Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bella’s condition

There’s been no miracle, but Bella’s condition is quite good. The long-term prognosis hasn’t changed, but, despite it all, she’s content, seems happy, and is doing pretty well, all things considered. And so, an unexpected journey has begun.

When we brought her home from the vet a week ago Friday, we were sure she’d last a few days, a couple of weeks at most, and we planned on making her as comfortable as possible during that time. However, it seems she had other ideas: As it turned out, she’s doing pretty well.

She’s been more like her normal self since we brought her home, apparently helped by the special food. As the week went on, and it became clear she was basically doing well, we decided we needed to learn how to do the subcutaneous injections of fluid to give her the best quality in the life she clearly intends to keep as long as she can (apparently the vet staff were really happy we were bringing her back in to learn the procedure, because it meant she was doing well).

So we met with the vet on Friday, and she showed us how to properly handle the large bag of saline solution, the tubes and clamps, and, most importantly, the very large needle. The vet said we were “honorary nurses”.

Yeah, well, not quite yet.

Our first two days didn’t go perfectly. Nigel got the needle duty (and hates it), and I got the holding Bella duty to make sure she didn’t move (never an easy task). Yesterday we had trouble with the needle, today she jumped unexpectedly and the needle fell out. We got about 20ml into her each day, but she’s supposed to have 70-100ml. We’ll all get the hang of it, but the little amount we got into her is more than she’d had in the days between Fridays, so it’s still an improvement.

Bella’s appetite has been really good (she only likes one brand of renal dry food, though). She also goes out to the toilet (despite all the bad weather lately), and she still goes outside to sleep in the sun, but she now comes inside when the weather turns bad—and, when she’s outside, she moves to stay in the sun, all things she didn’t do when she was most unwell.

However, the problem with her teeth remains, and there’s nothing they can do about it since she can’t have general anaesthetic (and would NEVER let them do anything with her mouth if she was awake!). So, she has quite stinky breath, and her tooth problem might become a bigger issue in the future, depending on how her kidney disease goes.

But, for now, she’s doing remarkably well, seems happy, and looks at us with bright eyes. She even “talks” to me when it’s time to feed her, like she did in the old days, before she was sick. All of this is good and makes us happy.

But the long-term prognosis is still bad, and we have no idea how long we’ll have with her. Bella chose us to be her family after quite a while living wild, and that experience made her tough and resilient. She’s showing us how tough she is—and that she still wants to be with us.

It’s our job to make sure she gets her wish for as long as possible.

The photo above is from this past Tuesday, when I accidentally woke her up from a nap on an orange blanket in the late afternoon sun. I chose it because I like the lighting—that, and there hasn’t been enough sun since to take any photos…

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