My little friend, Spider, is very sick. She almost died on February 4th.
When I woke that day, I couldn’t find her. That wasn’t surprising. She has several “secret” places in our apartment. She can crawl into places that I can see only with difficulty.
Assuming that Spider would appear when she woke up and wanted breakfast, I started watching the Today Show. Suddenly, I heard a horrible howl. It sounded as if she were caught somewhere. I rushed to help her. A second howl that drifted off into a moan led me to frantically search the living room. I found Spider under the couch, lying on her side and seizing. In a panic, I scooped her up, threw on some clothes, and rushed her to the Hudson Animal Hospital.
The doctor told me that there was little hope, but took her to the back hoping to be able to draw a bit of blood for analysis. In tears (some of which are repeating as I write this), I called my dear friend, Loretta, for support. She told me she’d be at the hospital as quickly as she could. I hung up my phone and fell into tears, heartbreak, and prayer. (I’m often aware of the All There Is, but seldom talk to It directly. I’ve done that a lot in the past week.)
I can’t recall whether Loretta or the news of a miracle arrived first. The doctor was able to get enough blood to learn that Spider’s blood sugar was dangerously low. After giving her intravenous fluids to restore her to a better level, Spider stopped shaking, opened her eyes, and shifted into her normal resting/sleeping position.
The doctor told us that it would be best for Spider to go to Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center of Tuft’s University. She said she would call as soon as Spider was strong enough to travel. We went to Loretta’s home to wait. (On the way, I picked up our breakfast at McDonald’s.)
Later, when the doctor called, we picked up Spider and took her to the Emergency Room at “Cummings”. Dr. Ambrosini, Spider’s new doctor, ran several tests and consulted with a cardiologist and neurologist. Spider has heart disease, damaged kidneys, infection and/or lymphoma in her intestines. (We’re still waiting for the results of an extensive blood test that Dr. Ambrosini sent to a lab.) The cardiologist said that Spider’s heart was probably strong enough to tolerate steroids (to suppress excessive insulin production; thereby maintaining a proper level of blood sugar), but that anesthesia for an MRI was too dangerous. (A brain tumor might be the cause of the seizures and sugar regulation.) Dr. Ambrosini and I agreed to risk the steroids, but forgo the MRI.
Spider came home on Tuesday of this week. (She could have come home Monday, but a blizzard got in the way.) She came home with a special diet and a lot of medicine … a daily steroid injection, a heart pill (split in half and given twice a day), two liquid antibiotics given twice a day, and a liquid anti-seizure medicine given 3 times a day. The days are, of course, 24-hour periods. To avoid giving Spider more than two medications at a time, I set up a 6 times a day administration schedule.
The schedule is tough on both of us, but Spider seems to be getting better. She’s getting around on her own and eating well. She sleeps on my desk behind a PC. The heat from its exhaust fan probably helps her regulate her body temperature. She may even be regaining some of the weight she’s lost.
How much better she gets is the big question. She’ll be 17 years old at the beginning of next month. (That’s about 85 to you and me.) Maybe the lab tests will show something that can be corrected. So far, we’re treating symptoms. Is she dying? Yes, she is … but, so am I; so are you; so is the Universe. Eventually, entropy wins. The question is, “How soon?”
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