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.
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.