Vet check up today went well! Chester got out most of his stitches and didn't whine a bit. When his bandage was taken off, his toe toenails went with it, though. The vet wasn't concerned about that and said it was because of the high amount of moisture in the cast. She said they will probably grow back, but if they don't, it's no skin off my back. Either way, it won't hurt him once air gets there and the nail bed can harden.
His toes themselves still look good and hair is starting to grow back in patches. The middle pad is looking alright. It's the shape it needs to be and only slightly bigger than it should be. It has granulation and isn't infected, just swollen. And once the pad is able to dry out and harden, it should go back to normal!
In order to start hardening the callouses, he is now in a much sleeker minimal bandage. He refuses to put pressure on it right now, but the vet said he will once he gets used to it. Even better, he doesn't have to go into the vet for a whole week! But Gyan and I now have to rebandage him ourselves every two days. That should be an adventure. By the time this guy is old and grey, I should be an honorary vet tech. Next week we'll decide if he gets to be completely bandage free and get to be normal for the first time...ever.
Best news of all though, Chester is off the Clavamox! No more oral antibiotics! We just have to put on some topical cream when we change the bandage. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. As long as his discharge is minimal and everything stays clean and smell-free, we just have to attack him once every two days instead of twice every day. That means we can stop giving him so many bribery treats and he can stop constantly gaining weight. I had to put the little bugger on a slight diet to make sure he didn't gain another .1kg in the four days away from the vet. He's still not overweight, but you'd never know it from this picture:
Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!
I know it's easy enough to get there with as little exercise as he gets.
However, he is getting more these days! The last two days have been all about exploration. Every night before bed he sits at the door and stares at it until I roam around the apartment hallway with him. He's also been climbing into every cupboard I leave open. He's unimpressed with the laser pointer, maybe because he can't run perfectly yet. But none of this is retracting from his nap time. He and I are of one soul in that no one takes away our sleeping time. He just gets to do it twice as much as I do. Ah, the kitty life.
Watching Synchronized Diving
Chester is thoroughly enjoying the Olympics and cheering on Team Canada for the first time. He may have been alive during the Olympics here, but we just don't know. He may have even been born during it. Let's just go with that.
By he's thoroughly enjoying the Olympics, I mean, he's sleeping through them all. Sometimes in my closet. He somehow climbed up the drawers of my dresser and slept on top of them in my hanging t-shirts.
It was probably to get away from me, and rightfully so. This morning we forced the little bugger into his tiny WSU jersey. He put up with it the whole time until we finally squeegeed it off of him and he ran away. And hid for an hour. Poor baby. But he had to show off his Cougar pride to honour the wonderful people who have gotten him to where he is.
But he's just so darn cute! If not incredibly uncomfortable looking. The puffy cheeks show just how pleased/angry he is.
Last night he jumped behind the couch and set up a fort in the spare blankets we keep there. He's just so exploratory these days! Either that or desperately trying to find a place to hide from us and our terrorizing him. So many meds shoved down his throat. So many jerseys forced on him. So many belly rubs. Please don't report us to animal welfare.
Otherwise, Chester's doing fine. Mostly sleeping. Just in various places. Sometimes he does this to Gyan's computer too. For hours at a time.
We had to come back to the office and pretend to get things done after Chester's check up today, so I didn't have time to take pictures of his pretty Green and White bandage. It goes nicely with his MSU jersey I got him with my parent's pop can money. (In Michigan, cans and bottles have a 10c deposit and my parents literally never take their own cans back, yet drink about 4 a day. So when I come home, I become a bag lady for a few days and it is magical.) We had tried to get him a WSU Cougars jersey in Pullman in honour of his wonderful surgeons and students, but the silly boy grew out of it before we could get a picture and I have yet to do some tailoring to it. MSU is close enough though :)
As much as you care about that, here's the Chester scoop:
His entire foot is much much less swollen. The middle (metatarsal) pad is still swollen and we're not pumped about it, but to me it looks about half as swollen as it was on Tuesday. And there's lots of healing tissue surrounding it, so there's plenty of blood flow to it and his body is working its hardest to mend himself. All this is great news. He should make a full (well, half as far as size of the foot) recovery! It just needs lots more time.
His stitches still look good and he whined very little during the bandage change. He hasn't been on pain meds for about three days and didn't need them today for the change either. His stitches should come out on Tuesday when we go back in again. That poor little kitty. I was even able to watch the whole re-bandaging without having to pretend interest in the cat food bags on the other side of the room this time. So that should tell you how well he is doing if I can tolerate his (very little) pain. Hopefully, after Tuesday he should only have another week of bandage/casts and then he is home free!
