the Baby still eats
Saturday, October 19 2013
This afternoon Gretchen and I took Eleanor the Dog and Marie the Cat (aka "the Baby") to the Hurley vet. Originally this had just been an appointment to have Eleanor's 21 staples removed, but (using diagonal cutters and needle-nosed pliers) I'd removed all but three or four of those staples myself and only left a few token ones behind in the larger injuries to placate Gretchen and leave something for the vet to do. (I'd thought Eleanor would be less stressed if the vet only had to remove a few.) As for Marie, she'd recently developed a large irregular mass on the side of her abdomen and we were concerned it might be a malignancy.
Our vet today was a nice gentleman with an Australian accent. He took my unprescribed removal of Eleanor's staples pretty well, though he seemed horrified to learn we let Eleanor eat the ticks that we remove from her. The vet seemed to think that this increased her risk of contracting Lyme disease, and though that seemed absurd to me, I just nodded my head and made a mental bookmark to check the web. (My thinking was that the Lyme spirochætes hasn't evolved to survive the vertebrate digestive system, and the web seems to back me up on this.)
As for Marie, the vet poked her mass with a needle and gathered some cell samples to look at. But his initial impression was that the mass seemed like a likely cancer. He was also concerned about the way her intestines felt, and her reaction to him feeling them (she almost vomitted). At this point, after living with her for over seven years, our only concern with the Baby is that she not be in pain. While the vet said it's not easy to tell with cats how comfortable they are, generally speaking if they have an appetite they're not miserable. Back in December when we unsuccessfully attempted to arrange for the Baby to be euthanized, she'd been off her food for a day or two. But then, after our housecall vet more or less refused to do the euthanasia, she recovered. Her appetite has been good ever since. There are things that are still a bit off about her: she drinks and urinates enormous amounts of water, and she still tends to poop outside of her litter box. But at least her poops are a lot more solid than the caustic puddles she produced for a year or two.
Later, after we returned home and Gretchen went off to work another shift at the bookstore, the vet called and left a message saying that indeed the cells from the Baby's abdominal mass looked cancerous. Of course, he's just a general practice vet without the real oncological knowledge to make such calls. His advice was for us to have the cells looked at by a specialist. But, from our perspective, what good would that do? We don't really need to know whether or not the Baby is full of cancer. All we care about is that she is content. And, as we learned today, the only way we will know that she isn't is if she were to stop eating. But despite the stresses of the early afternoon (being squeezed, poked multiple times with a needle, and having a thermometer shoved up her ass), her appetite today remained robust.
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