August 7, 2014

Life Update

For those of you that don't know, I have a cat named Jake. I rarely ever call him Jake. His nicknames include Needy McSnuggles, Sir Purrsalot, Pooper, and Snugglebutt
Last Wednesday, his breathing was kind of funny, and he barely touched his food (including his wet food, which is his favorite thing in the whole wide world, followed closely by snuggles and belly rubs). I called the vet, but they were already closed for the day, so I left a message to make an appointment in the morning. A couple hours later, as he was snuggled on my lap, I noticed his breathing seemed really labored, so I brought him to the emergency animal hospital. There he was diagnosed with asthma, a low grade heart murmur (which the vet never caught because whenever they tried to listen to his heart, he was always purring up a storm), and he had some congestion, probably from a mild infection. The doctor put him on oxygen, said they'd start him on a steroid and asthma medications, and once he could breathe normally on room air, he could come home, provided all the other tests came back clean, about 1-3 days.
After about a day and a half later, the doctor called me and said his breathing was looking better, but his congestion was a lot worse. What had looked like nothing much had ended up being a severe upper respiratory infection, manageable, but even the doctor was confused as to where he could have picked it up, since he's a strictly indoor cat, doesn't interact with other pets, and even though the previous owners of my condo had cats, I waited about a month before I brought him over.
On Saturday, they finally weaned him off the oxygen, and said I could come for a short visit, where the techs and doctors all commented on what a loud purr he has. And when I was petting him, he was only at about half volume, so it's pretty much official that I have the loudest purring cat in all the land.
On Sunday, the doctor called me and said he hadn't been eating, which isn't unusual for cats in hospital, but at that point was probably going to make things worse. Since his symptoms were under control with medication, they said he'd be better off recovering at home. I went to pick him up, and one of the techs explained his 9 (!) different medications to me, then went back up to clip his nails before bringing him down. He was pretty agitated in his carrier, but the tech assured us that he was just getting belly rubs and purring like crazy. She said she'd never even met a dog who loved belly rubs as much.
So now, Mr. McSnuggles is at home, and his medication schedule causes both of us a lot of frustration. He has 2 inhalers, eye drops, eye ointment, oral gel, and four pills. Most of his medications are 2 or even 3 times a day. He hates things in his mouth, and he's impossible to pill. The sister-in-law has to come over and help since she used to work at the vet's office and is the only one who can get him to take the pills. It stresses him out, and it stresses me out, and nobody's happy in my house right now. On Monday, I burst into tears when I tried the pill pockets (soft treats that disguise the pills) and they were a giant fail (I had also gone four days without a proper full night of sleep, so that didn't help). I just know he doesn't feel good, and I know he won't feel better if he doesn't take his medication, and I feel so useless that I can't even do that for him.
I'm taking him to the regular vet today, so hopefully they can reduce the number of medications or come up with a non-pill alternative (it's not pleasant, but at least I can manage to give him his inhalers, eye drops, and oral gel without help). But for the moment, I'm not in the greatest headspace, and I'm more worried about him being comfortable and unstressed during non-med times than I am about cooking and baking and photographing and writing about what I'm cooking and baking and photographing. So, if I'm absent for a little bit longer, that's why. I hate to abandon you all, but he's a living animal that needs my help, and the blog is not.
Since I wrote this, he has been feeling a lot better, which makes meds time a lot more stressful. I'm hoping the vet has a solution, because I'm becoming burnt out going through this three times a day. At least I have proof that it's doing more good than harm!