Friday, September 16, 2005

Tobie Wan Kanobie Loses the Battle

It's been a while since I've been able to post. I haven't had the heart to bother. My dear little cat didn't make it back from the vet. After gaining some ground for an entire day, on the morning of the 7th September she was found once again in a very bad state. Her BGL had plummeted again- apparently her pancreas responded to the IV glucose and saline by over producing again. The operation that could have saved her life would have killed her anyway- she just couldn't survive an anesthetic. She fought bravely for most of the day- until we could get there to see her at about 5:00pm. Dax, her doctor, explained the options and they all sounded grim. Tobie would suffer if we tried to save her- then she would die a long and painful death anyway. We were allowed in to see her. It was a heart rending sight. Her breathing was shallow and rapid. Her eyes a little glazed. She couldn't purr anymore and her meow was a pain filled yowl- nothing like the soft sweet mew she always greeted us with.

I watched her through tears- barely able to breathe myself. I know how painful a hypo can be, but Tobes was living the ultimate hypo nightmare- constantly shivering, her brain not working properly. I tried picking her up and she just slumped over in my arms. I had to put her back into the cage and cover her with her rug. I just kept patting her and thanking her for all of the wonderful moments she had given us. While I told her about the difference she had made in our lives she struggles towards a very ragged purr. I remembered the nights she had comforted me through bad nypos (night hypos). She often woke me just as I was sinking down the slope into serious hypo. Did she know what was happening and woke me to help me? I'll never know. She was a puss with a load of spirit- when Kenny, our wacky terrier, ran past her once too often she would push out her back legs to trip him then whack him on the nose while he was down. Tobes would cuddle up to Kenny when no one was in the room then hiss and spit at him if she spotted us- just to let us know that the dog was still very much her inferior who was only tolerated if nobody better was around.

How could we let our spirited girl suffer a long slow death? Bear asked Dax to help us let her go. He gave us more time to say goodbye while he arranged the paper work for her cremation. I whispered a few last secrets to her then Bear did the same. I put my hand under her head- covered her in the rug and rubbed her head while the injection went into her IV tube. I kept patting and scratching her favourite spots while telling her that she was loved and precious. The last sounds she heard were whispers of love and the last thing she saw was my face close to hers as I her scratched her ears. She went peacefully- no twiches or last gasps- she was ready and wanted to go. I thanked Dax in a barely audible croaky whisper then turned to Bear and fell into his arms. We held each other as we waited for the receptionist to process the bill. Then staggered outside to cry together.

So now there is a big empty space in our home. Tobie Wan Kanobie reminders are strewn through the house- her under bed basket, the half used bag of food, favourite rugs and old jumpers she slept on, her hair on some of my clothes. All of these things can drop me into a fugue of tears. I can't bear to come home some days to the empty courtyard. Where is my mewed greeting? The night time purr and leg rub? Who will sit through my Nypos so patiently?

Who'd have thought that such a small critter could take up so much space.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tobie Wan Kanobie gets a claw back into 'The Force.'

I called the emergency vet hospital at 6:30am this morning. The overnight vet was very sweet and had obviously spent some time with our wonder kitty as she already knew that Tobes will growl when she's not happy with you but she never bites. She told us that Tobes had returned to normal temperature but her BGL was still low. It seems that Tobie had had a massive hypo but is not a diabetic kitty. They still aren't sure if the seizure caused the low glucose level or the low glucose level caused the seizure. It also appeared that she had become blind- but that might clear up later. Low glucose levels can cause blindness in cats. She is still very weak and cannot really stand on her own feet.

The theory is that our puss had somehow gotten hold of T2 diabetes medication- ie glucose inhibitors or she may have a tumor in a strange spot that causes hyper production of insulin. We have theories of how access to medication may have happened - a diabetic neighbour may have left medication on his verandah table or some horrible person may have done it deliberately. Either way we are no longer taking chances with Tobie Wan Kanobie. She will stay inside with a litter tray when we are not home and will only go outside for supervised visits. There are plans afoot to build a backyard cat run that will let her in and out of the house at will.

We rushed across peak hour traffic to pick her up and transfer to our local vet who will supervise her for the next few days @ $100 plus a day. The emergency vet ended up costing $640. She's one expensive moggie. But what can we do? We can't exactly say, 'Sorry Tobes, thanks for the purrs and the cuddles but your life isn't worth it'. She's a family member so we will go into debt to try and save her.

Picking her up was bitter sweet. It was great to see her looking perkier, but you could tell that she wasn't able to see- her eyes are unfocused but she tracks shadows so that is a good sign. She can't sit up beyond that tucked up squatting position. She is still so weak. I picked her up and cuddled her into me. She put her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes. the vet said it was the first time she had seen her look happy. I didn't want to let go of her but I had to let Bear put her into the cage to take her to the car because the surgery is on a main road. Not that she would have got anywhere if she did jump down but who'd take risks at this stage.

