22 July, 2008

Playing doctor

When I took Albert in to the vet Monday morning they told me they thought the wound was caused by a wolf worm, a parasite whose larva grows inside the host until it busts out like alien. They said it was treatable, they just had to open up the wound deep enough to dig the parasite out.
Um. Ew.
Luckily, it was a sterile procedure and I couldn’t be in the room. I could dig shrapnel out of my own leg while it was spurting arterial blood. I could give mouth to mouth to a Brother who had just hurled because of a nerve agent attack. I could cut off my nose to spite my face. But I am a big pussy when it comes to animals.
Oddly, they never seem to feel pain like we do. They feel it once, and then let it go. I aspire to this kind of pain management, but I only skirt the edges. A yoga master I am not.
So they took Albert away after weighing her and laughingly telling me that I needed to change her name (implying that I didn’t know how to recognize a vagina when I saw one).
In my defense it has been quite a few years since I’ve seen one. And you should see this fur pattern. She is cleverly disguised as a male, I assure you. She might be bi.
Anyway, they took her and a short time later the nurse came back with her and the vet came in. They told me that there was no worm in the wound, but that it left behind a lot of necrotic tissue, which they cleaned. This left a volcano looking wound in her jaw that about made me retch. The doc made a big show of showing me the wound and talking about what came out of it and describing the technique he used to dig out the gangrene.
Of course, this was better than the field expedient method by which I was trained to remove necrotic tissue, but this was my cat they were talking about, not my leg. I told you I was a big pussy.
I talked to the vet about the way she holds her head to the side and if it was the wound or whether it showed neurological damage. He said that in a very few cases the worm does enter the nervous system and cause problems, but there was no way to tell if this was the case at this stage.
They repeatedly told me how sweet a little kitten she was and, though I am sure they tell this to almost everyone, I knew it was the absolute truth with Albert.
We talked about how to keep the wound clean and what to look for; they even hooked me up with a bottle of saline solution so I could keep it irrigated. They had found worms in her stool, so they gave her a worming medicine and told me to keep Brenna and her away from the feces for a while so they do not infect each other or reinfect herself. They gave her her first shot against feline leukemia et al. She was a trooper.
I got amoxycillin and a dropper so that I could feed her antibiotics for a week until the wound healed. She is not a fan of the stuff, and I am pretty sure she doesn’t like having the dropper pushed into her mouth, but she sure is cute the face she makes when she tastes the stuff. I know I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it.
The bill was a little horrendous, but she is worth it. I can eat pasta this month. I am glad she will be healthy, even if she has had permanent damage done to her. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, either. We fit.
Brenna was a little pissed that I had brought her back. I think she thought I had obeyed her wishes to not let this interloper into the house. She went back to spitting and snarling at Albert and giving me a dirty look and a cold shoulder. After that she retreated to the back bedroom which I had set up to be just hers for a while until Albert got settled.
I am thinking of continuing to call Albert Albert. I am sure she won’t mind. I am also starting to think Angelina would be a nice name, but it doesn’t fit with her other names. Luckily there is no birth certificate to fill out.
Brenna eventually came out of her back room, but that is another story.

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