Tag Archives: Cat health

Not to be outdone—Coolidge. . .



As I was turning the corner from mid- to full resolution in the matter disclosed in my previous post, our cat’s urine suddenly displayed blood. There aren’t many things in a uric matrix that can be mistaken for blood, so, after confirming she could work us in, we packed him up for a trip to our vet.

The blood-tinged urine was evident in a Potty Pad that provided extended coverage for occasions when our neuropathic, arthritic Coolidge overshoots the bounds of his litter box, which is nearly always.

Our empirically minded vet was unconvinced beyond reasonable doubt that the stain was actually blood. Okay. . .no matter. . .a urinalysis would be necessary anyway for a diagnosis. I knew it was blood; I wanted to know why it was suddenly showing up in my cat’s urine. Coolidge is diabetic. Chronic renal failure always looms at this late stage. Blood in the urine can be associated with a fair number of things, including cancer.

The pad was not sufficient for testing, so the vet tech sent us home with the most ridiculous collection set-up I have ever had to stifle a laugh at seeing. Really: a shallow baking dish containing a sprinkle of tiny plastic beads which, the exuberant tech averred, no cat could resist peeing on. From there, she exuded, it’s a simple matter to pipette some of the fluid into a test tube and return it for analysis.

Trust me: Coolidge would find this resistible. But people with sick pets have to be very tactful with people who generalize their limited experience with other people’s pets to an atypical individual. Coolidge, if only because he is 17 and has lived with diabetes for nine years, is an atypical individual.

Coolidge managed an adroit dodge of the baking pan and its artlessly beckoning beads. I waited a couple of hours and placed him in the center of his litter box; he dutifully commenced urinating, and I collected a sample in a bowl, pipetted the contents into the test tube, and took it to the vet, along with the unused baking pan and Coolidge-resistant beads.

While awaiting the lab results, more serious thoughts began messing with my mind. “Will Coolidge and I be diagnosed with cancer the same day? After all, we share the same birthday. . . .” It couldn’t happen. Coolidge’s results would be available in a couple of hours. My biopsy results wouldn’t be back for a few days. Somehow that quashed the superstition demon.

The vet’s office called and relayed that Coolidge had an “uncomplicated” UTI. I picked up the two-week supply of amoxicillin from the vet. Of course, it gave Coolidge diarrhea, but he had no more bleeding episodes. I called the after-hours vet and asked whether probiotics were okay to give to cats; she said they definitely were, and a feline version was available. My husband rushed to Petco, arrived shortly before closing, and returned with feline probiotics in a salmon oil matrix. They help Coolidge swallow the amoxicillin pills as much as they serve their intended purpose.

One absolutely incredible thing to me is that so many simplicity advocates have cats. . . .


Filed under Action & Being, Animals

new world, new life, new questions, and, as always, a cat

If our embarrassed government decided to inaugurate Obamacare for pets, it could only aspire to operate on the caliber of the megapharmacy I’m now dealing with to procure Coolidge’s new prescription.

My veterinarian has researched thyroid formulations for Coolidge’s sensitive skin, and, based on past experience, decided to use an out-of town compounding pharmacy that features free overnight shipping. It’s an online megapharmacy serving humans and pets nationwide. All I had to do was call in my payment info so the pharmacy could have Coolidge’s prescription to us tomorrow.

I dutifully called the pharmacy this morning. I listened to the recorded menu instructions until finally I qualified to do something. I pressed “0” because I am a Pet Owner.

Twelve minutes of obnoxious wait music later, I began to wonder whether I was going to be making a free overnight call. But finally a friendly human voice displaced the muzak. The sequence is universal. First, the cat’s name, always. No one seems to worry about duplicates. Then our vet’s name, and lastly, my name. The friendly human voice belonged to Dominique. She found our vet’s name, but not Coolidge’s name or mine. This was not seeming to go well.

Ah, but our vet called in our prescription on Friday. The megapharmacy was closed Friday. They probably didn’t want customers to expect Black Friday discounts on their prescriptions. So the order would be among their voicemails, voicemails from all over the country, which, Dominique told me with some (but, I thought, not quite full) confidence, they would get to by the end of the day. Someone would call me for my payment info, and Coolidge’s new skin-safe thyroid meds would be in tomorrow’s mail.

Before heaving a sigh of phone fatigue, I realized I had said my vet “called” in our prescription. In point of technical fact, she faxed it. I use “called” interchangeably, but I suspect Dominique is more particular. Faxes are not voicemails, and I had led Dominique on the entirely wrong trail. In a nationwide megapharmacy, for all I know, voicemails and faxes are in separate buildings. Or it could operate out of some guy’s basement.

In my state of gumption depletion, I called my vet’s can-do person and asked her to please relay the correct information to Dominique. Doctors and their people get to press a number that by-passes the wait music and gets a knowledgeable human specialist on the phone right away. Mere pet owners must wait, and while they wait, they should be comporting their thoughts to the specialized language of megathings.

I have so much yet to learn, not only in treating my cat’s illnesses, but even how to give and receive information to and from entities the likes of which I have never dealt with before. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but it has come into my life.

Isn’t that part of what sanctification is—seeing that a customary way of doing things has been just wrong all along, and no longer works in a new life?


Filed under Action & Being