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November 28th, 2007
01:33 am
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Failure of nerve
I'm not good with needles. Never have been.

When I get something injected into me, my heart starts racing. When I have blood drawn, I get the cold sweats. I even fainted once (though in my defense, I hadn't had anything to eat that day). I can't even watch injections on medical dramas on TV -- the instant a syringe comes out, my fingers curl into claws, and I have to look away and knead the arm of the chair until I'm sure the moment's gone.

So when my wife's dear cat needed a trip to the vet, I got a bit nervous myself. When early tests came back in showing signs of kidney failure, I felt a subtle sinking feeling above and beyond the pain of impending pet loss.

Then I started reading about feline CRF. And the good news: "CRF cats may be able to live for several additional years with [regular injections of] fluids and the proper diet." Keep in mind that with Kady in cooking school, I'm pretty much it as far as cat caretaking. And the regular injections thereof.

Ocras seems to be responding to antibiotics. I really, really hope this is something acute.

Because he was pretty dehydrated when we got him to the vet. They asked us to give him daily sub-Q (subcutaneous -- which is to say, injected) fluids for a week until we could get him re-checked and re-tested. No sooner had this news been passed down than kadyg had to go back to the city for school ... and it was me alone in the house with a fluid bag, a cat, and a needle.

The first time, Ocras was remarkably placid. Which was good, because I was so nervous I didn't even get the needle into his skin. I opened the fluids' stopper and soaked his back. After a little toweling off and some breathing exercises, beginner's luck kicked in; and 100 ccs of liquid went in before we retreated to the kitchen for cat treats.

Then tonight.

Staggering home after a 12-hour day, I sit in the kitchen for a bit, waiting for Ocras to lie down so I don't have to simultaneously wrestle him down and handle sharp things. I scoot over a chair once he's calm, and gently thread the needle in.

This time, he winces. It's all downhill from there.

I get everything seated and turn on the water. Again, his back gets wet -- it must have slipped out in the motion. Stop, recenter, wait for his tail to stop thrashing, retry. He gets squirmy again and I'm not able to get a good puncture.

I give up temporarily and retreat to the bathroom, where Ocras likes hanging out. He comes in to join me and settles in. We try again. This time, not only is there wincing and squirming, but also meows of protest.

My hands are shaking, and the nausea is so strong by the time I give up that I have to lie down on the floor of the bathroom for a few minutes to calm myself. Ocras isn't getting his fluids tonight.

A week of this is going to be hellish. For both me and the cat.

--
Update, 11/29: Much easier with an extra pair of hands. Thanks, Rob.

Current Location: ~/couch
Current Mood: nauseatednauseated
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(11 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:roaminrob
Date:November 28th, 2007 11:04 am (UTC)
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Didn't realize this was a daily thing.

I can help, if you want. Not bothered by needles in the least.
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From:baxil
Date:November 28th, 2007 11:20 am (UTC)
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You can't sleep through all the server outages either, huh? (*changes his ringtone and finally gives up and turns his phone off*)

Gimme a ping tomorrow. Right now, I'm heading to bed.
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From:kshandra
Date:November 28th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
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*hugs* I'm sorry, hon.
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From:summer_jackel
Date:November 28th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
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*hugs* I'm sorry. That dosen't sound fun at all.
From:deirdremoon
Date:November 28th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
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Poor things, both of you. You're trying to do right, and you get major points for that. *hug*
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From:dragonzuela
Date:November 28th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I'm okay with getting injections only because I have a good imagination and can pretend I'm being pinched. Don't like to watch it on TV at all. I feel your pain with actually having to give an injection, ew.
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From:lydiajen
Date:November 28th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Let's see if I can describe this over the web. Have you tried to restrain the cat like this: kneel down with both legs on each side of the cat, cross your ankles to minimize risk of exit out the back, rest your rear end lightly on the backs of your legs, and maybe the back of the cat also to prevent escape through the rear. I know unfortunately, this still means the cat can go forward which is probably difficult to prevent while holding a SubQ bag. But it might help a bit. I do this to clip front claws (I don't do the backs) and also to give meds. I don't have to inject anyone at present, they are all pretty young.

And yes, cats can live a great while with proper treatment for CRF. I have another friend who's cat is very old and doing exceptionally well.

I had a needle problem once. I have a fainting condition too. But I became chronically ill, and I've learned to get used to having quite a lot of blood taken at once...I can even have a conversation and not notice if the technician is quite skilled.

I could tell you stories that could possibly make you faint - so I won't.
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From:baxil
Date:November 28th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for the advice. I already do something similar to administer the (oral) antibiotics - if the squirming continues to be an issue maybe I can try it for the injections as well.

Unfortunately, the needle goes in just behind the shoulders, pointing forward, so the angle of it would be pretty awkward. Hopefully I can coax him into relaxing while I work -- that would not only make the process easier, but do wonders for my mental state.
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From:delcan
Date:November 28th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
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I've noticed this in some pets and some people - the first time something unpleasant is done to/with them, they're stoic about the affair. When it happens again, though, is when the real negative reaction kicks in.

Not sure exactly what it is. Possibly a "hey, I _remember_ this, get that away from me" reaction. Or maybe it's more "I thought you were just going to do this the one time!"

Best of luck with Ocras, and I hope it's acute.
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From:supersniffles
Date:November 29th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
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Too bad you're so far away. I used to do sub-q fluids on animals all the time.
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From:kadyg
Date:November 29th, 2007 02:23 am (UTC)
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Sweetie - you are both doing the best you can with this and I love you very much.
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