When we got into the car I sat in the back with her. I pulled her out of the cage immediately and snuggled her into her favourite rug. She growled at first the she put her head down on my chest while I rubbed her behind the ears and crooned to her. Her eyes closed again and she started to purr. I teared up- I thought I'd never hear that again. I cuddled her all of the way. She wouldn't let me put her on my lap- she demanded to be held up close to my face. My arms ached but I held her anyway. She felt warm. I noticed a couple of shaved patches around her neck and on her legs. My whole front was coated in fur and she was looking up at me. I spoke to her and she mewed back. That made me feel so much calmer. She responded to Bear's voice too. By fifteen minutes into the trip she was bubble purring (purring so loud it sounds like blowing bubbles) and dribbling on me.

The trip was long but seemed shorter than the trip yesterday. When we got to our local vet I stopped to wipe her down with some pet wipes - she smelled of urine and poo. She began to growl, then peed on me. I sat really still and tried to keep it all in her rug but some still got in the car. Bear put her on the ground and she finished. She actually took a couple of shakey, squatting steps while I cleaned up the car and myself.

We took her inside and waited to see the vet. He was kind and obviously a cat person. Tobes immediately asserted her personality by growling at him while purring at me for rubbing her head. She endured yet another rectal thermometer with a spirited growl then I made another attempt to clean her up while she told me off about it.

So now we've left her in the capable hands of her regular vet. We've checked on her again and they are still waiting on x-ray results. There hasn't been much improvement from this morning but we expect the next stages to take a while. Hang onto the Force Tobie Wan Kanobie-may your kung fu get stronger.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Tobie Wan Kanobie looses touch with 'the force'.

Today was a really shitty day. I came home from visiting Dad for Father's Day to find my wonder kitty Tobie Wan Kanobie in a really bad way. She was lying on the cold hard tiles of the verandah, eyes glazed and twitching. She'd had diarrhea and thrown up but couldn't move so had pooed all over herself. In her rush to get out of her kitty box ( a padded fabric covered box filled with a soft old angora sweater and Tshirt to snuggle into) she'd pulled all of the contents out and wet herself over them. The box was soaked in urine. She'd clearly had a sad and desperate time before collapsing. And I wasn't there to save her from it.

I pulled her collar off in case it was restricting her breathing, she began to yowl. I started screaming for Bear to help (he was putting the car away). I kept screaming her name and sobbing over and over as I patted her. Bear ran inside and got the name of an emergency vet clinic- about 30 minutes from home. He got her transport cage and I ran in to get a towel. He wrapped her up and started to put her into the box when he slipped on the tiles and fell onto the stones of the courtyard below. He'd dropped her into the cage in the process and avoided hurting her. He said he was OK but I could tell he was shaken. By now I had graduated to stroking her soft head and begging her to not die, please hang on. We got her into the car and I sat in the back with her to hold her head so it wouldn't bang against the cage. She yowled occasionally and I continued to sob and stroke her and croon to her and tell her over and over that we love her and she would get help soon. Sometimes she tried to get out of the cage so I tried to pick her up but she yowled again so I put her back in. I wish I had have held her all the way-she was cold from shock. But I didn't and I can't undo that now.

The trip was horrendous. Every slow Sunday driver possible was in front of us. We called Bear's parents in the car- I was sobbing loudly in the background while he told them what had happened and asked them to meet us there in case we needed money (we are broke at the moment- that's another story) we had enough for the $140 emergency consultation but not enough if she needed surgery. They told us to call Uncle because they couldn't get there. I dialed the number and sob-choked the story out. Uncle could barely understand me so I put him on speaker and handed it to Bear. He told him the story again while I wound up a good loud cry. I kept freezing every time I though she wasn't breathing. I was actually relieved when she yowled. Uncle gave us directions via a street directory then told me to call my Annette (Tobes' original Mum) to confirm Tobes' age, then my Mum so she could calm me down.

I called Mum and again tried to get the story out but ended up handing the phone to Bear again. By the time he got off the phone I was starting to throw up. I don't know if it was stress or the high BGL from all of the rubbish I'd eaten at Mums. We pulled over so I could do a thorough job of puking and find a placcie bag in case I needed to again. Tobes became more upset because I wasn't in the car with her so I jumped back in and didn't even bother with a seat belt.

After a trip into forever we got there. Bear just about stopped with squealing tyres and did a Uwie to get into the clinic. We had to wait to be buzzed in but we must have looked desperate because we got inside immediately. The nurse was asking a zillion questions- I answered as best as I could between sobs and hicoughs. They examined her while I tried to pat her into calmness and took her temperature in the usual uncomfortable way. She growled throatily at the vet which gave me some hope that she wasn't going down without a fight.

Mum and Dad turned up while they were looking at her and talking about options. We were shooed into the waiting room while they examined her. Uncle turned up ten minutes later. The vet was amused about a simple moggie having extended family in the waiting area. We waited two hours before we got any news. All of that time watching people and pets come and go was agonising. I wavered between silent tears and silent stoicism. Uncle tried to take our minds off our girl but tears kept sliding down my face even while laughing at his silly Uncle jokes. Mum and Dad left after half an hour because Dad wasn't feeling well.

