September 7, 2010

Larry Super Champ

Well, I am no longer eating birthday cake for breakfast, so THAT's a good sign.

We come home from a trip (I'll elaborate on those later), and find that Larry is not eating or drinking, and looks lethargic.  Immediate trip to the vet.

Turns out, he is in renal failure. Lovely.  Has 3/4 kidney function left. We thought he was losing weight because we put our fatty Charlie on a diet, AND Larry is super picky, but no - his kidneys aren't processing water or food properly, therefore he is nauseous, has a headache, and has no appetite.  Go us.

He is in the hospital for a week.  During the day, at Tender Touch, then we transfer him to Access for overnight care.  72 hour drip to flush his kidneys. We spend all our time with him in the back of Simon's truck during the twice a day transfer.  First prognosis is that this WILL kill him, but he may have a few months, maybe even a few years left if we care for him properly. OK, I can dig it.

Then, Friday, I get a call from Simon, saying they did the ultrasound, and his kidneys are the worst they have EVER seen in a 5 year old cat: infected, shrunken, puss-filled.  Now they think he won't last the weekend.  I'm balling my face off as I am driving to the vet from work, trying to figure out how this happened so FAST.

The vet that day was a blur.  They put us in the comfort room.  Any room in a hospital with big comfy chairs, soothing colors, and grieving pamphlets is NEVER good.  He's no longer responding to the treatment; we are sending him home. He needs fluid, she said, twice a day.  We are sending him home with an antibiotic.  With pepcid.  With potassium. Just make him comfortable. We are closed Sunday and Monday, so you have to take him to the other place if he takes a turn for the worse. I ignore that statement - I can't take him anywhere but here for THAT. Ready to learn fluids? It is very easy. All this buzzing around my head, and I can't seem to focus on what she is saying, even tho I know it is important.  Larry is dozing in Simon's lap, and she hands me the biggest needle I have ever seen.  Just grab the skin by his shoulders, and put the needle right into the pocket.  It is SO easy.  She almost got punched for saying that, but she is here to help - CALM DOWN.

I manage to take a breath, pretend I am at yoga, and stop the tears.  I am shaking.  I don't think I can do this, I say.  Do you want me to do it? she asks.  But I have to do it, right? Yes, she says. OK.  Another deep breath.  It took me a good 2 minutes to get up the courage, but I did it.  I couldn't turn the wheel to get the fluid going I was shaking so bad; she had to help me.

We get him home, and he looks terrible.  I cry.  After a few hours, he is adjusting; cleaning; drinking; begging for food!  I feel better now.  This is where the birthday cake begins.  I leave it out on the counter, and take a bite when I walk by.  Somehow it makes me feel better until I swallow it.  Then back to sad.  I had it for breakfast with potato chips 2 days in a row.

It took me all day Saturday and Sunday to really get all the tears out, and realize that THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  And there is nothing for it.  I keep saying that to Simon: Babe, there's nothing for it. *insert heart wrench here*

Each time we gave him subcutaneous fluids, I start shaking about an hour before.  I know my energy affects him, but I just can't HELP it.  Simon is the same way.  We DREAD it. You be calm, he will be calm.  TELL me how to be calm about this. It is simply horrible, there is no calm in this at all.  Simon holds him down. Larry yowls, I poke, we cry. We can never get enough in - Larry struggles so much and the needle pokes him where it shouldn't and he jumps.  All the sudden, he is free of the needle, across the room, and fluid is spilling onto the floor.  I am going to kill this cat because I can't do this. He is going to die because of me. This is my nightmare.

Sunday night we have a breakthrough.  Larry is struggling so much his head comes free of the towel he is wrapped in, but he doesn't jump.  The needle is still in, fluid still flowing from the IV bag.  No more yowling,  No more holding him down.  He sits there, growls a little, then starts to rub his face on Simon's chin.  We get it in.  ALL OF IT, and more!!  High fives all around when we are done.

Monday was a dream.  Simon is the cat whisperer, and I am the needle master.  Larry growls when I pick him up to take him upstairs, but sits nicely in Simon's lap, and seems not even to notice the needle as I push it through the skin.  100ML!  Again Monday night.  Again this morning.  I CAN DO THIS!!!

We all come to an understanding.  Me and Simon and our fuzzy babies.  This is happening, and we have an opportunity to enjoy being together that many other pet owners don't get.  My poor brother Drew just lost his kitty Gaia to a car.  And he found him.  Right there in the street.  No goodbye, no kisses, no cuddles, just pain and loss.  WE ARE LUCKY.  Monday everything in our house has changed.  We feel better, Larry feels better.  He is running, catching bugs, stalking Charlie, waking Simon up for food, head-butting our legs, climbing in our laps, sleeping peacfully.  Larry is a SUPER CHAMP.  He is doing way better than we expected.  Toughest cat that ever lived. Try telling him he is sick.  I swear he is gaining weight.  Probably just my hopeful imagination, but it feels good, so I indulge.

He has already made it past our expectations, and seems to be doing well.  It thrills me to think that we might have him a few days longer than expected.  Maybe even weeks!!  And now, each day past Labor Day is a blessing, and we lap up ever moment and savor it.  Putting him down will be yet another heart-wrenching disaster, but that is not now.  Not today.  Today is for kissing, cuddling, loving.  This feels good. :)


  1. awww...I hope his 9 lives will kick in.

  2. I'm so glad to hear Larry is pulling through! You and Sy are two very brave people- You should be proud of all that you are doing for that precious kitty!