Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday, A Novel

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, like many days have been in the past little while.
A lot happened over the course of the day, which has left me at a crossroad today. Basically, the constant weighing of options was being bounced back and forth between each person I talked to... and unfortunately nothing has been resolved yet. But, I did go to bed after my little blurb on here last night, so I'm feeling a little clearer this morning.

After being with the kittens in the morning, and seeing them continue to struggle, I felt that I couldn't handle seeing them like that anymore.
And I think it finally caught up to me, and I had a bit of a breakdown. Luckily, I have a door to my office that I could close and hide my tears from everyone for a while. Instead of being alone, I needed outside advice, so reached out to my fabulous Mother over the phone (who is 6-hours away), and she talked me through it... *Thanks Mom* ♥

There is a lot to the story. I'm going to try to be as detailed as possible about it, but I know that no matter how I explain it - it's not going to be exactly the same as it happened. But, I'll try to describe it the best I can. I'm not sure how it'll come out.

It kind of went like this...

My Mom and I talked about what was best for the kittens, and how their current quality of life is definitely a rocky one, even though we're working with them as often as we can (which is all the hours during the day that we are home). Because both kittens are struggling with their day-to-day needs so much, and there's a good percentage that they'll never be able to function properly, I think I knew in the back of my mind what probably needed to be done. It was the fact that every day I would come home to see them soaking in their own urine and feces because they don't understand the litterbox, Wesley crying because he's hungry because he can't eat on his own (and pretty much crying all the time, even after he ate and bathroomed), and them flopping and struggling to walk to get places, that was heartbreaking to see. As much as I didn't want to admit it to myself, I was starting to consider a horrible decision. I had to remove my own emotions from the situation, be strong, and know what may just be the inevitable. We figured there would be no way we would ever find anyone that would be able to care for these boys around the clock forever.

And then, just as that discussion was happening, that small percentage... a little ray of hope... shone down from somewhere.

I hung up from talking to my Mom, and I noticed that my cell phone had got a message on it while I was on talking.
It was from one of the girls I had been speaking to via email.
She is not too far south of us (a drivable distance).... and she told me that she is interested in adopting the kittens (I won't disclose her name or anything, just in case she would prefer I didn't, and I want to value her privacy). We had a brief phone exchange because I had a meeting to attend at work, but she mentioned that because she works from home, she may be willing to take the boys. But, we needed to talk more, because there was still a lot to consider.

As much as I wanted to be happy that she called, I still had to think about what would be best for the boys. So, once my meeting was over, I called Jill at Pet Save to see what she thought about it - and if it were possible, what procedures would have to be taken to adopt them out, if we decided to go that route.
As I suspected, she confirmed my initial decision to still be the wiser one, since she has seen so many cases of CH in her work... but she would honour whatever decision I would think to be best for them.

*By the way, I do want to note again that I feel Jill knows what she is talking about. After 10 or so years of working with sick cats, and all the experience she has with CH and distemper, I know that she has just as much (if not more than) what a professional Vet would have, because she sees this kind of thing every day. She said that on a scale of 1-10 on the severity of cats with CH there are, ours are a definite 10.
Where a lot of the people I talk to have had or seen a cat with CH, it doesn't compare to what she has (because I have to tell these people that not every CH cat case is the same... even if their cat is alive and healthy and perfect - I can only congratulate those people for sticking through it with that one - but not all CH cats turn out to live happy lives).

Ok, back to what I was saying...
So, in the evening, once I got home, I was able to reach our potential adopter. And I had to break the news that I was still considering both options - and I explained why. She was understanding, but I know deep down she doesn't want us to do put them down. Hell, -I- don't want to put them down either, but I just can't help but think that if we don't, what if she takes them, and then in the end -she's- stuck with this decision...
She is reaching out to us, like many of you have, and is considering to even taking this issue into her own hands (I thank her so so so much for this - people in this world continue to amaze me)... but, I know she has a lot to handle on her own there now, such as another severe CH cat that requires around the clock care.
I just... I don't know. I want the boys to have a happy life, and there is no doubt in my mind after talking to her that she would be a wonderful candidate to help them since she knows how to handle CH cats ... but I also worry about her and what she has on the go with the one... to add TWO more severe cases to the mix... I know she is going to have to really think about if she can handle it. Plus, again, I don't know what their destiny is going to be - and what if they don't make it (Jill believes there may even be something else going on with little Wesley, either neurologically, or just underdeveloped as a whole.. that may be consuming him regardless).

