Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hey, the lamp's running away!

Well I suppose Jess-Belle in her little space helmet needs some 'splainin'. The story beings with her getting spayed, nothing out of the ordinary. Spay and neuter procedures are some of the most common animal surgeries. She was spayed on a Tuesday, and all was well until Saturday night.

She had been doing just fine. Her first day she was weary, which was to be expected, but after that she was pretty much back to normal, which was good and bad. She was feeling better so she was back to normal activity, but she needed to be taking it easy-not playing so rough, not jumping as much or as high, that sort of thing. We tried to keep her activity down, but she is a kitten still and quite the pistol so it was difficult.

So Saturday evening comes along, and around bedtime (after midnight is all I remember) Chris noticed an egg-sized bulge under her incision. It was hard to the touch, but it didn't seem to be hurting her all that much. Yet we felt it would be best to take her to the emergency room just to be sure.

Taking her in was probably the smartest thing we have ever done, because a few hours and some x-rays later the er doctor told us that the bulge was in fact her intestines pushing through the internal sutures which somehow Jess-Belle had managed to break. There is no way to be sure how this happened-maybe her jumping, maybe loose sutures, who knows? Her external sutures were still intact so this wasn't some Evil Dead moment or anything, but it was dangerous. When this happens to cats they run the risk of the intestines pushing through the sutures which stresses the tissue, requiring removal of such tissue. It is the same concept as wrapping a string around the tip of your finger until it turns purple and leaving it that way for a few days. Ouch.

We decided that emergency surgery was the best idea, since there was no way to know if and when the intestines would push through further. By this time it was 5am Saturday night/Sunday morning, so the surgery team had to be called in for this. So, a few more hours and a few hundred dollars later, Jess-Belle was healing from being re-opened, tucked back in, and re-sutured, this time with a much longer incision and staples instead of stiches. Again I say ouch.

So now, to make sure this does not happen again, she is on cat bed rest. She is confined to our bedroom which we have basically stripped down to a bed on the floor as she is not supposed to be jumping or climbing stairs for the next 10 days after surgery. She has to wear that lampshade until the staples come out so she does not pick at them. The vet suggested a cage until they noticed she was trying to climb the cage in the hospital, so we decided an empty bedroom was the best way to go. She takes pain pills 3-4 times a day, and is basically pitiful.

We can remove the lampshade for her to eat, but it has to go right back on because those staples are the first thing she goes for when it comes off. And she hates it so much that she attacks it while it is off and on the bed. It cannot come off soon enough for her and us. We have been spending as much time with her as we can. Today has been better than other days, since the original theatrical versions of Star Wars came out on DVD and there was an ipod/itunes update that allows for Tetris to be installed on the ipod, both of which ensure we have plenty to keep us occupied while she is sleeping.

The vet says this is not a rare thing, but also not common, yet also completely fixable. If she stays rested, she can have her staples out next week and be back to a normal crazy kitten. We are all anxious for her to heal. Especially since she keeps hitting the wall and losing her balance with that lampshade, resulting in moments where you don't know wether to laugh or cry.

No matter how difficult this ordeal has been for all of us, this is no reason for anyone not to heed the words of Bob Barker-always have your pets spayed or neutered.

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