It’s hard to believe that this whole Isis health crisis has only been going on for three days. It feels like much longer.
The vet said to make sure she’s eating a very high protein diet, which given her history of digestive issues means that we’ve been giving her pure meat baby food out of a jar. And to improve her hydration, we’re forcing a spring water and Pedialyte solution down her throat a few times a day. I’m just hoping that the next step in her transformation to human infant will not require diapers.
Today has been a good recovery day for Isis. She ate only about a half ounce of baby food last night and refused any of her regular food. She still wasn’t really interested in food this morning, but by this afternoon she was meowing by the fridge and showing interest in her regular food after she finished off the jar of baby food. She’s been walking around more and using the extra litter box we begrudgingly put in the hall bathroom for her since she’s still not in stair-taking condition to use the one in the basement.
(I caught Phoebe peeing in the upstairs litter box and was all, THAT’S NOT YER TOILET, which caused a slapstick scene of her kicking litter everywhere as she lunged out of the box and skidded into a wall before racing off.)
The first lab results should come back from our regular vet tomorrow morning to hopefully give us more insight as to what caused all the fluid build-up. We will not be returning to that vet for follow-up treatment—especially after having a decent night’s sleep and analyzing the course of events in Isis’ recent illness.
She was boarded at the vet while we were out of town because she needs to be fed her special homemade food twice a day, and it’s just easier that way. It’s the third time she’s boarded there while the other two cats stay home with their automatic feeder and a friend checking in on them. When Ben picked her up on Tuesday, he noticed that she was breathing heavily. We honestly didn’t worry too much until Thursday, probably because it was getting worse. That night we took her to Pet Urgent Care where they took X-rays, gave her shots of cortisone and antibiotics, drew a sample of the massive fluid build-up in her chest cavity and recommended that we visit our regular vet first thing in the morning. The regular vet looked at the X-rays, said her liver was enlarged and possibly her heart, and sent the sample from Pet Urgent Care out to the lab. He waived the exam fee since we’d just been to urgent care and sent us home.
But that’s it. How could he look at my cat struggling to breathe because of the pressure around her lungs and just send me home with her until the lab results came back—which he knew would likely not be for three days? Why didn’t he even mention draining the fluid as an option? I’d only had a couple hours’ sleep, otherwise I would have asked. Instead, I sleepily trusted that he knew what was best for my cat. Why wouldn’t I?
Add to that the fact that Isis was exhibiting abnormal breathing when she was picked up from her boarding stay at the vet—where I’d had to sign a form allowing them to treat Isis should she need care during her stay. For how long did her breathing issues go unnoticed? Even giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming it didn’t start until just before Ben picked her up, shouldn’t the tech have noticed when she put her in the carrier?
It’s frustrating to think about. Isis would likely have already died of oxygen deprivation if we had just followed the first vet’s instructions and waited for the lab results before proceeding.
But. I am very glad to have this veterinary care frustration at a time when I am not also grieving the loss of my pet. Even if the final prognosis is Not Good, I did not have to watch my longtime feline companion suffer for several days before dying from a curable (at least temporarily) condition. This way, if we know what’s coming—short term or long term—we can better prepare ourselves and not just stand by as helpless victims of the unknown.
Thank you to all of my friends and family who have extended their love and support the last couple days. In some ways it seems trivial to have such serious emotions for a pet. I’m not one to say that my cats are my children because they’re not—they’re my pets. But goddammit if I don’t love them with all my heart.