Torvald has congestive heart failure.
He doesn’t know it, as such. He’s out on the porch right now, chilling in his cat platform, after a night at the veterinary hospital that he must have found unspeakably obnoxious — though the vet techs apparently all came and cooed over him, with his regal kiss-my-ring way of sitting and gorgeous flokati-rug coat. He is full of Lasix, like a human heart patient. He sees the cardiologist on Friday.
Yeah, there are kitty cardiologists. Getting an exam from one is not as expensive as I was afraid it would be, though I would have found a way. When they know why exactly his heart isn’t pumping hard enough — whether it’s a bad valve thickened wall or what — they’ll have a better idea what drug to give him. Apparently there are several ones that help, depending.
What happened was, he had been a little slow for a couple of days — not running to his usual cues as briskly (like the sound of the door to upstairs, which might allow him to harass other cats), not quite as eager for food. He’s only about six, best guess, but they do get arthritis and hip dysplasia sometimes, cats, and that was what I was thinking — Apricat’s arthritis showed up when he was around seven. But no. Yesterday afternoon he got up out of the cat bed about five, close of the day’s business of marathon napping as I figured, walked across the carpet four feet and just plunked down again.
Not like Torvald. I went over. His ribs were pumping sixteen to the dozen, like the movements of someone working a hand pump to inflate a tire. I picked him up and set him in the chair. He looked a little dazed, stunned, farblondjet.
I called the Engineer to see if he was on his way home, and then I called the animal hospital, and shortly a technician was asking if I would authorize x-rays and then a slightly louder-than-life, handshaking, apple-crunching vet was explaining that there was fluid in his lungs and what could cause heart failure. I always end up talking shop with these people; I may sound like a jerk pitching in with my clinical stories (the time I diagnosed a deep vein thrombosis, because unlike a heart failure patient, the client had edema only in one foot), but I notice it makes them cough up more complex medical information, which I want.
They let us go in to pat him goodnight before he settled down to a long agenda of Lasix injections and peeing. There was a big orange CAUTION card on his cage. His expression said “Damn straight I’m a caution.”
By the time they let him go at ten this morning, after a five-thirty wake-up call to tell me how he was doing, which followed getting to bed way late last night because I had to eat something, dammit, I was the one who was farblondjet. I had already made a date with a coked-up receptionist at the cardiology practice, who in my groggy ears sounded like the guy in the Fed Ex ad. Too much espresso, my guess. I am sure she thought I was a crank asking her to please slow down, and NO I would not drive to their other location, over unfamiliar high speed roads with a sick cat in the car, to get to the appointment she had today. The cat has meds, I am beginning to think I need meds, we can make it till Friday. He got up in his cat platform, about thigh high on the porch, under his own steam, and has been hanging there with Aggie since early afternoon.
Just a few weeks ago when he had crystals in his pee — the first thing he’s ever ailed for in his life — the vets told me to keep his water intake up with plenty of water dishes and wet food, they gave him extra fluids to keep the crystals in solution, and here this cardiac thing has been keeping the fluid in his body rather than flowing out, and I asked if that could have precipitated the one-two punch of crystal attacks since his urine volume was bound to be low as a result, and they looked at me like I had two heads. Oh well. It makes eminent sense to me. At least as much sense as “stress,” which Dr. Cohn kept invoking in a glib way that made me want to stamp my foot. I mean, GUILT, plus even if stress is involved it’s going to take the low road home through whatever metabolic process is faltering.
Wish me luck getting the pills in him. Goddammit. I mean, goddammit.