It might be hard to tell, social media algorithms being what they are, but I’ve been pretty much checked-out for a few days. The reason? Merrykitten got his diagnosis, and I’m not dealing with it well. At. All.
It isn’t dire, but it’s bad. His specialty labwork ruled out liver issues and hypothyroid, which leaves only congenital megacolon as an explanation for his symptoms. Basically, due to birth defect or possibly pre-birth injury, (cause may forever be a mystery) Merry’s guts just aren’t ever going to work right. It’s technically the same condition a lot of middle-aged cats get, but cause matters.
(TMI bodily function warning)
Merry is 16 weeks old, and he has now been to the vet 5 times in 2 weeks for bowel cleanouts. He is getting 2 meds direct by mouth, one every 6 hours (which yes, means once at 2 AM) and one every 12 hrs. He’s now on prescription canned food, which he gets in spoonfuls every few hours because he’s ravenous all the time but can’t be allowed to gorge. Also I have to hide his brother’s kibble, because Merry’s guts can’t handle it, which means Pippin’s feeding has been thrown off, which is, y’know, the kind of thing that leads to minor kitty constipation which is…UGH ANXIETY-INDUCING FOR CATMOM.
And all this isn’t a “it’s hard, but it’s only while he’s sick” situation for Merry. It’s a forEVER thing. BEST case is that the meds start working at a dosage he can tolerate and things get moving so he’ll only need them every 8 hours along with the prescription canned food. Every day. Forever.
Well. Forever until he develops a tolerance to the meds and/or he manages to eat something/do something that throws off his gut and he locks up again. Then he would have to back to the vet for more enemas and med adjustment, and so on. Expensive (even with pet insurance) painful, frightening and confusing for him. Rinse and repeat.
There is a surgery option. But. JFC. If there’s no complications, recovery involves issues like “most cats have proper formed feces again within 6 weeks.” (Which means some don’t.) And persistent diarrhea is another outcome. AND the megacolon can still recur. Merry is only 4 months old. And he’s a cat. How much can we justify inflicting? I don’t know. Who would we be doing it for? Him, or us?
In case it isn’t clear between the lines, guilt is ripping me apart. I feel like I should be able to say, “he’s my beloved baby, I’ll do anything for him, at any price,” but I guess I am a monster, because I can’t. I can’t do litter box hypervigilance+prescription canned food+meds for 20 years. I did it for 3 with Scooter, and it nearly broke me. Other people do. Other, incredible, admirable people do much more. I respect the hell out of them. But I don’t have that in me, selfish monster, that I am.
So anyway, Spouseman & I are staring down hard choices. Not ones we have to make immediately. I hope. Fingers crossed Merry’s meds kick into gear this weekend. But even in the best case, his condition simply isn’t sustainable for us longterm, and I–I just don’t know how I’m going to deal.
And if he doesn’t stabilize soon, which is entirely possible–no. I can’t bear to look at that bridge yet, much less think about crossing it. Is pre-grief a real word? I think it should be.
We’ve had a good couple of days in episodes between my flakeout meltdowns. Both kitties are being spoiled rotten with all the petting, brushing, games of toy fetch and strategic napping. Did I sleep in the bathtub with Merry the night after his Really Bad vet day? Why, yes, I did. He was so sad and lonely, apart from his brother for the first time ever. And Spouseman slept on the couch with Pips. This week, kitties are back together in Big Kitty Safe Space overnight. Progress, of a sort.
Our furbabies are both precious and sweet and I am going to keep trying to focus on making good, sweet moments with them while I have them both and also do as much normal life stuff as I can while I do it.
I have been plowing through fluff reading to escape reality (New Murderbot! Raybearer! A whole new mystery series!) Multiple readers have made a point of sharing kind things about my writing with me this week. (Why, yes, I am a shameless affirmation sponge, capable of soaking up praise even in the Worst Of Times ) I haven’t been able to write a word until this, right now, but I have done some graphics escapism and some convention prep and lots of plot-dreaming.
And I’ve been stress-cooking, so dinner last night was crockpot pulled-pork sliders on homemade rolls, & tonight there was marinated chicken on the grill with fresh cucumber salad. Life goes on when food goes on the table.
Next week, I’ll tackle the scary task of following up on multiple communications I have dropped, missed and/or didn’t have mental processing space available when I received them.
Anyway. Thanks for reading to the end of this update. I wish I had happier news to share.
Reward picture of the adorafloofs from earlier today: