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.