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.
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...
I didn't want to get out of bed. It was already 5pm. It was time for me to leave. I decided it was too much to continue to foster kittens while Bob is ill. The kittens could also give Bob another disease to deal with, since the kittens are too young to be tested for anything. Even though the babies are quarantined and I wash my hands before and after I handle them, with Bob being FIV+, I just can't risk him getting any sicker.
It was impossible to get out of bed without waking Bob up. He was back at my heels the moment I left the bed. He really was hungry. I still had to wait three more hours before I tried to feed him. My other cats were swarming around, too. I can't leave food down for fear that Bob will get into it. This left me having to pull the food sooner than I usually do and the cats didn't have a chance to pick at it over the day, as they usually do.
At 8pm, I fed all the cats. I carefully scooped out a barely heaping tablespoon of low residue food for Bob. I warmed it up a tiny bit, then placed it before him. He ate it up. Every bit of it. My own stomach was a tight knot; partially from not eating all day and partially from being terrified of what was yet to come. If Bob didn't keep his food down, it meant another trip to the Vet.
After Bob ate, I was on pins and needles, worrying. I tried to do something to distract myself, but every time I heard a noise, I jumped. After almost exactly one hour, I heard something and ran to Bob. He was twisting his head back and forth. I told him not to throw up and as I did, I heard some rumbling from his belly and Bob vomited. The small amount of food was spread all over the chair where Bob had been napping. My heart sank and I began to cry. I called Dr. Larry and I knew what was next-Bob had to be taken to the Vet hospital in Norwalk. They have a state-of-the-art facility and staff and I should have brought him there in the first place. They are also probably one of the most expensive places to go, too. So be it.
Sam was exhausted. He had a nasty week and it was only Wednesday. I was wiped out, too. Somehow we got Bob in his carrier and down to Norwalk by 10:30pm. I tortured myself figuring that this is the end. Regardless of how things come out, either Bob will be left with something untreatable, he'll be euthanized or he will come home.
We met with one of the Dr.'s who was so young it was hard for me to be serious with her. She took down Bob's history and we discussed what was going to be done next. They thought he needed endoscopy and possibly a feeding tube. That maybe he would be ok and maybe not. The estimate for his stay was $24000.00. And, of course, that could go higher. At this point I just said to go ahead. Just do whatever they need to do. Bob sat quietly on the exam table the entire time we were talking. He purred his quirky, squeaky purr and had a nap. Poor boy. I tried to let the staff know how special Bob is, in hopes that would help them want to save him. I couldn't think of what more I could do or say, so we put down the deposit on his bill and kissed him goodbye. I drove home with a heavy heart. We got home at 12:30am.
This morning I got a call saying they were going to be conservative with his care and that they were looking into a bacterial infection, among other things, and that they wanted his x-rays and any other info I had. No endoscopy yet. No feeding tube, but that was looking like it might be needed.
I arranged for a courier to get everything over to them. Now I wait again. Wait and hope Bob will keep his food down today. Meanwhile, I'll try to get things done around here, but I just can't focus. My mind keeps going back to Bob, to the sound of his retching, to his silly, sad face, to his soft silky fur and his bubbly rumbling purr.
This battle to save Bob's life has taken a toll on my own. I would easily give up more of myself, if it would save him. I try not to cling to hope. I try to accept what comes. It's like riding on a roller coaster. Up you climb to the peak of the ride, fearful in anticipation of what is to come. In a second your stomach drops into your feet and you'll plummet down the rails, only to be swept up again.
What is in store for Bob, I do not know. I can only say what I've said before.