Thursday, July 5, 2012


We saw the fireworks from our living room last night. We thought we'd go see them at midnight, which is when we'd heard they'd been rescheduled after the storm delay. But we heard enough booming over the racket of the air conditioner to look up from our laptops at colored sparks. We could see quite a bit from our windows, over the roof decks across the street. We saw enough to make us happy, anyway.

Snalbert has us worried. He's been on the highest dose of a powerful blood pressure medication since late last week; the usual pills haven't been working. His hypertension is the result of the subcutaneous fluids he needs twice a day for chronic renal failure. Too much liquid strains the system. He also has either lost his appetite or decided to it's boring to eat from bowls in recent months, so he is now entirely syringe-fed by my husband. He's very skilled at it, thank god.

When we came home from Pennsylvania on Monday, Bertie wasn't waiting to greet us at the door as he usually is. He was lying down. I wondered if the new blood-pressure pills were causing problems as I watched him lie around for hours, and then noticed yesterday that he was breathing a little too hard. We took him to the vet first thing this morning. His blood pressure was still much too high despite the risky pills and a chest X-ray showed fluid in his lungs.

Our vet says we're between a rock and a hard place. If we stop his fluids, his renal values will worsen, but if we don't, he'll have congestive heart failure. The vet is keeping him today to monitor his breathing and give diuretics. We're discussing a middle path — giving him half as much fluid twice daily, and seeing how he does. I have no idea how much time this might buy him, if it works. But we're talking weeks, not months, according to the vet.

I haven't mentioned it here, but we are scheduled to go to Paris for a week on Saturday on an all-expenses-paid business trip. I've been curiously unenthusiastic about this; I've had an uneasy feeling since I heard about this trip a few weeks ago. I love Paris, I miss Paris, but I did not want to go to Paris and couldn't explain why. I'm worried about ill, elderly relatives, but that's not it. I have work deadlines but I could have managed. Snalbert was relatively stable until recently. My husband has been kept aware of my continuing reluctance but assumed it was just my general nuttiness — a reasonable assumption. He figured I'd be fine as soon as I set foot in a patisserie over there. 

But as we sat in the vet's exam room, it all became clear. I finally said it out loud: "I'm not going to Paris." Phew. What a relief it is to follow your instincts. And our vet said it was a good plan because Bertie shouldn't be alone all night. They can't board him there in his condition because they don't have overnight staff.

I just called to check on him: they said he's looking better, more alert, and breathing a little easier. He still hasn't peed, however, so he'll be getting more diuretic and we'll pick him up tonight.

So, starting Saturday, it will be me and my two fluffy guys, with occasional appearances from Wendy. I expect to be able to get a lot of writing done. We'll take things one day at a time. Fingers crossed that Bertie hangs in there.


  1. We love them they worry us so. I treated Bo, who had both kidney failure and HCM (heart defect and 1 episode of CHF) with small amounts of sq fluids (60cc) every 24 hours and it held him steady for a long time. So your thoughts of smaller amounts twice a day is good (how much does he get normally in 24 hours?). Of course, I don't know his other parameters as far as lab results, and that's important, too. If you haven't watched the Cornell Feline Health Centers video on kidney disease in cats, it will help understand the BP and related issues better. Here's the link

  2. Thinking of you. Gentle hugs to Bertie and you.

  3. Let me know when you want some overnight/anytime respite duty. Shoulder always available - no waiting.


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