Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stardust, on the Path to Recovery! :)

So, Stardust saw a specialist on Thursday. They were great. I loved them! Compared to our regular vets, who openly racial profile my cat ("Oh, she's a Torti? Yep. She's going to be a b****." Yes, one of the vets we tried said that; I never went back to that one, but the others said similar things, just not as inappropriately) and seem offended when she doesn't like them sticking something up her butt and tries to fight back (how is she supposed to know that it's to measure her temperature?), the specialists were so respectful. They gave her time, talking to her gently, to come out of her carrier on her own. The other vets? Impatiently dump her out. The specialists stroked her and talked soothingly to her when she got out, giving her time to relax a little. The other vets? Get right to it without even a hello. The specialist would actually talk to Stardust instead of me while working with her, and then back off when she was getting frustrated. The other vets? Well, let's just say that I'm never surprised when Stardust is mad at them. Personally, I don't respect them as much myself. I mean, what kind of animal person can be so egotistical and not take the time to understand the needs and feelings of their patients?! * sigh *

At any rate, the specialists were wonderful. I wish that they were her regular vet! We went over all the information thoroughly, and the main doctor we were working with explained exactly what he wanted to do in detail so that we understood and were comfortable with it as well. They did some blood tests on Stardust, and we scheduled an inpatient appointment for her on Thursday, November 1st.

Since we don't know what caused the stricture, and it's likely that it was caused by the throwing up in the first place, they are going to do a deep endoscopy to not only look at the esophagus before treating it, but into the stomach to make sure nothing is wrong there, or if there is something wrong, we can treat it too so that it's not recurring. Then, they will insert a balloon and fill it with saline solution to inflate her esophagus back into place. :) Neat, huh?

Everyone seems optimistic about her recovery. Oh, and the shadow on the x-ray? It seems that the nurses at the other vet weren't aware that the liquid from the IV they injected would show up on the x-ray. * rolls eyes * Otherwise, the specialist couldn't find anything wrong in the x-rays.

In the meantime at home, if the timing is off with Stardust's medicine, she regurgitates. Otherwise, though, she's only been throwing up really nasty-looking hairballs. So, maybe everything is going to be okay once she's treated. I'm honestly scared that it will be a recurring problem . . . An expensive recurring problem . . . (we're looking at $750 put in so far, not including the services next week) But, I love her. She's my best friend. So, hopefully, she'll be cured and happy in the end!

I have to say, I didn't know people actually read my blogs. I should make more of an effort to write clearly. :} lol. But, to those who have read and been kind and sympathetic and encouraged our efforts, I really want to thank you. It's so endearing to know how many people not only care what happens to me, but what happens to Stardust! So often, people act aloof and try to pretend like animals and nature don't matter in this big world, especially living in the city. It's so neat when the truth comes out. Even our office supply vendor at work has his cat's photo in his cell phone as the wallpaper, as do Jesse and I. =^--^=

Has anyone else had a rough animal experience they want to share here via comment? Go for it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stardust's Esophagus is... narrowed?

So, an update on the kitty!

Monday was very traumatic, as you can probably see from my bleak venting. Things are good at work, though. Everyone has been sympathetic and requested to be kept in the loop about precious Stardust. Well, here's the scoop while I'm on lunch break.

When we went back on Monday, they had to sedate her (she's pretty violent with the vet) in order to take x-rays. Illuminique's hubby was kind enough to drive me out to pick her up later, since Jesse was working and wouldn't be able to be there with me. I really appreciate that, especially since I know my conversing skills and nerdiness are probably not quite up to par with his. :} And, I was an emotional wreck. I was trying not to be, but I was, and I struggled to concentrate on what kind stories he would share with me. I'm glad, because some were very good.

When we got there, I got to see Stardust's x-rays. They had said on the phone they hadn't found any tumors or anything, so I was pretty relieved. Just that Stardust's esophagus was narrowed. I thought this meant maybe allergies, or swelling from all the throwing up. I mean, she did throw up for like, three days and nights straight. :( But, the x-rays looked very shocking. They said it was consistent throughout the various shots they took over the extended period, and what I saw was what looked like a tube that had gotten bent or pushed upward with an upside down, v-shaped object or something. What's more weird is that everything between here and there looked pristine, begging the question of how that happened. Even Illuminique's hubby stated that it must have been internal. Not that we're doctors, but it seems like an obvious conclusion. More distressing was the unidentifiable shadow behind everything that seems to have nothing to do with the current problem.

Consequent to all of these questions that the vet knew they would be unable to answer or resolve, we were referred to some specialists. Thankfully, one of them was eager to take on Stardust, and she will be seeing them tomorrow. Also, Stardust has stopped vomiting and has been able to keep food down, most likely due to the barium they used for the x-rays. It's a relief for myself, and most likely for her as well. I had stayed home yesterday while she recovered. Between not sleeping for three days and the tests, she was like a rag doll, barely able to chew once I got the food into her mouth, and even less able to get the food to go down, or stand up on her own to get to the litter box. She's self-sufficient today, which is why I'm at work, but she's looking pretty miserable . . . I wish I could go with her tomorrow, but I have a class. :( * siiigh *

Anyway, so that's the update. It sounds promising. Everyone's been saying that it's treatable, and the vet has been great, already sending over the information for Stardust to the specialist, and Jesse picked up the x-rays today. I probably should have just asked to take them home with me Monday, but I was so out of it. I was just relieved to be taking my kitty home and not having one of those meetings where the vet has to shut the door and you have to make the hard choice. But, even though it sounds promising . . . how can I take for granted the life of my best friend?

