Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guess my "Year" is over.

I'm glad I enjoyed "2007, the Year of Liz," since 2008 is definitely NOT starting out that well.

I think I've mentioned before that one of my cats (what, me mention a cat?) has had some lingering health problems (diarrhea and weight loss) for the last year or so, and we've had some luck treating it with steroids, but I've remained concerned. Well, I took him in Friday for a recheck of those problems, and the vet didn't like the way he was breathing. So we did blood tests and x-rays, and the x-rays didn't look good. Something was definitely going on with his lungs and maybe his heart. There was some scary discussion of possibilities--cancer, fungal infection, heartworms, or maybe it was just a bacterial pneumonia. So, I was sent home with antibiotics (and without $250) to wait for the test results.

The next day I talked to the vet--the blood tests were basically normal, with the exception of a somewhat elevated white blood count, and the expensive heartworm test we added just to cover all the bases hadn't come back yet. There was discussion of the possible need to send him to another clinic for a cardiac ultrasound and needle aspiration--another $250, minimum--and the plan was made to continue the antibiotics over the weekend and talk again Monday.

Well, longtime readers may remember me mentioning that two years ago this month I lost a dog to lung cancer, and six months before that I lost a cat to a fungal lung infection, so the thought of losing another animal to lung disease had me reeling. And scared--what are we breathing in my house? I was pretty freaked out, and the one thing I was sure of was that I was NOT going to put Rover through what I put Payday and Sadie through. We tried really hard to save both of them, at great expense--both monetarily, and to their quality of life. The last month of Payday's life he HATED to see me coming. I was going to be poking something in him--pills, food, needles, and all he wanted to do was curl up and die--literally. And then he did, after all that, die. Sadie's cancer ordeal wasn't as long, but still expensive and hard on her. So I pretty much decided that if all the ultrasound could tell us was that he had a fungal infection or cancer, I wasn't going to do it. We'd make him comfortable, and let it play out.

So, yesterday I called the vet to see if the heartworm results were back, and was reminded why I sometimes want to smack the front desk staff there. Yes, the test was back, but the results had been put on Dr. L's desk (since that's who I saw on Friday) and she wouldn't be back in until Wednesday. Did I want them to pull them for Dr. J (the main vet, and the one I've known for 20 years) to look at? WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION!?!

Five minutes later I received a call from Dr. J--the heartworm test, against all odds, was positive. My indoor-only cat has a disease that is not only incredibly rare in cats, but also can only be transmitted by a bite from a mosquito that has recently bitten another infected animal. An occasional mosquito does get inside, of course, but it's not like I live in a swarm of them. It's a freak thing. Unfortunately, there is no good treatment for heartworms in cats, unlike dogs, so you just put them on prednisone and try to prolong life as long as possible. Prednisone helps his other problems, too, so at least he won't have to take more than one pill a day. And it's cheap.

So, it's not good news. Though, of all the horrible possibilities we discussed, it's probably the LEAST horrible. Except...I'm a worrier. And now I have to worry about my other cats. Timmy and Babs, the two young cats I trapped and tamed as feral kittens, are particularly worrisome. Those kittens lived in a cage outside for the first few weeks I worked with them, and despite my best efforts at repelling, they were often surrounded by a swarm of mosquitoes. So...do they have heartworms, too? Are they the source of the heartworms Rover has? Is some sneaky mosquito going to get in this summer and infect EVERYBODY? I can't afford to put all of them on heartworm preventive--that shit's expensive. How much preventive could I buy with my tax refund? AAAAAAGGGGHHHH!

Why do I have animals again?

In other news, New Guy ended up getting a root canal, and is still dealing with the after-effects of that. The man just does NOT deal well with medication. Even the mildest over-the-counter stuff makes him whacked out and groggy, and when he's whacked out and groggy, he wants nothing to do with me. If he doesn't take the medicine, however, he's in pain. And when he's in pain, he wants nothing to do with me. I have to remind myself that we all deal with things differently. BUT, I am, of course, a FREAK, and have to keep silencing the little voice in my head that keeps telling me that the sickness, and the work, and the time with the kids, and the being out-of-town that have kept me from seeing as much of him the last few weeks are all a convenient excuse, since he is obviously tired of me, and is just looking for an out.

