Archive for amputation

6 weeks already?

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Recovery, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by arbitrary

I’ve lost count a bit, but I think we’re at 6 weeks now since Diesel had his left fore-leg amputated due to bone cancer in his paw.

We’ve had some massive ups and downs, in his mood, in our mood – even in Larky’s mood. He’s gone from hiding upstairs, to hiding ON the stairs, to his latest hideyhole – behind the sofa. But now he spends most of his day downstairs, in the corridor getting sun from outside, or in the kitchen awaiting food.

His last stitch fell out last weekend. That’s been massive in helping his mood I think. Before he’d be constantly licking it and snarl a bit at his own inability to get rid of it, and obviously it was pulling on his skin. Now he’s a lot more free and easy, neither of us have been bitten while stroking in a couple of weeks either.

He wants to play with toys, but his muscles are still learning to be as agile with one leg missing. He can jump on both our sofas, but the bed eludes him, as does the coffee table (though he can vaguely clamber there from a sofa). But he’s about 80% on range of movement now. He was never a big jumper, never went on kitchen surfaces, only jumped on lowish things – now he just thinks more before even attempting a jump.

But his mood is very improved, and that means a lot more to me that anything else. Although we weren’t given a choice about the operation, I would never have chosen an alternative to the amputation!!

Challenges still await us – keeping his weight down is, I hear, a big deal now. Luckily he’s always been on the average/small weight side, but I do see him wanting to be fed more to comfort himself already. We have to watch that, because the last thing his legs need is extra pressure that’s not needed. We have to see how things settle down with Larky – he can already bat her away quite professionally, and they tussle a bit, I hope they continue as things return to normal. It gives them both a bit of exercise and we’ve never even found scratch marks on either, so they don’t really GO at each other hell for leather. I’m sure he’ll also have some bad days, we can’t assume it’s all over and done with now, and, of course, we have to keep an eye out for any signs of cancer returning – something I’m currently avoiding thinking about.

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Adapting

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Malarkey, Pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by arbitrary

Last night I snuck off to play some Lord of the Rings Online and went to an ‘instance’ with my friends. During a brief drink break I popped in to see Diesel and noticed a certain lack of collar around his neck. Oh yes, our boy had learned how to wriggle out of it. No small feat with only one front paw and the floor for leverage. Scar looked quite sore and angry, so administered some anti-inflammatories (he’s strictly off meds now, but vet said we could give him some if he needed it). Collar has been tightened a little – we were a bit wimpy about it at first.

But despite the little scare, I feel an enormous sense of pride that he worked it out. If he can manage that, he can adjust to anything!

And now,  here’s a picture of Malarkey who I know I only ever refer to as Larky, with her ‘baby’ –  the company she’s keeping while Diesel is separated (for the record, I keep the door open for him unless he needs to eat, cos otherwise a helper comes to assist with the food!).

They're not related, they just look it!

The pictures post

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Pictures, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by arbitrary

I’ll do a brief vet summary in a sec, but here’s the pictures. I don’t have any really gross ones, thankfully!

Diesel's bad leg, day before the operation

The boxes we put his food on post-operation

Day 4 (I think), showing how much was shaved and the scar

Taken today, pre-vet trip. Scar & collar and still wants tummy rubs!

Day Seven

Posted in Collar, Diesel, Recovery with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by arbitrary

Day Six – I went to work, and hated leaving him, even though my husband was in charge for the day. After the collar was removed to ease feeding, Diesel made a break for the open door to the room and managed to run both down and up-stairs while my husband chased, collar in tow. No more stitches lost, and also full usage of normal size litter tray, and food bowls restored to floor level.

And today, I woke up feeling sad about it all, and continue to do so. I cried when we were talking about him earlier. No reason, he’s doing well and have given him the run of the house while he has the collar on. He came downstairs when I was getting the food ready as he always used to do), but then hated hitting the collar around the lounge and ended up hiding near my old desk, quite safely. We brought him upstairs for a supervised collarless feed, and he’s now re-collared and slumped down in a bit of a funk. The scar continues to heal, he can eat biscuits and manage the litter tray in his collar, and yet I still feel really down about it.

