Monday, April 26, 2010


After watching and waiting for some sort of improvement for most of last week, the inevitable has occurred. Puffin Anne, aka Mrs. Puff, has passed into the shadows and drawn a pall over the hearts of those who loved her. Rest in peace, sweet Puff.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Three of My Karmic Payback

Thank you all for your support yesterday - I was really in a bad place and it helped to know you were holding my virtual hand.

Puff came home from the local vet yesterday, with a saline IV and a couple of cans of AD (high calorie wet food). We found the kids'old playpen and set it up in the living room for her, to keep her contained and safe, especially when we're not with her. She had a brief moment yesterday when she actually turned to the right, as opposed the the perpetual left she's been circling on, and walked straight across the room. She also is able to swallow food, which is a plus to keeping her strong.

It occurred to me today that the local vet didn't send home any medication for Puff, though she had been given a dose of some kind of steroid before she left. I was reading online today that many vets prescribe cortizone, antibiotics, and even baby aspirin as part of the supportive care for a cat who's suffered a stroke. Yeah, well they weren't the vet in my town, but don't let me get on that rant right now - I knew when I took Puff to them it would cost a lot and there would be no definitive diagnosis - that's how they roll every time I've been there. So I called Doc, who is my personal veterinary hero, and he also pegged Puff's condition as a stroke over the phone, based on the symptoms, so I asked if there was anything I could give her to help with her recovery. He recommended Decadron, the miracle steroid for cats, and children's Motrin if she seemed to be in pain. He also verified what I had thought; that the enlarged spleen was due to the stroke and was working to process the blood from the rupture in her brain.

Apparently there are two kinds of strokes in cats - Ischemic and Hemorrhagic (and I'm pretty sure I've misspelled at least one of those)- Ischemic is when the blood supply to the brain is cut off and the brain basically suffocates, Hemorrhagic is when there is a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Based on the blood found in her ear, and the presence of blood behind her eyes, I'm thinking it was the Hemorrhagic one.

She is ambulatory today, albeit still circling to the left; she is agitated, which is also to be expected, but she can eat, she does sleep and wake up, and sometimes she responds to our voices. Doc seemed to think she might well recover, but that she would need to be on Decadron permanently to avoid further strokes (it's no guarantee, but what in this is?)

Bea came over last night to see her beloved Mrs. Puff, and offer support. I told her, half-jokingly, I thought this might be my karmic payback for talking her into adopting Bella, a polydactyl Siamese with a cancer of the mouth tissue. It does seem sometimes like I've become the geriatric guru of cats.

Did this ramble much? So sorry, I just needed to purge. Thanks again to all of you for your support - it really did help.

Evening Addendum - I should have thought about what the hell hemorrhagic really means, because as I sit here this evening, knowing that Puff suffered yet another stroke this afternoon, she isn't going to make it out of this. It is my hope for her, and probably for myself as well, that at this point, she goes quickly. We're going to keep her hydrated and comfortable, and try to ease her out of this world in as loving a manner as possible. And now I'm going to go blow my nose again and eat some damn chocolate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And Now We Wait

I saw Puff lying in the grass yesterday, when I came out of the house to go to the gym. Something about the way she was lying there, curled up next to the driveway, made me stop and take a look. She had a lot of debris in her fur, which granted, it is springtime and there is a lot of pollen on the ground, but it seemed like more than usual. I rolled her over to look at her face, and stroke her belly, check for anything unusual. She wasn't real responsive, but I might have just awakened her from a nap. I left her to her slumber and went to the gym.

When I got back from the gym, she wasn't lying by the driveway anymore, and I went inside to phone my husband before I had to go pick up the middle school kids. I looked out the front door, and saw her lying in the street. Garbling something to my husband, I slammed down the phone and ran out to get Puff, expecting her to be already dead. To my surprise, she was alive, but strangely not wanting to move.

I scooped her up in my arms, and ran to the house, where I laid her gently on the rug inside the door and ran to call the local vet. While I was on the phone she got up and half-limped through the kitchen and down the hall, seemingly searching, but for what I didn't know.

I took her to the vet, and the technicians examined her while we waited for the doctor to arrive (and why there was no doctor there at 2:30 pm on a Tuesday, I have no idea - there was only one other client there as well). The one technician discovered that Puff's eyes were not dilating evenly, and her left back leg seemed to be partially paralyzed. The vet arrived and gave her a once over as well, before deciding to do a few x-rays. With her permission, I ran home to check on the kids, who had come home with a neighbor while I was gone.

They did 3 x-rays of her body, and found no significant damage anywhere; no broken bones, no wounds or lacerations, just a little bruising near the back left leg, and a little near her lungs. They gave her steroids to reduce the swelling, and an IV drip to keep her hydrated. An enlarged spleen and kidney showed up on the x-ray, which in turn led to a blood test to screen for any underlying deficiencies, or metabolic issues. It came back completely normal. Meanwhile Puff was anything but normal; she was circling to her left continually, and her eyes appeared fixed and dilated still.

The general concensus is that Puff suffered some sort of trauma to the head, or possibly and more rarely, a stroke. I'm leaning towards the trauma diagnosis, though for the life of me, I can't imagine what happened to her. I mean, wouldn't a car have done more damage? She stayed at the vet overnight, and I brought her home today, but she is by no means out of the woods.

It is now up to me to make sure she gets fluids sub-cutaneously twice a day, and to try and feed her by syringe as much as I can, to try and keep her organs functioning as normally as possible while hopefully, she recovers. She also has no control of her bodily functions, so I'll need to clean her several times a day, when she evacuates or urinates.

I don't want to give up on her, but I also know that she might not come back from this. The vet and I agreed that I would try to keep her going for the next week, and see if she made any neurological progress in that time. It's a quality of life issue here: if she can't walk or feed herself, or use the litterbox, I have to make the call, and let her go. It's breaking my heart to see her like this, my beautiful, sassy, flower-catching Puff, just lying there, her eyes vacant and unseeing, her left side too weak to support her. We just lost Willow a few weeks back, to renal failure, and it's only been a year since Jasper and Squeak both died. I feel full up and unable to deal with death right now, but there really is no choice, other than the one I've made.

Please, send a little healing karma her way, won't you? We all love her so much.