Any Port In A Storm

It has been a week.  I mentioned before that Styx and Dongalor were sick.  Dongalor is much better now, but Styx is still on antibiotics.  She’s a lot better, but she just needed a longer course.  Actually, she’s supposed to finish up her antibiotics in a couple days.  A few days ago, though, I was really sick and Master had to go out and bring Dongalor for his final vaccination.  That was fine, and I laid on the couch watching TV while Styx cuddled up next to me.

She suddenly looked really funny.  She was completely conscious, but her head and shoulders started twitching really badly.  She’s had a couple twitching episodes before, but never for more than two or three seconds.  We mentioned those to her vet in the past and they said not to worry unless it got bad or seemed like Styx was in pain.  I felt so helpless watching her.  She was crying, and could not get comfortable.  The violent twitching lasted a full six minutes.  I had one eye on the clock because you could see it from where the couch was.  I called Master immediately and explained what was happening.  He said to try to get a video of it with my phone, and that we’d bring Styx to the vet as soon as he got back home…  From the vet.  I did manage to catch a video of it, but it was only the tail end of the episode, so it didn’t show things quite as bad as they were.

At the vet, we showed the video to the doc and she said Styx was definitely having seizures, but that they were also definitely unrelated to her antibiotic.  She wanted to do full blood work, blood pressure, and get a urine sample.  Poor Styx.  We had to wait until Monday to get the results.  It turns out that Styx is in stage two kidney failure, and the doctor is sure that Styx is much older than the shelter thought she was.  We are both devastated.  We thought we had a middle aged (four to eight years old) kitty, and it turns out she is likely closer to twelve.  We haven’t even had her for a year, and she is already sick with kidney failure.

The thing is, Styx could live for years with kidney failure, especially if we take good care of her.  The hard reality though is that both Master and me have had bad experiences with kidney failure in cats.  Samantha had it, and we were even giving her IV therapy at home.  True, the kidney failure isn’t what took her, but she was really nearing the end of her life whether or not she had broken her hip.  Master had a cat long before I knew him and she need daily IVs at home.  She only lived a couple of weeks.

The vet says that the seizures are not likely related to her kidney failure, because if they were, she’d be much further along in the kidney failure.  Sometimes stage four (the final stage) of kidney failure can have seizures, but she said that Styx isn’t there yet, and that we don’t need to give Styx IVs at home..  Yet.  For now, she said to put out a lot more bowls of water, at least one in every room in the house to encourage Styx to drink.  We’re also switching her over to special prescription food, and we’re going to have to redo her blood work in three months.  I hope she starts feeling a bit better by then.

This is just such a shock to us.  In the past few years Master and me have said goodbye to three cats.  Samantha, Sabrina, and then Serenade.  Serenade may still be alive, but that doesn’t change how difficult it was having to give her up.  To this day, I still feel awful about it.  I know Styx may live for years, but the prospect of losing our new baby years before we thought we had to has us both really upset.  Styx is the sweetest cat we have met in a long time.  All she wants to do is crawl in your lap and be loved.  I don’t want anything bad to happen to her, especially since we have had her for less than a year.  It’s just awful.

The doctor said the next step to figure out what is causing Styx’s seizure episodes is an MRI.  We just can’t afford that.  I wish we could, but we really can’t.  It would cost thousands of dollars, and we just can’t justify spending that kind of money on a cat, not that we have it anyway.  So, if her seizures get worse or more frequent, we can start her on medication, but otherwise we’re just going to keep her comfortable when they happen for now.

On another note, last week I wrote about how I’ll be getting a PICC line.  Well, turns out that after all my docs consulted with the nurses who I see each week (they are the sweetest people, too!) everyone agrees that I should get a Port instead.  I feel so confused right now.  First I’m told that a port is too risky for Ehlers-Danlos, then I am told that a PICC line is really best for only short term use.  Every time I think I am at peace with their decision, they change things up on me again.  Not that I really have much pull with my doctors, they all decide what they think I need, etc.  That’s fine and all but it’s just tough being a patient sometimes.  There are plusses and minuses to both the port and the PICC line.  With the port, I’ll be able to get it wet and I’ll be able to swim and shower normally.  I’m excited because that means minimal interruption to my daily life.  With the PICC line, I could have done my infusions at home, but that’s okay.

If my docs think this is the best course, I’m happy with it.  I’m glad it’ll be easier to hide than a PICC line would have been.  The PICC would have needed weekly bandage changes anyway, which is kind of a pain in the bum.  So, port it is.  I am now waiting for the call back from the surgery center to set up my appointment.  The biggest downside?  A port is surgery.  It’s only day surgery, so you don’t need to stay overnight, and while it’s minor surgery, it’s probably still the most serious surgery I’ve had yet.  Still, at this  point I’m pretty much an old hat with surgeries, so I’m not actually too worried about it.  My poor arms have been chewed to Hell and back and all my veins are collapsing or rupturing lately.  I am nearly out of veins, so I hope that we can get this port in soon.

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