Have turned down a couple of invites to go out next week, I just don’t want to leave him alone, even for a few hours right now. Though I leave him during the day if I need to go shopping – going out for social reasons seems crude. Haven’t played much of my online game at all. I hope my friends realise it’s not stand-offishness, but I can’t concentrate. And no mantter how many times someone says ‘he’ll be fine’ – they don’t have to sit in a room seeing how sad he can be sometimes or staring at the scar.

I did take some photos for the blog, but haven’t got them off the camera yet… maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning is the vet check-up. No idea how he’ll take to going back in a cat carrier or if he’ll still be petrified of the vets! Time will tell.

Origins

Posted in Diesel, Malarkey, Vets with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2010 by arbitrary

Diesel (our oldest cat, at 5 years old) has been labouring with a limp for the last few months, he’s been taken to the vets regularly while they tried to find what’s wrong. And on Monday 11th Jan 2010 he was going in for a final X-Ray before we all could come to the conclusion that it was something un-X-rayable.

He hates the vet. The vets are a little scared of him, despite his soppiness and nerves at home. But, in pain, he became close to feral. Yesterday he got to see the best vet ever, who looked at him, heard my tales of his behaviour and said ‘shall we just leave him in the carrier since we know we’re admitting him for an X-Ray?’. Less trauma for my baby.

Went home with neighbours who were valiantly supplying the ride to the vets, and then popped home to eat something and wait to ring the vets at 1pm, sure they wouldn’t find anything again and his mystery limp was going to be with us for a while. At 12:40 they rang. It started badly, with them saying they’d found a bone tumour in his paw that was really painful for him (and that had barely been noticeable by X-Ray. We were in luck at their chief orthopaedic expert was coincidentally in that day and had been snapped up to check mystery limp cat!!). Anyway, apparently it’s pretty rare in cats…

In Diesel, it meant a chest X-Ray to see if there was any sign of spread. None so far. And then amputation of his front left leg. I don’t quite know how I held it together to speak to the woman on the phone, but I took some details including when to ring back. And called my husband, in tears and made him tearful also. Then my neighbours who have been a rock of cat support to us, since we’re fairly new to the gig (before we fostered a little and found Diesel that way) and they told me to drop everything and come over. Being around other people meant I could re-discover the famed British Upper Lip, and took a hot drink and started to let the shock settle in.

We’d always said that losing the leg was worst case scenario. But even in my pessimistic leaning, I never thought he’d have to lose it to save his life from much worse.

He was supposed to stay at the vet’s overnight. But when I rang in they said he was getting stressed and would we like him to come home. So, with another really kind offer of a lift, we all set out to get him, knowing we’d soon see the cruel evidence of his bad luck. And with a heady mix of guilt, sadness and hoping for him to be ok.

He’d been given 3 different sedatives. He really wasn’t happy at all. And there’s no promise that it worked in the long run. They can’t give that, and we can’t expect them to, but I’d hoped it would be over.

And although we set up the bedroom for him to hide in, he’s not taking it well. He’s never liked being shut in. Not cat carriers, not rooms, not outside the house – he hates closed doors. And as he’s been waking up from the doping, he’s been increasingly upset about it. He’s even done a runner (which at least means he can tackle stairs already at full pelt). He’s also had his first fall. I’m warned we should expect many as he re-learns how to land.

Malarkey (commonly called Larky) is the baby of the house. She adores Diesel, though he’s been very stand-offish of her since the foot pain. She was down in the dumps while he was at the vets and now she’s camped outside the bedroom. When he cries, she comes calling. And he cries by the door every hour. I slept from 8pm-midnight, then husband went in to take care of Diesel and I’m up, making sure Larky feels loved.

I know things will return to normal. I know cats can be very happy on 3 legs. My uncle has a 3-legged cat. I’m worried about this week. Getting him to eat tablets, and take his meds (due to his ‘temperament problem’ they gave him dissolvable stitches at least! The vets really ARE scared of him, but they’ll see a nicer side of him when the pain is gone, I’m sure). I don’t like to keep him trapped in when he might be happier outside. I don’t like to make Larky feel unwanted. And I want it to be the end of my poor baby’s woes.