Monday, July 27, 2015

Sam's Long 2+ Weeks

About a week before I left for my family reunion, I was petting Sam under her chin and noticed that she had two bumps. They were kind of scabbed, so I didn't know if she and Otis had been playing/fighting and it was from that. I didn't do anything about it, but when I came home from the reunion it had grown into a large bump that you could clearly see (previously they were hidden under her fur). I made an appointment to get it checked out, and the vet said that it he couldn't tell by looking at it if it was malignant or benign. He also said that he could feel others on her chin. I made the decision to have them removed and made the appointment for Friday, July 10th.
I dropper her off on Friday morning just before 8am. I heard from the vet around 2pm and he said that she did great and that I could pick her up anytime after 4pm. I got to the vet around 4:30pm, and went back to a room to wait for the tech to bring her to me and give me discharge instructions. Well, the tech comes in the room and she says that she is not comfortable releasing Sam to me yet because she was having trouble coming out of sedation and that her body temperature was 95 degrees and it should be around 100. She said they were going to give her another dose of sedation reversal meds and that I could come back in about an hour and a half. This is when the bad day of July 10th started, and made it a day I would never want to live again.

I came back at 6 to get Sam, and they said that she was responsive and released her to me. I had dinner plans that night, and asked the tech if it would be ok if I left her for a couple of hours. She said that it probably wasn't a good idea (and when I got her home, there was NO WAY I would have left her). These were the discharge instructions from the vet: "Sam's skin lesion, on her mandible, was removed. A large piece of tissue was excised as I appreciated multiple small nodules throughout the entire area. Also small white pustular material was seen after the tissue was excised (and prior to closure). Sam's chin is pulled off to the side. Her skin will stretch and the chin will look better over the next few days to a week. I have sent the tissue to an outside lab. I should have a report in the next week or so. I will call you with the results..."

I got her home and up to my apartment and opened her carrier, and there was no movement. I lifted her out, and laid her on the bed and she still seemed very out of it. I called the vet right away as I knew they were still open for a half hour, and asked what the definition of "unresponsive" was - when I picked her up, they told me that if she was unresponsive to take her to the emergency clinic. To me, she seemed pretty unresponsive at this point. I laid with her for a bit, but Otis was hungry and patiently waiting for food. I put Sam in the middle of my bed, thinking she was not going to move at all. As soon as she heard me getting food for Otis, she came out of the room (not walking well, but at least she was on her feet).
She had a little to eat, and then went to her favorite box and I thought she was doing better. A few minutes later I checked on her in the box, and she was out again (out being that she would only twitch her eyes a bit if I touched her). At this point I took her back to my bed and just sat with her for the majority of the night. Her ears and paws were freezing cold, so I had her covered up just trying to keep her body temperature up (I am sure her body temperature was still really low when I picked her up). I ended up calling the emergency vet to get their opinion on how she was acting, and the vet there said that the way she was acting was pretty normal for an older cat (Sam is about 11 or 12), who is on seizure medication and who had gotten a pain shot (while she was under anesthesia, they gave her a pain shot that would last her 3 days). I also had my mom come over for a while...I was quite worried about Sam. I thought for sure I had killed her by making the decision to have the growths removed and was second-guessing that decision (even though I was trying to do the best for her).
Before I went to bed, I made this pillow "cage" on my bed so she couldn't go anywhere during the night without me knowing. Around 2am or so, she started to get a little more energy so we were up to eat a couple of times during the night.
By Saturday morning, she ate her normal breakfast but was still groggy. Her ears had warmed up by this point though and she definitely seemed a lot more "with it." I was supposed to spend the day at the lake on Saturday, but cancelled that as well. At least she was back to laying in some of her favorite on my suitcase.
Over the next few days she got back to her normal self. I had her in the cone whenever I was gone, but allowed her to be out of the cone if I was home and watching her. Tuesday night (7/14) I came home from work and fed her and then she came and sat on the recliner with me. I was doing a few things on my computer, and got up to get ready to go to the gym and noticed that her neck was all bloody. I checked the incision and it had come open (the vet had buried disposable stitches so she wouldn't have to go back for suture removal). Well, I packed her up and was on the phone with the vet - we were either going there if they could still take us before they closed, or we were going to the emergency clinic. Her regular vet said to bring her in, and the vet who did the surgery was there that night. He looked at it and said it didn't look too bad, but that he would need to re-stitch it. He told the tech they would need to "gas her" to do it, and that made me jump into their conversation given Friday's sedation session.
They did end up putting her in the gas chamber as they called it. It is like laughing gas - she breathes it for about 5 min and it makes her be out for 5 minutes - just long enough to get stitches in. She was a little groggy on the ride home, but after 5 minutes of being home she was up on the dishwasher as I was trying to do dishes - I was glad she came out of that quickly.
The next two weeks were uneventful - this is a picture of the incision a couple of nights after she got the external stitches.
Every day before work I left her like this in the cone. She didn't try to fight me when I put it on her - either it didn't bother her, or she just trusts me that much.
And this was a picture of the incision a couple of days ago...looking much better.
The stitches were removed tonight. When the tech came to get her, she said that if they couldn't get them out with her being awake that I would need to bring her back another time. Her vet was not on duty tonight, and the vet that was there was not comfortable putting her out at all given her history with sedation. The tech came back less than 10 minutes later and said that Sam behaved like a champ when they took the stitches out. So happy this ordeal is over. And the pathologist report came back as benign - it ended up being swollen glands that had gotten quite infected.

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