Jerry's surgery

18 Jul 2017 16:11
codyne: Kitty Jerry under a blanket (jerry)
[personal profile] codyne
Jerry has had her surgery and is resting in ICU at the hospital. Whew. The doctor said it went well. He removed about 95% of her colon, which was flaccid and non-functioning. He also removed several masses on her liver, which he said appeared to be bilomas (I think that's what he called them). They are usually benign, but he will have them tested to make sure. She was just waking up when he called me. He will call again this evening to let me know how she's doing. She'll stay at the hospital at least one night, maybe two, so they can make sure she's recovering well.

The drive down to LA was a horror! I left here at 6 AM, hoping to arrive by my 8:45 check-in time. Nope. Traffic started getting bad before I even got off the 14, and just got worse when I got to the 5, and slowed to stop-and-go when I reached the 405. There were at least two accidents, maybe three. It took over an hour to go the last ten miles. The freeway exit I wanted to use was closed (thank heaven for my phone, which was able to guide me around) and I had to take the next one and circle back. The whole trip took about 3 hours and 40 minutes. I was so flustered when I got to the hospital, I was shaking, and poor Jerry was cranky and complaining. I was almost an hour late for my scheduled check-in. But everything went smoothly once I got there. They whisked Jerry off and I filled in some forms and paid a deposit of the low end of the estimate, which went through on my CareCredit with no problems.

Then I got some chips and a Coke from the vending machine and sat in the waiting area to de-frazzle for a bit before heading back home. The trip home was a breeze, no traffic at all, and took just under two hours.

Now I am home, and Jerry's surgery is over and she's okay, and I can finally breathe.


17 Jul 2017 11:34
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
Woke up at 6:30 this morning to a very strong smell of smoke wafting in my window, so I got up, threw on some clothes and went outside to inspect the skyline. No smoke plume anywhere, but the whole canyon was hazy. I figured it was blowing in from somewhere far enough away not to worry about (but continued worrying) and came back inside.


Since I was already awake, I went ahead and started morning chores, all the time thinking about what I would do if I had to evacuate. With my brother gone, I don't have any convenient family to move in with in case of fire, so I would probably have to check into a hotel. Also, I have two vehicles now, and would have to choose one to evacuate in and leave the other. Probably take the truck because 1) more room to carry stuff and 2) I need it more than I need a car. On the other hand, the truck is older and in worse shape, and I've been thinking about replacing it anyway. So maybe I should take the car and let the truck burn? Then thinking about stuff to take. And getting a bit edgy. I've already lost everything once, I don't want to do it again! If this house burns down, I won't rebuild. Probably find someplace to rent until my mom passes and then move away.

Turns out, the fire is at the landfill, and currently under control, although expected to continue to smolder for several days. Looks like we're okay for now.

It's just as well that I got up early today, since I'll have to get up even earlier tomorrow to take Jerry down to LA for her surgery. At least I should be tired enough to go to bed early and get plenty of sleep for the drive.

Jerry was in her room complaining earlier. She gets lonely, but she doesn't want to come out, she wants me to go in there and keep her company. I went in and petted her for a while then came out, but she started calling me again. Went back in, and the other cats sat at the door and meowed for me to come out. So I opened the door, figuring we could all share the bedroom for a little while. Then Jerry started hissing and growling at the boys (who were just prowling around, paying no attention to her), Davey started getting into stuff, and pretty soon I chased the boys out and left Jerry in her room again. Argh! Sorry kitties, there is only one of me! If you can't share space peacefully, you can't all have me at once!

Then I decided to call CareCredit and see if I can make sure they won't decline my charge when I go to pay for Jerry's surgery. The customer service person on the phone was apologetic that my previous charge was declined, but couldn't tell me why it was declined, or offer any assurance that my next charge wouldn't be declined, either. The best she could do was tell me to call them to have the charge put through if it was declined. Which is pretty much what I would have done anyway, so today's call was totally useless.

And now I'm a bundle of nerves, worrying about my cat and fire and paying vet bills and driving to LA in the morning and stuff.


13 Jul 2017 11:24
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
Welp, I took Jerry to the vet hospital in LA yesterday for a consult with an internist about her megacolon. It was a long, tiring day full of news that was not horrible, but not that great, either.

The drive to LA should theoretically take about 2 hours. That, however, doesn't include traffic delays, and there are always traffic delays in LA. So, since our appointment was at 2 PM, I left around 11:30, hoping that would be enough to get us there on time. Traffic was actually not bad until we reached the 405, when we hit stop and go for the last 10 miles or so. Managed to arrive at the vet hospital by quarter to 2, so that was good. Miss Jerry did not enjoy the ride, and plied me with tiny, plaintive, squeaky meows half the way.

The internist looked at the x-rays and lab tests sent down by my vet, and discussed Jerry's history, and agreed that since medication management wasn't working any more, it was time for surgery. But he was also concerned about a high calcium level in her last blood test, and also wanted to do an ultrasound and chest x-rays. He set up a surgery consultation appointment for us at 4 PM, and went off to do the other ultrasound & x-rays, and I went out to the waiting room to hang out for an hour and a half. I had brought snacks with me and had books and games on my phone, so the wait wasn't too bad.

Around 4 PM, I collected my annoyed kitty and got the news from the internist while we waited for the surgeon. The x-rays were good, but the ultrasound showed a mass on her liver. He took a needle biopsy of it to send out. The good news (if it can be called that) is that, if necessary, the mass can be removed at the same time as her colectomy. We won't get the results of the biopsy for two or three days.

