Triple Trouble

It's been a little over two months since my father's heart surgery, a single bypass that replaced an almost completely clogged artery. Everyone who sees him notes how good he looks, how healthy his color is. All his doctors are pleased with his vital signs when he goes in for checkup. He's disappointed and impatient, because he still gets angina, tight discomfort in his chest during times of exertion or stress. He thought the surgery would be a magic cure to make him 20-years-old again, instead of 80. He still has one or two arteries that are about 50% clogged, which accounts for the angina, but they're not life-threatening. His doctors repeatedly tell him to use his patch and/or his nitro pills to alleviate those symptoms. He admits that he does recover when he does so, and a lot faster than before the surgery. But it's not enough. He wants to march in parades, and carry heavy things up stairs, and climb ladders, and paint, and trim trees, and do all the things he always did. He's impatient. It's only been two months. Some of his discomfort is surely from the surgery. So now, against doctor's recommendations, he's pushed them to have another angiogram done, and perhaps put stents in the other two arteries. I think it's a mistake. I think he needs to give himself time to heal, certainly more than two months, and I think he should avoid any invasive procedures for now. I repeatedly tell him the same joke, about a man telling a doctor “It hurts when I do this” and the doctor responding, “Don't do that.” I can't imagine what the chest pain is like, but if it subsides when he stops exerting himself, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Were it not for our strong resemblance and my own stubbornness in other areas, I'd question whether we were related. When I'm 80, I'll have no problem sitting back in a chair and sipping iced tea and not doing manual labor. We'll see if the preceding statement comes back to haunt me in 45 years. Maybe then I'll understand.

Last week while walking to lunch, I saw the cutest thing next to one of the buildings in my office complex, about 3 or 4 calico kittens sleeping under some pipes. One of the more curious ones ventured out, but retreated when I held out my hand. My friend said the mother cat had been around, and that some people in the building had been feeding them. The next day, I had a meeting in that building, and as I walked by I glanced over to see them all snuggled up with each other, resting comfortably. On Thursday last week, we had a near-tornado for about five minutes, microbursts that did some damage and took down some trees along the North shore of Long Island. I didn't make it over to the building to check, but I wondered about the kittens. On my way home Friday, I saw an adult cat crossing the street between our complex and the neighboring houses, a black cat with a white belly that could have been the mother. Finally, when I went to that building on Monday afternoon, I looked in the corner behind those pipes, and saw no sign of them. Maybe they got to safety. Maybe some of the landscapers who've been doing work on our property adopted them, maybe the mother relocated them, or maybe someone in the building took them in. Wild animals are resilient, though I often wonder where my mom's cat Cubby would have been if she didn't pull him out of a window well 14 years ago. I'm hoping for the best in this case, and I don't want to know their fate if the worst case scenario is true....

This brings me to our own cats. While Cubby has recovered from his infection last month and is back to dealing with his original problem of blindness following a stroke, getting regular shots every 10 days, we've neglected Chirp, who we almost lost to a serious respiratory infection two years ago. He since returned to his old self, jumping up on things to get our attention, and standing up on the kitchen table and putting his paws on my shoulder before I leave for work in the morning. He recently adopted the habit of leaving his tongue sticking out, which we all thought was cute. It was cute, but we missed the underlying problem. I know he had one bad fang that he was too old to have removed, and thought maybe the tooth was bothering him. But when my mom called me on Monday morning at work to tell me he was drooling and leaving the tongue out, I knew she had to take him to the vet. Sure enough, there was a problem, some kind of lesion under his tongue. He's on antibiotics now and she'll follow up in a few days, and other than the drooling and swollen tongue, he seems other wise alert and healthy. But the real cause for concern, aside from the myriad causes for an infected lesion from a tumor to a benign ulcer, is that he's not eating. He has an appetite, and shows interest in food, but either the tongue is too swollen or it's too painful to eat. Even getting the antibiotic into him with an eyedropper proved a task, as the normally docile cat kicked and squirmed. That's the only real fluid he's had, and now it's been about 24 hours since he's had more than a nibble. If he doesn't eat in the next 24 hours, he's going to start getting weak, and it's going to be two years ago all over again.


There are plenty of other concerns on my plate at the moment, but these are the most prevalent. I know that all things work out one way or another, and all tough times pass, but some days, I also know that when it rains, it pours....


Blogger Lorna said...

sorry it's pouring on you.

6/29/2010 8:55 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

Thanks, Lorna. Technically, I guess it's pouring on people and animals around me. Chirp at least seems slightly better today, even ate a little and the color is coming back to his tongue while he's drooling slightly less.

6/29/2010 11:18 PM  

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