Twelve years ago today, Mario came to live with us. And this was his past week.
A lot of what I'm posting here, I've posted elsewhere, so bare with me.
Thursday Mario had me on Xanax. He normally poops in Brian's shower. This isn't a problem. And Brian will relate the properties of said poop. (So if I need to start giving Mario Miralax to soften the stool.)
Mario threw up foam in the living room, then fell over (he was on his back like a turtle when I went out to see what was going on).
Mario was mighty uncomfortable at his tail end. And his belly. He actually growled and bit me when I was gently palpating the areas. Pee problem or poop problem? I gave him some Miralax yesterday morning, then he ate some A/D (I figured that would help move things along, if it was poop).
He slept for a while, then got up. I carried him outside into the tall weedy grass. He walked around a bit (still didn't like being touched below the waist) and I was pulling grass from around his paws when I realized my hand was getting wet. Okay, he can pee, he's not blocked. That leaves constipation.
He got more Miralax late that afternoon. He slept pretty good most of the afternoon and evening. He did get up a couple of times during the night. Since we lost Rachel, he's the only cat you potties outside of the litterbox. This morning (Friday), I found a short wide turd in the garage, on the floor. There was a pointy dry end. I assume this was from Mario. He got more A/D with Miralax this morning. He'll be getting Miralax on a regular basis now.
I asked Brian Thursday "did Mario poop yesterday?" meaning Wednesday. He thinks about it "yes, just a small hard one". I said "you need to tell me about this. You're the only one that sees what he does and I depend on you to share that information with me".
So, I'm thinking, no enema at the vet, Mario IS feeling better today (Friday), I can softly rub around his tail without him getting pissed like he did Thursday.
Then, yesterday happened. Mario wasn't good. At all.
We had a pretty heated discussion before taking Mario to the emergency vet . Brian's all "I don't want to be spending thousands of dollars on a cat that's old and in bad shape!"
And I can understand that. And my comeback was "I don't want him to be in pain. He's in pain. I don't know how to fix it. I can't fix it. I won't do an enema on a cat, I don't know how and I could really hurt him. I don't want him to be in pain. What do you suggest?"
Crickets. Then, a little while later the discussion continued. I know all he needs is an enema. He's peeing fine, he's eating, he's not vomiting, he just has a hard as a rock piece of feces stuck in his bowels that the Miralax isn't helping. There was runny stool around his butthole this morning, but that's from the soft shit (Miralax was working on something) that's squeezing by the rock. We had this with Annie all those years ago.
And he said "if we can take him in somewhere and just get the enema, I won't have a problem with that".
I call around. The place that wanted to charge us over $4000 for running tests on Monica (who, in fact, had cancer in her tummy, they found that out before running any super expensive tests) was the first place I called and this time, they answered the phone. I explained the situation and she said the exam is $95 and we can take it from there. Just bring him in. So, we did.
We waited in the car, then one of the workers yelled out the door "Mario?" and I took him over, bringing the notes I'd typed out on his history, his symptoms and what I'd done so far. And we waited.
While we waited I said something to Brian about him being in a bad mood. And one of the things he said is "if I'd told you about how bad his poop was getting, we wouldn't be here. I feel responsible". Because I'd have started Mario on Miralax days earlier that I did.
When the doctor called a half hour or so later (we were in the car), she explained what they'd done so far and what the plan was. (His back is really hurting him, I should ask the regular vet about pain management for that.) And we agreed that right now it's a quality of life thing, to make him as comfortable as possible. So, the exam, x-rays, an enema, pain meds. Then I asked if she had any idea how much it would be. She said probably around five hundred. So, that's not a problem.
I asked if it was okay if we went home, told her we lived about twenty minutes away and she said it was fine, they'd call and give me a proper estimate since hers was just ballpark. And call they did, it should be around $485 to $502. I guess they'd already taken the x-rays and figured all he would need is the enema to solve the problem.
Now, we waited for a phone call to come pick him up.
They called around four and said he was all done, the doc went over his treatment for the next few days and that they'll be emailing me the paperwork.
They called again for payment info, then sent an invoice and payment mail. I had to sign that and we were all done. All we had to do was wait for the call to say we could come get him (they had other people to check out before us).
The call came around five and we got to the parking lot, I called and less than ten minutes later we were on our way home.
Gabapentin and lactulose were sent home with him.
He peed in the carrier on the way home (there was a blanket in it, so he didn't get real wet, just his tail), Brian let him out in the bedroom, he cruised the house, did a tiny poop, then climbed on the bed and last I saw, he was cleaning himself. Scratch that, he was just walking down the hallway.
And he's walking much better. Losing the built up stool and the pain meds, he must be feeling a lot better.
So, that was yesterday. He cruised the property, checking things out. He was walking a lot better than in the video I posted on YouTube last week. He settled in nicely for the night. This morning, I gave him the gabapentin around six, the lactulose around seven. I opened a can of beef and chicken Fancy Feast before eight, gave it to him on the bed. He just laid there, eating from the plate, then tried to stand up when he'd had enough (over a half of a can).
Houston, we have a problem. He was having an incredibly difficult time standing up. AARRGGHHH! My first thought was the gabapentin. I knew there was a reason I quit giving it to him when his stenosis was first diagnosed. We're going to have to work on the dosage, for sure. In the past hour or so, I've taken him outside to see how he was walking. Pretty wobbly. His back legs are having a hard time staying in the upright position. Damn it. I let him walk for a while, but he was clearly out of his element. I took him back into the bedroom and put him on the bed. He laid down and I thought he was going to sleep. I checked about ten minutes later. He wasn't on the bed. I checked around and found him on the throw rug next to the bed, under the stool. My guess is he slipped off of the side of the bed. Not a good thing.
I went out to Brian, Mario in my arms, and explained the situation. What would we do? Then the simplicity of the solution slammed me right between the eyes. Remove the stool. Duh. No stool, he can't get on the bed. If he can't get on the bed, he can't fall off of it. Common sense, am I right? Brian also cut a piece of foam to fit across the bottom of the door so Mario couldn't get out of the bedroom. No problem for the other cats, they aren't blind. And the humans won't have a hard time stepping over it.
So, for the past forty-five minutes or so, Mario has been in the bedroom with no bed access and he can't leave. I put a blanket on the floor for him and there are rugs next to the bed. I put a small bowl of kibble for him, there has always been a big crock of fresh water available. And I just went to check on him and here's something only a dedicated pet parent will understand.
HE POOPED IN THE SHOWER! The biggest piece in days, it wasn't hard, it wasn't light colored and dried out. Probably about three inches long. I picked it up in toilet paper and proudly took it out to Brian's shop and showed it to him. He was just as excited as I was.
Now, all I need is to see Mario resting on a rug or the blanket. Since I found him on the floor, he hasn't calmed down. I know he's safe where he is and I can check on his potty progress. And hopefully, this will be done in a few days, we can get back to normal. Well, a new normal. More meds for Mario, because this isn't going to ever completely resolve.
Hell of an anniversary, wouldn't you agree?