluids, we decided to let Bob stay home for the day to finally get some rest. Bob hasn't had a chance to be home for more than a few hours in a week. He must be exhausted, too. The mindset was to get him rested, off any food for the day, then try to feed him a tiny amount of food at night.

Yesterday

I got Bob home and he was meowing and shaking his head, which we never have figured out why he does that. He wanted to eat, but I didn't cave in. I went up to bed to take a nap and Bob surprised me by following me up the stairs and even jumped up onto the bed. Bob rarely comes into the bedroom. It's a long trip for him. I think he was so hungry, he just wanted to follow me wherever I went, so I wouldn't lose the message that he wanted some FOOD!

It was too early for feeding. I slipped under the covers and Bob came over and spooned against my legs. He started to groom himself, which was a good sign, then finally settled down, purring as he fell asleep. We both had a few hour nap. Bob seemed to sleep very deeply. At last, some rest for him...

Home. For a Short While.

Bob came home yesterday at 12:30pm.

By 7:30pm he began vomiting. He's been sick all night long. He can't keep his food or meds down. He kept water down, that was it. I haven't had much sleep. I am also sick-with worry. Bob needs to get stablized and I just don't think that any of the Vet's who have treated him really know what is going on. I still wonder if he is blocked.

All I know is I can't afford to help him much longer and that scares me more than anything.

Please think good thoughts for Bob today. He needs all the help he can get.

Different in a Perfect Way

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Lilly has Cerebellar Hypoplasia or CH. She was either exposed to Distemper in utero or within two weeks of her birth. Her first mama, an elderly lady named Grace, always carried little Lilly, instead of encouraging her to use her legs. At eight months old, Lilly's mama passed away and was adopted by our Tuckers Mom. Little Lilly, was re-named, Lilly Grace, in honor of her first mom and as a way to mark the beginning of her life with her new family.

I've never heard of CH, but once I saw the photos and heard more about Lilly, I was astonished that how much spunk and drive this lovely lady has. What a zest for life! Jennifer (aka Tuckers Mom) calls Lilly, "specially abled" instead of disabled. Lilly lives differently than other cats, but that doesn't mean her quality of life isn't just as fantastic as able-bodied cats.

Jennifer, gave me permission to post this letter regarding Lilly Grace.

I would not know what to write about Lilly Grace. She's just a beautiful sweet cat that would have made anyone an amazing companion. But so many people can't overlook her disability. To me and Ron, she is specially-abled.

She can do anything. She can get anywhere, she just goes about it differently. There are days when she's a little tired so I hold her up when she eats. But she's tired because she just explored the house. What can take Tucker or Sam a minute will take Lilly Grace a half hour to explore.

She's a determined young lady. Yesterday Ron put her in the window seat, she loves fresh air. But she loves Ron more. She got off the window seat, which means lowering herself down a level on the cat tree and then down a level to the floor. Then climbing around a set of cat stairs and then flopping her way to the door to the hall. She proceeded to go into the bathroom and try to get in the tub while Ron was showering...

Home is Where the Bob Is

BOB IS COMIN' HOME!

I just got the call from the Vet at Cheshire. Bob kept his food down last night. So far, so good. Keep your fingers crossed.

YAY!

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Potentially good news for Bob.

The best news-NO CANCER!

NO IBD!

Bob has a localized swelling of his pancreas and stomach. It may be the vomiting is making it worse, as well. What caused it, they don't know. Bob's old and has FIV, so that's enough right there. They suggest a course of steroids, which we all know can lead to diabetes and leaves a cat wide open to other infection. With Bob's compromised immune system, I'm going to have to be careful with his environment. This may mean I'll have to stop fostering kittens for awhile. I hope that's not the case, but I have to do what's best for Bob.

Tomorrow, they're hoping to release Bob. He's got to keep his food down, first, then he can come home. If the steroids don't help him keep food down...then...we'll have to see. It should help him feel comfortable fast.

I feel like I can start to breathe a bit, just a bit. Bob's not out of the woods, but things look much better for him right now.

My Sweet Bob

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photo by Deb

This is a shot from yesterday. Bob's in a new cage at a different hospital, on a new IV. The IV he's been given really helped perk him up. Yesterday, when I brought him home, he seemed so much better. He smacked Spencer for sniffing him, he purred like his old self, and rubbed his head all over my ankles and on many of the scent marking areas around the house. He is the King and he was back, better than ever.

It lasted about five hours. Bob had been very hungry at 3pm, when I brought him home. Up to that point, he'd only gotten to keep down about a tablespoon of food since Tuesday. I gave him another spoonful he greedily lapped up. I didn't want to overdo it, so I offered him pets, instead of more food. I also had to leave him and get back to the chore of cleaning up my Mother's estate. I need to put it on the market and see if I can get it sold. It's the last big hurdle of this mess since she died. On top of the flood of emotions I felt worrying about Bob, I also had the added difficulty of seeing my brother and being in my childhood home, packing up cherished trinkets and throwing others away. Without my Mother there, so many things lost their meaning. They were just old junky bits. I had to let go. My house is already overloaded. I can't add more.

