Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tripawed Adventures: The First 24 Hours

Last night we picked Asuka up from the vet after the amputation of her left front leg. When the vet called us in, he held her in his arms. She was still dopey from the anesthesia. He set her on the table as he spoke, stroking her. I noticed she was disinclined to standing then, and huddled close to the countertop. She was wrapped all around with bandages and that stuff they wrap on your arms after giving blood. Hers is a bright, cheerful yellow. She didn't even seem to notice we were there until I got down and looked her in the face.

I noticed a small hint of recognition in her gaze. Her ears pricked slightly and she occasionally meowed through the conversation. The vet gave us some cans of food and a tube in case we needed to invite some food into her mouth if she wasn't eating. We also got four days worth of pain medication in little separate syringes. I can tell you right now she doesn't like the taste of the meds. :)

I ordered the ES Clear that evening. We'll get it in the next week or so, by the time she's off the drugs.

Asuka mewed all the way home, though only half as loud as she usually does when she's taking a car ride. (Boy, can she yell!) I held her in my arms rather than put her in her carrier. It was difficult to figure out the best way to hold her, since her missing leg made it easy to lay on that side, but it probably also hurt like hell.

When we got home, I was going to keep her downstairs on the futon, so I got a towel in case she had an accident. But she started moving around as soon as I laid her down, and I thought she might fall off the futon, so I moved her to the floor. I thought, having just come home and still being dopey from drugs, she'd probably sleep a while longer.

Leave it to Asuka to give me a heart attack right off the bat!

As soon as I moved away, she got up, hobbled to the bathroom, and took an immediate dump in the litter box there. technically, that's Daisy's litter box (she's our third kitty, just adopted her this year). Daisy doesn't get along with the others, particularly Asuka, so she has her food and litter in the bathroom while Asuka and Dusty have theirs upstairs in the loft.

Now let me explain a little about our cabin.

It is a little log cabin, about the square foot size of a small, two bedroom apartment. The bathroom doesn't really even have a door; it's one of those accordian, sliding things that doesn't latch. We also have a curtain hanging up for better privacy. When we want to isolate someone, the best we can do is put one of hubby's kettle bells in front of the part that hinges in the middle and hope the determined kitty doesn't still manage to shove through.

The "two bedrooms" are actually a loft. A set of special stairs had to be made in order to go up through the square hole in the floor which divides the loft into two halves. Really, though, it's a loft with a square hole in the floor. Because the ceiling is peaked in the middle, you have to bend over when you get to the top of the stairs to avoid hitting your head on the slanted ceiling. We had to get rid of the undercarriage of our bed because we couldn't get it all up there. We cut the legs off the headboard, and the mattress is on the floor.

Aaaaaand now about those stairs.

They're actually a series of alternating platforms made so the stairs could climb steeply without banging your knee on the edges. There's no back to the stairs, so the cats often sit on the stair backwards to see what's going on in the kitchen. Dusty, the fat one, goes down them one at a time: he turns sideways to face the next platform, hops down, turns the other way to face the next platform, hops down, etc. until he reaches the floor. Another way to describe the stairs is this: a big, slanted ladder that rests at the top of the hole in the floor of the loft.

Asuka usually races up and down those stairs. I figured I'd give her a few days of healing before letting her go up. i planned on keeping her in the bathroom while I was gone teaching the next day.

After Asuka used the litter, she took off like a shot and RAN up those stairs!

I thought I was going to pass out. For a few seconds, it was like nothing was wrong.

Once Asuka got up there, she found one of her many favorite hiding spots and stayed there. I brought her some of the canned food, which she ignored, but I expected that. I've been feeding her canned food lately because the last few weeks she seemed a little thinner than usual, probably because of the cancer. My husband and I left her up there because, obviously, that was where she wanted to be.

When we took a potty break from our movie, I discovered she had moved to bed. Her back legs were tucked under her like she crouched, but she kind of just let her face smash into the blanket. I checked to make sure she was okay, which she was. I imagine there's nothing that feels comfortable to her just now. Dusty lay nearby. Once he even came over and licked her head, a gesture Asuka usually does not appreciate too often. She seemed to like it now.

By the time we went to bed, she was behind the headboard in the little tunnel made by the slanting ceiling meeting the floor and the headboard itself. I petted her good night (I had to do the earthworm slither to reach her, then wriggle myself back out) and went to bed.

I thought she'd stay there all night, though she usually sleeps by my head or on my chest. Sure enough, about three hours later, she shoved herself through the space between the headboard and the wall and stretched out alongside my arm. I petted her and fell asleep to the sound of her purring.

This morning I offered her more food, even tried dabbing the tip of her nose with it, which she licked off, but she wasn't interested. I gave her one of the little syringes of meds. She does NOT like the taste of it. I imagine it's going to get harder to give it to her as we go.

Hubby said we should leave Asuka there as we were both leaving for a couple of hours. I agreed that we should let her be where she wanted to. After all, food and water and litter box were all up there for her to use, but I was worried she would try to come downstairs before she was ready to navigate them. So hubby rigged up the ironing board at the top. We figured with her wraps, she probably wouldn't try to slip through the rungs of the iron gate that surrounds the edges of the square hole, and the ironing board was short enough that we could step over it if needed.

I've been home for several hours now, and she's back in one of her cubbyholes. I've moved the ironing board because I want her to come downstairs whenever she's ready, as long as I can watch her do it until I'm positive she doesn't need help. She'll get another round of meds this evening. I'm going to try to offer more food in a bit. if she doesn't eat, I may try putting a little in her mouth with the feeding syringe the vet gave us just in case. And little water, too.

Anyway, that's how the first day has gone. I can't help but think that her leg is still there, somewhere under all those wraps, though I know it's not. In two weeks, we'll take her in to get the bandages removed and the staples out. I know then it will be made real even to my goofy brain.

As the healing progresses, I'll post more about her in this blog. But I'll also be starting up Write 1 Sub 1 Reloaded 2012 tomorrow as well. :)

Happy New Year to all, and blessings of health, wealth, and happiness to yours, mine, and ours! :)


Henry's Wife said...

Being the mommy of a tripawd takes some time to get used too. Although Scooter came to us already in tripawd form, it took me months to get used to the fact that he was missing one leg. It took me even longer to (I know this sounds weird) touch his nub. He has long fur and needs to be brushed once in a while, and I'd just avoid his nub. I'm cool with it now, but it took forever.
Asuka's doggie cousin is rooting for her! And on a side note, Scooter is laying on the back of the couch as I type this, and yes, he got up there by himself.

Sparklecat said...

I'm starting to actually see the fact that her leg really is gone now. She's sitting up so much more. I can see her tummy when she sits up, where before both front legs blocked the view. I don't think she's going to have a nub because the vet removed the shoulder as well, but we'll see for sure on Tuesday when she gets her bandages off and staples out!