You may have read a post some time ago, speculating that my cat had cancer. That initial diagnosis had been downgraded to a cist, which was a relief at the time, but basically we were looking at something growing in her left femur. This caused her to limp, but didn’t actually seem to hamper her too much, until last Saturday, that is. Whatever was growing in her leg had made the bone brittle, and as she was walking down the hallway, possibly chasing our newest feline family member, Mad Eye Moody, it simply snapped. Because of the underlying problem, repairing the bone wasn’t really an option, so the only thing we could do was amputate. It’s a strange thing to agree to, but apparently cats (and dogs) do very well after the procedure. In fact, while we were waiting, we saw a three legged dog bouncing around the waiting area, happy as could be. I guess that gave me some amount if confidence. Maybe she’ll be more mobile after the operation, not having to limp along on a brittle leg?
Money, as it turns out, is not a concern in these cases, though since we had some time while we waited, I went ahead and came to terms with the idea of surgery costing many thousands of dollars, and that there would be no shiny new gadgets in my near future (goodbye Galaxy Tab, goodbye Google TV, goodbye Xbox 360 with… that hand wavy thingy). But that doesn’t matter right now, because Chuck is family, and family always comes first, and money is never an issue.
After we left the hospital came the worst few hours. Before they could operate, they had to check Chuck for all sorts of things to make sure she was a good candidate for surgery, including chest x-rays to check for cancer. When we finally got the call the operation had already been performed, and everything was fine. That gave me some amount relief, though we’d have to wait until thee next morning to see if she’d have a bad reaction.
Sunday morning was a busy one, and I didn’t start getting anxious until about 11. What made it worse is that my phone could suddenly no longer connect to the network, so I nervously checked the computer every five minutes for missed calls or voice messages (I could still receive calls through Gmail, though it’s a new feature, which I hadn’t used that much yet). We finally called them and got the OK to pick her up, the only issue having been some aggression on her part towards the vet techs who tried to administer her medicine. I figured that if I suddenly woke up missing a leg, I’d be pissed, too.
I kind of assumed she’d be in bandages, but when they brought her out, there it all was, fully exposed, a long cut with black plastic stitches sticking out like barbed wire, all made to look even stranger by her partially shaven stomach and back. I’m still not certain if I’m squeamish about it or not. You can’t really do anything but deal with it, but we never had that movie moment where the doctor slowly removes the bandages, so I suppose I was ill prepared.
When we got home, she was walking right a way. A few steps at a time, but not really that shaky, just worn out, and likely affected by some strong opiates. As bizarre as the whole thing was, she was actually kind of OK.
We let our dog Sirius in, and while they’ve never really gotten along before, I suddenly felt there’s a chance they might yet become friends. She was probably just too tried to swat him away, but he is was very gentle as he sniffed her, and it was interesting to see how concerned he was for her.
Since I had to give her pain medication at 2 am, I spent most of the night with her, and I was none to happy to find her having climbed onto the couch during a brief time where I was away (seriously, how’d she do that?), as she’s not supposed to climb anything right now. But Chuck doesn’t like to follow the rules, and I would soon be reminded of that again.
Today Megan left for Iowa, to visit her family and attend her grandfather’s birthday party. We went and had a nice lunch at a local diner before heading to the airport. Since I had spent some time with T-mobile tech support figuring out that I needed a new sim card, after dropping Megan off, I went ahead to a local store and picked up a new one. I was gone for about an hour and a half. I caught a glimpse of Chloe through the window from outside. Her protective collar was off. I rushed inside and found her wound bloodied, as she’d been tearing at the stitches. I should point out at this point that this has happened before, about 15 years ago or so. Back then she managed to almost completely open the wound, and it was not a pretty sight. This didn’t look quite so bad, but there was blood, so I had to take her in to get out checked out. This time I don’t have Meg to help me, and somehow, during the trip there, Chuck managed to get her cone off again! So there I was, driving down the 405 freeway one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding my cat’s head. Thankfully I picked the automatic.
They took her right away to check get out, but I had to wait for a good 20 minutes before I heard anything, the whole time talking with my wife on the phone, as her plane hadn’t left yet, discussing if maybe she’d have to stay here. I can’t watch Chloe every hour of the day, and she’s just too good at getting out of those Elizabethan collars (which is what the cone of shame is really called).
But the doc had good news. She hadn’t done any major damage, and he explained to me that there were three layers of stitches, so the likelihood of her opening the wound up completely is very slim. He also explained that the weird dangling lump she has is internal oozing muscle tissue, which will eventually just be absorbed into the body (eww).
Well, that’s the story so far. We’re back home, and I’m not letting her out of my sight. Sirius is also watching, and occasionally nuzzling her.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the sudden change of her name, when I originally named her, I was ignorant and misspelled it as Cloe. I left it like that for the longest time, justifying it as being sort of like Cleo, but with the last two letters swapped. Then my witty wife decided to nickname her Chuck one day, and it stuck, through I still go back and forth every now and then. At the hospital they wrote her name as Chloe, and I decided I should stop being stupid and start spelling it right. So now Cloe/Chuck is Chuck/Chloe.