Yes, I know. I am insane. But the problem with having a touch of OCD is that sometimes when you get a thought in your head, it's hard to get it out. I'm working on it, though, and when we DO spend time together, then the thought goes away, and we have a good time, and everything's fine. Hopefully he will feel better soon, and things will get back to normal, whatever that is.

Or he'll dump me. One of the two. Heh.

But hey, I can use the extra time with Rover, right? And he LOVES to be near me when he's sick. (And that's why I have animals, I suppose!)


Allie said...

Can I tell you how much I love that you have a cat named Rover!

I'm so sorry that he's sick...and with such a weird cat thing! I hope that with your love and care he'll stay strong for as long as possible.

Noelle said...

My cat once got diagnosed with FIV even though we couldn't remember her ever being exposed to another cat and the other cats in her litter were negative. So we just let it go for a few years, and had her checked again. Turns out the first one was a false positive, and she's fine.

As for the guy, I can totally understand. All of my fights with my boyfriend happened when we were apart, and when we were together, it was all good.

3carnations said...

I'm sorry that your cat is ill. I know how hard it is. Two years ago we lost three pets during a 3 month period. One of them had been chronically ill for most of the time we had her and the other two were just old. It doesn't make it any easier.

Stinkypaw said...

I hope Rover doesn't suffer too much, I'm really sorry to read this.

As for NG, well... he's a man, put that thought in your head "he's a man!" and let it simmer.

Give a few hugs to Rover for me, please. Thanks!

L Sass said...

Boys are such babies!!! Tell NG to walk it off.

I'm so sorry to hear about Rover, but I hope the treatment is effective and he's good as new soon.

gorillabuns said...

i'm so sad about rover! and the NG and heath ledger!

2008 is sucking majorly.

Stefanie said...

Aw, man. Bummer about your cat, and sorry New Guy is still being a big baby.

(Incidentally, does New Guy know about your blog yet? If so, Hi, New Guy! Sorry I called you a big baby!!)

lizgwiz said...

allie, thanks! And I love his name, too. ;)

noelle, yeah, I discovered the hard way that the FIV test is prone to false positives. No fun. Sadly, the heartworm test is not. Sigh.

3car, truly, it's NEVER easy.

stinkypaw, consider Rover hugged!

lsass, they are babies, aren't they? God love 'em.

gorillabuns, yeah, 2008 had better start improving, but fast!

stef, to the best of my knowledge he does not know about the blog. I've considered telling him, but truthfully, I'm not sure he'd be that interested. He doesn't seem that keen on using computers for entertainment. I could be wrong, of course, in which case...Hi, there! Sorry Stef called you a big baby. Hee.

-R- said...

I didn't realize heartworm was so dangerous for cats! I hope all the pets are doing ok.

Paisley said...

Wow. That's tough. My parents' cat had FIV and they only gave him a year to live. He lived five or six and was SKINNY, but happy. I hope.

Hang in there. The babies will be ok.

SUEB0B said...

Aw what a bunch of sucky suckness.

If it is any comfort, when I feel unwell, I need to be left ALONE and it doesn't mean that I don't love people. It means I need my time to recover in private, like an animal going into a cave.

Whiskeymarie said...

Breathe, little buddy...just breathe.

Wow, that's a lot on your plate. The man is just sick and difficult the way men are when they're in pain. If he's like the rest of them, he'll fell guilty when he's better and try to make it up to you somehow (I'd hold out for a nice dinner).

So sorry about Rover. I've only had a cat for 12 days and I'm already grossly attached.

Sauntering Soul said...

Aw crap. I'm so sorry to hear all of this. Hang in there. Big hugs from Atlanta.

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