Hump Day: Good friends, good veterinarian and class reunion saved

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I used to joke around with my friend Anne that I didn’t like to read autobiographies because they were invariably out of date as soon as they were published.

Just as I would read the last line of a book by a celebrity who’d gone through many troubles, i.e. ‘I think I’ll be OK now,’ I would read in the newspaper the next day that they’d just jumped off a bridge, swallowed a bottle of rat poison or were on the losing end of a game of Russian roulette with a loaded gun.

So last week, when I wrote about my 11-year-old cat Casey and the fact that he was on the mend from a bout of illness, I found myself reading the column last Wednesday while watching him take a turn for the worst. He went from being fine when I wrote the column to being gravely ill by the time it was published in the newspaper.

It was all a bit baffling at first, but he ended up being diagnosed with pancreatitis – severe inflammation of the pancreas, described as ‘a gland in the abdomen that produces enzymes which aid in the digestion of food,’ in a definition I found online. It’s not something I normally worried about in my pets, but when Casey became ill for the third time since the beginning of April, it was all too apparent that I had no choice but to take him to the vet again.

Since he’d already been to the vet twice in recent weeks, the dollar signs were flashing in front of me. I started to wonder how long much it would cost. This worry was then compounded by guilt at even thinking about it – and then compounded by mounting grief that this could be the end for the little buddy I adopted from the shelter in 2004 when he was three years old.

I was also kicking myself for not giving it enough time before concluding he would be OK after his previous visit to the vet the week before. Regardless, even the vet clinic thought it was unusual that he was sick again because he was still on medication from the last time we were there.

After I dropped him off for what was considered a ‘re-check’ since the last visit was so recent, the vet petted him when she greeted him in his cage when she had a minute between appointments. (This happened a few minutes after I left.) When she felt that his ears were hot to the touch and beet red (a sure sign of high temperature in cats), he was rushed into treatment. Something wasn’t right – big time!

After a two-night stay at the clinic, Casey was on the mend – thankfully! – and back home to recover.

Instructions for medication, including antibiotics, were carefully listened to by a nervous nursemaid (me) and I headed home with a cat who’d had more needles, pills and potions during those days than likely his 11 previous years combined.

While he was at the vet, I announced to my Facebook friends that he was terribly ill. There was universal sympathy, of course, but also some dire warnings from people who’d gone through similar things with aging pets. Some told me to prepare myself for the worst. Oh, trust me, I was quite capable of doing that myself without being reminded to do so, especially when there was no one else around.

In the meantime, I was supposed to attend a university reunion on the weekend – one that I’d actually helped plan, so I really wanted to be there. But what to do with a sick pet versus the desire to see old friends – many of whom I hadn’t seen in 25 years? (I graduated from university when I was five years old, in case you’re doing mental math while trying to figure out how old I am.) With my paternal instincts kicking in, I chose Casey over the reunion, of course. There will be other reunions, but there’ll only be one Casey. So, I cancelled the trip to the reunion. There was too much stress going on by not cancelling.

I couldn’t handle worrying about both Casey and the reunion, so the reunion got the boot. I just didn’t know what I’d be dealing with when he came home.

Before he left the clinic, I was told he was doing much better and needed some medication and special food. Otherwise, he should be OK unless another attack came on. We’d do what we could to help prevent a recurrence and just let nature take its course – hopefully a good healthy course!

I asked the vet about the reunion and she told me there’d be no problem leaving him alone for a few hours. He was getting better and should stay that way unless something drastically wrong happened.

They did every test known to cats, so I was also certain they didn’t miss anything. Both his front legs had patches that had been shaved for IVs, while his neck was shaved for blood tests and a large part of his belly shaved for an ultrasound.

He was starting to look like a checkerboard.

In the end, I decided to go to the reunion, which I’m so glad I did.

Casey was fine and likely snoozed the entire time I was gone. He’s not eating as well as he used to, but he’s eating a bit more each time, which is exactly the way he should be progressing.

After reading my Facebook updates, at least 20 people at the reunion asked me how my cat was.

I’m just grateful that I could say he was fine and just as grateful that I could spend some time with old friends from my university years.

It was one of those weeks when I was thankful for a lot, including good friends and a good vet!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.