What a Crappy Week!
This will be a short and informal blog post because I do not feel well physically but I am even worse emotionally. It has been rough recently with so many deaths of celebrities I really admired, especially Gord Downie and Tom Petty, but this past week my sister and I have been dealing with a very sick cat. Last October my sister's beloved cat Dinky, an orange tabby she adopted about ten years earlier, died from cancer. About two months later, after grieving for her little one, Tracy decided to adopt another kitty. This time she discovered a cat through a foster parent, who transitioned dogs and cats from the city animal shelter for adoption. The black and brown tabby Tracy named Abby had been abandoned by a previous owner who did not want to pay for her treatment after she was diagnosed with kidney stones. She underwent surgery and was on a special renal care diet to keep her hydrated and flush out her kidneys to try to prevent any more stones.
Abby became a welcome part of our home, though from the very beginning she had some strange quirks. Tracy would even call Abby her "special needs" cat. While she has her unique issues, she also seemed to adapt well to her new home and owner. However, last month, her appetite began to decrease and she would just stare at her water bowl without drinking it. Tracy took her to the vet, who sent out for blood tests. Her renal function was not that bad so the vet adjusted her diet a bit, and also recommended that Tracy put some chicken stock in Abby's water bowl. At first, Abby seemed to respond well to the modifications, but in the last week, she took a big turn for the worse. Tracy brought her back to the vet this past Monday. Another blood test revealed that her renal function did not change much since last month, but the clinic staff gave her some fluid subcutaneously and sent Tracy home with a bag of IV fluid and needles to give her more fluids subcutaneously if she wasn't drinking. That night and the next day she appeared to be doing better, but by Wednesday, she was not eating or drinking much, and then on Thursday, after my sister left for work, Abby just lied on the couch for hours, looking like she was on her deathbed- she would not get off the couch to walk to her water bowl, she refused to eat even when I put her favorite food right under her nose so she could smell it, and she could not stop drooling a thick, foul-smelling saliva. She also did not bother to groom, an activity of which she previously had been meticulous, and the saliva dripping onto her fur made her smell bad. I honestly thought we were going to have to bring her to the SPCA and put her down.
Tracy was able to call the vet's office, who agreed to see Abby right away, and get out of work early. I drove Abby to the vet and Tracy soon met me there. Tracy was very upset with the fact that she was told when she adopted Abby last year that she was 4-years-old, but on Monday, the vet aged her around 8-years-old. Tracy felt as though she had been lied to or at least misled, and maybe if she knew Abby's true age, along with her history of kidney disease, she might not have adopted her. Now she is responsible for a sick cat, one much older than she thought, and her special dietary needs and repeated visits to the vet is costing a great deal of money. I cut to the chase and told the vet that we need to know exactly what is wrong with her- is this an acute condition, that with short-term treatment she could at least return to the baseline level of health she had been for most of the last year (she never will be 100% healthy due to her kidney disease) or is this chronic, for which there is no cure or will require very expensive care, because if it is the latter, then Tracy cannot afford to keep her any longer. The vet stated that she could not tell simply from her symptoms and examination. She recommended an X-ray to help with the diagnosis. Tracy complied though it cost another $175. The X-ray showed that Abby's bladder and kidneys were free from new stones, but that her lungs showed signs of asthma (she was breathing rapidly and wheezing, but we were not sure if that was simply due to all the stress) and she could not rule out pancreatitis. There was another test specifically to diagnose pancreatitis, but Tracy did not want to pay for it. Instead, the vet decided to treat her as if she had asthma and pancreatitis with IV steroids, antibiotics and an anti-nausea medication to prevent vomiting. Tracy also agreed to steroid pills to be given at home, but hold off on any more antibiotics. We took Abby home and did not know what to expect.
On Friday at least, Abby has responded very well to the treatment. She ate voraciously, drank from her water bowl, her drool has stopped, and her breathing rate has calmed down. Tracy and I feel very relieved- it looked very much like Abby may need to be put down on Thursday, but she has rebounded impressively so far. As the vet said, we need to take it day by day with her, but hopefully this was an acute condition and we will be able to keep her for awhile.
With all that stress and uncertainty going on, Tracy and I looked forward to watching Thursday Night Football and cheering on the Bills, which were 5-2 for the first time since 2011 and only the second time during their 17-year playoff drought. With a win over the New York Jets, the Bills would be 6-2 for the first time in 24 years- during their Super Bowl era. While we hoped a big win would cheer us up, the Bills did NOT cooperate. Instead they played by far their worse game of the season and were outplayed in every facet of the game by the Jets. Almost everything that could go wrong for the Bills did. They came into the game 2nd in the league in fewest points allowed and led all teams in takeaways, turnovers and turnover differential (17, 3 and +14 respectively). But they got away from doing all the positive things that resulted in a 5-2 record. They lost three fumbles, did not force any takeaways, gave up the most rushing yards they allowed this season, their own running game was stuffed, QB Tyrod Taylor was sacked 7 times, and there were so many dumb/unnecessary penalties that killed drives. They were just plain horrible and embarrassed themselves on national TV, just as they were starting to receive praise from the media, and many pundits were predicting this would be the year they finally end their playoff drought. Then they lay a huge, stinking pile of shit on their fans' hopes and giddy expectations. At 5-3, the season is not over and they still have time to right the ship and make a playoff push- but only if they correct the abundant mistakes made on Thursday night. Otherwise, it will be 18 years in a row and wait til next year.
The only good thing to occur Thursday night was that the Sabres won- but even that was nerve-wracking. After cruising to a 5-1 lead midway through the 3rd period against the Arizona Coyotes- the team with the worst record in the NHL- the Sabres almost blew it, barely hanging on to win 5-4. If the Sabres had blown that lead, then lost in overtime or a shootout, that really would have been the capper to an ultra-crappy week. But they did win and now move on to Dallas for a game against the Stars on Saturday. Hopefully next week will be better than last.