So yesterday morning Jeffrey's toxin numbers went right back up to where they started. He's home with us now and aside from everything we have to do to keep him healthy, you wouldn't know he's terminally ill. He also tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia, so that was a relief.
I picked Jeffrey up at Sheera the shelter director's house last night and when he saw me he immediately started pushing at the carrier door to get out. I got all teary-eyed when I lifted him up and he nestled his face into my neck and started purring. I held him so close and just listened to his little rhythmic "motor sound."
Tina arrived a short time later and we both took turns holding Jeffrey while Sheera taught us how to give Jeffrey his meds and subQ fluids. When it was time to go Tina took Jeffrey in her car and I went to the shelter with Sheera to get an additional bottle of medication that she didn't have handy at her house.
As I left to head home Sheera said, "Definitely call me if you have any trouble or have questions. You'll get the hang of everything once you do it all a few times."
"Okay," I said as I walked down the porch steps. "And thank you so much. You seriously saved his life. I don't know what I would have done without your help." My voice kind of broke a bit, so I backed up a bit more and started to turn.
"Of course," Sheera smiled.
Once I got home, Tina called out, "Hi! He's been waiting at the top of the stairs for you the whole time."
I walked up the stairs and Jeffrey stood up. "Jiffy!" I exclaimed as I picked him up and gave him a hug. 'Jiffy' is our silly nickname for him.
After Jeffrey nuzzled me, I set him down so I could give him his special kidney food. I held my breath as he approached it. My big fear was that he'd not want it. But much to my relief he started right in with nibbling as soon as he smelled it:
Look at his poor little shaved legs!
After he ate his food and drank a ton of water he resumed following me around. I sat with him on our bed, but he got annoyed at the BeeBees and Gracie, who were trying to check him out nonstop. I ended up sitting with him on my lap in the office for a about an hour, which made him VERY happy:
This morning started off with the usual chaos of trying to feed the herd downstairs and the BeeBees and Gracie upstairs. The typical routine included bringing Jeffrey and Cora their own food separately since they hate eating with everyone else. Today it entailed bringing Cora her typical canned food and Jeffrey his new K/D canned food.
Everything worked out fine, with Jeffrey eating a decent amount of K/D and then reverting to his dry food. The problem occured when Teddy (one of the Alabama kittens) decided that the food he had downstairs wasn't good enough and he'd rather try Jeffrey's K/D. I had to lock Teddy out of the office, which meant I had to stay in the office instead of making sure Gracie and the BeeBees were eating ok (Gracie likes to cover the food up within eating a few bites. And I mean cover. She first scrapes at the floor and then pulls the placemat out from under the water and places it on top of the dishes. Then she'll pile anything else she can find like socks out of the laundry basket). Jeffrey gets really upset if I close him the office without me, so I had to stay in to ensure he actually ate instead of stood by the door waiting.
Once that drama was over, Tina had to help me with administering his fluids. This was not fun at all because we have to do 150 cc's twice a day. Jeffrey's not an invalid and so he wasn't too into staying still. The needle didn't appear to really bother him, but he just didn't want to have to endure sitting still for 7 minutes.
After that was done, Tina headed to work. About a half hour later I got Jeffrey's antibiotics from the fridge. This needs to be given to him every 12 hours in attempt to fight whatever's affecting his kidneys. Unfortunately I did not know that this medication can make him nauseous. The vet gave me sucralfate to help combat nausea, but I didn't really ask about when to give it to him; just told "2 times a day."
So I took the syringe, loaded it with 2 cc's of the antibiotics and squired it into his mouth. He wasn't excited about it, but he got over it fast. However, 15 minutes later I heard him give a cry I hadn't heard in a long time: the "owww..." sound he makes before he throws up. I turned around and next thing I knew, he threw up everywhere. Food, medicine, everything.
Once he finished, Jeffrey jumped down from the chair and hid under my desk.
"It's okay, Jeffrey," I said soothingly. "I'm sorry..."
After I cleaned the mess, I got on the floor and coaxed Jeffrey to come out. A minute later he started purring and emerged from under the desk. I picked him up, put him in my lap and pet him until he fell asleep.
A short while later I spoke with Sheera. She instructed me to give him the sucralfate first, then 15 minutes later give him the antibiotics.
"The sucralfate coats his stomach," she explained. "The antibiotics are rough, even if he's eaten. So just make sure you do the sucralfate first and then the antibiotics. That's what helped bring his levels down initially, so it's one of the most important parts of treatment.
I followed her instructions and sure enough, the antibiotics stayed down. Jeffrey also resumed his eating and water drinking, so I felt better. I was pretty freaked out when he vomitted initially.
The rest of the day went well (barring the usual workday HELL that makes receiving subQ fluids sound more appealing). When Tina came home we administered another 150 cc's of fluid which Jeffrey wasn't interested in staying still for. We're going to try bigger needles for a faster flow so we can get it over with more quickly for him.
Tonight we have to give him .33 cc's of aluminum hydroxide to help bind phosphorus. This part is tricky because he needs to have food in his system in order for it to work. Since he's eating just fine, it's more my taking advantage of when he happens to eat something so I can shove it in.
This is all pretty hard work. Tina and I are basically his kidneys. He's not in any pain, he just needs help processing waste. I really don't mind doing all this stuff because he's only a year and a half old and he deserves to live. He's a happy cat with a lot of love to give and I'm more than willing to give that love right back. And so's Tina, so I'm incredibly lucky.
I trust that Jeffrey will tell me when it's time to let go. I have read many of the letters that people who have/ had pets in Jeffrey's position. There is a lot of hope, encouragement and great tips. I will keep doing everything I can to ensure Jeffrey's life is a happy one for as long as possible. He deserves it; just look at that face in the beginning of this post.