Welp, I took Jerry to the vet hospital in LA yesterday for a consult with an internist about her megacolon. It was a long, tiring day full of news that was not horrible, but not that great, either.
The drive to LA should theoretically take about 2 hours. That, however, doesn't include traffic delays, and there are always traffic delays in LA. So, since our appointment was at 2 PM, I left around 11:30, hoping that would be enough to get us there on time. Traffic was actually not bad until we reached the 405, when we hit stop and go for the last 10 miles or so. Managed to arrive at the vet hospital by quarter to 2, so that was good. Miss Jerry did not enjoy the ride, and plied me with tiny, plaintive, squeaky meows half the way.
The internist looked at the x-rays and lab tests sent down by my vet, and discussed Jerry's history, and agreed that since medication management wasn't working any more, it was time for surgery. But he was also concerned about a high calcium level in her last blood test, and also wanted to do an ultrasound and chest x-rays. He set up a surgery consultation appointment for us at 4 PM, and went off to do the other ultrasound & x-rays, and I went out to the waiting room to hang out for an hour and a half. I had brought snacks with me and had books and games on my phone, so the wait wasn't too bad.
Around 4 PM, I collected my annoyed kitty and got the news from the internist while we waited for the surgeon. The x-rays were good, but the ultrasound showed a mass on her liver. He took a needle biopsy of it to send out. The good news (if it can be called that) is that, if necessary, the mass can be removed at the same time as her colectomy. We won't get the results of the biopsy for two or three days.
Then we had the consult with the surgeon. He agreed that surgery was indicated, and we made an appointment for next Tuesday. By then, they'll have the results of the biopsy and can decide if the mass also needs to be removed.
One thing that concerns me is that he wants her to go off her stool softeners until the surgery. That's so the stool will be harder and there will be less chance of leakage into her body when he cuts the colon. At first he said he wanted her off the meds for two weeks before the surgery! I told him, it's hard enough to get her to poop any more, even with the stool softeners. I can pretty much guarantee that without them, she won't poop at all for two weeks. So he went off to talk to the internist and check the ultrasounds and came back and said, all right, we'll just do one week. I'm still concerned. I guess she can survive a week without pooping, and if she starts to get distressed, I'll call them and see what they suggest.
So the surgery is scheduled for 8:45 AM next Tuesday. Which means getting up early and getting out of here by 6 AM, because that's going to be rush hour into the city and traffic is going to be bad. I should probably leave earlier, but eh. If I'm a little late, so be it. I'll need to leave her there for one or two nights.
Then we were ready to leave, once I paid the bill, which was another hassle -- I was going to use my CareCredit card, so I could pay it off over time without paying any interest, but it was declined so I had to use a different credit card. Then, not two minutes later, I got a robocall from Care Credit saying they'd detected "unusual activity" on my account and wanted to verify that I'd just attempted to charge $$ on it. I said yes, and the bot cheerfully told me to continue using my card. Wut? What is unusual about trying to pay a vet bill for my cat? Argh. Well, it's (almost) just as well, because I'll need the Care Credit for the surgery anyway, and that will go well over my credit limit, unless I can get it raised in the week before the surgery. And assuming they'll actually let the charge go through.
So then it was around 4:30 PM, and we were heading out just in time to hit evening rush hour. Took us three hours to get home, and we were both tired, hungry, and cranky when we finally arrived. Miss Jerry was thrashing around in her carrier, eager to get out, and as soon as I set her carrier down in her room and opened it, she jumped out and rushed out of the room! Well, rushed inasmuch as she ever does: she strode briskly and determinedly out of the room, which is very rare for her -- since the boys arrived, she has only poked her nose out of the bedroom a few times, and went right back in after a brief foray. This time, she went into the kitchen and sat on one of the chairs at the little bistro table I have in there, and stayed there for an hour and a half, even after the boys finished their dinners and came out to see what was going on. She growled and hissed at them, as usual, but didn't give any ground. Heh.
It was dark, so she's mostly just a black blob on the chair, but here she is, adventuring out into the world of the kitchen! I would love it if the surgery improves her health so that she becomes more energetic and brave and starts leaving her room more.
Once I got home, I got the final hit of the day: the email from the vet hospital with an estimate of the cost of her surgery: $7200 - $8200. Holy crap! I really hope I can get most or all of that onto Care Credit, so I can pay it off over time. Otherwise, it's going to completely wipe out my savings, and that doesn't even count the approximately $2500 I've already spent on Jerry's recent vet visits. It's a scary huge amount of money, but at least I *can* pay it. The only other option would be to, I don't know, let her suffer until the megacolon kills her, or have her put down, and I'm not ready for that, not when the surgery has a good chance of making her well.