A new day dawned at 4AM this morning... before the sun was even out. Elsie had woken me up at 12, 2, and then 4 for milk. As of 4, even after I fed her, she wanted me up and moving, and I was kind of up anyway, so... up I got.
It was a long, long morning. I was desperately awaitng 9:30 when I could call the city's cat clinic with the cat specialist and see if they could see her. I did everything I could think of to entertain myself and talked to Els a lot.
9:30 came and the line was busy. At 9:34, I got through. The woman who picked up the phone said that Elsie needed to go to the city's best animal hospital ER, because she needed fluids and tests. It would run over a thousand dollars, and they don't do payment plans. But, it was our only option.
My mom and I had "the talk," in which she told me that euthanasia was possibly on the table, and while obviously I wasn't happy, I also knew that it's not time; not yet. My mom said to let her think and that when she got to my house, we'd talk.
My mom came over around 11. She remembered from when my aunt's friend's cat was old and sick the name of a doctor (Dr. Tarter), a deeply Southern guy who works at Petsmart at the Banfield Animal Hospital. My aunt's friend liked him because he cared well for the cats but worked within financial constraints, and if something was too expensive, did not try to guilt you into doing it (like our current vet does). I called, and they said to bring her right over, that they had an appointment at noon.
Elsie hates car rides, and she was mighty restless the whole time. We got her to the clinic and filled out paperwork. They called her back and noted that she was dehydrated and had lost weight. The doctor came in and talked to her and pet her for a bit before he tried to pull her out of her carrier. Every time someone pulled her out, she tried to run back in, which she never does... she really must be feeling sick.
Basically, the doctor said that there's no way to know if it's truly IBD without extensive testing (which I cannot afford). Even then, he needs her records to tell if her history is consistent with IBD. He said that IBD is often manageable without steroids (which she's been on for over a year on varying doses), and that when she gets through this flare, depending on her records, he might see about daily Pepto Bismal (yep, the pink stuff) instead.
He said that if she'll drink cat milk, that for the short term, give her that. I also bought a super, super high calorie paste (as in, 2-4 teaspoons provides a day's worth of calories) to mix into the milk, and she's taking sips of it. He prescribed a special, easily digestable, high calorie cat food only available by prescription. Cats love it and digest it well, so it should be good.
He gave her Pepto, an injection so that she won't vomit for 24 hours, and fluids in the back of her neck. She has a bubble now. We bought Pepto to give her at home, too.
We came home, prepared some calorie paste/cat milk, and went to run errands. I finally got a break because she had the fluids, so I didn't need to give them to her every hour. When I got home a bit ago, she was miserable and wobbly and just plain weird. Then, I realized about that nausea shot they gave her- that's what happens to me when I get a shot for vomiting! I called the clinic and they said it can definitely do that, and they'll call back tomorrow and if she's not better I can bring her in.
So, we're still counting tiny cat-sized sips of nutrition/fluid instead of ounces like I wish we would be, but he says that she should pull through. We brought her in before she got critical, which was definitely good.
Keep praying? We need it. Pray that I know what to feed her when, that I don't get exhausted, that her poor little belly heals. Pray that she's not in pain. Pray that I have self control, because if I get excited and feed her too much too quickly, she'll start throwing up again. Gotta go slow.
One step at a time.