When I got home a few hours later, I gave Bob another spoonful of food. He had a great appetite. I was so happy for him. By 7pm, almost an hour later from his feeding, he vomited. Not just the spoonful of food, but what appeared to be ALL the food he had been given that day. It didn't look like it had been digested at all. Bob continued to vomit until he was empty. I raced to the phone and called Dr. Larry. It was Saturday night, after closing hours, so I knew I'd need to take him to a facility that was open 24/7. I had to wait to hear back from Dr. Larry and while I waited, I cried. I cried and petted Bob. Bob, who seemed so strong and frankly, just fine. Bob who was purring loudly and rubbing his head against my hand. Bob only just joined our family and in the short time, he's become a beacon of joy. Everyone who meets him radiates. He is a special boy.

There are a few places open to me to take Bob. One is in Norwalk. They have a very nice facility and are VERY expensive, but it always felt like they had the best. They also have the longest wait time and most filled waiting room. On top of the hour drive to get there, it would be a long wait and it was approaching 9pm by the time I could talk to Dr. Larry and get things sorted out...

18 May 2008. Bob.

I'll write more later today, but I wanted to post something about Bob now that I'm sort of functioning.

Bob came home yesterday, but only for a few hours. He began vomiting again, so I needed to call Dr. Larry, then we made arrangements for me to transport Bob to a Hospital that has 24/7 hours and can possibly help determine why Bob can't keep any food down.

I'm hearing phrases like, "Inflammatory Bowel Disease" and "Cancer of the intestine-Lymphoma" and "we need to wait until we can do an ultrasound which won't happen until Monday."

I'm in a bad place. Exhausted. Haven't slept much since Thursday. Stressed. Wobbly. My heart hurts. I feel all right for a few minutes, then I realize Bob's not here and I get punched in the gut again. I miss him so much.

He's stable and comfortable. He really seemed great when he was home yesterday. I hope he continues to be strong and I hope we can find a way to help him be back to his old self soon.

4:04 PM EST

Bob is stable and continues to be on an IV. Dr. Larry wants him to stay overnight, continue with IV fluid therapy and just rest. Obviously, Bob's had a rough few days and the rest and additional fluids should be beneficial to him.

The blood test results were not overly impressive. His white blood cell count is normal, as are most of his other levels. His ALT is higher than it was in the past, at 551 now, and was at 416 eight months ago. Everything else was fine. This is basically good news, but why Bob can't keep food down, is the big question. He won't be fed until tomorrow morning. That will be the true test. After a nice long rest, will he be able to finally eat?

Bob-Cam

Debbie's great!

She just emailed me a photo of Bob while he's on his IV.

My poor baby!!!!! He looks so sad. I want him to come home soon!

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9:51 AM EST

A terrible night.

I gave Bob some food around 3:00 AM. Just simple chicken in broth. He licked at it a bit, but wasn't interested in it. It's not his favorite food, so perhaps that was the only reason. It didn't matter that he barely ate because an hour later, he vomited it all back up.

Bob kept vomiting almost exactly every hour until 7:30 AM. There was nothing but a scant bit of foam left to purge. I felt so bad for him. I could see he was miserable and I shared his misery. I kept trying to sleep. Just a bit of a nap while on the sofa. I wanted to be close to Bob and even coaxed him to lay next to me. He jumped up, purred, "made muffins," but didn't stay. A short while later, he vomited again.

I got about 30 minutes of sleep, during which time I had a nightmare. I dreamt that Sam and I were at a hotel or something that was connected to a mall. We had all our cats in Sam's car, but the car was too small and was a convertible so everything was exposed. Somehow Spencer got mauled and Bob was already sick. The other cats got out of the car and were running around loose. I wanted to get Spencer and Bob to Shoreline, which is a Vet hospital here in CT. I looked up and saw these people dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They were in a line prodding the ground with some sort of pole. I knew they were trouble. Suddenly, we were surrounded by them and they wanted to know what we were doing. I told them we needed to leave and they said they would take care of it. I knew they were going to kill Bob and Spencer and I knew I had to get out of there. They left for a moment and I told Sam to just grab whatever cats he could and that we needed to get out. If we left some behind, we would deal with it, but right now we needed to get Bob and Spencer to the hospital. Then, I woke up.

At 8:00 AM I called my Vet and spoke with Debbie. She's the only one I wanted to speak with, so I was relieved when she answered the phone. Deb doesn't let me fall apart. She'll crack a joke to keep me sane. I told her what was going on and she told me to "get my ass in here" and "to bring some coffee, will ya?" It helped me calm down enough to be able to wash my face, get dressed and get Bob to the Vet.

Bob was silent and still on the drive to Southbury. Just as I pulled into the parking space, Bob cried. He was curled back in the carrier, quite miserable. I thought he was going to vomit, but didn't. I got him into the Clinic and said good bye to him. I'm glad Debbie is there. She loves big red Maine Coon cats and is so great with Bob. She promised me they would not put Bob down. I want to believe that.

I know Bob's in good hands. I know we'll all do our best for him, but I also know there are limitations to what can be done and that is what I fear most—the limitations, the "I'm sorry we can't do anything more but keep him comfortable until he dies." I can't bear the thought of it.

Please, let Bob be all right.

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