So, we both decided to sleep on it.

When I got off the phone, I went into the kitten room for a couple hours........ and I swear these kittens listen to my conversations. Where Wesley usually tries to stand, wobbles and falls... he looked like he was maybe making some progress. He still can't control himself, but.... I don't know, I couldn't help but start to think that maybe he could figure it out eventually. He still can't eat on his own, and definitely doesn't understand the litterbox (I'll come back to this in a minute), and still has blood in his stool (where he lets out a little 'yelp' at the end of the push)... But I just keep wanting to hold on to the hope.

Then..... this morning was a whole new story...

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I went bug-eyed at them... my jaw dropped... and I just... was amazed. They made me begin to wonder if my thoughts to euthanize really are wrong ....

When I went into the room... Wesley was up and on all fours... wobbly, but... eagerly trying to make his way to me. Falling and rocking, but getting up again and again. He wasn't quite sure how to go straight, but I think the hunger in his tummy gave him the push to go to me. He's made a few steps before (the most being 4 before falling) - you can see how he was moving in the video I posted before.. but this was different. He wasn't actually trying to use his legs much before, but today he was amazing me.

L, on the other hand, still doesn't get up or walk. But, he does spread his legs and lie on his belly now - where he never used to. He seems to know how to make his way around on his side though... and loves his toys (Wesley still has no interest in toys). But, he flops around like a seal to get places. I actually think he's kinda getting good at it... even though I know this guy will almost positively never walk.

The next thing was the feeding...
From 'our potential adopter's advice from the phonecall, she suggested that instead of the bottle, which Wesley was getting frustrated with(and not getting any solid food in him)... that we should go back to the syringe we were using with him weeks ago, but this time put the kitten pate into it (instead of just formula). We had moved to the bottle orignially because he learned to suck the syringe, so it gave him more control with the bottle. But now he's getting bigger, and now the bottle isn't fast enough, and he doesn't want to suck anymore. He wants to chomp/chew. So I mixed KMR 2nd powder, Nutrience kitten formula powder, a little bit of warm water, and a big glob of chicken pate into an almost paste/goo (more solid than what we had to put in the bottle, and a lot more pate than he's ever had)... and began pushing it into his mouth with the syringe, over and over... And he ate it at an alarming rate, and was chewing it, and wanted more and more and more... I couldn't believe it. I was happy to see him eat something with some good substance.
(I also want to add that I've said before that he's eaten slurry out of a bowl, but he has pretty much refused to since I said that.. and he still won't eat anything alone... but I'm thinking that maybe with the guidance of the syringe, maybe he could? I don't know.)

The feeding with L is as basic as this: I have now officially witnessed him 100% (and actually this was last night, as well as this morning) eating kibble, on his own, from the dish. So, I think I'm considering him done in this category. Except I don't know what to do about water. I know he still nurses from Rosie, so he's getting his liquid there... so I think tonight I'll try to water down his kibble a bit. It'll probably be messy, but that's fine. I'm sure she'll be glad when she doesn't have to nurse anymore.

Okay, so feeding, walking... that leaves litterbox.

So, neither use the litterbox. They haven't since day one, and we've been trying every time we feed Wes (and more). Wesley still goes all over the place, and L still has Rosie cleaning up after his mess.
But this morning, after I fed Wesley, I put him in the box, as I always do... and before I got a cloth to begin stimulating (cause normally he puts up a fuss when I stick him in the box at all), he had his legs spread, his chin leaning on the edge of the box (my hand lightly resting on him, just to keep his little body still)... he stiffened up as I was leaning to grab my diaper wipe, and away.he.went... on his own. I couldn't believe it.

Now, do I think he'll do this again? I have no clue. Maybe it was a fluke, and he just really needed to go... but... where he would've just waited before and gone -on me- while feeding him... this time he did wait til I put him in the box. I -swear- he was listening to the phonecall I had last night - because I told that poor girl over and over that there was possibly no hope for the box, especially for Wesley. But... I swear, I'm not afraid to admit to something when I'm wrong (not saying that he WILL - which was the point I was making at the time... but I am definitely thinking there could be a MIGHT).

