11.29.2006

Practice for having (human) kids

Last Tuesday night we noticed Papi was in his litter box for quite a long time. When the next morning he sat there again for 45 minutes with a blank stare of concentration on his face, only to leave with no evidence of success, we decided he should go to the vet as he was obviously having trouble tinkling. We brought him to the animal clinic around the corner and after some manhandling and prodding the vet told us he had a urethral blockage; basically a tiny stone in his peep. He would have to be drugged, catheterized, given IV fluids and go on a diet.

The whole experience ended up being quite traumatic (especially for Papi). That night the vet sent the kitty home with us - catheter, Elizabethan collar, IV, pills and all – which turned out to be a huge disaster. He was coming down from heavy sedation and went wild, screaming and thrashing around in his cage (I’m sure the humiliating upsidedown lampshade and the needle jammed up his wiener had something to do with it). We could not possibly take care of him on our own. Worried he might rip out his catheter, we rushed him to the big animal hospital on the Upper East Side.

It is amazing what a difference a great doctor with great people skills can make. As we listened to the new vet explain everything in a thorough and sensitive way, which the first vet had not done, I thought to myself: never ignore your instinct again. Wanting to hug this new vet, I imagined him at home with his kitty or pup or pet turtle on his lap; a much different impression than the one we got at the clinic, where the receptionist kept shouting “shut up!” to the little wiener dog running around. Anyway, this new vet really seemed to make it all ok, and I realized what it must be like for a parent shopping for the right pediatrician.

Back in the hospital lobby we waited for the vet to bring Papi out to us. A man we had seen arrive earlier holding his very big, very old dog in his arms, came back out to the lobby all alone with tears in his eyes. Standing by the elevator he broke down into full blubbering weep, and I followed suit, heartbroken for the man, exhausted and drained. I wanted to hug the man, he seemed so alone; we were so lucky our boy was ok, and he just lost his best friend. It was the 3rd loss we’d witnessed in that waiting room (middle of the night before Thanksgiving, so pretty much any animal brought in was an emergency case). As the man left down the elevator, a nurse came out with her two young puppies, all full of health and happiness.

The low point definitely was seeing Papi doped up at the first clinic; paralyzed, eyes bulging, tongue hanging out and twitching. It was awful. But the high point was when we brought him home from the hospital and, still coming off the drugs, he stumbled around the apartment like a drunk, so obviously happy to be home.


This is a photo taken of him the day before the incident: it’s kinda blurry but I think if you look close his sense of the impending doom is clear:



...and here he is after we brought him home:


His condition has since been upgraded from stable to frisky.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Glad to hear it - poor little Papi.