Saturday, June 30, 2018

[Blog All About It] Growl-- What's Going On With Cleo

This Month's Prompt 
GROWL

Growl. Herd. Frustration. Figured I'd bundle all that up for this month's prompt and tell yall about Cleo.

If you follow me on FB or other social media you know Cleo has been having a medical battle this last month. It's been...complicated.


A couple years ago she had an asthma attack. And since then has been pretty solid. But then end of March she had an attack. I found her under the bed gasping for breath and laying on her side.

I scooped her up and we went to the emergency room. Some oxygen and a sedative calmed her down thankfully. But they found a few things.
  • First her heart isn't where it's supposed to be. Instead of between her lungs it's in front of them at the apex of her chest. So that's...strange. Likely she was born with it but first time we've had x-rays. It's not really a huge deal.
  • But they also found a kink in her trachea. So not just asthma but likely a mass pushing on it. With her age (she's 15) we decided to treat like she had asthma and watch. If thinks evened out we'd just carry on and treat as attacks popped up.

And that worked well for over a month. She'd have a little cough or attack but nothing too serious. But then it started getting worse. Her attacks were sending us to the emergency room because she'd panic and spiral an not be able to pull herself out of the panic. We had a nebulizer and inhaler and kept plugging along.

Early June, though, we decided we just couldn't go on like we were. We had to make the decision to either put her to sleep (she's totally healthy other than this) or have a very risky surgery that she only had a 50% chance of surviving even the first 5 minutes.


Yall can imagine that had ME panicking because she's my baby. I've had her since she was 5 weeks old. I finally talked myself into the surgery. But we had to wait two weeks for her to get a med in her system to make it a smidge safer.

During those two weeks we went to the vet daily. Either because of attacks or to get an injection to help keep her calm. It was exhausting for both of us but yall this girl is a fighter and was so sweet the whole time.

Then surgery day came. I was an absolute wreck. It's hard signing papers to give the go ahead when they're telling you she'll likely not survive even a few minutes into surgery. I did it and sobbed in the car. Came home and waited. Surgery should take an hour.

3 hours later still no news so I called and they were still in there.

The 'mass' was in her chest cavity so they had to crack her chest. That wasn't the risky part, though. It was capturing her airway with the kink in her trachea so she could actually be kept breathing during the surgery.

So panic is getting real.

24 hours post op
They finally call and tell me she made it through surgery but there was no mass. Instead the doctor found tissue coming from her chest wall and wrapping around her trachea and esophagus and squeezing them together. He was able to remove all of the scar tissue.

Then recovery was a risk all of it's own. I wasn't allowed to visit her for 24 hours and during that time she again had a 50/50 chance of surviving it.

I called often.

At 24 hours I was able to visit her. She was still heavily sedated but doing well. Better than expected.

At 48 hours they started weaning her off oxygen an saying I could bring her home.

I refused because she looked so bad. I was there at 2pm and she was still flat on her side and unresponsive.

Holding her for the first time, 53 hours post op
At 9pm (53 hours post surgery) I went for a visit and she...was being ornery. The tech came in and was like I was walking through recovery and see black and white streaking down the counter. Yall. She had jumped through the arm holes on her oxygen chamber and hopped onto the counter! She was a new cat! Licking up gravy, purring, walking around a little. Letting me know when she was done with attention.

We made plans to bring her home the next morning. And home she came.

I was nervous as all hell I would do something wrong. This was now Friday morning.
She's home!

She came home and slept. Ate a little. Slept some more. Fought me on her pain meds.

On Monday she was hurting. Uncomfortable and unsettled.

So back to the emergency room. Oxygen, x-rays, ultrasound. Nothing found. But she did finally poop. And a massive one.

Yeah. She spent near 24 hours at the emergency vet to have the worlds most expensive poo.

So she came back home again.

And then refused to poop for another 5 days. Yall!

She's doing well, though. A visit to her regular vet and they said her chest incision looks amazing. She's alert and ornery when she wants to be. She sleeps a lot but then most cats do. Still has a little cough like before but so far they've only been minor and no panic.

So that's where I've been this past month. Why there have been fewer posts and social media and blog visits. Life has revolved around our girl. It's been scary and frustrating and I have growled a few times at doctors. Cried to my mom in Florida and sitting in grocery store parking lots when on another run to find food she'll eat. But my girl is here. She's strong and a fighter and for just over 2 weeks post surgery she's doing pretty dang good even if she has some down days. I'm so ready for her to be all mended so she can be a regular kitty and feels like herself again. But we're getting there. 


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