Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 140: Adieu

Way back when Papa Bear and I had just gotten engaged and moved into our first apartment together, we adopted two little kittens.  They've been our loyal companions ever since, and have adapted with feline dignity to a variety of big changes in their little world--to the arrival of Lemon, the move to Wisconsin, and the arrival of Lime.  Throughout all of our various ups and downs, they've maintained a steady presence in the background, not demanding much but always being there when the comfort of a warm purring thing was needed.  Denzel, the orange tom, was my cat from the moment he first entered our lives--one of those rewarding cats who are mistrustful of humanity in general except for one specific human upon whom they lavish affection.  .

In the last few weeks I'd noticed that he'd lost a bit of weight, but he seemed to otherwise be his normal self.  I thought maybe his teeth were bothering him--when they'd last been to the vet (OK, 2 years ago), they'd mentioned that he'd had some build-up on them.  With all the absolute mayhem that has been plaguing our house these last weeks/months, I honestly did not have the bandwidth to get him to a vet, but I did get him some canned cat food to supplement the dry food, thinking maybe that would help him get by until I could get him in to have his teeth looked at.  It seemed to work, he liked the canned food a lot and continued to act like his normal self.  Up until Monday, that is, when he started to seem a bit off.  On Tuesday, he seemed pretty miserable, so once we got the kids to bed I took him to a 24 hr vet to be examined.  The vet did some blood tests and we learned that his liver and kidneys were shutting down, and there was really nothing to be done about it except give him an easy way out.  I buried him under a pine tree in our yard on Wednesday morning.  I still keep expecting to see his little orange and white face looking up at me at the breakfast table asking for treats, or to hear the swish of his long tail as he disappears around a corner in advance of an approaching toddler.  My heart aches for him, and for those easy, carefree days when he and his sister first came into our lives.  

We're not by nature a household that gets much time to sit in quiet contemplation of life's events, and Tuesday night was no exception.  Lemon (and to a lesser extent, Lime) are being plagued once again by seasonal allergies.  Lemon's were particularly bad on Tuesday, and he'd been coughing a lot, especially when lying down.  We learned the hard way Tuesday night that lots of coughing and tube feeding are not an especially good combination, so after saying goodbye to the poor cat, Papa Bear and I were also up at around 12:30 comforting a very upset Lemon, stripping off his sheets, PJ,s stuffed animals, sponging things down, starting laundry, and so forth.  Anyhow, lesson learned.  From now on when he's sick we're backing down on both volume and rate on the tube feeds.  We tried doing 2 cans instead of 3, and delivering them at about 2/3 the normal speed, and that stayed down, so we'll stick with that plan in the future when he's coughing.

Wednesday we had a clinic visit.  For the first time in his entire life, I don't actually know how much Lemon weighs--he's got a plaster cast of unknown weight attached to him at the moment.  But, things seem fine so we're following up again in 2 months, when hopefully the cast will be off.

On Friday, we had our first follow-up with orthopedics.  They took a few more x-rays but didn't replace Lemon's cast as I'd hoped--they just took off the ace bandage and put a layer of fiberglass over the plaster.  On Thursday, we have another appointment (because I have infinite time for appointments, so why not?) when they'll remove the cast, take some x-rays without the cast to make sure it's healing well, and then replace the cast.  Tomorrow, we also have an appointment with a GI specialist to talk about Lemon's gastric emptying rate--it doesn't sound like an exciting topic, but Papa Bear and I have suspected for a while that Lemon's stomach empties very slowly, and that may contribute to his lack of appetite.  I'm sure this appointment will just be the prelude to lots more appointments and tests, but hopefully we'll learn something useful at the end of it all.

Lime continues to be a source of great joy through all these various things.  He started crawling this week, although at the moment he can really only manage 2 "strides" before falling on his face.  But, he's very determined, so soon we will have two highly mobile children.  I can't imagine that will do much good for our overall level of sanity, but at least by then it will really be spring.  I decided that at least for this year, I'm calling April part of winter, and that next month, when spring really starts, things will somehow slow down a little!



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