Monday, October 08, 2007

I Poisoned my Cat

I raced to the bedroom to break up what I thought was another cat fight. The banging from behind the night stand sounded intense. I moved the nightstand and Tabitha lurched out. I pulled her out further and to my horror she was in the midst of a full blown seizure. All her muscles were taunt, she was practically convulsing.

I immediately scooped her up and put her in the sink to wash off the greasy flea treatment that stained her back. It's the only reason I could think of for this happening: she was having a reaction.

D walked in as I was cuddling Tabitha in a towel and rocking her. D has experience with seizures. Her adopted standard poodle, Samantha, has suffered them more than once. She understood my worry.

Tabitha walked on her haunches but responded to petting, her hind end would raise when I hit her ass button. She vocalized a few times but was very disoriented and couldn't focus to eat or drink. D could see I had my hands full and left with a "Call me if you need me".

As the minutes ticked by, Tabitha worsened. She couldn't stand any longer. She just laid on her side, twitching uncontrollably. It reminded me of my Dad towards the end. The medication made him twitch and his arms and legs would flail.

I called the new vets office, closed. I called my previous vet. After some time on hold, the receptionist told me that the on call doc could see her but there'd be a $75 emergency fee....blah...blah.... I explained that I had treated Tabitha with some spot on flea treatement yesterday and that she had been perfectly healthy up to this point. I didn't get any indication one way or the other that I should bring her in immediately. I was told that I could watch her and if she had more than 3 seizures in an hour, I should seek treatment. I didn't feel reassured or guided in any direction.

I phoned D and she phoned a friend that works in a vet office with my info. D called back and said that her friend had seen an allergic reation such as this in a kitten recently, the kitten almost died. At this point, Tabitha couldn't even stand, her body was twitching badly and when she started purring in response to my petting and talking to her - she went into convulsive twitching.

It was 8PM at this point and I headed off to a local 24/7 emergency hospital.

I was afraid more than once, on the ride there, that I had lost her. I kept my hand on the carrier to make sure there was still movement. Right before I arrived, I think she seized again.

The receptionist took her right away down the hall, shouting I need help with a cat here. I couldn't even remember my own phone number when I was filling out the form. The receptionist was so patient and reassuring with me. I relayed my info about the flea treatment. I couldn't remember what brand it was, I had bought it back in the spring. I had one left over from a 3 pack. It was generic, I bought it at the grocery store. When I was finally done, they put me in exam room 4 to wait, it was 8:37.

I paced. Son called twice. D called. I wanted to throw up.

At 9:07 the Dr. came in. A young, fresh faced brunette. She confirmed my suspicions of it being a poisoning from pyrethrins. She reassured me to not feel guilty because it's sold as safe. But, it isn't. The Vet expressed her outrage at these products being sold. It's a common occurance for this to happen to cats treated with over the counter pyrenthins. They should be outlawed.

Tabitha was on IV fluid and heavily sedated with muscle relaxants to stop the twitching, which could lead to another seizure. They bathed her again, because the stuff is oil based. They would keep her overnight and, depending on how she was in the AM, I could take her home. She would need to be treated at home with muscle relaxants for a few days. She was honest with the treatment being expensive and some pet owners not being able to afford the cost. She would have an estimate drawn up and they would require a deposit on treatment.

This is my Princess. She's 13 years old, and moves like a kitten. (The vet commented on what great shape she is in for a 13 year old). This is my baby that will leap from the floor to my chest and rest on my shoulders as long as I will let her.

It was my fault. I did this to her. Tabitha was once an aggressive and easily spooked 2 year old & would attack strangers that held her. She has grown into a loving, affectionate, gentle lady that loves to greet company and won't even fight back a young punky interloper.

I paid the $516 deposit and left her in the capable hands of the hospital. They brought her to me, still wet from another bath, limp & sedated. They put tears in her eyes because she couldn't even blink. She was out of it, but relaxed. Only her whiskers were twitching now.I can call to check on her at any time (24/7). Hopefully, I'll be able to pick her up in the morning. I'll take the day off, if I need to.

