Learning Something I’ve Never Even Imagined

As you may remember, we said goodbye to Jasper a year ago. 15 years was a long time to share his life with us, and we were very sad to see him go. Well, his brother Merlin has started losing weight (this has been an ongoing battled, but has recently taken a concerning turn), so we took him in for some blood work to see if we could figure out what was going on. As it turns out, he’s in the early stages of kidney disease, which is really common in a kitty who is almost 16 years old!

Still, this is distressing to us, and the vet talked to us about a course of action. There is nothing we can do to stop kidney disease or “cure him,” but our vet had an idea for helping to ease the progression. It may or may not work, but we were able to find a solution that wouldn’t strain the budget. We’ll try this for a month and then do another blood test to see what the numbers tell us.

What are we trying? Well, I got to learn something I never thought I’d ever do: give subcutaneous fluids to a cat via an IV.
Yes, really!
I guess people even abbreviate it “subq.”
This is like a whole new world!

The funny thing about this, is when I talk to people, I get one of two reactions: a shocked gasp or a knowing nod. I know so many people who have done this for their kitties! I had no idea.

Our vet said to give Merlin this treatment once a week for a month. Last week, Claire and I went in, and they trained us how to do it! Yesterday, we got to do it ourselves, and BOY, was it an adventure!

He tolerated it really well…but even then, he’d had enough right before he’d had enough. *sigh*

I ended up sticking him a total of four times. The good news is that I know what I’m doing now…

The person who trained me said the most important thing to remember is to be confident in your poking of the needle. It also took me a while to figure out how to insert all the tubing and whatnot into the bag, but I figured that out. (They showed me, and it was SO SIMPLE to see them do it with all the “pull this and insert that” stuff…but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right when it was all in front of me! …but I was.) As for being confident, I was just going to have to pretend. 😉

During the first session (yes, there was only supposed to be one session…more on that in a minute), the first “confident” poke went through both “tented” layers of Merlin’s skin and ALMOST into my fingernail on the other side! Eeeeks! Luckily, I have a tough nail polish, or I’m not sure how THAT would have ended. (I know WHERE it would have ended, and that would NOT have been good!)

The second confident poke went well! …until the liquid squirted out of Merlin and onto the kitchen floor! Oooops. (That meant I went through both “tented” layers again! Ack! They’d warned me this could happen, but it’s one thing to hear about it, and another to see it! Then I had to scramble to figure out how to stop the fluids, which I know how to do when things aren’t so URGENT.)

(This was the part of the procedure that almost made me cry! What if I can’t do this!? I took a moment to gather my wits about me, and tried again.)

The third confident poke ACTUALLY went well, and we got what we thought was 150ml into him. He was DONE before we got to 150ml, but we kept him restrained and then let him go…only to realize that when you hold the bag in a different way, (don’t ask. Ha!) we weren’t quite to 150 ml yet! (WHAT!? Aaaargh!)

We let him roam for a bit and then cornered him in my office for a second session (rather than the kitchen this time…the cabinet pulls make a GREAT IV bag holder**, but there was no way to convince him to stay in THERE…). This time, I got everything inserted properly the first time.

**No, “being a great IV bag holder” was not even on our radar when we picked those new cabinet pulls years ago! Who knew!?**

So, the good news: Claire was a fantastic helper. She and I know what we’re doing now and what to expect. Of course, so does he. I held him after the procedure, and he purred and purred and his tongue was sticking out like it does when he’s happy, so I don’t think he’s holding a grudge.

I guess we’ll see how much he remembers next week!

Here’s a pic of him napping while we watched a movie last night. (Yes, our remote is marked for easier use. Our guests thank us. Ha!)

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