In the mean time, Chester is thoroughly enjoying having both parents home to fawn over him constantly. Four hands means so much more petting. One gets the belly, one gets the chin, one for the ears, and one for the tail base. It also means twice the necks to sprawl on. And twice the faces to paw at. Life is rough for a beloved kitty.
He's probably on his 9th or 11th life by now, but he keeps fighting. It reminds me of this song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSorJ-SMO4M&feature=fvwrel
except that he's getting a whole lot of help coming back instead of people trying to get rid of him. Maybe that happened before in his life, but never again.
Update: I came home to Chester who ran out the door to the hallway of my apartment building. We let him roam around there sometimes and it always makes him super cuddly, but he hasn't wanted to go out since pre-WSU surgery. We paced it back and fourth a couple times with him jumping up to cuddle my hand and purring away the whole time. Then we sat on the couch and snuggled. He's back to his aggressively cuddly days that I haven't seen in months! He then ate and went out onto the porch to "look at bad guys" as we call it. All these are his normal activity circa May and before. I cannot think of any greater barometer for his progress as these are the things I'm most interested in. I did find half his bandage on the couch and had to surgical tape the rest on to make sure it stays for a few more days until the next bandage change. But I like his spunk and tenacity!
Not a whole lot to update on this front. I'm still recuperating from my week in Michigan, Gyan's still recuperating from not being allowed out of this apartment for 10 days, and Chester is happy as ever. It just feels right being back with him in my arms. Though it does make getting anything done rather difficult.
Belly rubs and showing off his new "OUCH!" bandage
Chester goes back into the vet for another checkup tomorrow to make sure his foot is healing. I mean, I don't know what the alternative is, so he pretty much has to heal. I got out of the vet that the blood pressure crashes were indeed due to anesthesia, so any new kind of surgery is not an option. Luckily, everything is still healing, so hopefully with a little more time and love, he'll be picture perfect. He's got plenty of love here and all over the world, and now he's been bought a bunch more time, so he should be just fine.
sleeping on his back. A feat never before possible when his lungs were smushed
Neither Chester nor I have done much but sleep in the last few days, a feat I know we both are fine with. Chester is completely off pain killers but still on sulphur and arnica for the swelling and skin healing and antibiotics of course for the infection in his pad. Tuesday his foot looked much better than last Thursday, so hopefully tomorrow shows even more improvement. We will let you know how it goes!
Tuesday morning; Mama came home! First order of business, cuddle (Figure A). Second order of business, cuddle (Figure B). Third order of business, sleep (Figure C).
Figure A. Attention. My fave!
Tuesday late afternoon, back in the box of sadness. They put me back in that small house on wheels and subjected me to the mean people again. I laid patiently while they took my huge bandage off, excited to finally get some air to the itchiest of places. They fooled me. The "Doctor" as they call her poked and prodded and cleaned my foot for far too long. If they would just let me do it, we could all save a lot of struggle. It took four people to hold me down after that. If you're going to call me a fighter, I will show you a fighter. No one puts Chester in a bandage. Corners are fine.
My foot is so small now! The toes that they so graciously left are looking fabulous, if I do say so myself. So do the incisions where my trouble toes used to be. My beloved middle pad is swollen and painful though. No one was too pleased with this. Don't worry, I'm Chester. I will come through in the end. Overall, I'd say the whole foot is better than it was on Thursday. We'll see again on Friday when I have to be subjected to all this bananas all over again.
Figure B. Belly Rubs, my fave!
Figure C. sleepy. My fave!
Everyone knows me by name and by reputation. They say I'm some sort of "celebrity". I think that means that I am extra handsome, since that's all anyone can say when they see me. I do put most of my non-cuddling energy into keeping myself fresh and clean.
My foot itches like crazy and I hate this giant cast that makes me walk funny. I can put weight on my foot, but it's in such an awkward position that I prefer to whine and make everyone bring things to me. Serves them right, after all.
When we got home, I ran under the bed. Mom and dad are such jerks sometimes. First they put me through all this "surgery" crap. Then they stick my foot in this terrible contraption. Now they won't even let me shred it to pieces. I'm sorry, but what is the use for it then? They put me in the cone of shame while they went out to get delicious food. Selfish jerks.
Now that Mamma's computer is back, I can finally put all my practice on top of her keyboard to good use. But for now, I must regain my strength and nap.
Chester went back into Cats Only today to have his bandage changed, and boy did he hate that. He is an amazingly gentle and docile cat, but he certainly did not shy away from voicing his displeasure as his original bandage was being removed. He whined pretty loudly and had to be restrained by two of us while the vet took off the gauze, but he didn't scratch or bite anyone because that's just not how he rolls. Once the bandage was off they washed his foot and took some pictures for their records and Chester calmed down tremendously. I got a look at his new and (sort of) improved foot, and while it didn't look pretty, it definitely didn't look too bad either. Once we were done we headed back home and Chester crashed on the couch. Generally, he's been a lot less distressed today than he was the first day and a half after surgery, so hopefully that is a sign that he is healing well. Even though his mobility is limited with his injured foot he still loves to play, except that he's restricted to swatting at dangling toys instead of chasing them around the apartment. He goes back in again next Tuesday for a check-up with the surgeon, so we will keep you posted.
Still eager to play with his toys
His fittingly symbolic new shamrock bandage. Lucky to be here after all he's been through.
As Roya posted earlier, Chester is back at home now and not too happy about having a giant bandage on his foot. He tries to bite of the bandages whenever I'm not looking, and he growls incessantly with outrage if I make him wear his cone. He's also gotten pretty good at removing his cone, even when it's tied very tightly. In order to maintain the peace in the apartment I'm letting him not wear his cone, but this means having to constantly keep an eye on him. He tries to sneak into the other room or go around the corner to bite his bandage, and he gets pissed off because he knows I'm not letting him do it, so he glares at me whenever I catch him (see the picture on the right). He really doesn't like having to be a 3-legged cat when he walks around, so he mostly just lies around sulking right now. He calms down and purrs when I lie next to him on the couch and rub his tummy, so it looks like we're going to be spending the next couple of days watching movies. He'll be going back to the vet tomorrow to get his foot re-bandaged and to make sure everything is starting to heal, so that should be an adventure.
Chester catching some rays on the deck
Chester's "You're gonna pay for this" face
This is second hand, but I know I'd be wondering if I were you. Chester is safe at home (I got to Skype with him!). Gyan says he's super angry and growling at him, but that's probably because he's coming out of a huge cocktail of medicines. He's back in his cone of shame until the foot heals also. I would be angry as hell if I were him, too.
He scarfed down some food and laid in the sun on my balcony. His foot is pretty obviously hurting him, but there will be lots of meds, homeopathic and conventional in his future. All looks good so far, so some TLC should hopefully get him back to fighting weight and condition. *Knocking on every surface I can find*
Thanks again everyone. You are all like family to us by this point.
Chester's meds for the next few weeks. Homeopathic meds on the left
Conventional, prescribed meds on the right
So today was the big day, and so far the news is positive. After staying overnight at the clinic and being hooked up with the IV, Chester went in for surgery today to remove his two outside toes on his hind leg. X-rays taken before his surgery showed that his organs are still in the right place from his first surgery, so that is good. There is a bit of scarring on his lungs, but that is not unexpected as part of his lung tissue was removed last time. X-rays on his foot also showed that his bones were not affected by the necrosis, so that is also good news. During today's surgery Chester's blood pressure was a little low but it stayed above 60, which is decent but not great. In his first surgery it had dropped to 30, which obviously had some serious consequences. The surgeon said she could have removed just one bone from each affected toe, but since there was not very much skin tissue left around the second bone in order for it to heal properly, she elected to remove the second bone from each affected toe as well. His two middle toes remain intact and his middle metatarsal pad was shaved a bit to remove the dead tissue and allow for new healthy tissue to grow back over the pad. They are continuing to monitor him at Cat's Only to ensure his blood pressure is stabilized and he will be released either tonight or tomorrow morning. We're not out of the woods yet, but he made it over this first hurdle. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible! More to come later.
Chester has now been admitted to the Cats Only vet clinic and will be undergoing surgery tomorrow morning. They are keeping him overnight beforehand so they can hook him up to the IV and make sure that his body has plenty of fluids, hopefully preventing the dangerous drop in blood pressure that he experienced during his first surgery. In the days leading up to this he has been extremely playful and active and has been pretty whiney when someone's not playing with him. He is also sick of having to be put in his carrier and taken to the vet at this point, so he was sulking pretty hard when we dropped him off. But hopefully this is his last major hurdle and we won't have to go back to the vet for a long time, except for checkups. Good luck Chester!
"But I don't WANNA go back to the vet!!!"