I called Mom on the way home. Mom is out of work again because she is in A-Fib. Set off by being totally freaked that her car registration expired last Sunday. We were in Maine and I was planning on doing the bills for her again. She started without me and went into panic mode when she hit that particular bill. I tried to reassure her, but she was convinced that she'd be pulled over on the way to work and have her car towed and arrested since it'a a felony to drive unregistered in Massachusetts. I got online that night at home and processed the registration. The paper print out was little comfort to her since it wasn't a confirmation of registration. That Monday, she was convinced that every car was occupied by a police officer on her way home. She felt better when e-mail revealed a confirmation she could carry with her as proof of registration. She went into A-Fib Tuesday morning. She can't handle that kind of stress. I tried joking with her "Jeez -imagine if you did something really wrong!" She see's the cardiologist tomorrow to find out if she will be cardioverted again. It's my fault, I slacked off on going there and taking care of the bills.

My grief is nothing, compared to hers. I need to make sure I take better care of my Mother. I won't survive losing her too and, I need to be there for her.

The well is running dry here. If anything else happens, I just might fold like a house of cards.
I'm not looking for sympathy here. I've been extremely lax in posting, now you know why. I've read the very kind comments, I just haven't had the time, or frame of mind to respond, or post more frequently. At times, I feel as though I'm losing my mind, other times, getting through the day is all I can manage.

I start a "Loss of a Parent" support group Thursday. This new world without my Daddy completely sucks. I don't imagine that there is any "easy" or "good" way to deal with the loss of a parent. Devastating is an understatement.


Anonymous said...

Oh Sharfa...

Sending hugs to you and your sweet little girl kitty both.

I know how much it sucks, trying to care for your Mom, and missing your Dad so much. It doesn't matter how old we are when we lose a parent... it hurts so much.

Continuing to keep you, and your entire family in our prayers every day...


Beth said...

I cried for a day after reading your story about your dad.

You see, I am not as close to my dad as I would like to be. I am his favorite but don't see him as much as I would like. He is 84 yrs. old and his eyesight is failing but I don't know how to help.

Even tho your dad is gone I am so envious of the relationship you had with him. It was a wonderful amazing thing.

I am so happy your cat will be ok. My animals are everything to me. I completely understand. I really hope you are able to afford the vet bills. We have a small farm and I agonize over all of them. My sweet Auracauna hen had a severly swollen eye(I put eyedrops in everyday) but is finally better. It's so hard, how do I afford to call the vet for a chicken? I almost did.

Anyway, enough about me, I love to read your writing! Right now my adorable sheltie is crying to go out. Take care so you can care for your Mom.

Chunks said...

Girlie girl, you are so hard on your little self. Please take care.

I hope sweet Tabitha is okay. What a scary thing!

I'm glad you're going to a support group, I think it will help you along in your process. Peace and hugs to you!

Sharfa said...

Tabitha is doing much better!

Thanks Beth. If you're not as close to your Dad as you'd like to be, why not do what you can to change that? If it's geographical distance that's a problem - call him, send letters, whatever it takes. Maybe there is nothing you can do to help, but you have a chance to tell him how you feel. Do it now so you have no regrets later.
I'm very lucky to have had such a wonderful Dad, he is the best!

It's always the same in the end with my babies - screw the cost, I do whatever needs to be done.

Chunks - Thanks. Tabby is doing great and being terrorized by the hellion again. Blew off the support group - I had 1 1/2 hour commute each way on Thursday! By the time I got home a t 6PM, I was toast and it was pajama time!

Suldog said...

God, Sharfa, don't blame yourself. You were given medication that was supposed to be safe, by a knowledgeable medical professional. How could you have even imagined that you were doing anything but the right thing?

Prayers your way, as usual.