Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sweet Thoughts for Harley Kitty

*Current Fragrance: Tobacco Vanille from Tom Ford
*Current Candle: Leaves from Bath and Body Works
*Currently Listening: The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

Scent people, I have learned, are also cat people...so it won't come as much of a surprise when I explain that my absence in blogging has been due a to sick kitty. Luckily, my husband is better at this than I. He's chronicled Harley kitty's ups and downs on his blog; in addition to some top notch (IMHO) political analysis. I'll repost the Harley parts here....

"Sorry about the absence, blame the fact that since Sandy came through it's been both busy at work and then busy on the home front for completely unrelated reasons.  Mostly, it was our good friend who was in town for an extended stay, and then Thursday turned into a night spent over with Kat's Dear Friend.  So, all in all, up until Thursday at around 11, it was for great reasons that I didn't open up the laptop to post here.

Kat ended up spending the night over at KDF's house, mostly because she was already so tired I didn't want to have to try and get her up to the apartment, and she didn't face anything until a lesson at 4.  This turned out to be a good call.


Rewind a little to Tuesday, I had been relaxing in the apartment when Kat came home, and pointed out that there was a spot of blood next to where Harley had been resting his head.  I was a little concerned, but didn't see any open wounds, and thought maybe he had accidentally cut his mouth scratching.  I made a note to keep an eye on it.  On Wednesday, no other incidents.  In fact, he rested for the night on top of me, and nary a drop.


So, I get home Thursday and I see Harley is basically covered.  His fur is matted with it, and there were  a couple areas where you could tell blood had seeped out of his mouth.  He still seemed himself...still walking around, eating, following me, and when I gave him a bath to clean his fur he definitely showed a ridiculous amount of strength.  I still never saw any actual open sources of this, but at this point, I knew he needed a vet.  Because he had reacted with so much energy to fight me off for his bath, I knew he wasn't so bad that he needed an emergency room. so I cleaned up what I could, made a note to keep an eye on him, and wearily slept that night. 

On Friday, I woke up, saw that there was a little more, but not a lot of, blood that had seeped out.  I knew he would be OK for a little while longer, and...frankly, we were so short handed at work thanks to a bad combination of events, I knew "sick cat" wasn't a reason to miss the day.  After I got to work, I set about to try and set a late evening vet appointment, and took the chance to let Kat know what was going on.  It was a good thing she had stayed at KDF's house, and that I didn't tell her that night because Harley would probably have gone to the Emergency Room.

After poking and prodding, I found the  Brookline VCA Hospital, signed up on-line to try and get an appointment, but their website was screwing up, and before I could call, I was sidetracked due to work.  Luckily, right when I had a small break, they called me to see if I was interested in setting something up.  They told me they were open late on Fridays, and getting a 6 PM appointment was no problem (I love living in a big city).  Kat eventually came home and kept her eyes on him.  He was sluggish through the day, but still ate, and didn't really seep that much more blood, although there was some.

So, it was with trepidation I came home to put Harley in his case and took him to the vet.  I've alluded before to how Harley was abandoned by his first family.  Well, that history means that whenever we try to put him in his carrier, he cries something awful, because he always thinks he's about to be torn away from his family.  It's the main reason why we don't board him when we go somewhere, because frankly, no matter how nice the place, I really think he would feel like he's being surrendered again, and the older he gets, the more I don't think he'd be able to handle it.  Still, we had to get him to the vet somehow.

Our Doctor was great.  Very friendly, obviously very knowledgeable, and gave us a pretty strong interrogation about his habits, eating, stuff around the house...nothing was out of bounds.  A blood sample was taken, and the Doc pointed out that Harley had some pretty bad teeth.  While we may need to talk about getting that done, the problem was...he didn't see any bleeding coming specifically from the gums.  We set our expectations to come back on Saturday, and left...only to be called back because the preliminary test done on his red cell count showed it pretty dangerously low.

The fact that it was this low and he wasn't showing that many symptoms meant that this was something that had been occurring over time and he had adjusted.  The Doc decided to give Harley a Vitamin K shot to see if it would help (it won't hurt, so lets try it), and he said he'd call back on Saturday with the results.  We brought Harley back to the house, and what we noticed was a cat who very quickly started to have a bit of a bounce in his step.  He seemed a little more energetic.

I woke Saturday to, again, see no blood, and to a cat who was obviously feeling better.  He walked around with more energy, his eyes were always wide open, and he just seemed to be doing better.  We were hopeful that we had stumbled on good news.  The Doc called us back to tell us that, sadly, the blood work was really inconclusive of anything, and that he'd like to bring Harley back in for an X-Ray to see if there was any sort of mass visible.

If you read that post introducing you to the cats, you'd know this is the point where we lost Singer.  The X-ray revealed a huge mass, which before the vets could remove, Singer decided she was done and passed away.  Of course we were worried that we were about to have a replay of this, but we had to do it.  We had to know.

I took Harley back to the office, and while I was waiting for the results, Lee Ann Womack's "I hope you dance" came on the radio in the office.  Why do I point this out?  It was the song that I chose to dance with Mom at our wedding.  So...I'm sitting in the office, waiting for an X-Ray of this cat that has been with us for 10+ years, with a song that reminded me of a happy moment with Mom...yeah, kinda started to cry there in the office.  I did what I could to hide, wondering off, looking at the food they sold, and after a little bit I finally composed myself.  If anyone noticed, they didn't say anything.