Well, I should get back to work. I'm done eating lunch, and I'm going to get back to work early today. Wish Stardust the best.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Stardust is Ill

There is a particular Russian composer whose music I like to play on the piano because it is challenging and deep, even a little bit dark. Khatchaturian. Admittedly, part of the reason I like his stuff is because his name sounds like "cat" a little bit, and the first song of his I played was "Cat on a Swing."

There was one song in my book of his that I kind of liked, but didn't quite get until today. The song is titled "Liado is Ill." It's very depressing and dark, and thought, "Geez, for being sick, this is a real downer of a song! It's kind of dramatic . . ."

But today, my partner in crime, Stardust, is ill, and I keep crying and crying, and I think, "Oh, I get it now." And, I kind of wish I didn't. It's not that I haven't lost someone I've loved before; in fact it's because I have several times that it's so much harder.

When I met Stardust, it was something really special. Before I even got to the Humane Society, I knew what she would look like, her name, her personality, and that I was bringing her home that day. I was a little dismayed when I didn't see her at first; they had her in a cage on the back counter, possibly because she was scheduled to be put down that day because no one wanted her. I took her home.

The first year was horrible. I got no sleep, she was mean, she scared my guests, and we had a kind of battle for power . . . and then, one day, we both realized that control didn't matter that much to either of us, and what we really wanted was companionship. I'll never forget that day, because it was the first day she ever purred. All those people who said that I spoiled her, that they would never put up with a cat like that, and even called her a "demon cat" couldn't possibly understand the tenderness of our friendship, that we'd stayed close despite everything, and that made us inseparable. We were best friends.

Stardust was there for me when I was the most lonely. Jesse had gone away too college and was too busy for me at the time, and I was living alone in my studio apartment. My only friend in my age group that was really in communication with me lived half-way across the country and then disappeared later on. While Stardust and I weren't as close as ever back then, and we had our ups and downs, we were still each other's family and we counted on each other.

When I moved, I was afraid she wouldn't like it or that she'd want to have stayed behind or her attitude would suddenly change. Instead, what I saw from her when she realized we were moving and I didn't leave her behind was relief. To Stardust, this was the sign for the first time in her life that she would never have to be alone again. I hadn't realized that was why she hadn't opened up to me entirely. She was afraid of being hurt! Go figure! Everyone else had given up on her, until I had come along.

Stardust and I have been best buddies ever since. I don't think anyone else could understand us better, save for maybe Jesse. But, then Jesse and I moved in together to solve both of our dilemmas (getting me out of a bad neighborhood and getting Jesse out of a house far away from everything), and when we both started working full time, she was really lonely. So, we got Tatsu.

I was really worried that Stardust would feel replaced, and once she accepted Tatsu, I thought things would be okay. But, she's been melancholy ever since, even though she enjoys playing with him, and she's wanted more attention from me . . . I've kept a close eye on her, consequently, wanting to show her that I still love her best, but she seemed to still lose a little shine over time. She had gotten sick when he first moved in, but it passed, or at least seemed to . . .

And then, I came home Friday, and there was kitty vomit everywhere. At first I thought that it must be Stardust and Tatsu, and that they had both eaten something bad (usually if Tatsu starts eating it, Stardust will push him out of the way and finish it; it's surprising she isn't fat sometimes). But then, it became clear that it was just Stardust, and she desperately clung to me the whole evening between continuing to vomit. I was cleaning up vomit until 1am, at which time I fell asleep only to be woken up an hour later when Jesse got home.

First thing in the morning, we called the vet and got an appointment. I was relieved by their assessment; they thought the same thing that I had: Stardust has an obstruction. There's no blood in her feces from what we can tell, and she's throwing up the food and water immediately after taking it in. This happens from time to time; he gave us some medicine and told us to use petromalt, which I have, and I felt good, that things would get better.

Stardust threw up less, but she also started eating less, so I wasn't sure if things were going better. I don't feel like she's going to die, but I was really scared, so I tried to curb my fear and wait it out . . .

And then, yesterday afternoon, she stopped eating altogether. Consequently, there hasn't been any vomit, really, but all she does is sit and look tired . . . And the expression on her face reminds me all too much of another cat I used to know . . . Her name was Penelope, and she died from a tumor in her stomach. AHHHH!!!!

So, like the pathetic cat-loving mommy that I'm not ashamed to be, I spent the entire morning crying until I had to call in "sick" to my new boss, leaving her a voicemail explaining that I wasn't coming in because I was horrified my cat would die and I had to take her to the vet. I can only hope that she's not one of those people who thinks that animals aren't sentient or aren't as important as humans are. :b I don't think that she is, but the thought of getting in trouble over this makes me want to punch someone in the face. It's astounding to me that people can look at animals and see nothing when my relationship with Stardust is so strong . . .

So, I'm just venting here. I can't imagine life without Stardust. Well, I mean, when I got her, I knew that if we both lived happy, long lives, which is the goal, then of course I would outlive her. But, it would be okay, because I'd know that she would be happy, that I had kept my promise to her to take care of her and give her a full life. I guess I'm even more upset because this seems to happen a lot. Not just with pets, either! I get close to someone, and they do one of three things: 1.) They stab me in the back, 2.) They disappear for some unknown reason, leaving me to wonder for the rest of my life if I did something wrong or if they were just jerks or if something horrible happened to them that I could have prevented if humans just weren't scared of opening up, or 3.) They die an untimely death. I'm sick of it! It's not fair, and Stardust deserves better! She's such a good kitty! She's so horribly misunderstood, though. * sigh *

Anyway, we've got our appointment now, so I'd better get ready. Ugh. I guess I'll have to follow up later. Hopefully, it will be with good, amusing news or something.