And Back Home Again…

I didn’t get much sleep last night. Once I wake up, I’m pretty much done, even though I stay in bed to at least get more rest. The first half of today was rather uneventful: I got up and went to work. Some weird problems there with the database.

Dr. Wagner called at 11:30. I’m still startled every time my new cell phone vibrates in my pocket. After being transfused last night, Butterscotch’s PCV was 14. This morning it was 12. *sigh* That’s pretty quick to go through those cells. The hope is that the Dexamethasone will slow the immune system’s destruction of the red blood cells. Dr. Wagner suggested that we might also put him on Cyclosporin, which is given to transplant patients to again slow the immune response. This drug is more expensive than the cheap steroids, basically because blood levels of the drug need to be checked to make sure Goldilocks would be satisfied: not to low, and not to high – ju-u-ust right. I asked her a bunch of questions that have been building up. They did, indeed, check the marrow for Feline Leukemia. Butterscotch is negative for that, thankfully.

During the conversation, Dr. Wagner asked me what my long-range plan with this was. I told her that money wasn’t really a concern at this point. I’ve been clear for several days that we will keep going as long as there is a realistic chance that Butterscotch could survive and have a reasonable quality of life, as long as he isn’t suffering. I will not keep going just to keep him alive. She sounded something like relieved – it’s probably tough for vets to see people go way beyond the point of suffering with their animals.

So the plan is for me to take him home today. She would have to have the Cyclosporin mixed specially for him, which would take a couple of hours. We left it that I would arrive between 2:30 and 3:00 unless I heard otherwise.

The conversation left me right on the edge of a bunch of emotion. I did some breathing, then went to lunch with Rachel. At Qdoba I convened the First Annual (or Weekly or Maybe Even Daily) Qualtim Triathlete Club (FAWMEDQTC). So far, members are Rachel and me. We didn’t have much of an agenda, so we ate and chatted. Everyone present concluded that it was a pretty successful and enjoyable meeting.

At work I had a meeting, then some futzing, and then took off for the hospital at 2:30. I waited a few minutes in the waiting room before Brittany (a vet student?) called me in to one of the exam rooms. She went over the report with me, then Dr. Wagner arrived. We discussed the plan, which includes my bringing Butterscotch back in for the Cyclosporin level check, as well as a PCV on Wednesday at noon. I then asked some questions to find out how to better ascertain when Butterscotch sinks low enough to warrant bringing him in, without doing so prematurely. I would normally instantly err on the side of caution, except that it’s best for cats to NOT be in the hospital – they heal best at home with humans who love them. A heartrate consistently greater than 240 bmp, or a breathing rate consistently greater than 45 or 50 x/minute would be indications, as well as weakness and complaining. Since the Cyclosporin also tastes awful, they put it in capsules. Good. I get to give him pills for the first time tonight – I’ve only ever done liquid.

Brittany asked for the cat carrier so that she could go get Butterscotch. I suggested that she bring him here, since then he’d walk right into it. Dr. Wagner asked if I’d like to get him myself. You bet! He was lying in his cage rather languidly. I set the carrier, open, on the exam table, and set him in front of it. You got it – he immediately walked in and I shut the door.

Apparently Butterscotch doesn’t like going to the bathroom at the hospital – this is the second time he’s waited until the car ride home to go in the carrier. Or perhaps the jiggling gets him going. He then complained about being in there, so I let him out and held him on my lap as I drove.

We got home and he went for the water. I put down some tuna for him and he ate a bit of that. Then went into the back of Eric’s closet, where it’s dark and cool. It’s a bit warm in the house today, so I don’t blame him, even though I have an emotional reaction when he goes into these hidey places. I breathed while I watched him breathe. He’s ok – they wouldn’t have sent him home if he weren’t.

I then blipped in to work and got some more work done.

Cynthia had called me earlier in the day, so I returned her call at 5. Quite an emotional call for me, as we discussed all the likelihoods and other related topics. She told me that the change in PCV is most likely due to sampling error, and that I shouldn’t freak out about it. She affirmed that I’m doing a good job in making decisions about things, and that my instinct and decision to take him in last night were correct. Cynthia is a great gift in terms of support and a reality check for me right now. We again discussed the gift that Butterscotch and, indeed, this situation is to me, despite how sad it is. I decided it was time to contact more people, including those who don’t have email. So far I’ve confined my communications to that, as it was quickest and minimized – what – my emotions? I guess. I no longer like the word ‘upset’.

I called Jenna and spoke with her for a while. <g> I think I shocked her right off the bat as I got pretty emotional in the second sentence. I knew she’d be up for it. Great, supportive conversation, and I enjoyed hearing how she was doing, as I haven’t spoken to her for a while.

I called and left messages for a couple other people. I then sat down and drafted an email to my extended family and sent it. Then I went through my contacts (all 1131), and selected a bunch of people to contact, emailing each one separately. I’ve decided this is the time for me to be open, so here we go.

I just finished dinner (toasted then cooked rice with ginger and garlic, mixed with some bean soup – yum!), checked on Butterscotch, and am now going to make a few more calls. BIG breath. I just got an email from Patricia stating that the schedule has changed, and I won’t be teaching in Milwaukee this weekend – WHAT A BLESSING! I got Butterscotch out of the closet to hold him. He went and ate some food, and is now using the litterbox. Good good good.

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