What’s a veterinarian’s definition of a really bad day ...?
Here’s my definition of a really bad day: When your surgery roster is so close to bursting that you’ve got to plan your day with the aptitude (and attitude) of a Jedi master just to get through it … that’s a bad day. It’s a really bad day when your first case, a "simple" feline castration, arrests while he’s recovering.
Nothing is simple. Nothing is easy. There is no free lunch. And I am no Jedi master.
So you know, I neuter a LOT of male cats. That’s probably because I will never say "no" to a low-cost cat neuter. At every spay/neuter event I attend, I am the queen of the cat castration ward. Joke all you like. It just happens to be my preferred procedure.
Which is why I went straight for the kitten this past Thursday morning.
"Let’s get this little one neutered and released right quick" is what I think I had in mind for this little stray who had been dumped at the Starbucks across the street.
He’s probably six months old at this point. He’s robust and healthy. He’s even got a great attitude for a feral kitty. So it’s not as if he’s stressed out or needs heavy tranquilization. And then for no good reason he up and arrests … after he was aready halfway back to the happy zone we call complete anesthetic recovery.
Luckily (by design, actually) the technician monitoring his recovery is caffeinated enough to respond immediately: intubation, 100 percent oxygen, artificial respiration … all while yelling for the doc.
That’s our protocol for any arrest, and I daresay it works. It did on that day, thank goodness. (In fact, it usually does work when it’s this kind of rare and random healthy-pet arrest.) After about half an hour of artificial respiration, chest compressions, and two doses of epinephrine, kitty was back in the land of the living — but barely.
An hour later, a full ninety minutes after the arrest, he was finally breathing on his own, and 12 hours later he was meowing quietly. Now, as I write this on Friday morning, 24 hours later, he can sit up and open his eyes, but no more.
Still, it’s progress. As I’ve explained to his caretakers (the kind trio of trappers who brought him in), this is one of those cases who will likely never make it back out into the not-so-polite society of his fellow ferals. This one is likely a special-needs-forever kind of a case.
So it’s a good thing I totally forgot to eartip him, right? Sometimes things "simply" fall into place. Who knows? Maybe I do have a whiff of the Jedi about me ...
Dr. Patty Khuly
Pic of the day: "Neutered Kitty" by Me