Finally, the Doc was ready with the news.  No visible masses on the X-Ray, and that while the Vitamin K shouldn't have worked (it basically was only meant for a clotting disorder for when he ingested some poison), he agreed that in the less than 24 hours since he had last seen Harley, there was a marked improvement in his attitude, energy, and most importantly, no visible blood coming out of his mouth.  So, while he couldn't really explain it, he gave Harley a prescription for more Vitamin K, because "If it works, we might as well roll with it."

So, the plan for now is to have him take that Vitamin K for a few days, and on Wednesday we'll go back to have just the red count tested again.  If there is an improvement, we'll keep on this route, shrug our shoulders, and say that must have been it.  If not, then we have a decision to make on the next step, neither of which is particularly appealing.

Basically, we can either opt to take him for an endoscopy and an ultrasound to see if there is a mass that just isn't showing up on the X-Ray...which won't be cheap, to say the least.  In other words, we either will spend a lot of money to either show nothing or show something we wouldn't like, leading to spend more money to treat something.  All of this for a cat that is 11 and a half years old (or, according to a chart we found in the vet's office, a cat that is bordering on "geriatric").  Or, we could try a medicinal approach, trying a couple of medicines to see if his numbers improve, basically resigned to not knowing for sure what it is.

For what it's worth, today has been another good day.  Again, no blood after he slept on top of me overnight, has been wide-eyed while walking around, and, in general he seems to be getting better.  I honestly think that if this trajectory continues, the blood work on Wednesday will show a cat with a better red cell count, meaning for whatever reason he just had some sort of clotting disorder that got worse over time.  If this is the case, a month of Vitamin K should be all he needs to get over this, and go back to being the ball of cute he's always been.

So, if you all could, please keep a thought in your mind for Harley.  Tomorrow's post will be a little more about the election, but I figure I should put a better explanation out there for those of you wondering what was going on with the kid.

***11/5 update***
Since this writing, not much has changed...his energy seemed to go down a little bit overnight, and we did have an incident where we found some new blood at the end of the day yesterday.  However, he slept fine, and we didn't find any more overnight. 

The worrisome thing is that he didn't seem all that eager to eat today, turning down treats and not exactly lapping up his food.  Kat and I are just going to keep our eyes on him, and hopefully we will know some more Wednesday."

FORWARD TO TODAY

"I posted this on Facebook, but I figured I'd update what's going on since Sunday for those of you who are concerned about our little guy.
Taken a few months ago!  FEED ME!
So, since Sunday things have gotten better.  We had a minor setback where some blood was visible on Sunday night, it had us concerned, but we stayed the course and kept giving him vitamins.  The other thing was that he wasn't eating.  It's not that he didn't want to, he just didn't really take the effort to go.

On Monday night, after another bloodless night, I tried feeding him again, but he wouldn't have any of it.  I suspect that something in his mouth hurt and he just didn't want to each crunchy food.  So, I stopped by Stop and Shop after work and picked up a can of moist food.  I'm not a big fan of the stuff, but if it means he'd eat, I'd sure as Hell try it.

As soon as I got home, I pulled out the can, and Harley tears after me, wide-eyed, meowing like he hasn't before, and as soon as I put some out in a bowl, he sucked it down.  So...it would seem that we stumbled on something.

Yesterday was a great step forward with something that you would think would be bad news.  After "feeding" Harley his vitamin, he threw up.  Yes, this was bad news, but the good news was that it was all liquid, no food...and no blood.  So in about four days, he had made a huge turn around and was eating.  That made us actually look forward to the vet today.

The vet again remarked about the fact that he looked amazingly better, and that when he looked inside Harley's mouth, there was no blood coming out.  He stressed that this shouldn't really have worked, because the vitamins were supposed to help with a clotting disorder, usually only given in the case of ingesting rat poison, which I know we didn't put out.  Also, his red count hadn't really gone up since Friday night, so we are still facing questions.

Here's what we DO know, the fact that the bleeding has stopped and he has obviously improved, plus the fact that the X-Ray was clear has taken (most likely) cancer off the table.  Meaning, no tumors, no Ultrasound or endoscopy even needs to be considered.  There are still things that this could be, but they can be treated with medicine, and our doctor (whom I love because this is his approach) has decided to just keep going with this treatment.  Why add steroids or antibiotics if this is working?  So, the plan, as we see it, we will try the vitamins for the next two weeks, and have a follow up to see how the red cell count is doing.  If there is no real change, then we will start adding medicines.  If, however, things look better, we will be officially out of the woods...and maybe talk about doing something with his teeth.

So, thank you all for your thoughts for Harley.  That picture, while taken back in February, is pretty indicative of how he is doing now...and we couldn't be happier." 
Harley's continued to look and act great throughout the day today. So that makes me really happy! 
Not a whole lot has been going on fragrance wise with that. I've been avoiding putting real thought into fragrance. My thought being, if something bad happened...I didn't want to ruin a note or type of perfume for the future. This evening all I'm feeling is vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. I want that comforting that's embrace leaves you covered in its "coo-ing" fragrance. Yes. Vanilla coos. Didn't you know? More soon!
I also should explain all the Country Music. I'm making myself ready for my trip home to TX in less than a week! :)

*Currently Listening: Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley

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