When the vet finally came to talk to us he told us that basically they still don't know what caused it. Her blood glucose was low, her temp was down and liver function not normal. One kidney is enlarged but kidney function is normal. We have to take her to another hospital tomorrow for scans. They let me see her before I left. Somebody had written 'grumpy' on the cage because Bear had told them she's grumpy with everyone except me. I could only slide my fingers between the bars of her cage and rub her between the eyes. I leant down and asked her to fight for her life. She mewed softly, almost silently and blinked at me. Bear rubbed her too and so did Uncle then we had to go. Netty called as we were leaving the vet. I was feeling so drained-I tried to talk to her but am not sure if I made sense. She was kind and listened anyway but I had to go so I could talk to Uncle about paying tomorrow.

We've called the vet a couple of times, she seems to be making very slow progress but at least it's progress. It's almost 12:30 am now. I feel like calling again (it's a 24 hour service) but don't want to bother them- or be considered one of those cat people. But I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes I see her lying on those cold, cold tiles with her bedding out of reach or I see her lying on the table at the vets or shivering and shaking under the blanket in her cage, only able to blink at me, out of my reach except for one fingertip. I keep cursing myself for not getting home earlier or not noticing that she wasn't herself this morning in my rush out the door. Maybe she was sick the other night when she pooed next to the bed. Instead of putting her out to sleep in her box I should have tucked her back into her warm basket at the foot of our bed. I should have taken her to the local vet on Saturday.

I miss her all night purr - I don't think I can get to sleep without my goodnight trill and deep purr to send me off to dreamland.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The plastic bean dispenser and two imaginary bandaids.

I had the biggest hypo on playground duty this week. I bolused my lunch units in time to wait the needed thirty minutes for my Atrapid shot. I tested and was cruising on a cosy and ideal 5.1 before I waddled downstairs, clutching my water bottle in one hand and pushing my plastic bean shaped JB dispenser into my pocket with the other. I should have done my maths a little better.

After weaving my way through twittering, excited kids I made my way to the back field and stood in the semishade of that spindly gum that marks the boundary between playgrounds. As usual small squads of kids wandered up to tell me about stuff'. A couple of kindy punters visited to show me imaginary 'injuries' caused by somebody or other not letting them play some game. I immediately applied a splash of my magic water as they giggled, drinking up the attention. I pretended to put an invisible band aid on as I kept one wary eye on the madcap crowd running their soccer ball towards the fence. Already clearly in the out of bounds zone past the trees. But I opted not to go over and yell at them just yet- they looked too much like they were having fun bounding after the ball, taunting the opposition, all secretly starring in an a World Cup commentary in their own headspace. Eighty little Beckhams chasing several battered balls.

Two of my Little Dears bounded up to chat with me. Then all hell broke loose. A ball went over the fence, two kids got into a punch up and another came over to tell me someone was a bit hurt over there as she pointed in some vague direction. First things first I thought. Supervise the ball back over the fence before twelve Beckhams scramble over and across the road. Separate the fighters on the way-make them stay with me them walk over and attend the injured.

At that precise moment I stepped into the tunnel. Voices started to merge. My own voice sounded far away-faint and foreign. My eyes felt BIG. There was buzzing. Loads of distant buzzing and the sky became 'dark'. I heard some woman (must have been me) say 'I think I'm going Hypo'. Two small heads nodded and pointed to the JBs already in my hand. I began to cram them in. Three sweet Jelly Belly beans at a time, sailing towards the fence as I called out a warning not to climb over. I kept moving, don't know how because it didn't feel like I was working my legs(-was I gliding?). The JB Queen from hypoland kept cramming in the beans. One moppet asked why I was eating the jelly beans, my two glared and declared 'She has to'. I finally reached the punch up, separated them wordlessly then arranged them either side of me. All the while chewing, chewing, chewing.

I sent one little Beckham through the gate as I watched. The tunnel was getting longer, the buzzing louder. The ball came over the fence. I turned back towards the top playground. It seemed a three day march away. Injury directory girl pointed vaguely to the top of the playground shaking her little finger as she exclaimed over and over about 'that girl that fell down near the bin.'

I commenced another gliding movement in the pointed direction. Praying for the second half chimes to beep beep beep me to release. The first beep sounded and my replacement stepped out from behind the stairs. Sweet blessed relief. Does she know how merciful her chronic punctuality can be? My legs were wet spaghetti. I held the first aid bag out in front of me and pointed to the injury directory girl. 'She knows where an injured kid is sitting, I think I'm hypo, thanks for getting here on the bell.' I wandered deep in the tunnel to the canteen-JB Queen was squawking in my head about 'the orange box'. I knocked on the window and asked for orange juice. My fingers felt like sausages as I rummaged for coins in my purse. I held the juice in front of me and fumbled with the office door then through the hall to the staffroom building. As I pushed the staffroom door open I began to feel the JBs kicking in. The tunnel got shorter. I sat down. Struggled with the 'secure-a-seal' plastic on my OJ and gripped hard to screw the lid off. The juice was cold. The tunnel opened. I ate my sandwich and tried to talk normally. Thank God I had RFF next.