Monday was a regularly scheduled vet appointment. Nishka got her checkup, her rabies shot, her distemper shot (her last one ever - she's almost seventeen, and the vet wouldn't have recommended this one except that we're contemplating adding a third,) and a blood draw for her senior health screen. Becket got his checkup, his rabies shot, and a blood draw for a pre-surgical health screen - I want to get his teeth cleaned.
That all cost just south of $700. Ouch. Dr. Hurley told me that he was off on Tuesday, and would call with the results on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, my phone at work rang, and the caller ID showed my vet's phone number. There's no way that ever ends well.
"Hi, this is Dr. Frattini. Dr Hurley is off today, but I just got off the phone with him..." Looking worse all the time.
Long story short, Nishka has come up diabetic. Rather hugely so. They like kitties to have a BG of 100, but will accept 200-250 in a stressed animal. Hers was 517. Because sometimes they'll throw a huge number under stress, he asked me to bring her back to double check. So I went back on Wednesday, and her BG was 670. NOT going in the right direction little girl...
There are a few very bright spots in this whole thing. Diabetes in cats is fairly simple to manage. Cats can often "honeymoon" - when switched to a high-protein, low-carb diet an initially supported with insulin, their pancreas can mend itself and they'll cease to be diabetic. That's the ideal outcome. Also, despite the sky-high BG readings, she's not sick yet, so we must have caught it at the very beginning. Of course, now that I'm looking for it, I can see the increased/voracious hunger and thirst, and I feel hugely guilty that I didn't before. But we let them free-feed, so I don't really pay attention - we make sure there's fresh food in the bowl at all times, that there's clean water at all times, and Bob has been scooping the box. But she hasn't started losing weight, and while she's dumping huge amounts of sugar into her urine, there's no sign of ketones. So we're in a good place.
So Wednesday morning instead of getting the various state senators who came for a tour through security, I stood in an exam room at the vet's office and learned how to give a cat an insulin shot. It's actually shockingly easy. He had me practice using the needle and drawing fluid with a bottle of saline solution, and then I got to practice on Nishka. He said that he wasn't going to let me leave until I'd done it twice, comfortably. I apparently did well, because I gave her two shots of saline and he cut me loose. He also assured me that at some point I'm going to miss and give myself an insulin shot. They're also culturing a urine sample to make sure she doesn't have an infection going - I guess these things often go together.
They set me up with fancy cat food and a follow up appointment for next week - this one was just over $300. I dropped of the scrips for insulin and needles, and that ran about $150 (plus a sharps container.) Three days, and I spent just over $1,000 on the cats. Sheesh.
The biggest problem that I foresee with this isn't financial (although that's hurting,) but temporal. She gets a shot of insulin every twelve hours. Not to be crass about it, but if I wanted to have to come home for an animal every twelve hours, we we'd have a dog. Dr. Hurley said flat out "this is going to completely change your relationship with your cat," and he's quite right. Most of what's on our agenda for the next little bit won't be a huge deal - the first one we'll have to figure out is Mudthaw. I clearly need to find a person or service who can come in on the occasional weekend and Pennsic and give the cat a shot. It's going to make Pennsic much more expensive, since I can no longer ask Kari to come in once every two or three days to top off the food, change the water, and scoop the box. I'll make it all work, but I'm quite irked.
I also realized this morning that I'll never just sleep in on a weekend again - at least now while she's still with us, and judging by everything else, that's going to be *years* yet. Which is great - but I'm mourning a bit for that theoretical lazy Sunday morning without an alarm.
But I've given her two shots a day since Wednesday evening, and it's all going very well. The lack of data is KILLING me, though. There's clearly a monitor in my future, because I just can't stand it. I wouldn't make adjustments without the vet's guidance, but I'm just dying to know what effect this is all having - the insulin dose is so tiny it's hard to know if it's even gone into her (as opposed to onto her,) and seeing some numeric effect would make me feel a lot better.