I was midway through a New Year’s epistle when I realized:
- I have no bandwidth
- Stories about the week in the life of my animals will explain that
- While this will start out as a story about one cat and diabetes, it will end with the story of another cat falling out of the basement ceiling three times like the ghost of Christmas What The Fuck Is Happening Right Now?
Ergo, question one: How did Mrs. Noah do this?
That’s a question, not a thesis statement.
This snowball began its trek three weeks ago when we took our recently promoted to “Eldest Cat” cat to the vet as we just had this inkling that he wasn’t feeling good. For those thinking of getting pets or those that do not have them: one of the many bonuses is that you often can’t tell if they are not fully operational until they are nearing non-operational.
Because we have yet to pass the two-month mark of losing our previous Eldest Cat, Coalbalt, we thought we might be slightly paranoid, but still, off we went to have all the things checked on our Gunter.
Gunter, a man of many names: Big G, Fatty McCatterton, Little G, Gunterboy, Little Big Man, Baby Gunter, Big Boy, What Child is This … (the list goes on and my husband is probably now telling me which ones I missed).
Gunter has lived a life of laze for years. His preferred wheelhouse is as a sleeping passenger while someone else does the driving. He is a minimalist in performance and always opts for the least active of activities. If you’re reading this and thinking “how did you not realize he was sick earlier?” the answer is that he is a cat. All of the above are not such different behavior from our other cats who mainly spend the day shifting from sunbeam to sunbeam with a few breaks to eat or take a dump.
Ergo, recognizing a Gunter slowdown was akin to noting that a snail had slipped off pace.
At the vet, we learned that Gunter was, in fact, diabetic. We were sent home with loads of information, insulin, a new diet, and an appointment card to return for a glucose curve which we scheduled to take place while we were at the beach for Christmas.
Upon our return, we went to pick Gunter up from Hotel Hanover Green, expecting nothing more exciting than a defined insulin dose. Instead, we discovered a perplexed staff as this dang cat was flat out refusing to reach a stable blood sugar. For extra drama, Gunter had also opted to add “I think I’ll just add occasionally pass out” to his medical repertoire. A simple glucose curve had turned into five days of a project for the entire practice as, well, this was a new twist.
We picked the fat man up and took him straight to a critical care animal practice per instruction.
I would like to say here that we know how lucky we are. We have the most amazing veterinarian practice. I mean that as a whole. I have often toyed with grabbing a front desk job at Hanover Green because the facility is filled with such good people. We are also lucky to have endless animal specialists within a convenient range. I know many have to drive hours to check into such things as Emergency Vets or Critical Animal Car – we have several available in under thirty minutes. We are also fortunate to be able to have savings earmarked for such emergencies.
The days following were a whirlwind of phone calls between doctors at the ICU (Intensive Cat Unit) and our primary vet while everyone struggled to understand why this Fatboy’s sugar levels continued rising no matter which type of insulin was used. Because his glucose was all over the map, his potassium followed. He was examined by several doctors, including a cardiologist. Consults were made, IVs were inserted, and the inevitable conversations of “What if this just cannot be fixed?” began.
In fairness, our only hope for this Christmas holiday was not to repeat last year’s bouts with Covid. Evidently, we should have been more specific.
We did bring Gunterboy home (possibly AMA) after making a very uneducated decision that, as there was no movement on the diabetes front after nearly a week, this may just be the final chapter in his story. We wanted that final chapter to be with us and not in the ICU. To break him out, we were encouraged to purchase and insert a glucose monitor on his side which we now scan several times a day to check his numbers.
We spent his first night home on the ledge of “we might argue about this” but did manage to finally put both the crisis and ourselves to bed. It’s been less than a day since we started our gig as pretend animal caretakers, so really no further updates other than I write this post between measuring ounces of protein eaten and giving insulin shots.
Google says that there are, indeed, cats who are simply resistant to insulin. And Google, am I right? It knows everything.
In the midst of this insanity, there were several moments when my husband and I were in different geographical locations playing a giant game of whisper down the lane. It was frustrating. FRUSTRATING. By my count, I had two to three meltdowns, one of which involved a blowup on my innocent bystander child. My child, with way more emotional stability than I had at that moment, responded with a very calm, “Bear, I think you might just be really upset about Gunter and you are just taking it out on me because I’m the only one home.”
He was right.
My response was “Welp, you are right.” I then told him I thought I just needed some air and was taking the dogs out back for some playtime.
While walking through the basement, I heard another cat, Savannah Banana, quietly mew. Oddly, the mew seemed to be above me. That can’t be right. Was I this far gone? Then again, mew. Nope, that is definitely above me. I looked up to see a drop ceiling tile with a split down the middle and a cat nose peeking through. What the actual eff?
Please remember that he and I had just gone through a possum incident together in which his response time was lacking. This time he did not lack, coming fully armed with a stick.
“Savannah’s in the ceiling.”
“What the actual eff?”
We put a valiant effort into retrieving her by popping out an adjacent ceiling tile, but as Zack was sliding it out, Savannah came crashing through another tile. I tried to catch her. Did you know that when cats prepare to land on their feet they have their claws fully extended? She pretty much flew straight through my arms and proceeded straight out the door with a stride of “I meant to do that.”
I stood covered in insulation while texting my husband, “Welp. The cat just came out of the ceiling” which he thought might have been the weirdest auto-correct ever.
We plugged the ceiling entry point, I was sent to nap, and, after, I resorted to comfort food in the form of making a lasagna.
As we were upstairs having dinner, unbeknownst to us, Savannah was back in the ceiling. Twice. We know this because when we retreated to the basement after eating to engage all things crafts and music, we found two more ceiling tiles taken to their demise via the curious cat.
What type of weird whack-a-mole vortex had we entered?
Or was this just a preview metaphor for the coming new year?
Typically, this first post of the year is full of hope and reflection. I typically write about hits or misses on goals from the previous year and plans developing for the next one.
Not this time.
I have a total lack of bandwidth.
Lack of bandwidth and abundance of wine have become very close friends.
I suppose if I can simply Save the Ceiling Tiles, that should be enough of a campaign for 2023.
Anything beyond that will be considered a glorious bonus.
Afterward … the minute I finished the final edits on this blog, I found the $100 glucose monitor laying on the floor very much not attached to Gunter. Welp.