L began his regular peeing on the floor this morning when I was in there too... and I picked him up and let him finish in the box. I don't know about this guy... but he seems to always want to pee in the same spot. I've tried putting the litterpan there, but he never uses it - he prefers the floor. So, I'm finally gonna pick up a puppy pad or something tonight or tomorrow - as I keep meaning to do (no, I know, I should've done that already.. I keep saying I will :P)

Oooooh kayyyyy....
So... now.... with all that jibber jabber that I've just posted (that was long I know, I apologize), I know I simply can't explain how twisted up I feel about everything. I feel hopeful... but I still can't confirm that all the behaviour that I've seen last night/today is going to stay.... but I think I still want to wait. So, Doug and I think we're going to give it another week.

I have told the potential adopter to absolutely not feel obligated to take them... because as I said, she's already got a handful there... and I thank her again and again that she is doing what she is.
This post is only for information for a) me to have because it gets it out of my brain... and b) for anyone that is interested on what the situation is... It's not to make her feel that if she doesn't take them, then that's what will seal their fate/or to make her feel bad if she doesn't. Because no one can still know for sure what will become of them as they get older... And they still will most likely need around the clock care regardless... so I -understand- if she can't. Because, I know I can't either.

Alright.. I think I said enough for now. Again, sorry that this was such a huge post, but like I said, I'm sorta doing it for me too... Writing helps me wrap my head around things sometimes.

Thanks for all the posts that continue to come in with good wishes and thoughts. You are all terrific.
If you've emailed me and I haven't answered, I hope to get to them this weekend. Should be fairly quiet at home, so I hope to get back to everyone that I haven't yet.

I hope everyone has a lovely Friday, and a lovely weekend. I'll be in touch soon ♥

26 comments:

  1. Hi Lyndsay. You're doing SUCH a good job with these guys.

    Can I make a suggestion? With a CH kitty, progress is progress. They're learning two separate things. Think of it this way - if they did NOT have CH, they would still be sorting out coordination and strengthening their muscles and function, right? When you layer CH on top of that, they are also learning to accommodate their disability. It's unlikely that they'll ever be "normal" in the way that we think about it. But based on what you wrote, it sounds to me like they'll adapt to their disability and continue to mature and gain function.

    Remember - cats WANT to eat and they WANT to use a litter box. I got a big smile out of your story, and I bet Wesley was relieved (literally and figuratively!) to do what's in his nature to do in the first place. L may be slower, but what you're seeing is the process of plain old growing and maturing mixed in with accommodation of CH.

    The kind potential adopter you describe, it sounds like, has experience with low-function CH. I hope that she adopts them, and I think your decision NOT to euthanize (at this point) has been proven right to you in THE most rewarding way possible. The kittens will likely do what kittens do - make progress, plateau, maybe slip back a bit, and then make more progress. Remember - it's not just CH you're considering here. It's a more general, normal process of maturity and growth as well. I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks for the update - we're all fretting about these guys around the country!

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  2. Hi there -- I came across your site via a link from another cat blog, and I have to say that I've just been riveted for the last hour by your story! So although I have no advice, or experience with what you're dealing with, I just wanted to say bless your heart for all you're doing for these babies, and stay strong!! I'm sure you will do the right thing -- you will, it is decidely so. Be of good courage... I'm rooting for all of you, whatever happens!!

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  3. WOW~!!! It's a wonderful sign that they are trying with all of their might. They "feel" what you're going through and are trying to make things well. We are glad Wesley scarfed down his food and we think a peepee pad will work. Again, we have you in our thoughts.

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  4. Wow...I have not much to say again except you need lots of virtual hugs and you got them! And remember that you need to do what is best for the kittens and your family, do not let other people's opinions bother you.

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  5. Hi,
    I've been following your blog for only a few weeks, but I wanted you to know that I (and surely lots of others out there) am keeping you in my thoughts and sending you good vibes. What you've been handed with here is an incredible challenge and you've been so strong through everything. I really admire your courage to wait on things instead of making a flip decision. Whatever you do choose, you have so many people supporting you. When you start to feel bad, just remember that you are clearly an incredibly devoted and caring individual, and you only want the best for these guys. Thank you for what you are doing, and for inspiring me.