Then we had the consult with the surgeon. He agreed that surgery was indicated, and we made an appointment for next Tuesday. By then, they'll have the results of the biopsy and can decide if the mass also needs to be removed.

One thing that concerns me is that he wants her to go off her stool softeners until the surgery. That's so the stool will be harder and there will be less chance of leakage into her body when he cuts the colon. At first he said he wanted her off the meds for two weeks before the surgery! I told him, it's hard enough to get her to poop any more, even with the stool softeners. I can pretty much guarantee that without them, she won't poop at all for two weeks. So he went off to talk to the internist and check the ultrasounds and came back and said, all right, we'll just do one week. I'm still concerned. I guess she can survive a week without pooping, and if she starts to get distressed, I'll call them and see what they suggest.

So the surgery is scheduled for 8:45 AM next Tuesday. Which means getting up early and getting out of here by 6 AM, because that's going to be rush hour into the city and traffic is going to be bad. I should probably leave earlier, but eh. If I'm a little late, so be it. I'll need to leave her there for one or two nights.

Then we were ready to leave, once I paid the bill, which was another hassle -- I was going to use my CareCredit card, so I could pay it off over time without paying any interest, but it was declined so I had to use a different credit card. Then, not two minutes later, I got a robocall from Care Credit saying they'd detected "unusual activity" on my account and wanted to verify that I'd just attempted to charge $$ on it. I said yes, and the bot cheerfully told me to continue using my card. Wut? What is unusual about trying to pay a vet bill for my cat? Argh. Well, it's (almost) just as well, because I'll need the Care Credit for the surgery anyway, and that will go well over my credit limit, unless I can get it raised in the week before the surgery. And assuming they'll actually let the charge go through.

So then it was around 4:30 PM, and we were heading out just in time to hit evening rush hour. Took us three hours to get home, and we were both tired, hungry, and cranky when we finally arrived. Miss Jerry was thrashing around in her carrier, eager to get out, and as soon as I set her carrier down in her room and opened it, she jumped out and rushed out of the room! Well, rushed inasmuch as she ever does: she strode briskly and determinedly out of the room, which is very rare for her -- since the boys arrived, she has only poked her nose out of the bedroom a few times, and went right back in after a brief foray. This time, she went into the kitchen and sat on one of the chairs at the little bistro table I have in there, and stayed there for an hour and a half, even after the boys finished their dinners and came out to see what was going on. She growled and hissed at them, as usual, but didn't give any ground. Heh.


It was dark, so she's mostly just a black blob on the chair, but here she is, adventuring out into the world of the kitchen! I would love it if the surgery improves her health so that she becomes more energetic and brave and starts leaving her room more.

Once I got home, I got the final hit of the day: the email from the vet hospital with an estimate of the cost of her surgery: $7200 - $8200. Holy crap! I really hope I can get most or all of that onto Care Credit, so I can pay it off over time. Otherwise, it's going to completely wipe out my savings, and that doesn't even count the approximately $2500 I've already spent on Jerry's recent vet visits. It's a scary huge amount of money, but at least I *can* pay it. The only other option would be to, I don't know, let her suffer until the megacolon kills her, or have her put down, and I'm not ready for that, not when the surgery has a good chance of making her well.

Well, that didn't take long

11 Jul 2017 14:54
codyne: Kitty Jerry under a blanket (jerry)
[personal profile] codyne
Miss Jerry's back at the vet today, having not pooped at all since she came home on Friday. I have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon at an animal hospital in LA to consult on what the next step should be -- most likely surgery. Poor kitty! She really didn't want to go back to the vet this morning, and I didn't want to have to take her, but it's become clear that her bowels are not capable of moving satisfactorily on their own any more. I hope we'll be able to get her fixed up soon, so she won't have to go through this any more.

Miss Jerry at the vet

8 Jul 2017 17:06
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
My kitty, Miss Jerry, has been at the vets for a flare-up of her problems with megacolon. I took her in on Monday, and came home with some extra meds (in addition to the ones she already takes), prescription food, and sub-Q fluids to give her, but by Wednesday she hadn't improved, so I took her back and dropped her off so they could work on getting her emptied out there. They kept her overnight, and on Thursday, they asked me to bring in one of her meds that they didn't have there at the vet hospital, so while I was there, I visited with her for a while. She was happy to see me! (Never mind the goopy eyes, they're always like that.)

Miss Jerry at the vet

They wanted her to stay another night, but Friday morning, I finally got bring her home.

Miss Jerry home from the vet

I'm supposed to continue the meds she's already on, increasing one of them to three times a day, continue the prescription food, and give her sub-Q fluids every other day. I have never given a pet sub-Q fluids before! I tried once on Tuesday afternoon and kind of flubbed it up. I got the needle in her but then she wiggled away and it fell out, so she didn't get much fluid. Today's attempt went better -- she insisted on lying down, but as long as I petted her while I had the needle in, she just lay there and purred, so at least I didn't have to worry about her getting away. But I forgot to shut off the flow before I took the needle out, so I got fluids all over the place. Oops! At least she got some fluids in her, too.

If the new meds & food don't help, she will have to have surgery to remove part of her colon that's not working. I suspect the surgery is going to come sooner or later, anyway. But we'll see. She's such a sweet old lump, I hope she can be treated successfully and live a long happy life!


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