A Game of Catch-up
Our biggest tragedy this Christmas was a growing infection in our oldest cat's jaw. Gadget is not a purebred, just a regular housecat. She's been with us for fourteen years, and we're pretty attached to her. She stopped eating a week ago Sunday, and her jaw swelled up to almost twice its normal size. We took her to the vet on Tuesday, December 21st. They gave her a couple of shots, a saline drip (she was very dehydrated), and some antibiotics and cream that we were to administer at home. They said she had an abscessed tooth that was causing the jaw to swell, but that she was in too poor health to survive the anesthetic needed to have the tooth pulled. We brought her home and started taking care of her. For three days, there was no change in her condition. She was still only eating about a tablespoon of food at a time, maybe twice or three times a day. She was only drinking a tiny amount each day. Her weight dropped from a normal seven or eight pounds down to three pounds, and every bone showed through her skin.
She was in severe pain by Friday evening, Christmas Eve. I brought her down to my office downstairs to care for her while my wife put the finishing touches on Christmas preparations. About 7:30 Friday night, she scratched a hole in her jaw with her hind foot, and blood spewed all over the carpet in my office. Jean and I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the wound, getting all the infection and clotted blood out of Gadget's jaw, and annointing it liberally with an antibacterial cream we had on hand. Gadget spent most of Christmas day sleeping. Sunday morning, she began to eat. She ate more that day than she had in the previous week. She's obviously feeling better! She's also gaining weight, although it's a little early to announce any major weight gain. Her fur is much brighter, fluffier, and for the first time in two weeks she's cleaning herself. We still have to have her jaw seen to (we think there's something stuck in her jaw, rather than an abscessed tooth), but she's a much healthier, happier cat.
The bill from the vet put a crimp in Christmas, but we still had a great time. I still need to buy my wife a couple of gifts - both were sold out before I could purchase them for her Christmas. An IOU isn't a nice Christmas present, but at least there were a couple of real gifts under the tree, as well. All three of our children were here for Christmas dinner, and there's still some leftover turkey and pumpkin pie. There was still some snow left on the ground from the storm Wednesday night, so we technically had a white Christmas - the first in almost ten years. Best of all, all our close friends and family, both human and feline, were alive and well and home for Christmas.