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  6. Sometimes just when we need them most little signs break through. Take a deep breath. Get some rest and some quiet time this weekend. You're a good foster Mom going through a very trying time. It's so hard to do what you are doing but it will all work out. I've got my prayers going that the potential adopter takes them and that you find peace.

    Hugs
    Meg

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  7. Wow, they really are making strides, aren't they! I hope the next week gives you clarity one way or the other!

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  8. And now I'm sobbing.. Not sad, just so moved.

    There are forces and energies out there that we may not undersand, but there's no denying them.

    You and these boys are being watched over. What a beautiful story.

    Thank you.

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  9. I really feel for you in this situation. We are so lucky that our CH kitty is not too badly affected. It is so hard to know. Thank you for taking on the responsibility.

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  10. What a rollercoaster ride of a day it was for you! The kittens seem to be giving some encouraging signs, which must lighten your heart. It will be interesting to hear what the vet has to say regarding what might be going on with Wesley aside from the CH.

    Many hugs to you; please don't forget to take care of yourself!

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  11. I'm so happy to read this, Lynds. :)
    And I think that your decision - not to decide yet - is the best way to go for now.

    Who knew that at the very same time we were on the phone talking about how little hope there was of finding someone who could provide the round-the-clock care they'd need, there was an actual person out there, trying to reach you, to say that they wanted to do just that!

    By the way, did I tell you how proud I am that you're my daughter? xoxo

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  12. Oh, kittykye! My heart goes out to you and those boys. What a roller coaster this decision has you on. Progress is good, no matter how much it comes in fits and starts! Glad you have your fabulous mother's ear handy.

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  13. You are doing a wonderful job with these little guys. Thank you for caring so much. Purrs and prayers.

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  14. (((kittykye)))
    Thanks for catching us up, honey! Please make this weekend for taking care of yourself and your family! I hope I speak for everyone when I say responding to us is less important than self care right now!

    Happy tears here. Lot's of prayers going up for everybody!
    Hugs,
    Lisa

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  15. Thank you so much for all you're doing for these kitties. It's inspiring and humbling to see your dedication to their happiness.

    Take care of yourselves during all of this, and give the kittens, Rosie and especially beautiful Yoko a pet for me.

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  16. I just found your blog via Jan's Funny Farm and reading about you and Wesley and L made my heart both ache and hope at the same time. These kittens now know love, you have shown them that...and however it turns out...that will always be what you should remember first...You love them, and that will never change.

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  17. Hi

    I came over from Jan's Funny Farm blog and I'm afraid I'm all weepy and tear-ed up just reading Jan's blog and yours.

    Thank you for being there for them. Thank you for caring for them.

    Take care
    x

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  18. We think it's great you have a potential adopter for the kittens. And we were pleased to read about their progress. ~AFSS

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  19. Oh, guess you already know we did the post on the CH kittens of you and our friend. Have a great weekend!

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  20. Decisions, decisions, never easy. Glad you waited because it seems the little critters are making the decision easier. I have 7 CH babies, all up for adoption. All but one is just clumsy, etc. Two litters about 10 weeks old. One, little Zoe couldn't stand could barely eat when we first got her. She did use the litter box but always laid on her side - after a few weeks of therapy (walking aids, massage)and her determination (she's incredibly spirited and determined), she now walks - the other day 15 whole feet! and stands in the litter box. Sounds like your babe's are on the same path. Keep up the good work and God love ya for being who you are.

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  21. Bless you for caring for these special kittens. I think patience is the key, and the little ones are improving. This is a hard thing for you, you and the kittens are in our thoughts.

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  22. I am so so sorry for you and your little guys. What an agonizing decision you have to make. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs, purrs and prayers to you all.

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  23. Disability isn't a death sentence, give them a try, keep at it, you have seen they can make progress, they can DO things. If you place I too would be moving heaven and earth to see them have a great life filled with love.

    Hang in there. Obstacles are just that, you work around or over them, they are not brick walls without hope. Good luck - they will repay your faith a thousandfold.

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  24. Sorry back again I remembered this. It moves me to tears every time and I post it on my blog every few months (yes I bore people THAT much about it). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJQG6V1MOVY It's called this is Charley and it's about cerebellar hyperplasia you will love it - it gives hope.

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